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
  2-8.6.12, No. 426  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Bilateral Issues

Insurance for foreigners to be simplified (China Daily)
2012-06-05
Social insurance payments, for foreigners in China and Chinese citizens working overseas, will be simplified under international agreements currently being discussed, a senior social security official said. "We've held three rounds of talks with Japan and one round with France, and we have also held initial discussions with Sweden and Belgium," said Xu Yanjun, deputy director of the Social Insurance Administration under the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, in an exclusive interview with China Daily. Xu said 11 countries, including Finland, Singapore, Denmark, Spain and Switzerland, have expressed their willingness to negotiate with China since a regulation, which stipulates that all foreigners working in China will be covered by social security, took effect on Oct 15, 2011. China's Social Insurance Law allows foreign workers to enjoy retirement, medical, work-related injury, unemployment and maternity insurance similar to those for Chinese citizens. Workers and employers in China collectively pay endowment, medical and unemployment insurance but employers are responsible for paying for work-related injury insurance and maternity insurance. Germany and South Korea have signed reciprocal agreements with China. The agreement between China and Germany exempts workers from the other country from paying endowment and unemployment insurance. The deal with South Korea exempts workers from paying endowment insurance, Xu said. [...] Agreements such as these are common practice in other countries as they help avoid double payment of social insurance contributions. Negotiating teams are made up of each country's social security and foreign affairs departments, he said. "Negotiations mainly focus on the type of insurance the deal might cover. Each party has their own considerations. It normally takes a year or two to complete the negotiations and sign the deal," Xu said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

China reports on sustainable development ahead of U.N. conference (Xinhua)
2012-06-02
China on Friday released a report themed on sustainable development ahead of the United Nations (U.N.) Conference on Sustainable Development in Brazil. The report focused on the efforts and progress China has made since 2001 in implementing the strategy of sustainable development, analyzed existing gaps and challenges, put forward future strategic initiatives, and clarified China's positions for the upcoming U.N. conference. Over the past two decades, China has actively responded to the complex changes in the environment at home and abroad and a series of major challenges, with remarkable progress in economic restructuring, people's livelihood improvement, resource conservation and environmental protection, the report said. [...] Compared with 2005, the energy consumption per unit of industrial-added value had a cumulative decline of 26 percent by 2010. While outlining China's progress in promoting sustainable development, the report also acknowledged a range of challenges ahead. [...] Therefore, China will further transform its development mindset, innovate new modes of development. [...] Regarding the upcoming U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development, the report said the conference should promote stronger political will, and call on countries to fully implement the consensus reached at the 1992 U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa, so as to take an action-oriented and pragmatic attitude to speed up the achievement of the goals. The conference should develop a clear and specific implementation plan covering specific approaches that developed countries should take, including financial support, technology transfer and capacity building, the report said. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese Navy training vessel "Zhenghe" pays goodwill visit to Italy (Xinhua)
2012-06-02
Taranto, Italy - The Chinese Navy training vessel "Zhenghe" arrived in the southern Italian port city of Taranto Thursday, starting a five-day goodwill visit to the country. Decorated both with the Italian and Chinese national flags, the People's Liberation Army (PLA)'s ocean-going training ship slowly entered Taranto, one of Italy's most important military ports, at around 10:30 a.m. local time (0830 GMT). The vessel, named after a famed Chinese maritime explorer who sailed overseas about 600 years ago, was warmly received by the charge d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Italy Chen Guoyou, representatives of overseas Chinese and representatives from the Italian military. The ship commander, Liao Shining, who is also deputy chief of staff of the PLA navy, said the main purpose of the visit is to promote the ideal of "a harmonious world and a harmonious ocean," as well as to strengthen the friendship and cooperation between the two countries and the two navies. [...] The ship, with a scheduled route of more than 30,000 nautical miles, is expected to pay port calls to 11 countries and working visits to three countries during its global voyage. ^ top ^

Proper handling of Sino-U.S. ties key to regional, world peace (Xinhua)
2012-06-03
Singapore - What United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said at an ongoing regional security forum shows that the United States is seeing its relations with China as very important and is making efforts to strengthen it, said Lieutenant General Ren Haiquan, who headed the Chinese delegation to the forum. Speaking on the sidelines of the forum on Saturday, Ren, who is also vice president of the Academy of Military Sciences of the People's Liberation Army, said that the United States attaches great importance to Sino-U.S.relations largely because China is a large country and its economy is growing quickly and steadily. [...] Ren had discussions and exchanges of views with many defense ministers, senior defense officials and scholars at the ongoing Asia Security Summit, which is also known as the Shangri-La Dialogue. [...] Ren said that from a strategic point of view, the United States wants to strengthen its cooperation with China in areas such as defense, politics, diplomacy and economy. "If it properly handles its relations with China in an approach based on its strategic needs, it will be helpful not only for the bilateral relations, but also for the region and even the world," Ren said. [...] The consensus shared by the Asia Pacific nations, including most of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, is that they should have mutual respect, promote cooperation and strive to develop their economy so as to achieve prosperity and make it possible for people in the region to have a better life, he said. "Anybody going against this trend is destined to end up a loser, " he said. As for the U.S. strategic rebalancing towards the Pacific, especially its plans to increase military presence in the Asia Pacific, Ren said it is no surprise that the United States is adjusting its strategy in accordance with its national interest, its fiscal conditions and the world situation. China should be aware of its challenges while getting prepared at any time for the complex and challenging international situation. "We have never sought hegemony. we are not seeking it now. Neither will we seek it in future," Ren said. "But we should have the means and the capabilities to defend our fundamental national interests when they are under threat." Panetta outlined U.S. plans to deploy 60 percent of its Navy ships in the Pacific by 2020, up from the current 50 percent, saying that increased U.S. involvement in the region is not only " fully compatible" with the development and growth of China, but will actually benefit China as it advances the shared security and prosperity of the two countries for the future. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese official pledges closer cooperation with New Zealand (Xinhua)
2012-06-05
Vice Premier Hui Liangyu pledged on Monday to boost cooperation with New Zealand as he met with New Zealand's Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples. [...] China and New Zealand, with their extensive exchanges and cooperation, have made a positive contribution to the harmony and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific, said the Chinese vice premier. China is willing to work together with New Zealand to improve mutual trust and boost pragmatic cooperation to strengthen the bilateral ties, he added. Hui also briefed the visiting New Zealand minister on China's ethnic policies and practices during the meeting. The Chinese government attaches great importance to ethnic affairs and has found the correct path to common development and shared prosperity among all the ethnic groups in the country, Hui said, adding that every country in the world should be independent when addressing its ethnic affairs according to its own national and ethnic conditions. "(China) opposes any country or organization's attempt to interfere in other countries' domestic affairs on excuse of ethnic, religion- or human rights-related issues," he added. ^ top ^

Hu, Putin pledge to boost China-Russia ties (China Daily)
2012-06-06
With the signing of key commercial deals and the promise of greater political cooperation, China and Russia cemented their partnership on Tuesday against an uncertain world and regional scenario highlighted by the fluctuating Middle East crisis and shifting Asia-Pacific landscape. The leaders of both countries also urged the international community to support UN envoy Kofi Annan's plan on Syria. President Hu Jintao threw a lavish red-carpet welcome for Russian President Vladimir Putin, as he kicked off a three-day state visit to China, his first to Asia since commencing an historic third term last month. During their two-hour meeting, the leaders vowed to increase cooperation in the framework of leading international organizations — the United Nations, G20, BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Hu said as both countries are in a crucial era of development, they face challenges amid increasing uncertainties in the global arena. Both need to support each other on regional and world affairs to maintain a peaceful global environment, he added. Putin is on his eighth visit since he first took up the presidency 12 years ago, and he said China is not only a "good friend" but a "good partner on the world platform". Putin told Hu that ties between the two nations had reached "new heights", with political trust between the two "especially high". Putin also pledged more cooperation, especially in the military field, with China in the Asia-Pacific region. The region has seen recent changes as the US is re-emphasizing its strategic focus. [...] On the Syrian issue, the two heads of state said the international community should continue to support the joint Arab League/UN Special Envoy Annan's mediation efforts and the UN monitoring mission, to promote a political solution to the problem in Syria. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin also said on Tuesday that both Beijing and Moscow opposed foreign intervention or forced regime change in Syria. [...] The leaders are also believed to have covered Iran and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Our approach is united and coordinated to solve international crises, Putin told the media after the meeting. Analysts said China-Russia ties have become a pillar for the Euro-Asia region and world peace. "China and Russia's cooperation and coordination in a series of international affairs, such as Syria and Iran, have helped lower the risk of major wars," said Sun Changhong, vice-director of the Euro-Asian Social Development Research Institute under the Development Research Center of the State Council, in an online article on Tuesday. [...] Putin will also meet the presidents of Iran and Afghanistan during the visit, which comes just weeks after he cancelled a trip to the US. China and Russia signed more than 10 key commercial contracts on Tuesday, including setting up a $4 billion investment fund. Putin also said the two countries are speeding up development and research on commercial aircraft and helicopters. The commercial contracts, which Putin described as "crucial", also include Russia building two nuclear power plants in China, and more cooperation in the electricity, tourism and energy sectors. The Russian delegation accompanying Putin includes six cabinet members, the heads of Russia's energy giants Gazprom, Rosneft and Transneft, and "all the major names of Russian business", according to the Russian media. Russian trade with China has risen at least 40 percent year-on-year for the last two years to reach $80 billion last year. Russian officials say that a target of $100 billion in trade by 2015 is likely to be reached ahead of time. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Tajikistan pledge more cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-06-06
China and Tajikistan on Tuesday pledged more cooperation as their presidents held talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Hailing the bilateral ties over the past 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, President Hu Jintao told Emomali Rahmon, his visiting Tajik counterpart, that China would continue supporting Tajikistan in its development according to its own national conditions and make concerted efforts with the Tajik side to promote neighborly cooperation. [...] Meeting Rahmon for the 13th time since 2003, President Hu said the two sides should maintain frequent high-level interactions on regional and international issues of common concern to address common challenges and consolidate their political foundation for cooperation. Hu stated that the two sides should boost their pragmatic cooperation in areas including energy resources, inter-connectivity of infrastructure and agriculture. The nations' law-enforcement and security agencies should maintain close communication, and China would support Tajikistan's work to host an upcoming joint anti-terrorism military exercise, Hu said. Armed forces from Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states will take part in the "Peace Mission 2012" drill in Tajikistan from June 8 to 14. [...] Rahmon thanked the Chinese side for assisting Tajikistan in economic and social development and reiterated the country's firm adherence to the one-China policy. [...] He continued that his country was ready to join hands with the Chinese side to fight the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism and combat drug trafficking and other cross-border organized crimes, with a view to peace, tranquility and development in the region. After their talks, the two presidents signed a joint declaration and witnessed the signing of a series of bilateral agreements. [...]. ^ top ^

Member states pledge to promote culture (China Daily)
2012-06-06
Member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will carry on promoting diversity of culture and the harmonious coexistence of different peoples, said Minister of Culture Cai Wu at the Ninth Meeting of Cultural Ministers of SCO Member States, which is being held in Beijing from Monday to Thursday. "This year is the start of the second 10-year plan for SCO cultural cooperation, and 2012 is a very important year for us to review historical cooperation and look to the future," said Cai, chairman of the meeting. [...] The theme for this year's meeting is the development of a plan for cultural cooperation of the SCO in the next 10 years. During the meeting, delegates of member states signed the Beijing Declaration for the Meeting of Cultural Ministers of SCO Member States. "This is the first declaration document for the cultural ministers' meeting, which is a milestone that will be recorded in the history of the SCO," Cai says. The meeting also passed the 2012-14 Implementation Plan for Agreement on Cultural Cooperation between SCO Member States. Cultural ministers of member states agreed to enhance cooperation in preserving historical and cultural heritage, and to join hands to work on the inscription of cultural projects, such as the Silk Road, on UNESCO's world heritage list. "At the meeting we reached consensus that we should begin with young people, because young people are the core of our culture and the major driver of future development," said the Kazak minister of culture and information. [...]. ^ top ^

NGO issues report on US military (Global Times)
2012-06-06
A military think tank Tuesday published its first annual reports on the US' and Japan's military and security developments, in response to an annual US report issued last month, which it said misrepresents China's military development. The Chinese Strategic Culture Association, a non-government organization composed of experts, scholars and activists specializing in Taiwan and international affairs, pointed out in the report that the US still possesses the strongest armed forces in the world, with the ability to start two large-scale regional wars and launch small-scale emergency operations. The US is also capable of providing strong support for its return to the Asia-Pacific region and its global strategy of shifting east, the report said. China should remain alert over the US intervening in South China Sea spats, and also its intention to transfer its strategic center, the report said. "On the other hand, we should see the deep integration of the economies of the US and China, and the common interests in maintaining peace, stability, development and cooperation in the world. So we should deepen cooperation and communication between the two countries, especially in the military field, in order to cope with the threats and challenges we are facing," the report said. [...] Luo Yuan, vice president of the association, told the Global Times that these two reports objectively reflect the military strategy, power, deployment and foreign relations of the two countries in 2011. "All the quoted information is from the published documents of the US and Japanese military authorities. It is the first military report on another country issued by a non-government think tank in China," said Luo, also a major general at the PLA Academy of Military Sciences. ^ top ^

SCO plays important role in regional economy: Chinese vice premier (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
The establishment of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has closely linked the economies of its member states and has brought tangible benefits to the people of those states, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said at an SCO forum Wednesday. Wang made the remarks at the Business Forum of the SCO, which was held here on Wednesday. [...] In 2011, the trade volume between China and other member states rose to 100 billion U.S. dollars, marking a nine-fold increase from that of 2001. China has invested more than 20 billion U.S. dollars in other member states since the organization was established, Wang said. The organization has also promoted the completion of some large scale projects, including cross-border oil and gas pipelines, roads, railways and telecommunication services, Wang noted. Wang spoke highly of some progress that the SCO has made in the fields of energy, mining, manufacturing, trade, logistics and agriculture, as well as finance. [...] Wang expressed his willingness to search for new cooperation opportunities in regional economic fields among the members. [...] More than 700 representatives from member states, observer states and various industries attended the forum Wednesday. [...]Also on Wednesday, Wang met with Uzbek First Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Rustam Azimov, Kyrgyz First Deputy Premier Karashev Aale and Umirzak Shukeyev, Chairman of the Board of Sovereign Wealth Fund (Samuruk-Kazyna) of Kazakhstan. ^ top ^

China, Uzbekistan forge strategic partnership (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday held talks with Uzbek President Islam Karimov in Beijing, and both sides agreed to upgrade bilateral relations to a strategic partnership. Reviewing the healthy development of bilateral ties in the past two decades, Hu said China is ready to make joint efforts with Uzbekistan to lift the relationship between the nations to the level of strategic partnership. Hu called on the two sides to enhance political mutual trust, support each other's development paths and stances on issues concerning core interests, and maintain close communication and coordination on regional and international affairs. [...] On security cooperation, Hu suggested the two sides jointly fight against the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as drug trafficking and transnational organized crimes. [...] Karimov said the two countries have forged sound relations on the basis of equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. He said the establishment of a bilateral strategic partnership has great significance for the long-term and stable development of bilateral ties as well as the lasting peace and development of Central Asia. Karimov said Uzbekistan will continue supporting China on major issues, including law-enforcement and security cooperation and the strike on the "three evil forces." Uzbekistan hopes to enhance economic, energy and investment cooperation with China, fully implement the construction of oil and gas pipeline projects, expand cooperation in mining and aviation, and advance the building of transportation networks, according to its leader. [...] Karimov said his country attaches great importance to China's role in international and regional issues, and is ready to enhance coordination with China in the multilateral arena and within the framework of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). After their talks, the two leaders signed a joint declaration on the establishment of bilateral strategic partnership and witnessed the signing of a series of cooperative documents. [...]. ^ top ^

Vietnamese party leader meets senior CPC official in Hanoi (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
Hanoi - General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong met here on Wednesday with Liu Yunshan, a senior official of the Communist Party of China ( CPC), on friendly ties between the two countries and the two parties. Liu, a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and head of the CPC Central Committee's Publicity Department, arrived in Vietnam Wednesday to attend the 8th seminar on governing experiences, which is jointly held by the CPC and the CPV. [...] Liu said the regular mechanism of exchanges of views on respective governing experiences is conducive to the cause of socialism and party building for the two countries. The CPC and Chinese government always look at China-Vietnam relations from a strategic height and long-term perspective. China is ready to work with Vietnam to fully implement the consensus reached by top leaders of the two countries. Trong said the seminar has become an important platform for the two parties to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of both sides and exchange governing experiences. He said the CPV and Vietnamese government are willing to work with the Chinese party and government to push forward the development of Vietnam-China comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese gov't ships remain in waters of Huangyan Island : FM spokesman (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
Chinese government ships have left the lagoon but remain in waters of the Huangyan Island to provide services to the Chinese fishermen there, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Wednesday. [...] Huangyan Island is an undisputed integral part of Chinese territory, he said. He said that on April 10, a number of Philippine military vessels harassed Chinese fishing boats in the lagoon, and the Chinese side has since lodged solemn representation to the Philippine side and sent its official ships to the spot for monitoring, thus prompting the Philippine side to withdraw all but one of its ships, he said. The only Philippine ship that remained in the lagoon left on June 3, and the Chinese side hopes there will be no such incidents that jeopardize China's interests in the future, he added. Liu said the lagoon has a rather fragile ecosystem, so China rarely allows large ships to sail in it, adding that China sent in two ships on May 30 for site-clearing after the withdrawal of the Philippine ships. And the clean-up ships left on June 5. Chinese fishing boats are currently operating under normal conditions, and the Chinese government ships are continuing to offer management and services, he said. He also said the Chinese side will continue to have negotiations with the Philippines on how to properly handle the incident concerning Huangyan Island and how to improve bilateral ties. ^ top ^

Govt repeats call for US to cease issuing air data (Global Times)
2012-06-07
China has again called on the US embassy and its consulates to stop publishing air quality data in Chinese cities. The demand came after the US responded to Chinese environmental authorities' earlier criticism by denying it was illegal and welcoming China to do the same in the US. At a press conference yesterday, Liu Weimin, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said China has no interest in releasing air pollution readings in the US, and reiterated that it was against international conventions and Chinese laws for foreign embassies to monitor air quality and release pollution data online. "Foreign embassies and consulates are neither legally qualified nor professionally capable of conducting environmental monitoring in China," said Liu, explaining that it is against the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and Vienna Convention on Consular Relations and they should "respect Chinese laws and stop acting irresponsibly." His remarks echo those of Wu Xiaoqing, vice minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP), who said Tuesday that the actions constitute interference in China's domestic affairs. Mark Toner, deputy spokesperson with the US Department of State, denied at a news briefing on Tuesday that the US embassy has interfered with Chinese internal affairs, or that they have violated the Vienna Conventions. "This is a service that we provide to Americans, both who work in the embassy community as well as Americans who live in China," Toner said, according to the US Department of State's website. [...] He said the US will have no objections if China also wants to publish air quality information in US cities, adding that the US embassy and consulates have no plans to stop providing the service in China. [...] While some experts say it is inappropriate for foreign embassies to make misleading assessments of air quality readings collected from a single monitoring station that do not represent the whole city, many Chinese Web users have sided with the foreign embassies, saying the Chinese government needs to improve its credibility with better air pollution control. [...]. ^ top ^

China offers 10-bln-USD SCO loan (Xinhua)
2012-06-08
Chinese President Hu Jintao has promised that China will offer a loan of 10 billion U.S. dollars to support economic cooperation within the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The loan will also be used to aid the development of SCO members, said the Chinese president while addressing an SCO summit on Thursday morning in Beijing. He said China will help train 1,500 experts from other members over the next three years. It is also going to provide 30,000 government scholarships and invite 10,000 Confucius Institute teachers and students to come to China for research and study over the next decade. "We should build the SCO into a driving force to boost regional economic development," he told the audience. He urged all SCO members to work hard in constructing infrastructure like railways, roads, aviation, telecommunications and power grids to promote regional connectivity. The Chinese president also called for the establishment of a development bank, food security cooperation mechanism, energy club and seed banks, and for the promotion of trade and investment facilitation. All members should also increase their future economic competitiveness, said Hu, adding that they should step up their cooperation in technology, culture, education and medicine. [...]. ^ top ^

SCO Beijing summit concludes (Xinhua)
2012-06-08
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) concluded its Beijing summit on Thursday at the Great Hall of the People, with member states agreeing to further cooperation in a variety of fields. The summit is pivotal for the future development of the SCO, as it is being held at a time when the organization is entering its next decade of existence, said President Hu Jintao when delivering a keynote speech at the summit. [...] The Chinese president said the international and regional situation has been complex and volatile, thus bringing many uncertainties to the regional situation. Only when SCO member states enhance cooperation and remain united can they effectively cope with emerging challenges, safeguard regional peace and achieve common development, he said. [...] He called on the member states to make joint efforts to build the SCO into a harmonious community, a fortress of regional security and stability and a driving force to boost regional economic development, as well as an effective platform for increasing international exchanges and influence. [...] Russian President Vladimir Putin said the SCO should enhance security cooperation, deepen economic cooperation, encourage people-to-people exchanges and open itself up to outside parties and international organizations. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambayev, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon and Uzbek President Islam Karimov also addressed the summit on Thursday. Leaders and officials from the four SCO observer countries of Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India, as well as Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, also delivered speeches at the meeting. SCO Secretary-General Muratbek Imanaliev and officials from the Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure of the SCO (RATS), the United Nations, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Euroasian Economic Community and Collective Security Treaty Organization also attended the summit. At the meeting, all participants exchanged views on the Afghanistan conflict and the Iranian nuclear issue. The SCO decided to grant Afghanistan observer status and accept Turkey as a dialogue partner. The member states of the SCO adopted 10 agreements on Thursday, including the Declaration on Building a Region with Lasting Peace and Common Prosperity, the Strategic Plan for the Medium-Term Development of the SCO, and the SCO Regulations on Political and Diplomatic Measures and Mechanism of Response to Events Jeopardizing Regional Peace, Security and Stability. [...]. ^ top ^

China signs space, trade agreements with Pakistan (China Daily)
2012-06-08
China and Pakistan on Thursday outlined their space cooperation plan for the next eight years, which will be an important area for the two neighbors to boost bilateral cooperation as "all-weather friends". President Hu Jintao and his visiting Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari also agreed to deepen cooperation in areas including security, the economy and trade, investment, transportation infrastructure and energy. Zardari arrived in Beijing earlier this week for the visit and attended the 12th Shanghai Cooperation Organization Summit on Wednesday and Thursday. [...] After their talks on Thursday afternoon, Hu and Zardari witnessed the signing of a 2012-20 space cooperation outline between the China National Space Administration and the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission. Hu said he hopes the two countries expand their pragmatic cooperation, especially in the sectors of trade, energy, transportation infrastructure construction, agriculture, telecommunications, aerospace and technology. [...] "China will continue to provide assistance for Pakistan's economic and social development within our capacity," Hu said. [...] He also suggested the two countries enhance law enforcement and security cooperation and jointly combat the "three evil forces" of terrorism, extremism and separatism. Hailing Sino-Pakistani ties as an "all-weather friendly cooperative relationship", Zardari thanked China for its support of Pakistan's domestic stability, development and assistance to the country after natural disasters. [...] "Pakistan will continue to support China on issues concerning China's core interests and be tough on terrorism", Zardari said. ^ top ^

UN observers barred from probing new Syria massacre (Global Times)
2012-06-08
A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Thursday that China welcomes any measures that lead to a political solution of the violence in Syria. "China is positive on any moves that help to ease the situation in Syria and speed up the momentum of a political solution," said spokesman Liu Weimin at a regular press conference in Beijing. "Relevant measures need to focus on materializing the UN Security Council's solutions and UN special envoy Kofi Annan's suggestions in a bid to stop the war and violence, and create conditions for political progress," Liu said in response to questions concerning Russia's call for an international meeting to solve the Syria problem. [...] Sausan Ghosheh, a spokesperson of the UN supervision mission to Syria said Thursday that a group of UN observers tasked with examining a fresh massacre in a central Syrian village had been blocked from entering the site. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Senior leader urges deepened Marxism study (Xinhua)
2012-06-03
Li Changchun, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has asked for deeper theoretical research of Marxism in order to push forward the development of the Party's own ideological theory. Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau, made the remarks Saturday at a meeting on the theoretic research and construction of Marxism, a project launched eight years ago. Li said launching the project is a major decision made by the CPC Central Committee, with comrade Hu Jintao as the General Secretary, with the view of further making Marxism reflect the situation in China, the times, and the status of the people and adhering to and developing socialism with Chinese characteristics. Li said since it was launched, the project has made major achievements and contributed to the development of the Party and the nation. He hailed the project as a strategic project, a lifeline project and a basic project that bears on the overall development of socialism with Chinese characteristics. [...] Li said the CPC has pioneered and expanded the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, created and developed relevant system of theories, established and perfected the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics. "These are major innovations carried out by the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC," said Li, adding "they are great achievements in the history of human civilization." He also noted that the project has led to the creation of an innovative mechanism for the country's theoretical work, as well as setting the ground for the prosperous development of philosophy and social sciences. Li noted that the country's theoretical science circle faced a significant and pressing task to interpret China's development course and practices with the country's own theoretical system. Li also called upon researchers and academics to make greater efforts to promote common understanding between officials and civilians while enhancing the country's influence in global academics. ^ top ^

Calls strengthen for controversial punishment through labor to be scrapped (Global Times)
2012-06-05
Chongqing recently became the first region in China to scrap re-education through labor as a punishment for prostitutes and those who solicit their services amid a wave of reforms approved by the southwest municipality's People's Congress Standing Committee. [...] Chongqing's move to abolish re-education through labor for prostitution offenders has been met with mixed responses from legal experts, with some hailing it as a sign of social progress while others insisting it is essential in maintaining public order. [...] China's judicial punishment of re-education through labor has attracted controversy over its legitimacy for many years. The system was approved by the National People's Congress in 1957 for the purposes of maintaining social security, rehabilitating offenders and acting as a crime deterrent. "At the time of its inception, re-education through labor was a convenient way to deal with rogues whose actions didn't warrant criminal prosecution. It takes time to administer punishment through legal procedures, but re-education through labor is efficient and doesn't involve cases being dragged through courts," Wang Zhenyu, vice director of the Public Decision-making Center at the China University of Political Science and Law, told the Global Times. [...] By the end of 2008, there were 350 re-education through labor camps with 160,000 detainees nationwide. However, cases have emerged in recent years where some detainees have been forcibly re-educated and received harsher punishments than they deserve. On February 28, a man sparked panic after spreading rumors online about a SARS outbreak in Baoding, Hebei Province. That same month he received a two-year re-education through labor term despite other rumormongers receiving much lighter punishments, China Central Television reported. [...] In 2007, 69 scholars and experts petitioned for the punishment to be scrapped. While they were unsuccessful, minor reforms have occurred in recent years. [...] Both re-education through labor and its lesser variant without labor give too much power to police and hurt China's reputation as a country run by the rule of law, Wang Zhenyu said. ^ top ^

Nation boosts support for its forestry (China Daily)
2012-06-05
China has strengthened its fiscal support for its increasing forest area, launched a number of national ecological projects and implemented a nationwide compulsory tree-planting program to expand forests over the past two decades, Yin Hong, deputy administrator of the State Forestry Administration, said at a news conference on Monday in Beijing. Despite a decreasing global forest reserve, the country's forest area had increased to 195 million hectares in 2012. That was up from 134 million hectares in 1992, according to the administration. At present, China has more than 61 million hectares of reforested area, the most in the world. Its area undergoing desertification is dropping by 1,717 square kilometers annually, compared to an annual expansion of 3,436 square kilometers at the end of the 1990s, Yin said. "All the achievements show that China has effectively implemented international conventions in the field of sustainable development," she said ahead of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development to be held in Rio de Janeiro starting on June 20. The Chinese government will continue to increase investment in the sector, focusing on forest cultivation, wetland, wildlife and habitat protection, and land desertification control, she said. The country pledged to expand its forest area by 40 million hectares from 2005 to 2020, according to the administration. [...]. ^ top ^

China to amend law on work safety (Xinhua)
2012-06-05
China on Monday issued a draft proposal on the amendment to the work safety law in order to solicit public opinion. The draft, drawn up by China's State Administration of Work Safety and other related departments, has made further improvements on regulations, including strengthening supervision and carrying out work safety training activities. The draft also specifies the system for checking and accepting work safety conditions in dangerous industries such as mining exploitation and the storage of dangerous goods. An official with the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council (LAOSC) said the law on work safety, formulated in 2002, should be amended and improved in the face of safety problems arising from changed situation. The law has played an important part in reinforcing work safety management, preventing and reducing accidents, and protecting people's lives and property, he said. The amendment to the law on work safety will provide further, more effective legal protection in accordance with China's present status, he added. The draft was published on the website of the LAOSC, chinalaw.gov.cn, and public opinion can be submitted via through letter or email before July 5. ^ top ^

Chinese mourn bus driver folk hero who saved 24 (Xinhua)
2012-06-05
Chinese are mourning the death of a bus driver who maintained control of his vehicle, which was carrying 24 passengers, after a piece of heavy sheet steel struck him after passing through the bus' windscreen last Tuesday. People swarmed to mourn and pay their respects to Wu Bin, the 48-year-old bus driver, at a mourning hall erected at his home. "He saved 24 lives and left no regrets," said Wang Lizhen, Wu's wife of 18 years, to the mourners while holding her husband's portrait. [...] Wu died on Friday due to injuries sustained from the accident, when he was driving on the highway from Wuxi to Hangzhou in east China. A surveillance video shows that after Wu was struck and while in immense pain, he managed to pull over, brake, turn on the flash lamp and ask the passengers not to wander on the highway. "I use to be a solider on the battle field. From the video, Wu Bin was enduring a piercing and strong pain which was like he'd be hit by a bomb blast," said 78-year-old Zhang Mingkang, a citizen in Hangzhou. The old man brought his calligraphy work which read "A folk hero, a moral model." [...] China's Ministry of Transport named Wu "a model dedicated driver" on Monday. Before that, he was was awarded posthumously by his hometown Hangzhou as a "moral model." [...] In fact, it was a surprising deed for Wu as a good driver who had no accident and received no passengers' complaints in 10 years with 1 million kilometers driving experience. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing anti-graft team on trail of casino losses (SCMP)
2012-06-06
Beijing has major Macau casinos in its sights as it seeks hard evidence of bribery and money laundering amid a snowballing investigation into a senior banker and a secretive businessman on the mainland. A special team from the Communist Party's high-level anti-corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, is trying to uncover a complex network run by low-profile but well-connected businessman Wang Yaohui, according to sources familiar with the matter. They also said Wang's business empire was having problems, without giving details. Wang, chairman of the closely held property-to-resources conglomerate Zhonghui Guohua Industry Group, was detained in Beijing in late May. At about the same time, Yang Kun, an executive vice-president of Agricultural Bank of China (ABC) mainly in charge of loans, was also detained. ABC, one of the big four state-run banks, last week confirmed Yang's detention in a statement but gave no further details. People familiar with the matter said yesterday that one of Beijing's aims was to examine Yang and Wang's gambling activities in Macau. [...] The source added that clues pointed to bank loans offered by ABC with Yang's help to Wang's company and suggested that part of the loans, which were intended for mainland property construction, may have been misused to cover gambling losses in Macau. The sources said the two men lost several hundred million yuan during their gambling trips to Macau. They did not name any of the casinos that may have entertained Yang and Wang. One of the sources said Beijing received a tip-off from an informant to the Ministry of State Security, Beijing's main foreign intelligence agency, about the men's gambling activities in Macau and a dispute between Wang and a casino over the losses. [...]. ^ top ^

Alarm sounded for serious pollution in China's rivers, seas (Xinhua)
2012-06-06
An environment official on Tuesday sounded the alarm of pollution in China's rivers, lakes and seas, saying the problem in the near-shore water of major coastal economic zones is particularly serious. Vice Minister of Environmental Protection Wu Xiaoqing said the quality of the near-shore water of north China's Bohai Sea and the East China Sea as well as water in five of the nine bays along China's coast was "extremely poor." Wu told a press conference that the five bays include Bohai Bay, the Yangtze estuary, Hangzhou Bay in Zhejiang Province, the Minjiang estuary in Fujian Province and the Pearl river estuary in southern province of Guangdong. Wu said that among 469 stations to monitor water quality along 10 major river basins, including that of the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Pearl River, 61 percent reported the rating between the first and third grade last year, which means the water could be used in water source, natural reserves and drinking water. Meanwhile, 25.3 percent of rivers were polluted and rated as the fourth or the fifth grade, meaning that the water could not be immediately contact by people. The water quality of 13.7 percent of rivers were even below the fifth grade, which denotes that the water could only be used in agriculture, Wu said. [...] Among 4,727 groundwater monitoring sites in 200 cities, the water quality of 45 percent has been excellent, good or relatively good, but that of the other 55 percent has been poor or very poor, the official said. ^ top ^

Religious venues can't get stock listing (Global Times)
2012-06-06
China's Buddhist temples, pagodas and other religious sites, which are increasingly attracting droves of tourists, will not be allowed to become purely business ventures by listing on the stock market, said Wang Zuo'an, president of the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA). Religious sites must balance their intended use as places of worship with the benefits they generate as culturally important tourist sites, Wang told a two-day conference in Shanghai Tuesday. A number of scenic spots are trying to list their religious venues on capital markets, Wang said, adding that SARA will draft specific regulations to clarify the policies, the Shanghai-based Oriental Morning Post. [...] No religious venue in China has yet created a corporation or sought to be listed on the stock market, despite rumors that the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province was developing such a proposal. [...] Wang also said that non-religious organizations that hire fake monks or Taoist priests who seek donations from unwitting tourists who think their money is going to support religion will be punished by SARA, the public security bureau and tourism authorities. [...] There are 139,000 authorized religious venues open to the public in China. Among them, 33,000 are Buddhist temples and 9,000 are Taoist temples, Wang said. ^ top ^

It is the longest wall (Global Times)
2012-06-06
China's Great Wall is 21,196 kilometers long, according to the latest survey results released by the State Administration of Cultural Heritage (SACH) Tuesday. An archeological survey jointly conducted by SACH and the former State Bureau of Surveying and Mapping since 2007 found that Great Wall structures span 15 of the country's provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities. The survey revealed there are 43,721 heritage sites nationwide along the Great Wall. The survey's findings are the first to provide such detail on the Great Wall. A preliminary survey in 2008 that looked at Great Wall structures built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) showed the wall to be 8,850 kilometers long. ^ top ^

Students battle stress and expectations as they tackle gaokao exam (Global Times)
2012-06-07
Nine million high school students across China will pick up their pens this morning to take the national college entrance examinations, or gaokao. Ahead of the test, police on motorcycles will offer students caught in traffic a ride to ensure they make it on time for the all-important exam. Nutritionists have appeared on TV advising students on what types of food are good for the brain, while celebrities have taken to their Weibo microblogs to extend messages of encouragement to the young examinees. No effort has been spared to give gaokao students the ideal preparation. All construction has halted in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province, while railway services will be suspended in Wuhan, Hubei Province tomorrow afternoon when the exam's English listening test is held. Not even creatures are safe. Frogs in a pond near a residential compound in Qingdao, Shandong Province were poisoned recently by property management personnel to stop their croaking from interrupting students' sleep, according to media reports. [...] Even the second day of the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit had its meeting time delayed half an hour in Beijing to ensure gaokao students had a smoother commute to exam halls. The foreign ministry has taken other measures to minimize the summit's impact by arranging accommodation for visiting leaders of member states away from exam halls, the Xinhua News Agency reported. Hotels near gaokao exam halls have witnessed a boom in bookings, with many students opting to check in for the exam's two-day duration to avoid lengthy travel. Now in its 34th year since being reinstated in 1977 after the Cultural Revolution (1966-76), the gaokao has evolved instep with the country's education system. Its earliest version was introduced in 1952, although it suffered a hiatus amid upheaval during the Cultural Revolution. [...] Nowadays, students [...] are often pushed by parents to take vitamin supplements and other commercial health products believed to enhance brain activity. Students at a high school in Hubei Province even took intravenous drips in the classroom last month to boost their amino acid levels. [...] Since its humble beginnings, the gaokao has grown to become regarded, rightly or wrongly, as a test that determines the future of Chinese high school students. [...] Critics argue it's unnecessary to place so much importance on a single exam, but others say devotion to study among Chinese youths is a virtue worth promoting. But among students themselves, the gaokao offers few fond memories. [...] While pressure might be growing on students to excel in the gaokao each year, the number of students taking the exam has declined since 2008, partly because more students are choosing to study at universities abroad or even take a gap year. ^ top ^

Charity organization opens to public to rebuild trust (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
Volunteers, donors, Internet users and reporters were invited to visit the Red Cross Society of China (RCSC) on Wednesday, and were briefed on the organization's recent work. The move was seen as one of the organization's efforts to boost transparency in the charity system and rebuild public trust after last year's scandal raised concerns over the possible misuse of donations. Zhao Baige, the executive vice president of the RCSC, said the RCSC will also set up a public supervision committee and invite credible public figures to participate in and supervise the organization's major charity projects. An internal monitoring organ and an accountability mechanism will also be established to ensure that donations are used properly, Zhao said. [...] The RCSC also launched an online donation information database after the scandal last year, aiming to allow every donation made to the organization to be traced. ^ top ^

6 bln patients treated at 1 mln hospitals, clinics (Global Times)
2012-06-07
China has close to 1 million registered medical institutions that saw 6.27 billion patient visits last year, up from 5.84 billion in 2010, according to a report released by the Ministry of Health yesterday. Hospitals admitted 153 million patients who stayed at least one night, up from 142 million in 2010. The country's medical institutions, which include hospitals and rural clinics grew to 954,389 from 936,927 in 2010. The report on the country's health care development included information about the medical service system and an overview of infectious disease. Of 3.24 million infectious disease cases reported last year, viral hepatitis ranked first among 28 officially-supervised diseases with 1.37 million cases, followed by 953,275 cases of pulmonary tuberculosis, 395,182 cases of syphilis and 237,930 cases of dysentery. Infectious diseases killed 15,246 people last year with AIDS accounting for 9,224 of the fatalities. The second deadliest infectious disease was pulmonary tuberculosis, which killed 2,840 people. It was followed by rabies, which killed 1,879 people. [...] The country's hospitals on average earned 58 million yuan ($9.11 million) income, of which 29 million yuan was from providing medical services and 23 million yuan was from the sale of drugs. ^ top ^

Party polls 370 members on choice of top leaders (SCMP)
2012-06-08
Senior members of the Communist Party held an internal poll in mid-May to select their favoured top leaders for the next 10 years, in a significant reformist step that may be institutionalised in the future. In the poll, about 370 members and alternate members of the party's Central Committee cast preferences for the party's decision-making Politburo, currently a 25-member body, and the Politburo Standing Committee, its inner-most cabinet, according to sources who have knowledge of internal party matters. Although the ballot may not be decisive in determining the leadership's exact line-up, sources say its results will have an important bearing on the actual selection of the top leaders of the party's 80 million members. The internal survey is in line with the "intra-party democracy" idea advocated by the current party secretary, Hu Jintao. If this experiment goes well and delivers a consensus-based line-up, it may well influence how future succession processes are conducted, insiders say. One party insider also said the central leadership was very likely to reduce the number of Politburo Standing Committee members from nine to seven when the 18th party congress is held this year. Besides two sure bets - VicePresident Xi Jinping and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang - those who have a good chance of getting onto the standing committee are: Shanghai party chief Yu Zhengsheng; Vice-Premier and acting Chongqing party chief Zhang Dejiang; Vice-Premier Wang Qishan; top personnel official Li Yuanchao; and propaganda chief Liu Yunshan. Guangdong party chief Wang Yang, State Councillor Liu Yandong and Tianjin party chief Zhang Gaoli each has an outside chance. In the past, the top leadership line-up was usually decided by a handful of party strongmen such as late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping. Not until 2007 did the consensus-based leadership line-up start to take shape. [...]. ^ top ^

Answers demanded in activist's death (SCMP)
2012-06-08
An online petition demanding a fair investigation into the death of Hunan democracy and union activist Li Wangyang is gathering steam. Family and supporters suspect foul play but local police say he hanged himself in hospital. Activists Hu Jia and Ai Weiwei had joined more than 3,300 Chinese and foreign supporters of Li in signing the petition by 6pm yesterday. The petition was initiated by Wen Yunchao - a prominent Hong Kong-based online media critic who is better known by his internet pseudonym Beifeng - Beijing economist Xia Yeliang and democracy activist Wu Renhua in the United States. The petition was titled: "An urgent appeal for a credible investigation into the death of Li Wangyang." Many people close to Li were confined to their homes yesterday. [...] Police have set a deadline of noon today for Li's sister, Li Wangling, and her husband Zhao Baozhu, to agree to an autopsy. But a statement issued yesterday by the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said they would only agree to an autopsy in the presence of a lawyer from outside Shaoyang. The couple also confirmed that Li's body had been frozen since yesterday morning. Family members were barred from seeing the body on Wednesday after police removed it from the hospital that morning. "There is no legal basis for police to keep the body away from the family if this is not considered a criminal case, as they claim," veteran legal rights activist Tang Jingling told Hong Kong Cable Television from Shaoyang yesterday. [...] Li was found hanged on Wednesday morning in a hospital in Shaoyang. Family and friends refused to believe that the democracy fighter killed himself because of his character and the circumstances of his death. Li, who served two jail terms totalling 21 years for "counter-revolution" and subversion charges, was deaf and blind when he was released from prison in May of last year. During an interview with Cable Television before this year's anniversary of the June 4 Tiananmen crackdown, he needed assistance when he walked, and his hands shook. [...] In Hong Kong, Michael Tien Puk-sun, a Hong Kong deputy to the National People's Congress, said he would write to demand that Beijing look into Li's death. [...]. ^ top ^

Opinions gathered on Internet law (Xinhua)
2012-06-08
The government on Thursday began to solicit public opinion on proposed changes to a 12-year-old law on the management of Internet service in China. The Measures on the Administration of Internet Information Services, enacted in 2000, have become outdated in many aspects due to the rapid development of the Internet and the emergence of new technology and applications, said a joint statement issued by the State Internet Information Office and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The draft amendment to the law aims to improve the administration and orderly development of Internet information services, as well as to maintain national security, and the legitimate rights and interests of the public and Internet information service providers, according to the statement. The draft encourages service providers to launch self discipline activities and the public to supervise Internet information services. If the draft becomes law, an Internet supervision system will be established mainly comprising Internet information content administrative authorities, telecommunication authorities and police authorities. The draft also clarifies the licensing procedure for online forums and microblog sites, and standardizes the entry criteria for websites and the management responsibilities of service providers. More rules will be laid down for the real-name registration of users if it passed. Members of the public are invited to offer their opinions on the draft amendment before July 6 by logging on www.scio.gov.cn, www.miit.gov.cn, and www.chinalaw.gov.cn. ^ top ^

Surprise in social media findings (SCMP)
2012-06-08
Beijing is more likely to censor online comments that spur social movements than those that criticise the government, states a Harvard University study released this week. The results of the study suggest that Beijing's most important objective is maintaining social stability. "Contrary to previous understandings, posts with negative, even vitriolic, criticism of the state, its leaders and its policies are not more likely to be censored," it said. "Instead, we show the censorship programme is aimed at curtailing collective action by silencing comments that represent, reinforce, or spur social mobilisation, regardless of content." [...] The study claims to offer the first large-scale, multiple-source analysis of the outcome of Beijing's extensive censorship of social media. [...] Beijing routinely censors internet posts that contain sensitive keywords but mainland bloggers have invented ways to get around the censorship. With the use of analogies, metaphors, homophones, satire and other evasions, they can express sensitive meanings without touching upon sensitive keywords. [...] The study said there were estimated to be between 20,000 and 50,000 internet police on the mainland, plus another 250,000 to 300,000 members of the wumao dang (50 cent party) - party members paid to post favourable comments online and steer discussion away from sensitive topics. It also said that all levels of government - central, provincial and local - take part in the huge effort to censor and shape online discussion, describing this as a "stunning organisational accomplishment" that required "large scale, military-like precision". ^ top ^

Police resolve disruption by Foxconn workers (China Daily)
2012-06-08
The local government on Thursday denied that a riot at a Foxconn factory in Chengdu on Monday night was due to worker dissatisfaction with wages and company management. According to a statement on scol.com, a website affiliated with the publicity department of Sichuan province, the riot was triggered by a conflict between seven Foxconn workers and a restaurant owner. The statement said seven workers at the Foxconn factory in Chengdu had dinner in a restaurant near their dormitory at about 10:30 pm on Monday. Driven by the effects of alcohol, the workers began to damage facilities in the restaurant with wine bottles because they thought the quarrel between the restaurant owner and his wife had ruined their dining mood, the statement said. The restaurant owner then got into a conflict with the workers and a customer called police. Seeing this, the Foxconn workers began to run back to their dormitory building, shouting "they are beating us", the statement said. The chaos attracted about 100 workers in Foxconn's dormitory who later threw things like bottles of mineral water downstairs, which started the riot, according to the statement. Community management workers and police officers arrived at the scene and held four workers for one night and sent them back to their dormitory rooms the next morning. No one was injured in the incident, according to the provincial government statement. However, according to a report by Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao, about 1,000 Foxconn workers were involved in the riot, with many injured and more than 10 arrested. It said the reason was worker dissatisfaction with wages and the company's management of dormitory rooms. [...] Foxconn's spokesman Liu Kun told China Daily on Thursday that the incident was caused by several staff of an associated factory of Foxconn, not the Foxconn Chengdu factory. He said they got drunk in a small restaurant and began to throw things and someone called the police. [...] He denied rumors it was a clash over wages or dorms. [...] Foxconn Chengdu factory supplies parts for Apple's iPhone and iPad. An explosion occurred in the factory in May last year, killing two workers and injuring 16 others. ^ top ^

Better mental healthcare coming nationwide (Global Times)
2012-06-08
The Ministry of Health plans to establish a treatment network that will bring mental health services to most counties and cities across the country by 2015, the ministry announced late Wednesday. "Mental health issues remain an obvious public health and social concern as more people are suffering from depression, anxiety and other kinds of mental disorders," reads the draft of the plan that was released in order to seek public input. Some 16 million people suffer from schizophrenia and other serious mental disorders. Patients and mental health workers have long complained about inadequate services and treatment options. The ministry says the lack of healthcare services for people suffering from severe mental illness is a threat to people close to them and the public. The network expects to be able to treat 70 percent of patients diagnosed with severe mental diseases and psychological counseling to 60 percent of those who need it, by middle of this decade. The draft comes after a string of violent incidents in recent years that have been linked to people with mental illness. [...] The draft plan calls for professional mental health workers to be employed at 90 percent of community health service centers by 2015. Crisis intervention teams will also be set up in most regions and cities. The plan aims to establish counseling services for people in enterprises, elderly groups and other social organizations. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Activists under security watch (SCMP)
2012-06-04
Mainland authorities have imposed what they are calling "wartime" security measures in some sensitive parts of Beijing, as surveillance is stepped up on dissident families of victims of the bloody 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, to prevent public commemoration of China's most sensitive anniversary. Security was tight in Beijing yesterday, with a heavy police presence at Tiananmen Square as well as along Changan Avenue and near the homes of activists on the eve of the 23rd anniversary of the crushing of pro-democracy protests. Like they have done for the past 22 years, rights activists, petitioners and religious groups have reported being harassed, threatened or even taken away by police and security officers in the run-up to the anniversary, despite mounting public appeals for redress of the military crackdown. One of the most outspoken voices for victims of the crackdown, Ding Zilin, founder of the Tiananmen Mothers organisation, was either under house arrest or had been taken away, said Zhang Xianling, a member of the support group of more than 120 relatives of those killed and injured in the deadly crackdown on June 4, 1989. "Ding has been informed that she and her husband would be under 24-hour surveillance on June 3 and 4," said Zhang, citing her phone conversation with Ding a few days ago. Phone calls to Ding's home went unanswered yesterday. [...] A government notice confirmed that Beijing had markedly raised the security level ahead of today's anniversary, particularly at campuses, main thoroughfares and shopping districts, listing the main targets as dissidents and other possible "troublemakers" deemed as threats to stability. "From May 31 to June 4, a wartime security mechanism and control measures should be in effect, and security volunteers, wearing red armbands and organised by individual neighbourhoods, should be on duty and patrolling," said the document posted on the government website of Tongzhou district in the capital. It urged grass-roots cadres to collect information regarding dissidents' outdoor activities and their "ideological conditions" for immediate submission to higher authorities. ^ top ^

Police put everyone on the map (Global Times)
2012-06-06
An online police database in the form of a map, that will give instant access to residents' personal details according to address, is almost ready to go live, said Beijing police Tuesday. Despite concerns over potential security risks, police have assured residents that the data will only be shared between government departments. "Click on any house on the electronic map, and it will display information about the people living there," said Guan Xihua, media officer with the population management department of Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau (PSB) Tuesday. Information gathering to match up inhabitants' personal data with residential information started last November, and is still ongoing. The electronic map displays information such as the location, structure and layout of the house, the inhabitants' name, hometown, gender and occupation. As for rented accommodation, the map will show both landlord and tenant data. More than 13.2 million pieces of housing data and more than 20.7 million individual facts about population have been collected through home checks by community police. [...] The data gathered includes 6.73 million details from migrant workers and 95,000 facts about foreigners as well. "The database can help different government bodies to better allocate resources," said Guan. For example, the education department could optimize the allocation of educational resources according to the distribution of school-age children; the transport and medical sectors could earmark their services judging from an area's population density, Guan noted. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Collegian detained for shielding drunken driver (China Daily)
2012-06-05
The Shenzhen traffic police bureau detained a Shenzhen University student on suspicion that he had tried to cover up a sports car driver's alleged responsibility for a crash that killed three people. The crash occurred on May 26 in Shenzhen. The driver is suspected of traveling at 180 kilometers an hour while he was drunk and hitting two taxis, Shenzhen Evening News reported on Monday. Following the crash, police say, Hou ran away from the scene and called Wu to ask to be picked up. Police say Wu accompanied Hou in a taxi to the Dameisha International Yacht Club in Shenzhen. The crash became a national scandal after the public began to ask if Hou was being unfairly held responsible for it. He surrendered seven hours after the crash had occurred and was later revealed to be an employee of a construction company. The news came as a shock to many Shenzhen University students, many of whom believed Wu's actions were what anyone could expect from a friend, the newspaper said. ^ top ^

Two women executed for forging money (China Daily)
2012-06-05
Two women were executed late last month for producing fake banknotes worth 286 million yuan ($45.39 million) in Huilai county, Guangdong province, the Guangzhou Daily reported. Fang Ruifeng, 38, and Wu Yuling, 49, two villagers from Huilai's Qianzhan township produced the fake banknotes in a small factory at an abalone farm from late 2007 to early 2009. The counterfeit operation introduced about 140 million yuan of the forged notes into circulation, local police said. [...] Police broke up the counterfeit operation on April 11, 2009, detaining 15 suspects, including Fang, one of the heads of the gang. Wu, the other head, escaped but was later captured. Police seized counterfeit notes with a face value of 81.1 million yuan, as well as machinery. Police officers later seized another 140 million yuan worth of fake notes in a raid of four warehouses in the tiny seaside township. [...] Fang and Wu were sentenced to death by the Jieyang Intermediate People's Court late last year. All of their assets were also confiscated. Fang and Wu, both junior high school graduates, appealed the sentence, but the Guangdong High People's Court upheld the verdict. The two were executed on May 18 after their sentences were examined and approved by the Supreme People's Court.. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

More communication needed to curb misunderstandings on Tibet: Chinese Tibetologist (Xinhua)
2012-06-02
Vancouver - More communication is needed to help eliminate misunderstandings among Westerners about Tibet, a Chinese Tibetologist said here Thursday before wrapping up a 15-day North American tour. "Some people lack objective attitude toward the development of Tibet and the whole China as well, viewing and analyzing the reality with prejudices, which would inevitably cause lots of misunderstandings," Zhang Yun, head of a five-member Chinese Tibetologist delegation, told Xinhua. With a long-term study on Tibet and annual visits to China's Tibet Autonomous Region for research, the members of the delegation acquired abundant first-hand materials, which made it possible to share wider, deeper and more objective perspectives with Westerners, Zhang said. [...] The delegates had discussed a variety of issues relating to Tibet, ranging from its history, development, cultural exchanges and environmental protection, with local politicians, government officials, experts of think tanks, scholars and media. [...] "I believe that Westerners are willing to learn about a true Tibet and communicate with the Chinese people and improve ties with China," Zhang added. "By helping them know the truth of Tibet and remove misunderstandings, we can play our parts in improving ties between China and Western countries," said the Chinese Tibetologist. ^ top ^

China targeting full electricity coverage in Tibet (Xinhua)
2012-06-02
China's state-owned electrical power enterprises administered by the central government will invest up to 400 billion yuan (63.2 billion U.S. dollars) over the next decade in Tibet and bid to give all residents in the area area access to electricity by 2015, the National Energy Administration (NEA) announced on Friday. "Centrally administered state-owned companies should do more to help regions that remain without electricity coverage in Tibet," NEA vice chief Liu Qi said at a meeting held in Beijing. Eleven major state-owned companies, including the State Grid and the China Huaneng Group, agreed at the meeting to provide 900 million yuan of capital assistance to Tibet during the 2011-2015 period to help with its electricity issue. As of the end of 2011, around 500,000 people, or one fifth of the total population of Tibet, had no access to electricity. ^ top ^

Panchen Lama's guru offers grand Buddhist ritual (Xinhua)
2012-06-04
Thousands of pilgrims gathered Saturday on a grassland near a monastery town in northwest China to attend a four-day Buddhist ritual, known as Kalachakra, offered by the 11th Panchen Lama's guru, senior Tibetan monk Jamyang Gaytso. "We expect more than 100,000 Tibetan Buddhism devotees to turn out during the ritual," said a spokesman of Xiahe county, Gansu Province, home to Labrang Monastery -- one of the six major Gelugpa monasteries in China. "Not just Gansu, people from neighboring Qinghai and Sichuan provinces are also coming." [...] Jamyang Gyatso, a native of Xiahe, entered Labrang Monastery at the age of eight. He earned the Gesi title, bestowed only to masters of Tibetan Buddhism, and was chosen in 1998 to guide the Buddhist studies of the 11th Panchen Lama. The guru offered Kalachakra initiation to the Panchen Lama, then 12 years old, at Zhaxi Lhunbo Monastery in Tibet in 2002. Words of the Saturday's ritual has been circulating on the Internet for a week, as many Tibetan scholars and religious leaders relayed the news on their Sina Weibo microblogging accounts. "It is an opportunity that can not be missed. Best regards to my guru," said Jompo Rinpoche, a senior monk in Xigaze, Tibet. "It is a blessing to attend the ritual," said Lobecheri, a monk who came to Xiahe with a dozen monastery fellows from Huangnan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Qinghai. "If I missed the Kalachakra, I would be very sad." [...] "The government stands ready to provide help for pilgrims coming to temporarily live on the grassland," said Wang Yan, deputy head of the Gannan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture government which administrates Xiahe. Local officials say they have set up medical care booths, deployed seven trucks carrying clean drinking water, and installed about 30 pre-fab toilets on the grassland. More than a hundred traffic police are also mobilized as more and more pilgrims are arriving by car. "We are more experienced, because a number of key religious activities are held here every year," said Tserangji, deputy head of Xiahe county government. "Large religious gatherings with more than 10,000 turn-out were held as usual this year and all went on well.". ^ top ^

China Buddhist Association calls for creating "harmonious monasteries" (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
The Buddhist Association of China Wednesday called on Tibetan Buddhist monasteries to create a harmonious environment, urging monks and nuns to actively take part in the campaign. The "harmonious monasteries" campaign would be launched in Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai, where many people believe in Tibetan Buddhism, the statement said. Tibetan Buddhism has always upheld harmony and peace, sought to create a graceful world and extended sympathy to all lives, said Jamyang Losang Jigme Tubdain Qoigyi Nyima, a living Buddha who is also vice president of the association. As both Tibetan Buddhists and Chinese citizens, monks and nuns should benefit the country and the people, adhere to religious doctrines, promote Buddhism and serve followers, he said. In the statement, the association's Tibetan Buddhism division urged monks and nuns to behave as good citizens, protect the national unity, ethnic harmony and social stability, as well as avoid secessionist activities. The association also called on them to abide by the law. The development of Tibetan Buddhism would endure only when believers abide by laws and engage in legal religious activities, the statement said. They should also follow Buddhist doctrines, which advocate showing mercy to all lives and promote inner peace and good deeds, as well as serve society and adherents, it said. ^ top ^

Tibet pushes for more air traffic links (Xinhua)
2012-06-08
Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region is set to receive increased air traffic, as the Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) of China agreed on Thursday to encourage airlines to offer more flights to the region. The CAAC and the Tibet regional government agreed at a Thursday meeting to encourage air travel companies to establish more routes linking the regional capital of Lhasa with Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as several southeast and west Asian countries. Li Jun, deputy director of the CAAC, said applications for new air routes linking Tibet with other countries will be encouraged in order to boost the growth of Tibet's air passenger volume. Li said there are currently 32 routes run by six airlines linking Tibet with the outside world. The only international destination among the routes is the city of Katmandu in Nepal. Li Haiying, general manager of Sichuan Airlines, said the company hopes to open new flights linking Lhasa with Nepal, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) in the future. [...] Figures from the CAAC's Tibet bureau indicate that more than 672,000 passengers traveled in or out of the region by air in the first five months of the year, a 25-percent year-on-year increase. Tibet's government chief Padma Choling said at the Thursday meeting that Tibet is striving to build itself into an international tourist destination, with a goal of drawing 15 million visitors annually by 2015. [...] Construction on new two airports in Tibet's remote Nagquand and Nyingchi areas is underway. Meanwhile, two railways currently under construction are set to link Lhasa with the city of Xigaze and Nyingchi county. Nearly 5,000 km of new highways were opened in Tibet in 2011, with the region's first expressway, which links Lhasa with Gonggar Airport, going into operation last year. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Kids in illegal Xinjiang missionary spot rescued (China Daily)
2012-06-07
Police on Wednesday rescued 54 children who were being held at an illegal missionary spot in Xinjiang, according to Tianshannet, a news website run by the regional government's information office. A police station in Hotan, Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, received a report on Wednesday from parents who said their children and others were being held at a missionary spot in the city. The police rushed to the scene to rescue the children. During that attempt, a suspect in the case set off an explosive device, starting a fire. Fifty-four children were rescued, 12 of whom were burnt and sent to a hospital. Three suspects in the case were also detained, two of whom were injured. Three policemen were also injured. In an initial investigation, local police determined the missionary was operating illegally. The case is being investigated further. ^ top ^

Police rescue 54 children from illegal preachers (SCMP)
2012-06-07
Police in China's far western region of Xinjiang have rescued 54 children from illegal preachers, state media said on Wednesday, in what an exiled rights group said was a violent raid on a school teaching the Koran. Xinhua said 12 of the children received burns when "the suspects ignited a flammable device to resist capture" during the incident in the remote southern Xinjiang city of Hotan. "Acting on tips from local residents, police... raided an illegal religious preaching venue in the city, where 54 children were being held," Xinhua cited an unidentified police spokesman as saying. "Three suspects were seized during the operation, and three police officers were wounded," the news agency said in a brief English-language report. Xinjiang is home to the mainly Muslim Turkic-speaking Uygur people, many of whom chafe at Chinese government controls on their culture and religion. A German-based Uygur exile group, the World Uygur Congress, said police had used tear gas to attack an Islamic school teaching children the Koran. "There was a fight, and the authorities used tear gas on the young students, causing injuries on both sides," spokesman Dilxat Raxit said in e-mailed comments. "The aim was to eradicate religious belief." He added that police had arrested 47 people, including 11 women, in a crackdown following the raid, accusing them of owning illegal publications and disturbing social stability. Reuters was not able to independently verify the conflicting accounts or reach the government for comment. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Record turnout for June 4 vigil (SCMP)
2012-06-05
A sea of candles lit up Victoria Park last night as a record number of mourners gave public voice to their grief at China's only large-scale event commemorating those killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown. Organisers say 180,000 people took part in the vigil, but police put the number at just 85,000. It took place against a backdrop of growing public fears that freedom in Hong Kong will be eroded when Leung Chun-ying takes over as chief executive next month. Leung repeatedly refused to answer questions yesterday about the vigil and the bloody crackdown on student protesters on June 4, 1989. Lee Cheuk-yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, which organised the vigil, said numbers were up 30,000 on last year and that it was "encouraging to see more mainlanders and young people" joining the 90-minute memorial. Waving candles and singing, the crowd spread across six soccer pitches and the nearby grass field. They chanted: "Release pro-democracy activists, build a democratic China, vindicate the June 4 movement, and end one-party dictatorship." [...] There was also a message to Hongkongers from dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng, who fled the mainland for New York last month. In a letter to the alliance, posted on its website, Chen urged Beijing to face up to the June 4 issue and implored Hong Kong not to forget the tragedy. "I hope our central government will further free up its mind, deal with the issue in a timely and fair manner, and give the public a satisfying reply that will stand the test of history," wrote the lawyer [...]. Wang Dan, a leader of the 1989 student movement, told campaigners in a video message "it is worth persisting", citing the long struggle of Myanmar's democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, now a lawmaker after years of struggle. Guo Liying, a member of the Tiananmen Mothers activist group, sent a message saying she was touched by the efforts of Hongkongers to keep memories of the killings alive. [...] Lee slammed mainland authorities as "more corrupt than they were in 1989" and accused them of backsliding on human rights while making no progress towards democracy. He praised protesters in Wukan, the Guangdong village where protests against land seizures by the local government eventually led to democratic village elections. But he also expressed his concern for the prospects for freedom in Hong Kong. "Over the past year, the government has been tightening control on local protests and public rallies," Lee said. [...] In Beijing, Tiananmen Square and other sensitive spots saw tightened security while bereaved families paid tribute to loved ones in Wanan Cemetery. The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, expressed "strong dissatisfaction" at a US call to free all those still jailed for the 1989 protests. Washington's call came after a diplomatic row between China and the US over Chen. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao's total gaming revenue exceeds 15 bln USD in Jan-May period (Xinhua)
2012-06-02
The total revenue of Macao's gaming sector during the first five months this year amounted to 125.395 billion patacas (15.67 billion U.S. dollars), up 21.35 percent from the same period last year, according to figures released Friday by the city's Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau. Total revenue for May stood at 26.078 billion patacas (3.26 billion U.S. dollars), up 7.30 percent year-on-year and 4.29 percent month-to-month, according to the Bureau. Being the only place in China where gambling is legal, there were 34 casinos with 5,242 gaming tables and 16,102 slot machines in Macao by the end of March this year, according to official figures. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China urges EU to refrain from protectionism against telecom firms (Xinhua)
2012-06-02
BRUSSELS - Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming here on Thursday urged the European Union (EU) to refrain from taking protectionist measures against Chinese telecom firms to avoid damaging the current "win-win situation." "China hopes that the EU can stick to the consensus that no more protectionist measures should be rolled out, (as) agreed during the Group of 20 (G20) Summit," Chen said at a press conference after meeting with EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. Stressing that European telecom enterprises have been doing business in China for many years and that both sides reap huge economic benefits from cooperating, Chen said neither side wants to undermine the current "win-win situation." Chen's remarks came as the EU is reportedly considering action against China's top telecoms gear makers Huawei and ZTE, citing that the two companies receive so-called "illegal state subsidies," an allegation both firms have strongly denied. "The two sides must exercise restraint in trade remedy measures through thorough exchanges and consultations. Otherwise, both sides are sure to be hurt," he said. The minister also called upon the EU to create an open, equitable and fair environment for Chinese enterprises investing in Europe, adding that China is willing to join hands with the EU to launch negotiations on the China-Europe Investment Treaty to provide better and more equitable legal and institutional guarantees for investors from both sides. China-EU economic relations complement rather than compete with each other, Chen said. [...]. ^ top ^

Housing prices in China cities down in May (Xinhua)
2012-06-03
Housing prices in 100 surveyed Chinese cities fell 0.31 percent in May from April, marking a ninth consecutive decline, data from the China Index Academy showed. The average housing price in these cities stood at 8,684 yuan (1,372 U.S. dollars) per square meter last month, down 1.53 percent year on year, the data showed. The figures indicated that home prices in the world's second-largest economy remained the downward trend, the Xinhua-run Shanghai Securities Journal reported Saturday. Meanwhile, the average home price in the country's top ten cities including Beijing and Shanghai reached 15,314 yuan per square meter last month, down 0.5 percent from April, the data showed. However, new home transactions in the ten cities surged 22.6 percent during the first three weeks in May from a month ago, the data showed. The report said the government's strict property control measures,including tighter lending policies, higher down payments and a ban on third-home purchases, have been effective in dampening price rises. [...]. ^ top ^

China's non-manufacturing sector expands slower (Xinhua)
2012-06-04
China's non-manufacturing sector grew at a slightly slower rate in May as the world's second largest economy showed signs of further moderation. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of the country's non-manufacturing sector, a key economic indicator, dropped 0.9 percentage points to 55.2 percent in May, according to data released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) on Sunday. It was the second consecutive month of decline, after the index fell 1.9 percentage points from March to 56.1 percent in April. A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates expansion from the previous month, while readings below this mark indicate a contraction. [...] The figure followed Friday's release of the PMI for the country's manufacturing sector, which ended five consecutive months of growth and dipped to 50.4 percent in May from 53.3 percent in April. Analysts expect China's economy to downshift further in the second quarter as Europe's sovereignty debt crisis sags export and a flagging property market dampens investment. The country recorded an 8.1-percent annual growth in the first quarter, the slowest expansion in almost three years. [...] The CFLP's non-manufacturing PMI is based on a survey of about 1,200 companies in 27 industries, including transportation, real estate, catering and software development. ^ top ^

764.2 mln people employed in China by end of 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-06-05
A total of 764.2 million people were employed in China as of the end of 2011, including 359.14 million who worked in urban areas, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security said Monday. Of the total, about 34.8 percent worked in the primary industry, 29.5 percent in the secondary industry, and 35.7 percent in the tertiary industry, the ministry said in a statistics bulletin posted on its website. The migrant worker population last year reached 252.78 million, an increase of 10.55 million from that of 2010, and the number of rural workers employed outside their hometowns stood at 158.63 million. Altogether, 12.21 million jobs were added in China's urban areas in 2011. The urban unemployment rate stood at 4.1 percent, unchanged from 2010. By the end of 2011, the number of foreigners working in China with employment permits topped 241,900. ^ top ^

China's lenders ordered to check bad loans (Xinhua)
2012-06-05
China's banking regulator has told major state lenders to check the quality of their loans to prevent bad loans from deteriorating as the economy softens, local media reported on Monday. The China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) has ordered the country's top five state-owned banks to examine the authenticity and accuracy of the classification of all their loans as of the end of 2011, the Shanghai-based China Business News reported, quoting an unnamed source close to banking regulators. The results of the banks' self-examination were already submitted to regulators at the end of May, according to the report. "The move was aimed at exposing credit risks and reflected the regulators' worries over loan quality," the source said. Chinese lenders saw their non-performing loan (NPL) ratio continue to decrease to 0.94 percent at the end of March, but the value of NPLs grew to 438.2 billion yuan (69.2 billion U.S. dollars), up 10 billion yuan from the end of 2011, CBRC data shows. The NPL figure was low compared with lenders' total loan loss reserves, which reached 1.26 trillion yuan at the end of March, but banks are likely to face increasing NPLs as economic growth slows, the report said. [...]. ^ top ^

Bank regulatory rules delayed (China Daily)
2012-06-07
China postponed the implementation of tougher regulatory rules on commercial banks for a second time as the economy continues to soften amid rising global uncertainties. The State Council, China's Cabinet, announced on Wednesday that the new rules, based on the new global regulatory standards, set tougher criteria for lenders' capital adequacy, provisions, leverage and liquidity conditions, and will take effect at the beginning of 2013. The new requirements are in accordance with the Basel II and Basel III agreements, set by the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision, a global group of central bank governors, on bank capital adequacy and liquidity. Beijing planned to put the new rules into effect at the beginning of this year to better contain risks generated as a result of large-scale lending during the financial crisis, but later postponed the implementation to July as further weakening calls for a looser monetary stance and banking regulation. [...] The stricter criteria include a capital adequacy ratio of 11.5 percent for major banks and 10.5 percent for non-systemically important banks, a provision ratio for outstanding loans of 2.5 percent, a leverage ratio of 4 percent, and a liquidity coverage ratio and net stable funding ratio above 100 percent, according to draft rules released by the China Banking Regulatory Commission last year. According to the statement, the regulator will allow lenders to include "excess" loan-loss provisions as capital, and will grant a 10-year grace period for them to phase out issued capital instruments that are unqualified under the new rules. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese tax cuts for more new-energy cars (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
China has announced a second wave of tax cuts for clean-energy cars, specifying 64 new energy-saving vehicles covered by the scheme. The government has decided to halve vehicle taxes for buyers in these cases, in a bid to boost slow sales of green cars in the country. The fees for users of seven types of electric automobiles will be removed, according to a document jointly released by the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, and the State Administration of Taxation on Tuesday. At least 10 domestic auto producers such as Wuhu-based Chery and Yangzhou-based Yaxing feature on the list specified by the new policy, which took effect on Jan 1, 2012. Consumers who have bought the vehicles will get tax refunds, the ministry said. The government first applied the policy in March, listing a first batch of eligible cars. At least 200 types of plug-in hybrid cars, pure electric cars and fuel cell vehicles were included. The government has been vigorously promoting sales of new-energy cars through offering subsidies and reducing tax, but sales remains lukewarm. Some 10,202 energy-saving and new-energy vehicles were sold in China during the first quarter of 2012, just a fraction of the 4.79 million vehicles sold overall in the period, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. ^ top ^

China's central bank cuts interest rate by 25 basis points (Xinhua)
2012-06-08
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, announced Thursday it would cut the benchmark interest rate for deposits and loans by 25 basis points beginning Friday. This was the first time that China's central bank cut the benchmark rates since December 2008, after which it has raised the rates for five times to drain liquidity. After the cut, the one-year deposit interest rate will fall to 3.25 percent while that of the one-year loan interest rate will be lowered to 6.31 percent. The upper limit of the floating band of deposit rates will be adjusted to 1.1 times the benchmark while banks are allowed to offer 20 percent discount to borrowers. The latest move came as China's slower-than-expected economy had raised concerns over an abrupt brake for the world's second largest economy. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese private investors offered preferential tax rates (Xinhua)
2012-06-08
China has issued a policy offering preferential rates of tax for private investment, a move to assist investors in accessing the country's state-dominated sectors. The State Administration of Taxation (SAT) said in a statement released on Wednesday that the tax policy, compiled according to existing regulations, covers six major tax categories and 33 subitems. It comes after several long-monopolized sectors opened to private capital, a move anticipated by the market since May 2010, when the government published an instruction encouraging the participation of private investment in state-run sectors to increase the economy's efficiency. Sectors including finance, transport, railway and healthcare, have so far been given the green light to open to private capital, as China, with its first-quarter gross domestic product growth hitting a near-three-year low of 8.1 percent, looks to prop up its economy without overly relying on monetary or fiscal stimulus. Of the total subitems, 11 cover social undertakings, nine cover basic industries and infrastructure sectors, and seven innovation and industry upgrading. Other subitems relate to public utilities, affordable housing, financial services, and trade circulation. While stressing the role of taxation in encouraging and guiding private capital, the SAT urged taxation authorities at all levels to effectively implement the policy. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

China calls for revitalizing agreement under framework of six-party talks (Xinhua)
2012-06-06
Vienna - Joint efforts should be made to revitalize the implementation of the Feb. 29 agreement between the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States over the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, a senior Chinese diplomat said here on Tuesday. All the parties concerned should remain calm, exercise restraint and refrain from taking any actions that may escalate the tension in the region, said Cheng Jingye, China's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Vienna. Noting that the implementation of the Feb. 29 agreement has run into difficulties at this moment, Cheng said China is of the view that the agreement is a hard-won and positive outcome achieved under the framework of the six-party talks. [...] Cheng made the remarks at the ongoing IAEA Board of Governors meeting at the headquarters of the UN nuclear watchdog. He also said that it is fundamental that solutions to the various intertwining issues in the Korean Peninsula must be sought through dialogues with a view to solving conflicts and accommodating the concerns of all sides. [...] The DPRK has said it wasn't obliged to follow the Feb. 29 agreement, as the Unites States had completely breached it with confrontational acts. [...]. ^ top ^

DPRK's Kim attends event to mark anniversary of Children's Union founding (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
Pyongyang- Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Wednesday attended a national event to celebrate the 66th anniversary of the founding of the Korean Children's Union. Kim made a speech at the Kim Il Sung Stadium, encouraging schoolchildren to study hard for a promising DPRK and to carry forward the revolutionary tradition. Children's Union delegates pledged allegiance to the country's leadership, vowing to fully prepare themselves as pillars of Songun (military-first) Korea. The celebrations started Sunday and will last till Friday. Around 20,000 schoolchildren from across the country took part in the celebrations in Pyongyang. ^ top ^

Visit to Pyongyang comes to fruition: Cambodian FM (Xinhua)
2012-06-07
Phnom Penh - Cambodian Foreign Minister Hor Namhong, chair of 2012 ASEAN, said Thursday that his three-day visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) concluded with fruitful results for the bilateral ties. "Through the visit, the bilateral ties between Cambodia and the DPRK will be better," he told reporters at the Phnom Penh International Airport when returning from Pyongyang. During the visit, he met with the DPRK's Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun and Kim Yong-nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly. Hor Namhong said Pak Ui Chun will visit Cambodia next month to join the 19th ASEAN Regional Forum. Ouch Borith, secretary of state at the Foreign Ministry, told reporters on May 25 that Hor Namhong's visit in the DPRK was to lobby the country to return to the long-stalled six-party talks on nuclear program on Korean Peninsula. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia, Japan launch Economic Partnership Agreement talks (Xinhua)
2012-06-05
Ulan Bator - Mongolia and Japan launched the first round of negotiations for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) on Monday. During the four-day talks, the two countries will discuss issues relating to trade in goods and services, rules of origin, customs procedures and investment. Mongolian Foreign Minister Gombojav Zandanshatar said at the opening of the negotiations that Japan has been the largest provider of development assistance to Mongolia since the 1990s, and is also a major trading partner of Mongolia. He stressed that concluding an EPA with Japan is one of the top priorities in bilateral relations, saying that by doing so Mongolia is seeking to boost greater economic integration between the two economies. Shinichi Nishimiya, deputy foreign minister of Japan, said Japanese companies are increasingly interested in investing in Mongolia. Nishimiya expressed the hope that the two countries would further strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade and investment through the establishment of an EPA.. ^ top ^

Cooperation with Mongolia to get a boost (China Daily)
2012-06-08
China expects to strengthen tangible cooperation with Mongolia in various fields including mineral resources exploitation and financing, President Hu Jintao said on Thursday. Hu made the remarks during talks with visiting Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj, who was in the Chinese capital to attend the SCO summit. Rich in coal, gold and copper, Mongolia, with a population of less than 3 million, has ridden a mineral boom that is expected to more than double its GDP within a decade. Hu told Elbegdorj that he hopes both countries will elevate their cooperation while "promoting the triad of cooperation on mineral resources exploitation, infrastructure construction and financing". Hu also noted that trade between the two neighbors rose sharply after Beijing and Ulan Bator established a strategic partnership last year. China is now Mongolia's largest trading partner and its largest source of foreign investment. Bilateral trade stood above $6.3 billion in 2011, an increase of 84.3 percent compared with the previous year. Mongolian exports to China reached $4.37 billion, accounting for 91.3 percent of Mongolia's overall export volume, according to Mongolian official figures. The exports to China mainly include coal, copper ore, iron ore and crude oil. To further develop the ties, "politically, the two countries should continue deepening mutual trust and grasp the overall direction of the ties from a strategic height and a long-term angle", Hu said. Beijing appreciates Ulan Bator's attitude of putting relations with China as one of the priorities of its foreign policies, the Chinese president said. Elbegdorj said the strategic partnership has served as a "milestone" while his country is committed to friendly cooperation with China for the long run. [...]. ^ 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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