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
  11-17.8.12, No. 436  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Chinese national appointed to head World Bank's IFC (Xinhua)
2012-08-11
The World Bank announced Friday Cai Jinyong, a Chinese national with more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry and development, is appointed as the new Executive Vice President and CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group. "I am pleased that a world class financial and development professional like Jinyong has decided to bring his considerable talent to the work of the International Finance Corporation," World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement. "With his extensive knowledge of global financial markets and investment climates, he'll help IFC identify sound, strategic private sector investments and public-private partnerships that will help reduce poverty and create greater prosperity for people in the developing world," he added. Cai, whose appointment will be effective on Oct. 1, 2012, said he looks forward to working with all of IFC's takeholders and clients to build on its impressive record of creating opportunities for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. According to the statement, Cai started his career as a young professional at the World Bank, where he worked as an economist in Central Europe and South Asia. He then joined Morgan Stanley, and was later seconded to the China International Capital Corporation at its inception. Prior to accepting this appointment, Cai served as participating managing director in Goldman Sachs Group. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Peking University and a PhD in Economics from Boston University. IFC is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Its activities help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. ^ top ^

Trip aims at soothing concerns (SCMP)
2012-08-14
Foreign minister's Southeast Asian visit may have helped improve understanding over claims, analysts say. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's recently concluded Southeast Asian trip could help allay concerns among China's neighbours about its growing assertiveness in the South China Sea, analysts said, but it did not make China's position stronger in territorial stand-offs with members of Asean. Wrapping up the five-day trip yesterday, Yang said it could improve ties between Beijing and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations as the international and regional situation got more complicated. His itinerary illustrated China's desire for more influence over Asean. His first stop was Indonesia, followed by Malaysia and Brunei, but he left out the Philippines and Vietnam, the two Southeast Asian nations most critical of Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, triggering concerns that China was trying to divide the 10-nation bloc in an attempt to exert more influence. Yang repeatedly told Southeast Asian leaders that China was willing to work with Asean to implement the Declaration of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. In a joint statement issued by China and Indonesia after his visit, both countries vowed to implement the declaration and enhance mutual trust in order to maintain stability in the disputed waters. "Indonesia is the biggest country in the Asean group, and it is not a claimant state in the South China Sea," said Du Jifeng, a Southeast Asia affairs expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "China apparently wants to co-operate with Indonesia to tackle the disputes, or prevent further escalation." However, in what is being seen as a call for Asean to present a more united front against China, Malaysian Foreign Minister Anifah Aman urged Southeast Asian nations to settle their overlapping claims in the disputed waters before bringing them up with Beijing. Du said Southeast Asian nations had dilemmas, and might be reluctant to side with China. "It is not easy for the Asean members to co-ordinate among themselves and decide whether to give up the Philippines and Vietnam for China," he said. Asean members have been in discord in recent months over the territorial disputes, with an Asean summit last month failing to issue a joint declaration. "To a certain extent, Yang's trip can help other nations better understand more about China's stance on the dispute," said Zhang Mingliang, a South China Sea affairs expert at Jinan University. ^ top ^

China welcomes peaceful power handover in Libya (Xinhua)
2012-08-13
China has welcomed the Libyan National Transitional Council's peaceful handover of power to its newly elected national assembly. A press release from the Chinese Foreign Ministry quoted spokesman Qin Gang as saying the move on Aug. 8 marked an important step in the country's political transitional process. Qin said the Chinese side hoped Libya will achieve stability and prosperity as soon as possible. China is ready to join hands with Libya to promote continuous development of the two nations' bilateral friendly relationship of cooperation. After the handover, the national assembly elected former opposition leader Mohammed Maqrif as its president on Aug. 10. He is scheduled to pick his government, pass laws and steer Libya to full parliamentary elections after a new constitution is drafted next year. ^ top ^

China steps up Syrian diplomacy (SCMP)
2012-08-14
Visit by envoy of Assad in capital may be followed by opposition members as part of push to resolve crisis; meanwhile rebels say they downed a warplane. China said yesterday that it would host an envoy of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad and consider another visit by members of the opposition, as Beijing steps up its diplomacy to help resolve the crisis gripping the Middle Eastern country. The West and many in the Arab world have scolded China, along with its ally Russia, for vetoing United Nations Security Council resolutions designed to exert pressure on Assad. China has said it is simply trying to prevent more violence. Opposition sources say at least 18,000 people have been killed since rebels began fighting to oust Assad in March last year. Beijing, to deflect criticism and show it is trying to develop a political solution, has sent its own envoys to Syria and has already been visited by both Syrian government and opposition delegations. In its latest effort, China's foreign ministry said Assad's envoy, Bouthaina Shaaban, would begin a visit to China today and meet Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. The ministry said that China was also considering inviting members of the Syrian opposition. "To promote the political solution to the Syria problem, China has always actively balanced its work between the Syrian government and the opposition," ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a brief statement on the ministry's website. [...] Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University, said China was keen to show it was not taking sides in the Syrian conflict. "Russia has never publicly invited the opposition in Syria. They've invited the government. But China, with some prominence, has invited both sides. This is the difference between China and Russia," Shi said [...]. ^ top ^

Backing international law in China's own best interests (People's Daily)
2012-08-14
Spiderman used the famous phrase, "With great power comes great responsibility." China, I think, is a responsible country. China is not like the US. It is not invading other countries. But at the same time, it's got to play a bigger role on the world stage. I want to emphasize that China has two sets of challenges. On the one hand, China has to manage its role as a great power. In this regard, the biggest challenge China now has is psychological. China has been successful now for over 30 years since then leader Deng Xiaoping began the process of reform and opening-up in the late 1970s. Yet China continues to use the same language to describe itself. Here's one concrete example. China always says, "We are a poor developing country." Now this is true in some respects. But meanwhile, China also has the world's second largest economy. The rest of the world now sees China as a giant. [...] Though the US has been a responsible great power overall, it is opposed to international law, for domestic political reasons. China can steal a march on and leap ahead of the US by becoming a stronger supporter of international law. This will be good for China, which is now the world's No.1 exporter of goods. To export goods, you need to have global stability. And the best way to achieve that is through international law. [...] If China makes a contribution to the world by helping to develop the international law regime, Chinese officials can learn more about the rule of law and modern concepts of governance. [...] The biggest problem is always political. When the society changes, the political system must also change and adapt. China must create more space, internally, for other political forces to emerge. The CPC must now learn to strengthen political institutions. The National People's Congress should play a bigger role in allowing more diverse voices to emerge. That's a way of releasing political steam. China must avoid repeating the experience of the Soviet Union. The Soviet political reforms happened too quickly and resulted in disaster. [...] So the US, which began with a relatively clean state, took 200 years to achieve a full democracy. Now, the Chinese state has millennia of political baggage to slow it down. So if China can reform completely within a century, it will be very fast. Even the US changed progressively. China should do the same. ^ top ^

Chinese state councilor's visit to boost ties with Mongolia: ambassador (Xinhua)
2012-08-14
Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo's visit would boost the country's relations with Mongolia which were currently at the best time in history, the Chinese ambassador said here on Tuesday. During his official visit scheduled for Aug. 22-25, the two sides would explore ways to further promote the development of bilateral strategic partnership and advance mutual beneficial cooperation, Chinese Ambassador to Mongolia Wang Xiaolong said at a press conference. Dai's visit aims to further promote mutual political trust, push forward economic and trade cooperation and increase humanistic exchanges, Wang said. In recent years, China and Mongolia have maintained high-level mutual visits, with mutual political trust deepening continuously, Wand said, adding Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj and Chinese President Hu Jintao reached many important consensus during their talks on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Beijing Summit in June. Wang highlighted the rapid development of bilateral economic cooperation. In the first half of this year, bilateral trade reached 3.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 21 percent year on year, he said. Wang also lauded progress made in promoting cultural exchanges between the two countries, saying that in addition to successfully holding the Mongolia Week in China in April, Mongolia would embrace the China Month in Mongolia at the end of this month. [...] It is crucial to strengthen high-level contacts and communication and outline a blueprint for bilateral cooperation so as to further develop the bilateral ties in a new period, Wang said. ^ top ^

Chinese vice-foreign minister wraps up official visit to Nepal (Xinhua)
2012-08-14
Visiting Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying wrapped up her four-day official visit to Nepal on Tuesday. Fu said the purpose of her tour is to follow up the visit by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to Nepal in January this year and implement the bilateral agreements, especially those signed during Premier Wen's visit. During her visit, Fu, who arrived here Saturday leading a seven-member delegation, called upon Nepali Prime Minister Babu Ram Bhattarai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha along with other senior government officials, government leaders, academics, journalists and businessmen of Nepal. Fu also attended the ninth meeting of China-Nepal Consultative Mechanism which discussed promotion of bilateral trade, Chinese investment in Nepal, infrastructure development, border security and tourism promotion, among others. [...] "Developing countries like China and Nepal should try to maintain domestic political stability thus enabling us to bring about economic development and prosperity to benefit our own people," she said. Fu said the two nations should lose no time and seize the opportunity to speed up economic growth and to enter into industrialization which was missed out in the past. She also said the two sides had extensive discussions on cultural and educational exchanges and tourism in particular. [...] She also expressed appreciation of Nepal's commitment to close relations with China while supporting the One-China policy. [...] Fu also expressed China's commitment to continued support and assistance to Nepal. "We will also speed up implementing the help committed by Premier Wen Jiabao for providing some 150 million U.S. dollars worth of assistance to Nepal," she said. The vice foreign minister also said that China's central government will continue to support the Tibet Autonomous Region in enhancing exchange and cooperation with Nepal at regional levels and in providing food assistance to the mountainous regions. ^ top ^

China finishes construction of railway linking ASEAN (Xinhua)
2012-08-14
Construction workers on Tuesday laid the last piece of a railway that will link southwest China's Yunnan Province with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. The Yuxi-Mengzi Railway has a total length of 141 km with a designed maximum speed of 120 km per hour. It passes through 35 tunnels and crosses 61 bridges, which together account for 54.95 percent of the line's total length. The railway is part of the eastern line of the planned Pan-Asia Railway network, an international railway project that will also consist of central and western lines. Funded by the Ministry of Railways and the Yunnan government, the railway has a total investment of 4.5 billion yuan (709.78 million U.S. dollars). The railway is expected to become operational later this year and will boost land transportation between China and ASEAN countries. The Pan-Asia Railway network is designed to start in Kunming, capital of Yunnan, and pass through the cities of Yuxi, Mengzi and Hekou in Yunnan to connect with Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Singapore. ^ top ^

Chinese, Myanmar police bust cross-border drug gang (Xinhua)
2012-08-15
Chinese and Myanmar police have jointly destroyed a cross-border drugs gang and captured 11 suspects as well as more than 400 kg of drugs, it was announced on Wednesday. Sources with the Chinese Ministry of Public Security said that police from southwest China's Yunnan province and their counterparts in Myanmar have smashed a drug-making plant in Myanmar's Laogai and captured 347 kg of methamphetamine, or ice, and 120 kg of tramadol in the operation. In May, Yunnan's anti-drug police authority uncovered an important clue alerting them that a male suspect named Mu Ronghong was leading other suspects in Myanmar to produce, smuggle and sell drugs. After a two-month investigation, Chinese and Myanmar police captured 10 suspects in Laogai after raiding the drug plant on July 9. At the same time, Chinese police successfully captured Mu Ronghong in Yunnan's Lincang city. According to the ministry, police on the Chinese mainland have cracked 11 drug-related cases in cooperation with counterparts in Myanmar, Vietnam, the Philippines, Hong Kong and Taiwan since the beginning of 2012. ^ top ^

Diaoyu activists arrested (Global Times)
2012-08-16
Chinese attitudes toward Japan dived to their lowest levels in recent times on Wednesday, after Chinese activists attempting to visit the Diaoyu Islands clashed with the Japanese coast guard on the 67th anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender. The Japan Coast Guard (JCG) told the Global Times on Wednesday that seven crew members from the Chinese mainland, Hong Kong and Macao landed on the Diaoyu Islands and five of them were taken into police custody on the island, while two others returned to the boat. [...] The Chinese Foreign Ministry told Xinhua that China has been in talks with the Japanese side in an attempt to free the Chinese nationals. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda told reporters that Japan would "deal with the incident strictly in line with the law," according to AFP. [...] The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said before the landing that China's stance toward the Diaoyu Islands remains consistent and it hopes that the Japanese government won't do anything to harm the crew members or damage their property. Chinese activists have repeatedly tried to land on the Diaoyu Islands in recent years to assert Chinese sovereignty, but were blocked by Japanese ships in most cases. Seven people were arrested in 2004 after landing on the islands, but were later released. [...] The Diaoyu topic became one of the top three of Sina Weibo's most popular discussions with more than 9.1 million posts discussing it by 8pm Wednesday. "Japan will be isolated from other Asian countries if the Japanese continue to jostle with China over the Diaoyu Islands, as Japan have territorial disputes with other countries including Russia and South Korea," Da Zhigang, a professor of Japanese issues from the Heilongjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. [...] Further inflaming Chinese public sentiment is the fact that two Japanese cabinet ministers visited the Yasukuni Shrine on Wednesday, which honors 2.5 million war dead including 14 leading war criminals from World War II, according to AFP. [...] According to ifeng.com, the World Chinese Alliance in Defense of the Diaoyu Islands said it will launch protests in several cities on Thursday, and would send more activist boats to the Diaoyu Islands. ^ top ^

Chinese, Costa Rican presidents vow to further ties (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
President Hu Jintao and his Costa Rican counterpart Laura Chinchilla Miranda on Thursday pledged to further their cooperation, as this year marks the fifth anniversary of the establishment of ties. President Hu hailed the current state of bilateral relations, adding that he appreciates Costa Rica's adherence to the one-China policy. [...] Chinchilla, who is in Beijing for a weeklong visit, said she appreciates the assistance China has given to her country. President Hu said both sides should bolster high-level contacts, enhance political mutual trust and support each other on core issues. He called on the two sides to expand and diversify trade, pledging further cooperation in infrastructure, energy, investment and agriculture. China supports Costa Rica in hosting the seventh Chinese-Latin American entrepreneur summit, Hu said. [...] Chinchilla said both countries should increase trade and two-way investment. She said Costa Rica welcomes Chinese investment and pledged to further cooperation in energy and infrastructure construction. Chinchilla vowed to enhance coordination with China within international organizations, including the United Nations. [...] After their talks, Hu and Chinchilla witnessed the signing of eight cooperative agreements covering the agriculture, healthcare and civil aviation sectors. Chinchilla arrived in Shanghai on Sunday to start her state visit, her first visit to China since taking office in May 2010. ^ top ^

Chinese FM meets Syrian president's special envoy (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Thursday met with Bouthaina Shaaban, the Syrian president's special envoy and political and media advisor, on the current situation in Syria. During the meeting, Yang said China is deeply concerned about the situation in Syria, which has become more and more severe recently. China urges the Syrian government and parties concerned to implement UN Security Council resolutions, Annan's six-point proposal and the Geneva communique agreed by the Action Group meeting of major world powers on June 30, immediately cease fire, stop violence and launch political dialogue, the foreign minister said. He said China calls on the Syrian government and the opposition to start dialogue at an early date, initiate and push forward a political process led by the Syrian people so as to bring the nation out of its difficulties. The international community and other parties involved need to play a positive role on the issue, according to Yang. The Syrian government must take substantial measures to meet the reasonable needs of the Syrian people to seek reform and safeguard their own interests, he added. [...] He also briefed Shaaban on contact between China and the opposition groups in Syria and those dialogues' mediation efforts, as well as China's humanitarian assistance to Syrian refugees. Shaaban introduced the current situation in Syria. She said Syria's government will coordinate with international mediation efforts, and is ready to work with relevant parties to seek ways to make the government forces and the opposition forces stop violence at the same time. She said the Syrian government is willing to launch an inclusive dialogue with the opposition so as to promote a Syria-led political process and restore security and stability in the country. Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun also met with Shaaban on Thursday. ^ top ^

7th Conference on China-ASEAN People-to-People Friendship Organizations opens in Hanoi (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
The Seventh Conference on China- ASEAN People-to-People Friendship Organizations was open in Vietnam's capital Hanoi on Thursday, with participation of Vietnamese high-ranking officials and representatives from ten ASEAN member countries' friendship associations with China. "In 2012, we celebrate the 45th founding anniversary of ASEAN and the 21st anniversary of the ASEAN-China strategic dialogue relations," said Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan at the opening ceremony. He also said, the ASEAN-China relation is one of the most effective and dynamic relations between ASEAN and its partners, and strengthening all-sided and constructive ASEAN-China relations is not only beneficial to peace and prosperity in Southeast Asia, but also to peace, stability and development in the region. [...] President of the Vietnam Union of Friendship Associations (VUFA) Vu Xuan Hong delivered a speech to open the two-day conference, which is themed, "Solidarity, Friendship, Cooperation and Development", saying it is an opportunity for participants to exchange experience and measures to promote friendship and cooperation among ASEAN member countries and China, contributing to make people of those countries live in prosperity in the coming time. The VUFA and the Vietnam-China Friendship Association, in cooperation with the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the China-Vietnam Friendship Association have organized many activities of significance and with effective impacts to people of the two countries. [...] Gu Xiulian, vice-chairwoman of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee, president of the China-ASEAN Association, and head of the Chinese delegation to the conference, said that over the past 20 years since ASEAN and China have established dialogue relations, development of peace, cooperation and friendship is always the main flow in the bilateral ties. In recent years, China-ASEAN relations became closer, with two- way trade turnover surpassed 360 billion U.S. dollars; visitors to one another' countries reached 13 million, and exchange of cooperation has brought practical benefits to both China and ASEAN countries, said Gu Xiulian. In its external policies, China attaches importance to developing relations with neighboring countries, including ASEAN countries, and determines to follow the unchangeable path for peace. China's diplomatic motto "being friendly with neighbors, making friends with neighbors" is unchangeable, said Gu Xiulian, adding that China's development is an opportunity to ASEAN, and ASEAN's development is also an opportunity to China. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Kyrgyzstan pledge closer cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu held talks Thursday with visiting Kyrgyz Minister of Internal Affairs Zarylbek Rysaliev, and pledged to boost cooperation between the two sides. Meng said the two sides should work more closely to combat the "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, as well as cross-border crimes, to maintain and promote security and stability of the two nations and the region. Hailing bilateral ties between China and Kyrgyzstan over the past 20 years, Meng highlighted cooperation on anti-terrorism, the fight against cross-border crimes, protection for each other's nationals, technical and equipment exchanges and law-enforcement training. Rysaliev said that Kyrgyzstan attaches great importance to the cooperation with China on law-enforcement and security. ^ top ^

Japan to 'deport' activists (Global Times)
2012-08-17
Bilateral relations between China and Japan were dealt their biggest blow since 2005 as anti-Japan protests were staged in several cities on Thursday and the Chinese government called for the immediate and unconditional release of its nationals detained by Japan after landing on the Diaoyu Islands. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun called his counterpart in Japan Thursday protesting against the illegal detention of 14 Chinese who sailed to the Diaoyu Islands the previous day to assert sovereignty. Seven of them successfully made it to one of the islands, carrying Chinese flags. A group of Chinese diplomats in Japan have arrived in Okinawa to visit the detainees and negotiate with the Japanese side, according to the Chinese foreign ministry. Representatives from Hong Kong also joined, as many of the activists arrested were from the special administrative region. Japan will not prosecute the 14 people, and will transfer them to the immigration bureau as early as Friday, which will "deport" them, Kyodo News quoted government sources as saying on Thursday, adding that the move was "a bid to ratchet down tensions between Tokyo and Beijing." [...] Meanwhile, protests broke out in several cities in China on Thursday including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenyang in front of the Japanese embassy and consulates demanding the release of the detainees and compensation for the damage to their vessels, according to the activist group. [...] Anti-Japanese sentiment was widespread in the media and among Web users in China, with official media outlets such as Xinhua and the People's Daily voicing support for the Chinese activists and strongly protesting against the Japanese government. [...] "The escalating dispute that caused the detention of our Chinese activists has provoked antagonism between the public in both countries, and the constant conflicts between the two nations have left Chinese disappointed, even causing them to lose their hopes for prospects of a friendly relationship in the future," Gao Hong, a Japanese specialist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times. [...] Forty years after China and Japan signed a communiqué to normalize ties, the bilateral relationship remains volatile. Large-scale protests broke out nationwide in China in 2005, triggered by Japan's alteration of history textbooks which China claimed denied its invasion during World War II. [...] Shen Danyang, spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce, said Thursday that China was greatly concerned about the issue of the illegal detention of the Chinese nationals, urging Japan to properly handle the situation, the Xinhua News Agency reported. A parliament member with Japan's Liberal Democratic Party told Kyodo News Thursday that the party is planning to pass resolutions at the legislature to protest the Diaoyu landing by Chinese activists and South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's recent visit to the Dokdo islands and his demand for an apology for past brutality from Japanese emperor. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

'New law' focuses on work permits (China Daily)
2012-08-13
Courts will not protect welfare or other labor rights of foreigners working without a work permit, even workers under contract, if a draft law is passed. Foreigners without a work permit or an expert certificate — a license issued by the government to some foreign workers with proven talent and expertise in their field — could lose the cover of the "labor relationship" with the employer in the courts, even if they are under contract. The "labor relationship'', a legal term, covers labor rights including social insurance, healthcare and compensation for work injury. The draft, which the Supreme People's Court submitted to judges, professionals and the general public for feedback in the past month, has split opinion on whether stricter enforcement of the work-permit requirement will actually protect foreign workers from negligent employers trying to cut corners.China Daily's request for a more detailed explanation was declined by the top court, since "the stipulation has not been passed and may undergo changes", it said.Liu Deheng, deputy chief of the labor dispute tribunal at Beijing's Chaoyang district court, said the draft is meant to standardize judicial rulings regarding foreigners who come to China without a work visa but find work. [...]. ^ top ^

Cracks in China's stability drive (SCMP)
2012-08-14
Chang Ping says the flaws of the Chinese government's 'stability maintenance' machinery have been mercilessly exposed by the recent successes of the people's demonstrations against official excesses. With the 18th Communist Party congress just around the corner, the government is doing everything in its power to create a picture of harmony to welcome the country's incoming leaders. But the almost non-stop outbreak of mass protests this year is severely testing its "stability maintenance" efforts. Last month, the residents of Shifang, Sichuan and Qidong, Jiangsu, took to the streets in separate protests. Both opposed a development project they said would pollute the environment, and both forced the authorities to scrap their plans. [...] While the Qidong protest was under way, small business owners in Shenyang, Liaoning, were also expressing their discontent, albeit silently. They did not gather in the streets, but kept their doors and windows shut, turning parts of the city of 8 million people into a virtual ghost town. Within days, photos began circulating on the internet of Shenyang's eerily empty streets in sunny weather. Store owners said Shenyang authorities had launched an anti-piracy campaign on the pretext of preparing for the National Games next year. [...] To store owners, this was no anti-piracy campaign, but the abuse of government power. The bullies did not expect business owners to fight back with a mass shutdown. [...] On the whole, these different types of protests have succeeded in their own way. The so-called Shifang and Qidong type of rallies can be seen as an extension of the Wukan protests in Guangdong last year, and together they showed that the use of the police force to violently suppress mass protests is no longer effective. Shenyang's silent protest was also a slap in the face of government power. While all this was happening, a deadly rainstorm swept across Beijing on July 21. [...] But times have changed. People today are able to complain through the internet. They demanded publication of the names of the victims and derided the government's fund-raising efforts in foul language. The outcome was: for the first time, a list of the victims' name was read out one by one by the news anchor on CCTV. These people's victories would have been unthinkable just years ago. [...] So what has happened in the past few years? First, the people are getting sick of government corruption. They have become thoroughly disappointed with their leaders and have resolved to fight back [...] The Wukan unrest was a turning point. Like the child who bluntly pointed out the lie of the emperor's new clothes, the protest exposed the rot in the government's "stability maintenance" system. Second, the country's economy has shown signs of a slowdown and this will put a strain on society. For a while, even after many people saw through the lies of the government's corrupt ideology, rapid economic growth was able to divert attention from questions about the legitimacy of the regime. [...] Third, there are signs of an internal split on the use of violence to maintain stability. In Wukan, officials let slip that the local government had to pay armed police a daily rate to keep them at their post. And it was clear in the Shifang and Qidong protests that the armed police were less than enthusiastic. [...] Lastly, China's social media might have failed to bring about a "jasmine revolution" in the country, but it has played an important role in many protests. Those people who braved the threats of the government, who broke the chains of traditional media, who made full use of the new media and even contacted foreign reporters on their own initiative, are accumulating rare and valuable experience. ^ top ^

2,270 delegates elected to attend CPC's 18th national congress (Xinhua)
2012-08-13
A total of 2,270 delegates have been elected to attend the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), according to an official statement released here on Monday. President Hu Jintao and another eight members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee were included in the list of names. [...] The delegates, who were elected from across the country from April to July this year when local CPC committees held their own congresses, will need to pass a qualification check to get final approval to attend the congress, according to the statement. "The structure of the delegates has met the proportion requirements of the CPC Central Committee, and the CPC members are extensively represented," the statement said. The delegates include not only Party leaders at various levels, but also grassroots members and people from various sectors, including the economy, science and technology, national defense, politics and the judicial sector, education, publicity, culture, health care, sports and social management. In an effort to better represent its members, the CPC pledged to include more delegates from grassroots organizations, such as migrant workers, at the upcoming congress. The minimum proportion of grassroots delegates should be 32 percent, two percentage points higher than that of the previous congress in 2007 [...] Their nominations and elections were all carried out in accordance with relevant procedures, the statement said, adding that the process adhered to the principle of democratic centralization and gave full play to intra-Party democracy. The elected delegates will represent more than 82 million CPC members to attend the Party's 18th National Congress, which is scheduled to be held in the second half of this year in Beijing. ^ top ^

China updates standards for filial piety (China Daily)
2012-08-14
National authorities issued new action standards for filial piety with the aim of providing better care for senior citizens in the modern era, Beijing News reported Tuesday. The new standards suggest adult children spend holidays with parents, cook meals for and make weekly phone calls to them, teach them to surf the Internet and buy them proper insurance. People are also advised to care more about the mental health of their parents through such ways as helping widowed parents get remarried and listening to parents retell anecdotes from the past. National authorities have been making efforts lately to update care guidelines for senior citizens. Adult children of elderly parents are required to visit their parents regularly, in a draft amendment to China's law on protection of the rights and interests of the elderly, which was submitted to the nation's top legislature for review in June. ^ top ^

Villagers videotape land seizure, as crops destroyed (Global Times)
2012-08-15
Nearly 200 police and local government officers are being accused of beating local villagers and destroying crops in a land acquisition dispute in Xiangcheng, Henan Province. According to video shot by Dongfeng villagers, police and other officers arrived Friday morning in more than 10 vehicles and proceeded to destroy crops and trees on 10 hectares of farmland in a suburb of the city. When farmers tried to stop the destruction, they were dragged away and some were beaten. The vice mayor of Xiangcheng, Fang Qiang, told the media Monday afternoon that there were conflicts, but insisted it was not a forced land acquisition case as the local government had legal documents entitling them to the land. The land is to be used to build the No 1 People's Hospital, which is to be built at a cost of 300 million yuan ($47.16 million). According to villagers, the local government has been trying to expropriate the land since the spring. They said local government officials even got friends to rent the land to plant trees, which changed the status of the land from farmland to wasteland. "Our land was finally sold at a price of 595,500 yuan per hectare, but villagers haven't agreed and have refused to take the money. The village officials then enticed some villagers with other offers, and some have taken the money," villagers said. ^ top ^

Lawyers seek curbs to powers to detain (Global Times)
2012-08-15
Some 6,000 Web users have joined a campaign calling for the abolishment of the reeducation-through-labor system, in the wake of the detention of a mother of an underage rape victim. Wang Cheng, a lawyer in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, Friday called for the reeducation-through-labor system to be abolished, asking Web users to endorse his appeal by sending him their personal information. Wang Cheng told the Global Times that as of Tuesday, more than 6,000 people had responded positively. "When the number hits 10,000, I will gather their information and send it to the National People's Congress (NPC) along with my proposal for abolishing the system," Wang said, adding he was motivated by the public's concern over the 18-month detention order of Tang Hui, a mother in Yongzhou, Hunan Province who pestered officials to deliver justice to a gang that had forced her daughter into prostitution six years ago. Although the local authority released Tang on Friday, debate over the system that allows people to be detained without being charged with a crime has heated up. The reeducation-through-labor system was introduced in the 1950s and allows authorities to detain a person for up to four years, with most terms ranging between one and three years. By the end of 2008, there were 350 reeducation centers with 160,000 detainees nationwide. [...] Legal experts contend that the system no longer suits current social conditions. Wang Cheng wrote in his proposal that the system not only violates human rights but also breaches China's Constitution. [...] According to regulations, people can be sent to a reeducation center for disturbing social order, committing minor crimes or having participated in anti-social behavior. [...]. ^ top ^

ADB urges China to impose "green" tax vs air, water pollution (Xinhua)
2012-08-15
The Chinese government needs to implement a green taxation system to attain its target of reducing pollution and promote sustainable economic growth, the Asian Development Bank said Wednesday. In "Toward an Environmentally Sustainable Future," ADB's latest report on Chinese environment, ADB analysts recommended that Chinese policymakers impose taxes on resource extraction and pollutant and carbon dioxide emissions. ADB analysts also suggest that China can offer tax cuts to companies to offset investments in pollution control equipment, raise resource rent taxes, and taxes on luxury goods and "one- time consumer goods." [...] "While China's environment has improved in many respects, the overall situation continues to deteriorate as environmental pressures increase," Robert Wihtol, Director General of ADB's East Asia Department said in a statement. The ADB noted the progress that China has made in the past five years to reduce pollution and manage its solid waste problem. [...] The Chinese government has also made major advances in the control of industrial and domestic point sources of water pollution That said, the ADB noted that water and air pollution remain a problem. [...] Seven of China's biggest cities are among the 10 most polluted cities in the world, mostly due to vehicle emissions. Industrial solid waste management is also a challenge. The ADB urges the Chinese government to change an " unsustainable growth pattern." Aside from implementing a green taxation system, the ADB is encouraging the government to invest in natural resources. It is also calling for the formation of a national regulatory framework of "eco-compensation," an initiative where the government or private sector pays for ecological services protection by households, communities, or local governments. ^ top ^

'Succession meeting in Beidaihe ends' (SCMP)
2012-08-16
The secretive party conclave in the beach resort of Beidaihe is widely believed to have come to an end last weekend, setting the tone for the once-in-a-decade leadership succession later this year, according to political analysts. Although state media and mainland officials have remained tight-lipped about the existence of such a meeting, the analysts said all signs pointed to the conclusion of this year's seaside gathering, where the most important personnel and policy issues were expected to be finalised ahead of the 18th party congress this autumn. [...] "We knew that the conclave may have been under way when state leaders, including Vice-President Xi Jinping, began showing up in Beidaihe for various public functions late last month, according to state media reports," veteran China watcher Johnny Lau Yui-siu said. Both Lau and Professor Hu Xingdou, a Beijing-based analyst, said CCTV's coverage of Wen's trip to Zhejiang was an unequivocal sign that the Beidaihe meeting, which usually lasted about 10 days to two weeks, had ended. They noted that several other recent events, such as the trial of Gu Kailai, wife of the disgraced former Chongqing party chief Bo Xilai, also showed that the nation's top incumbent and retired leaders had reached a broad consensus on the central government's future leadership, through behind-the-scene negotiations. [...] Lau said the gathering in Beidaihe was mainly aimed at making decisions on the script that would play out amid intense jockeying for power ahead of the Party Congress. [...] Analysts also noted that retired leaders, such as former president Jiang Zemin and former premier Li Peng, tried to flex their political muscles to wield any remaining influence before and during the sensitive Beidaihe talks. ^ top ^

Vice premier calls for actively coping with aging problem (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu on Thursday called for actively coping with the country's aging problem that has extended its far-reaching influence onto economic and social development. The first half of the 21st century is a key period for the rapid development of the country's aging problem, and China has not adequately prepared to respond to the aging population, Hui, who is also director of the China National Committee on Aging, said at a meeting. Some 123 million Chinese were over age 65 by the end of 2011, accounting for 9.1 percent of the total population, according to official data. The scale of the aging population, the level of its development and the burden put on society have exceeded expectations, Hui said. Elderly people should be considered an important force that can be depended on for economic and social development, and efforts should be made to meet the material and cultural needs of the elderly, Hui said. The vice premier urged making improvements in the pension, medical insurance and elderly care systems and perfecting the mechanism for including the elderly in social activities. ^ top ^

China issues top alerts on Kai-Tak (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
China's flood control authority on Thursday initiated a Level III emergency response, up from Wednesday's Level IV, to cope with possible flooding as typhoon Kai-Tak approaches the country's southern regions. [...] Kai-Tak is forecast to make landfall in coastal regions of Guangdong Province at noon or during the morning of Friday, bringing heavy rain and gales to the country's southern parts, according to China Meteorological Administration (CMA). [...] Also on Thursday, Chinese marine environment authorities upgraded the alert about sea waves and storm surges to the highest level of red for Kai-Tak. [...] Typhoon Kai-Tak, the 13th typhoon of this year, was about 545 km to the southeast of Zhanjiang city of Guangdong Province at 5 p.m., according to the CMA. The report forecast that from Thursday evening to Friday, northern waters in the South China Sea will produce waves six to eight meters high, while waters off coastal areas in Guangdong will see waves four to six meters high. The neighboring Hainan and Guangxi will also witness 2.5- to 3.5-meter-high waves during the same period, according to the forecast. The center also issued a red alert of storm surges at the southern coastal area of Guangdong, with a forecasted surge of 50 to 250 cm from Thursday evening to Friday afternoon. The center warned local authorities and the public to take precautionary measures and intensify safety checks on fishing facilities. [...] The southern part of Guangdong will be hit hardest as precipitation in some regions is expected to reach 250 to 300 mm, while areas of southern Fujian and Guangxi, most parts of Guangdong, and northern Hainan will see strong downpours, said the CMA report issued at 9 a.m. on Thursday. The administration urged local governments to monitor possible flooding and landslides in mountainous districts, as well as helping evacuate dilapidated housing and halting massive rallies to avoid casualties. [...] Since the start of August, several typhoons, including Saola, Damrey and Haikui, have hit southeast China, leaving 51 dead and 21 missing, according to the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs. ^ top ^

Security planning starts for congress (SCMP)
2012-08-17
Beijing police have officially kicked off the security operation for the upcoming party congress, which will draw more than 2,000 representatives to the capital as the nation transitions to a new leadership. The Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau on Wednesday established temporary headquarters to manage security for the meeting, which is expected to be held in autumn. Beijing police chief Fu Zhenghua vowed to take tough measures to ensure the congress went smoothly. He also pledged to fight corruption in the force. "Beijing police must adopt an iron fist approach to ensure the discipline of the force," Fu said. "We have to improve our overall ability to combat crime in order to create a harmonious and stabile social environment for the successful convening of the 18th party congress." [...] No details have been given on the size of the security operation for the party congress, but 27,000 officers were deployed daily for the National People's Congress session in March. [...] The date for the opening of the congress remains unknown. Some reports say it has been scheduled for late next month, while others say it will be no earlier than late October. Extraordinary efforts have been made by all pillars of the state to exhibit unity ahead of the party meeting. The People's Liberation Army has repeatedly declared its loyalty to the party in recent months and pledged its dedication to ensuring a smooth convening of the congress. General Guo Boxiong, the vice-chairman of the PLA's decision-making Central Military Commission, underscored the party's absolute leadership over the army and the troop's commitment to the party and President Hu. [...] Since the downfall of Bo Xilai, the ambitious former party chief of Chongqing, in March, top PLA officers have gone out of their way to pledge loyalty to the party. The PLA has always played a crucial role during critical moments in the nation's history, including the arrest of members of the notorious Gang of Four after the death of Chairman Mao Zedong in 1976 and the crackdown on the student-led democracy movement in Tiananmen Square in 1989. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Flood pools to be built in Beijing after deadly storm (Xinhua)
2012-08-12
Authorities are planning to build 20 underground flood pools in downtown Beijing to improve the Chinese capital's flood-control capacity after a devastating rainstorm killed 79 people last month. The flood pools will be built near low-lying traffic passages that are most vulnerable to flash floods. Many of the existing passages are dilapidated and because of their location are frequently inundated in the rainy season, officials with Beijing's water supply bureau said Sunday. The pools are expected to be completed before summer next year. The main concern will be avoiding underground pipes, subway lines and building foundations while building the pools, officials said. Beijing was battered by the heaviest rain in six decades on July 21. The government put the death toll at 79 in its latest tally. ^ top ^

China's last emperor's house demolished (China Daily)
2012-08-15
The residence of Aisin-Gioro Puyi (1906-67), the last ruler of China, has become a pile of rubble, Beijing News reported. The Western-style house, built during the Republic of China (1912-49) period in Beijing, was torn down for potential safety problems due to rainstorm damage, according to Sun Tiexiang, an official from the house and land management center of Xicheng district. "The house does not belong to historic buildings and has not been listed as a heritage conservation unit," Sun said. But it will be rebuilt on the same site, he said. Chen Guangzhong, a writer of culture and history, showed his regret about the destruction of the old house. "The place is a witness to an emperor turning into a citizen of the People's Republic of China," he said. Puyi, the last emperor of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), lived in the house with his wife, Li Shuxian, from 1963 until his death in 1967. His abdication in 1912 marked the end of centuries of imperial rule in China. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

China's first bank for technological innovation opens (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
China's first bank for technological innovation, a result of joint investment by Shanghai Pudong Development Bank (SPDB) and America's Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), opened in Shanghai on Wednesday. With a 1-billion-yuan (about 157 million U.S. dollars) investment, and each side holding 50 percent of shares, the SPD Silicon Valley Bank is the first joint venture bank since 1997 to win authorization by the country's Banking Regulatory Commission. Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the CPC, inaugurated the bank on Wednesday morning. [...] Fu Jianhua, former vice board chairman and vice president of SPDB serves as board chairman of the new bank, while Ken Wilcox, board chairman of the SVB serves as its president. The SPD Silicon Valley Bank will mainly focus on business in Shanghai and then explore more high-tech cities in China, said Fu, emphasizing its offering of services for innovative enterprises. Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, a nationwide joint-stock commercial bank, founded in 1992, now has a registered capital of 18.653 billion yuan. Silicon Valley Bank, founded in 1983 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, serves clients around the world through 27 U.S. offices and three international operations. ^ top ^

Shanghai launches carbon emission rights trading scheme (Xinhua)
2012-08-17
Shanghai on Thursday launched a pilot carbon emission rights trading scheme in a bid to encourage carbon emission reductions. About 200 major local polluters, including industrial companies whose annual carbon dioxide emissions reach 20,000 tonnes and non-industrial enterprises whose annual emissions total 10,000 tonnes, will take part in the trading, the city government said in a statement. Each of the carbon market participants will get a free quota for a certain base carbon emission. Companies failing to meet emission cut targets will need to buy quota from those whose emission cuts exceed the targets. This thus created a new, market-oriented method for major polluters to meet emission cut targets, executives from major steel maker Baosteel said, adding that aggressive emission cutting companies would get earnings from the program. "This is a landmark step China has made in building a domestic carbon emission trading market," according to Xie Zhenhua, a vice director of China's National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planning agency. In November last year, the agency approved the pilot scheme's operation in seven regions: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Chongqing, Shenzhen, Hubei and Guangdong. China has pledged to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of gross domestic product by 40 to 45 percent compared to 2005 levels by 2020. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Fugitive killer shot dead in Chongqing (SCMP)
2012-08-14
Police in Chongqing on Tuesday killed a fugitive armed robber and suspected serial killer dubbed China's most dangerous man, ending a huge manhunt, state media said. Zhou Kehua, who is suspected of killing nine people, spent eight years on the run before being shot dead in the southwestern megacity early on Tuesday, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The 42-year-old's death ends a huge search that began when he reportedly shot and killed a woman outside a bank in Chongqing on Friday morning, wounding another two people, before killing a police officer later that day. [...] Police in Chongqing launched a massive manhunt after receiving reports Zhou was hiding out in nearby mountain caves, the Global Times reported. [...] Police in the city and two neighbouring provinces were reportedly ordered to cancel all leave to take part in the hunt for Zhou, and authorities offered a 500,000 yuan (US$79,000) reward for information leading to his capture. Zhou, who was born in rural Chongqing, began his crime spree when he shot and killed a woman during a 70,000 yuan bank heist in the city in 2004, Xinhua said. Police believe he was also responsible for shootings in Changsha and Nanjing in the eastern province of Jiangsu, earning him the title “China's most dangerous man” in the media. [...] “We have not seen this kind of cold-blooded killer in years,” one police official told Xinhua news agency. Mainland media gave the hunt for Zhou heavy coverage, and his death was one of the hottest topics on Sina Weibo – China's answer to Twitter – on Tuesday morning, where thousands posted messages praising the police operation. Gun crime is relatively rare in the mainlanda, where extremely tight laws bar almost all private ownership of firearms. ^ top ^

Shenzhen ponders bad-behavior law (China Daily)
2012-08-16
Whether police or the urban management bureau will enforce proposed regulations for residents' bad public behavior has become the latest hot topic in Shenzhen, as the city is drafting the nation's first legislation on the issue. The city in Guangdong province has carried out three opinion polls and three rounds of debate about the regulation since late June. The regulation-making process has drawn wide public attention. The first opinion poll of 81,000 people focused on which behaviors are bad. The 10 most common bad behaviors include setting up street stalls, spitting, throwing garbage on the street and cutting in line. The 10 most controversial behaviors include raising dogs without registration, bringing dogs to parks, gyms and other public places, and smoking in public places. The 10 behaviors residents believe should be punished the most include throwing things from cars or buildings, and damaging manhole covers and traffic signs. The second opinion poll, carried out in late July, focused on punishment. Of the 103,623 questionnaires collected, 80 percent said bad behaviors should lead to "severe punishment", while 60 percent believe those who continue to behave badly should be kept from working as civil servants. About the fines, 34 percent residents agree with 200 yuan ($31), while 29 percent believe 50 yuan, and 45 percent believe it is reasonable to impose fines of between 50 to 200 yuan. Questions in the third poll included which government department should enforce the law, which behaviors would require administrative detention, and which community services would be adopted as punishment. [...] Li Xiaofang, a public relations manager in the city, believes the police should take care of enforcing the regulations. [...] Zhao Hong, a media employee, thinks it should be the chengguan's job. [...] According to the Shenzhen urban management bureau's website, its main responsibilities include law enforcement and management of the city's appearance, environment, urban landscape and forestation. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Terror exercises in Tibet show country's readiness (Global Times)
2012-08-14
Two anti-terrorism exercises were held at the railway station and the Gonggar airport in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region Monday. The exercises, code-named "Plateau Guards 2012," were held simultaneously at 4 pm and lasted more than an hour, according to local media. The authority simulated twin terrorist attacks, in which "terrorists" attacked the railway station and the airport, hijacking an aircraft and a train. Police, firefighters and other rescue workers arrived at the sites to successfully defeat the attackers. "Plateau Guards 2011" was held in June last year. The region held the anti-terrorism drill in preparation for the upcoming 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Xiong Kunxin, a professor with the Minzu University of China, told the Global Times. "Hostile forces will consider the 18th National Congress a time to sabotage the security and social stability of the country," said Xiong. Xiong said Tibet faces terrorism threats from within and outside the country. The Dalai clique and hostile forces in the West hope to bring China into widespread chaos, Xiong warned. He also warned that outside infiltrators and some people incited by the Dalai clique may launch terrorist attacks in the region. ^ top ^

Tibetans protest against police brutality (SCMP)
2012-08-15
Hundreds of Tibetans demonstrated in northwest China on Tuesday after police beat four people, an exile group and a US broadcaster said, following a recent string of self-immolations in the region. The UK-based Free Tibet said hundreds of people gathered outside a police headquarters in Qinghai province's Tongren county after police dragged four ethnic Tibetans from a car, beat them and threatened them with guns. [...] The protests followed reports of clashes in the neighbouring province of Sichuan on Monday, where two ethnic Tibetans set themselves on fire on Monday to protest Chinese rule, leading to bloody clashes between residents and police. [...] An influx of Han Chinese, the country's largest ethnic group, to China's vast Tibetan-inhabited areas has also created tensions. Violent anti-government protests in the Tibetan capital in Lhasa in 2008 later spread to other areas populated by Tibetans, prompting tight security in these regions that has at times led to clashes. Beijing insists Tibetans are free to practise their religion and have benefited from improved living standards under Chinese rule. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Xinjiang sends 51,000 students to inland high schools (Xinhua)
2012-08-10
Far west China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has enrolled 8,330 students for inland high schools this year, bringing the total number of Xinjiang students sent to inland high schools to 51,000, local authorities said Friday. Educational authorities in Xinjiang started sending high school students, especially ethnic Uygurs, to schools in inland regions in 2000, aiming to give Uygurs living in the country's remote western regions easier access to quality education and greater opportunities. Eighty-five schools in 44 inland cities have joined the program, and enrollment has grown from 1,000 students in 2000 to 8,330 this year, said Sun Qi, a government official in Xinjiang. Sun said 76 percent of the students enrolled this year are children of farmers and herdsmen. Xinjiang, which accounts for one-sixth of China's total land area, holds rich oil reserves but remains relatively poor. A similar program has helped 70,000 Tibetan students study at inland middle schools and colleges since 1985. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Investment protection agreement faces opposition (SCMP)
2012-08-13
Taiwan's opposition parties have threatened to block a newly signed cross-strait investment protection pact, saying it fails to address people's needs and expectations. Legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party said on Friday they would not let the "highly disappointing" agreement be passed in the legislature. "The pact not only fails to give full protection for Taiwanese people, but, even worse, it gives [mainland] China the right to demand that Taiwan open up further to Chinese investments," DPP's Chen Ting-fei said. Another DPP legislator, Cheng Li-chun, said that when the legislature resumed meeting next month, they would have a "clause by clause" review of the pact and revise everything not in the interests of Taiwan and its people. The long-awaited investment protection pact, which was supposed to have been in place two years ago, was finally signed on Thursday, during an eighth round of high-level talks. According to the pact, signed by Chiang Pin-kung, who heads Taipei's Straits Exchange Foundation, and his mainland counterpart, Chen Yunlin, of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, a mechanism is to be set up to solve disputes involving private businesses or individuals. That mechanism could also be used to solve disputes over government appropriation of assets belonging to firms or individuals, and government-to-government commercial disputes. [...] The Kuomintang rejected the criticism, saying the DPP was trying to hurt the interests of Taiwanese businesspeople, who had long wanted protection of their safety and investments on the mainland. Most businesspeople in Taiwan welcomed the long-awaited pact, saying it could help their investment plans on the mainland. The agreement needs to be ratified by the legislative assembly. ^ top ^

DPP's stance against Beijing softening (SCMP)
2012-08-16
A flurry of mainland visits by prominent members of Taiwan's main political opposition group this month reflects what some analysts say is a softening of the pro-independence party's anti-Beijing stance. And it may also signal that Beijing is taking a more practical approach in dealing with the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), following the presidential election on the island in January that saw the DPP's Tsai Ing-wen lose a close race to incumbent leader Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang (KMT). On August 1, DPP stalwart Hong Chi-chang arrived on the mainland in what Taiwanese media described as a "water-testing trip", leading a six-member delegation for a seminar to discuss cross-strait relations. [...] Coming on the heels of Hong's visit were others by DPP legislator Hsiao Bi-khim, who heads the party's international affairs department, and by legislator Lin Chia-lung, who recently attended think-tank seminars in Shanghai. Both met with mainland academics and local officials. [...] The spate of mainland trips came after the DPP decided on July 25 to reinstate its long-disbanded "China Affairs Department" hoping to improve the party's relationship with the mainland after the January election defeat. Many voters questioned the party's ability to maintain the cross-strait stability achieved by the KMT, and pundits attributed that to the DPP's loss, prompting Su Tseng-chang, who became the party's chairman in May, to increase contact with the mainland. [...] The party used to heavily restrict mainland visits by its senior officials, allowing such trips by only lower-level authorities or members who did not hold party posts. Wu Ping-li, a DPP legislator seen as Su's confidant, was the one who proposed that mainland students be covered in the health programme while studying in Taiwan, citing humanitarian concerns. Although his proposal was shot down by the party, due to strong opposition from radical pro-independence factions, Hsu said it reflected Su's practical attitude towards cross-strait affairs. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Stable but slower growth (China Daily)
2012-08-14
The unexpected plunge in China's export and import growth in July has brought home the harsh reality that the ongoing global economic correction may go deeper than previously anticipated. The country's exports rose just 1 percent year-on-year, which is in sharp contrast to June's 11.3 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Import growth also fell, to 4.7 percent from the previous month's 6.3 percent. Both figures fell short of market forecasts even though they had been prepared to embrace a slower growth in trade. Such low export growth, the lowest since January and almost the worst since November 2009, has been hard for the market to swallow, and the lingering European financial crisis and China's domestic economic slowdown offer no grounds for optimism. Europe is the main culprit for China's export growth slump this time. Shipments to the European Union dropped by more than 16 percent year-on-year as the continent's debt crisis lingers on. The market is awaiting the outcome of gambits to save Greece from bankruptcy, which will occur in September. But even if Greece successfully passes through the current crisis, there are a lot more troubles for the EU to tackle. It is almost certain that the European economy will become trapped in deflation for a pretty long period of time. Meanwhile, the US economy, which is in a better shape than Europe's, is recovering: but at a very slow pace. Both are not good news for the Chinese economy, which still relies heavily on external demand. The reduction in foreign demand may be more serious than we anticipated. What is making things worse is that data released last week indicate China is also encountering faltering domestic demand. Monetary easing and fiscal support have often been adopted to offset economic weakening in the past. But China's massive stimulus measures three years ago have pumped too much liquidity into the economic system, leaving less room for it to adopt such measures this time. It is highly possible, therefore, that the Chinese economy may stabilize, but grow at a slower pace in the coming years. ^ top ^

Photovoltaic industry powering ahead (China Daily)
2012-08-13
Despite challenges, nation is still investing heavily in solar projects: Just nine months after the United States initiated an investigation against China's solar panels industry, Europe - the largest buyer of Chinese solar products - is likely to start another round of a trade war with Chinese manufacturers. German company SolarWorld AG has filed a petition with the European Union to request an anti-dumping investigation on solar products imported from China. If the EU follows the US precedent and launches an anti-dumping investigation, the Chinese solar industry could suffer a serious blow, according to a joint statement issued by more than 30 Chinese companies. The statement underlined the fact that the domestic market - despite its promising potential - is not an immediate alternative for local companies. But things might change as the Chinese market develops. [...] Chinese manufacturers export nearly $2 billion worth of solar panels annually to the US. And nearly 60 percent of China's solar exports - which are worth $35.8 billion - were shipped to the European market in 2011. While eurozone demand is shrinking due to the debt crisis and subsidy cuts, the US is imposing punitive tariffs, as high as 250 percent, which may block some Chinese companies from the market. Weakening external demand and a small domestic market have left Chinese solar manufacturers struggling. [...] Promising market: According to an estimate by US-based researcher NPD Solarbuzz, only about 70 percent of China's solar modules production will be exported this year, down from 95 percent in 2010. [...]. ^ top ^

86b yuan misused in 2011: report (Global Times)
2012-08-14
The National Audit Office (NAO) found irregularities in more than 86 billion yuan ($13.6 billion) in funds during its audit of 673 government departments and State-owned enterprises in 2011. The figures were revealed in an NAO performance report released on the NAO's official website on Monday. The figure was 45 percent higher than that of 2010. Among the irregularities, more than 71 billion yuan was used illegally, and nearly 15 billion was wasted, according to the report. Among the problems found by the NAO in 2011, 93 percent has been recovered, saving around 9.5 billion yuan and retrieving more than 6 billion yuan for the country, the report said. [...] During its audit, the NAO transferred 177 clues and cases to judicial and disciplinary organs, which uncovered more than 400 violators. The cases involving large sums of money and high-ranking officials mostly occurred in fields including bank loans, State-owned enterprise investment, transfer of land and mining rights as well as project tenders and bids, said the NAO. The NAO found the Ministry of Railways illegally shortened the application period for companies bidding on infrastructure construction projects on the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway. It also revealed several irregularities concerning quality management, investment control and land acquisition in China's second west-east natural gas pipeline project, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen sub-pipeline. Irregular bids on construction and equipment material purchases involved 837 million yuan as of the end of September last year, accounting for 31 percent of the audit office's random inspections. [...] Meanwhile, the report also revealed that the NAO spent about 902 million yuan last year, which means that for every yuan spent by the NAO, it was able to save the country 96 yuan. The ratio is much higher compared with that in Britain, Japan and the US, which were 1:13, 1:26 and 1:82 respectively. ^ top ^

Chinese automakers build overseas plants (China Daily)
2012-08-15
After shipping their vehicles for years to conquer markets outside China, Chinese automakers are now speeding up their overseas expansion by establishing local production plants. Chinese media reported that during his visit to China, Pongsawat Svasti, Thai minister of industry, talked to Chen Zhixin, executive vice-president of SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, about the possibility of a joint venture between SAIC and a Thai car maker in the Southeast Asian country. The 50-50 joint venture is expected to first produce SAIC's MG6 sports car, Chinese media reported, while SAIC's Maxus commercial vehicles are also expected to be made in Thailand in the near future. SAIC has not confirmed the information. Earlier this month, SAIC — China's largest automaker measured by sales and revenue — said that next year it will start assembling its new model, the MG3 Supermini, at its plant in Longbridge, Birmingham. [...] China's automobile market — which boomed in the last three years — became the most important marketplace for nearly all global automakers. Most of them established local production bases in a bid to increase their market share. The fierce competition hampered the development of China's homegrown brands in the domestic market, especially after growth slowed this year. In recent years, Chinese automakers aggressively tried to boost their sales outside China, especially in developing economies with increasing demand for low-priced vehicles. [...] China's total vehicle exports are expected to surpass 1 million units in a year for the first time in 2012, up 27.48 percent year-on-year. [...] By the end of June, China's automakers had established 546 companies and institutes abroad using investments approved by the Ministry of Commerce, said Chen Lin, an official with the ministry's Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation. "Chinese automakers' overseas operations are not only an important step to expand in the global market, but also a natural choice for the companies' self development," said Chen. "We should encourage their outbound investments and support them to increase their capital exports to overseas markets." [...] However, analysts also said that China's automakers face a series of challenges abroad from fluctuations in exchange rates to trade protection and emission restrictions. For example, Brazil's recent policy change on the taxation of the automotive industry, as well as the depreciation of the local currency, might have put an end to JAC Motors' production project in the world's fifth-largest auto market. [...] In September, Brazil's government raised taxes by 30 percentage points on imported cars and trucks and those that fail to meet localization rates of 65 percent, in a move to replace imports with domestically made vehicles. The measure, which will remain in place until December, will increase Brazil's industrial product tax on cars by between 7 and 25 percent, depending on engine size, to as much as 55 percent. ^ top ^

China can fulfill year's growth target: Premier (Xinhua)
2012-08-15
Premier Wen Jiabao has said China is capable of meeting its economic and social development goals for the year despite domestic and external challenges. During an inspection tour of eastern China's Zhejiang Province on Tuesday and Wednesday, Wen pointed to positive changes in some sectors, and the emergence of favorable conditions to maintain steady and relatively fast growth. [...] The economy's fundamentals remain sound, the premier said, but he warned that the foundation for economic stabilization is still unstable, and that economic hardships may continue for some time. The government pared its gross domestic product (GDP) growth target for 2012 to 7.5 percent from the previous 8 percent in March in the wake of a persistent slump in the United States and spreading debt woes in the eurozone. [...] During meetings with local entrepreneurs in Zhejiang, where GDP growth rebounded slightly in the second quarter, Wen said the economy has shown positive changes over recent months, especially since July, as both investment and consumption have grown steadily. Wen said industrial production in eastern regions is picking up slowly, with July's industrial output growth in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu up by 1.4, 1.9 and 0.7 percentage points, respectively, from those recorded in the first half. Wen also cited a stable job market, which saw 8.12 million new urban jobs created in the first seven months, up 390,000 from the same period of last year, and easing price gains, which provides more room for monetary loosening. Growth of the consumer price index, a key gauge of inflation, dropped to 1.8 percent year on year in July, the slowest rate since February 2010. The country's central bank earlier in the year slashed the reserve requirement ratio for banks twice and interest rates twice in a bid to boost lending. According to Wen, the country has adopted a raft of pro-growth measures to shore up growth. They include more aggressive tax reduction, issuing subsidies to support enterprises' technology upgrades, and opening state-run sectors to private investors. [...] At a meeting discussing the local employment situation, Song Li from Zhejiang's provincial employment center said the persistent drop in local employment is a structural problem, as no one is willing to undertake low-end jobs which are usually hard work. [...] Wen replied that the government should pay high attention and give top priority to job creation in the face of the economic downturn. He urged efforts to strengthen employment guidance, render special support to labor-intensive and small companies, promote employment of college graduates and provide services to migrant workers who return to their hometown for employment. ^ top ^

China, Arab countries see booming trade despite political unrest (Xinhua)
2012-08-16
Trade between China and Arab countries has maintained steady growth since 2011, despite regional political unrest. Trade between China and countries in the Middle East and North Africa totaled 111.78 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of the year, a year-on-year growth of 22.1 percent, according to Chinese customs figures published earlier this month. The figure was 195.9 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 34.7 percent from 2010. Trade between China and Arab countries that were stricken by political turmoil last year notably rebounded in the first half of this year. Sino-Libyan increased by 130 percent to 4.83 billion U.S. dollars over the same period last year, the figures indicated. Li Zhaoxian, deputy head of the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said new governments in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have faced tough tasks in restoring their economies, adding that they are anticipating closer trade relations and more investment from China. [...] Trade between China and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in the first six months this year increased by 29.1 percent to 77.72 billion U.S. dollars, according to the customs statistics. [...] Business cooperation between China and GCC members has great potential, said Zhang Yansheng, general secretary of an expert committee under the National Development and Reform Commission. China is a major energy importer and producer of machinery, while GCC members are key energy exporters and buyers of machinery, allowing for the creation of a long-term partnership, Zhang said. However, the unrest in Syria and the Sudan-South Sudan relationship have affected business relations with China. In the first six months, trade between China and Sudan dropped by 64.9 percent, while trade with Syria was reduced by 37.9 percent. [...] China has worked to consolidate its business relations with Arab countries. Following a forum for Chinese and Arab small- and mid-sized firms held in Tianjin in July, the third China-Arab States Economic and Trade Forum will be held next month in northwest China's Ningxia Hui autonomous region. ^ top ^

FDI inflows see largest fall since December (Global Times)
2012-08-17
Foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into China kept falling in July, the largest decrease since December, due to uncertainty in the world economy as well as tight land supply and rising labor costs throughout the country, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announced Thursday. China attracted $7.58 billion in FDI in July, down 8.7 percent from a year earlier, ministry spokesman Shen Danyang said at a press conference. [...] For the first seven months of the year, the total FDI inflows dropped 3.6 percent year-on-year to $66.67 billion, Shen said. Shen attributed the dropping FDI inflows to the slowdown of the world economy, the US government's call to revitalize their domestic manufacturing sector as well as competition from other emerging countries such as India, Brazil and Russia which have become hot spots for multinational companies. "Domestically, tight land supply, rising labor costs and still suppressed domestic demand have eroded our competitive edge when attracting foreign investment," Shen said. [...] The country's exports rose just 1 percent year on year to $176.9 billion in July, down from the 11.3-percent growth seen in June and well below market expectations of between 7 and 8 percent, customs data released last week showed. "With the escalation of the euro debt crisis and the slow recovery of the world economy, China's trade situation will be more severe in the second half of this year and the pressure to meet the annual trade target will be even stronger," Shen, the spokesman said. [...] In his inspection tour of coastal province Zhejiang between Tuesday and Wednesday, Premier Wen Jiabao said the foundations for the economy to stabilize are still not firm and the economic difficulty will persist for a while. However, Wen said the continuous decline in consumer prices will give the government more scope to adjust monetary policy. The country's consumer price index (CPI), a major gauge of inflation, rose 1.8 percent in July to hit a 30-month low. The country's economy grew 7.6 percent in the second quarter, the slowest pace in more than three years. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK urges South Korea to ditch "May 24 step" before talks (Xinhua)
2012-08-10
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) urged South Korea Thursday to ditch the so-called "May 24 step" before talks on a reunion of separated families and relatives, the official news agency KCNA reported Friday. The so-called May 24 step refers to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's address on May 24, 2010, who said all travels of persons and north-south cooperation would be barred unless the DPRK apologized for the sinking of South Korea's Cheonan warship. If the south side is willing to promote the reunion, it should ditch the "May 24 step" and open the way for South Koreans to tour Mt. Kumgang, said a notice issued by the chairman of the Central Committee of the DPRK Red Cross Society on Thursday. The notice was issued in reply to the president of Red Cross of South Korea who proposed on Wednesday for a north-south working contact on the issue of reunion of separated families and relatives. ^ top ^

China, NK move ahead with economic zone program (Global Times)
2012-08-15
China and North Korea jointly announced Tuesday the establishment of the management committees of two economic zones in North Korea, marking Pyongyang's determination to further boost its economy. But some Chinese observers said it does not mean reform or a major change of its policies can be expected any time soon. Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and Jang Song-thaek, vice chairman of North Korea's National Defense Commission, met on Tuesday to discuss how to further their cooperation in developing the Rason Economic and Trade Zone and the Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands Economic Zone, near China's Yanbian and Dandong areas respectively, according to a press release issued by the ministry. The two sides have compiled detailed plans in personnel training, drafting of laws and regulations, communication, customs clearance, and agricultural cooperation, according to the release. The Rason zone is expected to be built as a manufacturing industry base, and will cover raw materials, equipment manufacturing, hi-tech, light industry, service industry and modern agriculture. The Hwanggumphyong and Wihwa Islands zone is expected to be built into a newly developing economic area that focuses on the information industry, tourism and garment processing, the release said. [...] However, experts also warned against unrealistic expectations that North Korea could change overnight. "North Korea is being active in pushing its economic cooperation with the outside world, but the nation won't push forward the reform and won't change its 'military-first policy'," Cui Zhiying, a North Korean studies expert at Tongji University, told the Global Times. [...] "It is a double-edged sword for the Chinese people to seek opportunities in the economic zones," a Chinese businessman in North Korea, who gave his surname as Wang, told the Global Times. "Human resources in North Korea are cheap, but you might encounter risks of losing your business credibility as the products might be delayed at any time due to the poor infrastructure in North Korea," he said. Wang revealed that at least 8,000 Chinese people are doing business in North Korea, mainly in the seafood industry. It is an internal call for North Korea to boost its economy and improve people's livelihood in the face of a bleak economy, reports said. [...] Officials from the North Korean economic zones have been attending training courses in Dalian, Liaoning Province, including the latest batch of 20 officials from March 29 to April 1. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Norov Altankhuyag appointed as 27th Premier (News.mn)
2012-08-10
The new parliament yesterday held plenary session first time with full attendance. MPP's members agreed to attend plenary session. The session scheduled to discuss proposal of nomination of Prime Minister. The coalition of Democratic Party, Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, Mongolian National Democratic Party and Civil Will-Green Party suggested Norov Altankhuyag for the Prime Minister and submitted to the President on August 8. The President of Mongolia Tsakhia Elbegdorj agreed to nominate Norov Altankhuyag as new Premier. By the law the President should negotiate with leaders of parliamentary political parties. On August 8, after submitted proposal the President Elbegdorj held talks with Democratic Party leader N. Altankhuyag and Mongolian People's Party Chairman U. Enkhtuvshin. During the meeting political party leaders agreed to discuss the issues within the frame of the State Great Khural. The leaders of both parties said that they have already shared their opinion on a particular topic and now looking forward to further cooperation. At the meeting the President agreed that the new Prime Minister must be approved by the State Great Khural as soon as possible.After the three hours discussion members voted for nomination of Prime Minister. Norov Altankhuyag appointed as Premier by 74.2 percent of vote. ^ top ^

Ivanhoe Mines starts trading as Turquoise Hill (News.mn)
2012-08-10
The company formerly known as Ivanhoe Mines Ltd has started trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange under its new name and ticker symbol: Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd. The name change, approved by shareholders last month, was part of a deal earlier this year that boosted Rio Tinto Plc"s stake in the Mongolia-focused mining company to 51 percent. Turquoise Hill holds a 66 percent stake in the massive Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold project in the Central Asian country, with the remaining 34 percent owned by the Mongolian government. The Mongolian words "oyu tolgoi" mean "turquoise hill." Rio is Turquoise Hill"s largest investor and the operator on the project. It is the latest move to distance the company from its founder, Robert Friedland, who has had an often tumultuous relationship with the Anglo-Australian mining giant. Friedland was replaced as CEO in April, a few months after Rio took its controlling stake. As of Aug. 1, he still held a 9.5 percent stake, according to Thomson Reuters data. Construction is nearly complete at the copper-gold mine and full commercial production is expected in 2013. Shares of the Vancouver-based company were down 0.3 percent at C$9.00 on Wednesday morning on the Toronto Stock Exchange. ^ top ^

Multinational peacekeeping exercise begins in Mongolia (Xinhua)
2012-08-12
The 10th "Khaan Quest" multinational peacekeeping exercise started in Mongolia on Sunday. More than 1,000 soldiers from 10 countries, including the U.S., South Korea, India, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, France, Britain and Germany took part in the exercise. China, Russia and Kazakhstan sent observers to the exercise at the Five Hills training center, some 50 km to the southwest of the capital Ulan Bator. This year's maneuvers consist of various training courses including battalion level staff exercise, platoon level counter-improvised explosive device training, field training and medical outreach to the civilian population of Ulan Bator. The Khaan Quest 2012 focuses on multinational peacekeeping operations intended to improve interoperability among U.S., Mongolian and other international forces, Michael Thompson, exercise director of Khaan Quest 2012, said in a welcome letter. He said training together could improve the participating forces' operational capability to provide security and to deter hostile threats affecting populations around the world. President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces Tsakhia Elbegdorj, Chief of the General Staff Tserendejid Byambajav and military officials, diplomats from China, the U.S. and Japan attended the opening ceremony. At the ceremony, Mongolian paratroops and cavalry put on performances for soldiers and military officials from the participating countries. The Khaan Quest exercise is sponsored by the U.S. Army and hosted annually by the Mongolian Armed Forces. ^ top ^

Mongolian athletes won five medals at London (News.mn)
2012-08-13
Mongolian athletes ended London Olympic games with record five medals-two silver and three bronze. In last day of Olympic Games in London Nyambayar Togstsgogt lost to Cuban teenager Robeisy Ramirez Carrazana in men's boxing fly weight final. On August 2, Naidan Tuvshinbayar, Beijing Olympic champion won a silver losing to Russian Khaibulaev Tagir. Another three bronze won in judo, boxing and women's free style wrestling. In Beijing Olympic Games Mongolians has got four medals- two gold and two silver. ^ top ^

The Premier submitted a proposal of new government structure (News.mn)
2012-08-14
Norov Altankhuyag submitted his proposal of structure of new government to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold today morning. Yesterday he discussed the proposal with the President of Mongolia Tsakhia Elbegdorj. Norov Altankhuyag suggested structure of new government with 16 ministry and 19 ministries. The Prime Minister said first will discuss on structure of government and than will decide who will be minister. By the unofficial source possible names of ministries:

  1. Prime Minister- N.Altankhuyag (DP)
  2. Deputy Prime Minister- D.Terbishdagva (MPRP)
  3. Minister of Government Office-Ch.Saikhanbileg (DP)
  4. Minister of Environment and Green Development- S.Demberel (Civil Will-Green Party)
  5. Minister of Foreign Affairs- L.Bold (DP)
  6. Minister of Finance- M.Enkhsaikhan (MNDP)
  7. Minister of Justice - Kh.Temuujin (DP)
  8. Minister of Construction and City planning- A.Gansukh (DP)
  9. Minister of Defense - Sh.Tuvdendorj (DP)
  10. Minister of Education and Science- L.Gantumur (DP)
  11. Minister of Road and Transport- B.Ariunsan (DP)
  12. Minister of Culture, Sport and Tourism- Ts.Oyundari (DP)
  13. Minister of Mining- G.Batkhuu (DP)
  14. Minister of Industry and Agriculture- Kh.Battulga (DP)
  15. Minister of Labour- Ts.Oyungerel (DP)
  16. Minister of Human Development and Social Welfare- R.Amarjargal (DP)
  17. Minister of Economical Development- N.Batbayar (DP)
  18. Minister of Energy- M.Sonompil (MNDP)
  19. Minister of Health- N.Udval (MPRP)

 ^ top ^

 

Vincent Laurent
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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