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
  16-21.6.12, No. 428  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

News Analysis: Sino-Danish relations hit new high following President Hu's historic visit (Xinhua)
2012-06-17
COPENHAGEN - The first ever visit to Denmark by a Chinese head of state has brought bilateral strategic relations between China and Denmark to an exceptionally high level and sparked a raft of trade agreements. The three-day state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao, which ended here Saturday, allowed the two countries to close a number of cooperation documents, and business deals as well as agreements on Chinese investment in Denmark. The two countries have enjoyed good bilateral diplomatic relations for over 62 years, and forged a comprehensive strategic partnership covering economic, political, cultural and other affairs, in 2008. Meeting Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt at Christiansborg Castle, the seat of Danish parliament, on Saturday, Hu said the visit would improve bilateral understanding and push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership. [...] A sign of the closeness of bilateral relations, and a willingness to cooperate more effectively in areas of special competence in future, led to the signing of several cooperation documents in the areas of investment, tariffs, energy, agriculture and culture. However, the visit's biggest winners were Danish and Chinese businesses, who closed some 16 deals worth around 3.4 billion U.S. dollars during the trip. [...] Indeed, Danish political and business leaders' springboard into China has been Denmark's technological and regulatory head start in green technology areas and social welfare models. This includes low-energy buildings, smart electricity grids, urban heating and cooling systems, and renewable energy generation. These are of special interest to China as it rapidly implements its ongoing 12th Five-Year plan that seeks to put the country on the path towards a sustainable, green economy. In fact, among the largest deals concluded during the visit are those in the green technology sector. [...] Other major deals have come within food and food safety products, another Danish stronghold sector. [...] According to official Chinese statistics, the volume of bilateral trade between China and Denmark increased 18.3 percent in 2011, as compared to the previous year, to reach a historical high of 9.26 billion dollars. [...] Furthermore, the European Union (EU) too could benefit from Hu's visit to Denmark, which took place while this Nordic nation held the Presidency of the 27-member EU bloc. The EU, which has its own strategic partnership agreement with China, is currently preparing negotiations for a China-EU investment agreement, and Denmark has helped push this process forward. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese, Mexican presidents meet on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2012-06-18
LOS CABOS, Mexico - Chinese President Hu Jintao exchanged views with his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon in Los Cabos Sunday on bilateral relations, a day before the G20 summit to be held at the Mexican resort. Noting that it was the third time he visited Mexico, Hu thanked Calderon and the Mexican government for their careful preparations and considerate arrangements for the G20 summit and expressed the readiness to work with the Mexican side to push for positive results of the summit. [...] For his part, Calderon said Mexico attaches importance to China's propositions and role in the G20. He wished to cooperate with China to ensure that the G20 summit will make progress on promoting strong, sustainable and balanced economic growth and advancing reform of the international financial system. Calderon also expressed his readiness to work with China to safeguard the interests of developing countries and emerging economies. [...] Calderon said the Chinese president's attendance at the G20 summit is very significant because China has an increasingly important status on the global stage. Hu's visit will contribute greatly to boosting and deepening the Mexico-China relations, he added. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Mexico. [...] Hu said China has already become the second largest trade partner of Mexico, while Mexico is the second largest trade partner of China in Latin America and also has the most frequent cultural exchanges with China. The two sides have maintained sound communication and cooperation on major regional and international issues, Hu said. Hu pointed out that under the current international situation of complex changes, deepening strategic cooperation between China and Mexico is of great significance. China is ready to work with Mexico to advance bilateral cooperation in a long-term, healthy and stable way. At the meeting, Hu also put forward a four-point proposal on advancing China-Mexico ties. [...] Calderon said Mexico and China, both as developing countries, should cooperate closely and advance bilateral links on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefits. Leaders of the two countries have also maintained frequent contact and the permanent binational commission has promoted trade and economic cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese deputy finance minister calls for stability in Greece after crucial election (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
LOS CABOS, Mexico - Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao on Sunday called for stability in Greece following a crucial election in the debt-ridden European country. "We hope that the new (Greek) government will be on solid footing and can maintain stability, since stability is important for the promotion of development," said Zhu at a press briefing held by the Chinese delegation prior to a major Group of Twenty (G20) summit due to be in Los Cabos, a Mexican seaside resort city, on Monday and Tuesday. [...] "With efforts by the Greek people and the government, we hope that the country can maintain a stable economy and maintain economic growth," said the Chinese senior official. "We also hope that the Greek government and people, working together with the European troika, namely the EU, the European central bank, and the IMF, will stabilize the Greek economy and financial markets," Zhu told reporters. "So it can return to the international financial market in early days and regain financing ability," he added. Regarding the proposed resource increase of 430 billion U.S. dollars for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Zhu reiterated the position by Chinese President Hu Jintao, who said at last year's G20 summit in Cannes, France, that China will not be absent from the international bailout based on consensus. "At the same time, the IMF should quicken its quota reform to reflect the changing international economic structure in order to enhance China's voice and representation in the IMF," he said. Zhu welcomed the major policy measures taken by Europe to tackle the sovereign debt crisis, including the establishment of the 800-billion-euro firewall. "We are confident that European countries can rely on themselves to untangle the problem. We also have the confidence that Europe has the capacity and wisdom to resolve the European sovereign debt crisis," he continued. Zhu also spoke of the downside risks faced by the world economy, saying that China needs to face up to the challenge by taking macro-economic policies. [...] "As the largest developing country with a 1.3-billion population, China should manage its own things well, and run its own economy well. I think this is being responsible to the Chinese people, and this is also a major contribution to the world," he said. ^ top ^

BRICS mulling over forex reserve pool (China Daily)
2012-06-19
LOS CABOS, Mexico - BRICS countries are considering the establishment of a foreign-exchange reserve pool and currency-swap arrangement as their leaders meet ahead of the Group of 20 summit in Mexico. President Hu Jintao of China joined his counterparts from the other BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa -- in a morning announcement. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the leaders discussed both the currency swap and foreign-exchange reserve pool ideas and tasked their finance ministers and central bank chiefs to implement them, the ministry said without elaborating. The five leaders also talked about BRICS' participation in increasing resources for the International Monetary Fund. Hu said the members of the G20 -- the world's 20 major industrialized and developing countries -- should encourage and support euro-currency nations by improving market confidence and other measures. The BRICS leaders stressed that ensuring the IMF is well capitalized is conducive to helping resolve global economic and financial challenges. The five-nation bloc is willing to contribute to those goals, the Chinese ministry said. The leaders also urged the IMF to carry out promised reforms of its quota and governance systems. ^ top ^

China urges Syria to cooperate with UN (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday urged all parties in Syria to cooperate with and support the UN observation mission to the country. Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing that China has noted media reports that Maj-Gen Robert Mood, head of the mission, on Saturday announced the suspension of patrols by his 300-member team, citing spiraling violence in restive areas. China urges all parties in Syria to earnestly fulfill their commitments to cease fire and violence, ensure the safety of the mission and fully implement the six-point plan sponsored by Kofi Annan, the UN-Arab League joint special envoy to Syria, according to Hong. ^ top ^

Beijing urges restraint as sea row with Manila eases (Global Times)
2012-06-19
China said yesterday it welcomed Philippine President Benigno Aquino's order pulling out two ships from Huangyan Island and expressed hope it would calm tensions. "The Chinese side has been urging the Philippine side to take measures to de-escalate the situation," Chinese embassy spokesman Zhang Hua said. "We have noticed the withdrawal of government vessels by the Philippine side, and hope this action will help ease the tension," Zhang added. A statement on the Chinese embassy's website yesterday also said Beijing had deployed a vessel to help its fishermen pull out of the shoal as well due to bad weather and a strong tide. Philippine foreign department spokesman Raul Hernandez said Aquino also ordered the vessels to leave Huangyan Island in the South China Sea on Friday night as a passing tropical storm dumped heavy rains. Hernandez stressed this did not mean the country was giving up on the shoal but he would not say if any Philippine ships would be returning. He said both China and the Philippines had agreed to pull its ships out of the area. Yesterday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said, "We hope there will continue to be an easing in the situation and hope bilateral cooperation will recover and be safeguarded." "We hope the Philippines can exercise restraint," he added, "Chinese fishing boats in the area were heading back to port because of bad weather, the same reason given by Manila for the pull-back." Meanwhile, the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center has dispatched an ocean-going rescue ship to the waters around the Huangyan Island in the South China Sea, the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. In another development, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III formally administered the oath of office to Sonia Brady as new Ambassador to China in ceremonies held yesterday in Malacanang, the presidential palace, Xinhua said. Brady served as Philippine ambassador to China from April 2006 to January 2010. ^ top ^

China gains confidence in space development (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
Chinese astronauts entered the country's orbiting space laboratory Tiangong-1 for the first time on Monday, and they will live and work there for about 10 days, paving the way for the construction of a space station around 2020. China has become the third nation, after the United States and Russia, to acquire the skills necessary for extravehicular activities and space docking, and, by acquiring these skills, the nation has gained confidence in its high-tech development capabilities. Acquiring space docking skills allows China to supply manpower and material to an orbiting module, marking a significant step for China's manned space program that celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. More importantly, China's ancient dream of "Flying Apsaras," as enshrined in the frescoes of the Dunhuang Caves, has been realized. The leapfrog development of China's manned space program can be attributed to the country's initiative of reform and opening-up, according to Zhou Jianping, the chief designer of the space program. The progress of the program has greatly benefited the lives of ordinary people. It is estimated that an investment of 1 yuan ($0.157) into the space program will yield a return of 7 to 12 yuan. The development of the program has also sped up the research of new materials. [...] The progress of the country's manned space program reflects a path of self-reliance and innovation, offering an example for development with Chinese characteristics. Today's China is no longer a mere "world's manufacturer" of shoes, stockings and cigarette lighters, and the nation has gained confidence in its development of space technology. ^ top ^

Hu urges fair, orderly world financial system (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
LOS CABOS, Mexico - Chinese President Hu Jintao said here Tuesday that establishing a fair, just, inclusive and orderly international financial system is conducive to the long-term sound and steady growth of the world economy and meets the common interests of the world. All countries should make concerted efforts to bring about more achievements in international financial system reform and make the system provide better services and boost the real economy's growth, Hu said in a speech at the Group of 20 (G20) summit here. Hu also said that all countries should work together to push reform of international financial governance and increase the representation and powers of emerging economies and developing countries; to improve the international reserve currency system so as to establish a system that embraces stable currencies, orderly supplies and an adjustable aggregate amount. In addition, Hu called for expanding the use of the special drawing rights of the International Monetary Fund to enhance the stability of world currency system, combining restructuring the international finance system with promoting international development and cooperation, and setting the settlement of the South-North development gap as an important long-term task. Hu said the issue of universally beneficial finance is essentially about development. All countries should strengthen communication and cooperation, better protect consumer interests, and jointly build up a financial mechanism that would benefit all nations and peoples, so as to make sure that all consumers, particularly those in developing countries, can enjoy modern, secure and convenient financial services, he said. [...] Hu said the core of green growth is to strenuously build a resource-efficient and environment-friendly society based on the notion of sustainable development. Green growth should be connected to poverty reduction and the safeguarding of developing countries' rights to development. The development modes independently chosen by developing countries should be respected, and the development space for developing countries should be secured, he added. Hu also said international trade is important impetus to world economic growth, adding the G20 should firmly push forward trade liberalization and facilitation, oppose protectionism in various forms, jointly nurture an open, equal and fair atmosphere for global trade, maintain and strengthen the multilateral trade mechanism, and continue to move forward the Doha Round of trade talks. [...]. ^ top ^

China to contribute 43 billion USD to IMF recapitalization (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
LOS CABOS, Mexico - China announced Monday that it will contribute 43 billion U.S. dollars to the recapitalization of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) at the G20 summit being held here. The summit discussed the issue of boosting funding for the IMF, and the G20 leaders agreed that in order to address the risks and challenges the world economy is currently faced with, it is necessary to ensure that the IMF is sufficiently capitalized. China has always made it clear that it will not be absent in IMF recapitalization, and holds that the recapitalization has to be based mainly on quotas and the top imperative thing is to implement the IMF's 2010 quota and governance reform package. China has repeatedly expressed the hope that relevant countries should go through the approval process of the plan as soon as possible in order to ensure that the reform package will be effective before the 2012 IMF annual meetings in October. ^ top ^

Chinese premier meets Moroccan PM on ties (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
CASABLANCA, Morocco - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane here on Tuesday and the two sides exchanged views on bilateral relations and other issues of common concern. During the meeting, Wen said that contacts between China and Morocco have a long history and bilateral ties have grown rapidly in recent years, with significant achievements scored in their pragmatic cooperation in various fields. The two sides should catch opportunities, strengthen contacts at various levels, consolidate political mutual trust, expand economic and trade cooperation and people-to-people and cultural exchanges, and uplift bilateral relations to a higher level, Wen said. He said China is glad to see that the Moroccan government and people have properly dealt with the international financial crisis and the major changes in West Asia and North Africa and maintained social stability and economic development. The Chinese premier also said great attention should be paid to people's desire for change in the region and relevant parties should solve problems through peaceful and inclusive political dialogues and protect civilian lives and property as well as their legitimate rights. China is willing to join the international community to make unremitting efforts to boost peace, stability and development in West Asia and North Africa, he said. Benkirane, for his part, warmly welcomed Wen's stopover, saying the Moroccan people harbor friendly feelings toward the Chinese people and appreciate China's achievements. He said Morocco is pushing forward reforms and dealing with the changeable situation in its own way, and has all along pursued friendly policies toward China. [...]. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official calls for closer cultural exchanges with Africa (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
Li Changchun, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Tuesday called for closer cultural exchanges between China and African countries. Li, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks in a meeting with the chief delegates from 45 African countries who are here for the first China-Africa culture ministers' forum held under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Hailing the fruitful cooperation China and Africa have conducted in all areas in recent years, Li said in-depth cultural exchanges and cooperation would help promote mutual understanding and trust, maintain the cultural diversity of the world and enhance the global say of developing countries in cultural areas. He said the culture ministers' forum marks the establishment of a high-level cultural strategic dialogue mechanism between China and Africa, which will give strategic guidance for future cultural exchanges and cooperation. Li added that China, as Africa's good friend, partner and brother, will make joint efforts with African countries to make greater contributions to their peace and development, as well as the prosperity of the world. [...] According to the Chinese Ministry of Culture, since the FOCAC Beijing summit in 2006, China and Africa have seen nearly 70 performances by visiting art groups and more than 30 visiting exhibitions, and they have conducted more than 20 cooperation programs on human resources training in a variety of areas, including national governance, model art, handicraft, choreography and acrobatics. China has also provided cultural materials assistance worth about 7.2 million yuan (about 1.13 million U.S. dollars) to 36 African countries. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official meets Sudan's National Congress Party delegation (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
Li Yuanchao, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, on Tuesday met with a delegation of Sudan's National Congress Party. Li hailed China-Sudan relations, saying China will work with Sudan to deepen political mutual trust and win-win cooperation, as well as promote the development of their friendly relationship of cooperation in an all-around way. Li, who is also head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, said the CPC will make joint efforts with the National Congress Party to enhance exchanges on governance and push forward cooperation in areas such as cadre training. Eisa Bushre Mohamed, head of the delegation and Sudan's Minister for Science, said the National Congress Party of Sudan highly values its relations with the CPC and it stands ready to reinforce inter-party ties and state-to-state cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

China slams Vietnam's island patrols (China Daily)
2012-06-20
A spokesman for China's Foreign Ministry on Tuesday expressed strong dissatisfaction over Vietnamese fighters' recent patrolling and reconnaissance on Nansha Islands in the South China Sea. Speaking at a regular press briefing in response to a journalist's question on the subject, Hong Lei said, "China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and their adjacent waters. Vietnam's recent action is a serious violation of China's sovereignty." He said China urges Vietnam to strictly abide by the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, avoid actions escalating or complicating the situation, and make efforts to safeguard regional peace and stability. ^ top ^

Jiaolong reaches 6,965 meters (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
China's manned deep-sea submersible, the Jiaolong, reached a depth of 6,965 meters below sea level Tuesday during its second dive into the Mariana Trench, surpassing a fresh national record set earlier in the day. The vessel sat on the sea bed and started working at that depth. This was the second time it sat on the sea bed for yesterday's dive. The previous one reached a depth of 6,908 meters, where sea drivers collected water samples and placed markers. The dive, which began at 7 am after a leaking oil pipe in its hydraulic system had been repaired, is expected to re-check the hydraulic system and test various functions and the security of the submersible at great depths. [...] The Jiaolong will attempt four more dives, aiming to move deeper to pursue the goal of reaching 7,000 meters below sea level between mid-June and early July. The Xiangyanghong 09 reached the designated dive zone in the Mariana Trench on June 11. "Both Shenzhou and Jiaolong are undoubtedly significant events in the history of China's science and technology," said Wang Zhonggui, deputy chief engineer of the manned space program. "As an engineer, I am keeping a close eye on their progress." However, some more sober-minded netizens pointed out these achievements lag behind those of more advanced countries. ^ top ^

Hu sets out vision for US ties (China Daily)
2012-06-21
Differences with China must be properly handled by the United States as both countries strive to forge a new type of advantageous relationship between big powers, President Hu Jintao said on Tuesday. Analysts said that Hu is addressing the key to a stable and beneficial relationship, especially ahead of November's US presidential election. Hu put forward a proposal outlining a new model of great-power relations, a concept he initiated in a speech during the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue held in May in Beijing. Hu said on Tuesday that both countries should maintain high-level strategic communication, manage differences and keep any potential interference at bay. He said he hoped that the US will adopt a positive and pragmatic approach, respect China's interests and prevent domestic politics from disturbing ties. US President Barack Obama agreed with Hu on developing the next phase of the relationship. The US is ready to work with China to cultivate a new model of great-power relations to effectively tackle global challenges, Obama said. A prosperous and stable China is in the interests of the US and the world, just as a prosperous and growing US benefits China and the world, he said. The leaders met during the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, their second meeting this year and the 12th in three years. Both leaders commented positively on ties, analysts said, but emphasized that more needs to be done to enhance trust. [...] Hu said on Tuesday that as China and the US are the world's two largest economies, maintaining robust trade relations is of great significance. [...] China is boosting domestic demand and has full confidence in sustaining the strong momentum of its economic growth, Hu said. Both countries should boost economic cooperation and increase trade, Hu said. ^ top ^

Hu pledges China's co-op with debt-plagued Spain (China Daily)
2012-06-21
China supports efforts by the European Union and other parties to resolve the euro zone debt crisis, President Hu Jintao said Wednesday at a meeting with Spain's deputy prime minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria. Hu was on a stopover in Tenerife on his return home from the Group of 20 leaders' summit in Mexico. The president also expressed the view that Europe has the power and wisdom to overcome difficulties caused by the crisis and to achieve economic recovery and growth. Saenz thanked China for its support of Spain and Europe during the crisis. She said maintaining European unity benefits the world as well as development of China's relationship with the continent. [...] Hu said that at the just-concluded summit in Los Cabos, Mexico, G20 leaders agreed that the group must now focus on maintaining growth, increasing jobs and promoting stability. The bloc's members vowed to continue to uphold the spirit of unity and win-win cooperation to strengthen coordination on macroeconomic policies and work for strong, sustainable and balanced growth of the global economy, Hu said. Hu said Chinese-Spanish ties are at their best in history and that the two countries should enhance mutual trust, and expand trade and economic cooperation. The president also urged an increase of people-to-people exchanges and stronger cooperation on international affairs. Saenz said Spain and China share the same views on many major issues. Her country, she said, is ready to maintain high-level contact with China and to expand cooperation in trade, investment, science, technology, new energy sources, tourism and culture. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese premier urges joint efforts to promote sustainable development (Xinhua)
2012-06-21
RIO DE JANEIRO - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao here on Wednesday urged the international community to make joint efforts to promote sustainable development, while pledging China's readiness to live up to its responsibilities as a major developing country in this regard. "To jointly promote sustainable development, we should take a fair, just, open and inclusive approach," said Premier Wen at the three-day UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20 summit), which opened Wednesday. He stressed that countries around the globe should continue to work as partners, adhere to the Rio Principles, "especially the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities." He announced that China will contribute 6 million U.S. dollars to a UN Environment Program trust fund for projects and activities that help developing countries raise capacity for environmental protection. He also promised that China will make available 200 million yuan (31.7 million dollars) for a three-year international project to help small island countries, least developed countries and African countries tackle climate change. Noting that major progress has been made in meeting the Millennium Development Goals, Wen pointed out that the global process of sustainable development is "not balanced" as the gap between the North and the South is widening and resources and environment related issues remain acute. "Sustainable development faces new and grave challenges posed by the international financial crisis, climate change, energy and food security and local conflicts," Wen said, adding that "preserving resources and the environment to achieve sustainable development is the only choice we have." [...] He proposed that to jointly promote sustainable development, the international community should explore effective models of growing green economy, he proposed. While there are no uniform standards or models for green economy, "green economy should be pursued according to the actual conditions of a country," he said. [...] The premier also proposed improving the mechanism of global governance to promote sustainable development, stressing that the United Nations should play a leading role in developing an effective institutional framework of sustainable development. [...] He called for "a new type of partnership" for sustainable development with the participation of international agencies, governments and the public. Meanwhile, the premier said China is ready to live up to its responsibilities. "The more it develops, the more opportunities China will create and the more contribution it will make to the world," he said. China will help other developing countries raise capacity for environmental protection, ecological preservation and desertification control, Wen said. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Russia vow to cement inter-party cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-06-21
ST. PETERSBURG, Russia - Visiting senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC) He Guoqiang on Wednesday arrived in St. Petersburg, Russia's second largest city, where he met with Vyacheslav Makarov, chairman of the legislative assembly of the city, on regional cooperation between the two countries. On Tuesday, He met in Moscow leaders of major Russia political parties on strengthening inter-party cooperation. When meeting with Lyudmila Shvetsova, deputy speaker of the State Duma from the United Russia party, He said China is willing to make joint efforts with Russia in promoting bilateral ties. "The United Russia party, as the most significant political power in Russia, has played an important role in maintaining the stability in the country, developing economy, improving people's living standard, among others," said He, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee Political Bureau. China attaches great importance to exchanges and cooperation with the ruling United Russia party, He said, adding that recent years have witnessed fruitful achievements in the relations between the CPC and the United Russia, as a multi-level exchange mechanism has been established. [...] Shvetsova said cooperation between Russia and China, as strategic partners, in the Asia Pacific and international affairs has been very close in the past years, playing an important role to peace in the region and the world. United Russia would like to further exchanges with the CPC to promote bilateral relations. He Guoqiang also held talks with Ivan Melnikov, deputy speaker of the State Duma from the Communist Party. The CPC has always cherished its friendship with Russia's Communist Party, which has offered great support to China on issues that pertain to China's core interests, he noted, pledging that the CPC would further its ties with Russia's Communist Party to advance China-Russia relations to a new high. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China releases food safety improvement plan (Xinhua)
2012-06-16
China released a five-year plan on Friday to upgrade its food safety regulations in the country's latest efforts to address food safety concerns. The government will improve national food safety standards by revamping outdated standards, reviewing and abolishing any contradicting or overlapping standards and working out new regulations, according to a plan posted on the website of the Ministry of Health. China has more than 2,000 national food regulations and more than 2,900 industry-based regulations. Many of the regulations are overlapping or contradict each other, since multiple government agencies were given the responsibility of compiling their own standards years ago. According to the plan, 14 government departments, including the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture, will coordinate to finish revamping the existing standards by 2015. China is still suffering from the absence of several major food safety regulations, the plan said. The government will prioritize safety standards for dairy products, infant food, meat, alcohol, vegetable oil, seasoning, health products and food additives so as to specify limits for dangerous ingredients in these foods, according to the plan. Moreover, the government will make special efforts to set standards for testing various contaminants, food additives, microorganisms, pesticide and animal drug residue in food production by 2015, according to the plan. Food safety became a nationwide concern in China after a spate of food safety incidents, such as food contamination and the illegal use of prohibited ingredients and additives in food production. The most recent scandal involved an "unusual amount" of mercury found in baby formula produced by Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co., one of China's biggest dairy companies. ^ top ^

China's social security fund reports weak investment revenue in 2011 (Xinhua)
2012-06-16
China's social security fund manager on Friday released a bleak annual report for 2011, with investment revenues of just 7.34 billion yuan (1.16 billion U.S. dollars) amid the stock market's lackluster performance. The rate of return on investment (ROI) was just 0.84 percent last year, the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF) said in a statement on its website. The fund's managed assets were worth 868.82 billion yuan at the end of 2011. Since its inauguration in 2000, the social security fund has outperformed the nominal inflation level by taking in accumulated investment revenues of 284.59 billion yuan, with an annual ROI rate of 8.4 percent, the fund manager said. Dai Xianglong, the NCSSF's chairman, said the fund will diversify its investment and seek long-term revenues while allocating more resources for investment in fixed-income products, stocks and physical industries. The weak report came at a time when many Chinese are debating whether the country should raise the retirement age to cope with an aging population. Earlier last month, Dai warned that the current size of the social security fund fails to match China's gross economic scale and is far from able to fill the gap in the pension fund balance. [...] Founded in 2000, the fund is designed to serve as a solution for the country's aging problem, as well as a strategic reserve to support future social security expenditures. According to a joint study by the Bank of China (BOC) and Deutsche Bank, China's aging population will leave it with a shortfall of 18.3 trillion yuan in pension funds by 2013 and create a heavy fiscal burden for the country. [...]. ^ top ^

Public hospital reform begins in counties (Xinhua)
2012-06-16
China's county-level hospitals are to lead the country's reform on public healthcare facilities, under a guideline published Friday on the central government's website. It introduced a pilot program covering 300 county-level hospitals, which are expected to undergo reforms in finance, management and human resources by 2015 to enhance their capacity. The program plans to wipe out the existing financing mechanism of Chinese hospitals relying heavily on medicine sales while their services are undervalued. County hospitals are known as the backbone of the country's health care network in rural areas, and directly serve over 900 million Chinese. Rural patients, however, tend to flood into major hospitals in cities to seek better quality services. The program has set a goal of restoring people's trust in county-level medical facilities and serving 90 percent of all the patients within each county. Health minister Chen Zhu said on Friday that the county-level reform would generate experiences for future reforms of major public hospitals in cities. ^ top ^

Critical advice helpful: Wen (Xinhua)
2012-06-17
The State Council has appointed five members to its Counselors' Office and nine new members to the Central Research Institute of Culture and History (CRICH). Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday gave appointment letters to the new members and held a discussion with them on various social issues. During the discussion, the counselors and researchers gave their advice on the development of China's western regions, improvements in macroeconomic adjustment and the overseas presence of Chinese culture. Hailing the counselors and researchers' role in the country's scientific and democratic decision-making process, Wen said current efforts still lag behind the demands of national modernization and people's expectations. "Candid voices and critical advice can help us stay clear-headed, pay attention to easily-ignored issues and avoid errors in decision-making process," Wen said. Wen urged the counselors and researchers to go "deep into reality" for their research and improve their consultation abilities. Wen called on new media entities to make more efforts to pool public wisdom and channel public feelings toward the government, while experts and think tanks were asked to boost public responsibility and encourage more independent thought. "What we pursue is not only economic development, but also social progress and people's liberty, equality and overall development," Wen said. ^ top ^

Woman sentenced to death for infant trafficking (Xinhua)
2012-06-17
A court in southwest China's Yunnan province sentenced a woman to death for infant trafficking on Friday. Jiang Kaizhi, 51, the prime culprit of an infant trafficking ring, organized a group of people to abduct babies in Yunnan and sell them in central Henan province from late 2009 to August 2010, according to the verdict issued by the intermediate people's court in the city of Qujing. Thirty-five other members of the group, aged between 20 and 65, on Friday received penalties ranging from life imprisonment to a three-year jail term for abducting, transporting and trafficking infants. Jiang could get about 30,000 yuan (4,711 U.S. dollars) for selling a baby boy while the profit for trafficking a baby girl was more than 20,000 yuan, said the verdict. A total of 223 infants were sold by the infant trafficking ring. [...]. ^ top ^

Lawyer to sue court police officer over alleged beating (Global Times)
2012-06-18
A lawyer, who alleged he was beaten by a court police officer, will sue the officer involved, he told the Global Times Sunday. "The head of the court called me today, saying they are considering whether to dismiss the policeman who beat me," the lawyer surnamed Zou, from Beijing Yingtian Law Firm, said Sunday. Zou was forcibly removed from court by three officers during a civil case in Shijingshan district court on Wednesday. When he appeared later, he had injuries to his head, arms and shoulders, said Zhao Shumin, daughter of the 80-year-old female plaintiff whom Zou represented. The judge adjourned the proceedings as the defendant was absent because of illness, which made Zhao angry, she said. "I argued with the judge. Zou said I should stop when court police showed up," she said, adding that after Zou told the officers not to talk to her, as their "job is to maintain order," the officers took Zou away. "I don't know why they took Zou, as I was arguing with the judge," she said. Zou said they dragged him into an elevator and one man kicked him in his genitals. "I said I would sue him, but he said he wasn't scared by that," said Zou, "then they took me to a dark place on the first floor and beat me for about two minutes." [...] The head of the court police told the Beijing Times Friday that the officers did their job in accordance with the law, while not admitting they beat Zou. Wang Li, a law professor at Southwest University in Chongqing, said that court officers had no right to beat a lawyer. "The one who allegedly beat the lawyer will face administrative punishment, such as detention or dismissal," Wang noted. ^ top ^

Public opinion sought on railway safety regulations (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
China on Monday began to solicit public opinion on a draft of regulations on railway safety, which has stipulated tightened standards on locomotive parts, signal system and railway contract. The regulations, published by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council (www.chinalaw.gov.cn), requires producers of locomotive switches, signaling equipment and power supplies, among other safety equipment, to be approved by state authorities. Producers of locomotive parts are required to suspend the production and recall faulty products, according to the draft regulations. Faulty equipment has been blamed for a spate of high-speed train accidents that include traffic delays and a fatal accident near the eastern city of Wenzhou in July last year, in which a high-speed train slammed into a stalled train, leaving 40 people dead and 172 injured. To ensure the quality of railroad structure, the draft regulations ban subcontracting of framework projects of railroad, usually referring to pillars, beams, rails and protection measures. Prime and sub-contractors will have to bear joint liability in case they share a railway project, according to the regulations, which also requires railways to be kept off and warnings to be installed if trains' speed exceed 120 km per hour. ^ top ^

Chongqing Party chief emphasizes nobody is above the law (China Daily)
2012-06-19
The Party chief of Southwest China's Chongqing municipality on Monday emphasized the rule of law as the city's Party committee reflects on former top official Bo Xilai's serious discipline violations and the possible serious charges facing his wife. "(The Party) insists everyone is equal before the law, and not a single person or organization is allowed above the law," Vice-Premier Zhang Dejiang, who also replaced Bo as the Party chief of Chongqing in March, said in a report to the municipal Party congress on Monday. In April, the Communist Party of China Central Committee decided to suspend Bo from his posts at the committee and its Political Bureau because "Bo is suspected of being involved in serious violations of discipline". [...] Zhang said in his report that the rule of law must be respected and local courts and procuratorates must work independently under the law. "Party leaders should set an example in observing the law and we should strictly prevent officials from using power to intervene in judicial processes," he said. [...] "The Wang Lijun incident, the death of British citizen Neil Heywood and the serious discipline violation case of Bo Xilai, have caused severe damage to the country and the Party's image and to the reform and development of Chongqing," Zhang said. [...] Zhang said the achievements in Chongqing and efforts made by the majority of people and officials must be clearly separated from the three incidents. [...] In his report, Zhang also stressed that Chongqing will continue leading China's western areas in terms of opening-up and is stepping up measures to encourage the development of private businesses. The report said the municipality will take the lead in the country's western regions to achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society by 2017. The Party congress will review Zhang's work report and elect the fourth Party committee of Chongqing municipality and the municipality's delegates to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China before it closes on Friday. ^ top ^

Chinese Red Cross releases annual report in bid to regain credibility (Global Times)
2012-06-19
The Chinese Red Cross Foundation yesterday published its 2011 annual report to list its achievements and financial figures, as one of its latest attempts to quell public criticism over its transparency and credibility following a number of scandals last year. The foundation announced the release of the annual report on its Sina Weibo microblog, with a link to its official website, where a 94-page pdf document is available for download. The report said the foundation received 167 million yuan ($26.5 million) in donations last year, with over 200 million yuan of income that "exceeded our annual target." The report also highlighted the number of hospitals they helped build, schools they have put up and teachers they have helped receive training in the past year, among other things. The release of the annual report is another move by the Chinese Red Cross Foundation to improve its transparency after public outrage surged last year following the Guo Meimei scandal, in which the self-proclaimed Red Cross employee showed off her luxury lifestyle. [...] The credibility of the charity organization fell to an all-time low, while many people claimed that they would never donate through the Red Cross. The report yesterday addressed these scandals, announcing that the foundation will take steps to improve management and enhance assessment and auditing. [...]. ^ top ^

Grass-roots level lawmaker elections completed in most Chinese provinces (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
Twenty-five of 32 Chinese provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions have completed elections for new lawmakers in county and township legislatures, according to a statement issued Tuesday by the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature. China started such elections nationwide in the first half of last year,as current office terms were approaching expiration. This year, six provinces and municipalities, including Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Sichuan, were added to the 25 provincial administrative regions that concluded elections, according to the statement. The Electoral Law has been fully implemented in local legislature elections and spurred wide participation, according to the statement. It said the percentage of women and grassroots people like workers and farmers elected as deputies has risen in those provinces, while the percentage of Party cadres has decreased. [...] Under last year's amendment to the Electoral Law, elections for lawmakers at the county and township levels granted rural and urban citizens equal representation in legislative bodies for the first time. The previous electoral law stipulated that each rural deputy represented a population four times that of an urban deputy. The migrant population's right to vote and to be elected has also been ensured by improved service and loosened restrictions regarding residence registrations, or "hukou," said the statement. Beijing granted voting rights to those able to provide valid documents from election authorities in their originally-registered place of residence. [...] More than two million lawmakers at the county and township levels will be elected during the quinquennial nationwide elections in more than 2,000 counties and 30,000 townships, according to the NPC. ^ top ^

More Party influence in higher education institutions urged (Xinhua)
2012-06-21
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has urged the country's higher education institutions to give Communist Party of China (CPC) branches a bigger role in the education and management of faculties and students. Xi, also president of the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks while inspecting Peking University, Renmin University and Tsinghua University on Tuesday and Wednesday. [...] At Renmin University, Xi visited the education and research center for Karl Marx's Das Kapital and attended a seminar where new student Party members discussed Marxist classics. Xi called upon higher education institutions to guide faculties and students to grasp the Marxist worldview and methodology and build up confidence for socialism with Chinese characteristics. "College teachers, especially young teachers whose ideological, political and moral values have profound influences on students, should set an example to guide them on a path of healthy development by passing on both knowledge and belief," Xi said at Tsinghua. Xi also called on college students to integrate innovative thoughts with social practices as they seek all-around development as well as characteristic pursuits. On Wednesday, Xi presided over a symposium at Tsinghua University where he heard reports from an official with the Ministry of Education as well as Party committee secretaries from five higher education institutions concerning Party construction. Xi urged Party committees at all levels to stick to the path of operating socialist universities and boosting ideological and political education. ^ top ^

Ai Weiwei barred from tax evasion hearing (SCMP)
2012-06-21
Mainland dissident artist Ai Weiwei said yesterday that police had warned him to stay away from a court hearing the lawsuit of a firm linked to him challenging a demand for 15 million yuan (HK$18.4 million) for tax evasion. Beijing's Chaoyang District Court agreed last month to hear the case brought by the company that markets Ai's work, a departure from consistent refusal by the courts, strictly controlled by the ruling Communist Party, to give dissidents any hearing. His supporters say the case has been trumped up, part of a drive to muzzle the outspoken social critic. Ai, 54, said that despite the acceptance of his lawsuit in court, police warned him not to attend the hearing. "'You can never make it. Don't even try'," Ai said, quoting the police. He said officers gave no reason. "This nation can have anything, they can have a satellite that goes to the sky and the moon, but they can never give you a clear reason why," he said. "This is ridiculous, right? There's no conversation, no discussion. Maybe they don't even know the reason. It's a really mysterious nation." The bearded artist has been a persistent irritant to authorities and has parried efforts to silence him, communicating with his supporters on Twitter and calling for a public forum to discuss his tax case. Ai was detained without charge in April 2011 and held mainly in solitary confinement until his conditional release last year. He said that he would stay away from the hearing, but his wife Lu Qing, who is the firm's legal representative, would attend. Ai's legal consultant, Liu Xiaoyuan, could not be reached after he was told to meet state security officers on Tuesday, according to Ai and Liu Yanping, a worker in Ai's studio. Liu Xiaoyuan did not answer calls to his mobile phone. Security officers have instructed prominent dissidents to remain in their homes and stay away from the hearing. Dozens of police and cars blocked journalists from approaching the court, saying they did not have permission to be there and would be "disrupting public order" if they did not leave. Ai is urging the court to overturn the city tax office's rejection of the appeal against the evasion penalty imposed on Beijing Fake Cultural Development, the company that has helped produce his art and designs. The company's lawyer, Pu Zhiqiang, said he hoped for a fair trial. "This case has always been a fabricated case," he said. Pu said previously that officials had not shown him any original documents with evidence of tax evasion and held a closed hearing last July, which was unlawful. Government efforts to muzzle Ai have frequently backfired, as evident in an outpouring of public sympathy - and cash - in response to the tax penalty. About 30,000 people donated money to help Ai cover an 8.45 million yuan bond required to contest the tax charges. ^ top ^

Suicide ruling meets with suspicion (China Daily)
2012-06-21
Police in Henan province are going to review the death of a college student whose autopsy report said she committed suicide by slashing herself 13 times. Tian Shuhan, 21, a sophomore majoring in tourism management at the Xinlian College of Henan Normal University in the provincial capital Zhengzhou, was found lying dead in the corridor of a teachers' dormitory on the morning of June 10. The police found 13 knife wounds in her body including six wounds in the neck and five in the legs. The autopsy report said that she died of suicide, which the family does not believe. The police are going to review the autopsy report and re-examine the body, a police officer from the publicity office of Zhongmu county public security bureau, told China Daily on Wednesday. "Her body has not been cremated yet," the officer said on condition of anonymity. A police officer of the county public security bureau said that Tian was severely depressed because of academic pressure and killed herself for fear of failing in the exam at the end of the semester, according to a Henan Television Station report. The police officer did not say how authorities know Tian was depressed. He was adamant that her death was a suicide. The police could not convince Tian's family members. Zhang Jianguo, Tian's uncle, told China Daily on Wednesday that Tian was the head of the psychological aid department of the students' union in the college. "Her psychological and mental status was always healthy and stable," Zhang said. "I am curious why her body was found in the teachers' dormitory building in the morning?" Both of Tian's parents also said that she was unlikely to kill herself by slashing her body, Zhang said. [...] News of Tian's death and the autopsy report met with widespread suspicion on micro blogs, with netizens expressing disbelief at the findings. Many students in the college also expressed concern, while mourning Tian's death. Zhang, Tian's uncle, said that the family wants the police to recheck the autopsy report. "It has been 10 days since my niece's death, and we are still waiting for the truth," he said. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

China publishes books on officials' morality (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
A book series expounding the moral issues of officials, the first-ever publication on the topic in China, was released for sale Monday in Beijing as part of government-backed efforts to promote integrity among civil servants. The four-book series embodies the results of research conducted by experts with the Beijing Academy of Social Sciences at the request of Beijing authorities two years ago, according to a report published by the Beijing Daily. The books record the development of theories about officials' morality through Chinese history and provide case studies, as well as highlight the importance of raising officials' moral standards in modern society, an official with the Beijing Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC) was quoted as saying in the report. The major difference between good and bad officials simply lies in whether they perform duties with a conscience, says the prologue of the series. Nowadays, the CPC, as the ruling party, must value virtues of officials and it is a general trend for officials to abide by professional ethics, according to a passage in one of the books. The book also points out a moral official in modern China should always serve the people as well as be loyal, pragmatic, fair-minded and incorruptible, while always improving oneself. The series will serve as anti-graft reading material for all Communist Party cadres in Beijing, according to the report. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

More investigation into Nigerian trader's death (China Daily)
2012-06-21
The Nigerian embassy in Beijing has sent officials to Guangzhou to cope with the investigation of a Nigerian's death in police custody. "We have sent officials to Guangzhou to observe the investigation and calm the Nigerians in the Nigerian residential areas," Ademola Oladele, official for public communications at the Nigerian embassy in Beijing, said on Wednesday. Elebechi Celestine, 28, the man who died, comes from a town in southeast Nigeria, he said. Celestine is said to argue with a motorbike taxi driver on Monday. A fight ensued and police arrived and took both men to a nearby police station. However, Celestine suddenly collapsed in the station and medical workers were unable to revive him. The cause of his death has not been determined and police have set up a special task force to investigate. "We hope to see an independent autopsy report," Oladele said, adding that the embassy will send experts to take part in the autopsy at an "appropriate stage". [...] "We hope the incident can be appropriately addressed so it will not affect the current excellent relations between Nigeria and China," he said. [...] No Guangzhou public security bureau officials would comment on the incident on Wednesday. [...] On Tuesday, after news of Celestine's death in police custody became known, a group of protesters gathered in front of the Kuangquan police substation at 3 pm, bringing traffic to a standstill. By 5 pm, police had dispersed the group. The protest followed a similar gathering in July 2009, when hundreds of Africans protested outside the Kuangquan police substation after one of their compatriots was killed jumping from a building to escape regular passport checks by local police. Guangzhou authorities have tightened security and passport checks among foreigners. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Sichuan to send more officials to Tibetan areas (Xinhua)
2012-06-16
More than 1,000 officials and professionals in southwest China's Sichuan province will be sent to the province's Tibetan areas for temporary positions to promote the development of those areas. According to the provincial government, 1,345 officials and professional and technical personnel from the provincial departments and 16 cities of Sichuan will be chosen to serve 32 Tibetan counties and districts for two years. Among them, there are 727 government and Communist Party officials and 618 professionals. At the same time, 230 officials from the province's Garze Tibetan autonomous prefecture, Aba Tibetan autonomous prefecture and Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture will be sent to work in other regions of Sichuan for one year. The provincial government said the officials sent to the Tibetan areas should have rich working experience and be familiar with economic work, and the professionals should not only possess professional skills, but also have certain managerial experience. In 2010, Sichuan decided to choose a group of officials and professionals to serve Tibetan areas every two years, and the first group was composed of 1,260 people. ^ top ^

Sacred Tibetan lake saved (Global Times)
2012-06-19
Many local Tibetans are celebrating after an 11th-hour decision to ground plans to develop a sacred lake into a tourist attraction. [...] A staffer from a tourism company in the Tibet Autonomous Region told the Global Times yesterday that it's plan to provide boat rides on the lake has been scuttled by the Shannan Prefecture Government. [...] Yamdrok Lake, about 100 kilometers from Lhasa, is one of three holy lakes in Tibet. Every year thousands of Tibetans make a pilgrimage to the lake. In recent years, the lake's natural beauty has also attracted flocks of tourists from all over the world. On Sunday, the prefecture ordered Langkazi county to immediately halt its tourism development program, which included setting up over 200 beach umbrellas on the shore of the lake, chinatibetnews.com reported. Locals are hailing the cancelation of the program as a victory for the online movement that opposed turning the lake into a kitschy tourist area. [...] The tourist development plan had been strongly criticized by Web users around the country who saw the tour boats and beach umbrellas as an insult to the lake's heritage and a potential source of pollution. They called the cancelation of the tourism plan "a victory of the public." "When I heard the news I was full of tears. Thanks for the power of the Internet and media," Yangerchenamu, a famous Mosuo ethnic group singer, wrote on her Sina Weibo yesterday. [...] "Tibetans have protected the purity of the lake for generations. The lake shouldn't be stained for commercial purposes," Zhang Silai, a Beijing office worker, told the Global Times yesterday. [...]. ^ top ^

Tibetan herders get portable TVs from SW China gov't (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
Authorities in southwest China's Sichuan province donated 10,000 portable, solar-powered TV sets to local families of Tibetan herders on Monday -- part of their efforts to improve the livelihood of the nomadic herders. The portable TV sets, dubbed "horseback TVs," are specially designed to satisfy the demands of nomadic herders who always need to move their homes. Each set weighs almost 30 kg and consists of a digital satellite TV set, a solar-powered battery and a satellite antenna receiver. Officials said that even if herders are living in plateau grasslands with an altitude above 3,500 meters or experience rainy days, they can still watch TV programs broadcast on more than 50 channels through the solar-powered battery. The provincial government has helped hundreds of thousands of Tibetan herds people in the region settle down in permanent brick houses in recent years. The government has also built primary schools, health clinics, offices and other public service infrastructure in the villages. Local authorities have invited industrial businesses to design and manufacture special tents and other living products tailored to the needs of the cold, high-altitude areas inhabited by the herders in a bid to provide elements of a "modern life" in their nomadic lifestyle. "Now, the government gives us the portable TV sets. Then, we are able to watch TV programs even when we are herding the livestock," said Dampa, a villager in Hongyuan county of Aba Tibetan-Qiang autonomous prefecture. ^ top ^

State-owned enterprises aid Tibet in employment (People's Daily Online)
2012-06-20
Chinese State-owned enterprises (SOE) held a special job fair in Beijing last Wednesday to provide more than 3,600 jobs to college and university graduates from western regions where ethnic minority groups are most concentrated. Jointly organized by China's State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security and State Ethnic Affairs Commission, 46 SOEs in the job fair provide jobs for current college and university graduates and previous graduates who have been unemployed in the past two years in Tibet Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur and Qinghai Province, according to an official of the Human Resources and Society Security Ministry. Among jobs offered, some were locally based in the western regions, while others were based in Beijing and Shanghai and even overseas. 46 SOEs would provide various jobs in fields of engineering construction, resource development, machinery and services industry. Sophisticated and advanced positions in aerospace industry would be offered as well. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Making the rich poorer is not answer, C.Y. says (SCMP)
2012-06-20
The government would not make the rich poorer so as to narrow the wealth gap, chief executive-elect Leung Chun-ying said yesterday as he named the members of a committee to revive a commission to tackle poverty. "I have always thought that the problem in Hong Kong is poverty," Leung said. "But instead of narrowing the gap, what I'm concerned about is how to raise the income of the poor. "The issue is not to lower the income levels and assets of the wealthy, but to cater for the needs of the grassroots through welfare services." Leung was speaking a day after government statistics revealed that the city's wealth gap had reached a 30-year high, with the Gini coefficient - a globally recognised measure of inequality - reaching 0.537 based on income data collected last year. Zero on the Gini coefficient scale means perfect equality. One means total inequality. After taking into account the effects of taxation and welfare benefits provided to the poor, the coefficient, at 0.475, remains too high, welfare groups say. Leung acknowledged the statistics were alarming, but he said he was less concerned with the wealth gap than the poor's economic hardships. Yesterday he named a preparation committee to revive a high-level commission on poverty, formerly led by failed chief executive hopeful Henry Tang Ying-yen when he was the chief secretary. The committee will advise on the formation of the commission and set out the scope of its work. [...] The chief executive-elect will head the committee. His chief secretary will be vice-chairman and the welfare secretary will be a member. ^ top ^

Forensics experts' help sought in Li Wangyang case (SCMP)
2012-06-21
Hunan police have sought help from the Chinese Forensic Medicine Association in an investigation into the death of Tiananmen activist Li Wangyang. They issued a statement through the Beijing-backed Hong Kong China News Agency, which mainly targets Hong Kong media and readers. Citing a Hunan police spokesman, the agency said forensic and criminal investigation experts had been sent to Shaoyang to conduct the probe, which was launched amid mounting public demands in Hong Kong for answers over the death of Li, days after he was interviewed by Hong Kong's Cable TV. The probe team would include forensic specialists and criminal investigators in the fields of detection, trace examination and physical evidence, the agency said. Deputies from the provincial people's congress and political consultative conference will supervise its progress. The investigation comes as a stark contrast to Shaoyang officials' original statement that Li's death was suicide. And the order was likely a response to mounting public calls for due diligence in the investigation, particularly from Hong Kong, where thousands have staged protests. The authorities have not publicly released details of an autopsy on Li's body that was ordered by the Shaoyang city government before the body was cremated on June 9. [...] Li was found hanged from a window with his feet on the ground in his hospital room in Shaoyang on June 6. After 25,000 people took to the streets in Hong Kong on June 10, the Hunan provincial government said on June 14 it would invite "authoritative organisations" from outside the province to conduct forensic tests and investigations into Li's death. Andrew Shum Wai-nam, who co-organised the rally, said concerns lingered, despite the government's latest statement. "[Li's sister, Li] Wangling is missing, and many who went to Hunan to fight for [Li's] rights have been detained," he said. "I can't see any sincerity in the so-called investigation." [...] He described the announcement - made through a Hong Kong-targeted mainland media outlet - as merely a "superficial act to soothe the Hong Kong public" ahead of a visit by President Hu Jintao to mark the 15th anniversary of the city's handover on July 1. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan opposition-led city government sends delegation to mainland (Xinhua)
2012-06-17
Tainan municipal government, led by Taiwan's main opposition party, sent a delegation to attend the fourth Straits Forum, which opened in southeast China's coastal city of Xiamen Saturday evening. It is the first time that a Democratic Progressive Party-led local government has sent a delegation to the forum, the largest annual platform for mainland-Taiwan exchanges at grassroots level. "Tainan and southern Fujian Province share the same customs, culture and language, and have the desire to communicate and cooperate," Huang Li-zhou, a Tainan city legislator, said. At a conference on Saturday, Lin Kuo-hua, representative of the Tainan city government and deputy head of the city's tourism bureau, invited mainland tourists to visit Tainan and experience the city's unique natural sceneries, history and civilization. Lin said around 400,000 tourists from the mainland visited Tainan last year. The number was much lower than that of the cities in north Taiwan. "We will create a 'friendly' Tainan to welcome tourists from the mainland," he said, adding that safety of the tourists will be guaranteed. [...] The mainland is currently the biggest source of tourists to Taiwan. In 2011, more than 1.78 million mainland residents visited Taiwan, up 9.4 percent year on year. Mainlanders accounted for nearly one-third of the 6.08 million visitors the island received last year, according to Taiwanese tourism authorities. ^ top ^

Work doors open up for compatriots (China Daily)
2012-06-18
More Taiwan residents are expected to work in mainland companies and public institutions as a result of new preferential employment policies announced on Sunday at the fourth Straits Forum in Xiamen, East China's Fujian province. Taiwan students who graduate from mainland colleges and other Taiwan residents will have equal status as their mainland compatriots to apply for jobs in enterprises, said Wang Yi, minister of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office. Further, through an open recruitment process, Taiwan students who were educated on the mainland, as well as other Taiwan residents, can be employed in public institutions as part of a pilot program in Tianjin, Shanghai, Zhejiang and Hubei in addition to Fujian and Jiangsu provinces, Wang said. "Taiwan residents who have credentials that are recognized by mainland educational authorities can work in public institutions, such as colleges and universities, organizations dedicated to public service and culture, medical and health organizations, in the six provinces and municipalities," Wang said at the forum. Mainland employment service agencies will offer free consulting services for Taiwan residents seeking jobs on the mainland, according to Wang. [...] Other good news for Taiwan people was also announced during the forum. Four banking institutions from the mainland will offer up to 600 billion yuan ($95 billion) to Taiwan-invested businesses on the mainland. Also, a special fund, with an annual investment of 30 million yuan, will be established to boost cooperation in scientific research between the mainland and Taiwan. ^ top ^

Top political advisor urges more forces to oppose "Taiwan independence" (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, called for more efforts to strengthen the forces that oppose "Taiwan independence" and contribute to reunification work. Jia, also head of the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, made the remarks when meeting with delegates attending a board meeting of the council Tuesday. Jia also urged boosting exchanges between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, especially those at grassroots levels, as well as opposing all kinds of secessionist attempts. Efforts should be made to reinforce the political, economic, cultural and social foundations for the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties and make contributions to the nation's reunification and rejuvenation, Jia said. Jia expressed his appreciation for the council's achievements as a non-governmental organization in boosting the development of cross-Strait relations. Thanks to the joint efforts of compatriots on both sides of the Strait, cross-Strait relations have witnessed a series of breakthroughs over recent years, Jia said. The common political basis of the opposition to "Taiwan independence" and the recognition of the 1992 Consensus have been further fortified, and policies for the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties have won increasing public support, he said. Jia called on the council to make further efforts in enhancing political mutual trust between the mainland and Taiwan and promoting awareness of the policies for the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties by the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. Moreover, he urged boosting the world's understanding and recognition of the fact that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Chinese SOEs' profits continue falling Jan-May (Xinhua)
2012-06-16
Profits from China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) fell 10.4 percent year on year to 830.13 billion yuan (133.56 billion U.S. dollars) in the first five months of 2012, new figures have shown. On a monthly basis, the SOEs' combined profits declined 11.8 percent in May, with the pace of decrease accelerating sharply from April's 0.5-percent drop, according to statement posted on the website of the Ministry of Finance. The ministry did not provide an explanation for the trend but said sectors including non-ferrous metals, chemicals, construction materials, machinery and petrochemicals witnessed steep declines in their January-May profits. In the first five months, the SOEs' business revenues totaled 16.19 trillion yuan, up 11.3 percent year on year, the ministry said. The growth also slowed from the 12.4-percent rise registered in the January-April period. ^ top ^

FDI in China rebounds slightly in May (Xinhua)
2012-06-16
Foreign direct investment (FDI) in China hit 9.23 billion U.S. dollars in May, up 0.05 percent year on year, the Ministry of Commerce announced Friday. The slight rebound last month ended continuous FDI declines for six straight months previously. The FDI in May was up from 8.4 billion U.S. dollars registered in April. A total of 2,245 new companies were founded with foreign capital in May, down 6.11 percent year on year, the MOC data showed. The May data brought the total FDI in China in the first five months this year to 47.11 billion U.S. dollars, down 1.91 percent year on year. During the same period, a total of 9,261 new companies were set up, down 12.16 percent compared to the same period last year. ^ top ^

China to maintain 8 pct growth for over 20 years: economist (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
China still enjoys huge development potential and it will maintain the eight-percent growth rate for at least another 20 years, Justin Yifu Lin, former chief economist of the World Bank, said Monday. Lin made the remarks at a seminar at Peking University, his first public appearance in the country after he finished a four-year tenure as World Bank chief economist and senior vice president. Lin said that developing countries should promote the growth of industries where they have comparative advantages, while governments will play a key role in selecting and developing those industries. "At each given stage of development, the market is the fundamental mechanism for effective resource allocation, but the state needs to play a proactive, facilitating role in the move from a lower stage to a higher stage," Lin said. The 60-year-old Chinese economist will return to teaching at Peking University and is expected to give a class in the new semester starting in September, according to the university. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese oil giant starts operating Halfaya oilfield in Iraq (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC), China's top oil producer, said Monday operations have begun at the first phase of its Halfaya oil field project in Iraq, with an initial annual capacity of 5 million tonnes. The company said the Halfaya oil field project is its largest overseas investment unit for which it also acts as the operator. It said the completion of the first phase of the project marked a milestone in its cooperative business in the Middle East. Meanwhile, it has also started preliminary work on the construction of the second phase, which is set for an annual capacity of 10 million tonnes. Located in the southeastern part of Iraq, the Halfaya oil field is one of the country's seven major oil fields. On Jan. 27, 2010, CNPC's PetroChina and its partners Malaysia's Petronas and France's Total, signed a 20-year oil production agreement with Iraq's South Oil Company, which took effect on March 1, 2010. ^ top ^

China's business climate index falls (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
China's business climate index dropped in the second quarter of this year as entrepreneurs felt worse about their business operations, according to a latest central bank survey. The index, measuring businessmen's views of their firms' operations, fell 7 percentage points year on year to 63.7 percent, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said Tuesday. The figure was down 0.7 percentage points from the first quarter, the PBOC said in a statement, citing results of a survey conducted among more than 5,700 industrial enterprises. Meanwhile, the index reflecting entrepreneurs' anticipation of future operations declined to 65.8 percent, down 2.7 percentage points from the previous quarter and 5.6 percentage points from a year earlier, the PBOC data showed. China saw its economic growth slow to a near three-year low of 8.1 percent in the first quarter as sovereign debt woes in Europe pared export demand and government regulation on the property sector stemmed investment. From January to April, profits of the industrial enterprises of scale -- referring to enterprises with annual sales revenue exceeding 5 million yuan each -- declined 1.6 percent from a year earlier, according to official figures. The business profit index slumped 6.1 percentage points year on year to 52.6 percent, but it was 1.4 percentage points higher than that of the first quarter, the PBOC said. However, the index gauging entrepreneurs' anticipation of future profits decreased by 1.4 percentage points from the first quarter and 3.6 percentage points from a year ago. ^ top ^

Private investors get greenlight in power sector (Xinhua)
2012-06-20
China on Tuesday issued a guideline to greenlight the entry of private capital into the country's state-dominated power sector, marking the latest move to increase the economy's efficiency and bolster growth. The 15-article guideline, issued by the State Electricity Regulatory Commission, gave specific policies regarding the sector's market access, supervision of fair power coordination, renewable energy network access and price reforms. The move came after a number of state-run sectors, including the railway, transport and finance sectors, published similar guidelines to encourage the participation of private capital. The central government in May 2010 published an instruction to allow the presence of private investment in monopolized sectors, but the effort has only recently gained traction, as China's growth has slowed significantly over the past 11 quarters, dragged down by weak overseas demand. The guideline said enterprises under all types of ownership are supported to enter the power market, and the access standard for renewable energies such as wind and solar power will be improved. Fair treatment will be given to all enterprises, it said, stating that power infrastructure companies owned by private investors will be granted operation certificates. It said the government will urge state grid enterprises to strike grid connection contracts and power transactions with private power firms and step up supervision to ensure transparency and fairness. The guideline also stressed supervision over the sector's pricing system, vowing to unify the price of electricity for all enterprises, both private and state-owned. [...] According to Lin Boqiang, head of the Energy Economic Research Center of Xiamen University, private investment currently only takes less than 3 percent in the sector's total investment. ^ top ^

China issues white paper on rare earth (Xinhua)
2012-06-21
China on Wednesday issued a white paper on its rare earth industry, the first of its kind in the country, as the world's largest rare earth producer strives to better protect the valuable resources. The white paper, titled "Situation and Policies of China's Rare Earth Industry," was released by the Information Office of the State Council, or China's cabinet. China will continue to follow WTO rules, strengthen the industry's management and supply rare earth products to the global market, the white paper said. The white paper said its publication was aimed at giving the international community a better understanding of China's rare earth industry and policies. As the world's largest rare earth producer, China supplies more than 90 percent of the world's demand for rare earth metals, although its reserves account for just 23 percent of the world's total. [...] To control environmental damage and protect the non-renewable resources, China has implemented multiple policies, including production caps, export quotas, stricter emission standards and higher resource taxes. However, these policies have sparked complaints from major consumers such as Japan, which purchased 56 percent of China's rare earth exports in 2011. China's intensified regulations are intended to protect the environment, preserve valuable resources and promote the sustainable development of the sector, Gao Yunhu, an official with Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, said at a Wednesday press conference. China will continue to supply the global market with rare earth metals while maintaining regulatory policies that fall in line with WTO rules, according to Su Bo, vice minister of Industry and Information Technology. "China hopes other countries will actively develop their domestic earth earth resources, as well as expand and diversify supplies for the international market," Su said. ^ top ^

Economy 'to rebound' amid fine-tuning (China Daily)
2012-06-21
China's economic growth is likely to rebound after the second quarter, supported by ongoing policy fine-tuning that focuses on fiscal measures while adjusting tight controls on the real estate market, top political advisers said on Tuesday. Macroeconomic policies should be continually readjusted in the following months to sustain a relatively faster growth rate, according to a proposal from the Standing Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top political advisory body. "Fiscal policy should be really proactive, reflected in more intensified tax cuts for small and micro-sized enterprises, especially in the emerging and modern service sectors, to reduce costs and promote profits for companies," said the proposal issued on Tuesday. [...] Besides, policy watchers have also proposed easing controls on the property market to some extent. "Restrictions on purchases should be relaxed for high-end residential properties in first-tier cities," the proposal suggested. In May, residential house prices dropped at a much slower rate, the National Bureau of Statistics said, arousing market expectations that prices and real estate investment may rebound in the short term. [...] "In terms of monetary policy, the easing should be moderate, with close attention paid to the liquidity, money supply and credit amount in the market, to avoid major fluctuations," the CPPCC proposal said. It suggested the use of more price instruments, such as interest rate cuts, rather than cutting required reserve ratio, in order to maintain monetary policy stability while promoting market-oriented interest rate reforms. [...] China's yuan holding for purchasing foreign exchange, an indicator of capital inflows or outflows, returned to growth in May, according to data released by the central bank on Tuesday. The yuan position increased by 23.4 billion yuan ($3.7 billion) to 25.61 trillion yuan last month, in contrast with a 60.6-billion-yuan decline in April, the first monthly drop this year. Although May's increase was the most modest in almost a decade, it indicates that capital is returning to China despite concerns over an economic slowdown. ^ top ^

China reaffirms its consistent position on IPR protection (Xinhua)
2012-06-21
China's State Councilor Liu Yandong on Wednesday reaffirmed the government's consistent position on the protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) as she addressed a diplomatic conference on the protection of audiovisual performances. Liu, also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said the developing country had completed the course of several centuries of developed countries in IPR efforts since 1980, when China joined the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). China has made great efforts to explore ways to develop and protect intellectual property with Chinese characteristics, and IPR protection has become the country's national strategy, she said. China has established an intellectual property system in line with international rules and consistent with China's national conditions, she added. Liu commended the WIPO, the organizer of the conference, for its contribution to IPR protection, noting that the creation, utilization, protection and management of intellectual property were the joint responsibilities of the international community. The Chinese state councilor called for more institutional and technical supports for developing countries so to make the international intellectual property system more fair and reasonable, and generally improve global IPR protection. China will actively bear the responsibilities and obligations within its capability, she said. Liu also met with Francis Gurry, the director general of the WIPO, during the event. The conference was attended by more than 700 delegates from around the world. ^ top ^

China encourages further private energy investment (Xinhua)
2012-06-21
China will further encourage private investment in the energy sector to boost the restructuring and future development of the industry, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said Wednesday. China will open all energy sectors listed in the national energy plan, except those prohibited by law, to private investors, and they are encouraged to participate in China's key energy projects, according to a guideline that supports private investment in the sector. Detailed rules should be established and implemented to create a favorable environment for private investors and ensure their justified rights in energy exploitation and development, said the NEA document. The new guideline allows eligible private enterprises to take up development projects for large-scale coal mines, as well as unconventional oil and gas resources like coal-bed methane, shale gas and oil shale. No discriminatory restrictions should be set to limit private investment in hydropower and wind power development, it said. China will further support private investment in energy exploration, coal processing, oil refining, network development of petroleum and natural gas and electric power construction, and give private capital full access to the new energy and renewable energy sectors. All funding sources, including international financial organizations and foreign government loans, should treat private investors equally, said the document. Currently, about 40 percent of China's coal mines are privately owned, while private investors own 26 percent of the country's installed hydropower capacity and 18 percent of its oil refining capacity. They have also played an important role in new energy development, such as the development of solar power, wind power and biomass energy. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK blasts Clinton's remarks on its human rights record (Xinhua)
2012-06-18
PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Sunday criticized U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's remarks on its human rights record. A spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry slammed Clinton's recent remarks over the country's human rights record and people's life as "reckless," according to the official KCNA news agency. "The U.S. attempt to meddle in the DPRK's internal affairs is ridiculous," the spokesman was quoted as saying. He urged Clinton to pay more attention to the issues of economic crisis and a huge number of jobless people in her own country, instead of "imprudently" talking about the DPRK's internal affairs. The spokesman also said the DPRK will make unremitting efforts to bolster its nuclear deterrent as long as Washington antagonizes Pyongyang. Foreign and defense ministers of the United States and South Korea on Thursday urged Pyongyang to end its "provocative behavior," saying a path for the North to "rejoin the international community" remains open. While addressing a joint press conference after the so-called "Two plus Two" meeting in Washington on Thursday, Clinton urged the DPRK to "put the welfare of its own people first and respect the rights of its own citizens.". ^ top ^

DPRK slams U.S. for escalating tension with drills (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Monday criticized planned U.S. military drills with South Korea and Japan this week, labelling the move as a violation of the 1953 Armistice Agreement, the official news agency KCNA reported. The U.S. Defense Department announced last week that the three-way military exercises, the first of its kind, would be staged in waters south of the Korean Peninsula on Thursday and Friday, with the participation of a U.S. nuclear-powered carrier, the report said. The trilateral naval drills are" a wanton violation of the Armistice Agreement and an open provocation against the DPRK," a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman was quoted as saying. The spokesman accused the United States of being "an arch criminal" who repeatedly escalates military tension by pursing hostile policy against the DPRK and its economic development, according to the report. The spokesman added that Pyongyang would improve self-defense capabilities by all means to protect its sovereignty and dignity. ^ top ^

Obama extends sanctions against DPRK (Xinhua)
2012-06-19
WASHINGTON - U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday decided to extend for one year the sanctions against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), citing the "unusual and extraordinary threat" posed by the Asian country to U.S. national security, foreign policy and economy. In a notice sent to Congress, the president noted that he was continuing for one year the national emergency declared against DPRK, as "the existence and risk of proliferation of weapons- usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy and economy of the United States." Washington accompanied the national emergency, first declared in June 2008, with sanctions against DPRK, which have been expanded over the years. ^ 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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