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
  21-27.4.12, No. 420  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China, Canada to promote ties through cultural exchanges (Xinhua)
2012-04-21
China and Canada agreed Thursday to further deepen ties by improving cultural understanding between the two peoples through exchanges. "I hope we can work together to strengthen cultural exchanges and cooperation in order to bring our bilateral relations to a new stage," Li Changchun, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), said at a meeting with David Johnston, governor-general of Canada. Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, was in Ottawa on a four-day official visit to Canada, with an aim to improve cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. [...] "Cultural exchange and cooperation between our two countries have been further strengthened. A series of cooperation programs in various forms and with rich content have been carried out, and Canadians' fervor in learning Chinese is rising, which has helped enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples," Li said. Li said he hoped that the cultural and educational departments of the two countries could build on past achievements and continue to strengthen dialogue and cooperation so as to achieve even better results. For his part, Johnston said he has a deep personal affection for China and has visited China more than ten times. [...] After the meeting, Li visited the Canadian Museum of Civilization and attended a ceremony, during which the two countries signed two cooperation agreements on copyright and education. ^ top ^

Senior Chinese political advisor meets Yemeni guests (Xinhua)
2012-04-21
Senior political advisor Sun Jiazheng met with a delegation of Yemeni Alliance for Reform headed by Saeed Shamsan Ahmed Al-maamari in Beijing on Friday. Sun, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said during the meeting that further development of China and Yemen relations is in the interests of the two peoples, and benefits world peace and stability. "The Communist Party of China welcomes the first delegation from the Yemeni Alliance for Reform and is willing to enhance contact, increase mutual trust with the alliance and jointly develop the two countries' relations in a comprehensive way," Sun said. Al-maamari, head of the alliance's political section, said China's opening up, and economic and social development is very impressive. "Yemen is willing to further strengthen communication and cooperation with the Communist Party of China so as to upgrade the two countries' overall cooperation," he said. ^ top ^

China calls on Syrian parties to cooperate with Annan (China Daily)
2012-04-22
China on Saturday called on all the Syrian parties, including the Syrian government and oppositions, to fully cooperate with Kofi Annan, the joint special envoy of the UN and Arab League for Syria, in order to pave the way for the launch of a Syrian-led inclusive political process. Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, made the statement as he was taking the floor at the UN Security Council after the council unanimously approved the deployment to Syria of up to 300 unarmed military observers to monitor a week-long ceasefire negotiated by Annan. China is one of the co-sponsors of the just-adopted resolution. "We urge all parties, the Syrian government and opposition included, to fully cooperate with Mr. Annan in his good offices efforts and create conditions for the launch of a Syrian-led inclusive political process," Li said. "We also call upon the international community to continue its firm support for Mr. Annan's good offices' efforts and consolidate the results having been achieved and we strongly oppose any word and act aimed at creating difficulties for Mr. Annan's good offices," he said. [...] China has expressed its willingness to contribute personnel to the UN Supervision Mission in Syria (UNSMIS). "The immediate and full deployment of UNSMIS is of critical significance for solidifying the progress made by Mr. Annan's good offices and for promoting the full implementation of his six-point proposal," Li said. [...] "We hope that the Supervision Mission will fully respect Syria' s sovereignty and dignity, act in strict accordance with the authorization of the Security Council, adhere to the principles of neutrality, objectivity, and impartiality and play an active and constructive role in pushing for sustained cessation of violence in Syria," Li said. [...]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen's milestone visit injects impetus to China-Iceland ties (Xinhua)
2012-04-22
Reyjavik - Though far apart, China and Iceland have pledged to cooperate more closely in the fields of geothermal energy, Arctic affairs and economy during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's milestone visit to the island nation. Wen began the first official visit by a Chinese premier in 41 years to Iceland on Friday [...]. In a move to further advance their cooperation in geothermal energy, Premier Wen and Iceland Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir on Friday witnessed the signing ceremony of six documents covering bilateral cooperation in geothermal energy, geosciences and Arctic studies among other fields. [...] Meanwhile, Wen's visit was also highlighted by consensus on Arctic affairs, with the two countries clinching a framework agreement on Arctic cooperation and a document on marine and polar science cooperation. The two prime ministers also agreed to carry out close consultations on Arctic affairs. Sigurdardottir said Iceland backs China to be an observer of the Arctic Council, and supports China's participation in the peaceful exploration in the region. [...]

The two leaders also struck an upbeat tone about their economic ties, with a pledge to expedite their free trade talks. In his meeting with Icelandic President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, Wen suggested that China and Iceland speed up the negotiating process, which was officially launched in 2007, and strive together to bring forth the first free trade zone between China and a European nation next year. [...] Iceland is the first Western European country recognizing China's market economy status and the first country in Europe conducting Free Trade Area (FTA) negotiations with China. [...]. ^ top ^

China's top political advisor meets Thai PM on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin met with Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Monday and discussed the development of bilateral relations. Jia conveyed sincere greetings from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Yingluck, who just wrapped up her visit to China last week. Jia said Yingluck's visit and the joint action plan the two countries settled for future strategic cooperation made the bilateral relationship stand at a new historic starting point and mapped out a broader prospect for the development of bilateral ties. Jia said Thailand is the first among ASEAN countries to establish strategic partnership of cooperation with China. He said China was ready to make closer cooperation with Thailand, an intimate friend and reliable cooperative partner, to promote a fast growth of the bilateral ties. He added that the two countries should make their ties play a leading role in maintaining the region's hard-won peace, stability and development. That is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, and will be conducive to peace and stability in Asia and the world. Jia said China will keep close coordination with Thailand, who will be the coordinator between China and the ASEAN in this year, to push forward the east Asian cooperation to score greater achievements. [...] China is an important country in Asia, whose stable development is of great importance to the whole region, she said, adding Thailand would join hands with China to further promote the China- ASEAN ties and to promote and maintain Asian countries' unity, cooperation and the region's peace and stability. [...]. ^ top ^

China urges int'l cooperation in combating illegal migration, violence against migrants (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
China's Deputy Minister of Justice Zhao Dacheng on Monday said the Chinese government is of the view that international cooperation should be further strengthened to combat illegal migration and violence against migrants. Against the background of rapid globalization, migration can sometimes bring with it problems such as trafficking and integrating into the local society, he said in a speech at the United Nations' 21st Session of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna. Migrants are often rendered vulnerable abroad being unfamiliar with the local language, laws and culture and their rights, Zhao said. In such a setting, workers can fall victim to human trafficking and smuggling, kidnapping, physical assault, extortion and forced labor. [...] Zhao said it was important for countries and international organizations to take joint measures to manage the movement of migrants and prevent violence against migrants and their families. The deputy minister added that China continues to welcome foreign nationals to legally work in China and continues to improve its border control and migration activities. He stressed, however, that the Chinese government is resolutely opposed to and carries out crackdowns on organized transnational crimes including illegal migration, smuggling and human trafficking. Zhao said combating transnational crimes require strengthened dialogue and cooperation between countries. In this aspect, the United Nations should step up coordination and cooperation in a joint response to all types of new crimes such as cyber crimes and smuggling of cultural property, he stated. Stepping up technical assistance and building capacity in developing countries is also crucial, he remarked. ^ top ^

China to promote cooperation with Sweden in sustainable development: Chinese premier (Xinhua)
2012-04-25
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told his Swedish counterpart Fredrik Reinfeldt here Tuesday that China would like to promote cooperation with Sweden in environmental protection and sustainable development. Sweden has been a global leader in environmental protection and sustainable development, while China takes sustainable development as a national strategy, said Wen, adding that China is ready to carry out long-term and all-around cooperation with Sweden in policy dialogue and mechanism construction. During his meeting with Reinfeldt, Wen said China will take concrete steps to back its enterprises and research institutions to cement innovation cooperation with Sweden, which is the most innovative country within the European Union (EU). Treating Sweden as an important cooperative partner, China highly values its influence in Europe and international affairs, and is willing to strengthen coordination and collaboration with Sweden to push forward bilateral ties. [...] While encouraging Chinese companies to do business in Sweden, China hopes that Sweden could push the EU to launch negotiations with China on an investment deal as soon as possible, he said. [...] Reinfeldt [...] urged the two countries to step up their cooperation in areas such as environmental protection, sustainable development and innovation. [...] He promised that Sweden would like to play an active role in promoting EU-China relationship. After the meeting, Wen and Reinfeldt attended a signing ceremony of cooperation agreements between the two countries and met the press. The two sides also issued a framework document on strengthening strategic cooperation in sustainable development. Before meeting Reinfeldt, Wen also held talks with the King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf in Stockholm. Earlier Tuesday, Premier Wen visited China-owned but Gothenburg-based Volvo Cars Corporation, where he hailed the combination of Geely and Volvo as an "example of success" for cooperation between the two nations' enterprises. [...]. ^ top ^

SCO defense ministers' meeting held in Beijing (Xinhua)
2012-04-25
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Defense Ministers' Meeting was held in Beijing on Tuesday. The meeting was chaired by Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie and attended by defense officials at ministerial level from other SCO members, including Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. The ministers agreed to enhance cooperation to battle separatism, extremism and terrorism as well as drug trafficking and cross-border organized crimes, according to a joint communique released after Tuesday's meeting. They reiterated that the SCO is not a military or political alliance and its major task in safeguarding security lies in jointly combating terrorism and other security challenges in the region by strengthening military trust. Ministers from the Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan decided to conduct 2014 SCO anti-terrorism military exercise in China. ^ top ^

Increased global spending 'should mean bigger say' (China Daily)
2012-04-25
An increased global expenditure in the Ministry of Finance's 2012 budget plan reflects China's vision of playing a bigger role in international financial affairs, but experts said the bigger contribution should be accompanied by a bigger say. According to the ministry's budget report on its website on Monday, its expenditure this year will total 3.9 billion yuan ($623 million), up 34 percent year-on-year. The largest part of the increase includes special funds for an "optional capital increase in World Bank voting-right reform", "a general capital increase for the World Bank", and other donations to international organizations, which were new items in the 2012 budget plan. [...] Guo Tianyong, a professor at the Central University of Finance and Economics, said China and other BRICS countries are expressing discontent regarding the sluggish reform of international financial organizations, as well as calling for a bigger say. [...] The IMF's executive board of directors initially agreed in October 2010 to transfer 6 percent of the voting rights to under-represented countries, such as emerging economies, by the end of 2012, which would reduce Europe's dominance on the IMF board and put China in third place in the weighing of votes. But the draft will only be valid once it receives more than 85 percent of the votes. It has now won only 46 percent support from members. ^ top ^

Sino-Russian drills enter live-fire stage (China Daily)
2012-04-25
A fleet of Chinese and Russian navies, with three warships from each side, arrived at a joint drill area on Tuesday to conduct live-fire exercises, a move to ensure both sides' maritime interests by tackling new challenges and threats in the region. The six-day drill has formally entered the live-fire stage, experts said. Both navies will begin exercises including defense of air routes and maritime traffic routes, search and rescue operations and anti-submarine tactics, as well as practice on air, sea and underwater targets with cannons of various calibers on Wednesday and Thursday. The joint drills, taking place in the Yellow Sea from April 22 to Friday, involve 25 naval vessels, 13 aircraft, nine helicopters and two special fighting groups, making it the largest joint navy drill between the two nations in recent years. Four Russian warships from the Pacific fleet, including the aircraft carrier Varyag, are participating in the drills. Missile destroyers, missile frigates, missile boats, a support vessel and a hospital ship gathered from China's side. [...] People's Liberation Army Navy Commander Wu Shengli said on Tuesday that the first navy drill between Chinese and Russian navies could start a regular cooperation and more diversified joint exercises under the strategic partnership. However, the drill has unsettled China's neighbors, as another drill is being conducted by the Philippines and the United States near the South China Sea. The PLA Daily said on Monday that unnecessary concerns over the drill could become an obstacle to forging even closer ties between China and Russia and the development of both countries. The drill no longer focuses as usual on anti-terrorism but on safeguarding regional security, said Liang Fang, a professor at the Strategic Research Institute at the National Defense University of the PLA. "Both China and Russia are strong maritime powers that want to use the drill to ensure the safety of their maritime territories and sea lines of communication," she said. [...] "Besides, this navy drill, though the biggest one between the two countries so far, is smaller than those conducted by the US and its allies." The US and the Philippines' military exercises are scheduled to last until Friday. Philippine officials have said the exercises are not linked to the Huangyan Island standoff and are not meant to provoke China. Philippine Department of National Defense also said on Monday that there was nothing unusual with the naval exercises between China and Russia. ^ top ^

China, Poland agree to deepen strategic partnership (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
Warsaw - Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk held talks here Wednesday and reached important consensus on deepening the strategic partnership between their countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Poland have always understood and supported each other on issues concerning each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, and have respected each other's choice of development path, although the two countries and the world at large have changed significantly, Wen said. Noting that the international political, economic and security situations are undergoing profound changes, he said China highly values Poland's development potential and its influence on European and international affairs. China is ready to strengthen high-level contacts and enhance cooperation in various fields with Poland to push forward the China-Poland strategic partnership, he added. China, he said, agrees to establish a regular meeting mechanism between the two countries' prime ministers so as to enhance political mutual trust and strategic communications. Meanwhile, Beijing endorses the creation of an inter-governmental commission to coordinate bilateral collaboration in various areas and the formulation of medium- and long-term plans for economic and trade cooperation, he added. The two sides should take vigorous steps to double their trade within five years, he said. Wen also suggested that the two countries set up a steering committee for industrial cooperation and boost collaboration in investment, infrastructure, new energy and high technology. The Chinese premier also urged the two sides to promote exchanges on culture, education and tourism and on sub-national levels so as to deepen mutual understanding and friendship. China highly appreciates the preparations Poland has made for the upcoming leaders' meeting and trade forum between China and central and eastern European countries, Wen said. He reaffirmed that China is willing to keep close cooperation with Poland and other countries concerned to open a new chapter of friendly cooperation between China and central and eastern Europe. [...] While pointing out that the Poland-China relationship is at its highest level in history, the Polish prime minister said he fully agrees with the measures proposed by Wen on strengthening bilateral relations. [...] Warsaw is also willing to fully tap its influence and advantages to make positive contributions to strengthening mutual understanding and cooperation between China and central and eastern Europe as well as the broader Europe-China relations, said Tusk. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing to send envoy to Sudans (SCMP)
2012-04-26
China will send its envoy for Africa to Sudan and South Sudan to urge talks, as it works with the United States to bring an end to border fighting that has raised fears of a full-scale war, Chinese government officials said yesterday. The announcement came as the president of the world's newest nation, South Sudan, cut short a visit to China due to the rising threat of war at home. [...] President Hu Jintao, whose country has significant oil and business interests in both African nations, told South Sudan's President Salva Kiir on Tuesday that the two Sudans should return to talks. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said: "Our special envoy to Africa will soon visit the two countries to continue urging talks." "Actually, he already went at the beginning of this year. "This is the second time he will go to Sudan and South Sudan to promote talks," Liu said, referring to China's newly appointed envoy, Zhong Jianhua. "China is deeply concerned," he said, reiterating calls for calm and restraint. [...] Meanwhile, at a separate briefing, Vice-Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said that China was working with the United States to try to end the crisis. "Both of our countries have special envoys who are in very close touch," Cui said. "China and the United States are working on the issue through our own channels. We hope Sino-US co-operation on this issue will pay off," he said. South Sudanese government spokesman Dr Barnaba Marial Benjamin said earlier this month that Chinese and American investors wanted to build oil refineries in the South in the next six to seven months. He said the refineries would help South Sudan process fuel for local consumption. [...]. ^ top ^

Prime ministers' summit marks closer China-central, eastern Europe ties (Xinhua)
2012-04-27
Warsaw - Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and governmental leaders from 16 central and eastern European countries discussed advancing ties here on Thursday. The leaders included the prime ministers of Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, and the deputy prime ministers of Albania and Bulgaria. According to a press communique issued after the summit, China reaffirmed support for European integration and the measures taken by central and eastern European nations to promote healthy economic development. Meanwhile, the European countries welcomed China's contribution to the world economy through its fast yet steady economic growth. The leaders agreed to deepen practical cooperation in trade, investment, fiscal and financial areas. And China would take positive steps to back cooperation with the European countries in infrastructure, high and new technology and clean energy. Aiming to further bolster two-way investment, the leaders expressed committment to eradicating trade and investment protectionism. They also agreed to advance people-to-people exchanges. The senior officials welcomed the progress made in cooperation beween China and the central and eastern European region, and upheld that expanding relations with China conform with the common aspiration and fundamental interests of the people in each country. They would treat each other equally, and take a strategic vision from the long-term perspective in viewing ties with each other, the communique said. ^ top ^

Manila school ploy slammed (Global Times)
2012-04-27
Beijing Thursday demanded Manila stop any activities that may further complicate the South China Sea issue, after the Philippines said it intended to open a school on China's Zhongye Island in the region. "We hope the Philippines can observe the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and refrain from making petty actions that may escalate tensions," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said. "We demand that Manila take Beijing's concerns seriously, stop spreading fact-distorting claims and cease from asking other countries to intervene or to take sides," Liu stressed. The Philippines said Thursday it will open a primary school on Zhongye, which will have two teachers and 35 students. About 80 people live on the island. The plan came amid an ongoing standoff that has persisted for nearly half a month since two Chinese surveillance ships came to the rescue of Chinese fishermen who had been harassed by Philippine warships in waters near Huangyan Island. In an effort to ease the tension, China has withdrawn two vessels from the waters, while the Philippine side has shown no signs of backing down. It called on other countries involved in maritime issues with Beijing to "take a stand" against China, but has gained little response so far. [...] Manila did not seem to get the backing it wanted from its "patron" when Washington expressed hope that the dispute will be resolved through "dialogues" and "consensual means," the Xinhua News Agency commented. Also Thursday, in response to Manila's plan to bring the Huangyan Island dispute to the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea for arbitration, Liu said Huangyan Island and its surrounding waters have been an integral part of China since ancient times, and the issue does not need international arbitration. "China's actions during the Huangyan Island standoff have been prudent and just," Ji said. "If necessary, China could dispatch more maritime surveillance vessels and fishery boats to the disputed area." Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said Thursday at a press meeting that Chinese armed forces will fulfill their responsibility under the country's unified instructions. He stated that the ongoing sea test of the country's aircraft carrier is not related to the current regional situation. "China's gestures of good will should never be misinterpreted as being weak and easily bullied. Any attempt to resort to external forces to complicate the issue is unwise and doomed to failure," Xinhua said. The State Oceanic Administration of China announced that it had approved plans to build docks on Xisha and Nansha Islands, without offering more details. ^ top ^

China urges El Salvador to reject Chinese detainees (Xinhua)
2012-04-27
China on Thursday urged El Salvador to reject two Chinese detainees that the United States transferred from the Guantanamo Bay detention camp to the South American state last week. The two Chinese Uygurs are members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which is listed as a terrorist group and sanctioned by the United Nations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a press briefing. China has lodged solemn representation to the United States on the transfer of the two detainees from the Guantanamo detention camp to El Salvador, he said. "China always resolutely opposes the U.S. releasing Chinese terrorist suspects on its land or transferring them to a third country, and it opposes any third country taking them in any name," Liu said. According to relevant UN resolutions, all countries should refuse to provide secure shelter to those who have funded, planned or implemented terrorist activities, and they should also refuse to provide shelter to terrorist actions or personnel, Liu said. "We urge the U.S. to correct its mistakes, and hope El Salvador could be clearly aware of the danger of those suspects, attach importance to China's concern, implement international obligation and refuse to accept those suspects," he said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Ex-tycoon sidesteps sentence of death (China Daily)
2012-04-21
The Supreme People's Court on Friday rejected the death sentence for millionaire Wu Ying, in what experts described as a possible turnaround in the Chinese justice system's attitude toward private fundraising. While upholding the conviction and the legitimacy of previous judicial proceedings, the top court declined to approve the sentence and referred the case back to the high court of Zhejiang province. [...] Wu, once considered one of the richest women in China, was sentenced to death in 2009 by the local court in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, for illegally fundraising 770 million yuan ($122 million), more than half of which she lost in failed investments. Wu's case attracted widespread attention because it showed the inadequacy of the nation's financial system to support small and medium-sized enterprises, which left room for fundraising initiatives by private individuals. [...] Wu was involved in what is known as shadow banking - financial transactions outside regulated institutions in which money is raised privately, often with promises of high returns. Such extralegal activities have flourished as large State banks have tightened the reins on lending to small firms. [...] But experts believe things are about to change after the developments in Wu's case and after a pilot project was approved by the central government in Wenzhou allowing private lenders to register as private institutions that can operate with the blessing of the State. [...] "The court's decision marks a turnaround for the nation's underground lending," said Yao Minglong, a professor with Zhejiang University school of management. He believes the country will start making new financial rules to help shadow banking come out of the shadows. Earlier this month, Premier Wen Jiabao declared that the State-owned banks' monopoly must be broken, and hinted that the reforms in Wenzhou would be expanded nationally if successful. ^ top ^

China tightens school cafeteria supervision after food poisoning incidents (Xinhua)
2012-04-21
China's food safety and educational authorities Friday vowed to increase supervision over school cafeterias following several instances of food poisoning. In a document jointly issued by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) and the Ministry of Education, food safety authorities pledged to improve daily inspections of school canteens and catering companies employed by schools. Those that fail to meet food safety standards will be demanded to rectify the situation and make a corresponding report to relevant educational authorities. If they fail to correct their wrongdoings, they will have their operations suspended, the document said. A credit reference system for school canteens and catering enterprises will be established and will allow for public consultation, it said. Teachers, students and their families are welcome to supervise the canteens, it added. The latest alleged food poisoning incident at a school was reported Friday in southwest China's Yunnan province. A total of 126 primary school students in Luxi county have been hospitalized with suspected food poisoning, according to local authorities. [...]. ^ top ^

Chongqing registers 14.4% GDP growth in Q1 (China Daily)
2012-04-21
Seeing Chongqing's GDP increase by 14.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2012, foreign businesses are expressing confidence in the municipality's prospects for having strong economic growth and good investment opportunities in the near future. Data from the local statistics bureau indicate that Chongqing's GDP reached 252.39 billion yuan ($40 billion) in the first quarter of the year. The city's 14.4-percent growth rate was the third fastest recorded among all provinces and municipalities and was 6.3 percentage points higher than the national average. Meanwhile, the output value of foreign enterprises and joint ventures increased by 29.7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, and many enterprises expressed optimism about the local economy's prospects for future growth. [...] Foreign enterprises expressed confidence in the future development of Chongqing after the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China appointed Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang to replace Bo Xilai as secretary of the CPC Chongqing municipal committee on March 15. The CPC Central Committee later decided to suspend Bo from his posts on the committee and its Political Bureau, saying "Bo is suspected of being involved in serious violations of discipline". On Tuesday, Zhang met with Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard Co, and said the city would stick to the opening-up policy and maintain the continuity and stability of its policies. [...]. ^ top ^

Local govt's involved in illegal land transfers (China Daily)
2012-04-22
China's National Audit Office on Friday said a spot check of land transfers made in 2009 and 2010 revealed that nearly 70 percent of the cities and counties surveyed were involved in illegal activity. The latest audit looked at eight provinces and three municipalities, including Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai. A spot check in 24 cities and counties found that 16 of them violated land transfer regulations in 2009 and 2010. In seven cities and counties, including Shenyang in Liaoning province and Yichang and Xiangyang in Hubei province, local governments re-purposed a total of 13,606 hectares of collectively owned land without going through the proper procedures. Local governments later took back 11,726 hectares of land, the audit said. [...] The office said the governments mentioned in the audit report are improving their land management system and strengthening supervision of the land market. The top audit agency also said more than 1.5 billion yuan ($238 million) from land transfer fees were illegally allocated in 12 cities and counties to purchase or build office buildings, residential buildings and theaters. During the audit, three cases involving illegal land use were reported to local authorities and 10 people were punished, but no further details were revealed. [...] Yan Jinming, a land management professor at Renmin University of China, said local governments are often tempted to illegally transfer land since the fees generated from the process are the main source of revenue for local governments. ^ top ^

Police confiscate 77 mln contaminated gel capsules (Xinhua)
2012-04-23
The Ministry of Public Security said Sunday that it has confiscated 77 million capsules made from toxic chromium-contained industrial gelatin. The ministry have arrested nine suspects, detained 54 and sealed 80industrial gelatin and gel capsule manufacturing lines, the ministry said in a statement. The ministry deployed local branches in Hebei, Zhejiang and Jiangxi provinces to investigate the toxic capsule case immediately after the scandal was exposed last week, it said. To date it has investigated seven related cases. The local drug watchdog said on Sunday that it has seized 1,317 kilograms of capsules in Jiangxi that it suspected were made from the industrial gelatin. Meanwhile, an employee of the Hebei Xueyang Glair Gelatin Factory was detained by police Saturday evening, after allegedly setting fire to the plant on instruction from his superiors, in a bid to destroy the evidence. The ministry promised to fully cooperate with the food and drug administrations to conduct a nationwide overhaul of capsule production to ensure the toxic capsules are destroyed. The case of the industrial-gelatin contaminated gel capsules has resulted in public uproar. ^ top ^

China's 2012 health budget grows (China Daily)
2012-04-24
China's Ministry of Health reported Monday that its 2012 budget will amount to 80 billion yuan (about 12.69 billion US dollars), showing a year-on-year increase of 13.3 billion yuan. According to a statement released by the ministry, the extra money will be mainly used in medical services, education and scientific research. Medical services will get the lion's share, 10.9 billion yuan, in order to improve the capacity of major clinical departments of public hospitals in line with the country's medical reform drive. Meanwhile, 236 million yuan will be allocated to education, 1.7 billion to research projects, which include the development of new drugs and the prevention and control of major infectious diseases such as AIDS and viral hepatitis. ^ top ^

China to continue transgenetic research (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
China's scientists will continue to make breakthroughs in the area of transgenetic research, according to Vice Minister of Science and Technology Zhang Laiwu. The Ministry of Science and Technology will speed up the construction of seed breeding centers in accordance with this endeavor, Zhang said at a Monday press conference. Zhang called for efforts to help the seed industry break new ground and the construction of a commercial system for the industry, with enterprises as its mainstay. "China has thousands of small seed companies, but none of them can provide seeds and relevant services that are good enough. The domestic seed market for corn and high-end vegetables is occupied by foreign competitors," Zhang said. According to Zhang, the ministry invested 18.7 billion yuan ($2.97 billion) in agricultural science projects during the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) period, more than triple the amount invested in the five preceding years. The investment supported projects focusing on grain security, plant and animal breeding and the prevention and treatment of agricultural epidemics, Zhang said. [...]. ^ top ^

China's legislature reads draft amendment to Civil Procedure Law (Xinhua)
2012-04-25
China's legislature read a draft amendment to the Civil Procedure Law for the second time at a bimonthly session scheduled to run from Tuesday to Friday. A draft amendment to the Civil Procedure Law allows people to sue for up to 10,000 yuan (around 1,587 U.S. dollars) in small claims court, marking an increase from the previous monetary cap of 5,000 yuan. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, also continued reading a draft law on servicepeople's insurance and a draft law on exit and entry administration. China may impose harsher punishments upon people who enter or exit the country illegally, according to the draft law on exit and entry administration. The draft law on servicepeople's insurance exempts those serving in the country's armed forces from paying premiums for their death and injury insurance and provides that premiums will be covered by the state. At the same time, a draft amendment to the law on agricultural technology promotion was submitted to the legislature for a first reading. The election of deputies to the 12th NPC shall be completed in January 2013, two months prior to the end of five-year term of the current 11th NPC. In March this year, the NPC's annual session adopted the decision on deputy election for the 12th NPC. The ongoing legislative session also deliberated draft plans on quota distribution for the 12th NPC deputy election, which were worked out at a chairman and chairpersons' meeting of the NPC Standing Committee held earlier this month. In addition, the session heard an explanation on the deliberation and approval of the No. 8 Annexation of Protocol for the Organizing Law of Universal Postal Union. ^ top ^

Man jailed for online police abuse slander (China Daily)
2012-04-25
A Chinese man was sentenced to two years in prison on Tuesday after being convicted of libel over trumped-up accusations of torture and abuse of power by two policemen on the Internet. Hu Lianyou was convicted by the People's Court of Dong'an County, Hunan province, for his comments posted on popular websites including Sina.com since September 2010 against Dong'an county police chief Zheng Hang and one of his subordinates, Qin Liangbei, the court verdict said. Hu's slander of police torture, corruption, and collusion with criminal gangs was "pure rumor" and has badly affected the lives of the policemen, their families, and the reputation of the police office, according to court officials, citing the plaintiff. The policemen brought the libel suit before the Dong'an county procuratorate last July. According to police records, Hu had been held at least twice by Dong'an police. He was detained for leading a mob to attack government offices in 1995 and for alleged drug trafficking in 2000. At Tuesday's trial, Hu insisted that he was beaten up in police custody and after release locked up repeatedly for "illegal petition activities". The court said Hu could appeal his sentence within 10 days after receiving the verdict. Chinese authorities have been cracking down on online rumors. In the latest campaign, police have removed more than 210,000 online posts and shut down 42 websites since mid March. People who spread rumors on the Internet in China risk breaking laws depending on the content of the posts, Liu Zhengrong, a senior official with the State Internet Information Office warned earlier this month. China's Criminal Law recognizes slander in crimes ranging from subversion of the state, spreading terrorist information, to libel, he said. However, online posts regarding the corruption of government officials has helped China's anti-graft authorities investigate and solve such cases in recent years. There are also several bribe-reporting websites in operation, though the practice remains controversial. [...]. ^ top ^

Top colleges to get more entrants from poor areas (China Daily)
2012-04-25
About 10,000 high school graduates from China's 680 impoverished counties of 21 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities will receive preferential treatment to enter the country's top universities, the China Youth Daily reported Tuesday. The Ministry of Education announced on its website the additional 10,000 entrants will not affect regular enrollment at the elite universities. The plan will last for five years from May 2012. The new policy requires candidates should be locals and studied for three years at a local high school and passed China's college entrance examination. [...] The enrolled students cannot change their majors at universities and are encouraged to work in their hometowns after graduation. [...] According to the report, the top universities will have an additional 10 percent of students to their roster to help more than one million candidates in China's impoverished areas. ^ top ^

Police denies torture claim from ex-soccer head (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
Chinese police has denied a claim by the country's former soccer head Xie Yalong that he had been tortured into confessing to bribe-taking. The 56-year-old Xie, who stood trial for 12 counts of bribery worth over 1.7 million yuan (about 273,000 U.S. dollars), told a court in Dandong, Liaoning Province, on Tuesday that he had admitted to the crimes he didn't commit because he feared for his life. The former director of the Football Administrative Center said that he had been tortured with electric shocks, beaten, and doused with water while being interrogated during investigations. Liu Leguo, deputy director of Liaoning Public Security Bureau which oversaw the investigative team on Chinese soccer corruption, denounced Xie's claim as "groundless" in an interview with Xinhua. "We have substantial evidences to refute Xie Yalong's claim," said Liu. "He and his attorneys claimed to the media, without any evidence, that he had been beaten up by police. They should be held responsible for what they said." Four police officers on the investigative team told Xinhua that they had never roughed up Xie. Xie was one of the two highest ranking soccer officials put on trial for bribery. His successor as China's top soccer administrator, Nan Yong, went on trial on similar charges, a day after proceedings opened against Xie. Nan, charged on 17 counts of bribery totaling 1.489 million yuan (236,000 U.S. dollars), confessed to having taken money and gifts but didn't admit to the crimes. [...] China's latest wave of crackdown on soccer corruption has brought down dozens of officials, referees, club managers and players. [...]. ^ top ^

'Coverage can affect judgment' (China Daily)
2012-04-26
A senior judge from the top court on Wednesday warned of possible interference in the independent court's judgment from public sentiment affected by misleading or biased media coverage. "Media coverage can help the court system to hear better from the public and avoid injustice, but media hype and misleading reports may sometimes interfere with judicial credibility," said Shen Deyong, vice-president of the Supreme People's Court. Shen said the courts should have the courage to eliminate all improper interference from the media, and always insist on principles to carry out independent judgments based on facts and in accordance with laws, to ensure that the cases are dealt with in a fair and objective way. [...] "Although facing a severe test and pressure under the influence of modern media, the courts will continue to deepen judicial openness and transparency, and try to improve trial quality," said Shen. Shen suggested that to properly handle the relationship between justice and the media, "We must distinguish between media coverage and interference, and we can't simply consider observation by the media to be disturbing the independence of a trial." The Supreme People's Court on April 20 rejected the death sentence of millionaire Wu Ying amid wide exposure to media attention. Wu was convicted of illegally fundraising as much as 770 million yuan ($122 million) for investment. While upholding the conviction and legitimacy of previous judicial proceedings, the court declined to approve the sentence and referred the case back to the high court in Zhejiang province. [...] Wu's case attracted attention from domestic and international media, which complained about the inadequacy of the nation's monopolistic financial system and difficulties facing private businesses in fundraising. The top court made the final verdict to reject her death sentence at a time of wide media coverage and pressure. The court made a judicial attachment of nearly 1,000 words to explain reasons for its decision. Shen said the media should try to grasp the need for balance between public expectation and the judicial trial. ^ top ^

Legislature deliberates report on Chinese prisons, others (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
China's top legislature deliberated a report concerning conditions and law implementation in prisons, among three reports, on Wednesday, the second day of an ongoing bimonthly session. Earnings of prison-run enterprises no longer act as the primary financial source for Chinese prisons, said Minister of Justice Wu Aiying during the report to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC). Wu said funding for China's prisons is now mainly provided by central and provincial government spending. Security conditions in China's prisons have been improved. The number of prisoners who escaped in 2011 was 86.7 percent lower than that of 2005, and cases of serious incidents in jails reduced by 72.7 percent in the same time frame, the Minister of Justice added. Minister of Water Resources Chen Lei delivered a report to legislators on agricultural and water resources development. The country's investment in water resources will reach 4 trillion yuan (634.8 billion U.S. dollars) by 2020, Chen said. Total investment in water resources amounted to a record high of 345.2 billion yuan last year, 231.1 billion yuan of which came from local governments, indicated a separate report from the ministry. Chen elaborated on problems with farmland irrigation and water conservation projects, suggesting further increasing investment and developing water-saving irrigation and dry farming to a large scale. [...] The legislators also deliberated a report on the administration of entry-exit, residence and employment for foreigners, which was delivered by Yang Huanning, vice minister of public security. [...] The official's report came after a new visa category titled "talent introduction" had been added to a draft law on China's exit and entry administration. [...] According the draft law, China will issue more green cards and ease restrictions for visa-free entry to encourage more talented individuals from overseas to work in the country. [...]. ^ top ^

China to strengthen management of illegal aliens (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
China will strengthen management of foreigners illegally entering, living or working in China, a senior police officer vowed Wednesday. Vice Minister of Public Security Yang Huanning made the remark while delivering a report on the administration of entry-exit, residence and employment of foreigners to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress [...]. According to Yang, the crackdown will include improving visa policy, strengthening border control, repatriating illegal aliens, and setting up repatriation locations in regions that have large numbers of such foreigners. Yang said it is difficult to manage foreigners illegally entering, living or working in China, as there is no detainment locations for them and a lack of foreign-language-speaking police staff. "Some foreigners refuse to provide their real identities, and some foreign embassies and consulates in China are inefficient in verifying identities," said the public security official. Most illegally entered foreigners are from neighboring countries, said Yang, adding that languages training, performance, housekeeping and labor-intensive industries are the main sectors illegally employing foreigners. Police last year investigated more than 20,000 incidents in which foreigners illegally entered, lived or worked in China, double the number of 1995, according to Yang. Almost 600,000 foreigners lived in China for more than six months in 2011, compared to only 20,000 in 1980, while 220,000 foreigners were employed in the country in 2011, compared to 74,000 in 2000. A draft law on exit and entry administration was submitted Tuesday to lawmakers for its second reading. The draft stipulates harsher punishments for people who enter or exit China illegally. ^ top ^

Centers to promote TCM overseas (China Daily)
2012-04-27
China will build 10 traditional Chinese medicine trading centers worldwide by 2015 to develop TCM services in Southeast Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. The State Council Information Office held a news conference on Thursday to discuss advice given by 14 administrative departments on measures to develop the TCM industry. Building trading centers was one of the eight key tasks announced at the news conference. [...] Other key tasks include fostering TCM talents, supporting scientific innovations and developing a statistics system for TCM trade. Currently, China exports its TCM services, such as TCM training and medical treatments, to 160 countries and regions worldwide. The services are provided mainly through the following channels - foreign tourists visiting China to gain TCM services, Chinese doctors providing remote service through the Internet and Chinese TCM doctors going abroad to practice medicine or to open clinics. Statistics show that the total trading volume of TCM services is nearly 2.5 billion yuan ($397 million), said Wang Guoqiang, director of the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine. "The whole health industry will see favorable development in the coming years, both at home and abroad, and I believe TCM will have a large part to play," Wang said. Wang also said that TCM services are facing challenges in the international market. "The Chinese culture is so different from Western culture, so TCM still does not have high approval in some Western countries. "At home, our understanding about international trading is not enough, and we do not have globally recognized TCM brands," Wang said. [...] "TCM has a long history in China, and is an industry that China owns completely independent intellectual property rights," said Qiu Hong, assistant minister of commerce. "As a result, developing TCM trading will accelerate spreading the Chinese culture to the world, enhance the TCM industry worldwide and benefit China's own TCM industry," Qiu said. [...]. ^ top ^

China to boost number of social workers (China Daily)
2012-04-27
China plans to strengthen its army of social workers by creating 1.45 million jobs by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, the government will outsource some social services to about 80,000 grassroots organizations to encourage them to play a more active role in helping vulnerable groups including migrant workers, HIV/AIDS carriers, the unemployed and the elderly. The decision, released on April 26 by 19 government departments including the Ministry of Civil Affairs, is part of a 10-year plan focused on cultivating social workers. The outline also said that the government will work hard to provide better social services in rural areas by training 50,000 social work professionals and set up 200 social work stations in poverty-stricken regions by the end of 2020. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

New rules to tackle water shortage in Beijing (China Daily)
2012-04-24
China's arid capital is short of 1.3 billion cubic meters of water this year, following successive droughts in the last 13 years, the Beijing-based Legal Affairs Evening News reported Monday, quoting sources inside the Beijing Water Authority. With a supply capacity of 2.4 billion cubic meters, Beijing is expected to consume 3.7 billion cubic meters of water this year, a year-on-year increase of 2.8 percent, according to Cheng Jing, head of the Beijing Water Authority. The gaping gap will be filled by recycling 750 million cubic meters of used water, moderately excessively exploiting underground water supplies and diverting water from nearby Hebei province to achieve a basic balance between water consumption and supply, Cheng said. In addition, new rules on water conservation will come into effect on July 1, including specific regulations on water purification facilities which reportedly produce only one ton of clean water for every three tons of source water. Commonly found in local communities, these notorious water guzzlers will be mandated to recycle their waste water. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Former Shanghai official sentenced to death for bribery (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
Chen Meng, the former deputy head of a district government in Shanghai, was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve for taking huge bribes, according to a court verdict handed down on Monday. The Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court found Chen guilty of taking bribes worth 15.48 million yuan (2.46 million U.S. dollars) at the first instance trial. Chen, born in 1962, took the bribes when he was the deputy head of the Songjiang District government between 2003 and early 2011, according to the court. He took advantage of his job, which involved supervising construction projects in the district, by offering benefits for those who managed the projects while taking bribes in return. Chen was transferred to the city's Putuo district, where he also acted as deputy head, before being detained last September. Chen has pled guilty to the charges against him.. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Former Wukan village heads expelled from Party (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
Two former officials from south China's Wukan village have been expelled from the Communist Party of China over corruption and election-rigging charges, provincial authorities announced Monday. Xue Chang, former Party chief of Wukan, and Chen Shunyi, former head of the village committee, were also ordered to hand over illegal gains of 189,200 yuan (30,031 U.S. dollars) and 86,000 yuan respectively, said Zeng Qingrong, deputy head of the supervision department of Guangdong Province. Wukan grabbed international headlines last year when the small village's residents staged three waves of large-scale rallies in four months to protest against village officials' alleged illegal land grabs, corruption and violations of financing and election rules. In December, after a senior provincial official held direct talks with villagers, order was restored. Re-elections were held earlier this year while the investigation into the villagers' complaints continued. Zeng said after three months of investigation, authorities found that Wukan's former officials were involved in illegal transfers of land use rights, embezzling collective properties, accepting bribes and rigging village elections. [...] Twelve township and municipal officials who collaborated with the Wukan officials in discipline violations were punished as well, including two who were transferred to judicial authorities for suspected law infringements. More than 1.06 million yuan of illegal gains had been confiscated from the officials involved. [...] Monday's announcement was welcomed by Wukan villagers, who also urged the authorities to swiftly settle the disputed land use rights concerning the land allegedly impropriated by businessmen through under-the-table deals with former village officials. [...] Lin Zulian, the newly elected village committee head, said some of the land issues are being tackled and he believes a satisfactory solution will come soon. Lin said Wukan's development is in full swing. Public projects including water supply, road repairs, and construction of school facilities that involve tens of millions of yuan are on the table for the government. But the new village head also stressed the need for security. "We are determined to install surveillance cameras around the village because it is important to maintain stability and the safety of the people," he said. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet's economy up 11.4 pct in Q1 (Xinhua)
2012-04-27
Tibet's economy grew by 11.4 percent year on year to reach 13.3 billion yuan (2.1 billion U.S. dollars) in the first quarter of this year, local authorities announced Thursday. During the period, social retail sales reached 5.7 billion yuan, up 14.3 percent, and foreign trade reached 255 million U.S. dollars, up 52.3 percent, a spokesman with the Tibet Regional Development and Reform Commission said. From January to March, Tibet received 230,000 visitors, up 23.7 percent from a year earlier, the spokesman said. Tourism revenue rose 27.9 percent to reach 229 million yuan during the period, he said. Tibet's economy achieved steady yet rapid development in the first quarter, he added. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Volkswagen inks Xinjiang deal (China Daily)
2012-04-24
Auto giant Volkswagen on Monday sealed a deal to build a new factory in China - where it plans to invest 14 billion euros ($18 billion) in five years - as visiting Premier Wen Jiabao and German Chancellor Angela Merkel attended the signing ceremony at the corporation's headquarters. The ceremony in Wolfsburg, the last event on Wen's agenda during his 24-hour stay in China's largest European trade partner, was largely symbolic. [...] But observers say the gesture came at a relevant time as China and Germany celebrate 40 years of diplomatic relations amid Berlin's push to save the eurozone. "Right now, bilateral cooperation is in the broadest, most vibrant and most fruitful period ever," Wen told a China-Germany business summit in Hannover on Monday. The strategic nature of Sino-German relations "can only be strengthened, not diminished" as the two countries work together to fuel the global recovery, he said. The Volkswagen deal, which involves opening a plant in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region that will be capable of producing up to 50,000 vehicles a year starting 2013, responded to Wen's cures for the European debt crisis during an earlier speech he gave at an industrial fair in Hannover on Sunday. Development of the real economy, innovation and collaboration would drive the recovery, he said. [...] Combining German technological expertise and competitive advantages that have driven its own growth, Beijing has described its cooperation with Berlin as win-win. [...] Ties between the two powerhouses have deepened significantly since Merkel took office in 2005. Merkel and Wen have each visited the other's country five times since. The China element is also highlighted at the ongoing Hannover Messe, a leading industrial fair Wen opened and addressed, along with Merkel, on Sunday. China is the sole partner country of the fair this year. [...] Germany has increased cooperation with China, especially after Merkel was reelected chancellor in 2009, when she cast eyes more on bilateral pragmatic cooperation rather than their ideological differences, Zhao Junjie, an expert on European studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told China Daily. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

World Buddhist Forum opens in HK, Panchen Lama speaks on Dharma (Global Times)
2012-04-27
The Third World Buddhist Forum opened Thursday in Hong Kong with more than 1,000 monks and scholars from over 50 countries and regions discussing the role of Buddhism in the construction of a harmonious society and peaceful world. The 11th Panchen Lama Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, one of the two most senior living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism who is visiting Hong Kong in his first public appearance outside the Chinese mainland, delivered a keynote speech on the Dharma. [...] China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin congratulated the opening of the forum in a congratulatory letter which was read out to the attendees by Zhu Weiqun, deputy head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, urged representatives of the forum to make contributions to kinder human relations, greater social harmony and a more peaceful world in his letter. [...] The theme of this forum "Common aspirations and actions towards a harmonious world" will surely galvanize Buddhists in all countries to work hand in hand towards a world of durable peace and common prosperity, Jia said. Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon also sent a congratulatory letter to the forum. Ban said the proposals raised by the forum would be helpful for the work of the UN in the three pillar fields of peace, development and human rights. [...] The Panchen Lama said there is a contemporary trend to put "materialistic technology" ahead of the "science of the mind" and "science of the mind" stands out as a path leading to harmony of the nature, peace in the world, concordance in societies and affection in families. [...] However, he added "increasing greediness in people's hearts has unbalanced the eco-systems, contaminated the environments, caused natural disasters, spread epidemics, induced wars and hence endangered all sentient beings now and in future." While people are searching for the remedy, "science of the mind" stands out as a path leading to harmony of the nature, peace in the world, concordance in societies and affection in families, he said. [...] Chuan Yin, president of the Buddhist Association of China, said in a speech that "harmony is the shared aspiration of all humans." He explained that in the context of today's circumstances, "if we all carry with us an attitude of gratitude and cleanse our thoughts hand in hand, we may then find a peaceful and benevolent mind in people. If we are tolerant with each other, we can then have a peaceful and harmonious society." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan navy to buy four second-hand US frigates (Global Times)
2012-04-23
Taiwan plans to purchase four second-hand frigates from the US to enhance its fleet's anti-submarine warfare and air defense capability, Taiwan media reported Sunday. Defense authorities briefed Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on the proposed arms deal during a meeting last month and is prepared to allocate its budget next year, the Taiwan-based United Daily News said. The four Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates, separately built in the 1980s and to be retired by the US navy, aim to replace Taiwan's fleet of eight Knox class frigates, the daily said. [...] Even by modern standards, it has relatively good anti-submarine warfare capability and passable air defense hardware, Lan Yun, an editor at Modern Ships magazine, told the Global Times. If finalized, the arms deal will increase to 12 the total number of such warships owned by the Taiwanese navy. Taiwan's 40-year-old Knox class frigates are obsolete and its authority believes new ships are needed to cope with the modern submarines produced by the mainland, Lan said. "But facing the mainland's overwhelming military presence, any attempt to separate Taiwan Province from China by force will fail," he said. The mainland has been mass producing the advanced type 054A frigates, its own Aegis destroyers and submarines. Multirole fighters and attackers with strong anti-ship capability have also been delivered to the People's Liberation Army, according to Lan. ^ top ^

Cross-Strait judicial cooperation progresses well: mainland (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
Judicial cooperation across the Taiwan Strait has progressed smoothly and benefited people on both sides, a mainland spokeswoman said here Wednesday. Since the two sides signed an agreement on judicial cooperation and jointly combating crime in 2009, police across the Strait have jointly busted several hundred phone fraud rings and detained more than 3,000 criminal suspects, Fan Liqing, spokeswoman with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a regular press conference here. Last year the two sides achieved notable progress in fighting cross-border phone fraud, with about 1,600 suspects detained in cases involving 330 million yuan (52.38 million U.S. dollars), Fan said [...]. Police from both sides also joined hands in fighting drug trafficking, resulting in the seizure of more than 1,400 kg of drugs in the mainland, she said. Over the past three years, the mainland handed over 168 suspects wanted by Taiwanese police and Taiwan returned two, Fan said. Moreover, the mainland transferred six seriously ill Taiwanese inmates to the island, she said. In the past three years, judicial departments from both sides exchanged more than 20,000 documents and pieces of evidence, she said. [...]. ^ top ^

ECFA talks will go "step by step": negotiators (Xinhua)
2012-04-27
A wide-ranging cross-Strait economic pact has saved companies on the mainland and in Taiwan millions of dollars in duty cuts, and negotiators from both sides have agreed to conduct follow-up talks in a "step-by-step manner," a mainland economic negotiator said Thursday. Taiwanese enterprises saved about 230 billion U.S. dollars in tariffs from Jan. 1, 2011, to March 2012, following the signing of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), said Jiang Yaoping, a leading mainland representative. The tax reductions were applied to 5.89 billion U.S. dollars worth of commodities that Taiwan sold to the mainland in the same period, Jiang said in a news briefing after a regular meeting with his Taiwanese counterpart at the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC). [...] Mainland businesses benefited from the ECFA as well. Taiwan customs revealed that in the 15 months ending March 2012, mainland businesses enjoyed 33.56 million U.S. dollars in tax cuts under the ECFA framework. Meanwhile, mainland investment worth 108 million U.S. dollars was allowed to enter the island, 16 mainland movies were shown in Taiwan's cinemas and two mainland banks are currently preparing to open branches in Taipei, Jiang noted. [...] As part of the follow-up negotiations for the ECFA, both sides started to accept applications from economic agencies for the establishment of trade offices on April 18, even though only one agency from each side will be permitted to set up offices initially, Jiang said. Negotiators from both sides expect the signing of an investment protection agreement to be completed at the upcoming eighth round of talks between the SEF and the ARATS, which is scheduled for the first half of this year. They have also exchanged views and agreed upon details regarding a customs cooperation agreement, which is set to improve the efficiency of customs clearance, Jiang disclosed Thursday. [...] According to Jiang, it was agreed at the ECC meeting that both sides will increase substantive cooperation regarding the petrochemical industry in a bid to raise their global competitiveness. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's mobile phone users exceed 1 bln (Xinhua)
2012-04-21
Chinese citizens are increasingly relying on mobile phones as a primary method of communication, according to data released by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Friday. The number of mobile phone users in China increased by 32.57 million to 1.02 billion in the first quarter of this year, the ministry said. Of the mobile phone users, the number of subscribers to third-generation services expanded by 23.64 million to 152.06 million during the period. Meanwhile, fixed-line subscribers dropped by 1.08 million in the first three months. The business revenues of the country's telecommunications industry rose by 10.2 percent year-on-year to 250.5 billion yuan (39.76 billion U.S. dollars) during the period. The rise was 0.8 percentage points higher than the growth rate registered in 2011. During the period, the industry's service prices dropped 6.1 percent from a year earlier, with fixed-line services and mobile services down 4.6 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively. ^ top ^

ICBC gets nod to open branch in Poland (Xinhua)
2012-04-21
The Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) said Friday that it has received approval from Poland's financial regulatory authority to open a branch in the central European country. ICBC, the country's largest lender, is the first Chinese bank to receive such approval, the bank said in a statement on its website. China and Poland have strengthened their economic and trade ties in recent years. Bilateral trade climbed 16.7 percent year-on-year to hit 13 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, official data showed. Currently, ICBC has 244 overseas branches in 34 countries and regions, and has expanded its presence in Africa after purchasing 20 percent of South Africa's Standard Bank Group. ^ top ^

China mineral stocks running low (Xinhua)
2012-04-23
China is running short of 25 kinds of mineral resources, including 11 that are crucial to the country's economy, said a senior official on Sunday. The country will face a serious shortage of mineral resources by 2020 as it consumes an increasing amount of them to promote its industrialization, urbanization and agricultural modernization, Minister of Land and Resources Xu Shaoshi told Xinhua in an exclusive interview to mark the 43rd "Earth Day." The prediction was based on surveys of recoverable reserves of 45 kinds of major minerals, Xu said, adding that China will have to sharply increase imports of minerals in short supply to meet demand over the next 10 to 20 years. Over the past 15 years, China registered double-digit growth in the consumption of mineral resources. More than half of the country's petroleum, iron ore, refined aluminum, refined copper and leopoldite were imported, according to the minister. [...] Last year, the State Council, or Cabinet, approved a ten-year plan for the country's geological exploration which highlighted the need to secure its resource supply mainly by domestic production, the minister noted. [...] The Chinese people are suffering much of the environmental burden caused by the overgrowth of resource consumption, though the country has achieved remarkable progress after three decades of exceptional economic growth. Air pollution, water shortage and pollution, decreases in the acreage of arable land, and environmental pollution caused by excessive and disorderly mining of non-renewable resources have drawn much public attention and criticism over the years. [...]. ^ top ^

PBOC, WB sign investment agreements for Chinese bonds (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the country's central bank, said on Monday it has signed agreements with the World Bank Group to invest in China's inter-bank bond market on behalf of two United Nations agencies. In a brief statement posted on its website, the PBOC said the agreements were signed in Washington D.C. between China's central bank and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, as well as the International Development Association. [...] PBOC Governor Zhou Xiaochuan and WB President Robert Zoellick attended the signing ceremony, according to the statement. The WB's interest in Chinese bonds has increased during the past two years, as China steps up its efforts to promote the internationalization of its currency, giving the UN agency more options to diversify its asset holdings. The group issued 500 million yuan (about 79.36 million U.S. dollars) in yuan-denominated fixed-rate two-year bonds in Hong Kong last year. While attending the ministerial meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee held in Washing D.C., Zhou, the PBOC governor, said Saturday that China will continue to strengthen its macroeconomic controls and accelerate structural reforms in order to maintain its economic resilience and sustainable growth. Zhou said the International Monetary Fund should change the way it supervises international finances and make it more effective and fair. China looks forward to the IMF's supervision over systemic risks and its member countries' macroeconomic policies, he said. ^ top ^

Sinopec, Orka Energy pen geothermal energy agreement (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
China's largest oil refiner, Sinopec Group, announced Monday it has signed a framework agreement with Icelandic geothermal developer Orka Energy Ltd. to expand cooperation in developing geothermal resources. Sinopec said the two will seek to grow their joint venture, Shaanxi Green Energy Geothermal Development Co. Ltd., aiming to expand geothermal energy heating to at least 100 million square meters of house floor by 2020 in China. The two are also bidding to build their joint venture into a world-class technology provider that integrates research, development and applications, according to Sinopec. [...] China is rich in geothermal energy resources, the development and use of which will be crucial for the nation's energy savings and its building an environmentally friendly society. ^ top ^

Third month of foreign exchange funds growth (Xinhua)
2012-04-25
China's yuan funds outstanding for foreign exchange increased by 124.7 billion yuan (19.79 billion U.S. dollars) in March to total 25.65 trillion yuan, the central bank said Tuesday. This means the central bank bought 124.7 billion yuan worth of foreign exchange from commercial banks last month to offset the same amount of foreign exchange inflow, comprised of trade surplus and overseas speculative money, as Renminbi is inconvertible under the capital account. It was the third consecutive monthly increase after 25.1 billion yuan in February and 140.9 billion yuan in January, according to a statement issued by the People's Bank of China. However, the monthly gap is visibly drastic, as the central bank noted. Before the monthly increase appeared in January, the figure had been declining in the fourth quarter last year. Analysts said the reversed downward trend this year was because of eased concern about the eurozone debt morass and a pick-up in expectations for further appreciation of the yuan. The volatile capital inflow also points to pick-up of the inflow of speculative money, analysts said. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange, the country's top foreign exchange regulator, said it will step up efforts to crack down on "abnormal" cross-border capital flow this year in a bid to protect the country's economic and financial security. ^ top ^

Huawei's profit slumps 53 pct in 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-04-25
Chinese telecoms giant Huawei saw its profit more than halved in 2011 despite a rise in revenue, as the global economic turmoil, a strengthening Chinese currency and rising costs took their toll on the company, new figures show. The net profit of Huawei, which is among the world's top makers of telecommunications equipment, stood at 11.6 billion yuan (1.84 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, down 53 percent from a year earlier, according to the firm's annual report released late Monday. Sales revenue rose 11.7 percent year-on-year to 203.9 billion yuan in 2011. In addition to sluggish global demand and the stronger Chinese currency, the company's increased investment to boost its presence in the mobile electronics market and its heavy spending on research were also behind Huawei's profit slump, according to the report. The company's consumer business, which includes smartphones, last year generated a 44.3-percent year-on-year rise to 44.6 billion yuan in revenue. ^ top ^

Chinese, Turkish companies seek business opportunities in Tunisia (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
A major Chinese railway company is seeking business opportunities in Tunisia, notably under the framework of a cooperation deal with a Turkish partner, the head of the company said on Wednesday. Bai Zhongren, the head of China's Railway Company made remark during his visit to the North African country. Bai, quoted by TAP press agency, said his company is looking for potential deals to manufacture train cars for Tunisian railways and to invest in railway infrastructure projects in the country. Mehmet Nazif Gunal, chairman of Turkish group MNG, on his part, said he welcomes Tunisia's opening up after last year's unrest, which promoted his group to invest in the country as well as to recruit Tunisian manpower for its operation in the Gulf region and in Africa. ^ top ^

RMB Settlement Service gains endorsement in Malaysia (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
Kuala Lumpur - More than ten Malaysian financial institutions, including several major banks in the country, have signed up the Renminbi Settlement Service, Bank of China Malaysia said in a statement released on Wednesday. The 11 financial institutions that signed up the newly started service include Maybank, CIMB Bank, Public Bank, Hong Leong Bank, RHB Bank, Alliance Bank Malaysia, Bank Islam Malaysia, Bank Muamalat Malaysia and AmBank as well as two investment banks, Hong Leong Investment Bank and OSK Investment Bank. Bank Negara, the central bank of Malaysia, announced earlier that Renminbi Settlement Service be included in its Real-time Electronic Transfer of Funds and Settlement System ( RENTAS) from March 21, a move which it said would provide a natural hedge against the fluctuations and volatility of other currencies while eliminate settlement risk for Renminbi transactions. Meanwhile, Bank of China Malaysia was appointed as the onshore settlement institution of the Renminbi Settlement Services. Zheng Jingbo, Chief Executive Officer of Bank of China Malaysia, said on a seminar earlier this month that Renminbi would be more widely used in the region, as the bilateral trade between China and Malaysia has been booming in recent years. [...]. ^ top ^

3.3 million new jobs created in 1st quarter (China Daily)
2012-04-26
China created more than 3.3 million new jobs in the first quarter of this year, Yin Chengji, a spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, said at a news conference on April 25. Nearly 1.4 million people were re-employed during the same period. The registered unemployment rate at the end of March stood at 4.1 percent, the same as at the end of 2011, he said. The country will continue to make efforts to boost employment and the central government plans to allocate 43.9 billion yuan ($7 billion) this year to help with the work, according to Yin. Priority will be given to addressing employment of college graduates, said Yin. "We encourage them to find jobs at small and medium-sized enterprises and in central and western regions where there are great demands for talent," he said. "We'll also offer college graduates favorable policies to help them start their own businesses.". ^ top ^

Aging society 'opportunities' for insurers (China Daily)
2012-04-26
China will be the "oldest" of four key emerging economies by 2050, and the country's insurers must move quickly to take advantage of the challenges and opportunities of aging, according to a report released by The Boston Consulting Group and Swiss Re on Tuesday. The study, From Silver to Gold: How Insurers Can Capitalize on Aging in China, examines the aging dynamics in China, including challenges for the social security system. China's "demographic dividend", which has driven growth for decades, is approaching an end as many in the workforce near retirement. As early as 2015, the working age population - those who are 15 to 59 years old - will begin to decline. The segment of people 60 years of age and above will grow rapidly from about 165 million in 2010 to as high as nearly 440 million by 2050, accounting for roughly 34 percent of the population, according to BCG. "By 2050, China will be most 'aged' among BRIC countries with a much larger 60-and-over population size," said Robert Wiest, president of Swiss Re China. It will be difficult for the social security system to cope with this change, the study said. "In the pension system, the mandatory social insurance scheme's benefits might not keep pace with the rising cost of living while the voluntary pension schemes are underdeveloped," said Jia Jingwei, head of China business development at Swiss Re. [...] "Insurance companies, in particular, will need to play a larger role," Jia said, adding that insurers should drive and support regulatory reforms, including the development of complementary pension and healthcare insurance markets. "Considering the scale of the Chinese population, the rapid growth of the (aged) segment will pose unprecedented challenges and opportunities for insurers," said Chris Kaye, a BCG partner based in Hong Kong. [...]. ^ top ^

China reports surpluses in current account, financial account in Q1 (Xinhua)
2012-04-27
China's foreign exchange regulator said Thursday that the country saw surpluses under both the current account and financial account in the first quarter of this year. The surplus under the current account, which measures China's foreign trade of goods and services, came in at 24.7 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter, down 14 percent year on year, according to data released by the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE). The surplus accounted for 1.4 percent of China's GDP during the period, shedding 1.4 percentage points from the ratio registered in 2011, a sign of a more balanced trend for the country's account sheet, said a SAFE official. Meanwhile, the financial account that measures net capital inflow swung back to a surplus of 49.9 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter after logging a deficit in the fourth quarter of last year, the SAFE said. Despite a slight quarter-on-quarter rebound, the net inflow is still at a lower range compared with the same period last year, the official said. "This is in line with our earlier forecast that China will continue to see surpluses this year, but with sharply narrowed gains," said the official. Excluding the effects of changes in exchange rates and asset prices, the country's international reserve assets added 74.6 billion U.S. dollars in the first quarter. The foreign exchange reserves increased 74.8 billion U.S. dollars in the first three months, with reserves in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) decreasing 400 million U.S. dollars while special drawing right (SDR)added 200 million U.S. dollars, according to the statement. ^ top ^

China reiterates enhanced support for small firms (Xinhua)
2012-04-27
The State Council, or China's Cabinet, on Thursday required local authorities to take further steps in enhancing fiscal and tax support for the country's small and micro-sized companies and relieving their financing difficulties. A document issued by the State Council said that the country will halve the business income tax for more small and micro-sized firms and extend the policy until the end of 2015. The government will also allow qualified small and medium-sized firms to enjoy favorable import tariffs on products for scientific and technological development purposes. Taxation authorities will also push forward trial programs to replace the turnover tax with a value-added tax for small companies in a move to address the double-taxing problem, according to the document. The document noted that the nation's small and micro-sized firms are currently facing increasing operational pressures and rising production costs amid a complicated and uncertain economic situation, and financing difficulties and heavy taxation are adding more pains. The government will expand fiscal support for small and micro-sized companies to 14.17 billion yuan (2.3 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012, up from the previous arrangement of 12.87 billion yuan. Meanwhile, firms in the country's less-developed western regions will be given priority in the distribution of the funds. ^ top ^

Top Chinese travel agency's profits up 67 pct (Xinhua)
2012-04-27
China International Travel Service Ltd., the country's largest travel agency, said Thursday its net profits jumped 67.18% year-on-year to 684.9 million yuan (108.83 million U.S. dollars) in 2011. The company's revenues rose 32.11% to 12.69 billion yuan. [...] The company attributed its profit surge to booming travel demand and the launch of new travel routes, which have catered to a greater variety of consumers. Despite a gloomy global economic outlook, the company said it will increase its rate of expansion in overseas markets, adding that it expects fiercer competition among domestic travel agencies this year. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Kim Jong Un vows to carry forward DPRK-China friendship (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
Top leader Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday pledged to further enhance his nation's traditional friendship with China. The new DPRK leader made the pledge in his reply to a congratulatory message from General Secretary Hu Jintao of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC). In his message, carried by the official KCNA news agency, Kim expressed gratitude for Hu's congratulations on his elections as first secretary of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) and as first chairman of the National Defence Commission (NDC) of the DPRK. "It is the steadfast stand of our party and government to invariably develop the traditional DPRK-China friendship provided and cultivated by the leaders of elder generations of the two countries," Kim said. He also conveyed his belief that "the DPRK-China friendship would develop on good terms in the future, too, by joint efforts of both sides as desired by the peoples of the two countries." Kim was elected as the WPK's first secretary on April 11 at a party conference and as the NDC's first chairman on April 13 at a session of the Supreme People's Assembly. In Hu's April 11 message, the Chinese leader congratulated Kim on his election as the WPK's first secretary and reaffirmed China's unswerving commitment to "continuously consolidating and developing the traditional friendly cooperation between the two countries." On Monday, Hu met a WPK delegation in Beijing and said China will continue to make unremitting efforts together with the DPRK to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, realize long-term security in Northeast Asia and promote common development. ^ top ^

S. Korea urges DPRK to end anti-Lee smear campaign (Xinhua)
2012-04-24
South Korea urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday to stop bad-mouthing the South's conservative leader Lee Myung-bak as the defamation campaign against him intensifies. During a recent rally, tens of thousands of DPRK people demanded Lee apologize for allegedly insulting the DPRK leadership, calling him a "traitor" and "rat" and demanding his death. In a statement carried by the state media Monday, Pyongyang's foreign ministry branded Lee "human scum," accusing him of " malignantly desecrated" the birth centennial of the DPRK's founding father Kim Il Sung. The barrage of verbal attacks follows on the heels of the DPRK' s failed rocket launch, which Lee repeatedly denounced as a provocative and reckless act. Lee, who came to office in 2008 with a pledge to get tougher on the prickly northern neighbor, has said some 850 U.S. million dollars spent on what he believes was a disguised missile test could have fed the DPRK people. The president also said over the weekend the DPRK should carry out a land reform, prompting Pyongyang's state-owned newspaper to call it an attempt to lead the regime to collapse. "We are deeply concerned that North Korea (DPRK) is intensifying its criticism of the South and thus raising tensions and souring inter-Korean relations," a unification ministry spokesman said during a briefing. "We urge the North to immediately end (the smear campaign)." [...]. ^ top ^

DPRK marks army's 80th founding anniversary (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) held a national meeting on Wednesday to mark the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Korean People's Army (KPA). KPA Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un, also first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defense Commission, was present at the meeting. Addressing the meeting, Ri Yong Ho, chief of the General Staff of the KPA, said the founding of the KPA by commander Kim Il Sung 80 years ago ushered in a new history of building the revolutionary armed forces. He said leader Kim Jong Il strengthened the KPA and made the DPRK a world-level military power. Kim Jong Un, "a brilliant commander of Songun (military-first)," would strengthen the might of the KPA and lead the Korean revolution to a new victory, Ri said. Ri also warned South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, saying anyone who provokes or hurts the DPRK's dignity would be undoubtedly defeated. He called on DPRK soldiers to "defend with their lives the Party Central Committee headed by Great Comrade Kim Jong Un" and fulfill their duty in the struggle for national reunification and in the revolutionary cause of Juche. ^ top ^

China approves int'l border cooperation zone (Xinhua)
2012-04-26
The Chinese government announced Wednesday that it has approved the establishment of an international cooperative demonstration zone in northeast Jilin province to boost cross-border cooperation in the region. In a document posted on the central government's official website, the State Council said the zone is expected to expand investment cooperation in northeast Asian regions. Located in the port city of Hunchun, the demonstration zone will cover 90 square km and include an international industrial cooperation zone, a border trade cooperation zone and economic cooperation zones -- one between China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and another between China and Russia, it said. The demonstration zone will focus on the development of local manufacturing and processing industries, including those for auto parts, agricultural and animal products, seafood, new materials, medicines, textiles and garments, the document said. The Tumen River in Hunchun straddles the borders of China, Russia and the DPRK. [...] The State Council has called for more efforts to boost the construction of Sino-DPRK and Sino-Russia international transit corridors and promote cross-border economic cooperation between China and the two countries. More supporting policies, including fiscal and taxation support, will be implemented to encourage the development of new energy, new material equipment manufacturing and other projects in the demonstration zone, according to the State Council. The construction of the demonstration zone will also make border regions more open to the outside and strengthen the social and economic development of local areas, the document said. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian Cultural Month launched in Beijing (News.mn)
2012-04-23
A month-long Mongolian culture program was launched in Beijing on April 12, 2012, aiming to boost China-Mongolia cultural exchanges and understanding. The program, Mongolian Cultural Month, consists of exhibitions of Mongolian paintings and sculptures in Beijing Imperial City Art Gallery. Holding cultural months for each other is part of the cultural exchange program between China and Mongolia from 2010-2013. The Chinese Cultural Month is scheduled to be held in Mongolia in August this year. The program is co-sponsored by China"s Ministry of Culture and Mongolia"s Ministry of Education, Culture and Sciences. Addressing the opening ceremony, Chinese Minister of Culture Cai Wu said the program marks a new start of China-Mongolia cultural exchanges and cooperation at a new historical period, and will help deepen understanding and friendship between both countries and peoples. Cai met with visiting Mongolian Minister of Education, Culture and Sciences Yondon Otgonbayar ahead of the opening ceremony. Otgonbayar praised the new achievements in bilateral cultural exchanges in recent years, pledging joint efforts with China to make greater contributions to cementing understanding and friendship between the two peoples. ^ top ^

About economic growth forecast (Montsame)
2012-04-25
The economic growth of Mongolia is foreseen to reach 15.2 per cent by the next year thanks to an increase in the mining sector and its influence on other spheres, new vacancies, good conditions for foreign investments, and an increase in animal husbandry. The government sees that the mining sector's growth might increase to 24.8 per cent, and non-mining sectors--13.3 per cent by 2013. In previous year, Mongolia's economic growth stood at 17.3 per cent, influenced by the construction in mining, by a boost in the world market of prices of products exported by Mongolia, and a favorable weather. As the economic growth is expected to increase, the inflation rate is forecast to reach 13.1 per cent. Moreover, Mongolian Togrog's (MNT) rate might strengthen next year thanks to a continuation of foreign investments to the mining sector, a capital flow connected with implementation of the biggest projects and programs, to demand and price of gold and copper at the world market, according to the forecast. The cabinet discussed a statement on the budgetary framework for 2013 of the master budget, a draft law on budget assumptions for 2014-2015, and related draft laws. These will be submitted to parliament. ^ top ^

NSC: Poverty rate goes down (Montsame)
2012-04-25
In 2011, the poverty rate declined to 29.8 per cent by 9.4 per cent against the year 2010. It was reported on Wednesday by S.Mendsaikhan, the head of the National Statistical Committee (NSC) at a news conference. The poverty rate has been measured by means of statistical figures based on families socio-economic indicates of 2011, together with the World Bank (WB). Such factors have played a role in this decrease as going up incomes of rural and city families, pensions and salaries rise, and a cash money issued from the Human Development Fund. ^ top ^

State officials submit income declarations (UB Post)
2012-04-25
High-ranking Government officials have recently reported their 2011 property assets and incomes. Previous years reports have showed that high-level officials owned companies that had stable profits, but the 2011 declarations show many owned shares of large companies. People suspect that the incomes of state authorities increase every year. The Prime Minister S.Batbold's income has been increased 20 times and the earnings of other ministers enhanced by 6 or 7 times since 2008 when the Government ratified the Oyu Tolgoi contract. The income report of 2011 however, shows that the incomes of state politicians have decreased 3 to 6 times since 2010. The Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs Ts.Nyamdorj, who had an annual income of 12.5 million MNT in 2011, does not own any shares of Erdenes Tavantolgoi, while ministers –M.Enkhbold and D.Khayankhyarvaa- own shares of the company. The declarations show that politicians' incomes have reduced but the incomes of their family members has increased. S.Batbold earned 51 million MNT while his family earned 151 million MNT in 2011. 2010 reports showed that S.Batbold made 200 million MNT and his family had an income three times less than his. MP D.Arvin has declared that her income was 12.8 million MNT and her family income was 84.4 MNT million in 2010. In the income report of 2011 she declared that she earned 4 million MNT more than 2010 and her family had an income four times higher than 2010. MP Kh.Battulga declared 17 million MNT in 2011 while his income was 405 million MNT in 2010. Mineral Resources and Energy Minister D.Zorigt declared in 2010 that he earned 10 million MNT and his family 20 million MNT but the minister's income has been increased by 4 million MNT while his family income has increased by ten times in 2011. It is the fourth year that high-ranking state officials are declaring their incomes but there is doubt about the truth of the reports. An independent organization has not verified the report. ^ top ^

The EGC proposes parliamentary election poll day (News.mn)
2012-04-26
The election General Committee (EGC) has submitted a proposal to hold parliamentary election poll on June 28 in accordance of the law on election that instructs to run election at last week of June. Foreign Mongolians would vote on June 10 through consulates. According to data of EGC, a million and 834,461 citizens will vote to parliamentary election. It plans to work 26 election districts, 340 poll branches and 1950 election units where would vote 10,050 voters. The law on election instructs that election units will use electronic voting machines. The EGC has accounted all expenditures to use electronic voting machines and employees who work during poll. Expenditure would be MNT16 billion and 824 million. But Parliament has not decided election poll with electronic voting machines yet. United session of Parliament should discuss election date and electronic voting machines this week because poll day should be announced 60 days before election poll day in accordance of the law on election. The MPP has said it will hold conference on May to discuss election platform and nominate candidates. The DP has not announced its meeting yet. ^ top ^

Chalco shares gain on Mongolian miner stake buy (News.mn)
2012-04-26
Alumium Corp. of China, or Chalco, ended 1.3% higher in Hong Kong on Tuesday after the company said it had agreed to buy a 29.9% stake in Mongolia coal miner Winsway Coking Coal Holdings Ltd HK:1733 -0.53% for HK$2.39 billion ($307.9 million). Chalco said late Monday it had agreed to pay HK$2.12 per share for the Hong Kong-listed company, or a 22.5% premium to its closing price of HK$1.73 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.
 
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