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
  25.2-2.3.12, No. 412  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China calls for peaceful solution to Syria issue (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-26
China supports all efforts that are conducive to peacefully resolving the Syrian issue, China's Middle East envoy said on Friday. "China will continue to keep in touch with all concerned parties in the United Nations, keep in touch with the Arab League and keep in touch with the Syrian government and all of its political parties," Wu Sike, who finished his visit to the Middle East on Thursday, told China Daily. Beijing opposes any armed intervention in Syria and will work hard to promote peace in the region, Wu said. Wu's words came as the Friends of Syria conference was held on Friday in Tunisia. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Thursday that China will not attend the conference as further study of the aim, effect and mechanism of the conference is needed. [...] "China's stance wasn't understood by some countries," the special envoy noted, adding that China would not protect the regime of President Bashar al-Assad and that its priority was to prevent further violence. Wu said the Arab people's will for reform should be respected, and China opposes any foreign intervention. Wu visited Israel, Palestine and Jordan from Feb 19 to 23. He said that all the parties he visited were worried about the unrest in Syria. They fear that what happened in Libya will also happen in Syria, and negatively affect peace and stability in the region, Wu said. [...] Wu also met Middle East peace Quartet envoy Tony Blair in London about the Middle East peace process. Wu noted that all parties were looking forward to the resumption of direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis. [...] Wu urged the international community to pay more attention and push for peace between Palestine and Israel even under the background of uncertainty in the Middle East. ^ top ^

China vows closer cooperation with WB for global economic governance reform (Xinhua)
2012-02-28
Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with World Bank President Robert Zoellick in Beijing on Monday, vowing joint efforts to facilitate reforms on global economic governance and bridging the North-South gap. "The outbreak and spreading of the global financial crisis has revealed the drawbacks of the global economy in mechanism, policy and growth pattern," Li said. "What we are facing has not been a pure economic and financial crisis, thus the international community should jointly explore the correct path for development," he told Zoellick, who is in Beijing to launch a joint study on China's economic opportunities and strategic choices for the years ahead. [...] Zoellick said the World Bank was ready to further cooperation with China and jointly promote global poverty alleviation and development. Calling China the world's largest developing country, the vice premier said the country has a long way to go before realizing modernization. China was speeding up the transformation of development pattern and adjustment of the economic structure as guided by China's 12th Five-Year Plan, he said, adding the country would further facilitate system innovation and expand opening-up, and better safeguard and improve people's livelihoods, to achieve long-term, fast and steady economic growth. [...] Earlier on Monday, Vice Premier Wang Qishan met with Zoellick and both exchanged views on China-U.S. economic ties, the global economic situation as well as coming the G20 Summit in June in Los Cabos, Mexico. [...]. ^ top ^

China urges to end violence in Syria in UNHRC (Xinhua)
2012-02-29
China urged Tuesday in the United Nations human rights forum the government and all political parties of Syria to end violence, and called on various political factions in Syria to express their political aspirations through non-violent means under the rule of law. "We urge the government and all political factions of Syria to immediately and fully end all acts of violence, and quickly restore stability and normal social order," Qi Xiaoxia, deputy head of the Chinese delegation to the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), said during an urgent debate on the human rights situation in Syria. "We call on the government of Syria to pay serious heed to the people's legitimate desire for reform and development," Qi said. Qi said China condemns all acts of violence against innocent civilians. She also stressed that 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 result of political dialogue among various parties of Syria. "We do not approve of armed intervention or forcing a so-called 'regime change' in Syria," she said. Qi said China values the important role of Arab countries and the League of Arab States in seeking a political solution to the issue of Syria, and appreciates efforts made by Arab countries and the League of Arab States for a political solution to the Syrian issue. "We support the position of Arab countries that violence should be stopped immediately, that civilians in Syria should be protected in real earnest, that humanitarian assistance should be given to Syria, and that external military intervention should be avoided," she said. "We hope the Syrian issue will be resolved within the framework of the League of Arab States through political and peaceful means," Qi added. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese VP hopes for early solution to Sudan-South Sudan dispute (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-29
Vice President Xi Jinping on Tuesday said he hopes Sudan and South Sudan will properly solve their differences "at an early date." He made the remark while meeting with visiting Sudanese Foreign Minister Ali Ahmed Karti. Xi said differences between Sudan and South Sudan have recently led to disputes, drawing attention from the international community and raising China's concerns. China hopes the two countries can remain patient and maintain communication, keeping in mind their fundamental interests and the overall regional situation, Xi said. Karti said Sudan will adhere to a peaceful path and solve differences with South Sudan through negotiations. Xi said he hopes Sudan will take concrete measures to ensure the safety of Chinese organizations and personnel in Sudan, to which Karti replied that the country will take all necessary measures to protect the safety of Chinese nationals. China and Sudan have treated each other sincerely since forging diplomatic ties, Xi said, adding that both countries have maintained frequent high-level contacts, increased political trust and made fruitful achievements in multiple areas. China is a trustworthy friend of the people of Sudan, and Sudan appreciates the long-term support and assistance extended by China, Karti said. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Indonesia to further bilateral cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-02-29
China and Indonesia on Tuesday held the third meeting of a bilateral dialogue mechanism at deputy prime ministerial level, with the two sides vowing to further cooperate. Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Djoko Suyanto, the visiting Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Political, Law and Security Affairs, co-chaired the meeting in Beijing, said a press release from the Foreign Ministry. According to the press release, the Indonesian side welcomed more Chinese companies to take part in its infrastructure construction. The Chinese side vowed to actively promote a balanced, fast growth of bilateral trade with an annual goal of 80 billion U.S. dollars by 2015. The two sides also agreed to work together on issues ranging from military exchanges, space technology, disaster relief to food security, as well as to increase cooperation in fighting terrorism and drug-related crimes, culture, education, health, media and youth. They also agreed to promote China-ASEAN relations in joint efforts, and promote peace and prosperity in Asia and the world as a whole. The two sides will hold future meetings annually instead of once every two years. Strengthening the strategic partnership between China and Indonesia, two emerging developing countries, is in both sides' interests as they face a complicated international situation, Dai said. [...]. ^ top ^

China protests the Philippines' plan to explore fuel deposits in its territorial waters (Xinhua)
2012-02-29
China on Tuesday reaffirmed its indisputable sovereignty over Nansha Islands and its adjacent waters and protested the Philippines' plan to explore oil and natural gas in this area. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a regular press briefing when asked to comment on Philippine Secretary of Energy Jose Almendras' remarks on inviting foreign investors to explore two oil and gas blocks claimed by China. "It is unlawful for any country or company to explore oil and gas in sea areas under Chinese jurisdiction without the permission of the Chinese government," said Hong. He urged relevant countries to adhere to the spirit of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and refrain from taking moves that will complicate or aggravate the dispute, and make due efforts for the peace and stability of the South China Sea. ^ top ^

Nations pledge to support regional stability (China Daily)
2012-03-01
The first China-Afghanistan-Pakistan Trilateral Dialogue concluded in Beijing on Wednesday, with the three countries pledging to support regional countries in enhancing political mutual trust and accommodating each others' concerns, said the Foreign Ministry. The three countries agreed to explore the feasibility of trilateral cooperation in connectivity, resource development and combating terrorism, separatism and extremism, the ministry said, adding that the Afghan reconciliation process and regional socioeconomic development are the keys to overcoming the current challenges. "China and Pakistan support the 'Afghan-led, Afghan-owned' reconciliation process," said the ministry. "The creation of the arrangement has provided a new model for unity and cooperation among the three countries. The dialogue will play a positive role in enhancing friendly cooperation among the three and maintaining peace and stability in the region." The trilateral dialogue was chaired by Luo Zhaohui, the director-general of the ministry's department of Asian affairs, Alamgir Babar, additional secretary of the Pakistani Foreign Ministry and Amanullah Jayhoon, director general of the first political department of the Afghan Foreign Ministry. Analysts spoke highly of the significance of the dialogue, which marked the beginning of new process for countries in the region to tackle problems by themselves. [...] How to maintain the stability and development of the region has aroused great concerns, as the United States has decided to withdraw 33,000 US troops from Afghanistan this year, and Pakistan has been challenged by the Taliban and al-Qaida. [...]. ^ top ^

China urges Japan to stop East China Sea research (China Daily)
2012-03-01
China on Wednesday expressed dissatisfaction over Japan's unilateral marine research in disputed areas of the East China Sea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a regular news briefing. On Tuesday, a Chinese vessel radioed the Japanese Coast Guard ship Takuyo and called on it to stop its activities in disputed areas of the East China Sea. It is reported that Japan's top government spokesman Osamu Fujimura said Wednesday that the marine research was conducted in the country's exclusive economic zone and Japan has protested China's recent call through the official channels. "China's stance on the East China Sea is clear and consistent," said Hong. China has expressed dissatisfaction over Japan's unilateral marine research in disputed areas of the East China Sea regardless of China's opposition, he said. He said China has requested the Japanese side stop relevant activities and avoid damaging China's right and interests, in a bid to safeguard the stability of the East China Sea and the overall relations between the two countries. ^ top ^

Indian PM Singh meets with visiting Chinese FM Yang (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who met here Thursday with visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, said the India-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral ties in the world. There is enough space in the world for India and China to grow and work together. [...] The Indian Government is firmly committed to its strategic and cooperative partnership with China and stands ready to make every effort to advance cooperation in all fields, Singh said. [...] For his part, Yang Jiechi said that under the current international and regional situation, China and India enjoy broad prospects for growth of bilateral ties. [...] The two sides have also agreed to maintain high-level exchanges and contacts, strengthen diplomatic consultation and dialogue as well as exchanges between parties, legislatures and the militaries to enhance strategic and political mutual trust; take advantage of such mechanisms as strategic economic dialogue to raise the level of economic cooperation and trade and explore new areas of cooperation; expand people-to-people exchanges and increase media exchanges and communication; further advance the progress of border talks and make good use of the newly established working mechanism for consultation and coordination on border affairs so as to better maintain peace and tranquility in the border area. The Chinese foreign minister said that the BRICS Summit to be held in New Delhi at the end of March is expected to send a positive signal of win-win cooperation and unity among its members who will work for world economic growth and their people's well- being. The Chinese side stands ready to fully support and cooperate with the Indian side to ensure success of the Summit and make new contribution to BRICS cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

Two Chinese freed after Cairo kidnapping scare (SCMP)
2012-03-02
Two Chinese workers were freed hours after being taken hostage by gunmen in Cairo early yesterday morning. Xinhua quoted Zhang Zhizhong, director of the consular section at the Chinese embassy in Cairo, as saying that the workers, sent to Egypt by a stone materials company in Guangdong, were kidnapped as they were walking out of their rented flat in Maadi in southern Cairo at about 6am. The state news agency later issued another dispatch saying the two workers had been released, but did not specify the time or conditions of their release. It was the latest in a string of kidnappings that have sparked growing concern about the safety of Chinese overseas as they head abroad in search of commodities and business opportunities. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Senior Chinese leader calls for cultivating non-communist talents (Xinhua)
2012-02-25
A senior leader on Friday called for fully implementing a circular designed for finding and training talented individuals from outside of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of CPC Central Committee, made the remark during a nationwide video conference in which he explained the contents of the circular. In the circular released on Thursday, the CPC Central Committee called for more efforts to find and train talented people from outside of the Party in order to achieve long-term solidarity and stability. The circular included detailed suggestions for finding and selecting non-communist talents based on comprehensive assessments, as well as a call for perfecting the mechanism for choosing and appointing talented individuals. Jia said that the circular is a milestone in the Party's history and will serve as a guideline for the cultivation of talented non-communists. He called for finding and training non-communist talents in all fields of society, as well as providing training and political education for them. Jia urged authorities at all levels to regard the implementation of the circular as an "important task.". ^ top ^

Migrant workers closer to city residency rights (SCMP)
2012-02-25
The central government has revealed criteria that could allow the country's 200 million or so migrant workers to become full residents of medium-sized cities, but critics say the change is too small to address growing social problems. In a notice published by the State Council on Thursday urging "proactive and stable" reform of the hukou household registration system, mainland cities have been divided into three categories each with their own policies. In county-level cities, anyone with a legal and stable job and residence, either rented or owned, can apply for hukou. In medium-sized cities that are big enough to contain districts, a migrant must have worked there for more than three years with a stable residence before being able to apply for hukou. Current hukou practices remain in the four municipalities - Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Chongqing - and other major cities, which the notice says must "continue to reasonably control population size". The notice is dated February 26, 2011, and it is not clear why it has been released a year later. The hukou system is highly controversial and long been criticised as archaic. [...] It prevents most of the country's migrant workers from claiming social benefits where they work, aggravating grievances created by a growing wealth gap. [...] The notice also attempts to address another thorny issue, mandating that any hukou reform must not harm the interests of farmers, and must not illegally confiscate the land of farmers who decided to change their hukou from rural to urban. It also says that all new employment, education and occupational training policies must not be linked to hukou and that local governments must introduce measures to address the social benefit needs of migrant workers who do not have urban hukou. ^ top ^

500 children latest victims of pollution (SCMP)
2012-02-27
A flurry of lead-poisoning cases has hit several industrial hubs on the mainland, raising concerns over widespread heavy-metal pollution and its unsettling human toll. Environmentalists warn that the recent revelation by mainland media - which reported that more than 500 children are suffering from lead poisoning in Guangxi, Guangdong and Henan - is only the tip of the iceberg. They say the reports again test Beijing's commitments to tackling metal pollution troubles. Hechi, a booming mining city in northwestern Guangxi, has been hit by another heavy-metal pollution scandal just weeks after one of the country's worst cadmium spills. At least 103 children, from one month to 15 years old, in Nandan county have excessive concentrations of lead in their blood, The Economic Observer reported over the weekend. In several blood tests at local hospitals, lead levels ranged from 100 to 256 milligrams per litre in the past few months; five blood samples exceeded 200mg per litre, compared with normal levels of zero to 100mg. A level over 200mg is considered hazardous, and medical studies indicate it can impair children's mental health and affect their growth. According to the news report, all of the children with lead poisoning live near as many as nine heavy-metal smelters in Chehe township. [...] Locals have for years complained about the filthy air, dirty river and other pollution problems, but they say the county has simply ignored their grievances. Seventeen residents in Tanghan village, Chehe township, were even sentenced to jail 10 years ago for participating in a protest against the smelters. [...] Guangdong was also hit by an outbreak of lead poisoning this month, with 96 children in Renhua county, Shaoguan city, found with excessive lead concentrations in their blood, China News Service reported on Saturday. Experts from the Ministry of Environmental Protection have been assigned to investigate the outbreak. Guangdong authorities promised to aid affected families and shut down polluters after the investigation. [...] Both outbreaks were revealed just days after more than 300 children in Lingbao city, Henan, were found with excessive lead concentrations in their blood. ^ top ^

Web users ‘occupy' Obama's Google Plus (Global Times)
2012-02-27
US President Barack Obama's account on popular social network Google Plus has been swamped by Chinese posts, which analysts said indicates the Chinese public's wish to communicate with high-ranking leaders through new media. [...] Information released earlier on the page also received massive numbers of replies in Chinese during the past two days, although the social website has been inaccessible to Chinese Web users since its launch in June last year. [...] Chinese comments on his page range from joking expressions to seemingly serious discussions on certain topics. [...] Other posts were advertisements, while some touched upon sensitive issues in China, such as Beijing's policy toward dissidents and petitioners. [...] Attempts by the Global Times to open Google Plus without using a proxy or VPN Sunday were unsuccessful. According to a BBC report, Internet users in many parts of the mainland found on February 20 they could access Google Plus, prompting some of them to suggest occupying the site. [...] Some Internet users speculated that the allegedly temporary access to Google Plus could be the result of loosened Internet regulations. The South China Morning Post reported Wednesday that people were able to read a profile of Zhao Ziyang, a former leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Baidu Baike, a Web encyclopedia similar to Wikipedia. But the Global Times' attempt Sunday to search for the entry, which had long been unavailable, yielded no results. [...] With the boom in microblogging in China, the regulator has released a serious of real-name measures to regulate the surging social networking platform. [...]. ^ top ^

NPC to water down secret detention law (SCMP)
2012-02-28
The National People's Congress is set to water down controversial changes to a law that would allow secret detentions, following an outcry over the move, sources said. The congress, which opens next Monday, will remove some planned changes to the criminal procedure law that would have made it legal to lock up suspects in secret locations for six months without charge. Professor Chen Guangzhong, a criminal procedure expert who was consulted on the early drafts, said he had seen the latest draft of the law, and legislators had deleted some of what critics had dubbed the "disappearance clauses". The first draft of the amendments was released in September last year for public consultation. But the introduction of the "disappearance clauses" triggered an uproar. It ruled that police did not have to tell family members the whereabouts of suspects arrested, detained or under surveillance in national security, terrorism or major graft cases, if such notifications impeded a probe. Critics said the changes amounted to legalising human rights violations. The practice of so-called "enforced disappearances" already exists, but the amendments would have given it extra legal clout. [...] Chen said the latest draft of the law - to be voted on at the NPC session - now rules that police must inform family members of the whereabouts of suspects arrested or placed under surveillance within 24 hours. [...] Meanwhile, the nation's top court has issued new guidelines on the reduction of jail sentences and the granting of parole, two processes that have long been criticised as being abused to serve the interests of corrupt officials. The rules, which take effect in July, require public hearings when defendants request action after assisting the government, when a sentence cut or parole has not been made in accordance with the rules, or when cases attract intense public interest or may have a big impact on society. Public hearings must also be held if complaints are received during the public-notice period, if prosecutors disagree with a proposed leniency or if a court believes they are necessary. ^ top ^

China awards cities for supporting soldier-civilian solidarity (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-28
China staged a high-profile ceremony on Monday to award cities that had bolstered local soldier-civilian solidarity. President Hu Jintao met with representatives ahead of the ceremony which was held in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Xi Jinping attended the ceremony. A total of 391 cities were honored at the event. Wen Jiabao delivered a speech in which he called upon the army and civilians to work together so as to realize economic prosperity and strong military defensive power. Wen urged efforts to improve conscription policies to attract eligible young people into the service and to better resettle retired servicemen. Wen also called for efforts to improve the welfare of servicemen and their families. The army should make greater contributions to the nation's social and economic development, Wen said. And he urged the army to do more in terms of poverty reduction, disaster relief and maintaining public security and social stability. ^ top ^

Communist hero reborn as human face of party (SCMP)
2012-02-28
The Communist Party has kicked off a high-profile campaign to mark the 50th anniversary of the death of an icon, in what is being seen as an effort to fill a moral vacuum in society. The party's powerful Publicity Department launched the "Practice Lei Feng Spirit" campaign at a press conference in Beijing yesterday. Lei Feng, a People's Liberation Army soldier, became a symbol of selflessness after his accidental death in 1962 and gained nationwide fame. Mao Zedong coined the phrase "Learn from Lei Feng" a year after Lei's death and Monday is "Learn from Lei Feng Day" on the mainland. "By learning from Lei Feng we can set up a new moral standard and fix the distrust and other moral issues in today's society," Xinhua quoted the publicity department's Luo Shugang as saying. Communist officials are concerned that distrust of the government could undermine stability. The altruistic Lei has been held up as a role model since his death at the age of 22. In his diaries, studied by generations of mainlanders, he wrote that he wanted to be "a revolutionary screw that never rusts". Mainland media have published articles and books about the young hero's life as part of the anniversary celebrations, many of which seek to make Lei appear more human. Stories in the mainstream media have not only focused on the good turns he did but have tried to show a real Lei: an ordinary young man who loved dancing, taking photographs and writing poems. Letters and uncensored photos have also been published. [...] "We want to make Lei Feng more like a real person than a hero," said Luo Zhengyu, publisher of The Collected Works of Lei Feng. The book includes letters from Lei to his girlfriend in the 1950s, a taboo in early party propaganda. More than 100,000 copies of the book have been sold since its release last month, with Luo attributing its success to the fact that it "revealed the tenderness of Lei Feng". [...] "The values of our society have become more diversified, and it's very hard to persuade people to have one moral idol," Lu Ya, deputy director of the Communist Youth League's department of youth workers, said in a discussion on Lei Feng Spirit. He said many young mainlanders knew very little about Lei or had never heard of him. [...]. ^ top ^

New controls on religious groups' work (SCMP)
2012-02-28
Beijing has tightened controls on religious groups by imposing restrictions on their charitable activities, complicating their efforts to secure foreign aid. A document issued by six government departments yesterday, including the State Administration for Religious Affairs and the National Development and Reform Commission, welcomed religious groups performing charity work, and confirmed they were entitled to tax concessions. But the document also spelt out restrictions: under new regulations, religious groups are prohibited from spreading their beliefs and "undermining national interests" through charitable activities. "Charitable operations under religious bodies should stick to the principle of self-reliance, and be free from the influence of external forces," it said. "They should not accept subsidies, donations or help from overseas that come attached with political and religious conditions."It added: "The religious groups should be subject to the supervision, management and inspection of related government departments. They should report to religious affairs departments that are above the county level when making their annual charity work plan," the document said. Authorities said they want to encourage charitable work by religious groups, especially during natural disasters, but are wary of them mingling with overseas organisations. [...] In 2010, Beijing tightened rules on foreign donations to non-governmental Chinese organisations, requiring them to present the registration certificates of overseas donors and get approval from authorities before accepting donations of over 1 million yuan (HK$1.23 million). [...] Overseas NGOs are often subjected to scrutiny on the mainland. [...]. ^ top ^

Top political advisor vows to carry out democracy (Xinhua)
2012-02-29
China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin on Tuesday vowed to carry out democracy and improve the quality of political advice. Jia made the remarks during a speech at the conclusion of a three-day meeting, which proposed agenda for the upcoming Fifth Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) that will open on March 3. [...] Jia called on all members of the CPPCC to fully implement the guiding policy and make good preparations for the upcoming sessions to boost national unity and prosperity. He also appealed for the members to maintain close connections with the grassroots and create a democratic atmosphere so to contribute to China's social management innovation. The CPPCC needs advice to steadily and fast develop the national economy so to promote cultural reform, scientific research and social harmony, Jia said. During the speech, Jia stressed the importance of cooperation in different fields to constantly improve services and further complete regulations to push forward the great cause of socialist modernization. "We need to strengthen our awareness of responsibility and the overall situation, as well as cherish the great opportunity to make more contributions to the process of building a well-off society in an all-round way," Jia said. [...] He urged the members to carry out continuous investigation and promptly solve potential economic problems through political methods including reports, speech and political advice to achieve this year's goal. [...]. ^ top ^

China to address social problems in rural areas (Xinhua)
2012-02-29
The Chinese government and Party organs will look into social problems that might trigger mass incidents in rural areas, a statement from the country's top discipline agency said Tuesday. In a guideline for 2012 adopted at a recent meeting, the central government and Party departments decided to tighten supervision over village officials and impose tougher punishments on offenders, according to a statement from the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China. They will investigate village officials who violate laws and Party regulations in terms of land usage, housing demolition, the management of public properties and village committee elections, the statement said. They will also carefully correct wrongdoings that harm the interests of rural residents, especially in the programs of education, medical insurance, food safety, environmental protection, workplace safety and poverty alleviation, it said. The statement also urged improving the education of low-level officials and establishing an effective supervision system over the management of village public properties. It suggested building more public bidding institutions for the development of public resources in villages. [...]. ^ top ^

PM2.5 in air quality standards, positive response to net campaign (Xinhua)
2012-03-01
News spread quickly Wednesday evening on Weibo, a Twitter-style microblogging service in China, about the State Council including PM2.5 into the national air quality standards and that authorities would start monitoring it soon. A stirring campaign on the country's social network websites since last autumn seemed to have gained a satisfying response from the country's policymakers. [...] The State Council on Wednesday passed revised air quality standards which include an index for PM2.5, or fine particulate matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter. The new standards include indices for the concentration of PM2.5 and ozone (O3) over a period of eight hours, according to a statement from the State Council issued after a meeting presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. The country's highest state administrative body said the government planned to monitor PM2.5 in four municipalities, 27 provincial capitals, as well as three key regions -- east China's Yangtze River Delta, south China's Pearl River Delta, and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area in the north, in 2012. In 2013, the monitoring will be extended to 113 model cities on the state environmental protection list, and to all cities at prefecture level or above in 2015. Only several months ago, PM2.5 was still a term for environment scientists and few expected such a concrete action would be made soon. [...] The government reading, sometimes contrary to citizens' personal feelings, roused wide concerns after environmental activists, media people and opinion leaders brought this topic on microblogs. On Sina Weibo only, more than 1 million microblogs have been posted concerning the issue. Many volunteered to document air quality of their cities with pictures and environmentalist groups even started monitoring PM2.5 by their own device. The public have learned from experts and activists debating the issue online. [...]. ^ top ^

China's legislature ends bimonthly session (Xinhua)
2012-03-01
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, on Wednesday concluded its bimonthly session, adopting several decisions including one to amend the Law on the Promotion of Clean Production. President Hu Jintao signed a presidential decree to promulgate the decision. The amended law expands on what "appropriate packaging of products" means. The amendments reiterate terms such as "resource conservation" and "efficiency," while previously the law only repeatedly mentioned "reduction of pollution." The session also approved a decision to permit appropriate modification to the methods for selecting Macao's chief executive and forming its legislative council in accordance with the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Basic Law. [...] Moreover, the NPC Standing Committee members voted and agreed to submit a draft agenda for the Fifth Session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), that will open on March 5, to the preparatory meeting of the annual session for review. [...]. ^ top ^

16 charged over sale of 51 human kidneys (SCMP)
2012-03-01
Sixteen people have been charged with organising the sale of 51 human kidneys for more than 10 million yuan (HK$12.3 million) in the mainland's biggest organ trading case. The suspects include agents who solicited donors in online chat rooms and doctors and nurses in Anhui and Jiangsu who went to Beijing to harvest kidneys, the Procuratorate Daily's jcrb.com website quoted unnamed prosecutors from Beijing's Haidian district as saying. Mainland law allows organ donations from the living only when the donor is a close relative or intimate partner of the recipient. But a chronic shortage of donor organs has spawned an underground trade, with some people forging identity papers to bypass the law. [...] Zheng Wei, who charged 10,000 yuan to introduce donors to patients, started organising the Beijing trade in early 2010 by paying doctors at county-level hospitals to harvest organs and then selling them. Zheng paid a donor 25,000 yuan for a kidney and paid the medical team another 25,000 yuan before selling the kidney for 220,000 yuan. [...] The gang harvested 51 kidneys, paying 20,000 to 25,000 yuan for each one. The report did not mention where the kidneys went or whether any transplant surgeons have been implicated in the case. The organs used to be harvested at hospitals in Xiao county, Anhui, or Tongshan county, Jiangsu, but after three kidneys were damaged in a traffic accident in June 2010, Zheng rented a villa and spent 500,000 yuan turning it into an operating theatre. [...] The doctors were flown in early in the morning, harvested three to six kidneys, and left Beijing at night, the report said. Police busted the ring in December. ^ top ^

China to test 'high-risk' groups for HIV (China Daily)
2012-03-01
China has rolled out a series of anti-HIV/AIDS measures for the next four years, including imposing intervention on high risk groups for HIV, according to an action plan for the country's anti-HIV/AIDS efforts recently issued by the State Council. China will strive to keep the number of people living with HIV/AIDS to 1.2 million by the end of the 12th Five-Year Plan period(2011-2015), with the new HIV infection rate down by 25 percent and the death rate 30 percent compared with 2010. More than 70 percent of people belonging to HIV high-risk groups, which include drug drug users, prostitutes and gay men, will be tested for HIV and informed of the result. Condoms will be available, free or sold by vending machines in over ninety-five percent of public spaces. The plan also said the rate of pregnant women given a HIV antibody test should be 80 percent, and in places where HIV/AIDS have a higher occurrence, the rate should exceed 90 percent. Spouses of more than 70 percent of HIV carriers and AIDS patients will take the HIV test at least once a year. HIV/AIDS knowledge will be fostered across the country to a larger extent, covering more than eighty-five percent of residents between the age of 15 to 60 in cities and towns, and eighty percent in rural areas. Some 780,000 HIV carriers and AIDS patients are estimated to be living on the Chinese mainland, according to a report issued jointly by the Ministry of Health and United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS last November. [...]. ^ top ^

Vice President stresses purity of Party spirit (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has called on members and officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to maintain the purity of the Party spirit. Xi, also president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks at the school's opening ceremony for this year's spring semester here Thursday. Maintaining the Party's purity is an essential requirement for a Marxist political party, and has always been a fundamental issue and important target for the CPC all through its history, Xi said. Moreover, the Party's purity is of vital significance to the Party's innovation capability, unity, strength as well as its healthy development, he added. Xi called for efforts to defend the Party's purity in the aspects of ideology, organization and Party members' performance. He noted the Party's fine tradition of placing emphasis on the Party members' agreement and education in the ideological field to maintain their belief in Communism and the building of Socialism with Chinese characteristics. He also urged strict management of the Party members and cadres as well as efforts of the Party members and officials to keep the closest ties with the public. Furthermore, Xi called on the Party's leading officials to set examples in maintaining the Party's purity and make constant efforts of self-examination and self-improvement. Leading officials should fairly use their power, keep incorrupt in their work, and resolutely oppose the tendencies of mammonism, hedonism and extreme individualism, Xi said. Moreover, he stressed the importance of supervision and the sense of responsibility of the Party members and officials. ^ top ^

China acts to streamline law enforcement practices (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
China has made a slew of efforts to streamline police officers' law enforcement practices, according to a circular issued Thursday by the Ministry of Public Security which took stock of efforts made in this field. Since the ministry ordered law enforcement officials to be "strict and just" as well as "rational and civilized" in 2008, police authorities have strived to streamline the nation's law enforcement practices through installing standardized facilities and introducing regulations, police education and online administration. By January this year, 31,372 out of 40,662 community-level police stations have completed retrofitting projects, including setting up interrogation rooms, waiting rooms, rooms for the safekeeping of case-related materials and rooms with other specific functions, as well as installing recorders and video cameras in all of these rooms in order to put police actions under scrutiny. The ministry has issued a series of guidelines to regulate law enforcement practices, including guidelines on interrogations and stopping ongoing crimes and other offenses. Furthermore, the ministry organized a law-enforcement license examination in 2011, and over two million police officers nationwide have taken the exam so far. Information technology has also made law enforcement more transparent. Police authorities at all levels disclose case proceedings, information on administrative approval and licensing, and other information on their websites. ^ top ^

Many find 2-year forced labor term for spreading false info unfair (Global Times)
2012-03-02
News that police handed down a two-year "re-education through labor" sentence to a man for spreading rumors about the breakout of a contagious disease in Baoding, Hebei Province, has sparked controversy over what constitutes suitable punishment and how to reduce the effects of rumors in the future. According to local police, the owner of a website, surnamed Liu, published false information online on February 19 and forwarded the rumor with a link to increase traffic to his site. [...] After only a few days, without using proper court procedures, punishment was handed down to the "rumor monger," which has angered some. Almost unanimously, experts are saying that the punishment was too severe and lacked a sound legal basis. "It is too severe, in fact, it's the most severe punishment for online rumor spreading so far," Chen Tianben, an associate professor at the Chinese People's Public Security University, told the Global Times. He said that labor re-education is the closest thing to being imprisoned. People are deprived of personal freedoms there and are forced to do hard labor, he added. Some are even complaining that legal punishment for people who try to cover up disasters are not in place, although the minister of health and the mayor of Beijing were dismissed from their posts after the 2003 SARS cover-up scandal. The labor re-education system was formally built in the 1950s as a method to more quickly and effectively deal with social security problems caused by average citizens. It gives police the power to confine a suspect and force him to work, while going through re-education, for up to four years. It has long been attacked by law experts, with some suggesting it be abolished. [...] Cai Jing, a teacher specializing in the spreading of rumors with the League of High Education in Media and Communication, said that the non-transparency of government information is not the only thing that can be blamed for allowing rumors to spread. "It is the character of the modern Internet society that all citizens have a say. It is impossible to eliminate rumors. Instead, what we should try to do is reduce the harm rumors have on society," she told the Global Times. [...] "Rebuilding the credibility of the government and raising the speed at which authorities publish information to refute rumors are also ways the harm rumors have can be reduced," she added. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Experts warn of Beijing obesity epidemic (Global Times)
2012-02-27
More than half of the 2.3 million Beijingers who underwent a health check in 2010 have weight problems. According to a report released Saturday from Beijing Physical Examination Center, 51 percent were overweight. The report highlighted the top 10 threats to Beijing residents aged over 18. Obesity, osteoporosis and a fatty liver are the main causes of disease among both males and females. "Beijing long ago entered the era of obesity," said Yu Shibei, chief analyst of health statistics at the Beijing Ciming Checkup Group. "The lives of many residents, especially those aged from 21 to 30, are very irregular. They work hard from morning till night, don't exercise much, and eat lots of fast food and greasy boxed lunches, leading to obesity and a fatty liver." "People in big cities like Beijing should exercise more in order to balance the calories they take in, making an effort to keep disease at bay," said Yu. [...] For the last 10 years, Chinese gained the same amount of weight as residents of Western countries put on over the last 30 years, said a national physical condition monitoring report in 2010, which was conducted by the General Administration of Sport of China and released last year. ^ top ^

Beijing to build world's busiest airport (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-27
Beijing is to build a new airport, which is likely to be the world's largest in terms of passenger traffic, to the southeast of the city, China National Radio reports. The new airport, yet to be named, is to be located on the border between Beijing and Langfang, a city in north China's Hebei province which surrounds Beijing. It will be approximately 45 kilometers from Beijing's city center; about an hour's drive. The airport is designed to be a key international airport. It will have nine runways and is expected to direct more than 130 million passengers and 5,500,000 tones of cargo annually, replacing the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia, the United States, to become the busiest in the world. The new airport will also act as a hub, connecting highways, transportation roads and roads in rural areas together. This will be the third civil airport in Beijing, following the Nanyuan Airport and the Beijing International Airport, which houses Terminal three, the largest building in the world. When put into use, the new airport will serve Beijing, as well as the nearby Tianjin municipality and Hebei province. ^ top ^

Beijing residents likely to drink desalinized seawater (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
Pressure on Beijing's water supply will be eased in the future when the city's residents are given access to desalinized seawater safe for drinking, a senior executive of the company in charge of the metropolis' water supply has said. A desalinized seawater plant has recently been put into operation in the seaside city of Tangshan, about 260 km southeast of Beijing, Zhou Lingyun, assistant to the president of the Beijing Enterprises Water Group Co. Ltd, told reporters on Wednesday. "Every day, the plant is able to put out 50,000 tonnes of desalinized seawater, which meets the standards of drinking water," Zhou said. The daily output capacity will be expanded to 1 million or even 3 million tonnes in the future, he said. [...] Beijing's water shortage has worsened as its permanent population nears 20 million. Official figures suggest the city's per capita water resource availability has dropped to 100 cubic meters a year, or one-tenth of the United Nations' "danger threshold." China will greatly increase its seawater desalination capacity over the next five years to ease shortages in coastal areas and islands and boost drinking water safety in some central and western regions, the government announced Monday. The nation aims to raise the desalinization capacity to between 2.2 million and 2.6 million cubic meters per day by 2015, according to a statement from by the General Office of the State Council, China's cabinet. [...] With the expansion of facilities and advanced technologies, China will have 20 cities using desalinated seawater by 2015. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai to raise minimum wage (China Daily)
2012-02-28
Shanghai said Monday that it will raise the monthly minimum wage for workers by 13 percent to 1,450 yuan ($232), following pay hikes announced by several other cities in recent months to ease a labor shortage and buffer the impact of inflation. Shanghai's human resources and social security bureau said in a statement that the city's minimum wage, as well as social insurance and housing subsidy, will remain among the highest in the country once the pay hike goes into effect this April. [...] The city also plans to raise the monthly social security allowances for impoverished urban and rural residents by 12.87 percent and 19.44 percent, respectively, to 570 yuan and 430 yuan, the statement said. Only those who are extremely poor and have no marketable job skills are entitled to such allowances. Severe labor shortages, sporadic strikes and rising living costs in cities have prompted wage hikes throughout China over the past two years. The southern economic hub of Shenzhen raised the minimum monthly wage by 13.6 percent this month, allowing full-time workers to earn no less than 1,500 yuan. ^ top ^

Shanghai releases Five-Year Plan (China Daily)
2012-03-01
Shanghai will speed up efforts to build a global knowledge-intensive center by the end of 2015, according to the newly released 12th Five-year Plan (2011-2015) for Shanghai's Industrial Development. The city will try to double the growth of its emerging industries and revenue from producer services, Liu Jian, deputy director of the Shanghai Municipal Commission on Information and the Economy, told a news conference on Wednesday. The city will also quicken the transformation of its manufacturing sector and enhance its global competitiveness, Jian said. According to the plan, Shanghai will give priority to improving economic performance, optimizing its industrial structure in terms of investment, layout, and energy resources, bolster innovation, and increase the environmental friendliness of industrial development.. Compared to previous development plans, the plan for 2011-2015 calls for a moderate increase in industrial output, but stresses economic performance, optimization of structure, innovation, and a balance between development and the environment. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Shenzhen tests reforms of social organizations (China Daily)
2012-02-29
Shenzhen, the southern city that took the lead in reform and opening-up about two decades ago, will keep spearheading reform in social management. Eight types of social organizations in Shenzhen may be able to directly apply for registration at the civil affairs bureau without pre-examination by a supervising department, Du Peng, head of the Shenzhen civil affairs bureau, said at a news conference on Tuesday. A new regulation on social management in Shenzhen, the first of its kind in the country, will take effect from March 1. [...] It covers rules on affairs including civil affairs, social welfare, education, healthcare and social organizations. In general, a social organization must have a supervising department and pass through its examination before it can apply for registration at the civil affairs bureau, and because the supervising department is not clearly defined, many organizations find it hard to get a legal identity. Shenzhen has been reforming social organization registration since 2004. In that year, it launched direct registration of industrial associations at the civil affairs bureau. In 2008, the range was expanded to include another three categories of social organizations: economy, social welfare and public welfare. According to Du, the range is very likely to expand very soon to five more categories including culture, ecology, social service and sports organizations. With the introduction of the regulations, the city will help develop nonprofit social organizations and set up an online information disclosure platform for them, Du said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Stability stressed in Tibetan areas (SCMP)
2012-03-02
China's top political adviser told a meeting of officials from five Tibetan-populated provinces and regions in Beijing yesterday that maintaining stability and economic growth in their areas was vital leading up an expected leadership transition this autumn. Jia Qinglin, the fourth-ranked Communist Party leader and chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said that social stability and economic growth in Tibet, Sichuan, Gansu, Yunnan and Qinghai, five areas with large ethnic Tibetan populations, were "of great significance" and "mattered to the overall situation of the Communist Party and the state" ahead of the party's 18th National Congress, China Central Television reported. [...] "[We] need to pay attention to the general situation both at home and abroad and strive to keep economic growth steady while maintaining social stability," Jia told the meeting, adding that economic efforts should focus on improving the well-being of residents, especially farmers and herdsmen. Jia made the remarks ahead of the annual meetings of the CPPCC, which opens tomorrow, and the National People's Congress, which opens on Monday. They coincide with politically sensitive anniversaries for millions of Tibetans at home and abroad. [...] Control of the region has been tight since, with tensions rising recently. [...] Jia urged officials to "keep the harmony" of the Tibetan-populated areas. A day earlier, Chen Quanguo, the top Communist Party official in Tibet, vowed to censor mobile phones and the internet more thoroughly ahead of the CPPCC and NPC meetings. [...] "Mobile phones, internet and other measures for the management of new media need to be fully implemented to maintain the public's interests and national security," Chen said. In Beijing, poet Tsering Woeser, an outspoken Tibetan writer, said authorities had prevented her from receiving a cultural award at the Dutch ambassador's residence in Beijing yesterday. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Death toll rises in 'terrorist' attack (SCMP)
2012-03-01
Two knife-wielding Uygur attackers were arrested and seven shot dead, while the death toll of civilians and police officers has risen to 13 in what officials said was a terrorist attack in the heart of a restive county in southern Xinjiang on Tuesday. "Apart from the civilians, seven of the nine Uygur assailants were shot dead at the scene and the rest of them were later detained," regional spokesman Hou Hanmin said yesterday, adding that the authorities were still investigating and questioning the detained suspects. Hou said most of the dead victims were of the Han majority, including women, children and the elderly. More than 10 others were wounded; none have life-threatening injuries. [...] The attack came less than a week before the start of the annual sessions of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on Saturday and the National People's Congress on Monday. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei yesterday called the attackers "terrorists" and said they had cruelly killed several innocent civilians "in an appalling manner". Regional spokesman Hou said: "It was by all means a violent and terrifying attack targeted at civilians so as to stir up trouble among the general public." He added that the killers chose to launch their attack on one of the busiest streets in Yecheng, Kashgar prefecture. However, the World Uygur Congress, a group of exiles based in Germany, said authorities in Yecheng had detained 84 people and had closed off all exits and entries. Its account of the attack also varied from the official line. Citing local sources, the group said seven of 12 people killed were armed Chinese patrol personnel. "The incident happened because Uygurs can no longer bear China's systematic repression and are using primitive fighting methods to resist," said Dilxadi Rexiti, a spokesman for the group. Rexiti blamed a "huge influx" of Han Chinese immigrants and official discrimination against Uygurs for the violence. [...]. ^ top ^

Xinjiang launches Uygur language microblogging service (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
Authorities of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region have launched a microblogging service in the Uygur language, the mother tongue of more than 9.65 million inhabitants of the region, the government announced Thursday. The microblogging service in trial operation (www.barmu.cn) is operated by Tianshannet.com, the regional government's official website. "The service is the first online platform for the Uygur-speaking people to communicate with their government in their language," said Eliti Sali, a deputy head of the Xinjiang government's information office. The office also on Thursday launched its official microblog "Xinjiang Announce" at t.qq.com, Tencent's popular microblogging site. The office's account "Xinjiang Announce" on Sina Weibo in Mandarin Chinese has attracted more than 370,000 fans since it was launched on Dec. 27, 2011. More than a thousand microblogs have been posted, the official said. The Uygur language, based on the Arabic alphabet, is part of the Tujue (Turks) branch of the Altaic language family. In Xinjiang, ethnic residents lack basic Mandarin language skills due to inadequate education while many Han officials from inland provinces lack Uygur language skills. The government has organized massive language classes to bridge the gaps. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong, Jersey sign tax treaty (Xinhua)
2012-02-25
Hong Kong and Jersey have signed an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income, a spokesman for the Hong Kong government announced Friday. This is the 23rd comprehensive agreement for the avoidance of double taxation (CDTA) concluded by Hong Kong. The Hong Kong/Jersey CDTA has incorporated the latest Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development standard on exchange of information. It will come into force after the completion of ratification procedures on both sides. In the case of Hong Kong, an order is required to be made by the Chief Executive in Council under the Inland Revenue Ordinance. The order is subject to negative vetting by the city's Legislative Council. Jersey is a British Crown Dependency off the coast of Normandy, France. ^ top ^

Beijing gets its two-horse race as Tsang backs out (SCMP)
2012-02-28
After days of apparent indecision, Tsang Yok-sing - Legislative Council president and a Beijing loyalist - finally said yesterday he would not run for chief executive of Hong Kong. The outcome of all that wavering could not have pleased Beijing more. Tsang's step back from the brink not only allows Beijing to secure its desired "two-horse" race, but also avoids a possible abortive election, as well as maintaining the primacy of executive-led governance in Hong Kong. "I don't have enough time to work on a substantial platform," said Tsang, well aware that the nomination period for the city's top job ends tomorrow. [...] Now Tsang will return to his powerful position as president of Legco, and Beijing can have a moment's respite from what has become a vicious mud-slinging, not to say muckraking, campaign. From the central government's point of view, the race was spinning out of control with too many candidates. Now it can return to what Beijing initially wanted - essentially a two-horse race between former chief secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and former Executive Council convenor Leung Chun-ying, even though both are still mired in scandal. [...] With the recent scandals involving Tang, Leung and Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, lawmakers have become emboldened, repeatedly threatening to invoke their privilege power for full explanations from all three. That's fair enough in the public's eyes. But it touches a raw nerve in Beijing, which has long emphasised the importance of "executive-led governance" in Hong Kong. It insists that is the spirit of the Basic Law and that any democratic development in the city should not weaken this principle. This insistence on executive-led, not legislature-led, governance explains why six legislators from the pro-establishment camp were called into the central government's liaison office last Friday for an "exchange of views". [...]. ^ top ^

Sorry's not enough for Tsang critics (SCMP)
2012-03-02
Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen apologised yesterday, at times in a choked voice, for the loss of public confidence in his government as a result of his alleged cosy dealings with business tycoons. Speaking during an unprecedented session of the Legislative Council, he also announced he would not take up tenancy of the 6,500 sq ft Shenzhen penthouse into which he was planning to move after his retirement from public office, in an attempt to clear doubts about his integrity. Tsang spent most of his 90 minutes before a packed auditorium trying to defend himself, speaking in an uncharacteristically soft voice and at times looking genuinely remorseful while adamant that he had not done anything wrong. The Shenzhen penthouse was to be leased to Tsang by a tycoon friend, but the deal raised concerns about his ethical conduct after it was exposed by the media, along with reports of other favours he obtained from tycoons, including personal trips on their private jets and yachts. Tsang said his friendship with the tycoons - whose identities he refused to confirm on the grounds of privacy - had never affected his decisions in policymaking. He acknowledged, however, that the affair had shaken the public's confidence in his government and called for "understanding". [...] Earlier this week he appointed a five-member independent panel headed by the former chief justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang to review the government's code of conduct for top officials, and he also promised to co-operate with an investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption. [...] However, Tsang's apology and assurances failed to convince his critics, particularly some representatives of civil servants and pan-democratic lawmakers, and he might still face an impeachment bid or further investigation by a select committee in Legco. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan official invited to Boao Forum (China Daily)
2012-03-01
Senior Taiwan's official Wu Den-yih is welcome to attend early April's Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) on invitation as an advisor to a Taiwan-based foundation, a mainland spokeswoman said Wednesday. Mainland authorities would provide appropriate assistance to Wu Den-yih, who would participate in the forum as the top advisor of the Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation, Fan Liqing, spokeswoman of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a press conference. [...] Wu Den-yih was the running mate of the incumbent Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou for the leadership election in mid-January Ma and Wu won the election and are expected to be sworn in respectively as the island's leader and deputy leader in May. The BFA 2012, with the theme of "healthy and sustainable development," will be held from April 1 to 3 in Boao, a serene resort on the east coast of Hainan province, South China. ^ top ^

Taiwanese companies save 122 mln USD in duties in 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
Taiwan enterprises saved more than 122 million U.S. dollars in tariffs last year following an economic pact signed with the Chinese mainland, which grants tariff reductions for goods from each side, Taiwanese authorities said Thursday. "Tariffs for 267 commodities from Taiwan were reduced after the pact took effect. This year, tariffs will be exempted for another 186 commodities," said Sean Chen, a senior Taiwanese government official. Chen made the remark after hearing a report on the effect and future of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a pact signed in June 2010 between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and its mainland-based counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. Noting that the agreement has had no obvious negative impact on the island's industries, Chen suggested concluding further cross-Strait negotiations regarding the ECFA as soon as possible in order to ensure the full effect of the pact's "early harvest" program, a section of the pact that ensures reduced tariffs for certain goods imported from both sides. According to the island's economic administration, tariffs on 94.5 percent of the goods and services included in the program will be reduced to zero. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Green-credit guideline for banks issued (Xinhua)
2012-02-26
The Chinese government introduced a "green credit" guideline for commercial lenders on Friday to facilitate economic restructuring in a manner that's environmentally friendly and saves energy. The China Banking Regulatory Commission, the top banking regulator, ordered lenders to cut loans to industries with high-energy consumption and high levels of pollution or excessive capacity, and to strengthen financial support for green industries and projects. The CBRC encouraged banks to evaluate, classify and rate the environmental and social risks inherent in their clients' businesses and take the results as a key reference in their ratings and access to credit. "Through credit controls, banks can have an influence on businesses' awareness of energy savings, emissions-reductions and the benefits to the public," said Yan Yanfei, deputy director-general of the statistics department at the CBRC. He said that in the next step, the CBRC will set up some key indexes to make the guideline more specific and try to include adherence to the plan in the rating system. Lenders also need to improve management of any overseas projects that they support, to ensure that the initiators of those projects comply with local environmental, land, healthcare and security legislation, according to the guideline. [...]. ^ top ^

WB advices China to complete market-economy transition (Global Times)
2012-02-28
China should complete its transition to a market economy in order to achieve its goal of becoming a high-income society, according to a report jointly issued by the Chinese government and the World Bank. The report said China should carry out enterprise, land, labor and financial reform as part of its effort to create a new structure for economic growth. It also said China needs to strengthen its private sector, open its markets in order to foster competition and innovation, and ensure equality of opportunity to achieve its goals. Chinese policymakers should also shift from focusing only on the amount of growth to focusing on the quality of growth as well, said the report. The assessment warned of possible risks faced by China over the next 20 years, including the risk of a hard landing in the short term. It said China also faces challenges posed by an ageing and shrinking workforce, rising inequality, environmental stress, and external imbalances. "China's leaders have recognized that the country's growth model, which has been so successful for the past 30 years, will need to be changed to accommodate new challenges," said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. He said the country "has an opportunity to avoid the middle-income trap, promote inclusive growth, without further intruding on the environment, and continue its progress towards becoming a responsible stakeholder in the international economy." The report, "China 2030: Building a Modern, Harmonious, and Creative High-Income Society" was issued Monday by the World Bank and the Development Research Center of the State Council in Beijing. ^ top ^

China to cut energy consumption (China Daily)
2012-02-28
China aims to curb its energy consumption for each unit of industrial output by 21 percent during the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15), the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on Monday. The new target is an effective way to guarantee the realization of the goal of cutting energy use for each unit of growth domestic product (a ratio known as energy intensity) by 16 percent during the same period, said researchers. [...] China aims to save the equivalent of 670 million tons of standard coal during the five-year period under a plan for industrial energy conservation posted on the ministry website on Monday. The plan also calls for the closure of inefficient companies in more than 10 industries, including electrolytic aluminum, because of overcapacity, high energy consumption and pollution. ^ top ^

China's proven geological reserves of oil, gas increases significantly (People's Daily Online)
2012-02-29
In 2011, China's new proven geological reserves of oil and gas increased significantly, with the increasing rates of oil, gas and coal bed gas all exceeding 20 percent. According to the statistics of the Mineral Resources Reserves Report, China's new proven geological reserves of oil reached 1.37 billion tons, up 206 percent year-on-year. In 2011, China's new proven geological reserves of natural gas reached 765.9 billion cubic meters, up 29.6 percent year-on-year. Last year, China's new proven geological reserves of coal bed gas reached 142.1 billion cubic meters, a year-on-year growth of 27.5 percent. During the 11th Five-Year Plan, China's new proven geological reserves of oil and gas reached 5.74 billion tons, and the annual increase amounted to 1.15 billion tons. The average growth rate during the 11th Five-Year Plan is 10 percent higher than that of the 10th Five-Year Plan; and the new proven geological reserves of oil and gas during the 12th Five-Year Plan will be more than that of the 11th, says Wang Shaobo, Deputy Director of Department of Mineral Resources Reserves, Ministry of Land and Resources. ^ top ^

China targets growth of cultural industry (Xinhua)
2012-02-29
The Ministry of Culture on Tuesday released a cultural development plan that includes a goal of doubling the added value of the cultural industries under its administration by 2015. The plan specifies guiding principles, strategies, goals and policy support for the cultural industry under the Ministry of Culture during the 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015), Vice Minister of Culture Li Xiaojie said. Cultural industries under the ministry include opera houses, libraries, art galleries and art troupes. The industry is expected to see an annual growth rate of over 20 percent during the period, increasing the gross added value of the industry to between 800 and 900 billion yuan (127 to 142 billion U.S. dollars), Li said. The development plan came days after China published a detailed cultural reform outline for the 12th Five-Year Plan period. Li explained the development plan is a practical implementation of the outline issued by China's central authority earlier this month. The added value of cultural industries under the ministry amounts to nearly 400 billion yuan, almost one third of the total added value of the nation's cultural industries, said Li. [...] Local governments are encouraged to provide subsidies to low-income residents and migrant workers for consuming cultural products and services, and government institutions, schools and troupes are urged to open their facilities to the public. [...] To realize the goal included in the plan and promote the industry as a pillar industry, China should give full play to the leading role of key, large-scale cultural enterprises to form a cultural conglomerate with influence and international competitiveness, according to the development plan. [...]. ^ top ^

China's PMI rises to 51 pct in February (Xinhua)
2012-03-01
China's Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), a preliminary readout of the country's manufacturing activity, rose to 51 percent in February of 2012, the highest level since October, the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) said Thursday. The pick-up followed a 50.5-percent reading in January, 50.3 percent in December and 49 percent in November, according to the CFLP statistics. A PMI reading of 50 percent demarcates expansion from contraction. ^ top ^

Chinese migrant workers' wages up 21% last year (China Daily)
2012-03-01
The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security announced Wednesday that the average monthly salary for the country's migrant workers from rural areas reached 2,049 yuan ($325) in 2011, up 21.2 percent from the previous year. The wage increase came as the number of rural migrant workers rose 4.4 percent year-on-year to hit 252.78 million as of the end of 2011, said Vice Minister Yang Zhiming. Meanwhile, problems with employers delaying wage payments to migrant workers were curbed last year, and their skill training was further enhanced, Yang said at a national conference on rural migrant workers held Wednesday in Chengdu [...]. During the conference, attendees agreed that the country should continue its efforts to build a harmonious relationship between workers and employers by increasing the amount of signed labor contracts and helping resolve wage delays this year. They also agreed to improve living conditions for migrant workers and strive for their rights to enjoy equal education and medical services. ^ top ^

China to expand cross-border RMB businesses (China Daily)
2012-03-01
China will further boost the use of its currency in cross-border trade and investment settlements in 2012 as it gradually makes the yuan more internationally convertible, the country's central bank said Wednesday. The central bank will continue expanding the variety and scope of yuan's cross-border businesses based on serving and bolstering the real economy, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in a statement on its website. It will also closely monitor and analyze yuan, or RMB, flows to control risks in the currency's cross-border settlement, the PBOC said. Meanwhile, the central bank will step up reform of the RMB exchange mechanism and make the yuan convertible under the capital account at a steady pace. To reduce reliance on the greenback, China has exerted enormous efforts to make the yuan more international over the past few years. It allowed Hong Kong to establish an offshore yuan market and has signed 1.3-trillion-yuan currency swap contracts with 14 countries and regions to allow the currency to circulate outside the mainland. [...] According to earlier data released by the central bank, China's overall cross-border trade settlement in yuan under the current account hit 2.58 trillion yuan (409 billion US dollars) by the end of 2011 since the scheme was launched. The trade settlement in yuan last year increased 3.1 times from a year earlier. [...] China has also approved foreign direct investment in RMB obtained overseas. In 2011, it gave the green light to investing overseas RMB gained by qualified institutional investors in mainland securities markets. [...]. ^ top ^

Apple, Proview urged to strike deal (SCMP)
2012-03-01
US computer giant Apple has been told to consider a private settlement with Proview Technology (Shenzhen), the bankrupt computer display maker, before the Guangdong Higher People's Court hands down a final ruling on their dispute over the iPad trademark on the mainland. The court heard an appeal yesterday launched by Apple against Proview. Its verdict will be used as a guideline for lower level local courts. At the end of yesterday's hearing the judge asked Proview Technology and Apple to consider settling out of court. [...] Last Thursday the Shanghai Pudong New Area People's Court rejected Proview Technology's request to order a halt to iPad sales in Shanghai, saying that it wanted to see the outcome of the appeal in Guangdong. Apple's reprieve in Shanghai averted what could have been an embarrassing suspension of iPad sales in the US firm's own stores. However, a court in Huizhou, Guangdong, has sided with debt-laden Proview Technology by granting an injunction against a local reseller, and authorities in at least four cities have considered pulling iPads from shelves in response to a Shenzhen judgment in November that ruled that mainland rights to the brand belonged to Proview. [...] Apple's legal battle over the iPad trademark has also reached the United States, with Proview Electronics, the Taiwanese unit of Proview International, suing the iPhone maker in the Superior Court of California in Santa Clara county on February 17. [...]. ^ top ^

China to change foreign trade growth pattern (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
A guideline to accelerate the transformation of the country's foreign trade growth pattern was jointly issued on Thursday by 10 Chinese government agencies. The country aims to balance its foreign trade by increasing imports and optimizing the mix of its import tariffs, according to the publication on the Ministry of Commerce website. The guideline said favorable tariff policies will be implemented to boost imports of advanced technology, equipment and components, energy and raw materials as well as people's daily necessities. The government will encourage domestic firms to "go overseas" and secure stable supplies of energy and resources abroad, it said. The country is also keen to assume greater pricing power in the global commodities market and better its reserve system of strategic resources. The guideline urged more efforts to increase the share of developing countries in China's foreign trade and push forward the strategy of introducing free-trade areas. It said the government will help export firms to improve quality, build their own brands and move up the technology and value-added scale so that they can foster global competitiveness. Under the guideline, China will further reform the yuan's exchange rate formation mechanism to make the currency more flexible. It also vows to promote the use of the yuan in cross-border trade settlement and investment. [...]. ^ top ^

China to boost local gov't debt clean-up (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
China will boost the clean-up of thousands of millions of local government's debt in 2012, so to guard against possible defaults that would hurt its banks, the country's banking regulator said Thursday. The country will focus on cleaning up old loans made to local government financing vehicles (LGFV) while tightening new debt issues and raising cash to debt coverage ratios, China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) said on its website. The CBRC will strictly control the use of LGFV loans, while giving priority to key projects that are under construction, it said. The regulator will also improve risk monitoring and reclassify LGFV loans to relieve pressure from banks. Local government debts had risen to 10.72 trillion yuan (1.7 trillion U.S. dollars) by the end of 2010, accounting for about 26.9 percent of China's gross domestic product, according to data released by the National Audit Office. Analysts fret that if a certain proportion of the loans have gone sour, it will push up non-performing loan ratios in the banking industry and threaten banks' credit ratings. Local governments typically invested the money they borrowed in building infrastructure. They also faced huge repayment pressure in 2011 and now also in 2012. China's banks had 9.1 trillion yuan of outstanding loans issued to LGFV as of Sept. 30, 2011, the Shanghai Securities News reported last month, saying at least 65 percent of these loans were fully covered by cash flows. [...]. ^ top ^

China 2011 online payment surpasses 780 bln yuan (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
China's e-commerce continues its rapidly expansion as online sales turnover in 2011 surpassed 780 billion yuan (124 billion U.S. dollars), a year-on-year increase of 66 percent, according to a report released Thursday. The report shows that e-business has supported the country's social development through reducing production costs, increasing employment opportunities and accelerating industrial transformation. The report was jointly published by the International Data Corporation (IDC), a global provider of business intelligence for the consumer technology market, and Hangzhou-based Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group. Taobao, China's largest online trade platform, created more than 2.7 million jobs in 2011, the report illustrated. Online turnover now accounts for 3 percent of the country's total retail sales. It is estimated that the ratio will increased to 7 percent in 2015 as China's e-commerce continues to develop, according to the report. ^ top ^

China's aviation to take 'gutter oil' as biofuel (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-02
On Feb. 28, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) began reviewing the airworthiness of the No.1 Aviation Biofuel which is China's first independently developed aviation biofuel product. The biofuel product is developed by Sinopec, the country's top oil refiner. Sinopec began laboratory research on the No.1 Aviation Biofuel in 2009, and transformed its Hangzhou Refinery into a plant with an actual annual output of 6,000 tons after key breakthroughs achieved in the research project in 2011. The plant has been in smooth operation, and produced about 70 tons of aviation biofuel since its operation on Dec. 12, 2011. [...] The CAAC will grant Sinopec the approval to use the biofuel in commercial civil aviation, after it is proven safe for aircraft. The No.1 Aviation Biofuel is made from a variety of animal fat and vegetable oil and oils with Sinopec's unique hydrogenation technology, catalyst system, and production procedures. Currently, the company is actively seeking new raw materials to produce aviation biofuel, including waste cooking oil and seaweeds. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK says it's prepared for dialogue, war (Xinhua)
2012-02-28
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) says it is fully ready for dialogue and war with South Korea and the United States, the official news agency KCNA reported Monday. A foreign ministry spokesman made the remarks in a statement to criticize the ongoing U.S.-South Korea joint military drills, which the statement said have escalated tensions on the Korean Peninsula, according to the KCNA. The Key Resolve exercise began Monday and will continue until March 9. The maneuvers involve about 200,000 South Korean and 2,100 U.S. troops. [...] In addition, the Foal Eagle drill is scheduled from March 1 to April 30. The exercise will include about 11,000 U.S. forces plus South Korean troops in division-sized or smaller units, officials said. The U.S. attempts not only to stifle the DPRK but also to put its neighboring countries under military siege and contain them to realize its ambition of world domination, the spokesman said. War has never been notified in advance, he said, adding the DPRK has long kept in anticipation of the situation as now. It would be a mistake if one tries to rattle or test the DPRK by force, the spokesman stressed. The DPRK National Defense Commission said Saturday that the DPRK army and people will foil the enemies' moves with a war of their own style that will sweep them away with "strong striking means unknown to the world.". ^ top ^

S. Korea's opposition leader urges dialogue with DPRK (Xinhua)
2012-02-29
South Korea's opposition leader on Tuesday called for engagement with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), as the two Koreas remain at odds over fatal border clashes. "The Lee Myung-bak administration's North Korea (DPRK) policy, which basically means sitting back and waiting for changes in inter-Korean relations, has failed," chairwoman of the main opposition Democratic United Party, Han Myeong-sook, said at a forum in Seoul. "(The government) should engage in dialogue with North Korea's new leader," she added in reference to Kim Jong Un, who took control of the DPRK after his father Kim Jong Il's death last year. The Democratic United Party, once it wins key elections this year, will lift up anti-Pyongyang sanctions that suspended cross- border exchanges and normalize inter-Korean relations, Han said. Lee imposed a set of punitive sanctions on the DPRK in 2010 following its alleged torpedo attack on a South Korean warship that killed 46 sailors, despite Pyongyang's repeated denial of its involvement. [...] In a sign of softening stance toward Pyongyang, Lee have in recent months repeatedly called for inter-Korean dialogue, while Pyongyang has vowed never to "deal with" the South Korean leader it labels a "traitor". ^ top ^

China firm on NK defectors (Global Times)
2012-03-01
China yesterday reiterated its stance on North Korean nationals entering the country illegally and urged relevant parties not to politicize the issue. "Depicting those North Koreans who entered China illegally as political refugees is totally wrong," said foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei. "They entered China illegally for economic reasons. There are not enough grounds to define them as refugees. We oppose any attempts to politicize and internationalize the matter. We urge relevant parties not to hype the issue," Hong said. The spokesman was responding to questions that the US and the EU are planning to bring the issue to the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC). Starting today, seven South Korean lawmakers from the ruling Saenuri Party will take turns protesting in front of the Chinese embassy in Seoul in support of another legislator on a hunger strike that has lasted for nearly 10 days against Beijing's alleged repatriation of North Korean defectors, the Yonhap News Agency reported. [...] Zhang Liangui, an expert on North Korean issues at the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC, told the Global Times that South Korean attention to the issue comes from a feeling of brotherhood toward North Korea, adding pressure on their government. "China and South Korea have been handling the issue well through dialogue, and the two countries can continue to do so in the future," Zhang said. [...]. ^ top ^

DPRK official to visit American university next week: U.S. official (Xinhua)
2012-03-02
A U.S. government official confirmed on Thursday that a senior official from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will visit an American university for an "unofficial discussion" next week. At a regular briefing, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said that Ri Yong-ho, DPRK's vice foreign minister and envoy for the six-party talks, will visit the Syracuse University at upstate New York next week. She told reporters that the visit, scheduled from next Wednesday to next Friday, is at the invitation of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University for an "unofficial track-two discussion" being sponsored there.

Nuland added that currently there are no plans for official U.S. government meetings with the DPRK official. The upcoming visit came after the DPRK said on Wednesday that it would suspend nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and uranium enrichment activity as agreed with the United States in bilateral talks in Beijing last week. In addition, the DPRK agreed to the return of UN inspectors to "verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Nyongbyon and confirm the disablement of the 5-MW reactor and associated facilities." In return, Washington agreed to meet the DPRK to finalize the details to move forward with proposed 240,000 metric tons of American nutritional assistance. [...]. ^ top ^

China hails progress in DPRK-U.S. talks (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-02
China welcomes the progress made during the latest round of high-level talks between the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), during which the latter said it would suspend nuclear activities, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday. "We encourage the DRPK and United States to improve their ties and make their respective contributions to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a written statement. Hong said China appreciates the reaffirmation made by the DPRK and United States of the promises they made in their Sept. 19, 2005 joint statement. The DPRK promised to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in the statement. China will make joint efforts with concerned parties to promote the resumption of the six-party talks and play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability on the peninsula and in northeast Asia as a whole, Hong said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Laos top official visits Mongolia (News.mn)
2012-02-28
Pany Yathotu, the President of the National Assembly of Lao People"s Democratic Republic visits in Mongolia. On Monday, February 27, 2012 Mrs Pany Yathotu and officials offered flowers to D.Sukhbaatar`s statue and paid respect to Chinggis Khaan monument. Speaker D.Demberel invited officially the President of the National Assembly of Laos to Mongolia. During official meeting Speaker D.Demberel stated that It is truly grateful that she accepted the invitation and came to Mongolia in particular time moving into dragon year. Speaker appreciated this visit comes before the 50 years of anniversary of diplomat relations between two countries. Mrs Pany Yathotu said that she has been in Mongolia for the first time. She noted that she hopes this visit is significant contribution to strengthen bilateral good relations and enlarge cooperation between two countries parliaments. Laos senior officials today visits Chinggis Khaan monument in Tsonjin Boldog before seeing “Govi” industry. Mrs Pany Yathotu is supposed to meet Minister for Environment and Tourism today. Mrs Pany Yathotu`s official visit will last tomorrow. ^ top ^

Mongolia's two main political parties have unveiled their long-term development programmes (News.mn)
2012-02-29
As the 2012 Parliamentary elections draw closer, Mongolia's two main political parties have unveiled their long-term development programmes for Mongolia. On 2 February, the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) outlined its People's Development Programme - a comprehensive plan to address Mongolia's socio-economic development for the next 20 years. According to the MPP's website, it ambitiously aims to lift GDP per capita to USD $16,600 in 2016 and to USD $60,000 in 2031, which would place Mongolia among the world's top 10 competitive countries. February also saw the rival Democratic Party wind up a year-long nationwide forum and online discussion on its Mongolian People 2020 Programme. The programme positions human development at the centre of national development policies and designates five key focus areas: Human freedom, health, education, income and human security. ^ top ^

By end of June the new “Smart ID” will be distributed (News.mn)
2012-02-29
First portion of new smart ID will be ready for April said yesterday, February, 2012 officials. According to L.Amarsanaa, acting Head of the State General Registration Office (SGRO) the new cards, which can store data and personal information, will improve registration services in all sectors. Officials say the new ID cards actually have more privacy protection than the current ID card. The new cards will contain information about migration, voting, military service, and tax payments. The new ID cards can also be used for state services such as social welfare, health and other insurances, and education. Last portion of new ID will printed out by June 11, just before the parliamentary election which scheduled end of June. The new ID is printing in Finland. ^ top ^

Government announces low percent of apartment loan (News.mn)
2012-03-01
Before the Lunar New Year, which Mongolians celebrated February 22-24, Government announced it's decision to reduce apartment loan to 0.6 percent per year. Commercial bank's issuing apartment loan with 1.0-1.2 percent a month. Citizens welcomed government's decision but same time worrying apartment price may increase. Ts.Dashdorj, Minister of Transport and City planning said yesterday, February 29, 2012 government will do best apartment price not going up. “Government planning to built apartment in certain place which can sold by low percent of loan. Some places have to release from land owners, discussion under way. Also government going to sign agreement with construction companies. Those efforts can keep apartment price in suitable” said Ts.Dashdorj. By the rule people who has medium and low income can apply for 0.6 percent apartment loan. One important point is people who never get apartment have to apply to this loan. Government officials calculated and family who has average 800.000 MNT ($550-570) income can receive the loan. ^ top ^

Mongolia to tap wind power (News.mn)
2012-03-01
Construction on Mongolia"s first wind farm is to start next month. The $100 million Salkhit -- "windy mountain" -- project, 40 miles southeast of Ulan Bator, Mongolia"s capital city, is expected to generate nearly 5 percent of Mongolia"s current electricity demands." Scheduled to be fully commissioned by the end of the year, Salkhit will be the third-largest power plant in the country and produce about 168.5 million kilowatt hours of electricity, while avoiding 185,500 tons of carbon emissions, said developer Mongolian investment firm Newcom Group. Under an agreement signed last November with Newcom, GE will supply 1.6 megawatt wind turbines for the project. About the size of Alaska, Mongolia has a vast untapped potential for wind energy, via its sparsely populated plains and wind corridor along the Gobi desert. It now has about 800 megawatts of installed wind power capacity. Data from the National Renewable Energy Center of Mongolia indicate the country has enough good-to-excellent wind resources to produce more than 2,550 terawatt hours per year. That estimate increases to more than 8,123 terawatt hours annually when moderate-level wind resources and rural power capabilities are included. The South Gobi region is estimated to have more than 300,000 megawatts of wind power potential. One of the fastest-growing economies in the world, fueled by exploration of its rich natural resources such as coal and copper, Mongolia"s electricity demand is expected to double in 15 years. "People always explain to me that 80 percent of our territory is covered with coal. Well, yes, but 100 percent is covered with wind," Newcom Chief Executive Officer Bayanjargal Byambasaikhan told The New York Times. Because it is Mongolia"s first major wind power project, he said Salkhit experienced some delays while new legal and regulatory frameworks were developed and it has cost nearly 40 percent more than a comparable project in the United States. "The rest of the energy sector is all state-owned. We are essentially breaking a monopoly," Byambasaikhan said, adding that he is confident the facility will run smoothly and he aims to boost wind capacity in the country 20 times by 2025. GE has said that its participation in Salkhit underscores the company"s "commitment to grow in one of the most challenging yet fastest-growing emerging regions." Last May, GE opened a representative office in Ulaanbaatar. In 2010 GE and Newcom signed an agreement to explore alliances in key areas such as energy, water, mining, aviation, railway, lighting and healthcare. ^ 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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