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
  14-20.7.12, No. 432  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

China rejects blame for no joint statement (China Daily)
2012-07-15
China on Friday dismissed accusations that it was responsible for the lack of a joint statement after a meeting between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. "China believes that at the meeting series of the ASEAN Regional Forum, parties involved exchanged ideas on East Asian regional cooperation and major regional and international issues," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said at a regular news briefing. "China's views and positions on issues in various fields were well understood and received support from many countries," he said. Foreign ministers from China and member states of ASEAN have been debating the language of a joint statement since Monday, in which some ASEAN members insisted on including content regarding the South China Sea. The Philippines and the United States have called for a unified ASEAN to use its collective clout to press China. However, Beijing insists on dealing with the countries concerned bilaterally and has criticized outside intervention. The Philippines lambasted the failure at the end of the talks on Friday, blaming it on China. It had insisted that the joint statement must include reference to its armed standoff with China last month over Huangyan Island in the South China Sea. However, there is discord within ASEAN on this issue. Hor Namhong, foreign minister of Cambodia, which holds the rotating ASEAN presidency, said he could "not accept that the joint statement has become hostage of the bilateral issue (between the Philippines and China)". [...] Zhang Jie, an expert on Asia-Pacific studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said despite the disputes at the ASEAN meetings this week, "the atmosphere has been easier than in 2010 and 2011", when the issue was also brought up. "The US and ASEAN have adopted a much more friendly attitude toward China compared with the two previous meetings," Zhang said. [...] Yang discussed the South China Sea issue, among others, with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings in Phnom Penh. Clinton said that the US was committed to developing a positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship with China. Collectively, ASEAN has never taken sides on the South China Sea issue since the forum was set up in 1994, Zhang noted. Liu said on Friday that amid the global economic turmoil, nations in the Asia-Pacific region should stand closer and join hands to explore growth opportunities within the region. ^ top ^

Japan calls ambassador back for day (China Daily)
2012-07-16
Japan called its ambassador to China back on Sunday for discussions on simmering tension over islands in the East China Sea, requiring the envoy to "accurately convey" Tokyo's stance to Beijing. The Japanese Foreign Ministry said Uichiro Niwa will return to Beijing on Monday, dismissing concerns that Tokyo wanted to remove the ambassador following his warning in June that Japan's plan to "nationalize" the Diaoyu Islands would endanger relations. Calling back the ambassador may be an indication that Japan understands how serious the situation is, analysts said. They also pointed out the ambassador's return to Japan was aimed at gathering information and, "more and less", expressing Tokyo's dissatisfaction to Beijing. Niwa left Beijing on Sunday morning, following an order from Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba. [...] Gemba told reporters after the meeting that he asked Niwa to return to Japan as "there are new trends" concerning the Diaoyu Islands. The minister said he "instructed Niwa to accurately convey Japan's views'', adding they did not talk about whether to remove the ambassador during the meeting. [...] Tension between China and Japan rose in April when Tokyo Governor Shintaro Ishihara said that his city prefecture was negotiating with the "owner" of the Diaoyu Islands to "buy them by the end of the year" and started raising money for the proposal. On July 7, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda said his government was negotiating with a "private owner" to "nationalize" part of the Diaoyu Islands. The islands are in Chinese territorial waters. Beijing responded firmly, and made repeated representations to Tokyo and sent fishery administration ships to patrol waters off the islands. [...] Beijing said it will never allow anyone to buy or sell its territory, and will "continue to take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard its sovereignty over the islands''. [...]. ^ top ^

Vice Premier hails manned sub's achievements (Xinhua)
2012-07-17
The record-breaking crew of China's Jiaolong manned submersible were on Monday welcomed back to land with a letter from Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who hailed their achievements as a huge boost for the country's efforts to protect and develop maritime resources. "The research and development of the Jiaolong manned submersible and its successful diving operations marked a huge step forward for our country's deep sea equipment and technology," according to Li, whose remarks were read aloud by Xu Shaoshi, minister of land and resources, at a ceremony organized by the ministry and the State Oceanic Administration in Qingdao, east China's Shandong province. The sub, named after a mythical dragon, docked at the port of Qingdao on Monday after making record dives of more than 7,000 meters below sea level in the Pacific Ocean's Mariana Trench during a 44-day test mission. Jiaolong completed six dives and plummeted below 7,000 meters three times, with the greatest depth being 7,062 meters. It also surveyed the undersea landscape and collected geological and biological samples. Li noted that the submersible will have profound influences "on boosting the country's abilities to understand, protect and develop seas and transforming China into a strong maritime country." [...]. ^ top ^

UN chief talks to Chinese youth online (China Daily)
2012-07-18
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon started his three-day visit to China by talking with Chinese micro blog users in a live interactive chat session on Tuesday. "I am glad to communicate with so many Chinese young men and women here," he told followers of the UN channel on Sina Weibo, a popular micro-blogging platform in Chinese. UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told China Daily, "The secretary-general specifically wanted to connect with the young people of China. He is encouraged by their enthusiasm and energy. He said it was a great experience. He also values the important conversations he will have with the Chinese leadership." Beginning at 7:30 pm from his hotel, Ban answered nine questions on issues including the role of the UN head; peacekeeping; sustainable development; urbanization; and even his personal feelings about his job. Ban compared diplomacy to calligraphy, most of which is "behind the scenes" and looks effortless. But he said he doesn't mind how difficult the job is since he has a goal to peacefully resolve complicated problems and realize common well-being. The one-hour conversation was conducted in English and simultaneously interpreted into Chinese. Since Monday, Sina Weibo users have submitted more than 16,000 questions through a special page dedicated to Ban's appearance on the platform. [...] Zhang Xiao'an, vice-president of China's UN Association, said the UN has the responsibility to keep close ties with the public worldwide and listen to its suggestions through various channels. "Many Chinese young people now especially care about those issues concerning China, and would like to actively participate in the UN's work," she said. [...]. ^ top ^

US firms may join CNOOC oil plans (China Daily)
2012-07-18
US companies may bid for oil exploration projects in the South China Sea, China's largest offshore oil explorer, China National Offshore Oil Corp, said on Tuesday. "US companies are displaying interest in bidding for the oil and gas projects, which have been progressing as scheduled," CNOOC Chairman Wang Yilin said on the sidelines of the China-US Enterprises Investment and Cooperation Forum. CNOOC, China's third-largest oil company, last month issued tenders seeking joint exploitation of nine offshore blocks in the South China Sea. The nine blocks cover more than 160,000 square kilometers and are 300-4,000 meters deep, according to a statement on CNOOC's website. Seven blocks are located in the Zhongjianan Basin and two are in areas covering parts of the Wan'an and Nanweixi basins, the company said. The move came amid tension between the Philippines and China caused by their dispute over Huangyan Island. CNOOC will invest 200 billion yuan ($32 billion) in developing the South China Sea blocks over the next 20 years, with the aim of building an annual capacity of 50 million tons in the deep sea area by 2020. Companies from a number of countries such as Malaysia and Thailand have displayed an interest in developing these projects with CNOOC. [...] CNOOC set a target to increase oil and gas output to 120 million tons of oil equivalent by the end of 2020, double the amount in 2010. China has 18,000 km of coastline and a continental shelf of 1.3 million sq km. The country's rich offshore resources are mainly located in the Bohai Bay region, the East China Sea and the South China Sea. The South China Sea is the world's fourth-largest deepwater region for oil and gas exploration after the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa and Brazil. The South China Sea region has proven oil reserves of around 7.7 billion barrels, with an estimated 28 billion barrels in total. Natural gas reserves are estimated to total around 266 trillion cubic feet. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese police seize over 2,600 illegal migrants from Vietnam in H1 (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
Border police in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region have seized more than 2,600 Vietnamese who attempted to enter China illegally in the fist half of the year, sources with the police said Tuesday. A total of 2,606 stowaway suspects were intercepted in the first six months, representing a surge of 32.6 percent from the same period last year, sources said. Most of the illegal immigrants were aged between 16 and 45, who entered China to seek jobs, according to the police. China's economic boom in recent years has brought a labor shortage in coastal areas like Guangdong and Fujian provinces, which have become a destination for illegal immigrants. About 46 percent are destined for these areas, according to the police. The other 54 percent of the illegal immigrants crossed the Chinese-Vietnamese border to harvest sugar cane in Guangxi, which accounts about 60 percent of the country's sugar output, the police said. Guangxi police said they would intensify monitoring and crackdowns on illegal entry of migrants, especially those who are organized to cross the border in groups. ^ top ^

Chinese President calls for bigger UN role in int'l affairs (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday called on the United Nations to play a more important role in international affairs as he met with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. "As the core of international and multilateral organizations and mechanisms, the United Nations has played an irreplaceable part in safeguarding world peace, promoting common development and advancing international cooperation," Hu said during the meeting with the UN chief. Ban is in Beijing for an official visit from Tuesday to Thursday, where he will also attend the opening ceremony of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on Thursday. "In today's complex and volatile international situations, the international community has more expectations of the UN and there are increasing calls for multilateralism," said the Chinese leader, adding that "the function of the UN should be strengthened." [...] During the meeting with Ban, Hu pledged that China will continue to support the secretary-general's work and make further efforts to boost the cooperation between China and the UN. Hu said Ban's visit to China and attendance at the opening ceremony of the FOCAC meeting shows that the UN chief has paid a great deal of attention to UN-China cooperation and strongly supports the new strategic partnership forged between China and African countries. [...] Echoing the Chinese leader, Ban said the development of the FOCAC has proved that China is committed to boosting cooperation with other developing nations. "This is a great example of how China can contribute to the developing world and to South-South cooperation," Ban said. [...] China has played an important role in safeguarding peace and advancing common development of the world, Ban said, adding that China's support and cooperation is of great significance for the UN's push to counter various global challenges. [...] The two sides also exchanged their views on Syria-related issues among others. ^ top ^

China, South Africa vow to boost strategic partnership (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday held talks with his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma in Beijing, pledging to jointly boost bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. Zuma is in Beijing from July 18-20. He will attend the opening ceremony of the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on Thursday. [...] Next month marks the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Beijing Declaration between the two countries, said Hu, adding that China would take the opportunity to boost bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. Hu raised a four-point proposal on enhancing bilateral cooperation. He suggested that the two sides maintain the momentum of high-level contact, deepen party-to-party exchanges and accommodate each other's concern on major and core interests, so as to cement strategic mutual trust. [...] Hu also called for enhanced coordination between the two countries under the framework of the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization(WTO), G20, BRICS and BASIC, so as to promote world peace and development. Hu said the overall situation in Africa has maintained stable and its integration progress has achieved positive progress. China attaches great importance to the concern and interests of Africa and is committed to providing assistance to Africa's peace and development within its capacity, he noted. The Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the FOCAC is an important meeting to beef up solidarity between China and African countries, he said, adding that China is ready to work with South Africa to advance the construction and development of the forum as well as the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership. Zuma said South Africa is committed to strengthening relations with China and attaches great importance to bilateral strategic partnership. Noting that China has become the largest trading partner of South Africa, Zuma said his country hopes to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with China. [...] He said South Africa is willing to enhance coordination and cooperation with China on multilateral occasions, including UN and BRICS. Speaking highly of China-Africa relationship, Zuma said South Africa thanks China for its support and help to Africa and will work with China to ensure the success of the fifth Ministerial Meeting of the FOCAC. ^ top ^

CAD Fund commits 2 bln USD investment to Africa (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
The China-Africa Development Fund (CADFund) has committed to investing 2 billion U.S. dollars in Sino-African cooperation projects, the China Development Bank (CDB), the fund's shareholder said Wednesday. The fund will lead to 10 billion U.S. dollars in investment on the part of Chinese enterprises according to preliminary estimates, CDB Vice President Yuan Li said at the 4th Conference of Chinese and African entrepreneurs. The promised fund involves 60 projects in 30 African countries, which include an economic and trade zone in Egypt, a cement factory in Ethiopia and a power plant in Ghana, Yuan said. Separately, the CDB made over 1 billion U.S. dollars in investment commitment towards small- and medium-sized enterprises in Africa, Yuan said. The two investment commitments are among the eight major Sino-African cooperative measures announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2006. Meanwhile, the CDB recorded 13.7 billion U.S. dollars in outstanding loans towards Sina-African cooperation projects by the end of June, Yuan noted. Yuan added that the CDB will strengthen investing and financing support to Africa's infrastructure construction, agriculture, energy and mineral resources, and transport sectors. [...]. ^ top ^

Fifth Ministerial Conference of FOCAC opens further China-Africa cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-07-20
The Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) opened here on Thursday, as Chinese and African leaders gathered to discuss measures to deepen China-Africa ties. When addressing the opening ceremony, Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed a series of new measures in five priority areas to boost the China-Africa ties. [...] The Chinese side will expand cooperation in investment and financing to support sustainable development in Africa. China will provide 20 billion U.S. dollars of credit line to African countries to assist them in developing infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, and small and medium-sized enterprises. China will build more agricultural technology demonstration centers as necessary to help African countries increase production capacity. It will implement the "African Talents Program" to train 30,000 personnel in various sectors for Africa, offer 18,000 government scholarships, and build cultural and vocational skills training facilities in African countries. [...] In addition, the Chinese side will support the African integration process and help Africa enhance capacity for overall development. [...] The Chinese side will also enhance people-to-people friendship to lay a solid foundation of public support for enhancing China-Africa common development. [...] According to Hu, China will also launch the "Initiative on China-Africa Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Security", deepen cooperation with the African Union (AU) and African countries in peace and security in Africa, provide financial support for the AU peace-keeping missions in Africa and the development for the African Standby Force, and train more officials in peace and security affairs and peace-keepers for the AU. [...] The ministerial conference is being held in the Chinese capital on Thursday and Friday, bringing together heads of state and government, foreign ministers and ministers for foreign economic cooperation from China and 50 African countries, as well as representatives from the AU. In his congratulations to the opening of the conference, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi hailed China's contribution to Africa's regional integration process. [...] "The marginalization of the African continent should no longer be accepted," he noted, saying that the FOCAC has and will continue to support the notion that Africa should effectively contribute to laying a just foundation for new international political, economic and financial orders. South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said during the opening ceremony that Africa is ready to leverage on the existing China-Africa partnerships such as the FOCAC to fast-track Africa's developmental agenda. [...] Addressing the ceremony, current AU Chairperson and Benin President Boni Yayi said Africa hopes to strengthen the win-win partnership with China, and jointly explore rich resources in Africa. [...] United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who also addressed the opening ceremony, said the UN has for years strongly advocated South-South cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese, African enterprises sign cooperative projects (Xinhua)
2012-07-20
More than 20 Chinese and African enterprises signed eight economic cooperation projects with a total investment of 341 million U.S. dollars, according to a statement at the closing ceremony of the Fourth Conference of Chinese and African entrepreneurs on Thursday. A declaration on corporate social responsibility was also announced at the closing ceremony, which was jointly signed by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the China-Africa Development Fund and China Development Bank. The declaration aims at promoting cooperation between the two sides, boosting mutual communication and understanding, and strengthening scientific and technological cooperation between enterprises from both sides. Moreover, the declaration appeals to the two sides to promote trade and investment facilitation, and pay more attention to people's lives in African countries. The projects include cooperation among institutions, finance, aviation and agriculture, covering countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, and Ghana. The Fourth Conference of Chinese and African entrepreneurs was held on Wednesday and Thursday, attracting officials, entrepreneurs and experts form China and more than 50 African countries. ^ top ^

China slams Russia over vessel attack (Global Times)
2012-07-20
Vice Foreign Minister Cheng Guoping on Thursday expressed strong dissatisfaction with Russia over an alleged attack on a Chinese fishing vessel that left a fisherman missing. Russia should make sure that the detained sailors are safe and their legitimate rights are guaranteed, Cheng said in a statement when summoning a Russian diplomat. China demands Russia thoroughly investigate the incident and inform China of the results in a timely manner, Cheng said. Cheng also demanded Russia release the boats and the fishermen and continue to search for the missing sailor. According to the Chinese Consulate in Vladivostok, two Chinese fishing ships from Shandong Province were seized by Russia, one on Sunday and the other on Monday. One ship carried 19 fishermen while the other had 17 on board. One ship was detained at the port of Nakhodka, while the other was heading there. The local coastal service said the two ships entered Russia's exclusive economic zone. A Russian coast guard vessel fired warning shots and then opened targeted fire to stop a Chinese fishing ship, the RIA Novosti news agency reported. [...]. ^ top ^

China sticks to non-military intervention on Syrian crisis (Global Times)
2012-07-20
Russia and China vetoed another UN resolution on Thursday which threatened to impose sanctions on the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. This is the third double veto against a Western-backed Syria resolution. Western countries are again blaming Russia and China for a split UNSC vote. They seem to have forgotten that one of the most important principles of the UN is opposing military intervention in a country's internal affairs. It is a shameless lie to attribute the escalating tension in Syria to China and Russia. Without the West's support, the small-scale conflict wouldn't have turned into today's bloody confrontation. If the West had truly backed Kofi Annan's peace plan and responded to calls from Russia and China, Syria could have avoided the situation it is in now. It's likely that the Assad administration will be overthrown. But China does not necessarily need to change its policy and principle of opposing foreign military intervention in Syria. China should stick to this attitude until the last day before UNSC's intervention in the Syrian situation is needed. The suicide bombing Wednesday showed that the intensity of conflicts in Syria has reached a new level and the chances of a political solution are becoming increasingly small. The Syrian opposition and the West will certainly be encouraged by the situation, which helps reaffirm their belief that the ouster of Assad is the only option. Since the outbreak of the Syrian crisis, Western nations, anti-Assad forces in the Arab world and Syrian opposition groups have formed an unusual alliance that has caused the crisis to evolve from small-scale clashes to large-scale conflicts. How the Syrian issue develops in the future is largely up to how much public support Assad has at home. Changes in Syria might come rapidly, unless Assad's supporters are strong enough to continue fully backing the Syrian government. There are people who believe that China will be embarrassed once opposition groups come to power in Syria or that China might even face revenge attacks from these groups. Such an idea is completely baseless. Nations that stick to their principles and wish for peace will never be shamed. That said, however, China does need contingency plans to deal with developments in Syria. China is not taking sides, but merely opposed to war and killing. The Syrian situation already tells us that the West is powerful in catalyzing political changes in a country. As long as the changes are in accordance with their interests, they don't really care if they are brought about peacefully or harm the well-being of locals. No matter how the Syrian situation proceeds, we hope ordinary Syrians will suffer less from the process. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

China's online video portals asked to filter content (Xinhua)
2012-07-14
China's industrial association for online video providers on Friday released a self-disciplinary convention on tightened content controls, days after the government issued a circular regarding the same issue. Contracting parties should examine videos before making them available, as well as create a "quick response mechanism," the convention says. It stresses content providers' social responsibilities and states that videos featuring content that is banned by law, harmful to minors or "contradicts social virtues and traditions" should not be made available. The convention also proposes penalties for violators, including warnings and publicization of the offenses. In a jointly-released circular, the State Internet Information Office and the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television Monday urged online video content providers to closely examine their videos before making them available for viewing, stating that providers will be held responsible for the videos posted on their websites. ^ top ^

Rally against boy-favored abortions (Xinhua)
2012-07-14
About 10,000 people participated in a mass rally in Tiantai county of east China's Zhejiang province on Thursday evening to say no to gender tests and boy-favored abortions. The participants, including officials, local residents and villagers, signed their names on a huge banner with the words "safeguard women's life rights and voluntarily say no to gender identification and unnecessary abortion." Gender identification and unnecessary abortions not only change the natural reproduction rules of the mankind, but also deprive the rights of living and development for the girls, said Wang Wenjuan, director of the provincial population and family planning commission. Zhejiang's birth gender ratio in 2010 was 118.13 boys for every 100 girls. In some places, the ratio was 130 to 100, according to official statistics. Having a baby boy has long been preferred by Chinese couples as males are considered to be able to continue the family bloodline and better support the family financially. China's family planning policies, which were introduced in the 1970s to curb population growth, have made the situation even worse as most urban couples can only have one child. In order to have a son, they rely on gender identification tests and abortions. "In Zhejiang, 30,000 more boys are born than girls every year, which is a very dangerous signal for society. In 2020, 24 million Chinese men will have difficulties in finding their wives, " said Wang, who also signed her name on the banner. If this trend continues, it will cause poverty and incur more kidnapping cases of women and children, she said. Family relations, social ethics and even human rights will be abused if the government does nothing to stop the rampant gender identification tests and unnecessary abortions, she warned. Wang called for people to rail against the discrimination of girls and give up the intentional gender choice. [...]. ^ top ^

China top leaders vow to better handle people's petitions (Xinhua)
2012-07-15
China's top leaders on Friday met representatives for a nationwide conference on the work of handling people's petitions, vowing to safeguard people's rights and interests and strengthen ties between the authorities and the people. President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao, Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang met the representatives before the conference, extending their greetings to all the government staff handling the people's letters and calls. Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and secretary of the Political Science and Law Committee of the CPC Central Committee, also met representatives and delivered a speech at the conference. The petitioning, also known as letters and calls, is the administrative system for hearing complaints and grievances from Chinese citizens. The bureaus of letters and calls at all levels are commissioned to receive letters, calls, and visits from individuals or groups, and then channel the issues to respective departments, and monitor the progress of settlements. Zhou said significant achievements have been made in handling people's letters and calls in recent years and all departments concerned have made great contributions to resolving social conflicts, safeguarding the people's rights and interests, as well as promoting social harmony and stability. He stressed that at present and in the future, the work of handling people's petitions should focus on safeguarding people's legitimate rights and interests, reflecting on public opinion and promoting social harmony. To this end, the authorities should improve the mechanisms of the petitioning work, maintain the effective order, and establish a comprehensive system to prevent and reduce the number of petitions, as well as strengthen the standardization and legalization, so to better act as the link between the authorities and the general public, Zhou added. Zhou urged officials to settle prominent issues, implement all policies preferential to the people's livelihoods. Officials handling petitions should also go to the grassroots to solve issues from the roots, he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Cops top list of most influential government-sponsored microblogs (Global Times)
2012-07-16
A growing number of government agencies and officials in China are using microblogging services as platforms to interact with and influence the public, according to two leading Internet portals. Weibo accounts for government agencies and officials rose to a combined 45,021 in the first half of this year, a 150 percent increase since the beginning of this year, according to a joint report released from Sina and the People's Daily Online Public Opinion Monitoring Center. Over 25,000 of these accounts are registered with government groups, while more than 19,000 are verified personal accounts opened by officials from 34 provinces and regions, the report stated. Along with the rise in numbers, these organizations and officials are also carving out a greater foothold in China's microblogging world. The Shanghai municipal government holds the most influential government microblog, while the Beijing police and the government of Chengdu in Sichuan Province ranked second and third respectively, according to the report. Together, these three organizations have accumulated over 8.6 million followers. The most influential government official was the head of the Ministry of Public Security's anti-human trafficking office, Chen Shiqu, who currently has more than 2.2 million followers. Influence was measured in the report by the number of active followers, comment activity and thread reposting. [...] Among the top 200 most influential government weibo accounts, 85 of them were opened by police departments, which outnumbered other government organs. Second among this group were the accounts created by the press offices of local government, which totaled 37, followed by local tourism bureaus. [...]. ^ top ^

Volunteer lawyers offer legal assistance in poor Chinese regions (Xinhua)
2012-07-16
Volunteer lawyers and law students are offering legal assistance in China's poor regions and have helped local governments to resolve nearly 4,000 cases of group disputes in three years. Their efforts are part of the "one-plus-one" China Legal Assistance Volunteering Action Campaign held since 2009, according to a conference on the campaign on Sunday. The campaign is intended to extend the network of legal assistance to the entire country. So far, it has covered 19 provincial regions including Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai, Ningxia and Gansu. Over the past three years, nearly 800 lawyers and university students visited about 300 counties lacking legal resources in underprivileged areas and volunteered their services for nearly 1 million locals, said Yue Xuanyi, director-general of the China Legal Aid Foundation, the campaign's organizer. Volunteers handled more than 23,000 legal assistance cases, held more than 2,000 legal lectures and provided nearly 10 million consultations, which won praises from the locals and greatly contributed to the promotion of legal services in West China, Yue said. More than 128 carefully-selected lawyers will take part in the 2012 campaign, he said. The number of legal assistance cases has reached 2.65 million over the past five years, with an annual increase of 23.5 percent, providing legal consultations for 20.78 million people, up 12.8 percent annually, official statistics show. ^ top ^

Over-centralized power remains key obstacle: Party newspaper (Xinhua)
2012-07-16
The over-centralization of power is still hindering China's development more than 30 years after late leader Deng Xiaoping addressed the same problem, a Communist Party of China (CPC) newspaper said Monday. In 1980, Deng said the over-centralization was the root of many problems with the country's leadership, including a lack of internal democracy and excessive privilege, said a commentary in the Study Times, a weekly newspaper affiliated with the Party School of the Central Committee of the CPC. "The problems still exist," the commentary said. It said that with over-centralization, power will never function transparently, a fact that is undermining the common political identity of society and damaging the image of the CPC. In light of the urgency of political reforms and other problems, further reforms are unavoidable and are the only solution for many problems facing society, said the commentary. Reforms should focus on the most practical problems of the greatest and most direct concern to the people, including the widening income gap, corruption, establishing a democratic system for supervision and social justice. It warned that the public credibility of some local authorities has dropped, resulting in increasing administrative costs and pressure to maintain social stability. However, reforms should also be conducted in an orderly way, it stressed. It specified a list of items that should be focused on by authorities, including upholding the CPC's authority and avoiding copying the political systems of other countries while reforming the country's basic political system. In addition, it also highlighted the need to gather public opinions and keep society well-informed in making decisions, as well as to bring concrete and apparent benefits to win support from the people. ^ top ^

China to strengthen vocational training for disabled (Xinhua)
2012-07-17
China will strengthen vocational training for the disabled population and help them find jobs through a variety of rehabilitation programs, according to a joint notice issued Monday. The notice, issued by the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF) and two ministries, requires relevant government agencies to subsidize training programs and offer free information and employment services for the disabled. Local administrations are urged to formulate mid- and long-term as well as annual training plans for the disabled, according to the notice. The plans should be based on local economic development and cater to the needs of disabled people, it said. Official statistics show that China has 85 million people with some form of disability. A government action plan released in June stated that China will help 13 million disabled people receive rehabilitation through the implementation of key rehabilitation programs. The National Human Rights Action Plan of China (2012-2015), published by the State Council Information Office, pledges to make efforts to help the disabled, improve relevant social security and services and protect their rights and interests. The action plan pledges that the state will stabilize and expand employment for the disabled by providing employment services and vocational training for those who seek employment, with the goal of creating 800,000 new jobs for the disabled by 2015. [...]. ^ top ^

Senior official stresses stability prior to national congress (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
Zhou Yongkang, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has called for confidence and more concrete methods to ensure social stability for the upcoming 18th National Congress of the CPC. Zhou, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks Tuesday at a meeting on keeping social stability. Stressing maintaining stability as the highest priority for the Party and government organizations at all levels, Zhou urged the government to coordinate the domestic and international situations while balancing reform, development and stability. "Integrated measures should be adopted in order to solve issues that affect social stability from the sources," Zhou said, citing prevention efforts in various aspects such as improving people's livelihoods, scientific and democratic policy-making, just and clean-handed law enforcement as well as closer relations between officials and civilians. Zhou urged Party and government officials to pay special attention to conflict-prone areas including land appropriation, building demolition, labor contracts and environmental protection. "Campaigns against separatism and terrorism should be deepened and any sabotage attempts by domestic and overseas groups must be dealt with in accordance with laws and regulations so as to ensure the stability in key regions such as Beijing, Xinjiang and Tibet," Zhou said. Zhou stressed that grassroots organizations should play a bigger role in solving conflict by improving their social management methods and protecting people's interests. "Party and government officials should go deep into local communities and talk face-to-face with residents with difficulties so as to dealt with their problems and feel closer to local people," Zhou said. ^ top ^

Supreme procuratorate urges adaption to revised law (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
China's top procuratorate on Tuesday urged procuratorates at all levels to implement new rules created to fit the demands of the amended Criminal Procedure Law and avoid the abuse of power. Procuratorates should understand the boundaries of power in accordance with the new law and should not give extended or restrictive explanations for the law, Sun Qian, vice president of the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), said at a meeting attended by procurators from across the country. China amended its Criminal Procedural Law in March during the annual session of the National People's Congress, the top legislative body, to include the phrase "respecting and protecting human rights" in the law's first chapter. The revised law stresses protecting suspects and defendants from "illegal restriction, detention and arrest." The "respecting and protecting human rights" provision should be implemented within procuratorates immediately, according to a statement released after the meeting, although the amended law will not go into effect until Jan. 1 next year. Procuratorates should strictly follow rules related to creating audio and video records of inquiries, the statement said. According to the modified SPP rules, procuratorates at all levels should "properly use coercive measures" and refrain from using them if possible during inquiries. The new rules also concern issues such as technological investigation methods, home surveillance for occupational crime and the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence. The SPP warned procurators across the country to refrain from engaging in "arbitrary or selective law enforcement" and to ensure a smooth transition for the newly amended Criminal Procedure Law. ^ top ^

Over one-tenth of convicts in criminal cases receive severe penalties (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
About 14.21 percent of 1.05 million convicts in criminal cases last year received severer penalties than five-years imprisonment, according to a report on China's legal system development released Tuesday. The number included the convicts sentenced to life imprisonment and death, said the report issued by the China Law Society annually. But it did not give the exact number of people sentenced to death. Last year, courts at all levels closed about 11.49 million cases, including 840,000 criminal ones, the report said. Criminal cases related to food safety received a higher priority in court last year while corruption cases remained a top priority, the report said. A total of 278 cases of producing and distributing poisonous and harmful foods and more than 27,000 corruption cases were closed last year, according to the report. Prosecutors also worked hard on corruption cases. They investigated about 44,000 suspects in 32,567 graft cases last year, the report said. Among the suspects involved in bribery, 2,524 were officials holding higher positions than county heads, including seven at the minister or governor level. In addition, 10,585 officials were investigated for breach of duty, a year-on-year increase of 3.5 percent, the report said. [...]. ^ top ^

Second court accepts disputed confession (China Daily)
2012-07-19
A court in Zhejiang province on Wednesday sentenced a former official to two years in prison for taking bribes after accepting his confession as proof of guilt. The verdict was widely observed because the confession, which the former official said had been given under torture, was rejected by another court during a first trial. That was believed to be the first time on the mainland a court rejected evidence deemed as being obtained through illegal means. The Intermediate People's Court of Ningbo in Zhejiang province ruled Zhang Guoxi, a former official in the construction department of the government-run Donghu holiday resort, guilty of bribery. Zhang was sentenced to two years in prison and his illegal gains will be confiscated. [...] The prosecutor's office produced a confession signed by Zhang at the first trial, in the Yinzhou District People's Court in Ningbo. Zhang, however, retracted his confession in court and said he was tortured into making it. Judges from the district court ruled the confession invalid because it was "obtained without proper procedures". [...] Prosecutors, who insisted on the legitimacy of the confession, appealed to the intermediate court and delivered supplementary evidence - the testimony of two people and video clips of the interrogation. Meanwhile, Zhang appealed the initial guilty verdict. The intermediate court, after two hearings, ruled on Wednesday the supplementary evidence is sufficient to prove that Zhang's confession was legally obtained and could be used as evidence. [...] Chen Guangzhong, a renowned criminal-procedure law professor at China University of Political Science and Law, said the first court's finding that Zhang's confession was invalid as evidence was a landmark ruling. In China, defendants' claims that police or prosecutors illegally obtained evidence were often either ignored by courts or prosecutors were allowed to submit a statement clearing themselves, he said. What the district court did has broken with the notion that "once a suspect is considered guilty, it doesn't matter whether the evidence to prove his guilt was obtained legally or not", he said. In 2010, China published a regulation barring illegally obtained evidence in courts. Forced confessions were outlawed in the latest revision of the country's Criminal Procedure Law. The revision, passed in March, will take effect on Jan 1. On Tuesday, the Supreme People's Procuratorate called on prosecutors at all levels to "faithfully" carry out the revised law and completely record the interrogations. ^ top ^

Document regulating medical workers issued (China Daily)
2012-07-19
Medical workers are prohibited from receiving gifts in any form from patients or kickbacks from companies, said an official document regulating medics' practices. The Ministry of Health, the State Food and Drug Administration and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine issued the document containing 60 items on Wednesday. Its provisions apply to all medical workers on the mainland, including related administrative staff in health institutions. "It will help to better regulate the practices of China's medical workers, improve medical care quality, amend the doctor-patient relationship and ensure the smooth implementation of ongoing medical reforms," Zhao Minggang, deputy director of the ministry's department of medical administration, said on Wednesday. In recent years, China has seen an increasingly strained relationship between medics and patients due to a lack of funding for hospitals and an emphasis on market orientation that has led to overtreatment, he said. So far this year, there have been eight occasions when doctors were injured or killed, according to Xie Qilin, secretary-general of the Chinese Medical Doctor Association, which also took part in drafting the document. [.] Doctors are required to strictly follow clinical guidelines and administer proper and rational medication, said the document. "Overtreatment is prohibited," the document said. Xie [...] revealed that the association, together with the ministry, was now considering introducing a "blacklist" to shame medics who break the regulations. Authorities of health institutions are in charge of enforcing the document, said Zhao. The document will play a role when it comes to evaluating medics and deciding the payroll. However, he also admitted that the document could not define punishments other than administrative measures, which might undermine its authority. Zhao also revealed that the ministry is considering introducing mandatory liability insurance on the mainland. [...] Earlier on Wednesday, the ministry launched the Chinese version of the Patient Safety Curriculum Guide, devised by the World Health Organization. The guide aims to upgrade the level of care and attention given to hospital patients. [...]. ^ top ^

3 billion yuan in public housing funds embezzled (Global Times)
2012-07-19
Almost 3 billion yuan ($471 million) earmarked for the construction of government-subsidized houses for low income earners was embezzled in 2011, according to a report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) on Wednesday. The NAO audited 66 major cities in 18 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions and found 22 local government departments misused 2.95 billion yuan in funds for low-income housing on some non-public housing projects and infrastructure construction. The report said that 29 government departments irregularly appropriated or held 2.33 billion yuan of the low-income housing funds. Low-income houses are being built to solve the housing difficulties faced by mid- and low-income people, and include mainly low-rent houses, affordable housing and government-subsidized houses. Premier Wen Jiabao said in March last year that the government is committed to building another 10 million units of public housing. In the 66 cities the NAO audited, 7.05 million units were built between November and March. Among the finished ones, 2,801 low-income housing units were sold as commercial flats and 226 units were used in other ways, said the report, without specifying how. Meanwhile, 14,600 built units were shelved for over half a year, greatly affecting the housing utilization rate, the report said. [...] According to the available data on the NAO's official website, from 2008 to 2011, 121 cases passed to the related departments by the NAO have been resolved but none of them is related to the misuse of low-income housing funds. [...]. ^ top ^

Hukou restrictions to be loosened to give equal access to resources (Global Times)
2012-07-20
The government has vowed to separate the provision of basic public services from the hukou, or household registration, to promote equal access to resources. The overall direction is for basic public services to be extended from hukou holders to residents, Hu Zucai, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, said on Thursday, introducing the country's first national plan for public services between 2011 and 2015. It means that people may be able to get basic public services such as health care, free nine-year compulsory education, and social security in their place of residence rather than their hometown. The plan aims to promote more equal services across urban and rural areas, different regions of the country and different groups of people, said Hu. With a floating population of over 260 million, China's rapid urbanization and increasing mobility have contributed to both tremendous economic growth and intensifying conflicts between locals and migrants over equal status and access to resources. The hukou system's unbalanced access to resources could cause tension and conflict. Migrant workers often complain of unfair treatment in areas such as housing and health care, while local residents accuse migrants of crowding the city and taking up resources. At the heart of the issue is the hukou system, which, many argue, hinders people's free migration. [...] Zhu Lijia, at the Chinese Academy of Governance, said, "Without changing the hukou system into a residence system, the reform would only lead to confusion and more conflicts." "Ultimately, we need to abolish the hukou system and establish a residence system, so that people can live wherever they want and enjoy the services local government provide," said Zhu. ^ top ^

Govt departments go over budget (Global Times)
2012-07-20
Central government departments unveiled their "three public expenses" in 2011 on Thursday, findings from which reveal that expenditures of several central government departments surpassed their budgets. Of some 40 central government departments that declared their "three public expenses," referring to spending on overseas trips, vehicles and official receptions, six departments, including the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation's top economic planner, reported expenditures beyond their budgets in 2011, according to official data that is openly available. The Ministry of Culture was least capable of keeping its fiscal overheads within the budget among the six central government departments, which spent a total of 45.66 million yuan ($7.16 million) over the past year, 8.77 million yuan more than its budget, according to a statement posted on the ministry's website. The Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security announced that its expenditures in 2011 made up 90.86 percent of its budget, however the budget was not in line with the version unveiled by the ministry in July 2011. If based on the original budget of 18.5 million yuan, the ministry's 19.08 million yuan in overheads would be beyond the budget. The central government departments' spending disclosure for the second year come amid rising calls for fiscal transparency in the nation, where central government departments spent a total of 9.36 billion yuan on the "three public expenses" in 2011, according to data by the Ministry of Finance. Last year, a majority of 98 central government departments and organizations opened their books to the public, except for a few departments including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which cited national safety concerns for their reluctance to disclose their spending. [...] The State Council released regulations on July 9 that stipulate severe punishments for those who spend lavishly on the three public expenses. Central government departments are also subject to tighter budgets for their public overheads in 2012, with the budget goal slashed to 7.98 billion yuan, according to the finance ministry. ^ top ^

Chinese Internet users hit record high (Xinhua)
2012-07-20
About 40 percent of Chinese citizens use the Internet, with the total Internet population reaching 538 million by June, when cell phones became the most frequently used device for going online in China, a recent report showed. The mobile Internet population, totaling 388 million, outnumbered desktop users for the first time due to the rising popularity of smart phones and innovative mobile applications, according to a report released by China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) Thursday. While the number of Mobile Internet users increased by 32.7 million from the end of 2011, the percentage of people who use desktop computers has seen a 2.7 percentage point fall compared with the second half of 2011, said the report. [...] The CNNIC report also revealed that 27.7 percent of mobile Internet users watch online videos with cell phones. The Internet has facilitated people's life and work, affecting China's economy with all industries using the Internet as a major means for development, but it also raised government costs for social supervision and management, experts said. [...]. ^ top ^

Coal mine accidents decrease in Jan-June (Xinhua)
2012-07-20
Both the number of coal mine accidents and death toll nationwide decreased in the first half of this year, an official of State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) announced Thursday in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region. Yang Dongliang, director of SAWS, said during a conference that the number of coal mine accidents in China from January to June decreased 28.2 percent year-on-year and the death toll also dropped 26.3 percent. Although work safety in the coal mining industry has made some progress, the situation is still tough and accidents haven't been wiped out, said Yang. According to statistics released by the SAWS, seven serious accidents -- which are defined as having a death toll between 10 to 30 people -- happened during the past six months, and a total of 98 people died in those accidents. China's mines are among the deadliest in the world. Data from the SAWS showed that 1,973 miners were killed in coal mine accidents in 2011. The death toll for that year, however, was 19 percent lower than that of 2010. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Guangzhou daily omits sections again (SCMP)
2012-07-18
The Guangzhou-based New Express newspaper was missing most of its regular sections for the second day in a row yesterday following the removal of its editor-in-chief on Monday. Analysts and journalists attribute the move to tightened censorship ahead of this year's Communist Party national congress. Wang Yang, the provincial party boss, is regarded as a leading contender forelevation to the party's leadership. The editorial page was once again missing, while only two pages were devoted to national and international news (on Monday there were none). [...] Although veteran Guangdong journalists said the punishment was a result of the newspaper's reprinting on July 10 of a full page of reports from the Jinan Daily, a Shandong government mouthpiece, about the early lives of five Politburo members, the Jinan Daily has not received any punishment. The same report, which was also carried by the People's Daily's website and China News Service, was in Jinan Daily's online archive yesterday. Professor Hu Xingdou, of the Beijing Institute of Technology, said Guangdong's media were the most influential on the mainland. [...] Zhu Jianguo, a Shenzhen-based independent commentator, said the censorship suggested that Guangdong, once renowned for having a much more liberal environment for the expression of public opinion than the rest of the mainland, had been placed under stricter control than other provinces because Wang, wanted to make sure of a smooth run-up to the announcement of the new Politburo Standing Committee at the party congress in the autumn. "There's been lots of social unrest and protests in Guangdong recently, which has attracted Beijing's attention," he said. "It's possible that Wang decided to further tighten control of the media to ensure there's zero trouble during the last few months of his tenure. "In fact, the province just appointed a new propaganda chief from Beijing in May, with his iron-fisted style disgusting many Guangdong journalists." Zhu said the way Guangdong propaganda authorities punished the New Express served as a warning to other newspapers, meaning newsrooms were likely to exercise increasing self-censorship and only choose safe news topics. "The New Express was the only active newspaper in Guangdong after The Southern Metropolis News and the Southern Weekly were muzzled," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Senior officer urges armed forces in Tibet to safeguard stability, ethnic harmony (Xinhua)
2012-07-14
A high-ranking military officer urged armed forces stationed in Tibet to safeguard social stability and harmony with the help of the civilian sector and among different ethnic groups, according to a Friday statement from the military. Guo Boxiong, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), made the remark during a recent visit to Tibet, the statement said. Armed forces stationed in Tibet should protect the sovereignty, security and interests of the country and contribute to the long-term stability and prosperity of Tibet, Guo said. They should welcome the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) with excellent performance, he said. More efforts should be made to ensure the armed forces' loyalty to the CPC, the security and stability of the armed forces and its safeguarding the security and stability of border and air defense, Guo said. He also urged the armed forces to step up training and prepare themselves for combat-related tasks, as well as assist local governments in maintaining social stability. ^ top ^

Nepal becomes Tibet's most important trading partner: official (Xinhua)
2012-07-16
Nepal is the most important and stable trading partner of the Tibet autonomous region in southwest China as bilateral trade accounted for more than 70 percent of Tibet's total foreign trade volume in 2011, an official said Sunday. Bilateral trade skyrocketed to 945 million U.S. dollars in 2011, up 86.2 percent year-on-year, said Gao Yinhua, an official with the region's Commerce Department. With better transport infrastructure, the bilateral trade has enjoyed a boost in recent years and Nepal is the most important trading partner of Tibet, Gao said. In 2000 the trade volume between Nepal and Tibet exceeded 200 million U.S. dollars, in comparison with 60 million dollars in 1997, according to official figures. [...]. ^ top ^

Modernization and religion in harmony (China Daily)
2012-07-17
While modernization and traditional culture exist in harmony in Tibet Autonomous Region, religion and secular groups are also thriving. Monasteries play a critical role in Tibet where Buddhism and other religions wield a strong influence over the masses. Nearly 90 percent of the region's 3 million people, mostly ethnic Tibetans, are devout Buddhists. In Tibet Autonomous Region there are nearly 1,700 Buddhist sites and more than 46,000 Tibetan Buddhist monks. To better serve and manage the monasteries, the local government has started a number of practical projects to benefit monasteries, according to Soinamrigdzin, vice-chief of the Tibet Autonomous Region's United Front Department. The government plans to invest more than 1 billion yuan ($157 million) to improve the infrastructure of monasteries. The projects, which will be completed in 2014, include supplying water, electricity, TVs and libraries to monasteries and improving the traffic. The funds are allocated by governments at various levels. Even monasteries in remote areas are included, though water projects and traffic enhancements are tougher to implement. Equally significant for monks and nuns is the social security system newly introduced to monasteries, such as an old-age pension, medical insurance, and a minimum living allowance. About 93 percent of the region's clergy have accepted medical insurance; while more than 4,700 monks and nuns now have minimum living allowances; and about 1,900 monks and nuns, age above 60, have claimed a basic pension of 120 yuan per month, starting January. [...] Also, since 2011, 480 libraries have been built in monasteries. In five years, the nation will pour 1.7 billion yuan into the protection of Tibet's rich cultural heritage, a large portion of which will go to the protection of monasteries. Renovation of Lhasa's Johkang Temple has been completed, while Xigaze's Tashilhunpo Monastery is among eight other monasteries whose repairs are underway. "Monasteries are important carriers of Tibet's culture. They are also places for religious people to pursue their beliefs, inherit culture and satisfy believers' needs, and they shouldn't be a factor of instability in Tibet," Soinamrigdzin says. "The management work of Tibetan Buddhism is a long-term and complicated job, and we must have enough patience while respecting its own traditions.". ^ top ^

Dalai Lama's way out requires compassion (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
Describing self-immolation as "very, very delicate political issue," the 14th Dalai Lama has said he will "remain neutral" on the topic in order to avoid offending the relatives of the self-immolators. The remark demonstrates that politics remains a vital factor in the Buddhist's decision-making process, despite the fact that he has claimed to have relinquished his political and administrative role in the so-called "Tibetan government-in-exile.". If he has devoted his mind to religion, he would explain why he hasn't explicitly forbidden self-immolation based on Buddhist doctrine. [...] "If I say something negative, then the family members of those people will feel very sad. They sacrificed their...life. It is not easy. So I do not want to create some kind of impression that this is wrong," he was quoted as saying by the Hindu, an Indian English-language newspaper. [...] The Dalai Lama does have reason to care about the grieving family members. The fear of deepening their sorrow is not as meaningful as helping them to cope with their sadness and turn misfortune into advantage. After a series of self-immolations took place in China' s Tibetan-populated regions, several copycat suicides by teenagers and depressed people have been reported. Psychologists warn that clergy immolations are demonstrating to the public that it is permissible to give up hope and their lives so long as they follow suit. Tibetans who have been taught not to observe other people's errors, as specified in Buddhist scripture, are reluctant to comment on the self-immolations by clergy and lay people, but that doesn't mean they agree with it or support it. According to reports, the Dalai Lama has prayed for those who died after committing self-immolation in public and refused to call for an end of a practice that violates a basic Buddhism doctrine -- not to kill. In the Buddhists' eyes, the Dalai Lama is their spiritual leader, if he reminds the followers of the doctrine, the self-immolation tragedy will definitely end. It is immoral and inhumane to sacrifice other people's lives for one's own political agenda. While overseas splittists brand self-immolations as a "protest of Chinese repression" and "cultural genocide," local Tibetans have found themselves gaining easier and broader access to education, traveling more conveniently, living in better houses and continuing to maintain Buddhist tradition. Anyone who visits Tibet can see for themselves the progress China has made in facilitating local democracy, as well as social and economic development. Like any other country, China has its own imperfections. The situations in Tibetan-populated regions are no worse than elsewhere across China. From a Buddhist perspective, aren't these imperfections a healthy reminder for people to renunciate that which binds them to suffering and to nourish the compassion to do more good for the world? Playing up problems for the purpose of sowing discord and hatred are detrimental to freedom in Buddhism and world peace. [...] If the Dalai Lama's top concern is Buddhism, the solution to his dilemma is not in politicking, but inspiring people within his influence to exercise more compassion and avoid more self-immolations. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong chief raises measures to improve people's livelihood (Xinhua)
2012-07-17
HONG KONG - Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung raised a set of measures to improve people's livelihood at his first Legislative Council question-and-answer session on Monday. Speaking at the Legislative Council, Leung said careful consideration and long-term strategies are needed to properly tackle the problem of poverty among the elderly. He said, as proposed in his election manifesto, those in need could get double allowance while the income and asset declaration limits would be on the liberal side. The allowance would increase to 2,200 HK dollars (about 283.5 U.S. dollars) per month. About 400,000 seniors could benefit from an enhanced old-age living allowance if the Legislative Council's Finance Committee approves a 6 billion HK dollars additional expenditure, he added. [...] To further enhance seniors' health services, Leung said when the next batch of health care vouchers for the elderly rolls out at the start of 2013, they would increase to 1,000 HK dollars a year from 500 HK dollars. In terms of public housing, Leung pointed out that 5,000 eligible applicants will be allowed to purchase Home Ownership Scheme flats with premium not yet paid on the secondary market. He said these buyers would have to pay a premium later if they sell the flat in the open market. This can facilitate the turnover of Home Ownership Scheme flats and help eligible people to buy flats, he added. According to him, the scheme will launch in January when the first batch of 5,000 buyers will be selected. The target group is those families which monthly income is 30,000 HK dollars or less, mainly first-time home buyers. [...] Leung also suggested allocating 500 million HK dollars from the Lotteries Fund to form a fund to provide loans to social enterprises. (1 U.S. dollar equals 7.76 HK dollars). ^ top ^

HK patriotic education causes controversy (Global Times)
2012-07-20
The Hong Kong Professional Teachers' Union (HKPTU) is calling on authorities in Hong Kong to cancel a trial patriotic education course that would use a 34-page textbook featuring controversial content. The book, entitled "The China Model" and compiled by the Hong Kong Patriotic Education Services Center and the Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, aims to equip students in the special administrative region with patriotic knowledge. [...] Media reports in Hong Kong said the book introduces students to the mainland political system and features officials in a favorable light. Chen Junli, professor at the Center for Studies of Hong Kong, Macao and Pearl River Delta of the Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou, told the Global Times Thursday that patriotic education is necessary for students in the region. "Students in Hong Kong had colonial education, which resulted in the fact that they don't have a national consciousness. This class will help them know more about the Chinese mainland," Chen said. [...] "Authorities have been mulling the launching of this courses since the handover of Hong Kong to China from the UK in 1997," Chen said. However, critics of the book argue that it glosses over issues like the control of online content and food safety scandals, said the local media. "The public was fine with the idea until the book, which is not so objective, was distributed to schools, and mostly focuses on the bright side. That's what fueled the controversy," Chen added. The HKPTU declined to comment when reached by the Global Times Thursday, but confirmed that local residents would take to the street on July 29 to again demand authorities cancel the course before the new semester. In previous media reports, the HKPTU said nearly 40 percent of the region's elementary schools will not teach the patriotic education course this coming fall semester, and called on authorities to suspend the course and consult public opinion. It also wants the focus of the course to shift from patriotism to citizen education. [...] The Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong said on Wednesday that some 100 church schools in the region will not offer the course, while the local Education Bureau said it has set up a three-year transition period before the course is fully implemented. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

China Development Bank promises financial support to Taiwanese enterprises (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
China Development Bank (CDB) pledged Wednesday to offer 50 billion yuan (7.94 billion U.S. dollars) in credit to support Taiwanese companies on the Chinese mainland during the 2012-2015 period. The CDB will offer financial help to facilitate the enterprises' upgrading and transformation, step up support for Taiwanese mid- and small-sized companies, and help expand cooperation between the mainland and the island in the emerging industries, science and technology, agriculture and tourism. As of the end of June, the bank had issued over 70 billion yuan of loans to more than 870 Taiwanese projects. On Wednesday, the bank also promised to give financial support of up to 20 billion yuan to transportation construction in Beijing to ease growing traffic pressures. ^ top ^

China opposes U.S.-Taiwan official contacts (Xinhua)
2012-07-20
China opposes official contacts and development of substantial relations between the United States and Taiwan, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei on Thursday. China's position is consistent and clear for U.S.-Taiwan relations, he added. Hong made the remarks in response to the report that Dawn L. McCall, Coordinator for International Information Programs of the U.S. State Department had visited Taiwan recently. She had also met with senior Taiwan officials including Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou. China urges the U.S. to adhere to the One-China policy and the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, said the spokesman. "The U.S. side should address issues related to Taiwan appropriately and stop any form of official contacts with Taiwan, so as to avoid damaging the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and Sino-U.S. relations," Hong said. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's Q2 GDP growth slows to 7.6 pct (Xinhua)
2012-07-14
China's economy expanded 7.6 percent year-on-year in the second quarter of 2012, slowing from 8.1 percent in the first quarter, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said Friday. The figure, which marked the sixth consecutive quarter of decline, revealed the slowest growth pace since the first quarter of 2009 and was within market expectation of below 8 percent. On a quarterly basis, the country's economy grew 1.8 percent in the second quarter, NBS spokesman Sheng Laiyun said at a press conference. [...] Although the economic growth rate continued to slow in the second quarter, it was "rather good" compared with developed nations and other emerging economies, Sheng noted. Given the sluggish external market and global economic woes, China lowered its full-year growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent in early March, after its economy grew 9.2 percent in 2011 from the previous year. [...] The GDP data headlined a flurry of indicators published on Friday signalling that the world's second-largest economy is slowing, boosting investor expectations of continued policy action to support growth. Sheng reiterated the government's top priority of stabilizing growth as the country faces increasing downward pressure. "The government will give higher priority to stabilizing growth, and continue to strengthen and improve macro-control to promote the steady and relatively fast economic growth," the spokesman said. Other indicators published Friday showed first-half industrial value-added output rose 10.5 percent year-on-year, down from 11.6-percent increase seen in the first quarter. Retail sales increased 14.4 percent from one year earlier in the first half, slower than the 14.8-percent growth registered in the first quarter. Fixed-asset investment, one of the principal drivers of China's economy, grew 20.4 percent year-on-year to 15.07 trillion yuan. The growth rate moderated by 0.5 percentage point compared to that in the first quarter, and was down 5.2 percentage points from the same period last year. Although acknowledging that property market regulation has dragged on China's economy, Sheng stressed the government will not relax its curbs on the sector for the sake of more sustainable economic development. [...] Sheng is upbeat about China's economic prospects, saying "the country's still undergoing a rapid process of industrialization, urbanization, marketization and internationalization, which will unleash huge investment and consumption potential to bolster the economy." The spokesman also dismissed concerns over deflation, as money supply has not fallen dramatically. M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, increased 13.6 percent year-on-year during the first half, according to central bank data. Friday's GDP data came as the country's inflation eased to a 29-month low of 2.2 percent in June, leaving the government ample room to introduce more pro-growth measures to boost the slowing economy. [...]. ^ top ^

China reiterates prudent monetary policy for 2012 (Xinhua)
2012-07-14
The central bank reiterated Friday that the country will continue to implement a proactive fiscal policy and prudent monetary policy in 2012. The statement was released by the People's Bank of China after data showed that growth in the world's second-largest economy slowed for a sixth quarter, rising 7.6 percent year on year during the April-June period. China's economy is facing a complicated environment both at home and abroad and the government's macroeconomic regulations are challenged by increasing dilemmas, the central bank said, citing the downward pressure on economic growth and lower profits for some companies. The central bank vowed to enhance the role of finance in supporting the real economy and beef up services to boost demand and the development of small enterprises. The country will move ahead with interest rate reforms and step up efforts to develop a market-oriented benchmark interest rate system, it said. It also pledged to improve the exchange rate formation mechanism for the yuan and maintain the basic stability of the currency while expanding the currency's use in cross-border trade settlement and investment. [...]. ^ top ^

Leaders hit the road to boost growth (China Daily)
2012-07-16
Inspection tours to pump up economic confidence are being undertaken by top leaders after economic data recorded the slowest growth in three years. Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice-Premier Li Keqiang both highlighted the need to "strengthen confidence" in stabilizing growth, although they warned against risks ahead during their inspection tours over the weekend. Wen warned on Sunday that "hardship" may continue. The premier underlined the "complexity and severity" of the economic situation as well as challenges caused by downward pressure. Wen called for greater efforts to strengthen the "vitality and dynamism" of the economy, including more support for logistics and the private sector, during an inspection tour of Southwest China's Sichuan province from Friday to Sunday. His comments came after data released on Friday showed Asia's largest economy reported 7.6 percent growth in the second quarter. [...] The premier, however, stressed that efforts to stabilize the economy are working as it was running at a slower, and more stable, pace of growth. "The growth rate is still within the government's target range set early this year, and stabilization policies are working," Wen said. Wen said China's economic fundamentals remained sound and the country retained huge growth potential. He cited a bumper summer harvest, easing inflation and rising incomes as evidence. A recovery in home sales, a jump in investment, lower interest rates and reserve requirements for banks are boosting the economy. In the second half of the year, the government will "increase efforts to preset and fine-tune its policies, and make them more targeted and effective," he pledged. [...] Also during an inspection tour over the weekend, Vice-Premier Li Keqiang said that domestic demand and balanced growth were the way forward for the economy. [...] He said China should expand consumption and restructure the economy by structural tax cuts, stimulate consumption and encourage and guide private investment. The country should also nurture emerging industries and transform outdated production methods to those of better quality, Li said. [...]. ^ top ^

No abnormalities found in Roche Company investigations (People's Daily Online)
2012-07-17
Recently, U.K. media reported that the multinational pharmaceutical enterprise Roche Company is being investigated emergently by European drug supervision departments for concealing the report of 15,000 drug fatalities and 65,000 adverse drug reactions. The State Food and Drug Administration of China (SFAD) said on July 11 that it was paying close attention to this incident, and according to China's adverse drug reaction monitoring, no abnormality has been found regarding the drugs involved in the incident. According to sources, this incident involves eight kinds of drugs, which are mainly used for treating such diseases as the mammary cancer, intestinal cancer, hepatitis, skin diseases and eye diseases. Of these drugs, the Herceptin for treating mammary cancer, Mabthera for treating malignant lymphoma, Pegasys for treating hepatitis C, Avastin for treating rectal cancer and Tarceva for treating lung cancer are sold in China. These drugs have been in the Chinese market for several years or even more than 10 years. The SFDA said that no abnormality has been found in China's adverse reaction monitoring on the drugs involved in this incident. After the incident occurred, the Roche Company made a statement on July 11, saying that the incident of 15,000 adverse reactions of no safety assessment reported by the media was only limited in an U.S. project supported by patients. According to the current assessment by the Roche Company, there is no sign showing drug products of the Roche Company are unsafe. Medical experts said that normally medicines must be tested by three institutions, namely the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and Medicines and the U.K. Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) before they are exported to China. However, these medicines must also pass through the State Food and Drug Administration of China. As Chinese people are different with foreigners in physique characteristics, foreign data cannot be directly used in China and must pass through China's testing institutions. ^ top ^

Domestic auto brands falter as industry growth brakes (Xinhua)
2012-07-17
China's fledgling domestic car brands, which once aspired to be globally competitive, now face the risk of crashing as the world's largest car market loses steam, analysts said at an ongoing auto show in northeast China. Auto sales grew 2.9 percent in the first half from a year earlier to 9.6 million vehicles, showing stronger signs of slowing down compared with the 3.4-percent gain registered the previous year and a 48-percent surge in the first half of 2010, data from the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) showed. Homegrown brands bore the brunt of the slowdown after robust gains in previous years. According to a CAAM report, domestic companies sold 3.15 million passenger cars in the first six months of the year, down 0.2 percent from the same period in 2011. The domestic share of the passenger car market also fell by 3 percent to 41.4 percent in the first half, further down from an annual 3.4-percent decline in 2011. [...] China's GDP growth receded to 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the slowest in three years. In addition, the country's three biggest cities all imposed limits on car purchases, with Guangzhou capping annual issuances of license plates earlier this month following similar schemes in Beijing and Shanghai. [...] Dong Yang, general secretary of CAAM, said half of China's domestic auto brands may be wiped out over the next few years, since their poor sales are unlikely to reverse anytime soon. [...]. ^ top ^

China to tighten standard for rare-earth mining, cut number of licenses (Global Times)
2012-07-17
China plans to cut the number of rare-earth mining licenses and raise market access standard for miners, as part of efforts to promote industry consolidation and reduce environmental damage. The number of rare-earth mining licenses in Ganzhou, East China's Jiangxi Province, will be reduced from 88 to 44, the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement on its website Monday. The number of rare-earth mining licenses in Southwest China's Sichuan Province has been cut to 7 from 19. And Baogang Group has integrated all the mining and refinery businesses in Inner Mongolia, the statement said. After the consolidation, the number of rare-earth mining licenses in China will be brought down to 65, it said. A market access standard for rare-earth mining will be released soon. Qualified miners should be enterprises which have annual revenue of at least 1 billion yuan ($156.8 million), the Economic Information Daily reported Monday, citing a draft of the new standard. "The move aims to encourage big enterprises to enter the rare-earth mining sector, as the sector is highly fragmented and full of small miners. Unqualified miners will be eliminated from the industry," Chen Zhanheng, an expert at the Chinese Society of Rare Earths, told the Global Times Monday. "Rare-earth miners will be better regulated, which would lead to a reduction of domestic output of rare-earth minerals," said Zhu Zhiwei, a senior analyst at Sublime China Information."It will benefit from the sustainable development of the rare-earth sector," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

China suffers 40 trade remedy probes in H1 (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Tuesday that more trade remedy probes have been launched against Chinese products in the first half of the year amid the global economic slump. In the first six months, 18 countries and regions have made 40 trade remedy investigations against Chinese products, a jump of 38 percent from a year earlier, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said at a regular press conference. These investigations involved 3.7 billion U.S. dollars, a surge of 76 percent from last year, the spokesman said. Investigation cases initiated by major developing countries such as Brazil and India accounted for 70 percent, but cases by developed economies accounted for 60 percent in terms of value involved, he said. The spokesman said the Chinese government always sticks to the principle of free trade and opposes all kinds of trade protectionism and the abuse of trade remedies. [...] Regarding China-U.S. trade, Shen said the two nations have together filed 20 trade complaints to the World Trade Organization (WTO) dispute settlement system since China's entry into the WTO in 2001. He said 11 cases have been concluded, and the two nations are currently proceeding with nine cases, six of which were filed by the United States. ^ top ^

China's FDI inflow drops 6.9 pct in June (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
China attracted 12 billion U.S. dollars in foreign direct investment (FDI) in June, 6.9 percent less than a year earlier, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) announced on Tuesday. The figure took the country's first-half FDI inflow to 59.1 billion U.S. dollars, down 3 percent year on year, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference. Global investment remains inactive in 2012 because of a lackluster world economy, explained the spokesman. According to the "World Investment Report 2012" by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, global FDI is expected to increase at a slower rate in 2012 due to stalling global economic growth, to 1.6 trillion dollars. The MOC data showed investment from the debt-ridden European Union (EU) rebounded one percent in the first half from a year ago, Shen said. From January to May, investment from the EU declined 5.1 percent, according to the MOC data. On the other hand, rising costs and tightening land supplies in China have also shaken investors' confidence, Shen said. Data showed that in the first six months, FDI into the property sector dropped 12.4 percent from a year earlier, a much heavier decline compared to other sectors. Excluding the property sector, FDI in the country slipped just 0.1 percent year on year in the first half, he said, adding that investment in other service sectors rose 6.6 percent year on year. [...] The MOC data showed that a total of 2,444 new companies were founded with foreign capital in June, down 16.3 percent year on year. During the first six months, 11,705 new companies were set up, 13.1 percent fewer than in the same period last year. ^ top ^

China's national liquor Maotai reports strong growth (Xinhua)
2012-07-18
Maotai, China's national liquor served at official occasions and state banquets, saw its output reach 24,000 tonnes in the first half of 2012, up 15.3 percent year-on-year. The total liquor output of the Kweichow Maotai Group stood at 42,000 tonnes, as the group also produces other kinds of spirits, Yuan Renguo, group chairman, said on Monday in the southwestern province of Guizhou, where the distillery is located. The group's pre-tax sales revenue reached 17.8 billion yuan (2.8 billion U.S. dollars) in the first six months, up 38 percent from a year ago, according to Yuan. [...] Yuan said that output of the Maotai liquor is scheduled to top 33,000 tonnes for the whole year and the group's goal for this year's sales revenue is set at 35 billion yuan. [...]. ^ top ^

China's slowdown weighs on enterprises' profitability (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
China's slowing economy is beginning to weigh on the country's listed companies, with nearly half of them forecasting profit declines or losses for the first half of the year. As of Tuesday, 449 listed companies said they expect their first-half profits to decline from a year earlier, while 233 others expect losses, accounting for 46.74 percent of listed companies that have issued their first-half performance forecasts thus far. Due to economic complexity in the second quarter, 103 companies trimmed their profit forecasts for the first half, accounting for 64.78 percent of those that revised their first-half forecasts. In sharp contrast to the situation this year, 725 listed companies forecast profit increases in the first six months of last year. The slackened business outlook this year reflects the lackluster economic climate in China, as its economic growth slowed to 7.6 percent in the first half of the year, sharply down from 9.5 percent a year earlier. [...]. ^ top ^

China's railways giant announces 126 million USD manufacturing center in Malaysia (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
KUALA LUMPUR - China's leading railways manufacturer, China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Ltd. (CSR), unveiled a plan Wednesday to set up its ASEAN manufacturing center in Malaysia, citing great market potential in the region as well as the close China-Malaysia relations. [...] The company is investing up to 400 million ringgit (126.7 million U.S. dollars) in the "CSR ASEAN Rail Center", which would cover all-in-one scope of work of production, assembly, testing, overhaul and refurbishment, said Luo Chongfu, the company' s Vice President of Investment and Strategic Development. "We are expecting to generate more than 800 jobs for Malaysians," he said. "More importantly, it will substantially enhance Malaysian railway technology, know-how and expertise, maximize its localization degree and enrich the human resource pool," he added. [...] Meanwhile, the company has decided to set up its regional headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. Luo has cited the close bilateral relations between China and Malaysia, geographical advantage as the factors why his company had chosen Malaysia to set up its ASEAN manufacturing center and regional headquarters. Luo predicted that ASEAN countries would need 1,100 new cars and refurbishment service for another 700 in the next five years, and the new plant in Malaysia would provide advantage for the company to tap into the market. [...]. ^ top ^

Military allows investors in (Global Times)
2012-7-20
Authorities have pledged to further open military industries, which have included spacecraft and weapon manufacturing, to private capital in a "fair and safe manner," according to an investment guideline unveiled Thursday. Private investors and State-owned military enterprises will receive equal treatment in multiple areas, including licensing and taxation, said a guideline jointly created by the central government's defense industry supervisor and the General Armaments Department of the People's Liberation Army (PLA). Weapon development and production, the restructuring of State-owned enterprises and dual-use technologies are among the areas being encouraged for private investors. The guideline pledged to push open competition in military procurement, under which public bidding will be arranged for unclassified and minor projects. In the 2010 version of the country's catalogue of defense industries designated open to private capital, no investment ratio was set for a list of items. However, the guideline will only be applied to private investors on the Chinese mainland. It also highlighted security protocols for private players involved in related industries and pledged to boost supervision in order to safeguard national security. [...] The new guideline is in line with general policies that support private investment in government procurement. Similar guidelines from relevant government authorities came out earlier this year to give private investment equal treatment in many fields, including medical services, household waste disposal, traffic infrastructure construction and banking. [...] China's military budget for 2012 is 670 billion yuan ($105 billion). ^ top ^

China will not relax property control policies (Xinhua)
2012-07-20
China will continue to maintain a firm grip of its real estate market and consolidate previous achievements in bringing down home prices so as to prevent them from rebounding, according to an urgent government notice released Thursday. "Local authorities must strictly implement the nation's property control policies. They should not relax the control and relevant requirements unauthorized," according to the notice. "Those that have loosened up controls must set straight the policies," said the notice, which was jointly released by the Ministry of Land Resources (MLR) and the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. It also ordered local authorities to step up efforts in monitoring land pieces left idle even though they were sold. The latest announcement came as the nation's housing prices and sales both showed signs of warming. Official data released Wednesday showed that 25 cities, out of a statistical pool of 70 major cities, saw new home prices rise in June from the previous month. The figure was drastically up from six cities that saw month-on-month price gains in May. [...] The notice ordered that local authorities prioritize land supplies for affordable housing. Meanwhile, supplies for ordinary commercial residential houses should be further increased, according to the notice. The notice also said that the Ministry of Land Resources will enhance monitoring of the nation's land market in order to prevent the occurrence of high-priced land pieces for both commercial and residential property. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese banks grant more loans to small firms in H1 (Xinhua)
2012-07-20
Banks in China made more loans to small- and micro-sized enterprises in the first half of this year while reducing their lending to the property sector, according to a report by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) on Thursday. Outstanding loans to small firms by all banking institutions stood at 10.87 trillion yuan (1.72 trillion U.S. dollars) at the end of June, up 21.4 percent year-on-year, the PBOC said in a report on the direction of China's loan investment. The growth rate of lending to small companies was 10.1 and 5.9 percentage points higher than those to large and medium-sized enterprises, respectively, according to the PBOC data. Property loans outstanding rose 565.3 billion yuan to 11.32 trillion yuan at the end of June. The new property lending was 227.1 billion yuan less than a year ago. However, banks and other financial institutions extended far more loans to government-subsidized housing projects, with loans outstanding in this regard surging 62.7 percent year-on-year to 478.4 billion yuan. According to the PBOC data, all loans outstanding among the country's banking sector amounted to 59.64 trillion yuan, up 16 percent year-on-year. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK leader praises service personnel for patriotic loyalty (Xinhua)
2012-07-17
PYONGYANG - Top leader Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has commended an internal security unit for its patriotic loyalty and contribution to major construction projects, the official news agency reported Monday. In a message of thanks delivered Sunday to Unit 3154 of the Korean People's Internal Security Forces (KPISF), Kim said the unit has taken lead in implementing the plan of late leaders Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il for building a prosperous and powerful country. The faithful and genuine patriots, who have achieved "tremendous feats" in construction projects, should be learned from, added Kim, the supreme commander of the Korean People's Army. He urged the unit to continue marching ahead along the path of revolution and patriotism with stamina and set an example for the entire army. Kim also had a photo session Saturday with KPISF soldiers who have been working in major construction sites. ^ top ^

First China-DPRK film to screen in China (Xinhua)
2012-07-17
The first film co-produced by China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will be screened in China from Aug. 3, its producers announced here on Monday. The film, "Meet in Pyongyang," is also the DPRK's first co-production with a foreign country since it was founded in 1948. Setting in modern-day Pyongyang, the DPRK capital, it tells the story of a young Chinese female dancer, majoring in Korean folk dance, meeting a Korean counterpart in an exchange program and quickly befriending her, said China's Shirzat Yakup, who co-directed the film with Kim Hyong Chol from the DPRK. [...] "Meet in Pyongyang" captured the interests of audience and critics at the Shanghai International Film Festival in June, as it offers a rare glimpse of the contemporary DPRK capital and features an encounter of two young people from different backgrounds having different ideas about art and life. The film has drawn an enthusiastic response since its premiere in the DPRK on June 27. [...] The two countries' film industries have cooperated in various ways and achieved great progress over the past few years, said Li Wei, deputy director of China's State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, at the press conference. To advance the traditional friendship between Chinese and DPRK people, filmmakers in the two countries should maintain regular exchanges and jointly present more excellent work, Li suggested. "Meet in Pyongyang" opened the door of co-production between the two countries, added Pak Chun Nam, DPRK vice minister of culture, at the same press conference. [...]. ^ top ^

Kim Jong Un awarded title of Marshal of DPRK (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
PYONGYANG - Top leader Kim Jong Un of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has been awarded the title of Marshal of the DPRK, the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Wednesday. "A decision was made to award the title of Marshal of the DPRK to Kim Jong Un, supreme commander of the Korean People's Army," the KCNA said. The KCNA added that the decision was jointly issued Tuesday by the Central Committee and the Central Military Commission of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), the National Defense Commission (NDC) of the DPRK and the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the DPRK. [...] In the DPRK, marshal is the second highest title next only to grand marshal, which had been awarded to the country's founding father, Kim Il Sung, in 1992 and to the late leader Kim Jong Il posthumously in 2012. [...] On the other side of the Korean Peninsula, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak called a security meeting Wednesday to discuss changes in the DPRK as it reshuffled military leaders. [...] DPRK Foreign Minister Pak Ui-chun said in Cambodia last Saturday that his country was ready to rejoin the six-party talks. […] While meeting with Pak Ui-chun on the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings in Cambodia, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that easing the situation on the Korean Peninsula serves the interests of all parties. China will strengthen communications and coordination with all parties and work together to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula and create conditions for the resumption of the six-party nuclear talks, Yang said. ^ top ^

DPRK appoints new chief of army general staff (Xinhua)
2012-07-19
PYONGYANG - Hyon Yong Chol, newly promoted vice marshal of the Korean People's Army (KPA), has replaced Ri Yong Ho as chief of the General Staff, the official KCNA new agency said Wednesday. In a report about servicepersons vowing to uphold Kim Jong Un's leadership with loyalty after he was made Marshal of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the KCNA identified Hyon, who attended the ceremony at the April 25 House of Culture, as "chief of the General Staff of the KPA," a post which had been held by Ri until Sunday. In his congratulatory speech, Hyon said it was the supreme mission, duty and noble obligation of servicepersons, closely united around Marshal Kim Jong Un, to reunify the country and achieve the final victory of the revolutionary cause of Juche. On Tuesday, KCNA said the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Military Commission and the National Defense Commission had promoted Hyon to vice marshal. Pyongyang announced on Monday that Vice Marshal Ri had been "relieved of all posts due to his illness" at a Sunday meeting of the Political Bureau of the WPK Central Committee. Before the announcement, Ri was also a member of the WPK Central Committee's Political Bureau and its Presidium, as well as vice chairman of the WPK's Central Military Commission. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

M.Enkhbold is satisfied with Naadam organization (Montsame)
2012-07-18
The Naadam festival has been run successfully. It was said at the cabinet meeting on Wednesday by the Deputy Premier and head of the Naadam Organizing committee M.Enkhbold. According to him, 151 people were employed in the committee divided into nine sub-committees; two thous. 56 additional seats were installed in the Central Stadium. Then the cabinet appreciated road repairing and furnishing done within the preparation for the celebration. ^ top ^

Cabinet about last year's winter and spring works (Montsame)
2012-07-18
At its regular meeting on Wednesday, the cabinet issued a resolution on results of winter and spring works in the agricultural sector and on ensuring a preparation for the 2012-2013 winter works. The Ministers have considered winter and spring works as good, performed with some 87 per cent. Mongolia prepared 1.2 million tons of hay and 46.8 thousand tons of industrial fodder; losses in livestock were miserable--275.6 thousand or 0.8 per cent, much lower than the average of many years; moreover, 99.0 per cent of female animals, counted at the beginning of 2012, gave birth, of which almost 100 per cent survived--14.4 million heads, 300 thousand of them are twins. For the time being, we have 50 million three thous. heads. In spring this year, Mongolia planted grain on 306.1 thousand hectares, potatoes--on 16.1 thousand hectares, vegetables--on 7.0 thousand hectares, fodder--on 10 thousand hectares, oil plants--on 32.3 thousand hectares and fruits--on 687.0 hectares. The cabinet members underlined an importance of keeping the positive indicators of learning some lessons. An obligation has been given to R.Sodkhuu, a head of the General Agency for Specialized Inspection, to limit the meat export until March 1 of 2013 in order to ensure the meat preparation in the city, protect domestic market of meat, stabilize meat supply. Other members of the cabinet and governors of aimags and the City's Mayor have been ordered to thoroughly get prepared for the harvesting and 2012-2013 wintering. ^ top ^

The results of elections of Mongolia (Montsame)
2012-07-19
Mongolians went to polls on June 29 to vote in their new Parliamentary representatives for the next four years. Following the election, Parliament is now comprised of three political parties, a coalition and three independents. The Democratic Party (DP) gained the majority of seats (31), however that was not sufficient to govern alone. The Mongolian People's Party (MPP) gained 25 seats, followed by the Justice Coalition of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) and the Mongolian National Democratic Party (MNDP) with 11 seats. The Civil Will-Green Party won two seats, while three seats went to independents. Four of the 76 seats remain undecided as a new vote will held in two electoral districts and two members from a rural electoral district are being investigated for an alleged violation of the Law on Elections. The new Parliament has nine female members. In order to form the Cabinet, the DP joined forces with the Justice Coalition of the MPRP and MNDP led by former President N. Enkhbayar and the Civil Will Green Party. This has made the MPP a strong opposition in Parliament. DP Chairman N. Altankhuyag will be Prime Minister and Z. Enkhbold from the DP will head Parliament. At the same time, Ulaanbaatar citizens elected members of the City Representatives' Council. The DP also gained the majority of the votes, supporting E. Bat-Uul - a partisan from the democratic movement – in his ambitious plan to transform Ulaanbaatar's huge ger districts into “house” districts through the installation of pipelines for central heating and water. ^ 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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