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
  12-18.5.12, No. 423  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Bilateral Issues

China, Switzerland make further progress in FTA talks (Xinhua)
2012-05-12
China and Switzerland have made "great progress" in the fifth round of bilateral talks on a possible Free Trade Agreement (FTA), the Ministry of Commerce said Friday. During the May 8-10 talk, the two countries exchanged views on topics of tax cuts, service trade, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical trade barriers and intellectual property rights, reaching a series of agreements on the issues, the ministry said. China and Switzerland formally launched bilateral FTA talks in January, with the aim of promoting economic development and closer ties between the two countries. Trade between the two countries totaled 30.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2011, up 54 percent from a year earlier. In the first quarter this year, bilateral trade reached 6.16 billion U.S. dollars, with China's imports from Switzerland hitting 5.38 billion U.S. dollars, mainly from trade of high-tech products, metal working machines, pharmaceuticals and watches. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Hu urges SCO to ensure security for its members (China Daily)
2012-05-12
In the face of new challenges, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization should deepen cooperation to ensure mutual, reliable security for its member countries, President Hu Jintao said on Friday. Hu made the remarks in a meeting with foreign ministers from the SCO member countries and its secretary-general. The organization has recently been preparing for the 12th SCO summit, which will be held in June in Beijing. Hu said the SCO has become an important force in this region in the last 10 years. […] On behalf of the foreign ministers of the SCO member countries, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the council reached many important agreements during the meeting, which will be submitted for review by the leaders of each country. "I believe the SCO summit in Beijing will be extremely fruitful and point out the direction for the organization's development," he said. During a SCO ministerial meeting on Friday, the six countries decided to upgrade the organization's capabilities in crisis awareness and management, which will help safeguard national sovereignties and security in the areas of finance, energy and food, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said. They also agreed to accelerate the establishment of an SCO development bank, he said. […] The SCO also urged its members to play a constructive role in reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan, the Middle East and North Africa and called for all parties to respect the United Nations Charter, international laws, and people's independent choices in the region, Yang said. After the United States completely withdraws from Afghanistan in 2014, members of the SCO, as a diplomatic force and security group, must continue counter-terrorism efforts and support for regional and global peace, Li said. ^ top ^

China, Japan, ROK announce plan for FTA talks, give "great" attention to NE Asia stability (Xinhua)
2012-05-14
China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) on Sunday agreed to launch talks on a free trade area (FTA) later this year as the their leaders gathered in Beijing. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced the plan at a joint press conference held after a trilateral meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda and ROK President Lee Myung-bak. Calling the agreement "an important strategic decision," Wen said the three nations should make concerted efforts for the early establishment of the FTA. […] China's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming said he hoped the negotiations would conclude within two years. […] "It's a substantial result that we reach a consensus on launching the FTA consultations within the year," Noda said. […] The establishment of the FTA among China, Japan and the ROK will not only contribute to the development of the three countries, but also help promote East Asian integration and drive global economic growth, said Chen Fengying, director of the Institute of World Economic Studies under the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. […] Chinese Premier Wen said the other important result of the 5th Trilateral Summit Meeting was that the three nations clinched a deal to promote, facilitate and protect mutual investment among the three nations. […] The three sides signing the trilateral investment agreement is worthy of a great celebration, said the Japanese leader, adding that he hopes the deal will spur a move to advance trilateral cooperation to a higher level. […] During the meeting, the leaders also agreed to expand their trade settlements in local currencies to boost financial cooperation in East Asia and enhance cooperation on environmental protection and the recycling economy, among other areas, to realize sustainable development in the region. […] During Sunday's annual meeting, Premier Wen urged all sides concerned to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula with wisdom, patience and goodwill. […] As major nations in Northeast Asia, China, Japan and the ROK have incumbent responsibility in the region, according to the Chinese premier. […]. "What is most urgent (for us) is to make all-out efforts to prevent the escalation of tensions on the Korean Peninsula," he added. "All the parties should give full play to their wisdom, remain patient and show their goodwill to alleviate conflict and return to the right track of dialogue and negotiations," Wen said, calling for continued efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through the Six-Party talks. […]. ^ top ^

China dispatches six more UN military observers to Syria (Xinhua)
2012-05-14
Six Chinese United Nations (UN) military observers left Beijing for Syria on Monday to monitor a ceasefire, upon the UN's request. The move has brought the number of Chinese military observers in Syria to eight. The other two observers have arrived in Damascus on April 25. The spokesman of the peace-keeping affairs office of the Ministry of National Defense, said China had selected for the mission six military officers who had good professional, foreign language and driving skills. All the six have participated in the UN's previous peacekeeping missions and received intensive training in anti-terrorism, anti-abduction, explosive identification, first-aid and car repairing. They have military rankings up to colonel. […] By the end of April, 2012, China had dispatched 1,425 UN military observers, and 83 are now carrying out peacekeeping missions in 11 areas. ^ top ^

Chinese envoy on African affairs holds talks with Sudanese officials (Xinhua)
2012-05-14
China's special representative on African affairs Zhong Jianhua on Sunday held talks with senior Sudanese officials in Khartoum on bilateral ties and regional situation. According to a statement by the Chinese embassy in Khartoum, Zhong talked with Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Ali Karti, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Salah Wanasy, and State Minister at the Presidency and head of Sudanese government delegation to the negotiations with South Sudan Iddris Abdul- Ghader. During the talks, the two sides exchanged view points on bilateral relations, situation between Sudan and South Sudan, and the fifth ministerial meeting of the China-Arab Cooperation Forum, said the statement. […] The Chinese envoy and the accompanying delegation arrived in Khartoum on Saturday for a visit to Sudan. ^ top ^

Myanmar president meets CPC delegation (Xinhua)
2012-05-15
NAY PYI TAW - Myanmar President U Thein Sein met with a delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) led by Wang Gang here on Monday. Wang is a Politburo Member of the Central Committee of the CPC and Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People' s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Noting that China is Myanmar's trusty friendly neighbor, U Thein Sein expressed Myanmar's wishes to expand mutually- beneficial cooperation with China and would continue to push the two countries ties to develop deeply and all-sidedly. Conveying the warm greeting of President Hu Jintao to President U Thein Sein, Wang said there is deep friendship of the peoples of China and Myanmar, withstanding the test of change of international climate. In recent years, the bilateral relations gained steady development, especially when the two countries' heads of state agreed unanimously on raising the two countries' bilateral ties to comprehensive strategic cooperation partnership, signifying the entry into a new phase of development of the China-Myanmar bilateral ties. […] Wang insisted on valuing the hardly gained good status, vowing to unshakably push the China-Myanmar comprehensive strategic partnership to realize joint development and further bring well- being to the two peoples. […]. ^ top ^

China shows commitment to sustainable marine development at Yeosu Expo (Xinhua)
2012-05-15
YEOSU, South Korea - China shows its commitment to pursuing harmonious coexistence of humankind and oceans through sustainable marine development, with its pavilion built at the Yeosu Expo. The China pavilion, the biggest foreign pavilion at South Korea 's ocean-themed expo, covers an area of 1,241 square meters. […] Under the theme of "One Ocean, One Home," the pavilion focuses on showcasing China's constant efforts in developing oceans for scientific purposes and thereby promoting a harmonious relationship between humans and the marine environment. At the pavilion, visitors are invited to learn about China's development and preservation of ocean and coastal resources, ocean science and technology and maritime culture while exploring three main exhibition areas: Ocean Wave, Ocean Splendor and Ocean Romance. Zhao Zhenge, commissioner of the China pavilion, said the exhibition will serve as a chance to introduce China's strength as a maritime country. […] The China pavilion is expected to receive about 6,400 visitors per day, with the total number of visitors exceeding 600,000 over the next three months. The Yeosu Expo opened on May 12 and will continue until August 12 in South Korea's southern coastal city of Yeosu under the theme of "The Living Ocean and Coast." […]. ^ top ^

Li calls for closer ties with Australia (China Daily)
2012-05-16
China and Australia should deepen cooperation and provide a fair and friendly investment environment for each other's enterprises, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Tuesday. During a meeting with visiting Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Li called for respect for each other's core interest and proper resolution of differences, saying moving China-Australia ties to a higher stage would contribute to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world. Carr, on his first visit to China after taking office in March, reiterated Canberra's commitment to the Australia-China Joint Statement signed in 2009 of strengthening cooperation in various fields. Carr on Tuesday also launched this year's Australian celebration activities for the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Australia and China. On Monday, he met his Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and Wei Fenghe, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army. […] Despite the tight fiscal situation, Australia still decided to establish a consulate in Chengdu, capital city of Southwest China's Sichuan province, Carr said. China is by far Australia's biggest trading partner with two-way trade worth $113 billion representing about 25 percent of Australia's total trade volume, according to official statistics. In addition to traditional investments in resources and energy, Australia is beginning to see more investment in agriculture and financial services, Carr noted. The talks between Australia and China about a free trade agreement have picked up pace recently, he added. China has been in talks with Australia about an agreement since 2005, but they remain bogged down over issues such as how to treat agricultural goods. […] Meanwhile, Carr's visit was overshadowed by concerns over Canberra's ties to Washington, with Beijing raising questions over their close military alliance, reports said. ^ top ^

PLA ships seen testing drones in Pacific Ocean (SCMP)
2012-05-17
Japan says more Chinese naval ships have been seen near Okinawa, with some staging drills involving unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) able to carry missiles and conduct surveillance that analysts say is crucial for China to expand its maritime power. The Joint Staff Office of the Japanese Defence Ministry said the country's maritime defence force on Monday morning spotted three Chinese ships - two Type 054A multi-role warships and one Dongdiao 232 electronic surveillance ship - going through the Okinawa Miyako Strait on their way to the East China Sea. Earlier reports indicated the three People's Liberation Army (PLA) warships conducted take-off and landing exercises involving UAVs on April 29, about 700 kilometres east of Okinotori Island, a tiny Pacific atoll Japan considers part of its territory but which China considers a mere reef. UAVs are considered vital weapons above 21st-century battlefields. The drones can be used as all- weather fighters, reconnaissance planes, information gatherers and can even carry anti-ship cruise missiles. Senior Colonel Li Jie, from China's Naval Academy, said the PLA naval drills on the high seas show that China's UAV technology has improved. "Our navy is obliged to stage drills, and it should intensify military drills in all waters it can visit in today's tough climate," Li said, referring to China's territorial disputes with neighbours in the East and South China seas. "Beijing's UAV technology still lags behind the United States," Li said. "However, if our navy decided to launch UAV drills near Okinotori … it means our UAV technology has reached a certain standard." […]. ^ top ^

China calls for consistent diplomacy from Philippines (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
China on Thursday called on the Philippines to send clear and consistent messages on diplomatic solutions to the ongoing standoff between the two countries in the South China Sea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a routine press briefing when asked to comment on Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario's recent remarks on bilateral ties. Del Rosario said on Wednesday that he hoped a breakthrough will soon end the dispute so the two countries can resume normal relations, but he also urged the Philippine people to unite and defend their territories. Hong said China has noted the remarks as well as other positive statements from the Philippine side on maintaining bilateral ties. He called for clear and consistent diplomatic solutions from the Philippines to the current situation, which would be conducive to dialogues between the two sides. The spokesman also reaffirmed that the Chinese government will unswervingly safeguard its territorial sovereignty and stand for diplomatic negotiations to resolve the current tensions. Media reports said that the Philippines has imposed a two-month fishing ban around Huangyan Island in the South China Sea. Reportedly starting on Wednesday and ending on July 15, it follows the introduction of similar ban by China on Wednesday and lasting until Aug. 1. Repeating that Huangyan Island is an inherent part of Chinese territory, Hong said China has long been implementing a summer fishing moratorium in the area. Imposed annually since 1999, the move is aimed at protecting fishery resources in the South China Sea. Other operations will be unaffected, according to Hong. It has also been reported that Philippine President Benigno Aquino on Wednesday named veteran banker Cesar Zalamea and Philippine-Chinese business leader Domingo Lee as "special envoys" to China. During their six-month assignment, both were tasked with promoting friendly exchanges between the two governments, helping Philippine officials visit China, and persuading greater numbers of Chinese tourists to visit the country, according to the reports. Hong said China has noted the great importance placed by the Philippines on the development of bilateral ties. "We hope to see substantial measures by the Philippine side on creating the necessary atmosphere and sound environment for the maintenance of bilateral cooperation," he added. ^ top ^

Vice-premier calls for SCO exchanges (China Daily)
2012-05-18
Member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization should work together to promote trade and investment exchanges, so as to stabilize regional economic growth amid global uncertainties, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday. […] Li was speaking to finance ministers and central bank governors of SCO member countries - China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan - who were in Beijing for a meeting before the organization's Beijing Summit. The participants agreed that the global economic recovery remains weak because of debt problems, unemployment and insufficient growth faced by developing countries. The fluctuation of commodity prices and increasing trade protectionism also pose challenges to the growth of the global economy, according to a joint statement by the ministers published on the website of Ministry of Finance. In response to these challenges, member countries are considering establishing an SCO Growth Fund and SCO Development Bank, according to the statement. "The delegates have also agreed to explore multilateral financial cooperation, and enlarge the settlement in home currencies in bilateral trade, so as to boost regional trade and investment, and enhance the ability to withstand external impact," the statement said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

More workers to attend 18th CPC National Congress later this year (Global Times)
2012-05-14
The 18th CPC National Congress will be held in Beijing in the second half of this year, with 2,270 deputies attending the conference that will select the country's leaders, according to the overseas edition of the People's Daily yesterday. With Guangdong announcing the new members of its provincial Party committee yesterday, some 20 provinces, regions and municipalities have seen their leadership reshuffled for the next five-year term. The country's remaining areas, or a third of the total, will have their new leaders by the end of June, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The local Party committees have also been selecting deputies who will attend the Party's National Congress. The proportion of worker deputies has increased this year. Nine out of 85 deputies in Guangdong are workers, compared with three in the last term. In October and November last year, Party congress sessions were held in 14 provinces, regions and municipalities, including Liaoning and Xinjiang. Since April this year, Guizhou, Heilongjiang, Gansu, Hainan and Jilin have also held their local Party congresses to announce their new leaders. More younger members are joining the ranks of new leaders. Among the top leaders of the first 19 provincial Party committees that earlier completed their reshuffles, 15 were born in the 1950s, and three in the 1960s, with only one born in the 1940s. ^ top ^

People's Daily hails political reforms, rejects Western model (Global Times)
2012-05-15
People's Daily, the flagship newspaper of the Communist Party of China (CPC), ran a full page of articles Monday hailing steady progress in the country's political reform, and vowing that China "will never copy Western political models." Led by an article titled "China's political reform makes significant progress" on the front page, the newspaper ran a total of eight articles on an inside page, listing examples such as respecting and protecting human rights being written into the Constitution in 2004, a democratic election system being introduced to village governments, and rural residents beginning to enjoy equal representation in the People's Congress. The commentary on the top of the page ended by saying that China does not need to copy the Western political model, but should adhere to principles such as the CPC's leadership, the people being the masters of the State, and the rule of law. "Only by respecting China's own situation and moving forward step by step, can we keep creating new miracles and foster new national confidence," the commentary said. The newspaper also pointed out that the political reform has centered on restricting officials' power and safeguarding citizens' rights and interests, such as the opening-up of public expenditures, public recruitment of civil servants, and implementation of public hearings. Experts lauded the achievements, but also suggest more work be done to separate government functions from the Party's work. […] Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said at a press conference in March that "suspension of reform and retreat would only lead to a blind alley." But due to ideological barriers such as blind confidence resulting from rapid economic growth in recent years and difficulties in taking power away from leaders with vested interests, the reform still needs time, experts said. ^ top ^

Vocational training a priority (China Daily)
2012-05-15
Technical and vocational education will be a priority of government spending on education this year, a senior official said on May 14. Government spending on education is expected to see a large boost this year, with more funding directed to rural and remote areas, poverty-stricken areas and resident areas of ethnic groups, State Councilor Liu Yandong told the Third International Congress on Technical and Vocational Education and Training. More than 800 representatives from 117 UNESCO member states and 72 international organizations gathered in Shanghai to attend the meeting. Liu said close to 32 million students are enrolled in technical and vocational training, accounting for half of the secondary education and higher education student population in China. Altogether 150 million people receive vocational training each year in China. The employment rate of secondary trade and vocational school graduates exceeds 95 percent. ^ top ^

Red Cross hospitals under inspections (China Daily)
2012-05-15
[…] Chinese hospitals that use the Red Cross as part of their name will be examined in a June campaign jointly launched by the Red Cross Society of China and the Ministry of Health, said Zhao Baige, executive vice-president of the country's biggest humanitarian organization. The final results of the first-ever rectification campaign on the mainland will be made public after it is completed, Zhao told China Daily in an exclusive interview. Hospitals that fail to meet requirements will be stripped of the right to name themselves after the Red Cross. […] The Red Cross Society of China is still struggling to rebuild its image, which was damaged by Guo Meimei, a young woman who claimed to be a Red Cross official and showed off her lavish lifestyle online last year. The improper use by some hospitals of the Red Cross name has also damaged the reputation of the humanitarian organization. […] According to Zhao, qualified Red Cross hospitals must meet basic requirements to practice medicine, which are mainly verified and regulated by health authorities. Equally important, "they have to maintain the humanitarian spirit in practice and have the capacity to carry out humanitarian medical aid", she added. […] According to Wang Ping, director of the society's relief and health department, more than 2,000 public and private hospitals on the mainland use the name of Red Cross. The RCSC and its local branches and health administrations at different levels have historically granted naming rights to hospitals, but "there was a lack of rules regulating the practice and verifying the quality of such hospitals," Wang said. After the campaign, the ability to issue naming rights will be restricted to the RCSC and its provincial-level branches, Zhao said. […] As part of the new campaign, "we'll also draft regulations on accrediting medical institutions with naming rights", Zhao added. […]. ^ top ^

China issues draft proposal on implementation of State Secrets Law regulation (Xinhua)
2012-05-15
China issued a draft proposal on the implementation of a regulation under the State Secrets Law, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council (LAOSC) announced on Tuesday. The proposal specifies that those who have been discharged from office, subjected to criminal punishment or acquired addictions to gambling or drugs may not be employed in any position where they may have access to state secrets. Government employees who handle confidential information should have Chinese nationality, be loyal to the country and professionally qualified, the proposal says. Foreign staff employed in confidential areas should be reported to relevant departments at the central or provincial level, the proposal says. […] Enterprises and institutions should undergo state inspections before engaging in confidential business, while non-approved enterprises and institutions must refrain from doing so, the proposal said. Public opinions on the proposal can be submitted to the LAOSC via email or postal mail before June 15. ^ top ^

Anti-corruption survey results questioned (Global Times)
2012-05-16
More than 4.2 million government officials have been punished for discipline violations over the past 30 years, while nearly three-quarters of Chinese people are satisfied with the country's anti-graft efforts, according to the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention (NBCP). The figures drew mixed responses from the public, with analysts calling for further improvement in anti-corruption efforts and greater transparency in disclosing relevant information. Between 1982 and 2011, 465 provincial- and ministerial-level officials were disciplined, among whom 90 were charged with fraud, the NBCP said in a statement on its website on Monday, citing a speech by Cui Hairong, deputy head of the bureau. […] Citing an opinion poll in 2011, Cui said 72.7 percent of Chinese people were satisfied with progress made in anti-corruption work. In 2010, 83.8 percent of the public agreed that corruption had been reduced to some extent. Cui neither revealed when the poll was conducted nor how data was collected. Analysts acknowledged progress has been made in the country's fight against corruption, but added an opinion poll highlighting grievances would be more helpful than a survey reflecting satisfaction. "Different areas are at different levels of social and economic development. Their requirements for anti-corruption efforts are likewise different. Simply disclosing national average data is meaningless," Zhu Lijia, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times. "In this case, a poll of people's complaints about anti-corruption efforts could offer greater guidance to the government in improving its work in this field," Zhu added. […] Mao Shoulong, a professor with the School of Public Administration at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that authorities have taken various measures to curb corruption including pushing for officials to disclose their assets, but pointed out there is still a long way to go. "Legislation on the disclosure of officials' assets is urgently needed to enforce zero tolerance of illegal sources of income," Mao said. ^ top ^

Passports are prepared for Chen's family (SCMP)
2012-05-17
Blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng said government officials from his home province yesterday helped to prepare passport applications for himself and his family - the first sign that Beijing is willing to allow them to leave for the US. Chen told the South China Morning Post […] by phone last night that immigration officials from the Shandong Public Security Bureau visited him yesterday at Chaoyang Hospital in Beijing and provided him with passport application forms, which he completed. The officials also took pictures of Chen, his wife and two children to be included with the applications. The move came a day after US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said American officials had finished processing the family's visas and that they could travel as soon as they had Beijing's approval. Chen said earlier that government officials visited him on May 6, just days after he left the protection of the American embassy, and promised to start processing passports for him and his family. He said he did not know why the paperwork did not arrive until yesterday. He also said he had no idea when they would be able to travel, although he said regulations require passport processing to be completed within 15 days. […] In his second call into a congressional hearing in Washington since his escape, Chen told US lawmakers on Tuesday that Shandong officials took revenge on his extended family after his escape, beating his elder brother, Chen Guangfu and 33-year-old nephew Chen Kegui. "This is a pattern," Chen said. "This is not the first time it happened against my family." A source, who declined to be identified for fear of reprisal, told the Post that Chen Guangfu was tortured and severely beaten by local authorities. The source said several local officials angered by the blind activist's dramatic escape barged into the home of Chen Guangfu without warrants in the early hours of April 27. They hooded him and took him to a local police station. There, his captors slapped his face and lashed him with a belt, the source said. Shandong authorities accused Chen Guangfu of helping to contact his brother's friends in Beijing before they took him to the capital, the source said. He was freed after two days, but is now under house arrest. Staff at the Yinan Public Security Bureau declined to comment. ^ top ^

Critics of security chief questioned (SCMP)
2012-05-17
Elderly Communist Party members in Yunnan have been questioned after their letter called for the sacking of the country's top security official amid rumours of infighting following the downfall of Chongqing party boss Bo Xilai. The open letter, addressed to the party Central Committee headed by general secretary Hu Jintao, called for Zhou Yongkang to be removed from the Politburo Standing Committee and the Central Committee's political and legislative affairs committee and investigated by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Yu Yongqing, 79, a retired official formerly in charge of party affairs in Zhaotong, said he and 15 other party members, most older than 80, believed that Zhou was behind Bo, whose "Chongqing model" included an anti-triad crackdown alleged by many to have involved the use of torture and a leftist revival that encourage residents to sing Maoist songs. […] "Bo and Zhou benefited themselves at the expense of sacrificing the future of the Chinese and they spent huge amounts of money to suppress civilians and pursue their power in the name of 'maintaining stability'," Yu said yesterday. The release of the letter follows online speculation that Zhou has lost power amid infighting among top officials. The Financial Times said Zhou retained his titles, but handed over operational control of the mainland's security apparatus and confessed his errors in front of other party leaders. But the party mouthpiece People's Daily and Xinhua have published the full text of Zhou's speech at a Beijing university last week, indicating that the authorities are trying to dispel rumours that he was implicated in the scandal surrounding Bo. Open dissent or organised criticism of top leaders is considered audacious on the mainland and normally results in punishment. Yu, who drafted the letter, said all 16 people had been questioned by local police about the letter, who else had signed it and where they had acquired the information it contained. "They said that they won't punish us this time, but they cannot promise anything next time," he said, adding that he and the others involved supported Hu and Wen. Yu said most of the old party members had retired from schools and government organisations and some had been labelled rightists in the late 1950s and put into labour camps for more than a decade. ^ top ^

Vice President stresses reality-based Party work (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has called on members and officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to stick to the principle of "seeking truth from facts." Xi, also president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks here Wednesday at the school's opening ceremony for the second group of learners during the spring semester. "'Seeking truth from facts' means to research and solve problems from a realistic approach as well as to verify and develop truth through practice... Party members and officials should understand its meaning and use it to guide their work," Xi said. According to Xi, Party members and officials must have a clear idea of major obstacles for the country's development and stability as well as people's concerns and expectations in order to make wise decisions and ensure the smooth progress of the country's reform and development. Xi urged them to go deep into the grassroots levels to listen to people's opinions and give priority to their interests and the Party's cause. ^ top ^

Few benefit from compensation fund (Global Times)
2012-05-17
An insurance company, entrusted with compensating the families of children who were sickened by melamine-tainted milk powder in 2008, has handed out barely 5 percent of the 200 million yuan ($31.64 million) fund it is charged with distributing. China Life Insurance Co reported Monday that over the last two years it has paid 12.42 million yuan in compensation to 2,055 victims to cover medical expenses. China Life's latest report shows that last year it paid just 3.38 million yuan in compensation to the families of 512 victims. The China Life Insurance Co was entrusted by the China Dairy Industry Association (CDIA) to manage a portion of the huge 1.1 billion yuan compensation fund, which was established in 2009. Critics claimed that the CDIA was not qualified to manage the fund, so it put China Life in charge of a portion of it. More than 290,000 children were treated for symptoms relating to melamine poisoning during the tainted milk scandal that shocked the nation four years ago. Six children died and more than 860 babies were hospitalized, according to the Ministry of Health. China Life's second report issued on Monday on the distribution of the 200 million yuan which it is administering claims "the compensation fund is operating smoothly, without any disputes or complaints." However some parents of melamine-poisoned babies say China Life's report lacks important details and they are calling for greater transparency in the management of the fund. […] China Life's report says it is still holding 190 million yuan that includes accumulated interest to the end of last year. The funds it is administering will be available until February 2013, after which the remaining money will be returned to CDIA's larger fund, said the report. […] "Details of the compensation payment have never been released, nor do we know if all affected families have been compensated," Lin Zheng, a lawyer from Beijing, told the Global Times Wednesday. Lin added that although some families refused to accept the compensation and have tried to file lawsuits against the dairy companies, many courts have refused to accept the cases. […] CDIA claims its 1.11 billion yuan compensation fund has paid 910 million yuan to the families of 271,869 stricken babies. ^ top ^

Government funds green purchases (China Daily)
2012-05-17
China will provide financial subsidies of 26.5 billion yuan ($4.2 billion) to stimulate the consumption of energy-saving products, mainly automobiles and household appliances, said the State Council. The green measure also aims to expand domestic demand in a bid to provide stable growth for the world's second-largest economy. The subsidy will be available for household appliances including air conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines for one year. Among the subsidies, 6 billion yuan will be used to promote the consumption of energy-saving vehicles with engine capacities of 1.6 liters or less, and 2.2 billion yuan is going to subsidize the use of energy-conserving light bulbs and LEDs. Moreover, 1.6 billion yuan will be allocated to efficient electric motors. China said in its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15) that it would slash domestic energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent, and carbon dioxide emission per unit of GDP by 17 percent, from 2010 levels, by 2015. ^ top ^

Rainstorms leave over 100 dead in China (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
Rainstorms have left 102 people dead and another 30 missing across China since late April, a national disaster relief agency said Wednesday. As of Wednesday, heavy rains accompanying thunder, hail and strong winds have hit a large portion of China and affected about 13 million people, including 820,000 who needed relief efforts, said a statement from the Office of the National Committee for Disaster Reduction. Stormy weather struck 147 counties in 22 provincial divisions in China and triggered flooding and landslides. East China's Jiangxi province, central Hunan province and northwestern Gansu province were the worst hit, the statement said. Economic losses are estimated at 16.88 billion yuan (2.68 billion U.S. dollars) with more than 143,000 houses badly damaged and 949,400 hectares of farmland affected. The central government has sent several teams to affected provinces to help carry out relief work, the statement said. The Ministry of Civil Affairs allocated 380 million yuan in relief funds to the three worst-hit provinces on Tuesday. The money will be used to evacuate disaster-affected people, provide allowances for them, rebuild damaged houses and compensate the families of the dead, the ministry said. ^ top ^

Teacher honored after saving children from bus (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
A middle school teacher in northeast China's Heilongjiang province who was injured while saving students from getting hit by a bus has been honored as a national "role model woman," the All-China Women's Federation announced on Wednesday. Zhang Lili has regained consciousness but remains in life-threatening condition, doctors from the hospital she was transferred to said Tuesday. Zhang, a 29-year-old teacher at the No. 19 Middle School in the city of Jiamusi, was crossing the road just outside the school's gate on May 8 when a school bus suddenly veered toward several students. Zhang pushed two students out of the way but was hit by the bus herself. Her legs were crushed and have since been amputated. ^ top ^

Weibo campaign targets misbehaving foreigners (Global Times)
2012-05-18
Internet search giant Baidu and popular forum mop.com jointly launched a campaign with Sina Weibo yesterday, calling on Internet users to expose bad behavior by foreigners in China. The move came after a British man was detained for allegedly molesting a Chinese woman in Beijing on May 8. […] On Tuesday, Beijing authorities launched a three-month campaign targeting foreigners who illegally entered China, stay in the capital with an expired visa or work without the proper permit. According to the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, most of the foreigners who illegally stay in the capital do not have a proper job or a stable income, and they have become a major source of crimes. […] Government data showed that in 1980, there were only about 20,000 foreigners in China who stayed for over six months. In 2011, the number hit 600,000. Foreigners entering and exiting the Chinese mainland in 2010 totaled 52.11 million, a 133 percent increase on 2001. The number last year was 54.12 million. […]. ^ top ^

Locke calls daily's bluff by declaring his assets (SCMP)
2012-05-18
American diplomatic missions on the mainland have disclosed details of ambassador Gary Locke's income and personal assets in response to a call by a Communist Party mouthpiece in Beijing. The Beijing Daily's demand, in a microblog posting on Monday that has since been removed, appears to have been an attempt to silence growing calls to make public mainland officials' assets - by showing US officials were just as reluctant. "Gary Locke, please disclose [your] assets," the paper said. But the plan appears to have backfired when he immediately did so. The prompt response triggered heated online discussion about the lack of transparency in mainland governments and widespread corruption. The United States embassy in Beijing and its consulate in Shanghai released details of Locke's monthly salary and personal assets on their mainland microblogs yesterday morning - along with the salary levels of US State Department officials and their travel, meal and hotel reimbursement caps on the mainland. […] The Beijing Daily had earlier suggest Locke was a troublemaker, after the embassy in Beijing sheltered blind legal activist Chen Guangcheng for six days following his escape from extra-legal house arrest in Shandong province last month. In an editorial published on May 4, it questioned the motives behind Locke's actions, from travelling economy class, to carrying his own bags, to using coupons to buy coffee and taking in Chen. […] Locke, who became ambassador in August, has cultivated a media image quite distinct from that of the stereotypical corrupt mainland official, notorious for splashing out on food and drink at public expense. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese govt demands greater transparency (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
The general office of the State Council, or China's cabinet, on Thursday issued a document calling for greater transparency regarding governmental information disclosures to the public. Information concerning the fiscal budget, affordable housing, food safety, environmental protection, land requisitions and housing demolition should be disclosed in a more transparent manner, according to the document. Central and provincial government departments should expedite the disclosure of fiscal budgets to the public and add more detail to the mentioned information, the document said. […] Local governments should also disclose more information on affordable housing projects to ensure fairness in the construction and rental of such projects, the document said. Information regarding food safety standards and violations should also be publicized, the document said. The document also calls for more extensive information disclosures related to pollution monitoring, water and air quality and compensation for people who have been relocated following land requisitions. ^ top ^

China supports use of ethnic minority languages (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
China supports the use of ethnic minority languages amid the nationwide promotion of standard Chinese, the vice director of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission (SEAC) said Thursday. SEAC Vice Director Dainzhub Ongboin made the remark in response to a question at a press conference, adding that all minority groups have the lawful right to use and develop their own languages. In January 2012, authorities launched five software applications designed to further promote and standardize the use of minority languages. The programs include electronic dictionaries for the languages of the Yi and Zhuang ethnic groups, a proofreading tool for the Zhuang ethnic language and transcoding applications for languages used by the Tibetan, Uygur, Kazakh and Kyrgyz ethnicities, according to the SEAC. ^ top ^

Govt to fight water pollution with more funding (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
The Chinese government plans to allocate 500 billion yuan ($79 billion) for the prevention and control of water pollution in major drainage areas from 2011 to 2015, up from 300 billion yuan for the previous five-year period. The move was revealed in a 2011-2015 guideline on fighting water pollution that was jointly released Thursday by the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Water Resources. According to Zhao Hualin, a MEP official, the guideline includes 5,998 projects focusing on a variety of issues, including pollution in areas with drinking water sources, industrial pollution, urban sewage treatment, pollution from livestock-raising and nearshore water pollution. […] The document sets a goal of cutting chemical oxygen demand (COD), a measure of organic pollutants in water, by 9.7 percent and ammonia nitrogen content by 11.3 percent by 2015 in comparison to 2010 levels. […] "Local governments are ultimately responsible for the quality of water resources within their jurisdiction. Governments at various levels should adopt a market mechanism to encourage more investment in the fight against river pollution," NDRC official Huang Weibo said. According to Xia Xiquan, an official from the Ministry of Finance, the central government plans to earmark more than 30 billion yuan annually from now until 2015 to treat water pollution. […]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing reveals atmospheric ozone levels for the first time (Global Times)
2012-05-14
The city's environmental authority started publishing daily readings of ozone levels in the air over the weekend, in line with China's new edition of air quality guidelines. Concentration of ozone, an odorous, pale blue gas, in the ambient air was not public information until the Ministry of Environmental Protection in February sanctioned the new national guidelines of air quality assessment. The eight-hour average from 9 pm Friday to 8 pm Saturday was 121 micrograms of ozone per cubic meter, according to Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center. The ministry-approved standard has set the cap at 160 micrograms for urban areas. Hourly updates on the center's website yesterday show the ozone concentration peaked at 159 micrograms per cubic meter at 4 pm - almost intolerable by the national standard. […] "Making this information publicly available helps the people better understand the air of their city as well as engage in activities that will lead to betterment," said a center statement on Friday. Engaging a public with little knowledge of the health risks of ozone is not an easy mission. […] Attention drawn to air pollution in the city helped form public policies to upscale standards and improve transparency. […]. ^ top ^

New fuel standards to cut pollution in city (China Daily)
2012-05-18
Beijing will introduce new fuel standards on May 31 that municipal officials say are nearly on a par with the European Union's Euro V, the first Chinese city to do so. All fuel sold by retailers in the Chinese capital will be required to adhere to the new standards, which are expected to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions from 50 to 10 milligrams per kilogram, according to the Beijing environmental protection bureau. "The new Beijing V standard fuel, once implemented, will greatly reduce the amount of pollutants in the air, including the PM 2.5, (particulate matter with a diameter smaller than 2.5 micrometers) and improve the city's air quality," said Li Kunsheng, director of the bureau's vehicle management department. "The capital will become the first in the nation to meet the benchmark." […] The cleaner fuel will also increase engine efficiency and reduce fuel consumption, Li said. […] The production of low-sulfur fuel will increase costs, said Fu Xingguo, an engineer at Sinopec Corp, China's largest oil refiner. However, the price of fuel will not be raised in the coming half year. Fu also said Sinopec and China National Petroleum Corporation have mastered the technologies of petroleum refining, with the country's oil processing capacity reaching 450 million tons in the year 2011. "However, we are still challenged by the shortage of crude oil resources for the moment," he said. Fu said some 56.5 percent of the oil was imported last year and had a high sulfur content. […]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

US consulate in Shanghai monitoring city's air quality at PM2.5 (Global Times)
2012-05-15
The US consulate in Shanghai began publishing hourly air pollution reports at its office that provides data often in conflict with official air quality reports. An air-quality monitor that measures suspended particulates with a diameter of 2.5 micrometer was set up at the consulate on Huaihai Road. "The monitor is an unofficial resource for the health of the consulate community," the consulate said on its website. Wylita Bell, information officer with the consulate, told the Global Times that the hourly readings are available on the consulate's Twitter account. The US embassy stirred controversy last year by providing the same PM2.5 readings in the capital. […] In March, Shanghai began independently publishing PM2.5 data from two sites in Putuo district and in Zhangjiang of Pudong New Area. By June the city expects to have 24 air quality monitoring sites. Only Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou issue PM2.5 air quality reports but by 2016 the program will go nationwide. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Suggestions from netizens welcome (China Daily)
2012-05-15
Comments and suggestions from netizens, be they praise or criticism, help enlighten authorities and improve their work, said Wang Yang, Party chief of Guangdong province, who joined newly appointed members in an online chat with the public on Monday. "The important feature of this kind of communication is the exploration of a system," said Wang. "We, as the leadership of the provincial Party committee, are doing it more as an example to encourage the Party committees, governments and officials at various levels to pay more attention to the voices from the Web," he said. […] "We want to express the emphasis we place on the Internet community.[…]" Wang has held such chats for the past four years and was joined by some members of the standing committee of the provincial Party committee last year. The comments by the netizens during the chat focused on the prominent issues that have arisen during the transformation of society, such as the rural-urban development gap and the integration of migrant workers into cities as well as education, environment, land requisition and corruption, Wang said. […] "Actually, I read comments on micro blogs every day and come across comments criticizing me very often," Wang said. "We who are in office are servants. It kind of makes sense for the master to criticize the servants," he said, adding "the voices of criticism make us more sober-minded". […] Online interactions with netizens in the past few years have effectively pushed forward the online participation in and discussion of politics in Guangdong. The Party committees and governments are increasingly using the Web to solicit people's opinions and to realize better decision-making, Wang said. […]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Meeting 'impairs China's interest' (China Daily)
2012-05-16
Deputy Foreign Minister Song Tao summoned UK Ambassador Sebastian Wood on Tuesday morning and condemned British Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg's meeting with the Dalai Lama in London on Monday. The meeting disregards the repeated Chinese representations and the overall interest of bilateral relations and constitutes serious interference in China's internal affairs, said Song. […] Also on Tuesday, China lodged representation to the two British leaders' meeting with the Dalai Lama, who, according to analysts, has been used as a "political tool" by Western countries to exert pressure on the rising China. […] On Monday in London, Cameron and Clegg met with the Dalai Lama, who, Hong said, is "a political exile who has long been engaged in anti-China secessionist activities in the name of religion". The meeting sent false signals to the "Tibet independence" forces, said Hong. The meeting was described as "private" and was not held at the prime minister's Downing Street residence, AFP reported. The Dalai Lama was in London to receive the $1.8 million Templeton Prize, said the report. […] Hong said the issue regarding Tibet is of exclusive concern to China's internal affairs. [...] Hong urged the British side to treat seriously China's solemn stance, stop indulging and supporting anti-China "Tibet independence" forces and take immediate and effective measures to minimize the baneful impact, so as to safeguard the overall development of bilateral ties. […] A string of self-immolations broke out in Tibetan areas in the provinces of Sichuan and Qinghai bordering Tibet in recent months. At least two mob attacks on police stations were reported in Sichuan's volatile Tibetan areas in late January, leaving at least two people dead and more than a dozen injured, Xinhua News Agency reported. […]. ^ top ^

Self-immolations in Tibetan regions politically motivated: lawmaker (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
Brussels - Recent self-immolations by monks in China's Tibetan regions were part of the Dalai Lama clique's scheme to internationalize the Tibet issue, a Tibetan legislator said here Tuesday. In a symposium held at the Brussels Institute of Contemporary China Studies (BICCS), Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, said more than 20 people had died from self-immolation since March 2011, adding all Tibetans grieved over the losses of lives. The Tibetan lawmaker noted there are more than 3,500 monasteries and 140,000 monks and nuns in Tibet and other Tibetan-populated regions, but none of the self-immolation incidents took place within the Tibet Autonomous Region. "Any one with reason could tell whether (the self-immolations) were the result of a lack of religious freedom in the Tibet Autonomous Region, or that of a political scheme to internationalize the Tibet issue," he said. Qiangba Puncog said self-immolations run against the Tibetan tradition and Buddhist teachings, adding that "(the Dalai Lama clique) is responsible for the losses of lives." […] Qiangba Puncog is leading a Chinese National People's Congress delegation to Belgium. More than 20 officials and experts from the BICCS attended the symposium. William Frei, minister of parliamentary affairs of the Swiss mission to the European Union, said the symposium was "very comprehensive," and the Tibet delegation had answered questions "in an open way." "It is good to have them (the Tibet delegation) here and answer (our questions) directly," he said after the symposium. ^ top ^

Official calls for 'shared mind' in Tibetan areas (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
A senior Communist Party of China (CPC) official has called on ethnic groups to improve solidarity and maintain a "shared mind" with the Party. Du Qinglin, vice chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee and head of the CPC's Department of United Front Work, made the remark during an inspection tour of Tibetan areas in northwest Gansu and Qinghai provinces from May 13 to 16. During his tour, Du visited villages, ethnic group schools, households and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, exchanging ideas with local officials, scholars and religious figures. Du endorsed the work that has been done to maintain stability and development in the two provinces' Tibetan areas, adding that the Party's work on issues regarding ethnic groups and religions has been "fully correct" and should be followed. Du urged local governments to address solidarity and development, improve livelihoods and promote equal, harmonious and friendly relations. While talking with local academics, Du called for enhanced efforts regarding ideological development and education, as well as more efforts to explain the government's policies to local residents. Du also stressed the importance of fighting separatism and improving the organizational and administrative capacity of community-level government and Party entities. While visiting local monasteries, Du called for building "harmonious monasteries" and strengthening the leadership of the monasteries' administrative committees. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China building power transmission line of world's largest capacity (Xinhua)
2012-05-14
Construction of an ultra-high voltage power transmission line designed with the world's largest capacity started Sunday in China's far western Xinjiang region. The 800 kv ultra-high voltage direct current (UHVDC) transmission line connects the energy base of Hami prefecture in eastern Xinjiang with the central city of Zhengzhou, according to the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), the project contractor. The 2,210-km-long line goes through the vast region of Xinjiang, Gansu, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Shanxi, and Henan. It costs 23.39 billion yuan (3.7 billion U.S.dollars), and is designed to have a transmission capacity of 8 million kw upon completion in 2014, setting up a new world record. The line will transmit 37 billion kwh on average annually, according to Liu Zhenya, general manager of the State Grid Corporation of China. "We can reduce 317,000 tonnes of sulfur dioxide and 267,000 tonnes of nitrogen oxide which would otherwise be produced during the transportation," Liu said. Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, attended the construction launch ceremony in Xinjiang. […] The construction boom of the ultra-high voltage power transmission lines came as the country strives to transmit the electricity from the energy-rich west to the booming central and eastern regions. […] Industry insiders have said the State Grid Corporation of China will push for the construction of four alternating current and three direct current ultra-high voltage power transmission lines across the country, with an investment exceeding 300 billion yuan in 2012 alone. ^ top ^

Protest over Tokyo Uygur gathering (China Daily)
2012-05-15
Beijing on Monday lodged strong protest over Tokyo's permission for the separatist World Uygur Congress meeting to be held in Japan, and slammed Uygur separatist Rebiya Kadeer's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. […] The World Uygur Congress, a separatist organization notorious for anti-China activities and closely connected to the other terrorist organizations, held a meeting in Tokyo on Monday. Kadeer also visited the Yasukuni Shrine, a symbol of Japan's past militarism, which honors 14 major war criminals who led Japan's invasion of China, according to AFP. […] Premier Wen Jiabao, in his Sunday talk with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, reiterated China's principles and stances on issues regarding Xinjiang. "We express our strong dissatisfaction over Japan's permission for the separatist World Uygur Congress meeting and its engagement in anti-China activities in disregard of our firm opposition," Foreign Ministry spokesmen Hong Lei warned on Monday. Issues regarding Xinjiang are China's internal affairs, and there is no tolerance to interference from outsiders, he said. China urged Japan to "sincerely respect China's major concern, take measures for damage control and protect the bigger picture of China-Japan ties with tangible moves". The Yasukuni Shrine is a symbol of Japan's past militarism and its history of invasion of other countries, and the visits in the past by some Japanese political figures outraged the Chinese public and added tensions to ties. […] Evidence showed that foreign separatist forces led by the World Uygur Congress masterminded the deadly violence on July 5, 2009, in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, according to the Chinese government. Nearly 200 people were killed. ^ top ^

Senior leader stresses development, stability in Xinjiang (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
Senior Chinese leader Zhou Yongkang has called for continuous efforts to promote the development and maintain stability in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the remarks during his four-day inspection tour, that ended on Wednesday, to the region. Zhou visited some local primary and secondary schools in Xinjiang and said he hoped the students would study well and grow up happily, encouraging them to make contributions to the construction of the region and the country in the future. He also praised the schools' efforts to promote the students' Mandarin-Uygur bilingual literacy and all-round development. Moreover, during his inspection to local enterprises and industrial bases, Zhou stressed the need to carry forward the program of supporting Xinjiang with key industrial projects to further boost the region's economy and improve local people's employment and income. He also encouraged efforts to promote Xinjiang as a hub of trade and cooperation between the country and its central Asian neighbors. Furthermore, Zhou called for measures to improve Xinjiang's capability to handle emergency situations as well as to maintain the security, harmony and stability of the border region. During a forum with representatives of local government and enterprises officials, Zhou called on them to firmly follow the path of scientific development, improve people's livelihoods, promote the ethnic unity and build Xinjiang into a prosperous and harmonious region. Zhou also visited local residents, retirees and veterans in Xinjiang. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

New obstetric fee for non-eligible persons in Hong Kong rise 87.5 pct (Xinhua)
2012-05-12
The revised non-eligible person obstetric package charge for non-booked cases in public hospitals in Hong Kong rose 87.5 percent to 90,000 HK dollars (about 11,593 U.S. dollars) from 48,000 HK dollars, taking effective from Saturday, the city's Hospital Authority (HA) said here Friday. The HA said the revision will deter pregnant women from seeking last-minute hospital admission for obstetric services via accident and emergency departments. It said such behavior is dangerous to both the woman and the baby. Factors taken into account include the complexity and intensity of care for non-booked cases, price comparability with the private market and affordability. The minimum rate covers the delivery charges and the first three days of hospitalization in general wards. If a woman needs to stay longer, the prevailing maintenance fee for general wards will be charged for the extra days while other inpatient charges for public wards and outpatient charges will apply separately. ^ top ^

Hong Kong-Taiwan visa breakthrough (SCMP)
2012-05-16
Hong Kong is to offer free visas online for Taiwanese visitors from September 1, in another breakthrough in relations between the two sides. The city moved to reciprocate Taiwan's free online visas for Hongkongers, which have been available since September 2010. "By introducing the new measure, we hope to encourage more Taiwanese people to visit Hong Kong," Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah said yesterday on a visit to Taipei, where he inaugurated the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office - Hong Kong's first representative office on the island. Taiwan had been urging Hong Kong to at least reciprocate the service, if not waive visa requirements completely for travellers from the island. […] Under the new measure, the free online visas will be valid for two months. Taiwanese visitors just print out the visas and show them to immigration officials in Hong Kong. The permits allow for a stay of up to 30 days and can be used twice within the two-month period. There is no limit on applying for a new online visa after the first one expires, officials say. More than two million Taiwanese came to Hong Kong last year, making them the second-largest group of visitors. […] During yesterday's inauguration ceremony, four Hongkongers studying in Taiwan staged a brief protest to call for direct elections in Hong Kong. Tsang arrived in Taipei on Monday for a three-day visit in his capacity as honorary chairman of the Hong Kong-Taiwan Economic and Cultural Co-operation and Promotion Council. He later met his Taiwanese counterpart in that role, Lin Chen-kuo, to review operations ahead of a joint meeting later this year. […] Ties between Taiwan and Hong Kong used to stagnate before Ma Ying-jeou of the mainland-friendly Kuomintang became president in 2008. Ma's policy to engage the mainland later led to a warming in relations and renewed talks between Hong Kong and Taipei in 2009. ^ top ^

Halted filibuster starts new storm (SCMP)
2012-05-18
A 33-hour marathon filibuster came to an abrupt end yesterday after Legislative Council president Tsang Yok-sing invoked for the first time powers in the rules of procedure to halt debate on a controversial bill to restrict Legco by-elections. The move drew a legal challenge from League of Social Democrats legislator "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung. He wants the High Court to rule that Tsang went beyond his powers in ending the debate or to issue a temporary injunction freezing Tsang's decision. The filibuster was an attempt by radical democrats to block the passage of the bill, which would ban lawmakers who resign midterm from standing in a by-election within six months. People Power legislators Albert Chan Wai-yip and Wong Yuk-man tabled 1,300 amendments to the proposal. Pro-government lawmakers tried to stop the filibuster. […] As the debate entered its 33rd hour at 4.30am yesterday, pro-government lawmaker Philip Wong Yu-hong asked for an end to scrutiny of the amendments, prompting nearly two hours of closed-door discussion among legislators. Tsang then announced he would invoke Article 92 of Legco's rules of procedure - which empower the council president to decide on matters not bound by existing rules - to stop the debate at 12pm and vote on the amendments in the afternoon. […] Tsang said he had exercised a power he was entitled to use. He said his decision was not due to any political pressure from the government, but was intended to maintain normal operation of the legislature. […] Chan said he was seeking advice on launching a judicial review of Tsang's decision, while Wong will seek a vote of no confidence in Tsang on June 6. Twenty pan-democrats jointly condemned Tsang's decision, but will wait for a written explanation from him before deciding whether to support the no-confidence motion. […] Nearly 100 of the amendments were voted down yesterday. The voting continues today. Going through all 1,306 amendments is expected to require three more days. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Jia Qinglin urges deeper mainland-Taiwan mutual trust (Xinhua)
2012-05-12
China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin on Friday said efforts to deepen political mutual trust between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan should always be a primary condition for the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks during his speech at the opening ceremony of the second forum of social groups of Taiwan compatriots. Jia called for measures to improve cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation as well as efforts to oppose and contain the "Taiwan independence" stance. Social groups of Taiwan compatriots on the two sides of the Strait as well as those around the world are important forces to advance the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties, Jia said. He called on the groups to make further efforts to unite people across the Strait and improve the communication and cooperation among the public of the two sides of the Strait. In recent years, cross-Strait relations have witnessed significant and positive progress and the people on the two sides of the Strait are in closer contact and have reached a broad range of interests in common, Jia said. The peaceful development of cross-Strait relations is the common aspiration of the people on both sides of the Strait and it also is in line with the interests of the entire Chinese nation, he added. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan probes wire purchases for nuclear plant (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
Taiwanese investigators acting on tip-offs have launched an anti-graft probe into engineering and procurement staff with an under-construction power plant for green-lighting the purchase of wires and equipment offering little or no radiation protection. Authorities raided several locations of Taipower, a major publicly-funded electric power supplier that is constructing the aforementioned nuclear power plant in Gongliao in the city of Xinbei, and its subcontractors and questioned several suspects Tuesday. Prosecutors have announced that three of the company's staff members are suspected of corruption in the procurement of wires and equipment worth 450 million New Taiwanese Dollars (about 15 million U.S. dollars). The three are suspected of profiting from endorsing the purchases from two small supply firms in May 2007. Both of the firms were just four months old at the time. In the deal, inferior wires were accepted by Taipower as materials with sufficient radiation-proof performance. According to local authorities, the three suspects each paid 200,000 New Taiwanese Dollars in bail on Wednesday, and the investigation is ongoing. The scandal stirred public uproar on the island for its possible links to nuclear power safety. Taipower executives expressed hope that the truth will be ascertained soon, vowing punishments for any of its members found to be involved in malpractice. ^ top ^

 

Economy

CNOOC, Roc Oil ink product-sharing contract (Xinhua)
2012-05-12
China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC), the country's largest offshore oil producer, has signed a product-sharing contract with an Australian company on an oilfield in the Bohai Sea. According to the contract, Roc Oil (Bohai) Company will collect three dimensional geological data on the 09/05 oilfield during the exploration period, CNOOC Ltd., a subsidiary of CNOOC, said Friday. Roc Oil (Bohai) Company, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Roc Oil Co., one of Australia's largest oil and gas producer, will drill the block during the exploration period and bear all costs arising from the exploration, the contract said. The contract entitled CNOOC to have a maximum 51-percent stake in any commercial oil and gas operations on the oilfield, which is 50 kilometers southeast of the port city of Tianjin. ^ top ^

China cuts its reserve ratio again (China Daily)
2012-05-13
China's central bank announced on Saturday it would lower the reserve requirement for commercial lenders by 50 basis points, the second time it has taken such action this year to inject more market liquidity and shore up the economy. Effective May 18, the cut would release about 400 billion yuan into the market, said Lian Ping, chief economist at the Bank of Communications Co Ltd. After the cut, the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for major banks will stand at 20 percent, while for small and medium-sized lenders, the ratio will be reduced to 16.5 percent. […] The world's second-largest economy continued to slow in April, as industrial production registered the lowest growth in three years of 9.3 percent. Retail sales growth slowed to 14.1 percent from March's 15.2 percent, and export growth undershot expectations by falling to 4.9 percent from 8.9 percent one month earlier. […] China's foreign-exchange reserves dropped by $4.69 billion from February to March - the first monthly decline since last December, partly dragged down by short-term capital outflows, said analysts. […] China's new yuan loans in April fell to 681.8 billion yuan, down by 61.2 billion yuan compared with a year earlier, and 328.2 billion yuan lower than March's 1.01 trillion yuan, according to data released by People's Bank of China, the central bank, on Friday. […] Lu Zhengwei, chief economist at the Industrial Bank Co Ltd, said given the economic growth rate has been close to the lower limit of tolerance, and inflation rate eased to somewhere below normal level, in the second and third quarter the government would continue to loosen its monetary stance, "but a large dose of relaxation is impossible". Growth of the consumer price index, a main gauge of inflation, moderated to 3.4 percent year-on-year in April in line with expectations, compared with March's 3.6 percent. […]. ^ top ^

Bond issuance trials for local gov'ts to continue (Xinhua)
2012-05-15
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) announced Monday that the State Council, the country's cabinet, has given approval to the cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as the provinces of Zhejiang and Guangdong, to continue bond issuance trials this year. The MOF said that it would still act as an agent to pay off the principal and interest for the bonds. The bond issuance quota should not exceed the amount allowed by the central government, the MOF said, adding that quotas will not be allowed to "roll over" to the following year. The bonds issued as part of the trials are book-entry bonds with fixed interest. Maturity types include three-year, five-year and seven-year. The issuance of any given bond category cannot exceed 50 percent of the local government's total bond issuance portfolio, the MOF said. Shanghai started issuing China's first-ever local government bonds last November as part of a pilot project aimed at curbing debt risks for cash-strapped local governments. Before the move, China banned local governments from selling bonds directly, although the MOF has previously issued around 200 billion yuan in bonds on behalf of local governments each year. ^ top ^

China 'confident' in outlook despite FDI fall (China Daily)
2012-05-16
Foreign direct investment fell for the sixth consecutive month in April, while capital flow from the European Union into China continued to drop sharply, according to the Ministry of Commerce. But the ministry said the drop is temporary and China is "confident" in the long-term FDI outlook. FDI decreased by 0.7 percent, from a year earlier, to $8.4 billion in April. It fell 6.1 percent in March. This is the longest period of continuous decline in FDI since the financial crisis. FDI fell 2.4 percent in the first four months, from a year earlier, to $37.9 billion but outbound direct investment grew by 72.8 percent to $23.2 billion. ODI is expected to register an annual growth rate of 17 percent from 2011 to 2015, reaching $150 billion in 2015, the ministry said on its website on Tuesday. Contracted value for the nation's engineering projects is expected to reach $180 billion in 2015. "There are various reasons (behind the drop in FDI)," including a faltering global economy, said ministry spokesman Shen Danyang, at a news briefing on Tuesday. "We are now entering a period where we choose the foreign investment," rather than absorb all types of foreign investment, Shen said. […] The drop in FDI was mainly due to the weak global economy, said Xu Sitao, chief representative of the China Economist Group. […] Some developed nations, led by the US, began to launch preferential policies to attract foreign investment. "Many foreign companies are under pressure" to invest in their own countries, which partly explains why Chinese FDI fell, Gerard Worms, chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, said. […] The economy expanded 8.1 percent from a year earlier in the first quarter, the fifth straight slowdown and the smallest in almost three years. And the economy is projected to decelerate further in the second quarter. […] "The government need not worry about the drop in FDI... it cannot last long," said Worms, who told China Daily that many of the member companies of the chamber said they expected to increase investment in China. […] "But the government needs to show more openness to foreign companies and be more cooperative," Worms said. ^ top ^

Dubai financial supervisor, China banking regulator partner up (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA), which oversees Dubai's financial free zone, and the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) signed on Wednesday an agreement in order to cooperate in the field of financial supervision. The signing took place in Beijing during a meeting between the CBRC Chairman Shang Fulin and Chairman of the DFSA's Board of Directors Saeb Eigner, the DFSA said in an e-mailed statement. The signing coincided with a visit to Beijing by a DFSA delegation to attend the 2012 Annual Conference of the International Organization of Securities Commissions, known as IOSCO. DFSA Chief Executive Paul M. Koster commented on the agreement: "This initiative confirms a close and effective relationship between our two authorities. It grew from the response to the global financial crisis by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS), which issued specific guidelines to enhance cross-border cooperation on crisis management." "As active participants in the work of the BCBS, the CBRC and the DFSA have entered this agreement conscious of the need to implement best international practice and the commitment to ensuring efficient and effective supervision of banks we both supervise," he added. […]. ^ top ^

China's tourism investment hit 206 bln yuan in 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
Investment in China's tourism industry hit 206.4 billion yuan (32.8 billion U.S. dollars) last year, according to data from the National Tourism Administration (NTA) issued Wednesday. Private investment accounted for 39 percent of the total, said Wu Wenxue, a senior NTA official. Investment by the government and state-owned enterprises accounted for 25 and 13 percent of the total, respectively, Wu said at a press briefing. Meanwhile, 23 percent of the total came from bank loans, Wu said. […] Wu said China's economically developed eastern region was the top spot for tourism investment, consuming more than half of the total investment last year. As of the end of 2011, accumulative investment in tourism projects nationwide totaled 2.67 trillion yuan, the data showed. ^ top ^

PetroChina, int'l energy firms to jointly develop project in Canada (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
PetroChina Company Limited announced Wednesday that it will cooperate with Shell Canada Ltd., Korea Gas Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation to jointly develop a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) project near Kitimat, British Columbia, Canada. Shell will hold a 40-percent working interest in the project, while the other three companies will each take a 20-percent share, according to a news release by PetroChina. The proposed LNG Canada project will include the design, construction and operation of a gas liquefication plant, and facilities for the storage and export of LNG, said the news release. […] "PetroChina is very confident in the future of the LNG Canada project. This project will contribute to a further strengthening of trade relationships between China and Canada...," said Bo Qiliang, vice president of PetroChina. ^ top ^

China announces additional export quotas for rare earths (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
The Ministry of Commerce announced Thursday additional export quotas for rare earth minerals totalling 10,680 tonnes. Of the added quotas, 9,490 tonnes were light rare earths, and 1,190 tonnes were medium and heavy rare earths, a statement on the MOC website said. The added quotas would be provided to a total of 12 companies which had recently passed examinations by the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the statement said. The companies included Baogang Group, the country's largest light rare earth producer, and the Aluminum Corporation of China, the statement said. The quotas would be addition to the nation's first batch of rare earth export quotas, the statement said. […] The ministry also noted that companies that had yet to pass the environmental examination would not get the export rights if they failed to meet the second round of environmental examinations before the end of July. China supplies more than 90 percent of the world's rare earth metals, but its reserves only account for about one-third of the world's total. Faced with widespread environmental challenges, the country has announced production caps, stricter environmental standards and an export quota system for rare earth metals in recent years to protect the environment and preserve the exhaustible resource. ^ top ^

Chinese SOEs' profits down 8.6 pct in Jan.-April (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
The profits of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) fell 8.6 percent year on year to 669.01 billion yuan (106 billion U.S. dollars) in the first four months of 2012, according to new figures from the Ministry of Finance. On a monthly basis, the SOEs' profits edged down 0.5 percent in April, the ministry said on Thursday in a statement on its website. The tobacco, auto, commerce and trade and telecommunications industries saw big profit gains, while the transportation, chemicals, construction materials and nonferrous metals industries experienced steep declines. The profits of centrally administered SOEs slid 6.2 percent from a year earlier to 474.08 billion yuan during the January-April period, while SOEs under local governments saw profits decrease 13.9 percent to 194.93 billion yuan. In the first four months, Chinese SOEs saw revenues grow 12.4 percent year on year to 12.72 trillion yuan. […] The report does not include SOEs in the financial sector. ^ top ^

Fonterra opens innovation center in Shanghai (China Daily)
2012-05-18
Dairy company Fonterra opened a new innovation center in Shanghai on May 17 that will focus on developing products for the Chinese market. Innovation underpins our entire global strategy and is critical to the integrated milk business we are building in China," said Fonterra CEO Theo Spierings. He said demand for dairy nutrition in China is expected to double by 2020, and it is estimated the country will be consuming more than 70 billion liters of milk every year by 2020 as people change their ways of consuming dairy. Fonterra plans to develop two large dairy farms in Hebei province with an investment of $76 million. It will give Fonterra a hub of five farms in the area with about 15,000 milking cows producing 150 million liters a year. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Singapore president meets SPA Presidium president of DPRK (Xinhua)
2012-05-13
Singapore's President Tony Tan Keng Yam, along side with Speaker of Parliament Michael Palmer, met president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly ( SPA) of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Kim Yong Nam, on Friday. […] According to a press statement from Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), President Tan and Mr Palmer stressed that while Singapore was open to advancing bilateral relations with DPRK, "we were constrained by the fact that the DPRK was subject to United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and other sanctions". […] Tan and Palmer also expressed the goverment's concern about the recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula, stressing that it will affect the stability and development of the whole region. They urged the DPRK to work with all related parties and organizations as well as ASEAN to be "fully integrated" into the Asia-Pacific region. Once trust and confidence were rebuilt, the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula will be confirmed. Kim Yong Nam started his three-day working visit to Singapore from May 11, after which he will also visit Indonesia. ^ top ^

DPRK holds international trade fair to boost economy (Xinhua)
2012-05-15
PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) opened a trade fair here Monday in a bid to boost the country's economic ties with the outside world. DPRK Vice Foreign Trade Minister O Ryong Chol said the 15th Pyongyang Spring International Trade Fair sought to step up economic and commercial cooperation with other countries and regions based on the principles of friendship, equality, mutual respect and reciprocity. More than 270 companies from 16 countries and regions are participating in the event. Machine tools, electric and electronic appliances, vehicles, petrochemical goods, medicines and foodstuffs are among the products at the fair, which will last until Thursday. ^ top ^

S Korean activists detained in China (SCMP)
2012-05-15
Four South Korean activists have been detained in China since March on suspicion of spying after they interviewed North Korean refugees living in hiding there, an anti-Pyongyang group said on Tuesday. South Korea's foreign ministry confirmed the four were arrested in the northeastern city of Dalian on March 29 on charges of “endangering state security”. One of the four is Kim Young-Hwan, a former leader of an underground leftist party who became an activist opposing Pyongyang's regime. Names of the three others were not given. […] South Korea has asked China to handle the case in a fair and swift manner, the ministry said. It declined to elabourate on what the four are accused of doing. Kim Young-Hwan, 48, is a researcher for a Seoul-based group called the Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights. Choi Hong-Jae, spokesman for a group set up to seek his freedom, said the four had apparently been interviewing North Korean refugees to collect information about their life in China and the situation in their homeland. […] Almost all refugees from the North cross first to China, which repatriates those fugitives whom it catches as economic migrants. Rights groups have urged Beijing to treat them as potential refugees, saying returnees can face harsh punishment. South Korean activists, many of them Christian evangelists, are engaged in secret activities in China to help the refugees travel to a third country and on to South Korea. ^ top ^

Nuclear envoys of S. Korea, U.S., Japan to hold talks on DPRK (Xinhua)
2012-05-18
The top nuclear envoys of South Korea, the United States and Japan will hold talks in Seoul next week to coordinate policies toward the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the foreign ministry said here Thursday. The three-way talks Monday, the second such talks this year, will be joined by South Korea's chief nuclear envoy Lim Sung-nam, his Japanese counterpart Shinsuke Sugiyama and the U.S. special representative on the DPRK, Glyn Davies. They will discuss development on the Korean peninsula following the DPRK's failed rocket launch last month, according to ministry spokesman Cho Byung-Je. The talks come amid speculations that the DPRK might conduct its third nuclear test following the botched attempt to launch a rocket mounted with an observational satellite. […]. ^ top ^

DPRK urged to guarantee rights of fishermen (China Daily)
2012-05-18
China on Thursday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to guarantee the legitimate rights of Chinese crewmen of fishing ships, as a DPRK gunboat hijacked three boats with 29 Chinese fishermen onboard and demanded 1.2 million yuan ($189,800) for their release. "China is keeping close contact with the DPRK via relevant channels, and we hope this problem will be appropriately resolved as soon as possible," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news conference. There has been no official confirmation about the identities of the people who carried out the seizure of the boats. Previously, one ship owner whose surname is Zhang told the Chinese-language newspaper the Global Times that hijackers called him on Tuesday, urging the payment of ransom and threatening to "dispose of" the hostages. He also said that citizens from both the DPRK and China are among the hijackers. "They are carrying guns, and those hijacked fishermen, who are locked in cells without any food, dare not resist," he was quoted as saying. […] A source with Liaoning Marine Fisheries Office, who requested anonymity, said: "These kinds of incidents are commonly seen" in the waters off the maritime boundary between China and the DPRK, "but it is quite uncommon for the DPRK to seize Chinese people in Chinese waters". […] Coast guards in northeastern China's coastal Liaoning province said they were in contact with the DPRK captors, but declined to comment further, China National Radio reported. […]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian PM vows to push forward Mongolia-China partnership (Xinhua)
2012-05-12
Mongolian Prime Minister Sukhbaatar Batbold said Thursday that his government will strengthen cooperation in various fields with China to push forward the bilateral strategic partnership. At a meeting with Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, Batbold said developing friendly relations with China is a chief goal of Mongolia's foreign policy. He said his government will continue to adhere to the one-China policy, and understands and respects China's stance on Tibet. […] Xu said China and Mongolia are important neighbors, which are culturally close and economically complementary. […] He stressed that China attaches great importance to developing China-Mongolia ties and is willing to work with Mongolia to ensure long-term steady and sound development of the China-Mongolia strategic partnership. […]. ^ top ^

New trolleybus industry coming to Ulaanbaatar (UB Post)
2012-05-12
Tsahilgaan Teever company has notified the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar and the Head of the Transportation Agency, P.Delgernaran, on Thursday that the construction of the first trolleybus industry with capacity for 24 bus parking lots is now complete. The capital has invested one billion MNT to the construction of this industry. The Ministry of Road, Transportation, Construction and Urban Development has also invested two billion MNT for 12 duo-busses (containing a hybrid motor) and the Ministry of Nature, Environment and Tourism has invested a further 1.5 billion MNT for the assembling of 9 duo-busses. It looks as though the residents of Ulaanbaatar will soon be riding Mongolian made duo-busses before the National Naadam Festival. The production level of the industry has increased three times and now it is capable of assembling 80-100 JEA800F trolleybuses, yet the industry still lacks a working force. At present there are 42 engineers and technicians working within the industry and if approximately 40 more specialists were to be added, than it would be possible to produce one trolleybus per day. A week from now the JEA800F duo-busses prototypes will be released. If they pass the technical inspection from the Transportation Agency, they will be given state license plates and will be operational within the city. Head of the Assembling Factory Department, P.Baatar, stated that the old bus routes will be re-established. Erdu Company engineers have also contributed to the assembly of the buses in the industry. The first ever Mongolian J800N mark busses assembled have passed technical inspections and are waiting for the license plate. These buses are equipped with security cameras, which will make public transportation safer. The mayor of Ulaanbaatar stated, “I support the bus and trolleybus industries. It is clear that the city will have an efficient bus lane and routes before the metro project. One trolleybus costs 160 million MNT, the financing for around 80 trolleybuses will cost 3 to 4 billion MNT and this issue has to be sorted as soon as possible.” Nations of the world have been experiencing fuel shortages and transferring to electrically-fuelled environmentally friendly public transportation methods such as the trolleybus due to global warming. Switching to electric fuelled transportations reduces pollution. ^ top ^

Mongolians in abroad to vote on June 10 (News.mn)
2012-05-15
By the new Election law Mongolians who lives abroad will vote to the election a first time. But will vote only for political parties not for individual candidate. According the law voting day dated on Sunday, on June 10, 2012. According to the B.Batkhishig, a State secretary of Foreign Affairs voting process should take place at Mongolian Embassy or Diplomatic Representative Office in foreign countries. “Mongolians who lives abroad must registered him/herself at the Embassy and the Consulate before 30 days the voting day” said B.Batkhishig. “There is one different thing is when voter marked an electorate list should put in an envelop and drop to a sealed box. Than sealed box transferred to the General Election Committee to Ulaanbaatar” said B.Batkhishig. The election advocacy campaign prohibited in foreign countries but allowed campaign through web site. According to the Consulate Department of Foreign Affairs Ministry 112.862 mongolians lives in abroad, many of them lives in USA and South Korea. ^ top ^

UN secretary general voices concern over former Mongolian president's health
2012-05-15
ULAN BATOR - UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Monday made a telephone call to Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and voiced his concern over the health of former Mongolian President Nambar Enkhbayar. […] The UN secretary general also said he has no interest in being involved in the Mongolia's internal matter and he believes Elbegdorj can help in properly solving the issue of concern. Elbegdorj expressed his gratitude for the call. He said, "We are paying close attention to the health of former President Enkhbayar. He is currently being treated in the hospital for our state officials. A medical team consisting of the best doctors in our country has been appointed to monitor his health." The president also said he will be very pleased if the UN sends representatives to collaborate with Mongolia's efforts to combat corruption and protect human rights. He added that Enkhbayar's case was opened quite some time ago. The former president was summoned for testimony ten times over the past several months, but he declined to appear, Elbegdorj said, adding that due to this reason he had to be taken into detention. Elbegdorj promised he will pay close attention to the health of Enkhbayar and support the law enforcement organizations for their just implementation of the laws. The same day, Enkhbayar was released on bail. ^ top ^

Elders and disabled to receive cash next week (Montsame)
2012-05-16
The elders and the disabled who want to receive the cash money instead of owning the shares of the “Erdenes Tavantolgoi” company will start receiving one million togrogs each from the next week. It was reported by D.Khayankhyarvaa, the Minister of Finance, at a regular cabinet meeting on Wednesday. According to him, the money will be given to them in Ulaanbaatar in the first turn, divided into three parts. The money for April and May will be granted together. The Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor conducted a survey into an attitude of people, including the elders and the disabled, whether to choose the cash or the stocks. There are 272,582 elders and the disabled wishing to have the cash money, and there are 738,917 people who want to sell their stocks to the government--717 thous.748 intend to have the cash money, 21 thous.--to pay money for the mortgage loans, and 394--to pay for the educational or medical services. The cabinet also discussed the nominal value of the “Erdenes Tavantolgoi” company's stock. It is expected that a final decision on it will be made by cabinet soon. After fixing the nominal value, the stocks will be sold to national enterprisers from June 1 of 2012. The Finance Minister said a financial matter has been tackled for the construction of auto roads and railways. ^ top ^

Mongolia seeks growth in mining industry (Xinhua)
2012-05-17
Mongolia's economy is poised for "explosive growth" from the use of its vast mineral resources, the Ulan Bator mayor said here on Wednesday. Gombosuren Munkhbayar made the remarks in his written welcome address for the start of the international trade fair "Future Mongolia 2012." Munkhbayar highlighted the participation of the world's leading manufacturers and technology and solution providers in the fair. The fair, jointly organized by Mongolia and Germany, has attracted over 100 mining and construction machinery companies from about 12 countries including Germany, China and Russia. Many of the exhibitors, including Russian Railways and Siemens, brought their latest machines and technology in an effort to gain a presence in Mongolia's market. […] Mining and construction mechanical equipment companies from Germany attach great importance to Mongolia's market and make efforts to expand market share in the country. ^ 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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