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
  3-9.3.12, No. 413  
Startseite / Homepage   Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Chinese FM meets with S.Korean counterpart on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2012-03-03
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Friday held talks with his South Korean counterpart Kim Sung-hwan and the two leaders vowed to further promote bilateral ties. Yang, who was visiting Seoul for annual regular inter- ministerial consultations, said the two countries have seen the all-round progress in their bilateral relations since he establishment of diplomatic ties 20 years ago, citing frequent high-level exchanges, enhanced political trust and cooperation in various fields. China has always attached great importance to development of China-South Korea relations, Yang said, adding that Beijing is willing to join hands with Seoul to maintain the growth momentum in economic, trade, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. The two countries also should strengthen communication and coordination in regional multilateral affairs, so as to expand common interests to more fields and continuously raise the level of the strategic cooperative partnership between the two sides, the Chinese minister said. [...] With regard to illegal border crossers from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the Chinese minister said that China has been handling relevant cases in accordance with domestic laws, international law and humanitarian principles, and he expressed the hope that South Korea could take seriously China's principled position and concerns. [...]. ^ top ^

Spending on military to see 11.2% rise in 2012 (Global Times)
2012-03-05
The nation will increase its defense spending by 11.2 percent this year, spokesman for the annual session of China's national legislature Li Zhaoxing said Sunday, unveiling Beijing's first defense budget plan since the US launched its "pivot" toward East Asia. China's defense spending will hit 670.2 billion yuan ($106.4 billion) in 2012, an increase of about 67 billion yuan from 2011, Li told reporters, stressing that Beijing is committed to the path of peaceful development and follows a national defense policy that is defensive in nature. "The share of defense spending in China's GDP dropped from 1.33 percent in 2008 to 1.28 percent in 2011, and that in China's fiscal expenditure dropped from 6.68 percent in 2008 to 5.53 percent in 2011," Li said. Compared to other major countries, China's military spending is low given its population of 1.3 billion, vast land area and long coastlines, he added. According to the World Bank, US military spending amounted to 4.8 percent of its economy in 2010. US President Barack Obama's proposed budget for the fiscal year of 2013 calls for a Pentagon base budget of $525.4 billion, about $5.1 billion less than that approved for 2012. [...] In July, Chief of General Staff of the PLA Chen Bingde confirmed the existence of the so-called "carrier killer" program, the Anti-Ship Ballistic Missile system, which could pose a threat to US naval forces. China's military modernization should be kept in perspective, Michael Beckley, a research fellow at Harvard University's Belfer Center, who has studied the strength of China and the US, told Reuters. Meanwhile, the increased defense budget triggered heated debate on whether China, a developing country, should continue its huge military spending. Some Internet users argued that the country should direct more assets into education, public healthcare and combating poverty. [...]. ^ top ^

Armed forces to obey CPC commands: senior military officials (Xinhua)
2012-03-06
The armed forces will unswervingly serve the overall situation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the country to carry out military tasks well, senior officials said Monday. "This year is of significance in the development course of the CPC and the country, and it's a critical year for military building and the preparation of military tasks," said Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC). The armed forces will push forward comprehensive modernization process in an effort to expand and deepen the preparations for military struggle and accomplish well the tasks entrusted by the Party and the people, Guo said. Guo made the remarks at a panel discussion of national legislators from the People's Liberation Army about the government work report delivered Monday by Premier Wen Jiabao at the annual session of China's top legislature. [...] Premier Wen said in his report that China will enhance the armed forces' capability to accomplish a wide range of military tasks, with the Communist Party of China (CPC) having absolute leadership. "The most important thing is to win local wars under the conditions of the information age," said Wen, referring to the armed forces' capability. ^ top ^

China to uphold peace, facilitate cooperation, boost development: FM says (Xinhua)
2012-03-07
The priorities of China's diplomacy this year are to uphold peace and tackle thorny regional and international issues through dialogues, consultation and negotiation responsibly, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Tuesday. China would further consolidate the friendly cooperation with other countries, and regional and international organizations to expand common interests and jointly tackle global challenges, so as to maintain world peace and boost development, Yang told reporters at a press conference during the nation's annual parliamentary session. China's diplomatic work aims to create a more favorable external environment this year by properly tackling external risks and challenges to serve the country's primary goal of transforming economic development mode in a fast pace. "China will continue to conduct diplomacy from all dimensions and in a wide range and make further innovations in theories and practices so as to make positive contributions to the opening of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China and the full implementation of the 12th Five-Year Plan," the foreign minister said. [...] "The trend of peace and development is gathering momentum while the world is closely interdependent, but the impacts of international financial crisis are still with us. The global economy is recovering slowly. The challenges from climate change, energy and food security remain prominent. All these issues will leave major impacts to the global situations and China's diplomacy in the time to come," he said. [...] "Over the past decade, China has become an active participant making constructive contributions in dealing with regional and international challenges, especially the hot-spot issues, and an import engine to drive global economic growth," Yang said. ^ top ^

China urgently summons Congo's representative in Beijing over blast (Global Times)
2012-03-06
Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng on Monday urgently summoned Felix Ngoma, charge d'affaires of the Republic of Congo's embassy in China, after Chinese nationals were killed and injured in an arsenal blast in the country's capital, according to China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The blast occurred at 8 am on Sunday, local time, in Brazzaville. Xie called for the Republic of Congo to take all necessary measures to rescue and treat the injured Chinese. The Chinese government attaches great importance to safeguarding its overseas citizens, the vice foreign minister said. Xie said a Chinese working group will soon reach the Republic of Congo. [...] Ngoma gave his thanks for China's sympathy and solicitude. "The Republic of Congo feels sorry about the Chinese fatalities and injuries due to the blast," Ngoma said. The country's president Denis Sassou Nguesso has visited the injured Chinese for the first time. The Republic of Congo attaches great importance to China's concern and request, Ngoma said. He promised to fully cooperate with the Chinese side on the work of medical treatment and post-blast management and take positive measures to strengthen the safety protection of the Chinese personnel in the country. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese president holds telephone talks with Putin on ties, major int'l issues (Xinhua)
2012-03-07
Chinese President Hu Jintao held telephone talks Tuesday with Russian president-elect Vladimir Putin on bilateral ties and major international and regional issues. Extending his congratulations on Putin's victory in the presidential election, Hu voiced confidence that Putin's new presidential term would see faster progress in building a stronger and richer nation as well as greater achievements in promoting national rejuvenation. [...] China has, as always, identified its ties with Russia as one of its diplomatic priorities, and stands ready to work with Russia to boost practical cooperation and strategic coordination in a bid to continuously lift the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination to higher levels, the Chinese president said. Putin said China is a good neighbor and good friend to Russia and the bilateral ties have been built on the solid foundation of their fundamental interests. [...] The Russian government and people attach great importance to the ties with China and are willing to make concerted efforts to boost practical cooperation in areas such as the economy and trade, science and technology, energy and the aerospace industry, and facilitate people-to-people exchanges, he said. Against the backdrop of the volatile international situation, the China-Russia cooperation is playing an important role in safeguarding world peace and stability, Putin said. ^ top ^

China, India hold border talks, pledge to safeguard peace (Xinhua)
2012-03-07
China and India concluded a border meeting in Beijing on Tuesday with a joint pledge to safeguard peace and tranquility along their border, according to a Chinese Foreign Ministry statement released Tuesday. This was the first meeting on the bilateral working mechanism for consultation and coordination over border affairs, which was launched in January this year. In a "constructive" and "pragmatic" atmosphere, both sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the situation in the border region, as well as ways to maintain peace and stability and enhance bilateral exchanges there, said the statement. "The two-day meeting yielded positive progress," according to the statement. Both sides agreed to further enhance communication, trust and cooperation in accordance with the consensus reached by the two countries' leaders, and to give full play to the role of the working mechanism, said the statement. They agreed to hold the next meeting for the working mechanism in India. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying met with the Indian delegation during the meeting, according to the statement. [...]. ^ top ^

China urges all Syrian parties to halt violence, embark on dialogue (Xinhua)
2012-03-08
China's envoy to Syria Li Huaxin has, during his two-day visit, met with officials from the Syrian Foreign Ministry and the country's opposition figures, exchanging views on the current Syrian situation as well as ways to figure out a solution for the ongoing political crisis. During his stay, Li said that China adheres to an objective and fair stance, and upholds a responsible attitude regarding the Syrian issue. The Chinese side hopes that the Syrian issue could be settled in a peaceful way through political dialogues, Li noted, adding that Beijing is willing to keep close contact and coordination with the Syrian government, the various opposition organizations in Syria, as well as other Arab countries and the Arab League (AL), so as to play a positive and constructive role in solving the crisis, together with the efforts of the international community. Following a meeting with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al- Moallem on Wednesday, Li told reporters that he has conveyed a written letter to Moallem from his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi on the current Syrian developments. [...] For their part, Moallem and Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmed Arnous said during Li's visit that they appreciate and are grateful to China's efforts in bringing about an peaceful end to the prolonged Syrian crisis. They also voiced their country's readiness to cooperate with the United Nations in the humanitarian domain as long as Syria's sovereignty and independence are respected. They also expressed Damascus' will to start dialogues with the opposition as a prelude to form a new Syrian government. The Syrian opposition parties, which also welcomed the Chinese plan and expressed appreciation of China's efforts towards the Syrian crisis, reiterated their rejection to any foreign interference in Syria's internal affairs, and called for the need to stop all violent acts. The opposition parties meanwhile expressed hope that China will play a better role in finding out a solution to the Syrian crisis. The Chinese envoy has met representatives of some opposition organizations in Syria, including the National Coordination Body, the Current for Building the Syrian State, and the Party of Popular Will and Change. [...]. ^ top ^

Most people working for Chinese projects in Syria back home: commerce minister (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-08
Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said Wednesday that most people working for Chinese projects in Syria have already evacuated from the violence-torn country. Some 100 are staying there to look after their money, equipment, and projects, Chen said. "We will come back to those projects when the situation there is stable and favorable for peaceful development," Chen said. The Chinese embassy and companies have cut the number of their personnel since Syria has been gripped with domestic violence since last March. ^ top ^

China asks Libya to compensate for companies' losses (Xinhua)
2012-03-08
Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said Wednesday China has requested Libya to compensate Chinese firms that suffered losses during the country's civil war. Speaking at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session, Chen said that according to international law and practise, China requires the Libyan authorities to properly handle the issue of Chinese firms' heavy losses in Libya's civil war and give compensation to these firms. Chen added that China has no investment in Libya, but only construction projects, particularly the civil housing projects worth more than 10 billion U.S. dollars. These projects, already completed or close to completion, were under artillery attack and suffered heavy losses during the war. Chen said according to an evaluation by a group including officials from the ministry and some entrepreneurs that had been sent to Libya recently, Chinese firms cannot go back to the country at the moment for security reasons. He promised to return to the projects if the security situation meet requirements. [...]. ^ top ^

China to conduct fifth Arctic expedition in 2012 (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-08
China will implement the fifth North Pole expedition plan and complete the construction of the Antarctic Kunlun Station this year, said Lv Bin, deputy to the National People's Congress and secretary of the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the State Oceanic Administration. Meanwhile, the marine sector will make feasibility study and bidding of icebreakers for the new polar expedition this year. It will also order aircrafts and make the trusteeship, said Lv Bin. At present, China's 28th Antarctic expedition team is implementing the Antarctic research mission. They have finished the field work and are on the way back. China has begun to organize its 29th Antarctic expedition team. Lv also said that China mulls to make North Pole expedition and study with arctic countries such as Iceland and Canada through strengthening international cooperation in the polar area and advance the substantive fulfillment of bilateral cooperation agreements in the polar area. ^ top ^

China to conduct fifth Arctic expedition in 2012 (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-08
China will implement the fifth North Pole expedition plan and complete the construction of the Antarctic Kunlun Station this year, said Lv Bin, deputy to the National People's Congress and secretary of the Commission for Discipline Inspection of the State Oceanic Administration. Meanwhile, the marine sector will make feasibility study and bidding of icebreakers for the new polar expedition this year. It will also order aircrafts and make the trusteeship, said Lv Bin. At present, China's 28th Antarctic expedition team is implementing the Antarctic research mission. They have finished the field work and are on the way back. China has begun to organize its 29th Antarctic expedition team. Lv also said that China mulls to make North Pole expedition and study with arctic countries such as Iceland and Canada through strengthening international cooperation in the polar area and advance the substantive fulfillment of bilateral cooperation agreements in the polar area. ^ top ^

China issues plan to fine-tune island exploration (China Daily)
2012-03-09
The Chinese government has issued a national plan aiming to strengthen protection and rationalize exploration of its island resources. Authorized by the State Council, or the cabinet, the plan noted that the island economy has made increasing contributions to the country, but that its sustainable development has been impeded because of disorderly exploration. Considered a "guideline" document for island exploration, the plan aims to strengthen protection of sea islands' eco-systems, gradually standardize exploration and improve the habitation environment by 2020. A system has been established for investigating and appraising eco-systems and resources on the islands, among 10 major projects set in the plan. According to the plan, the State Oceanic Administration, or the country's maritime authority, will strengthen registration and authorization management for the use of unpopulated islands, and suspend or shut down p1rojects failing to comply with the plan. ^ top ^

China supports sustained dialogue between major countries and Iran (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-09
China hopes to see the six major countries (P5+1) that used to engage in Iran nuclear talks start "sustained dialogues" at an early date, said the Chinese envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). "Thanks to the joint efforts of the parties concerned, the process of dialogue and negotiation on the Iranian nuclear issue is showing positive momentum," said Cheng Jingye [...]. "The P5+1 and Iran have both expressed readiness and begun preparations for serious dialogue. This is significant for moving toward a diplomatic solution of the Iranian nuclear issue," Cheng said while addressing a quarterly board meeting of the IAEA. He also said, "We hope to see the P5+1 and Iran start a process of sustained dialogue at an early date, build up mutual trust based on the principle of step by step and reciprocity and search for a comprehensive and long-term proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue." The P5+1 countries, namely the United States, China, Russia, France, Germany and Britain, released a joint statement Thursday during the IAEA meeting. The statement stressed the need and urgency to reach agreement over Iran' s nuclear issue on a structured approach, "to resolve all outstanding issues." The European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton announced Tuesday that the six countries have accepted an Iranian offer to revive negotiations after months of stalemate. ^ top ^

China supports further investigation into NATO airstrike in Libya (People's Daily Online)
2012-03-09
China said here Wednesday that the UN Security Council should draw lessons from the handling of the Libyan issue, calling for further investigation on the airstrike by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Libya last year. Wang Min, deputy permanent representative of China to the United Nations, made the remarks at a Security Council meeting on Libya. Wang said the Libyan conflict led to the massive return of people to their homeland and proliferation of weapons, which has affected the economic and social development of Libya's neighboring countries. "This impact might persist for some time. Therefore we believe that the Security Council should draw lessons from the handling of the Libyan issue," he said. He added that China welcomes Libya's decision to hold a regional conference on proliferation of weapons soon. On the recent report of the UN-mandated commission of inquiry that probed human rights abuses in Libya, Wang said the report stated explicitly that the airstrike by NATO in Libya indeed caused civilian casualties. Some of the targets of airstrike are not military facilities. The commission also suggests that further investigation have to be conducted. This finding is also in line with some of the media coverage, said Wang. China would like to express its serious concern about this, Wang said. "This has a bearing on the accurate implementation of the mandate of the Security Council resolutions. It has a bearing on the authority and seriousness of the resolutions of the Security Council," he said. "Therefore, the Security Council has the necessity to understand the whole situation. China supports the efforts of the Security Council to...carry out further investigation of this case," Wang said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Human rights added to draft law (China Daily)
2012-03-05
A draft amendment to the nation's criminal procedural law, which came under fire for permitting detention without informing family in some cases, has added the principle of protecting human rights to its general provisions, a spokesman said. The draft amendment to the Criminal Procedural Law, which will be submitted for legislators' review during their annual plenary session, now includes a section on respecting and protecting human rights in the second article of its general provisions, which comprise the framework for the entire law, Li Zhaoxing, spokesman for the Fifth Plenary Session of the 11th National People's Congress, told a news conference on Sunday. [...] The Criminal Procedural Law, also known as the "mini-constitution", was introduced in 1979 and last amended in 1996. The law as it stands does not include the protection of human rights as an essential guideline, but "focuses more on cracking down on crimes and somehow has neglected procedural justice", said Chen Guangzhong, an expert on criminal procedure. [...] The draft bill, which was reviewed twice by the National People's Congress Standing Committee in August and December, drew broad criticism for partially permitting "secret detention". In the latest version, however, the draft limits the circumstances under which police can detain suspects without informing their families, said Li. [...] "Reliance on self-incrimination can lead to torture during interrogation and even forced confessions," said Tian Wenchang, director of the criminal law committee of All China Lawyers Association. Experts said the proposal is likely to be put to a vote upon the closure of the session, as China's Legislation Law stipulates that draft laws can be submitted for a vote after three reviews. ^ top ^

More spending in people's livelihood in China's proposed budget report (Xinhua)
2012-02-06
China's draft central and local budgets for 2012, submitted for reading at the parliamentary session Monday, caught eyes for increasing government spending on livelihood programs. In the central budget, double-digit growth rates are seen in main expenditure items of importance to people's life, such as education, medical care, social security and employment, housing, culture service and agriculture. According to the report, expenditure budget to education totals 378.13 billion yuan (60.02 billion U.S. dollars), an increase of 16.4 percent over the actual expenditure in 2011. The figure for medical and health care is 203.51 billion yuan, up 16.4 percent while that for social security and employment is 575.07 billion yuan, a rise of 21.9 percent. About 211.76 billion yuan will go to guaranteeing adequate housing, an increase of 23.1 percent. "An analysis of the above expenditures shows that in 2012 the central government will spend a total of 1.3848 trillion yuan, an increase of 19.8 percent, in areas that directly affect people's lives," the report said. In terms of local budgets, the expenditure items such as education, medical care, social security and housing also see notable growth, varing from 14.2 percent to 18.4 percent. [...] The tasks refer to ensuring the education spending to reach 4 percent of GDP, expanding social security system, pushing medical reform, building more than 7 million units of government-subsidized housing, and improving cultural service and rural prosperity. [...]. ^ top ^

Income gap needs attention, deputy says (China Daily)
2012-03-06
Bo Xilai, a deputy of the 11th National People's Congress and Party chief of Chongqing, called on Monday for urgent attention to the widening income gap in the country. Attending the group discussion of the Chongqing delegation for the Fifth Session of the 11th NPC, Bo said that addressing the growing income gap struck him most among the factors listed in the government work report delivered by Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday morning. [...] Bo, one of the 25 members of politburo, cited National Bureau of Statistics data showing that the Gini coefficient, a gauge of income disparity, rose from 0.317 in 1979 to 0.47 in 2010 - the internationally accepted threshold is 0.4 - indicating income inequality could threaten social stability. [...] "Income distribution is a highlight in Premier Wen Jiabao's work report and is crucial to solving related social problems," Bo told his delegation. Bo said enlarging the income gap will not only affect consumption growth, but also threaten social stability and development. China has been working hard to increase the income of low-income people. [...] Wen said in his report that China will continue to reform the income distribution system, in part by raising the proportion of individual income in national income. [...] The Southwest city Chongqing, which has seen its gross domestic product double in the past five years, has taken measures to reform the income distribution system in the past few years. It stands apart from some other Chinese cities or provinces that are overwhelmed in pursuit of economic growth. Bo said the experience of Chongqing means that rapid economic growth and equal income distribution did not contradict each other. ^ top ^

Strengthen innovative social administration: Wen (China Daily)
2012-03-06
China will strengthen and make innovation in social administration to resolve various social conflicts that come along with the nation's fast economic development, Premier Wen Jiabao said in his government work report on Monday. "We will work hard to resolve social conflicts, make innovations in social administration, and enforce the law impartially with integrity," Wen said at the annual session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC). Social administration involves a wide spectrum of people's daily lives that test the government's ruling capability. "We will strengthen government functions for conducting social administration and providing public services," said the premier. Wen said the government will strengthen the self-governing capacities of community-level organizations. [...] Wen also said the government will "strengthen and improve management of the Internet and foster a healthy cyberspace environment." At the end of 2011, several Chinese metropolises like Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen initiated a real-name registration rule for the country's microblog operators, demanding users to register in real names. The move is considered by many to tighten supervision over the Internet to purify the online environment and enhance social credibility. ^ top ^

China falls short in slashing energy use (China Daily)
2012-03-06
China failed to attain its planned targets for slashing energy consumption and carbon emissions in 2011, highlighting the urgency of stepping up the country's economic structural shift, the head of the top economic planning agency said on Monday. The country missed about half of its major targets for energy conservation and environmental protection in 2011, Zhang Ping, minister of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), told journalists on the opening day of the Fifth Session of the 11th National People's Congress. "There are a couple of complicated reasons for failing to meet the targets. The biggest is that we have not transformed the economic development model," he said. Energy consumption for each unit of GDP growth for the year dropped 2.01 percent in 2011, about 1.2 percentage points lower than the planned target, while its carbon intensity - the amount of carbon emitted for each unit of economic growth - also missed the target due to its close linkage to energy consumption. "The drought in southern areas is a major cause," Zhang said. China's hydro-electric energy generation decreased sharply owing to the shortage of rainfall, greatly increasing the use of coal. [...] Zhang said the government is determined to make more efforts, and he said he is confident that the major targets set in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) could be achieved, he said. From 2011 to 2015, China plans to slash its energy intensity by 16 percent and carbon emission intensity by 17 percent, compared with 2010. Some local governments haven't fully realized the significance of energy saving, which has partly caused the failure to meet the target, said Xie Ji, deputy director of environmental protection and resources of NDRC. [...]. ^ top ^

China develops nuclear energy under safe precondition: deputy envoy to IAEA (Xinhua)
2012-03-07
China develops nuclear energy under a safe precondition, Chinese deputy envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Huang Wei said here Tuesday. Addressing to the IAEA board of governors meeting which reviewed the development of nuclear technology last year, he said after the Fukushima nuclear accident, the Chinese government had taken a series of measures to enhance nuclear safety and strengthen the work of nuclear energy and nuclear safety management organs. After taking into consideration the role of nuclear energy in energy security, climate change and economic growth, the Chinese government adopted the policy of "developing nuclear energy high-efficiently under a safe precondition," he said. He said China now has 15 nuclear units in operation and 26 units in construction. Preliminary results released after comprehensive examinations ended last August showed the safety of these units were guaranteed. [...] To this end, last October, China Atomic Energy Authority (CAEA) and the IAEA signed a practical arrangement concerning the safety construction of nuclear power plants, according to Huang. He also said that, learning a lesson from the Fukushima nuclear accident, China started a research project of safety technology regarding responses to possible over-design-basis accidents. These efforts are expected to further enhance the capability of nuclear power plants in preventing extreme natural disasters, Huang said. [...]. ^ top ^

Migrants to enjoy same rights as urbanites: official (Xinhua)
2012-03-07
Migrant workers living in China's cities will enjoy the same public services as those provided to city dwellers by the end of 2020, a senior civil affairs official said Tuesday. "The ideal living condition for migrant workers should be that they have decent jobs in cities and live a life of dignity after becoming urban residents," said Civil Affairs Minister Li Liguo. Migrant workers have contributed significantly to China's economic and social development as well as urban development and prosperity. However, "Urban community-based public services haven't covered the entire group of migrant workers whose political, economic and cultural rights have yet to be guaranteed effectively," Li said. "They haven't received respect and understanding they deserve." In January, the ministry worked out a guideline to give the nation's migrant workers greater access to urban community-based public services and help them better adapt to life in the city. [...] More initiatives have been introduced to help migrant workers get along with urbanites and adapt to city life. Nationwide pilot projects have been launched to explore potential approaches that enable migrant workers to adapt to cites, Li said, adding that the desired results have been initially achieved. Official statistics show that there are 164 million migrant workers nationwide. ^ top ^

Migrants commit 70% of crimes: prosecutor (Global Times)
2012-03-08
Beijing judicial officials have appealed for regulations to prevent and reduce crimes committed by migrants in the city, claiming that nearly 70 percent of prosecution cases are related to this group of people. Zhen Zhen, Vice President of Beijing Municipal People's Procuratorate, suggested in her proposal to this years's session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference that given the high crime rate associated with the migrant population, there should be unified regulations to provide a legal environment for managing the ever-growing "floating" population in China, the Procuratorial Daily reported yesterday. "The number of crimes migrants commit accounts for at least 70 percent of the criminal cases across the nation, even reaching 90 percent in some economically developed areas," she said. Procuratorate departments in Beijing instigate an average of 30,000 prosecutions every year, 70 percent of which involve migrants. The crimes are normally related to property violations, personal assault and obstructing social order. [...] Migrant workers disagree, saying Zhen's comments are discriminatory. [...]. ^ top ^

Index reflecting rich-poor gap distorted in China: official (SCMP)
2012-03-08
A top Chinese statistician said Wednesday the country's Gini coefficient, an index reflecting the rich-poor gap, in urban and rural areas has been distorted and does not paint a true picture of equality in the world's second-largest economy. Ma Jiantang, director of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), made the remarks during a panel discussion with political advisors on the survey about China's residential income. Ma said the NBS does not intentionally hide the Gini index from the public, but is unable to produce genuine data according to the current survey methods. According to Ma, the Gini coefficient for China's rural areas stood at 0.3897 last year, close to the alarming level of 0.4 set by the United Nations. Meanwhile, the Gini index was 0.33 for urban areas. "To be honest, both the Gini indexes [for rural and urban areas] are lower than their actual levels," Ma said, noting that the surveys on China's residential income are carried out separately, using different indicators. The statistician said that in separate surveys, the NBS collected data on the disposable income for urban residents through a household book-keeping process, while gathering figures on net income for rural residents. "As the basic data are separate, we can't calculate a uniform Gini coefficient for the country," Ma said, adding that the reluctance of high-income urban households to record their incomes on the books made conducting the surveys very difficult. He noted the NBS will only publish the Gini index after it can use the same survey method and choose the samples according to the same indicators to collect data from urban and rural households. [...]. ^ top ^

Policies made for foreigners' joining social insurance in China (Xinhua)
2012-03-08
The policies, processes and standards have been worked out for foreign workers joining China's social security system, said China's vice minister of human resources and social security Hu Xiaoyi Wednesday. Hu said at a press conference that foreign workers joining China's social insurance is a clear provision in the Law on Social Insurance introduced last July, and now the ministry and local governments are promoting the work in an active and steady manner. Hu added that a major issue is to negotiate with other countries and regions on bilateral social insurance agreements, and a total of 15 rounds of negotiations with seven countries have been arranged this year. Hu said the ministry has issued more than 200,000 work permits to foreigners, but the number of foreigners who have signed up to the social security system in China was still being counted. The social insurance scheme that took effect Oct. 15 last year allows foreigners with work permits in China to receive retirement, unemployment, medical, work injury, and maternity benefits -- the same as those for Chinese citizens. "With the legal basis and the coordinations between China and other countries, the work will be advanced smoothly," added Hu. ^ top ^

Tweaks scale back detention law (SCMP)
2012-03-09
The central government has scaled back police powers in the final draft of amendments to the mainland's Criminal Procedure Law, removing some clauses that rights advocates contended would make secret detentions easier. Changes to the "disappearance clauses" resolved some concerns, but the improvement to the law were seen as limited by many rights advocates. They also said the real test would be whether a promise to respect the human rights of suspects and defendants could be enforced. Nicholas Bequelin of Human Rights Watch called the final draft "a victory for legal reformers", showing that persistent lobbying from the legal community both inside and outside the country could make a difference. [...] Controversial clauses included in the first draft of revisions released in August allowed police to conduct "residential surveillance" - a kind of house arrest - at a location other than the suspects' home. They also gave police the discretion not to notify family members of detention in cases involving state security, terrorism or major corruption. Rights advocates said such an arrangement would effectively allow police to secretly detain suspects for up to six months without their families' knowledge. The third draft removed the discretion not to notify the family. The final draft still allows police to deviate from the 24-hour notification requirement in detention cases involving state security and terrorism, if they think notification would impede their investigations. Mainland legal professionals say deciding whether notification could impede an investigation would still be entirely at the police's discretion, with no channel for appeal. That means that a person could be secretly detained for up to 37 days in cases involving state security and terrorism. National People's Congress (NPC) Legislative Affairs Committee Vice-Chairman Lang Sheng said yesterday that cases of detention without family being notified would be "very rare" and would "normally last only three to seven days". In presenting the third draft, NPC Standing Committee vice-chairman Wang Zhaoguo said the biggest improvement to the law was the inclusion of a promise to "respect and protect human rights". [...]. ^ top ^

China adheres to limiting use of death penalty (Xinhua)
2012-03-09
China is committed to limiting the use of death penalty and has always been very prudent in using capital punishment, an official with the top legislature said Thursday. The amendment to the Criminal Law, which was passed in 2011, reduced the types of crimes punishable by death by 20 percent, or 13 in number, said Lang Sheng, vice chairman of the Legislative Affairs Commission of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, at a press conference during the ongoing parliamentary session. That a death penalty has to undergo review by the Supreme People's Court is another effort China has made to control and limit the use of capital punishment, he said. On Jan. 1, 2007, the Supreme People's Court resumed the process of reviewing and approving all death sentences to ensure that lower courts' verdicts are accurate. "Such a procedure reflects China's prudence in the use of the death penalty," Lang said. A draft amendment to the nation's Criminal Procedure Law, submitted Thursday to the ongoing 5th session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) for third reading, further specifies the procedures for the Supreme People's Court to review death penalty cases in order that such cases will be handled "with sufficient care" and "legal oversight" will be strengthened. According to the draft, the supreme court shall issue an order approving or disapproving a death sentence after reviewing it. If the supreme court overrules the death sentence, it may remand the case for retrial or revise the judgement thereof. Besides, during the reviewing proceedings, the supreme court may question the defendant and the defense attorney's opinions shall be heard if he so requests, according to the amendment. [...]. ^ top ^

Political advisors submit 6,069 items of proposals (China Daily)
2012-03-09
China's national political advisors submitted 6,069 items of proposals to the annual session of the top advisory body as of the deadline at 2 pm Thursday, said an official from the session. Liu Xiaobing, in charge of collecting the proposals at the Fifth Session of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said that compared with last year, proposals this year place more attention to developing real economy, supporting small and micro-sized enterprises, problems facing agriculture, rural areas and farmers, as well as accelerating reforms of financial system. Promoting development in regions of ethnic minorities, strengthening emission reduction and environmental protection, deepening reform in science and technology system, making innovation in social management, and building social security system have also been addressed in the proposals. [...] The Committee for Handling Proposals is further examining the proposals. The CPPCC National Committee will hold a meeting at the end of this month to deliver the proposals to relevant departments. ^ top ^

Workers, farmers to have more NPC seats (China Daily)
2012-03-09
Nearly 3,000 deputies to the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) will be elected by January 2013 with more seats given to workers and farmers, according to a draft decision of China's top legislature. The draft decision on the issues concerning the number of deputies to the 12th NPC and their election was on Thursday submitted to the ongoing annual legislative session. Explaining the draft at a plenary meeting of the session, Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the 11th NPC Standing Committee, said that "broad representativeness of deputies to the people's congresses is not only the essential requirement of the system of people's congresses, but an important embodiment of socialist democracy." Of the number of deputies to the 12th NPC, there shall be an increase in the proportion of deputies at the primary level, especially those from among the front-line workers, farmers as well as professionals and technicians, Li said. There shall be an increase by a relatively large margin in the number of deputies from among migrant workers, and there shall be a decrease in the proportion of deputies who are Communist Party or government leaders or officials, compared with the last NPC, according to the draft decision. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing plans to become first coal-free city (Global Times)
2012-03-07
Government officials have expressed expectations to turn Beijing into China's first coal-free city, in a bid to lower PM2.5 readings and improve air quality in the capital. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC, suggested designing a pilot project in Beijing led by the Ministry of Environmental Protection to control PM2.5, particulate matter 2.5 micrometers in diameter that contributes to smog, during the two sessions. Coal-free heating in Beijing's six urban districts is the city's objective, Zhai Xiaohui, a publicity staff officer with the Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau, told the Global Times Tuesday. "Clean energies such as electricity and natural gas will be used to replace the use of coal. Dongcheng and Xicheng districts have already begun such attempts," said Zhai. Beijing aims to achieve the coal-free objective within the fifth ring road by 2015, according to the city's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) released in August. Beijing has four coal-fired power plants and 63 large coal-fired boiler houses in urban districts, which affect its air quality, according to the plan report. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Protest leaders elected to key posts in Wukan (SCMP)
2012-03-04
Two prominent leaders of land-grab protests in Wukan, Guangdong, were elected village chief and deputy chief yesterday, in a milestone for grass-roots democracy on the mainland. Land-rights protesters from elsewhere in Guangdong and across the mainland watched the voting, hoping to learn from the historic event and to seize a rare opportunity to voice their own grievances to the international media. The US consul in Guangzhou, Paul Baldwin, was also allowed to watch the proceedings. Lin Zuluan and Yang Semao emerged as the people's choices in the most transparent and liberal village election yet seen. [...] Lin won 90 per cent of the votes for village committee chief. He had led the villagers' fight to elect a new village committee and for the return of the body of Xue Jinbo, a protest leader who died in custody in December. Lin was appointed Wukan's party secretary in January after villagers struck a deal with the government following a months-long stand-off. [...] Yang, another protest leader, was elected deputy chief of the committee with nearly 53 per cent of votes. The turnout yesterday was 83 per cent, roughly the same as the last two preparatory polls, for election committee and village representatives. [...] To win election to the committee, candidates had to secure the support of at least 50 per cent of eligible voters. The rule meant only Lin and Yang qualified yesterday. [...] Wukan is taking baby steps to restoring democratic governance and retrieving the land they say the previous village leaders stole, following months of defiance last year. Their protests began in earnest in September. At one stage the villagers drove out policemen who tried to crack down on their petitions. Later, they set up their own temporary village committee. They achieved a breakthrough in December following Xue Jinbo's death, when provincial leaders intervened. Just before Christmas, senior government officials pledged to investigate their complaints and allowed them to restage elections after dissolving the previous village governing body [...]. ^ top ^

160 children poisoned by lead (SCMP)
2012-03-05
Lead emission from factories and the natural environment in Guangdong has poisoned 160 children, Xinhua said yesterday in the country's latest case of unfettered industrial toxins. Children from Dongtang town in Renhua county were found to have elevated levels of lead in their blood after inhaling contaminated air and eating food tainted with the metal, Xinhua said. The natural level of lead in Dongtang was also higher than usual as the town sat on a belt of lead-zinc ore that raised the content of the toxic metal in the soil, Xinhua said. The report did not name the factories responsible for the lead emissions and was based on preliminary investigations that tested the blood samples of 531 residents last month. Lead poisoning is prevalent on the mainland and has sparked protests in the past among angry parents of children hurt by heavy-metal pollution. Lead is especially damaging to children as it can impede learning and affect behaviour. To counter widespread public anger, Beijing has promised to crack down on lead pollution. ^ top ^

Guangdong sees new land protest 'resolved' (Global Times)
2012-03-07
A land-dispute triggered protest in Huidong county, Guangdong Province has been peacefully dispersed, local authorities said Tuesday, shortly after Premier Wen Jiabao stressed the need to protect farmers' property rights. Scores of people from Hexia village blocked the road leading to a resort construction project over the weekend by setting up bamboo shacks and holding banners, the Huizhou Public Security Bureau revealed Tuesday on its microblog. The villagers removed road barricades before disbanding after meeting with local officials, and the matter had been resolved smoothly without any conflicts, the statement said. [...] The Huizhou security bureau said on its microblog that several working teams have started a comprehensive investigation into the matter. [...] Wang Yang, Party secretary of Guangdong, told reporters on Monday that provincial officials might convene a meeting in the latter half of this year and instruct the province to strengthen the building of village organizations with the experience and lessons drawn from the Wukan incident. [...] During Monday's session of the National People's Congress (NPC), Premier Wen Jiabao stressed that farmers' land rights were conferred by law and must not be violated. [...] A new amendment to China's Land Management Law is being drafted to better protect farmers' interests in land expropriations, according to a report submitted by the Environmental Protection and Resources Conservation Committee of the NPC to the NPC's Standing Committee. [...]. ^ top ^

Volunteer activities get promoted in China (China Daily)
2012-03-07
South China's Shenzhen, Guangdong province, aims to develop into "a city of volunteers", according to a new document released by the city government Sunday to mobilize more residents to engage in volunteer work. Specific quantitative targets covering areas like social participation, organization of volunteers and community services are laid out in China's first index of volunteer activities, the draft of which was released Sunday to solicit public comments, said Huang Xiaopeng, the spokesperson and deputy secretary of the Shenzhen committee of China Communist Youth League. The index is not binding, but only intended to better guide the development of the volunteer work, Huang said. Now boasting more than 350,000 registered volunteers, Shenzhen plans to further expand the force to 1.1 million by 2015. Colleges and universities are urged to set up optional classes for volunteer services, and primary and middle schools to organize volunteer activities of more than two school hours each year. [...]. ^ top ^

Airline flies into court on govt agency (Global Times)
2012-03-08
The second trial for a private airline company filing a lawsuit against a government agency for banning its operations was held yesterday at the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court, Guangdong Province. This is the first case of a private airline company suing a government agency in China. Wuhan-based East Star Group, which operates East Star Airlines, sued the Central and Southern Regional Administration of Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) earlier last year, claiming that the administration's decision in 2009 to suspend operations of all flights was groundless. In the first trial in December, Baiyun District Court of Guangzhou rejected the company's appeal to lift the ban, because it was imposed after the CAAC regional administration found "major safety hazards" in the now-bankrupt private airline's flights. The East Star Group has not provided any new evidence for the second trial, Yan Yiming, attorney for the East Star Group, told the Global Times yesterday. "On March 12, 2009, two days before the administration imposed the ban, the CAAC and the regional administration held a joint inspection of the airline. But the results of the inspection did not conclude that the company needed to halt flights," Yan said. [...]. ^ top ^

Land grab protest sees two villagers ‘forcibly detained' (Global Times)
2012-03-09
Two residents of a Guangdong fishing village were detained by local police after participating in a public protest over land expropriation they believed was illegal, the local government said Thursday. According to a press release sent by the Pinghai township government to the Global Times, Weng and Gu, the two villagers "suspected of breaking the law," were "forcibly summoned" by Huidong county police Thursday, following a gathering that had disturbed social order. The release said that Weng and Gu had instigated a small portion of villagers from Yuye village to block access to a construction site from March 3 to 5 by barricading the road. [...] A local villager, who took part in the protest at the weekend, told the Global Times Thursday on condition of anonymity that over 100 armed police arrested the fishermen by breaking into their houses early Thursday morning. "The local government just took revenge upon our legal protest in an illegal and violent way," said the male villager. He added that a demonstration was carried out in the village after the two were detained. [...] Some villagers from Pinghai placed four coffins in the middle of a road leading to a construction site on Saturday to protest against the local government's "secret and illegal" sales of collective land. The villager revealed that the 80 hectares of land were sold by the village committee in 1992 without any compensation being paid to residents. [...] He said several attempts last year to sue the provincial, city and country resource departments were all in vein. ^ top ^

Chinese lab sees neutrino breakthrough (Global Times)
2012-03-09
Chinese scientists are welcoming the country's new status as an important research base for fundamental physics, after a multinational collaboration identified a new type of neutrino oscillation in Guangdong Province. Scientists at the Daya Bay Reactor Experiment announced Thursday the discovery of a new type of neutrino oscillation, which may reveal clues as to why ordinary matter dominates antimatter in the universe. The first results based on the analysis of data collected from December to February indicated a new "mixing angle," named theta one-three, said Wang Yifang of the Institute of High Energy Physics (IHEP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. This measured a crucial quantity level related to the type of oscillation at which electron-flavored neutrinos morph into the other two flavored neutrinos, namely muon and tau neutrinos. These mix together and transform while traveling through space and matter. [...] Scientists observed tens of thousands of interactions between electron antineutrinos, caught by six massive detectors buried in the mountains adjacent to the powerful Daya Bay and Ling Ao nuclear reactors of the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Group. These reactors can produce millions of quadrillions of elusive electron antineutrinos every second. In order to fulfill a precise measurement of the amplitude of the oscillation, three halls were constructed at varying distances. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan teen self-immolates in Sichuan (SCMP)
2012-03-06
A US-funded broadcaster says a Tibetan teenager in Sichuan province has died in a fiery protest against Chinese oppression in Tibet, marking the third self-immolation in three days. Washington-based Radio Free Asia said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday that an 18-year-old identified as Dorje set himself ablaze on Monday in Sichuan province's Aba prefecture. It quoted a Tibetan monk exiled in India, Kanyag Tsering, as saying he shouted “slogans against Chinese policies in Tibet” before immolating and died on the spot. More than two dozen Tibetans, including several teenagers, have set themselves on fire in China over the last year, protesting China's suppression of their religion and culture and calling of the return of their exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. ^ top ^

China warns Dalai Lama not to jeopardize Tibetan Buddhism, motherland unification (Global Times)
2012-03-08
The Dailai Lama clique's separatist activities are doomed to fail as the self-immolations in a small number of monasteries can not disrupt the stably-developing trend in the Tibetan-populated regions, said Li Changping, a member of the standing committee of the Sichuan Committee of the Communist Party of China Wednesday. "The Dalai Lama clique have made more attempts to split China, a few monks and nuns in the Tibetan-populated regions echoed them at a distance. But these people can neither represent all Tibetans nor stop the stably-developing trend in these regions," said Li at a panel discussion of the Sichuan Delegation open to press during the ongoing legislative meeting. [...] Li said that Dailai Lama was the hatchet man of anti-China forces in the world, the ringleader of the conspiracy of "Free Tibet", the ultimate agitator of the chaos of Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism and the utmost impediment to the normal development of Tibetan Buddhism. "Our combat with the Dalai Lama clique is not on the ethical or religious fronts but a serious political struggle," said he. "Unity and stability bring blessings while separation and turmoils result misfortune. Tibetan people are firm and resolute in their combat with the Dalai Lama clique and have successfully made one after another tough, preemptive and political contests with the separatist forces. " said Li. "The hearts of Tibetan people are always favoring Beijing and the Communist Party of China. The separatist activities of Dalai Lama clique are doomed to fail," said he. ^ top ^

Investigations show political motive behind self-immolations in Tibetan-populated regions (Xinhua)
2012-03-08
Similarities found in self-immolations in China's Tibetan-populated regions have pointed to behind-the-scenes orchestration with a transparent political motive, officials said Wednesday. Wu Zegang, chief of the Aba Tibetan-Qiang autonomous prefecture of southwest China's Sichuan province, said that police have investigated self-immolations that occurred in Tibetan areas in the provinces of Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu in recent months, finding that the victims were used by separatists to create chaos. One outstanding similarity, he said, was that most of the self-immolaters had shouted separatist slogans like "Free Tibet" while setting themselves on fire. "Moreover, photos revealing the daily lives of most of the self-immolaters had been sent in advance to seperatist forces abroad. [...] "To encourage self-immolations, they even offer a price of compensation for the dead. All these prove that self-immolations are pre-mediated political moves," he said. The discussion took place during the ongoing annual meeting of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's legislature. "The Dalai Lama clique and overseas separatist forces are leading Tibetan Buddhism onto the track of extremism. By touting self-immolaters as heroes and performing religious rituals to expiate the sins of the dead, they support and inspire self-immolations. They instigate people to emulate this behavior and are not hesitant to use terrorism to reach their objectives," Wu said. Police investigations showed that a number of the self-immolaters were secularized monks with criminal records. [...] Liu Qibao, provincial Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of Sichuan, admitted that self-immolations are a problem in Sichuan, adding that efforts have been made to protect the culture of ethnic Tibetans. "In Tibetan-populated regions, facilities and activities that uphold Tibetan culture can be found everywhere. We all have free access to Tibetan cultural faciltiies. Buddhist monks and nuns also enjoy social benefits. Public complaints about cultural repression do not exist. On the contrary, Tibetan culture is flourishing," said Liu. [...] During a separate panel discussion by the Tibet Delgation open to press Wednesday afternoon, Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet autonomous region said that no self-immolations had taken place in Tibet, adding that the situations of Lhasa and Tibet remaine stable overall. [...] "We hope no more people set themselves on fire...There are sufficient ways for people to express their views. It's no need to take such a radical act," said he.. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang vows to crack down on "three evil forces" to ensure stability (Xinhua)
2012-03-07
China's Xinjiang will spare no efforts to prevent and crack down upon sabotage activities of the three evil forces of separatism, extremism and terrorism to ensure social stability, chairman of the regional government has said. Xinjiang will also strengthen the management of religious affairs in accordance with relevant laws, Nur Bekri, also a deputy to the National People's Congress, said during the top legislature's annual session on Monday. "Xinjiang will earnestly implement the policy of religious freedom and guide the religious activities to fit into the socialist society," the official said. "We will give protection to the legal activities and stem crimes so as to create a stable environment for Xinjiang's development," he said. [...] About 41.5 percent of Xinjiang's 21 million population are Uygurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group. Security experts say growing religious extremism in the region has fanned most of the violent attacks. [...] While keeping an eye on the security, Xinjiang will also speed up to build itself into a channel for China's energy and resources security and an important portal for China's opening up westward, Bekri said. ^ top ^

Sinopec spending big to develop Xinjiang oil (China Daily)
2012-03-07
China Petroleum and Chemical Corporation (Sinopec) plans to invest 53 billion yuan ($8.03 billion) to boost oil and gas production in Xinjiang, China's western region rich in petroleum resources, by 2015, according to an announcement on Tuesday. The country's leading refiner said it is targeting expanding the capacity of its Tahe refinery in Kuqa country to 10 million tons per year, from 4.25 million tons in 2011, which is expected to bring 40 billion yuan of production value. Sinopec will also add 10 oil storage facilities and 500 service stations in Xinjiang by 2015. By 2015, the company will also develop its crude oil production in Xinjiang to 10 million tons, and 1.8 billion cubic meters of natural gas output, from 7.25 million tons and 1.59 billion cubic meters in 2011, respectively. Sinopec will also construct two coal gas pipelines to the coastal provinces of Guangdong, Zhejiang and Shandong, aiming for operation by 2015. ^ top ^

No mercy for terrorist acts in Xinjiang (China Daily)
2012-03-08
Violent terrorist acts carried out in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region will be shown no mercy and the government will not allow terrorists to wave knives against women, children and innocent people, the Party chief of the region said Wednesday. Many incidents of terrorism-related violence that happened in the region in the last year actually had an international origin, Zhang Chunxian, a deputy to the National People's Congress and the Party secretary of Xinjiang, said on the sidelines of the annual NPC session. "The infiltration of three overseas forces of separatists, extremists and terrorists, the social situation in nearby countries and international anti-terrorism activities may have directly or indirectly prompted such incidents," Zhang said. Three violent attacks were carried out in southern Xinjiang's Kashgar and Hotan last year and another happened last month. [...] Zhang said violent terrorists don't have the mindset of normal people and the government will not tolerate terrorists as their violent activities target civilians. "Their acts are against the human race. They wave knives at old people, women and children with extremely brutal means. It's not a religious problem, nor is it an ethnic problem." Xinjiang has witnessed a leapfrog in its economic development in recent years, but development doesn't necessarily bring stability, said Nur Bekri, a deputy to the NPC and chairman of Xinjiang said on Wednesday. Xinjiang's GDP rose by 12.3 percent year-on-year and reached 660 billion yuan ($105 billion) last year. Average per capita income of urban residents in the region increased to 15,514 yuan in 2011, a 13.7-percent hike year-on-year, and the average per capita income of rural residents increased by 17.2 percent to reach 5,442 yuan. [...] He said that terrorist organizations, such as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement campaigning for Xinjiang's independence in neighboring Pakistan, have countless links with terrorists within the region, which covers one-sixth of China's landmass and borders eight countries, including Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. "Violent activities by individual terrorists will not affect the close friendship between China and Pakistan," Nur said. [...] China and Pakistan are all-weather friends, and Xinjiang and neighboring countries share the interests and objectives in fighting terrorism. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong seeks more access for lawyers to Mainland (Xinhua)
2012-03-08
The Department of Justice of Hong Kong Government will promote legal cooperation between Hong Kong and the Mainland this financial year under various frameworks, the Secretary for the Department Wong Yan Lung said Wednesday. Speaking at a special meeting of the Legislative Council Finance Committee, Wong said, under the framework of Hong Kong's Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement with the Mainland, the department is working to improve the mode of association of the two jurisdictions' law firms. It also wants to secure greater market access for Hong Kong lawyers and arbitration professionals in Qianhai, Shenzhen, via the Co-operative Arrangement on Legal Matters Between Shenzhen and Hong Kong. According to Wong, the arrangement provides a new platform and exchange mechanism for enhancing cooperation between the two places. Wong also said it is an important policy objective of the department to promote Hong Kong as a regional center for legal services and dispute resolution. ^ top ^

Xi calls for end to chaos and mud-slinging (SCMP)
2012-03-09
Vice-President Xi Jinping yesterday essentially called for an end to the chaos and scandal-mongering in the city's chief executive election. In a meeting in Beijing, Xi told Hong Kong delegates to the National People's Congress not to focus on personal interests but to take care of the overall well-being of the city and state, according to Maria Tam Wai-chu, who was at the meeting. Politicians and analysts said Xi's remark was code intended to remind the supporters of both front runners, Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying, to refrain from further smear campaigns. [...] "The vice-president said patriots of China and Hong Kong should serve as role models to prioritise the overall interests of the country above their personal interests, to stand tall and look at the bigger picture when contemplating the city's development." Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office director Wang Guangya said society's views and those of Election Committee members were important in choosing the chief executive. China affairs expert Johnny Lau Yui-siu said Beijing felt that both camps had started to lose control, so it sent a reminder to both sides asking for self-restraint. "When Xi asked the people to stand tall and look at the bigger picture, he meant the people should make sacrifices for the greater benefit of society," said Lau. "The series of scandals is not only causing chaos for the election, it is putting Beijing in a difficult position. It is not helping anyone." [...] But Rita Fan Hsu Lai-tai, a standing committee member of the NPC, said Xi - set to become Communist Party chief this year - was speaking about the overall development of the city, not the election. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan temporarily lifts ban on US beef imports (SCMP)
2012-03-07
Public trust in Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's government has taken a beating after the island abruptly announced the conditional lifting of a ban on most US beef containing ractopamine, a controversial leanness-enhancing drug. Ma was re-elected in January for a second four-year term, but his government came under mounting criticism yesterday, with some opposition lawmakers threatening to unseat the cabinet formed just last month. "In addition to boycotting legislative bills backed by the government, we will not rule out the possibility of unseating the cabinet because of such a decision," Lee Tung-hao, the opposition People First Party's (PFP) whip in the legislature, said. [...] In a move described as "highly despicable" by some opposition lawmakers and civic groups, the Ma government issued a statement late on Monday night saying that it had decided to conditionally lift the ban. [...] Opponents of such imports say they are concerned about possible risks to human health from consuming meat containing ractopamine. Taiwanese media, quoting an unnamed official from the Kuomintang, said the "difficult decision" was made because of concerns about possible retaliation from the US if the Taiwan ban remained on such US beef. The Taipei-based China Times said US retaliation could have included suspension of Taiwan's trade talks with the US and obstruction of the island's plan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership regional free-trade hub initiated by Washington. [...] Taiwanese Premier Sean Chen insisted yesterday that the government had fully considered the public's health and the decision had nothing to do with the US. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China sets 2012 growth target at 7.5% (China Daily)
2012-03-05
China aims to grow its economy by 7.5 percent in 2012 by following proactive fiscal and prudent monetary policies to combat downward pressure on growth and still high inflation, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Monday. The growth target, revealed at the start of China's annual parliamentary meeting, was in line with analyst expectations and lower than the longstanding annual goal of 8 percent. [...] Wen set a target for inflation at about 4 percent for the year, in line with the target set in 2011, saying that the government would work to prevent a rebound in prices in 2012. Inflation remained stubbornly above official targets in every month of last year. Wen also pledged to curb speculative demand in the property market, and said the yuan would be kept "basically stable" with strengthened two-way flexibility. He highlighted that the government would take action to solve the local government debt problem, regarded by many investors as the key risk to fiscal sustainability with about 10.7 trillion yuan ($1.7 trillion) owed by local governments, according to government figures at the end of 2010. [...] China will deepen the reform of its financial systems by improving services for small and micro businesses, and making renminbi convertible under capital accounts, said Wen. The country will ensure orderly development of small financial institutions, and improve the systems and mechanisms that serve small and micro businesses as well as agriculture, rural areas and farmers, said the premier. [...] He vowed to break up monopolies and relax restrictions on market access, encourage nongovernmental investment in infrastructure, finance, education, and medical care, and create a fair environment in which economic entities under all forms of ownership can compete and develop together. The premier admitted China still faces many difficulties and challenges internationally and domestically in economic and social development. Major developed economies lack impetus for growth and their unemployment rate remains high, while emerging economies face the dual pressures of inflation and slowing economic growth, he said. [...] Domestically, he said, it has become more urgent and more difficult to solve institutional and structural problems and alleviate the problem of unbalanced, uncoordinated, and unsustainable development. [...] Zhuang said the macro control over the real estate market will remain one challenge China has to properly handle in 2012 [...]. ^ top ^

China promises to break "glass door" for private investors (Xinhua)
2012-03-06
China's top economic planner on Monday vowed to remove harmful obstacles keeping the country's non-public investments out of the market, saying detailed regulations are being mulled. In response to Premier Wen Jiabao's call for relaxing restrictions on market access for private capital, Zhang Ping, minister in charge of the National Development and Reform Commission, said relevant policies would come out in the first half of this year. "Last year, our fixed asset investments grew by 23.8 percent, but the growth rate of private investment stood at 34 percent," Zhang said at a press conference during the ongoing national parliamentary session. The central government issued a 36-article circular in 2010 to boost private investments, encouraging and guiding private capital into certain sectors and industries. Zhang acknowledged the existence of a "glass door" or "swinging door," or invisible policy hurdles, that have constantly impeded the entry of private investments in certain industries. In a government work report on Monday, Wen said China would encourage non-governmental investment in areas such as railways, public utilities, finance, energy, telecommunications, education and medical care. ^ top ^

China mulls larger floating band for the yuan: PBOC governor (Xinhua)
2012-03-06
The governor of China's central bank said here Monday that the country is considering "appropriately" widening the trading band for the RMB, or the yuan, to better reflect an exchange rate regime decided by supply and demand in the market. Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, spoke to Xinhua on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session, which opened here Monday. "The RMB exchange rate has gradually met the requirements for greater floating," Zhou said. "The PBOC is considering that the yuan's daily floating band could be increased." Currently, China adopts a managed floating exchange rate regime that is tied to a basket of foreign currencies. [...] As China improves its industrial structure and gradually reduces trade surplus, Zhou said, the yuan's exchange rate is now moving "very closely" to a balanced level. [...] The PBOC data showed that the Chinese currency had appreciated 5.1 percent against the U.S. dollar in 2011 in terms of the central parity rate. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in a government work report to the country's top legislature on Monday that China will improve the mechanism for setting the RMB exchange rate, make the two-way floating exchange rate regime more flexible, and keep the RMB exchange rate basically stable at an appropriate and balanced level. ^ top ^

Local governments to form funds to repay loans (SCMP)
2012-03-07
Beijing has ordered heavily indebted local governments to set up special funds to help repay loans, in a bid to avoid a Chinese version of the sovereign debt crisis that has sunk several European economies. Finance Minister Xie Xuren said the government would also focus on improving its tax system and on lowering structural taxes as part of its fiscal policy this year. "Local governments need to set up debt-repayment funds and try to co-ordinate all of their available fiscal resources in order to actually make repayments on their debts," Xie said on the sidelines of the annual National People's Congress session. [...] Local governments had racked up 10.72 trillion yuan (HK$13.2 trillion) of debts, mostly loans from state-owned banks, by the end of 2010, according to data from the National Audit Office. That is about 17 per cent of national gross domestic product that year. [...] For his part, Xie vowed to continue overhauling and better regulating local government financing vehicles (LGFVs) - companies set up to receive loans and get round caps on lending to governments - mainly by improving oversight of the financial sector. [...] Furthermore, the government was considering incorporating local governments' debts into the national budget, Xie said. [...] Separately, the State Council was considering setting up a body to manage the government's stakes in financial firms, Xie said. [...] On the issue of the national tax system, Xie said Beijing wanted to improve it so as to lower the tax burden on smaller firms and help them cope with rising operating costs. The central government was also considering expanding experimental property tax programmes in Chongqing and Shanghai to other areas in due time, said Xie, adding the implementation of the programmes had been "smooth". [...] Turning to education, Xie urged local governments to seek to ensure that educational spending equals 4 per cent of local GDP this year. [...]. ^ top ^

Oil firms face uncertainty with overseas growth plans (Xinhua)
2012-03-07
The expansion blueprints of Chinese oil companies overseas are currently facing "unprecedented challenges", which means that the State-owned enterprise giants should prepare for the unexpected, according to a former executive of China National Petroleum Corp. Both geopolitical and economic risks have surged recently, a situation China has not encountered in recent decades, and have slowed the oil companies' pace of expansion overseas, said Chen Geng, a deputy of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the former general manager of CNPC. "It is now a good time to launch mergers and acquisitions overseas, because the rising oil price is lifting the market value of public companies, adding to costs and potential risks," said Chen. In 2011, the total mergers and acquisition value of China's three biggest oil companies CNPC, China Petrochemical Corp and China National Offshore Oil Corp, reached about $20 billion, the second highest level in the country's history, following on from 2010, according to a report from CNPC's Economics and Technology Research Institute. [...] Currently, some oil construction and production projects have ceased in Sudan, CNPC's biggest overseas destination for oil exploration, and there is no sign of them restarting because of political issues. ^ top ^

US trade bill 'breaks W.T.O. rules' (SCMP)
2012-03-08
Claiming that a US trade bill targeting Chinese exports violates World Trade Organisation rules, China's commerce minister said yesterday that his country was not obligated to follow the mandate. US President Barack Obama is set to sign the bill into law to empower the US Department of Commerce to impose duties on subsidised goods from China and Vietnam [...]. Speaking for more than three hours at a news conference during the annual session of the National People's Congress, Commerce Minister Chen Deming reiterated that China would abide only by rules of the international organisations it had joined. [...] Defending against accusations that China has subsidised exports, Chen said such practices were "actionable subsidies" allowed under WTO rules, and he pointed out that Washington had also subsidised US carmakers in the form of bailouts. [...] Chen also revealed that export targets in first two months of this year did not meet expectations, but he still expected the country to meet its official target this year of a 10 per cent rise in foreign trade. Preliminary data last month showed that China's exports and imports were on track to increase by 7 per cent this year. [...] Chen said the country's foreign trade still faced challenges, including from uncertainties in some developed countries and rising labour costs at home. He said the government would reduce the tax burden on struggling exporters. [...] Chen said China's upcoming talks with Japan and South Korea on a free-trade agreement would strengthen East Asian trade ties, but not at the expense of international liberalisation. "If these three countries - China, Japan and South Korea - can have their own FTA, then we will accelerate the entire process of economic integration in East Asia," Chen said as the three nations prepare for a mid-May summit in Beijing to launch negotiations on the tri-party pact. Chen said Tokyo's decision to participate in the US-backed Trans-Pacific Partnership would not negatively affect Japan's engagement in other regional initiatives. [...]. ^ top ^

China leverages tax tool to promote green vehicles, ships (Xinhua)
2012-03-08
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced Wednesday that China will promote the use of environmentally friendly vehicles and ships by offering tax cuts. Beginning at the start of the year, the country has decided to halve vehicle taxes for users of energy-saving cars and ships, according to a government document posted Wednesday on the MOF's website. Vehicle taxes for users of new-energy cars and vessels will also be removed, according to the document. The State Administration of Taxation said late last year that the newly-adjusted Vehicle and Vessel Tax Law, effective Jan. 1, will levy moderately higher taxes on passenger vehicles with an engine size between 2 and 2.5 liters, as well as much higher taxes on those with an engine size above 2.5 liters. China overtook the United States as the world's largest auto market in 2009 after selling 13.64 million vehicles that year. Both car sales and production volume witnessed astonishing growth in 2009 and 2010 before slowing to a 2.4-percent growth in 2011 with the conclusion of stimulus policies. China remains the world's largest auto market. Car sales last year hit 18.5 million units. ^ top ^

State tobacco monopoly makes 320m yuan a day (SCMP)
2012-03-08
China's state-run tobacco monopoly rakes in more than 320 million yuan (HK$393 million) in profits every day, according to figures released for the first time this week that expose the sheer magnitude of the mainland's tobacco industry. The China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC) amassed net profits of almost 118 billion yuan in 2010, a windfall that anti-smoking campaigners say explains officials' lacklustre attempts to enforce anti-smoking legislation. The figures show the company as being one of the mainland's most profitable organisations that year, beating the Bank of China's profits of 110 billion yuan and coming close to China Construction Bank's 135 billion yuan. The cigarette giant's financial details were included in a report that the Industrial Bank filed to the Shanghai Stock Exchange ahead of a planned sale of a 5.2 billion yuan stake to CNTC. The report did not give the company's statistics for last year, but listed its assets at almost 970 billion yuan. Anti-smoking campaigners say the figures show the enormous revenue value of the tobacco industry to the government - on top of 753 billion yuan in tax last year. The mainland is home to an estimated 300 million smokers, the largest number in any single country. [...] According to the State Tobacco Monopoly Administration, last year's tobacco tax take was up 22.5 per cent from 2010, which in turn was up almost 17 per cent from the year prior. [...] China ratified the World Health Organisation's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in 2005, pledging a smoke-free public environment by January of last year, but little progress has been made. Tougher national legislation was passed in May, but a survey by an environmental group in November found that just one in five restaurants in Beijing were obeying the rules. [...]. ^ top ^

China CPI growth falls to 3.2 pct in Feb. (Xinhua)
2012-03-09
China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, rose 3.2 percent year on year in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. ^ top ^

China's "homegrown" airliner ready for export in 2016 (Xinhua)
2012-03-09
China's own C919 commercial airliner, domestically produced, will be ready for export to overseas markets starting in 2016, after two years of test flights, said Wu Guanghui, the chief designer. Wu, deputy general manager of the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China and a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, said the company had already received orders from the United States and Singapore, bringing the total number of domestic and overseas orders to 235. "The first plane will be off the assembly line as early as next year. Production on a much larger scale will take place in 2016, after two years of test flights," Wu said. The narrow-bodied airplane can carry 168 passengers and has a maximum flight distance of 4,400 kilometers to "cover all domestic flight routes and as far as Southeast Asia", Wu said. The first batch of the C919 planes will use the advanced LEAP-X1C engines, which are installed in Boeing and Airbus SAS aircraft. [...] However, development of a Chinese-made engine for the airliner is currently under way. Wu said the company's domestically-made engine for the plane, codenamed "Yangtze 1000", will be installed later. "In the future, C919s can carry either of the two engines. However, the plane will definitely have a Chinese heart," Wu said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK leader Kim Jong Un inspects Panmunjom (Xinhua)
2012-03-04
Leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Kim Jong Un has recently visited the truce village of Panmunjom, the official news agency KCNA reported Sunday. Kim, supreme commander of the Korean People's Army and supreme leader of the Workers' Party of Korea, said he was greatly satisfied that all the soldiers on the outpost were "following every move of the enemies with vigilance and performing their combat duties in a responsible manner," the KCNA said. The soldiers should "always maintain the maximum alertness as they are standing in confrontation with the enemies at all times," he said during an inspection tour of Panmunjom, where the 1953 Korean Armistice Agreement was signed. [...] Visiting the conference room of the armistice talks and the hall where the armistice agreement was signed, he said these places should be well preserved and managed. If fighting occurs in the future, the army and people of the DPRK will force the enemies "to sign a paper of surrender, not simply putting signatures on the armistice agreement," he stressed. [...]. ^ top ^

IAEA prepares for possible return of nuclear inspectors to DPRK (Xinhua)
2012-03-06
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday reiterated its readiness to send back nuclear inspectors to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), but said no invitation has been received from the country. "We have no direct contact, but we are preparing for a possible return," said the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano at a press conference after opening the 35-nation IAEA board meeting in Vienna. The DPRK said last week that it will suspend nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and uranium enrichment activities as part of an agreement made with the United States. The DPRK also agreed to allow IAEA inspectors' return to the country to verify and monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment activities at Nyongbyon and confirm the disablement of the 5-MW reactor and associated facilities. A return of inspectors would be possible within a few weeks, if there is an invitation from Pyongyang and the IAEA board of governors approval, said Amano. [...]. ^ top ^

U.S., DPRK hold food aid talks in Beijing (Xinhua)
2012-03-08
Representatives from the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a meeting here on Wednesday to discuss the details of a food aid agreement. "This issue is complicated, and we had a good session today," Robert King, U.S. special envoy for DPRK human rights issues, said at a press briefing after the full day of talks. The two sides discussed a number of issues and made some progress, he said. According to the U.S. diplomat, the morning session was held in the DPRK Embassy, and the afternoon session was held in the U.S. Embassy. "We still have issues to be resolved. We will be meeting tomorrow," King told reporters. King arrived in Beijing Tuesday afternoon for the talks in which the two sides are expected to finalize details for proposed U.S. food aid to the DPRK. The food aid is part of the agreement between the two nations that was unveiled last week. According to the agreement, the DPRK has agreed to suspend its nuclear tests, long-range missile launches and uranium enrichment activity at Nyongbyon, and allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to monitor the moratorium on uranium enrichment. [...]. ^ top ^

DPRK senior diplomat attends security conference in New York (Xinhua)
2012-03-09
A senior diplomat from the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday attended a security conference in New York amid wide attentions on the country's recent decision to suspend its nuclear activities. Ri Yong-ho, DPRK's vice foreign minister and envoy for the six- party talks, joined the conference focused on peace in Northeast Asia, which his South Korean counterpart Lim Sung Nam also attended. But it is still unclear if the two have held talks at the occasion. According to a statement released by Maxwell School of Syracuse University, one of the event's organizers, the two-day conference, held at a hotel in New York city, is designed as "an unofficial Track II initiative intended to foster peace and cooperation in Northeast Asia." The details of the closed-door meeting are not immediately known, but the university statement said that a press briefing will be held at the end of the conference on Friday. [...]. ^ 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.
 
Page created and hosted by SinOptic Back to the top of the page To SinOptic - Services and Studies on the Chinese World's Homepage