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
  30.6-6.7.12, No. 430  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China speaks positively of Geneva meeting on Syria (Xinhua)
2012-07-01
GENEVA - Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Saturday that the outcome of the Action Group on Syria ministerial meeting has great significance for a political settlement of the Syrian issue. He told reporters after ministers concluded a meeting all day long that the participating parties agreed to continue their support for the mediation of UN-Arab League Joint Special Envoy Kofi Annan. They pledged efforts to back the implementation of his six-point proposal and relevant Security Council resolutions in a bid to establish a transitional governing body in Syria, and set up the Action Group on Syria to coordinate follow-up activities of the international community. The parties also reiterated their respect for the independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of Syria, and the need for a political transition to be led by the Syrian people. "China speaks positively of the above-mentioned outcome," he said. The final Communique of the meeting mentioned the establishment of a transitional governing body which can establish a neutral environment in which the transition can take place. It could include members of the present government and the opposition and other groups and shall be formed on the basis of mutual consent, according to the Communique. Yang stressed that the mentioning of the "transitional governing body" is designed to provide constructive assistance to a political transition process in Syria, encourage all parties in Syria to swiftly launch an inclusive political dialogue so as to seek an appropriate solution to the ongoing crisis. "I wish to emphasize here that the political transition process in Syria should be led by the Syrian people and truly owned by the people of Syria. As for the specific issues as the composition of the 'transitional governing body' and its operation, they should be agreed on the basis of a dialogue among Syrian government and other relevant parties of Syria." [...]. ^ top ^

China, Mercosur eye 200-billion-USD trade in 2016 (Xinhua)
2012-07-01
MENDOZA, Argentina - China and South American trading bloc Mercosur pledged here Friday to further promote economic cooperation and trade and to lift bilateral trade to 200 billion U.S. dollars in 2016. The target was announced in a joint statement between China and Mercosur, or the Common Market of the South, which was released during the 43rd Mercosur summit that concluded here on Friday. In order to achieve the goal, the two sides will continue to make concerted efforts to diversify their trade and raise the trade volumes between China and Mercosur members in a balanced manner, said the statement. Meanwhile, China and and Mercosur agreed to facilitate two-way investments and pursue cooperation conducive to enhancing the capabilities of their respective financial institutions. They will also boost information exchanges on laws, regulations and policies related to their economic cooperation and trade, according to the joint statement. While vowing to step up cooperation in multilateral frameworks, the two sides expressed their worries about the impasse in the Doha round of World Trade Organization talks, and called for the continuation of negotiations. [...] In addition, the two sides agreed to convene a meeting of government representatives between China and Mercosur members and to organize training courses and symposiums as well as other cooperation programs so as to implement the joint statement. They also expressed shared concern over the uncertainty and instability of the global economic situation stemming from the crises in developed economies, and pledged to jointly fight trade protectionism and guarantee the predictability of multilateral trade systems. [...].

Chinese Ambassador to Argentina Yin Hengmin took part in the summit on behalf of the Chinese government, marking the first time that China was invited to attend a Mercosur summit. Yin said China's attendance in the meeting and the release of the Sino-Mercosur joint statement demonstrated a new development stage of ties between the two sides and served as a milestone in China-Latin America relations. ^ top ^

US offers China last-minute reprieve on unilateral Iran oil sanctions (Global Times)
2012-6-30
China repeated its stance on Friday that its trade ties with Iran are entirely a bilateral matter after the US added China and Singapore at the last minute to a list of 20 top Iranian oil buyers that would be exempted from sanctions for trading oil with Iran. Under a law aimed at pressing Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, the US will bar financial institutions that deal with Iran's central bank from doing business in the US, starting Thursday US local time. But after Thursday's decision to grant a six-month reprieve to China, which buys up to a fifth of Iran's oil exports, and Singapore, which buys Iranian fuel oil, the Obama administration has now spared all 20 of Iran's major oil buyers from its unilateral sanctions, Reuters said. "Their cumulative actions are a clear demonstration to Iran's government that Iran's continued violation of its international nuclear obligations carries an enormous economic cost," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a statement. But Hong Lei, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, said on Friday at a regular press briefing that China was conducting legal business with Iran based on its own economic development needs, rather than compliance with US sanctions. "China imports Iran's crude oil through legal channels, without violating the UN Security Council's resolutions or harming the interests of a third party and the international community," Hong said. "China opposes imposing unilateral sanctions against others according to one country's domestic law and will not collude with others doing so." China's oil imports from Iran fell about 25 percent in the first few months of the year due to a pricing dispute with Tehran that was unrelated to sanctions pressures. And China's imports in May bounced back to around 500,000 barrels a day, roughly the same level of imports as last year, according to Reuters figures. [...]. ^ top ^

Xinhua launches Asia Pacific Daily online (Xinhua)
2012-07-02
The Hong Kong-based Asia-Pacific Regional Bureau of the Xinhua News Agency launched its new website Asia Pacific Daily (Chinese edition) on Sunday. Operated under the domain name asiapacificdaily.com.hk, the website is one of the online interactive platforms under the brand name APD. Relying on Xinhua's worldwide network, APD delivers real- time news stories, provides in-depth analysis and serves as a pool of profound ideas and leading opinions, and a new international platform for multimedia communication. The site eyes on gaining regional news and information leadership, while maintaining a high level in timeliness, originality and interactivity, creating a knowledge sharing and exchanging platform for those who are interested in the Asia- Pacific and apt to learn more about the latest development in such fields of politics, economy and culture across the region. [...] With APD's rich links with major social sites including facebook, the Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo, Google+ and twitter, netizens will find it is easy to comment on topics they are interested in, offer news clues, or directly interact with the APD editorial team for selecting subject or planning the reporting of selected subjects. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Zimbabwe sign MoU on exchange of TV programs (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
HARARE - China Central Television (CCTV) on Monday signed with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) a Memorandum of Understanding on the transmission of CCTV news programs in a move aimed at strengthening relations between the two national broadcasters. The MoU was signed between ZBC Group Chief Executive Officer Happison Muchechetere and CCTV Editor in Chief and Vice President Luo Ming. Present at the event were Cai Fuchao, head of the visiting Chinese delegation and Vice Minister of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Zimbabwe's Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu. Under the agreement, ZBC will air CCTV news programs. Shamu said Zimbabwe and China share strong relations and that the two countries will continue to work together to counter imperialism. Earlier on, the visiting Chinese delegation paid a courtesy call on Zanu PF National Chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, who said the two countries should work together to restore Zimbabwe's good image which was tarnished by Western propaganda. Cai told Moyo that no country should be allowed to interfere in another country's internal affairs. He said China fully supports Zimbabwe and respects its sovereignty and territorial integrity. Relations between Zimbabwe and China continue to strengthen under Zimbabwe's Look East Policy which has seen the Asian giant assisting the country in many sectors. ^ top ^

Chinese patrol ships reach central Nansha for observations (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
ABOARD HAIJIAN 83 - A Chinese patrol team has reached reefs and islands in the center of the Nansha Islands in order to conduct closer observations during a patrol mission in the South China Sea. The team, consisting of four China Marine Surveillance ships, reached the area on Tuesday morning when radar suggested the presence of a foreign fishing vessel nearby. According to the team, Chinese patrol staff immediately broadcast a statement in Chinese, English and Vietnamese to proclaim sovereignty of the Xisha Islands and Nansha Islands. On Monday, the team conducted a formation practice near Yongshu Reef in the South China Sea. The two-hour practice session was fulfilled smoothly but a helicopter scheduled to take part did not do so, due to adverse weather. The ships reached Huayang Reef, a coral reef in the Nansha Islands, on Sunday and anchored northeast of Yongshu Reef on Sunday evening. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese, Thai FMs meet on ties (Xinhua)
2012-07-05
BEIJING, July 4 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday held talks with Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Thailand's minister of foreign affairs, exchanging views on international and regional issues of mutual concern. "China and Thailand are good close neighbors," said Yang, noting friendly exchanges and cooperation in various fields have been developing smoothly under the joint efforts of both sides. China is willing to expand strategic cooperations with Thailand so as to deepen bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, he promised. According to China's foreign minister, Thailand will play a bigger role in promoting relations between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and deepening regional cooperation in East Asia, as Thailand becomes the coordinator between China and ASEAN in July. Surapong said Thailand attaches great importance to developing a strategic partnership with China. China's development will help promote regional peace and stability, Thailand's foreign minister added. Surapong also expressed Thailand's willingness to strengthen cooperation with China in various fields, and promote ties between China and the ASEAN. [...]. ^ top ^

Li pledges support for EU recovery (China Daily)
2012-07-05
China will continue to support the European Union in resolving its debt crisis in a constructive and cooperative way, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang told visiting Portuguese Minister of State and Foreign Minister Paulo Portas on Wednesday. Li said China and Europe have broad common interests and said the consensus on the eurozone crisis reached at the EU summit sent a positive message to the world. "I believe this will promote economic recovery and development in Europe," Li said. China will continue to support EU countries' efforts in resolving the debt crisis in a constructive and cooperative way, Li said, adding that China is ready to expand pragmatic cooperation with the EU in all areas to achieve win-win results. [...] Portas' official visit to China from June 30 to Sunday is the first by a member of Lisbon's one-year-old administration. The visit comes at a time of growing bilateral business relations, increasing Portuguese exports and Chinese participation in Lisbon's privatization program, according to Portugal's Lusa News Agency. Li said China is ready to increase cooperation with Portugal in areas including trade, new energy, infrastructure construction and telecommunications, and promote the integration of high-tech production and markets. Portas said Portugal attaches great importance to Sino-Portuguese relations. He said his country is ready to enhance friendly exchanges and pragmatic cooperation with China to realize common development. [...]. ^ top ^

China urges Vatican to rescind threats to excommunicate Chinese bishops (Xinhua)
2012-07-05
The State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) on Wednesday urged the Vatican to rescind its threats to excommunicate two Chinese bishops, who are to be ordained without papal approval, and return to the "correct path of dialogue." The threats of excommunication are "extremely unreasonable and rude," a SARA spokesperson said in a statement. Yue Fusheng and Ma Daqin will be ordained on July 6 and July 7 in northeast China's Heilongjiang province and east China's Shanghai municipality, respectively. The Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association was forced to begin to ordain elected bishops in the 1950s after the Vatican threatened to impose excommunication. The association has so far ordained more than 190 elected bishops, which has helped to guarantee and promote the healthy development of Chinese Catholic churches, according to the spokesperson. Continuing the practice of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association ordaining elected bishops is necessary to spread the word of Catholicism in China, as there have been no bishops in several of the country's dioceses for some time, the spokesperson said. The practice is also the strong aspiration of the majority of priests and believers and a manifestation of religious freedom, the spokesperson said. "Any repudiation or interference with this religious practice is a restriction of freedom and an intolerant act. It is detrimental to the healthy development of Catholic churches in both China and the world," the spokesperson said. The Chinese government is willing to discuss any issue, including the ordination of bishops, with the Vatican, but the government will continue to support the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association in independently selecting and ordaining its bishops before the two sides reach a consensus, the spokesperson said. ^ top ^

China set to build strategic railway in Israel, gas export deal may follow (Global Times)
2012-07-05
Israeli Minister of Transport & Road Safety Israel Katz gave his vote of confidence to Chinese transportation construction companies Wednesday, after signing a strategic memorandum of understanding (MOU) with his Chinese counterpart in the capital city on Tuesday. According to the MOU between the Chinese Ministry of Transport and the Israeli Ministry of Transport, the State-owned China Communications Construction Company has been chosen by the Chinese government to build a 350-kilometer high-speed railway linking Tel Aviv near the Mediterranean and Port of Eilat on the Red Sea, with a designated speed of 250-300 kilometers an hour, Katz told reporters at the Israeli Embassy in Beijing. "We've found a lot of gas in Israel, and maybe it can be a base of discussions. There are some discussions about exporting the gas to China," Katz told the Global Times, noting that the railway may be related to future Sino-Israel energy cooperation. The railway has strategic significance because it will also provide a land-based passage for Chinese cargo to Europe, in addition to the Suez Canal, Zhang Le, China program coordinator for the US-based non-profit Israel Project, told the Global Times on Wednesday. The Israeli government is still open to proposals by other countries before October, when the project is set to start, but Katz said he was "optimistic" about the Chinese companies' capabilities, during his second visit to China within a year. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Cuba sign economic agreements (China Daily)
2012-07-06
China and Cuba signed a number of agreements on Thursday, covering several areas, as the Caribbean nation focuses on economic issues. Cuban leader Raul Castro is on a four-day visit to China, which analysts believe will give him a good opportunity to survey China's reform success. After President Hu Jintao held talks with Castro, both countries signed eight agreements covering, among other sectors, agriculture, healthcare and technology. China and Cuba are both at an important phase in their development, Hu told Castro, who arrived for his first state visit to China, on Wednesday, since taking office in 2008. To further boost and develop China-Cuba relations will enhance common development and promote cooperation between China and Latin America, Hu said. Focus should be placed on increasing trade and cooperation in a number of fields, including energy and construction, Hu said. Hu also suggested that both countries should coordinate more on key issues, including United Nations reform, climate change and sustainable development. Hu praised Cuba's socialist achievements and said China will always support the country in protecting its sovereignty. Castro, the 81-year-old president of Cuba's Council of State and the Council of Ministers, said Cubans are proud of the ties between the two countries and their increasing cooperation. [...] Cuba attaches great importance to China's successful experience in development, Castro said. He pointed out that trade, investment and renewable energy were areas that would benefit from greater cooperation. Analysts said Cuba views China as a role model and wants to learn from its economic experience. [...] Cuba established diplomatic relations with China on Sept 28, 1960, the first Latin American country to do so. China is Cuba's second-largest trading partner after Venezuela. Trade between the two, in 2011, reached $2 billion. [...]. ^ top ^

"Certain progress" achieved during Iran nuclear talks: FM spokesman (Xinhua)
2012-07-06
"Certain progress" was made during talks held in Istanbul yesterday regarding Iran's nuclear program, Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said on Thursday. Liu said experts from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany, China and Iran made their respective positions more explicit at the meeting. "The countries discussed Iran's nuclear program earnestly and made certain progress," Liu said. "However, it is not unusual to see that a great deal of disagreement still remains, considering the complexity of the issue," he said. Liu said China hopes all sides will continue to carry out negotiations in a pragmatic manner and seek a comprehensive and long-term solution to the issue, he said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China to spend 175 bln to ensure safe drinking water in rural areas (Xinhua)
2012-06-30
China will invest 175 billion yuan (27.5 billion U.S. dollars) before the end of 2015 to ensure safe drinking water in rural areas, a government official said Friday. Li Guoying, Vice Minister of Water Resources, made the pledge at an ongoing bi-monthly session of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee, citing a State Council report on a five-year plan for improving rural drinking water quality. The report was deliberated by legislators on Thursday. According to the report, the central government will subsidize 68 percent (about 118.8 billion yuan) of the total investment, while another 22 percent of the funds will be allocated by local governments and 10 percent will be assumed by rural residents, Li said. Local residents will be charged an average of 54.6 yuan annually, according to the report. Li said subsidies in eastern and central China are typically less than those for the country's less developed western areas. In Tibet, for example, the central government will bear all of the costs, Li said. The number of rural residents who lacked access to safe drinking water dropped by 221 million from 2004 to 2010, Du Ying, vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission, said at the Wednesday session. However, legislators have admitted that improving the quality of drinking water in China has been challenging, particularly in rural areas. As many as 298 million rural residents still lack safe water, according to the report. [...]. ^ top ^

China Communist Party members exceed 82 mln (Xinhua)
2012-07-01
The number of Communist Party of China (CPC) members surpassed 82.6 million in 2011, up 2.9 percent year on year, official figures showed. Last year, some 3.16 million out of 21.6 million applicants were accepted to join the CPC, according to a statement released Saturday by the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee -- one day ahead of the Party's 91st founding anniversary. "The Party has been drawing more members from the forefront of work and production, and the scope and quality of Party members are both increasing," the statement said. Female Party members numbered 19.25 million, accounting for 23.3 percent of the total. Members of ethnic minorities amounted to 5.56 million, with a share of 6.7 percent, the statement said. Party members younger than 35 years of age took up 25 percent of the total, while those holding college or advanced degrees accounted for 38.6 percent. Student Party members reached 2.77 million and another 15.18 million members retired last year, the statement said. ^ top ^

Security tsar calls for end to torture (SCMP)
2012-07-02
Security tsar Zhou Yongkang has condemned the use of torture and the suspicious deaths of suspects in a speech to law enforcement cadres - a move seen as an attempt to distance himself from ousted Chongqing boss Bo Xilai. The speech - printed yesterday in Qiushi Journal, the party's main political theory magazine - was the surest sign yet that Zhou has escaped any repercussions from his rumoured connections to and support for the disgraced party boss. In it, Zhou called for law enforcement officials to say loyal to the leadership of President Hu Jintao, something they could do by steering clear of harsh practices, like torture and prisoner abuse, that might violate suspects' rights. Such practices are widely believed to have occurred during the anti-triad campaigns led by Bo before his removal in March. Zhou delivered the speech on June 12. Zhou currently heads the party's Politics and Law Commission, which oversees China's judiciary, prosecutors and police, and is one of nine members of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, the nation's highest ruling body. "[Law enforcement officers] should, whenever and under any circumstance, maintain the same stance as the central leadership, with General Secretary Hu Jintao as its core," Zhou said in his speech, stressing the importance of providing political training to police officers. In the wake of Bo's downfall, Zhou was rumoured to have sought to protect Bo. There was also speculation that Zhou had been forced to step down from his position. However, his career seems to have survived the controversy and he has made multiple public appearances recently. Some analysts have suggested that Hu was forced to succumb to the forces of conservatism, in deciding to put a so-called cap on the investigations into Bo's case, as the central leadership is eager to show harmony and unity ahead of the once-a-decade power transition at the 18th Party Congress in the coming months. Zhou listed a string of problems involving police officers throughout the country, including that some use torture to extract confessions, some abuse suspects' rights, and even that some suspects die suddenly while being detained. Zhou said police officers must always safeguard suspects' rights. "We should prevent our officials from being distracted by financial temptation and personal connections, which would result in misconduct and unfair judgments," Zhou said in the speech. [...]. ^ top ^

China codifies punishments for abusing prisoners (Xinhua)
2012-07-01
Chinese police will face punishments ranging from demotion to dismissal if they are found to have abused inmates or aided in the mistreatment of prisoners, according to a disciplinary code scheduled to go into effect on Sunday. The new code applies to police working in prisons, labor camps and drug rehabilitation centers. In China, those who commit misdemeanors are typically placed in labor camps instead of prisons. The code states that police officers can be dismissed if prisoners under their care die as a result of corporal punishment or mistreatment, adding that officers who mistreat prisoners through manipulation or connivance will face the same punishment. Officers who permit inmates to commit further crimes or escape prison will also be dismissed, the code says. Analysts believe the new code, which is more specific and comprehensive than the country's previous code, will better protect inmates' legitimate rights and interests by enforcing clearer discipline standards for police. Chinese courts on Sunday will also start implementing a new rule on handling certain types of commuting and parole cases in order to improve judiciary transparency. [...]. ^ top ^

Legal status for seekers of asylum (China Daily)
2012-07-02
The National People's Congress Standing Committee approved an Exit and Entry Administration Law on Saturday will allow refugees to stay in China after obtaining an ID card from public security authorities. Asylum seekers will also be allowed to use a temporary ID card to stay in the country while their refugee status is under examination. The new law combines two existing laws that pertain to exiting and entering the country and to foreigners. The old laws will expire when the new one takes effect on July 1, 2013. China is now a party to two international refugee pacts — the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol. Even so, its Legislation Law states that international protocols will only be in force if they are written into domestic laws. The new law will fill a legal vacuum and is expected to give rise to more administrative and legislative provisions meant to protect the rights and safety of refugees in China, said Liu Guofu, an immigration law expert at the Beijing Institute of Technology. [...] Insiders who spoke to China Daily on condition of anonymity said the Ministry of Civil Affairs has set up a team under the department of international cooperation to deal with the increasing number of people coming to the country to seek asylum. The office is working on a draft regulation that will take parts of the international conventions that China has agreed to and write them into domestic laws. In the absence of national legislation on refugees, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees' Beijing office has found itself responsible for examining the status of people who seek asylum in China. [...] Refugees recognized by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR, can stay in China temporarily until they find a long-term solution to their quandary, such as returning voluntarily to their country of origin when it is safe to do so or being resettled to a third country with the organization's help. Giuseppe de Vincentiis, UNHCR's regional representative for China and Mongolia, said his office receives from 100 to 150 applications from asylum seekers every year [...]. De Vincentiis said he welcomes the Chinese authorities' work to regularize the status of refugees. Having the designation of illegal foreign resident bars a person from employment or from receiving social welfare, he said. [...] The new Exit and Entry Administration Law will include several measures meant both to attract talented foreigners to China and to curb illegal entries and employment. [...]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen calls for sci-tech reform (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
Premier Wen Jiabao called for reform to China's scientific and technological system to make it better serve the country's development, while addressing top national scientists and engineers. The system should suit the market economy as well as laws and regulations, Wen said. The speech, which was publicized on Monday, was delivered on June 11 at the biennial conference of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. Efforts should be made to combine science and technology with economic and social development and give full play to the market in optimization of resources, Wen said. The premier said he believed enterprises' motives in scientific and technological innovation, as well as the establishment of a pioneering system that is market-oriented and with the enterprises as the mainstay, would be important for systematic reform. [...] In addition to this reform, Wen championed efforts to formulate and implement major plans for scientific development. Despite past efforts, China still has a lot of work to do in its research in this area from a macroscopic, strategic and comprehensive view, Wen said. Strategic planning on scientific development is especially important for China, a country with more than one billion people and which can never rely on others for its development, he said. Core technologies cannot be bought or imported, Wen argued, and they can only be developed by Chinese experts. [...] Wen put forward five proposals that touch on issues of agricultural development, environmental protection, heath, climate change and new technologies. [...]. ^ top ^

Proposed retirement delay stirs new round of objections (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
Chinese netizens on Monday expressed overwhelming objections to a suggestion on pushing back the country's universal retirement age to 65. On Sunday, He Ping, a research fellow with a government-backed research institute on social security, addressed a high-profile seminar on aging, saying that China should begin lifting the retirement age from 2016 to gradually reach 65 in 2045, according to a report from the Beijing Times on Monday. [...] The report quickly made it onto the rankings of top stories on several major news portals, including Sina.com and 163.com, and later garnered wide criticism and objection from the general public. By Monday afternoon, more than 36,000 comments on the story had been posted on the two sites and 770,000 readers had given mood ratings to the stories. One of the most supported comments came from a mobile user from Guangdong. The user said that blue-collar workers could hardly continue working in their sixties and the new rule would only benefit officials. Many tried to remind experts about the situation of the unemployed. They also warned of serious social problems that could arise if the government fails to create jobs for young people. Meanwhile, a large portion of respondents agreed with experts' forecast on an increasing labor shortage, but they still opposed the proposal due to a strong sense that they will not receive enough pension funds when they are old. Readers' doubts also pointed to the "injustice" between the preferential pension system for government employees and the universal social security system. Earlier in June, China's Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security announced its ongoing investigation on a possibly more flexible retirement and pension system that would allow people to continue working past the current retirement age. The announcement triggered hot discussion, and over 90 percent of the public voted for "no" in two separate online polls. The ministry later said these studies do not mean that an immediate change would take place, but the revision of the retirement age would be "an inevitable trend" in the future and carried out in accordance with economic and social changes. [...]. ^ top ^

China streamlines railway procuratorate system (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
China's Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) announced Monday that all 76 railway transport procuratorates nationwide have been put under a unified administration of the justice system. After the completion of a personnel and financial management power transfer, the railway procuratorates are now directly administered by provincial or municipal procuratorate authorities, the SPP statement said. Railway transport procuratorates, designed to deal with procuratorial work regarding to crimes on trains and violations of the country's railway-related special laws, were previously under the dual administration of both the procuratorate system and the railway authorities. While higher-level procuratorates lead the procuratorial work of such agencies, the personnel and financial affairs of these procuratorates were managed by the railway authorities. China in July 2009 ordered a complete separation of the procuratorates from the industry by transferring the power of personnel and financial management of such agencies to the country's justice authorities. After the transfer, the jurisdiction, working system and procuratorial procedures of these procuratorates may remain unchanged for the time being, the SPP statement said. In addition to railway procuratorates, China now has another special type of procuratorates -- military procuratorates. ^ top ^

China to revise its essential pharmaceutical drugs list (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
China will revise its national essential drugs list this year to better meet people's pharmaceutical demands, a health official said on Tuesday. Vice Health Minister Yin Li told a national meeting that the number of drugs listed was relatively small and its structure was "unreasonable." The World Health Organization's version of essential drugs list has 358 categories of drugs, whereas China's latest version, updated in 2009, has only 205 categories. Yin pointed out that the comprehensive evaluation for drug purchase in China lacked unified standards, and vicious competition has led to shortages of some low-priced drugs. There is also a shortage of pharmaceutical professionals at the grassroots level and the drugs' reimbursement rate is relatively low, he said. Yin suggested to take into consideration the reform of county-level public hospitals, important public health service projects, treatment of major diseases, among others in the revision of the national essential drugs list. ^ top ^

China vows to markedly improve food safety in three years (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
The State Council on Tuesday announced a decision to markedly improve food safety, aiming to effectively solve prominent problems in three years. According to a State Council statement posted online, the government also aims to establish a better regulation mechanism, legal and standard system as well as technical support for food safety and improve the overall food safety management level of the food industry in around five years. Food safety will become a measure of local governments' performance in their annual assessment for the first time, the statement said. A database of food safety records of food companies will be established and those on the black list will be disclosed and punished, it said. Authorities must prevent expired food products from returning to the market, while consumers will be rewarded in cash for reporting illegal acts. The Chinese public has become increasingly concerned over food safety after a slew of scares -- from melamine-tainted baby formula products to pork contaminated with clenbuterol -- exposed the vulnerability of the country's food sector. [...]. ^ top ^

Govt to rectify audit problems (China Daily)
2012-07-05
Government departments singled out in the 2011 audit report must rectify the problems and report their results to the State Council by the end of October, a conference presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao said in a statement on Wednesday. The State Council will make a special report on the rectifications to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress at the end of this year, it said. On June 27, China's top auditor delivered the 2011 audit report at a session of the Standing Committee of the NPC. The National Audit Office identified 112 major violations of law and economic crimes last year. More than 300 people were involved in the violations, some of them administrative department chiefs, according to Liu Jiayi, auditor-general of the National Audit Office. The leaders of departments identified in the report must take responsibility for addressing the problems, the statement said. Any who delay, make excuses or refuse to address the problems will be punished, the conference said. Governments at all levels need to make efforts to deal with the main problems in the audit report that relate to people's livelihoods and publicize the measures taken to address them, the statement said. On Wednesday, the State Council conference also heard an audit report on social security funds in 2011. According to the report, the total revenue of 18 types of social security funds last year was 2.84 trillion yuan ($450 billion), more than three times that of 2005. The total expense of 2011 security funds was 2.11 trillion yuan, a threefold increase over 2005. The balance of the accumulated social security fund stood at 3.11 trillion yuan at the end of 2011, more than four times that of 2005. The audit report said some departments violated social security regulations. Methods and procedures of information release about the social security fund system should be made clear to the public, the conference said. ^ top ^

Shandong natives take most seats in reshuffle (China Daily)
2012-07-05
Officials from Shandong province, the home of Confucius, took the largest number of top seats in the provincial Party leadership. The reshuffle of standing committees of the Communist Party of China in 31 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions on the mainland wrapped up on Tuesday and produced 404 leadership members. Fifty-four, or 13.3 percent, of them are from East China's Shandong. Members from the political center Beijing only occupied five seats. Those from economic powerhouse Guangdong province took seven seats, and Shanghai natives got four seats. Members of the provincial-level standing committees of the Party are elected every five years. The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which is scheduled for the second half of this year, will follow the local congresses. One scholar attributed the popularity of Shandong natives to Confucianism. [...] On the list of the committees, 29 officials, or 7.1 percent, are from Hebei province and 28 are from Zhejiang province. [...] The reshuffle of local Party leadership has also brought younger and better-educated officials onboard. Among the new lineup, 118 people, or 29 percent, were born after 1960. The standing committees of the Xinjiang Uygur and Tibet autonomous regions have the largest number of leaders born since 1960, with seven each. Normally, a provincial standing committee only has 12 or 13 leaders. Wang Yukai, a professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, said the difficulties and challenges that younger officials face in ethnic regions can improve their decision-making ability. [...] People with master's degrees or doctorates took up 74 percent of the seats and officials holding bachelor's degrees took 24 percent. [...] Zhu Lijia, a public management expert at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said it's not a surprise to see such a high number of officials with strong academic backgrounds, as that has been a trend in recent years. Women took 9 percent of the positions in the Party committees. Officials of ethnic groups got 10 percent of the seats. Ethnic groups account for about 8.5 percent of China's population. ^ top ^

State Councilor calls for strengthened security ahead of Party congress (Xinhua)
2012-07-05
State Councilor Meng Jianzhu has urged the country's law enforcement officers to ramp up security in order to create a "harmonious and stable" social environment for the upcoming congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). Meng asked police officers to boost their capacity to safeguard national security and social stability at a seminar held in Beijing that was attended by hundreds of new police chiefs from multiple counties and cities. The 18th National Congress of the CPC is scheduled to be held later this year. Law enforcement officials should put the core values of "loyalty, serving the people, fairness and honesty" into practice and boost their relations with the public, said Meng, who is also minister of public security. More than 1,400 police chiefs have been invited to participate in three seminars sponsored by the Ministry of Public Security starting from June this year. The first seminar was held from June 26 to July 3. ^ top ^

Shifang authorities free 21 protesters held after rallies (SCMP)
2012-07-05
Authorities in the Sichuan city of Shifang said yesterday that they had released most of the protesters detained this week in clashes with police sparked by a plan for a heavy-metal processing plant. There were fresh reports of violence and minor protests. Police vehicles and officers armed with truncheons were seen yesterday on the main streets, but the city centre was more or less calm, with businesses operating normally. Still, witnesses and some online postings said that scores of residents remained gathered near the city's police and Communist Party headquarters, demanding the release of those still detained, including teenage students. In an apparent response to mounting public pressure following three days of demonstrations, which started on Sunday night and involved tens of thousands of people, Shifang authorities announced on Tuesday that plans for the multi-billion-yuan molybdenum-copper alloy plant had been scrapped. About two hours after a gathering by thousands of protesters around 9pm on Tuesday, authorities also released 21 "suspected criminals" detained on Monday and Tuesday. The city government said yesterday on its microblog that six people remained in police custody for overturning a police car or throwing bricks, stones or potted plants at police and government workers. Many people in Shifang, a county-level city in Deyang that was devastated by the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, appeared content with the release of the protesters and the government's decision to axe the plant. But some remained sceptical as to whether the government would follow through on its promise. People in Shifang also demanded accountability from the local authorities for giving orders to use force, including the firing of tear gas, against peaceful protesters, which left an unknown number of people injured. A 15-year-old middle school student who suffered injuries to his back and shoulders, accused riot police of beating him on Monday. "I was a passer-by when 20 or 30 riot policemen rushed at me. One of them kicked me to the ground, and other policemen beat me with truncheons, while others kept stepping on and kicking me for about a minute." [...] A city official visiting the hospital said the government would pay for the medical expenses of those injured in the clashes, regardless of whether they were protesters or bystanders. Mainland internet users, including many public figures, continued to voice support for the people in Shifang while condemning local authorities' use of force against protesters. ^ top ^

Court refuses to accept lawsuit against police (China Daily)
2012-07-05
The local court in Central China's Henan province has refused to file a man's lawsuit against a police station that detained him for seven months before releasing him due to a lack of evidence of his alleged crime. Zhang Xiangbing, 36, a worker at a mining company in Wugang city in Henan province, told China Daily on Wednesday he was detained by police on August 23, 2009 when he was going to Beijing to petition after the local village official slashed his hand in a dispute. The police intercepted him on the way to Beijing and held him for more than seven months on suspicion of blackmailing a local power plant. Zhang explained he had persuaded local villagers to accept a high-voltage tower construction project, and the power plant gave him 12,000 yuan as a reward. "The blackmail allegation is totally concocted," Zhang said. He was released on bail on April 16, 2010. The police canceled the bail a year later and announced he was innocent. Two policemen told the Dahe Daily that Zhang was held by police for more than seven months and was released because there was not enough evidence against him. Yang Yatao, a policeman from Wugang public security bureau, told China Daily on Wednesday police failed to collect enough evidence to prove Zhang blackmailed the power plant. Zhang applied for State compensation from Wugang public security bureau after he was released, but the application was ignored by police. Zhang said he tried to sue the Wugang public security bureau for the State compensation issue, but the local court refused to file the lawsuit. "The provincial public security department told me to resort to the court for help, but a judge from the court said that it was none of the court's business," Zhang said. [...]. ^ top ^

ConocoPhillips hopes spill lawsuit dismissed (China Daily)
2012-07-05
US oil giant ConocoPhillips said on July 4 the company has yet to be served with a lawsuit for compensation for 30 Chinese fishermen suffering from an oil leak incident in China, but the claims should be dismissed. [...] The lawsuit was filed by US attorneys from three US law firms in the Southern District Court of Texas on July 3 Beijing time. The cross-border lawsuit is the latest attempt by people affected by oil spills in North China's Bohai Bay in June last year to win compensation from the US company allegedly responsible for the disaster. The three law firms - Bilek Law Firm LLP in Houston, Smith Stag LLC in New Orleans, and Jones, Swanson, Huddell & Garrison LLC, also in New Orleans - have been preparing the class action since last year. Besides the 30 Shandong fishermen, another 470 have signed contracts with the US legal team and more may join, said Jia Fangyi, a lawyer at Great Wall Law Firm in China who acts as a bridge between Chinese fishermen and US attorneys. He said all legal services are free and only for justice. ConocoPhillips China, the operator of the Penglai 19-3 oilfield where the incident happened, agreed with the government to set up a 1.1 billion yuan ($173 million) fund based on the estimated damages, in addition to an earlier 1 billion yuan compensation fund for the affected fishermen in Hebei and Liaoning provinces. No money was allocated to Shandong and Tianjin, where residents claimed the local water was polluted by the incident. [...]. ^ top ^

China world's biggest cyber attack victim, says report (Global Times)
2012-07-05
The nation has faced a growing number of online threats from overseas and become the biggest victim of cyber attacks, a computer security monitoring network said. Though China has improved its defense abilities in the cyber world in recent years, the situation of online attacks and threats in the country is still critical, a report issued by the National Computer Network Emergency Response Coordination Center of China revealed Wednesday. Just over 98 percent of Chinese business websites had implemented standard protective measures against security threats in 2011, up from 92.25 percent in 2010 and 78.61 percent in 2009, the report said. The number of government websites that were targeted by cyber attacks in 2011 decreased by 39.4 percent compared with 2010, the report said. A total of 47,000 overseas-based Internet Protocol addresses (IPs) were involved in attacks against 8.9 million Chinese computers last year, compared to nearly 5 million targeted computers in 2010, according to the report. Most of the IP addresses originated in Japan, the US and South Korea, the report said. Shang Bing, vice minister of industry and information technology, said the development of technology related to cloud computing and wireless networking will complicate security concerns. [...]. ^ top ^

Discipline official calls for crackdown on financial corruption (Xinhua)
2012-07-06
A top discipline inspection official has called for a crack down on inside trading and nepotism within state financial institutions. To curb corruption being conducted in China's financial system, an effective decision-making system must be implemented to eradicate the phenomenon of a "dictatorship" of few officials, Ma Wen, vice secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said Thursday. Financial staff should strictly observe the rules and regulations concerning their payment and post-related consumption and not be extravagant in official reception, urged Ma, who is also the minister of Ministry of Supervision. Ma said that spouses and offspring of principals of financial institutions are never allowed to intervene in their works concerning financial business in order to prevent any attempt of seeking personal gains by abusing power. Ma also urged the management of banks to deal with problems widely resented by the people, such as some inexplicit fees charged for banking services, so as to polish the image of financial bodies. ^ top ^

Two child-trafficking gangs eliminated in China (Xinhua)
2012-07-06
Chinese police on Monday broke up two major child-trafficking gangs, arrested 802 suspects and freed 181 children, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) said Thursday. Under the command of the MPS, more than 10,000 police officers took actions simultaneously, catching all the suspects and rescuing all the children in 15 provincial regions including Hebei, Shandong, Henan, Sichuan, Yunnan, according to an MPS statement. Shao Zhongyuan, an A-level-wanted suspect involved in a child-trafficking gang that trafficked more than 100 children, has also been arrested in Pingyi county, Shandong province, the statement said. An unidentified police officer from the MPS said police have stopped child trafficking from increasing, but the illegal practice was still prominent in some areas. Therefore, the police around the country will further implement the zero tolerance policy to child trafficking, the officer said. ^ top ^

China to establish unified criminals record system (Xinhua)
2012-07-06
China will establish an unified criminals record system to better hold criminals' information and promote social administration, an official from the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said Thursday. The unidentified official said that the decision was made in a statement jointly made by the SPC, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, the Ministry of Public Security (MPS), the Ministry of State Security (MSS) and the Ministry of Justice. The information to be recorded in the system includes criminals' basic information, the names of the procuratorates and judicial organs, the number and date of verdicts, the crimes, the punishment and the enforcement of the punishment. "The criminal record system is an important part of the modern social administration, as the United States, Germany and other developed countries have all established it," said the official. According to the statement, information of those that commit crimes under the age of 18 and are sentenced to less than five years in prison, will be protected so not to destroy their future lives. The official said the police departments have established a database for criminals around the country, while the procuratorates have also started the inquiry system for bribery records. The unified criminals record system will be established on the achievements of those systems, the official said. ^ top ^

Crackdown on antibiotic abuse stepped up (China Daily)
2012-07-06
China is stepping up efforts to crack down on widespread prescription drug abuse that is leading to rising levels of antibiotic resistance across the country. In the latest move to tackle the problem, the Ministry of Health has launched a nationwide surveillance system to document cases of antibiotic-resistant bacteria at 1,349 large public hospitals across the mainland. There will also be closer monitoring of the system that keeps track of doctors' prescriptions of antibiotics at public hospitals. And tough new regulations to control the clinical use of antibiotics will take effect on Aug 1. The moves come days after the World Health Organization weighed in on the growing threat from worldwide antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea. [...] "Antibiotic resistance has no borders, and curbing its misuse is a responsibility shared by all," said Zhao Minggang, deputy director of the department of medical administration under the ministry. "The ministry's latest initiative will help health authorities to accurately track the use of antibiotic drugs in real time and detect potential cases of antibiotic resistance as soon as possible to better guide clinical drug use in general." [...] The ministry estimates that an average of 138 grams of antibiotics are used per person on the mainland each year, nearly 10 times the amount in the United States. Seventy percent of inpatients and 50 percent of outpatients have prescriptions for antibiotics, according to the ministry. "Without intervention, there may come a time when there are no effective antibiotics left," Zhao said. Xiao Yonghong, an expert with the Institute of Clinical Pharmacology at Peking University, said at least 80 percent of the antibiotics used on the mainland are not necessary. "This drives up medicine costs for the patients and the country," Xiao said. "This helps speed up the development of germs resistant to antibiotics, which might cost lives and jeopardize human safety and health." [...] Xiao said he appreciated the firm stance by the ministry and urged patients to play a role in the process as well. "For a long time, many Chinese people have wrongly taken antibiotics as a panacea," he said. Even without seeing a doctor, many Chinese people will buy antibiotics for something as simple as a sore throat. Antibiotics are widely available at drugstores without prescriptions, Xiao said. He urged drug authorities to close that loophole. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Mayor elected Beijing party secretary (SCMP)
2012-07-04
Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong was promoted to party secretary of the capital yesterday at the close of the municipal Communist Party congress, paving the way for him to become a Politburo member at this autumn's national party congress. Guo, a close ally of President Hu Jintao, replaces 70-year-old Liu Qi and his promotion means Hu will still have a strong influence on affairs in the capital well after his retirement next year. In a speech delivered to reporters after his appointment, Guo, 65, called on party members to stick to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and maintain unity with the party central committee. [...] Wang Anshun, the municipality's second deputy party secretary, was promoted to first deputy party secretary and is set to succeed Guo as the capital's mayor. Wang, 55, has extensive experience in the oil industry, a power base of former vice-president Zeng Qinghong. [...] The promotion of Ji Lin, the city's executive vice-mayor, to succeed Wang Anshun as second deputy party secretary is seen as another move confirming Hu's influence in the capital's new leadership line-up. Ji previously served as head of the capital's Communist Youth League and the youth league is Hu's power base. Beijing usually holds its party congress in May, but state media only announced its starting date last month, fuelling rumours of a power struggle inside the party following the dismissal of former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai for violating party discipline. Analysts expect that Guo, like his predecessors as Beijing party secretary, will join the party's 25-member Politburo at the national party congress, but he is likely to be a member for only five more years because of his age. [...] The capital's party congress appointed 13 members to the municipal party standing committee yesterday afternoon, after electing 84 committee members and 55 members of the party's disciplinary commission. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Car limits 'upset the apple cart' (China Daily)
2012-07-02
The sudden decision to limit vehicle registrations in Guangzhou has disrupted the plans of many residents to buy cars in the southern metropolis. "Starting July Guangzhou began limiting car purchases," said Xian Weixiong, director of Guangzhou commission of transport, at a news conference on Saturday. "No more than 10,000 new vehicles a month will be granted with license plates beginning in July." Guangzhou is the fourth city on the Chinese mainland to limit car purchases by clamping down on vehicle registrations. The others are Beijing, Shanghai and Guiyang, capital of Southwest China's Guizhou province. [...] The announcement has already affected business at local auto dealerships. [...] Insiders say the sudden decision will affect the city's automobile industry, which has become a pillar industry, and its carmakers. Guangzhou has attracted major Japanese carmakers, such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan, to set up production facilities in the city. [...] Guangzhou aims to improve its traffic situation to maintain an average driving speed of more than 25 kilometers per hour on major roads and streets by 2015. Currently, heavy traffic has reduced the average driving speed to less than 20 kilometers per hour on more than 27 percent of the major roads and streets. [...] Under the new registration limits government departments, companies and individuals will have to apply for vehicle registrations before they can purchase vehicles. [...] According to the Guangzhou traffic police, the city of 16 million people had more than 2.4 million registered vehicles by the end of May. The number of vehicles has grown by more than 19 percent annually in previous years. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Pensions highest in Tibet with monthly benefit of 2,700 yuan (Global Times)
2012-07-06
The pensions of retirees in the Tibet Autonomous Region pay 76 percent more than the national average, according to official statistics, a result that is attributed to government subsidies to the less developed western regions. Based on figures collected since January in 18 localities, Tibet tops the ranking of monthly per capita pension payments to enterprise retirees, standing at 2,700 yuan ($424.8). Beijing retirees are next with pensions at 2,510 yuan a month, while Jilin was ranked lowest at 1,370 yuan. Qinghai Province and the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region were also among the top five with the richest pension payments. The government increased pensions of enterprise retirees in 2011 to an average of 1,531 yuan, according to the Ministry of Human Resource and Social Security, adding that by the end of this year, will raise the average pension payment to about 1,700 yuan. Yu Shaoxiang, an expert on social security at the Chinese Academy of Social Science, said "Tibet enjoys a high standard of government subsidies, which is reflected in the level of pensions there." [...] According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China, the national per capita GDP was $5,450 in 2011, while the per capita GDP in Tibet was $3,120. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang raises minimum wages (Xinhua)
2012-06-30
Western China's Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region has raised its minimum monthly and hourly wages, local authorities announced on Friday. After the wage hike, which took effect on June 1, minimum monthly salaries -- before deductions for pension, unemployment, medical insurance and housing payments -- were raised to 1,340 yuan (211 U.S. dollars), 1,140 yuan, 1,060 yuan and 980 yuan under four subdivisions. They have been increased by an average of 18.95 percent, according to a press release issued by the regional human resources department. Minimum hourly wages, which have been upped by 1.8 yuan, now range from 9.8 yuan to 13.4 yuan across the region. [...]. ^ top ^

Two Xinjiang hijackers die in hospital (Global Times)
2012-07-02
Two of six suspected hijackers have died following a botched attempt to commandeer a flight from Hotan to Urumqi in China's far west Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region on Friday, local authorities confirmed to the Global Times. The two died in hospital from injuries received in a fight with passengers and crew during the attempted hijacking of a Tianjin Airlines' flight. Two other suspects, who reportedly mutilated themselves, are being treated in hospital in Hotan, said the region's press office. The six hijackers, who ranged in age from 20 to 36, are from the city of Kashi, Hou Hanmin, a spokesperson for the region's press office, told the Global Times. The men were quickly subdued as they tried to break into the airplane's cockpit with a crutch, and their attempt to ignite explosives was foiled, witnesses told the Global Times. The flight had 92 passengers and nine crew members onboard, 10 of whom were injured. A local official handling the case say only six police officers were on the passenger list. Four of the officers were from Luopu county and two other were from Hotan. "Nearly all the officers are Uyghur people, who took fast action after distracting the hijackers," the official told the Global Times. A number of officials confirmed with the Global Times that explosives had been brought onboard and that passengers managed to defuse them before they could be detonated. How the hijackers managed to smuggle explosives and a crutch past security checks is under investigation, officials said. "Whether it is negligence has yet to be determined," an official told the Global Times. [...] After the incident, the Civil Aviation Administration of China immediately asked airports in some major cities and provincial capitals to upgrade their security checks for flights bound for Xinjiang. According to news portal ifeng.com, this high-alert level is usually applied before and after some key festivals such as National Day. [...]. ^ top ^

Xinjiang boosts security on third anniversary of riot (SCMP)
2012-07-06
Xinjiang stepped up security at its airports yesterday, aiming to prevent a repeat of last month's attempted hijacking. The heightened state of alert coincides with the anniversary of deadly riots that rocked the far-western autonomous region's capital, Urumqi, three years ago. The region's party chief earlier warned that any separatist action would be met with an "iron fist". Ethnic minority Uygurs make up a large minority of its population. Xinhua reported security had been increased at all Xinjiang's 16 airports. Most baggage was being opened for inspection. Disabled passengers must present hospital-issued certificates confirming their condition if they want to bring crutches or other walking aids onto planes. Passengers at Kashgar Airport, in southern Xinjiang near Hotan, who use wheelchairs or crutches must check them in as baggage. The airport would provide assistance to help them board, an airport official said. The new measures follow what officials said was an attempt by six Uygurs to hijack a plane carrying almost 100 passengers after it left Hotan for the capital on June 29. Two of the suspects died later in hospital. Police and witnesses said some of the hijackers dismantled an aluminium crutch and used the pieces as weapons. [...] People in Urumqi said they had become used to armed police patrolling attractions like the Grand Bazaar and the People's Square on sensitive occasions. [...] Xinjiang Communist Party chief Zhang Chunxian inspected anti-terrorism squads in Urumqi on Wednesday. He called on the squads to wipe out the "three forces" - religious extremism, separatism and terrorism, Tianshannet.com reported. "We should remain vigilant against hostility and strike against the 'three forces' with an iron fist and leave terrorism no place to hide," the government-backed news portal quoted Zhang as saying. Zhang observed anti-terrorism drills, including a live-fire exercise, a mock rescue of a hostage after a terrorist was killed with a single bullet and a quick-fire breaching of a home to defuse explosives. On July 5, 2009, violence erupted between Han and Uygurs in Urumqi. Nearly 200 people, mostly Han, died during the clashes. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Chinese mainland, HK sign new supplement to CEPA (Xinhua)
2012-06-30
Chinese mainland and Hong Kong on Friday inked a supplementary agreement to their existing economic pact, pledging to further open services sector to each other and consolidate trade and economic ties. The ninth supplement to the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) provides for a total of 43 measures for services liberalization and trade and investment facilitation, covering 22 service sectors such as education, medical treatment, construction, telecommunication, banking, brokerage, tourism and railway transportation. The new supplement, taking effect from Jan. 2013, is also aimed at promoting the mutual recognition of professional qualifications in Hong Kong and the mainland, the world's second-largest economy. [...] The new agreement, signed by Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Jiang Yaoping and Hong Kong Financial Secretary John Tsang, will add the number of open-up service sectors to 48, which will give a big boost to Hong Kong's economy as the service sector contributed to more than 90 percent of the city's annual economic output. Hong Kong's telecommunication operators will be allowed to set up solely-funded or joint venture offshore call centers in Dongguan and Zhuhai cities of neighboring Guangdong province on a pilot scheme, according to the supplement. [...]. ^ top ^

President Hu attends HKSAR's 15th anniversary celebrations (Xinhua)
2012-07-02
President Hu Jintao attended a gathering here for the 15th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China and the swearing-in ceremony of the fourth-term government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Sunday morning. Hu, arriving in Hong Kong Friday, was present at the inauguration ceremony in the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center, overseeing Leung Chun-ying to be sworn in as the new HKSAR chief executive. Principal officials of the fourth-term HKSAR government and members of the Executive Council also took their oaths. The central government will unswervingly give its full support to the chief executive and government of the HKSAR in administering Hong Kong pursuant to law, while working with the local residents to maintain and promote the long-term prosperity and stability of the territory, Hu said at the ceremony. Hu said the central government will remain committed to the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy, and tagged advancing the cause of "one country, two systems" as the shared mission of the central government and the government of the HKSAR. Leung, who is to turn 58 next month, said during the next five years of his tenure, he and his government will focus on addressing major issues, such as sustaining economic growth, expanding job opportunities, offering more public housing and other items concerning people's livelihood. Dressing in dark suit and red tie, Leung called his standing for election "a humbling experience" and vowed to honor the pledges he had made - to uphold justice, protect the rights of the people, safeguard the rule of law, clean government, freedom and democracy and take an inclusive approach towards different opinions and views. In spite of many challenges, Leung said the new HKSAR government could "resolve the conflicts that exist in our society and clashes that may arise from different values or political ideologies." [...] President Hu wrapped up his tightly-scheduled three-day trip after the ceremony. Before his departure, he met with Leung and the new leaders of the executive, legislative and judicial bodies of the HKSAR separately. Hu expressed confidence in Leung, believing he will lead the new HKSAR government to seek changes while preserving stability, unite the people of all sectors in Hong Kong and work together to further advance the city's development. [...]. ^ top ^

Pomp and protest for Leung (SCMP)
2012-07-02
President Hu Jintao set out four specific expectations for Leung Chun-ying on the new chief executive's first day in office - as tens of thousands of Hongkongers joined the city's biggest protest march in years. Hu made his unusually specific calls at Leung's inauguration ceremony in the morning, telling the new leader that his government must promote social harmony and stability, uphold the authority of the Basic Law, enhance the city's competitiveness and nurture political talents who could "inherit the traditions of patriotism and succeed in the business of 'one country, two systems'." In a later meeting with Leung and his new cabinet, the president demanded that Leung run a "clean and effective" government, while Leung promised to safeguard the city's core values, including the rule of law, freedom, democracy and protecting the rights enshrined in the city's mini-constitution. But as Leung and Hu met, tens of thousands of protesters were gathering in Victoria Park to express a range of grievances, from anger at the slow pace of democratisation to concern about human rights on the mainland. Many called for Leung to quit on his first day in office after the discovery of illegal structures at his home raised questions about his integrity. Rally organiser Eric Lai Yan-ho, of the Civil Human Rights Front, put the turnout at 400,000, while police say 55,000 people started the march in the park, with the total peaking at 63,000. [...] Lai said the huge turnout, reminiscent of the massive rallies of 2003 and 2004, showed Hongkongers had no faith in Leung. [...] Leung said last night that his team would begin hitting the streets today in an effort to "listen to people's views and aspirations and work together with them to address deep-rooted problems in a pragmatic manner." [...] Twice during his three-day visit Hu called for Hongkongers to unite in support of Leung's administration. "Hong Kong people from all walks of life should take the overall situation into consideration to achieve unity under the flag of patriotism," Hu said yesterday. [...] A ring of security surrounded Hu during his visit, but one protester, Tsang Kin-chiu, was briefly able to chant slogans calling for the vindication of the Tiananmen Square democracy movement and the end of one-party rule at the inauguration ceremony.[...]. ^ top ^

Error of judgment blamed for reporter's detention (SCMP)
2012-07-04
A police inspector's error of judgment led to a reporter being hauled away after firing a question at President Hu Jintao about the Tiananmen crackdown, the police force said yesterday. Apple Daily meanwhile said it would sue the police chief for what it said was the illegal detention of its reporter Rex Hon Yiu-ting, who was held in a stairwell for about 15 minutes on Saturday after asking Hu if he had heard Hong Kong people's calls for the truth about the June 4 crackdown. Officers told him he had caused a disturbance by asking his question too loudly. Mak Yin-ting, chairwoman of the Journalists Association, said police director of operations Paul Hung Hak-wai had told her at a meeting with media groups that the inspector who instructed an officer to act made an error of judgment. But she had misgivings about the police's explanation. "I doubt that the inspector, a mid-ranking officer in the uniformed services, would request his officers, without receiving any order, to take away a reporter just because he shouted the question too loudly," she said. Mak said police had told her that there were no instructions for officers to censor any politically sensitive questions, as they did not represent a security risk. [...] "I hope the inspector involved will stand up and explain whether he followed orders to make such a judgment," she said. She said two complaints about Hon's detention had been lodged with the Complaints Against Police Office, the force's internal complaint-investigation unit. The force must wait for the office to complete its investigation before it can carry out other internal inquiries. The police force last night took the unusual step of issuing a statement detailing what Hung said during the meeting, confirming Mak's version of the discussion. The statement said police would review security arrangements for future visits in light of events during Hu's visit. It again expressed regret at the incident, which took place during Hu's visit to Kai Tak. Apple Daily chief editor Cheung Kim-hung said the newspaper would file a civil lawsuit against police chief Andy Tsang Wai-hung within days. The newspaper's lawyer had taken a statement from Hon, he said. Secretary for Security Lai Tung-kwok said the media had a responsibility to report on news and that police would facilitate the media's work. He says there is a system in place to handle complaints. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Macau

Macao's gaming revenues up 19.8 pct in H1 (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
Macao's gross gaming revenues for the first half of this year increased 19.8 percent year-on-year to 148.73 billion patacas (18.59 billion U.S. dollars), according to official figures. Total revenue for June this year stood at 23.33 billion patacas (2.92 billion U.S. dollars), up 12.2 percent year-on-year, but down 10.5 percent month-to-month with the decrease of tourists, according to the date released by the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR). Being the only place in China where gambling is legal, there were 34 casinos with 5,242 gaming tables and 16,102 slot machines in the city by the end of the first quarter this year. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Top Taiwanese official owns up to taking bribes (SCMP)
2012-07-03
A senior official in Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou's government has confessed to accepting at least NT$63 million (HK$16.6 million) in bribes from a businessman when he was a legislator two years ago. Lin Yi-shih, the secretary general of the cabinet until he resigned from his post on Friday, had originally strongly denied accusations he had accepted the bribes. Taiwanese prosecutors arrested Lin yesterday after he was taken to prosecutors on Sunday for an overnight interrogation, where he confessed to the wrongdoing. A court ordered yesterday that he be detained in custody for two months while prosecutors continued their investigation. Yesterday's arrest of Lin dealt a heavy blow to Ma, who had vowed to run a clean government, unlike the graft-tainted administration headed by his disgraced predecessor Chen Shui-bian, who has been jailed for corruption. In a brief statement issued through his lawyer yesterday, Lin expressed regrets over his wrongdoing and dereliction of duty. [...] Lin, considered a political rising star who was being groomed by Ma, said he was willing to face trial and legal punishment for his wrongdoing. He also said he would return all the illegal gains to the authorities and engage in community service in the future to show his repentance. Lin had repeatedly lashed out at corruption scandals implicating opposition legislators. His confession shocked the government, with both Ma and Premier Sean Chen apologising to the public over Lin's implication in the corruption scandal. "I feel very regretful and apologetic for Lin's implication in the judicial case," Ma said after attending the opening of an academic conference in Taipei. Chen said his cabinet would strengthen discipline within the government to try to prevent similar cases. [...]. ^ top ^

China vows to safeguard islands' sovereignty (China Daily)
2012-07-05
Beijing on Wednesday urged Tokyo not to take any action that could endanger Chinese lives or property, including those of Taiwan compatriots. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin made the remarks in response to a Taiwan fishing boat entering waters near China's Diaoyu Islands. The boat, carrying Taiwan activists, sailed near the islands in the East China Sea and entered "Japanese waters" on Wednesday, Japan's Kyodo News Agency cited Japan Coast Guard officials as saying. The boat bumped into a Japanese patrol ship and paint was scratched, a Japanese coast guard official said. [...] "The Diaoyu Islands and its affiliated islands have been Chinese territory for centuries and China has indisputable sovereignty over the islands," Liu told a news conference. "China will continue to take necessary measures to firmly safeguard its sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands," he said. [...] Officials from Taiwan's coast guard administration said five patrol boats have been sent to protect the boat and the nine people on it. [...] Authorities in Taiwan confirmed that a boat from the island was operating near the Diaoyu Islands, but refused to accept a protest lodged by Japan over the incident, the Taipei-based Central News Agency said. [...] While China wishes to solve the issue through negotiations, Japan has refused to discuss it as it currently controls the islands, said Zhu Wenqi, a law professor at Renmin University of China and former member of the International Court of Justice. China sees no need to bring the issue to an international arena since it has indisputable sovereignty over the islands, he said. The dispute with Japan actually may help to strengthen cross-Straits ties, said Feng Zhaokui, a Japanese studies researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. The mainland and Taiwan share the same stance and may work together to push Japan to start negotiations and even jointly develop the region with its rich fishing and tourism resources, he said. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Low-income housing projects opened to private investment (Xinhua)
2012-06-30
China on Friday issued a notice to lure investment into the construction of low-income homes in the country, a move to further relax restrictions on private capital entering state-dominated sectors. Private investors are encouraged to participate in the construction of low-rent, public-rent, affordable and price-capped housing, as well as the renovation of rundown houses, according to the jointly released by seven ministries including the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. The investors may join the construction through various means such as direct investment and agent-construction, and can rent or sell low-income homes at contracted prices to qualified candidates approved by the government, the notice said. Under the notice, banks are asked to support private investors according to government policy on financial support for low-income housing. Local governments can offer discounted loans to private investors that participate in the construction and operation of local public-rent homes, but the loans should not be used for other purposes, according to the notice. Private investors are also allowed to issue corporate bonds, the value of which should not exceed that of the investment, to fund their construction, it added. Private investors that help fund low-income housing projects are also to be offered preferential tax rates, and exempted from administrative service fees and other government charges. [...] The move, part of government efforts to spur a slowing economy, came after the country opened its gates to private capital in sectors including transport, finance and insurance. China's government has vowed to build 36 million affordable housing units during the 2011-2015 period to meet demand from low-income families. In 2011, it started construction of 10 million units. ^ top ^

China government 2011 procurement totals 1.13 trln yuan (Xinhua)
2012-06-30
China's government procurement amounted to 1.13 trillion yuan (179.37 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011, or 11 percent of the country's fiscal expenditure, the Ministry of Finance announced on Friday. The figure showed a huge expansion from the 100.9 billion yuan of 2002, when a government procurement law was first adopted, Vice Minister of Finance Wang Baoan said at a ceremony celebrating the 10th anniversary of the law's introduction. The implementation of the law has helped save 660 billion yuan in fiscal spending over the past decade, according to Wang. The vice minister said the government will push administrative reforms to make its purchase more transparent, fair and effective, while improving related operations and supervision systems to promote the credibility of government procurement. He also pledged to further restructure government procurement mechanisms in accordance with the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) rules, to gradually open the sector. The GPA is a voluntary pact within the World Trade Organization that allows member countries to bid for public contracts in each other's markets. China entered its first offer to join the pact in 2007, but it was turned down as the offer did not include local governments' spending. ^ top ^

China's financial system stable: central bank (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
Despite complex domestic and global economic conditions, China's financial system operated in a stable manner in 2011, with improving risk-aversion capability and deepening reforms, according to a central bank report released Monday. The fiscal strength of the government, enterprises and individual households remained healthy, and financial infrastructure continued to be steadily built last year, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said in the 2012 financial stability report. Stress test results showed, 17 key commercial banks had a strong capability of withstanding the macro-economic shocks. Bank's capital reserves were adequate, but with slowing deposit growth, the liquidity pressure was going up, according to the evaluation of the banking system. Although risks in a few areas needed attention, the banking system generally remained healthy, the report noted. In 2012, the central bank will continue to implement the prudent monetary policy, keep social financing at reasonable scale, and increase support to the real economy. It will further deepen the reforms of the market-based interest rate and exchange rate's formation mechanism, and execute prudent oversight to step up risk control, the report said. ^ top ^

Apple pays 60 mln dollars for iPad trademark in China (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
Apple Inc. has agreed to pay 60 million U.S. dollars to Proview Technology (Shenzhen) to settle their dispute over the iPad trademark in the Chinese mainland, the Higher People's Court of Guangdong Province announced Monday. Apple has transferred the money to the account designated by the Guangdong higher court, and the Intermediate Court of Shenzhen on Monday notified the State Administration for Industry and Commerce to transfer the iPad trademark to Apple, the higher court said. The court said the settlement agreement went into effect on June 25. [...] Proview Shenzhen had previously claimed that the Taipei subsidiary of its Hong Kong-based parent company, Proview International Holdings Limited, registered the iPad trademark in a number of countries and regions as early as 2000. Though Apple bought the rights to use the iPad trademark from Proview Taipei in 2009, Proview Shenzhen said it reserved the right to use the trademark it registered on the Chinese mainland in 2001. The two sides have since been entangled in a drawn-out legal battle. [...] The sum in the Apple settlement is not enough for Proview Shenzhen to repay its debts, but experts say the trademark case settlement can help Apple seize huge market opportunities in China. Otherwise, the U.S. tech giant might not have been able to sell its popular tablet computers in the Chinese mainland. China is Apple's second-largest market after the United States. China contributed 7.9 billion U.S. dollars, or about 20 percent of Apples's revenues, during its second fiscal quarter in 2012, the company said. Apple's iPads have become so popular among the country's younger generation that parents worry that kids growing up with iPads glued to their hands will be more likely to become near-sighted, physically weak and socially inactive. [...]. ^ top ^

News Analysis: Central bank injects more liquidity (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
China's central bank launched a fourth round of reverse repurchase (repo) operations Tuesday, only one week after the last round, underscoring cash strains in the banking system. The 7-day and 14-day repo operations worth 143 billion yuan (22.70 billion U.S. dollars) came after the People's Bank of China (PBOC), or the central bank, conducted three other rounds in January, May and June, respectively, injecting at least 500 billion yuan of liquidity into the market. The unprecedented frequency revealed the central bank's intent to ease fresh liquidity strains felt by the commercial banks as they will have to put aside more money in reserve to compensate for previous shortfalls, bank dealers said. [...] The PBOC Monday restated the prudent monetary policy that it would continue to implement this year, and vowed to keep the policymaking flexible to cope with slowing economic growth. [...]. ^ top ^

China non-manufacturing sector's growth picks up (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
China's non-manufacturing sector grew at a faster rate in June as the world's second-largest economy showed signs of stabilizing. The Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) of China's non-manufacturing sector, a key economic indicator, rose 1.5 percentage points to 56.7 percent in June, according to data released by the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) on Tuesday. The figure rebounded after falling for two consecutive months as non-manufacturing sector growth accelerated, the CFLP said. [...] "The figure shows the non-manufacturing economy has maintained steady and strong growth," said CFLP Vice Chairman Cai Jin. The figure followed Sunday's release of the PMI for China's manufacturing sector, which grew at its slowest pace in seven months to 50.2 percent in June. Analysts said the extent of the slowdown in June this year was minimal compared with past years, which suggests that the economy is building up a foundation for stabilized growth. [...] The June figures point to possibilities of stronger economic growth in the second half of this year, said Cai. The central government pledged last month that it will prioritize stabilizing economic growth, warning that the economy faces "increasing downward pressure." [...]. ^ top ^

China pledges to help private firms invest abroad (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
China on Tuesday pledged to help private companies invest abroad while guiding and regulating their investment activities. The country will strengthen macro guidance on private companies' overseas investment and help them invest in a step-by-step and focused manner, according to a statement jointly issued by 13 central government departments, including the Ministry of Commerce and the People's Bank of China. The nation will increase financial support to private companies and simplify customs clearance procedures, the statement said. Private companies which have invested abroad are asked to abide by local laws and regulations, respect local social customs, protect the interests of their employees, fulfill social responsibility, according to the statement. These companies are also encouraged to strengthen coordination and cooperation among each other to prevent disorderly and "malignant" competition. The statement asked relevant departments to make full use of multilateral high-level exchanges and consultation mechanisms as well as trade pacts to create a favorable and stable overseas investment environment for private companies. ^ top ^

Loans offered to Chinese publishers expanding abroad (Xinhua)
2012-07-04
Chinese publishing houses are to receive at least 20 billion yuan (3.17 billion U.S. dollars) in loans over the next five years for business projects abroad. The Export-Import Bank of China signed an agreement with the General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP) on Tuesday to provide financial support for publishers' attempts to explore international markets, according to a GAPP statement. The GAPP will recommend a list of eligible companies for the loans and they will be shortlisted by an expert panel before being submitted to the bank for examination, the statement said, without elaborating on the number of firms that might get the loans. A number of Chinese publishing houses have tried international projects such as setting up branches abroad and acquiring shares in foreign companies. Many of them are calling for efforts to facilitate their financing. [...]. ^ top ^

Chery Auto to export 170,000 vehicles in 2012 (Xinhua)
2012-07-05
Chery Automobile Co. said Wednesday that its exports for both May and June exceeded 20,000 units, marking a new stage for the company's overseas expansion. Company spokesman Jin Yibo said Chery exported 20,012 vehicles in June, up 20.7 percent year on year. In May, the company exported 20,093 vehicles, up 42.4 year on year, Jin said. "Chery exported 91,605 vehicles in the first half of 2012 and will realize an export target of 170,000 vehicles this year," Jin said. Chery exported a record 160,200 vehicles last year, maintaining its status as the country's leading auto exporter. Chery has established 16 overseas production centers to produce customized vehicles for local customers. It has more than 1,153 dealers overseas, selling its products in over 80 countries and regions. The instability of the international market has created challenges for Chery, Jin said, adding that the company has taken action to build a solid overseas market, including developing new markets in Brazil, improving after-sale services and exploring new products. Chery opened a plant in Venezuela last August and is expected to start operations at another plant currently under construction in Brazil in September 2013. The company has also announced plans to build assembly plants in Myanmar and several African countries. ^ top ^

China announces surprise rate cuts amid economic downshift (Xinhua)
2012-07-06
China's central bank on Thursday announced surprise cuts in the benchmark interest rates for the second time this year as the world's second largest economy is expected to slow further in the second quarter. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) said it will reduce the benchmark interest rate for one-year deposits by 25 basis points and that for one-year lending by 31 basis points on Friday. The move came less than a month after the previous rate cuts announced on June 7, when the benchmark rates were slashed by 25 basis-points in their first cuts since December 2008. The central bank also brought down the lower limit for lending rates to float to 70 percent of the benchmark rate from 80 percent announced in June, stepping up its bid to liberalize interest rates. [...] China's gross domestic product (GDP) growth moderated to a nearly a three-year low of 8.1 percent in the first quarter and is widely expected to slow for a sixth straight quarter in April-June. "With the second rate cuts in less than a month, the central bank fully delivered its intention of maintaining economic growth," said Guo Tianyong, a professor from the Central University of Finance and Economics. The country's economy will bottom out in the second quarter with a year-on-year growth of 7.5 percent, international investment bank Barclays Capital said in a report Thursday. The National Bureau of Statistics is expected to release a string of economic data, including the GDP for the second quarter, and the consumer price index (CPI) for June next week. [...]. ^ top ^

US files complaint over China car duties at WTO (Xinhua)
2012-07-06
The United States filed a complaint to the World Trade Organization (WTO) against China on Thursday over its anti-dumping and countervailing duties over US-made autos. China's Permanent Mission to WTO confirmed that it has received the consultation request Thursday afternoon and said China will handle it in accordance with the WTO rules. China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) started to impose anti-dumping and countervailing duties on imports of US cars and SUVs with an engine capacity of 2.5 liters or larger in December, 2011, following an open investigation in accordance with the WTO rules and upon petitions from domestic enterprises. Investigations into the auto market showed that US auto makers have received government subsidies and dumped their vehicles into the Chinese market, which has substantially harmed China's auto industry, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said in 2011. China has since levied anti-dumping tariffs from 2 percent to 21.5 percent, and imposed countervailing duties of up to 12.9 percent according to the level of subsidy US carmakers received from their government, both of which will expire on December 14, 2013. The US latest move was the third time that the Obama Administration had challenged China's trade remedies, said US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. In two earlier cases, the US challenged duties that China had imposed to restrict imports of certain steel products and chicken products. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK vows to continue space programs, nuclear deterrence (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
PYONGYANG - The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) vowed on Monday to continue developing its space programs for peaceful purposes and bolstering nuclear deterrence for self defense, the official KCNA news agency reported. "A vicious cycle of confrontation and increased tension is repeating itself on the peninsula owing to the U.S. persistent hostility toward the DPRK," said a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry. The DPRK would steadily push forward the space development for peaceful purposes and bolster its nuclear deterrence for self defense as long as the United States continues a hostile policy towards it, according to the KCNA. The spokesman made the remarks in response to questions about the visit to Pyongyang by Grigory Semyonovich Rogbinov, roving ambassador of the Russian Foreign Ministry for the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula from June 29 to July 2. During his visit, Rogbinov and his DPRK counterparts had exchanged views on issues of developing bilateral relations and resuming the six-party talks, the spokesman was quoted as saying. Both sides agreed to cooperate with each other closely to achieve peace and stability on the peninsula and the region through dialogue and negotiations. ^ top ^

DPRK reports development in Rason free trade zone (Xinhua)
2012-07-03
PYONGYANG - Development of the northeast Rason Economic and Trade Zone is making headway in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the official KCNA news agency reported Monday. The zone, established in 1991 to boost economic growth through foreign investment, has made rapid progress since the law on the Rason Economic and Trade Zone was amended in December, the report said. With infrastructure projects increasing in the zone, the number of joint ventures and foreign private businesses involved in light industry and agriculture is steadily increasing, it said. Reconstruction of the 50-km Rason Port-Wonjong road, which was started in June 2011 by China and the DPRK, is expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to the report. Meanwhile, renovation of a cross-border railway linking Rajin to Russia's Far Eastern border town of Khasan is under way, the report said. Reconstruction of No. 3 pier at Rajin Port is progressing as scheduled, while the loop line along the Rason-Hunchun-Khasan line is gaining momentum under an agreement with China and Russia, the report said. The second Rason International Trade Fair is due to open in August. The Rason zone is adjacent to Yanbian Prefecture in northeast China's Jilin province and Russia's southeastern region of Primorsky Krai. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Election leaves Democratic Party best-placed to form new Mongolian government (Xinhua)
2012-07-05
ULAN BATOR - The Democratic Party of Mongolia (DP) outpolled the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP) in the recent general election, but it will need support from other parties to form a new government, according to official data released Wednesday. The MP captured 31 seats in the country's 76-member parliament to beat the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP), which obtained 27. The results, released by the General Election Committee of Mongolia, showed none of the 11 parties and two party coalitions won an outright majority. The result was a major reverse for the MPP, which won 44 seats in the previous election in 2008. The Justice coalition, formed by Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and the Mongolian National Democratic Party, won 11 seats in the election. The remaining seats went to the Civil Will-Green Party coalition and three independent candidates. On June 28, 1.83 million Mongolian registered voters cast their ballots in 26 constituencies, with a total of 544 candidates standing. More than 50 international observers from the United States, Britain, Canada, Russia and South Korea, as well as international organizations, supervised the voting process. ^ 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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