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
  8-14.9.12, No. 440  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

President Hu vows to press close ties with Russia (China Daily)
2012-09-08
President Hu Jintao said on Friday that China will continue working closely with Russia to maintain security and boost development in the Asia-Pacific region. [...] As important countries in the Asia-Pacific region, China and Russia embrace a new security concept based on mutual trust, reciprocal benefits, equality, coordination and indivisibility, Hu said. The two countries have been coordinating closely to engage in promoting regional cooperation and development, and made significant contributions to maintaining peace and stability and boosting prosperity in the region, he said. During the meeting, Hu and Putin reached broad consensus on major issues of common concern and on deepening the comprehensive China-Russia strategic cooperative partnership. [...] The two countries should further boost bilateral cooperation in fields including investment, high-technologies and innovation, he said, adding that the two countries should build regular meeting mechanisms between provincial and local officials and strengthen local cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Canada sign investment promotion accord (China Daily)
2012-09-09
Meeting on the sidelines of the Economic Leaders' Meeting of APEC, Hu said China and Canada tie has become more prominent given that the world is undergoing complex changes. Hu urged the two sides to preserve the "hard-won" momentum, strive to push the strategic partnership, and move forward on "a steady and healthy track". [...] The two leaders witnessed the signing of the Canada-China Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. Harper said the signing will push China-Canada tie to move further. Harper also said Canada is ready to work with China on Asia-Pacific affairs, and strengthen political dialogue and communication on major world issues. [...]. ^ top ^

China resolutely safeguards territorial sovereignty: FM (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Monday urgently summoned Japanese Ambassador to China Uichiro Niwa for a meeting to lodge solemn representations and strong protest against the Japanese government's illegal "buying" of the Diaoyu Islands. Yang said that the Diaoyu Islands and their affiliated islets have been inherent territory of China since ancient times, backed by historical and legal evidence. The Japanese government's so-called "purchase" of the islands and other unilateral actions are illegal and invalid. The Japanese actions can not change the historical facts of Japan's occupation of Chinese territory, as well as China's territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands, according to Yang, who stressed that the Chinese government and people will resolutely safeguard their territorial sovereignty. China urges Japan to immediately revoke its wrong decision to "buy" the Diaoyu Islands and stop all actions that undermine China's territorial sovereignty. Otherwise, all consequences should be borne only by the Japanese side, according to Yang. [...] Chinese ambassador to Japan Cheng Yonghua also submitted a protest note to Japan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier urges economic cooperation with Denmark (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
Vice Premier Wang Qishan on Monday met with Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt, expecting more economic cooperation between the two countries. President Hu Jintao's visit to Denmark this June furthered the healthy development of the China-Denmark comprehensive strategic partnership, Wang said, while Thorning-Schmidt agreed that Hu's visit injected new vitality into the development of bilateral relations. Economic cooperation is the "ballast stone" for China-Denmark relations, Wang said, adding that the two economies are highly complementary and the prospects for bilateral cooperation are broad. [...]. ^ top ^

Mainland top negotiator visits Taiwan (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
Chen Yunlin, the top negotiator of the Chinese mainland on cross-Strait affairs, arrived in Taipei on Monday, kicking off a 10-day visit to Taiwan designed to expand cultural cooperation between the two sides. Chen, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), held a meeting with Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in the Grand Hotel of Taipei. [...] According to the ARATS president, his delegation is made up of two groups. One, consisting of policy-makers, academics and experts, will try to identify potential areas for cross-Strait cooperation in creative and cultural industries and review the policies that currently govern such activities. [...] The second group of Chen's delegation comprises famous painters, calligraphers and promising young artists from the mainland, who will meet with their Taiwanese counterparts. [...]During the visit, a forum will be held on promoting cross-Strait cooperation on cultural and creative industries and another session is planned for artists from the mainland and Taiwan to engage in discussions. [...]. ^ top ^

China, U.S. launch annual security meeting mechanism (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Meng Jianzhu met with visiting Deputy Secretary of U.S. Homeland Security Jane Holl Lute on Monday, and both sides agreed to launch an annual meeting mechanism between the two ministries. Both sides will maintain close communication on cooperation details and push forward the all-around, multi-level and multi-area law enforcement partnership, according to a press release from the Public Security Ministry. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Malaysia vow to strengthen military cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
Senior Chinese and Malaysian military officials agreed Monday to further strengthen military cooperation between the two countries in a bid to maintain peace and stability in the region. Positive signs have been seen during the first China-Malaysia defense and security consultation and the talks between Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of the general staff of the Chinese People' s Liberation Army (PLA) and senior Malaysian officials including Defense Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi. [...] Recalling his visit to China last year, Zahid Hamidi told a press conference after the meeting that Ma's visit was " meaningful", and some achievements have been made in the two visits. [...] Both sides agreed to maintain high level military exchange between the armed forces, make good use of the defense and security consultation mechanism, strengthen exchange and communication in training cooperation and training system, while deepen cooperation in non-conventional security issues. ^ top ^

Singapore, China hold fourth defense policy dialogue (Xinhua)
2012-09-11
The fourth China-Singapore defense policy dialogue was held in Singapore on Tuesday, jointly chaired by Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army, and Chiang Chie Foo, Singapore's permanent secretary of defense. The two sides had in-depth discussions on topics such as the bilateral relations, the relations between the armed forces of the two countries, the regional security situation and other issues concerning both parties. [...] Both sides have a positive assessment of the friendly cooperation between their armed forces and vow to keep the momentum in high-level visits. They also voiced hope for both sides to boost the exchanges and cooperation in personnel training, professional exchanges and joint training, and facilitate visits to the other side by young officers. [...]. ^ top ^

China, EU to negotiate over solar panel friction (Xinhua)
2012-09-11
The Chinese government on Tuesday sent a delegation to Europe to negotiate with the European Union (EU) about the trade friction over solar panel imports. The delegation, led by Chong Quan, deputy representative for China's international trade talks, will make representations with government departments of Germany and France, as well as the European Commission. The delegation will outline the Chinese position over the EU's decision to launch an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar panels and key components from China, according to a statement by the Ministry of Commerce (MOC). [...] "We hope the EU adopt a cautious attitude when resorting to trade protection measures, and create conditions for cooperation and common development of the industry between both sides," the statement said. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing sends out patrol boats as Japan 'buys' Diaoyu islands (SCMP)
2012-09-12
The territorial row between China and Japan escalated yesterday as Beijing sent patrol ships to the Diaoyus after Tokyo agreed to buy the disputed islands. As the two marine surveillance ships awaited orders near the East China Sea islands, called the Senkakus in Japan, a fresh wave of anti-Japanese rallies broke out in mainland cities. [...] Beijing, which claims the islands have been part of its territory since the end of the second world war, called the move "an act of theft" and sent the patrol ships to "assert sovereignty". The ships reached the waters around the islands yesterday and would take action "pending the development of the situation", Xinhua said. The Chinese Defence Ministry warned Tokyo its forces "reserve the right to take reciprocal measures". Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said: "The Chinese government and armed forces stand firm and are unshakeable in their determination and will safeguard sovereignty over the nation's territories." [...] The Japanese Foreign Ministry sent Shinsuke Sugiyama, chief of its Asian and oceanic affairs bureau, to Beijing in an attempt to explain the purchase and ease tension with Beijing. Anti-Japanese rallies were held in Beijing, Guangzhou and other major mainland cities. About 200 protesters took part in a protest in Weihai, Shandong province, and in Beijing about 10 protesters gathered at the gates of the Japanese embassy. Several diplomatic and sporting events involving Japan were abruptly cancelled. Shandong deputy mayor Xia Geng called off a scheduled trip to Yamaguchi prefecture. In Shanghai, a press conference for a marathon sponsored by Japanese chemical company Toray was cancelled a few minutes after its start. And a tourism festival planned for Saturday would no longer feature a Japan-themed float, said Shanghai tourism chief Dao Shuming. [...]. ^ top ^

Top legislator meets with Iranian president (China Daily)
2012-09-12
China on Tuesday said it opposes sanctions or the threat of using force on Iran for its nuclear program, reiterating peace talks are the right way to properly resolve the issue. During a meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday afternoon, China's top legislator Wu Bangguo said China opposes any country in the Middle East region developing and possessing nuclear weapons, but China considers the right of a country to peacefully use nuclear energy should be guaranteed. Wu said China is against merely sanctions and high pressures, or the threat of using force. [...] Wu also said China hopes Iran continues adopting a flexible and pragmatic approach on the issue, and promoting talks with six countries, including the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany, to generate substantial results. [...] Wu, chairman of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee, started his first-ever visit to Iran on Sunday. It has also been the first time in 16 years that China's top legislator has visited this Islamic country. [...]. ^ top ^

China hopes IAEA handle Iranian nuclear issue objectively: FM (Xinhua)
2012-09-12
China hopes the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will deal with the Iranian nuclear issue in an objective and balanced manner, a spokesman said Wednesday. "We are actively participating in the deliberation of the Iranian nuclear issue at meetings of the agency, and hope the agency will play a constructive role to promote the diplomatic effort to solve the issue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing. He made the comment when asked to confirm whether a joint text by six world powers on the Iranian nuclear issue will be submitted as a resolution or a statement to this week's meeting of the governing board of the IAEA. Media reports said the six world powers, which comprise of five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, Russia, U.S., France and Great Britain) plus Germany, have agreed on the text expressing continued support for diplomatic efforts aimed at a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. [...] China has encouraged the IAEA and Iran to strengthen its dialogue and cooperation to restore the international community's confidence on the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear plan, Hong said. The talks on the issue are at a crucial stage. Dialogue and cooperation is the only right path to resolve the issue. It is urgent for the six countries to hold a new round of talks with Iran as soon as possible, Hong said. [...]. ^ top ^

China condemns U.S. diplomatic compound attack (Xinhua)
2012-09-13
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei on Wednesday evening expressed the country's shock at attacks on a U.S. consulate in Lybia and voiced strong condemnation of the violent deeds. "We are shocked at attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that caused the death and injury of a number of people, including the U.S. ambassador. And we strongly condemn the violent deeds," a press release quoted Hong as saying. China believes the reigning regime of Lybia bears the responsibility and obligation to adopt all necessary measures to protect the life and property integrity of foreign institutions and their staff stationed in the country according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. [...]. ^ top ^

Japan isle buy sparks Chinese anger, cancellations (SCMP)
2012-09-13
Japan's purchase of several disputed islands from their private owners was aimed at keeping nationalist activists at bay and reducing tensions with China, but now the government must deal with Beijing's anger over the move. [...] Beijing's response was swift and strong, calling the purchase “null and void” and threatening “serious consequences”. China sent two patrol ships to waters near the islands, according to the official Xinhua news agency, although Japanese coastguard officials said no Chinese ships had been sighted within 38 kilometres of the islands as of Wednesday afternoon. [...] In Beijing, Luo Zhaohui, director-general of Asian affairs at China's Foreign Ministry, told a Japanese diplomat on Wednesday that China will not tolerate any unilateral act by Japan and asked Japan to immediately revoke its purchase of the islands, known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. [...] In Beijing on Wednesday, dozens of people at a time staged angry protests and shouted slogans in front of the Japanese embassy. One group carrying a big Chinese flag chanted “Fight the Japanese” as they marched by the embassy's gate. Beijing travel agencies reported that companies and individuals were canceling trips to Japan. “We just got an oral notice minutes ago that we should suggest or persuade our customers not to go to Japan at this stage,” said a man surnamed Wang at China Travel Service. “The order is probably from the tourist authorities.” [...] The annual Shanghai marathon, scheduled for December, could drop the name of its Japanese sponsor from its title because of the dispute, the Shanghai Sports Administration said. [...]. ^ top ^

Renaming of area in South China Sea will not affect China's sovereignty: FM spokesman (Xinhua)
2012-09-13
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said Thursday that the Philippine government's move to rename a portion of the South China Sea will not affect China's sovereignty over areas within the sea. "The move will not change China's sovereignty over the Nansha islands, Huangyan Island and their surrounding waters," spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news briefing. "The name 'South China Sea' has long been acknowledged by the international community," Hong said. On Sept. 5, Philippine President Benigno Aquino III signed an administrative order to formally name a maritime area in the western part of the country as the "West Philippine Sea," including part of the South China Sea. According to the order, the West Philippine Sea includes the Luzon Sea and waters adjacent to the Nansha Islands and Huangyan Island. The Philippine government said it will provide the UN with a copy of the order and a revised official map of the Philippines. ^ top ^

China to enhance military cooperation with Moldova (Xinhua)
012-09-13
Defense Minister Liang Guanglie on Thursday held talks with visiting Moldovan Defense Minister Vitalie Marinuta, stating that the Chinese military is willing to promote relations with the Moldovan military. Liang, also China's State Councilor, said the Chinese side appreciates Moldova's understanding and support on issues concerning China's core interests, noting that cooperation between the two countries has deepened and expanded since they established diplomatic ties in 1992. [...] The Moldovan side thanks China for its assistance in building up the Moldovan military, Marinuta said. [...]. ^ top ^

Poland to enhance co-op with China (China Daily)
2012-09-13
Visiting Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on Thursday that good use must be made of the newly established strategic partnership between China and Poland to achieve better development for both countries. The two countries should think about ways to use their strategic partnership as a tool for their modernization, the minister said in an opening speech at a roundtable. [...] The minister also proposed setting up a Sino-Polish intergovernmental committee to further promote bilateral cooperation in various areas, saying the mechanism had the potential to become one of the most significant communication channels between the governments and entrepreneurs from both countries. [...]. ^ top ^

Senior military official urges no slackness in military preparation (Xinhua)
2012-09-14
A senior Chinese military official has urged the army not to slack off and be prepared for any possible military combat. Efforts should be made to ensure that the military is capable of resolutely performing its duty to safeguard the country's national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity whenever it is needed by the Party and the people, said Xu Caihou, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission. [...] Xu also called on the officers to promote their senses in politics, comprehensive situation and responsibility. The army should always keep its political resolution, ideological stability and unity, Xu said. Moreover, Xu told the military to improve efforts to keep the soldiers well-informed of important current events and policies. ^ top ^

Six mainland ships sail to island waters, says Japan's Coast Guard (SCMP)
2012-09-14
Six Chinese government ships sailed into waters around disputed islands claimed by both Beijing and Tokyo early on Friday, the Japanese coastguard said, adding it had issued warnings telling them to leave. [...] “Our patrol vessels are currently telling them to leave our country's territorial waters,” the coastguard said in a statement. Under international law, territorial waters extend up to 12 nautical miles from the coast of a landmass. Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda vowed to maintain utmost vigilance after the coast guard said that two Chinese maritime survey ships entered Japanese waters around 6:18am. They were followed by a group of four other ships that sailed into the waters claimed by Japan shortly after 7am, the coastguard said. The first two ships left the waters around 7.48am, the coastguard added. In a dispatch from Beijing, China's state Xinhua news agency said: “Two Chinese surveillance ship fleets have arrived in waters around Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands on Friday and started patrol and law enforcement there.” [...]. ^ top ^

We vow not to give in even an inch, Taiwanese president Ma tells Japan (SCMP)
2012-09-14
Taiwan sent patrol ships to the hotly contested East China Sea for a fishing escort drill yesterday, the latest symbolic protest against Japan's decision this week to buy three of the five uninhibited Diaoyu Islands. [...] Meanwhile, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou reiterated Taipei's claim over the Diaoyus during a history seminar. [...] "In terms of sovereignty, we vow not to give in even an inch," Ma said. In yesterday's display, two Taiwanese Coast Guard Administration vessels - the 500-tonne Lienchiang and the 600-tonne Hualien - sailed for a point 25 nautical miles west of the Diaoyu Islands. They were trailed by a larger observation ship with 40 journalists and 60 fishery union officials.There, the patrol crews demonstrated how they would escort Taiwanese fishing boats seeking to fish in the marine-life-rich waters near the contested chain. They briefed the observers on each ship's onboard weapons - a 20-mm cannon and two 50-mm calibre guns - that could be used to protect fisherman. "Our duty is to escort our fishing boats wherever they operate in our territorial waters," said Lee Mao-jung, the deputy director-general of the Taiwanese coastguard. Lee said the drill staged yesterday was to assure the public and fishermen of the government's determination to protect their legal activities within Taiwan's territorial waters. In the past, Taiwan fishermen who entered the waters have often been chased away by the Japanese coastguard. [...]. ^ top ^

Wu stresses smooth investments, border stability at Myanmar visit (China Daily)
2012-09-14
China's top legislator on Thursday urged Myanmar to take active measures both to ensure that major local projects with Chinese investments progress smoothly, and that stability is maintained at its border with China. [...] Wu said active measures should be taken to deepen economic and trade cooperation and boost confidence in investments by entrepreneurs from both sides. The progress of some major projects in Myanmar, such as a jointly launched oil and gas pipeline project, should be ensured, he said. [...] China led in foreign trade and foreign investments in Myanmar, reaching $20.26 billion by the end of last year, official figures show. However, some projects with Chinese investments have encountered problems. Last September, Myanmar suspended construction of its largest hydropower project - a $3.6 billion Chinese-led dam project in Myitsone - citing complaints from local residents and opposition parties. The future of the project has not been settled. At Thursday's meeting, Wu also said China hopes that Myanmar will solve some border area problems through negotiations and talks. He said China is willing to join hands with Myanmar on border management to ensure stability. [...] Wu is the most senior Chinese leader to visit Myanmar in nearly a decade. He is the first NPC Standing Committee chairman to visit Myanmar since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1950. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Chinese premier calls for more equalized education services, exam reforms (Xinhua)
2012-09-09
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has called for boosting education reform and creating more equalized basic education services. [...] Wen said the government should provide higher-quality education services and narrow distribution gaps that have caused many schools, especially those in rural areas, to suffer from a lack of both qualified personnel and facilities. Although most Chinese students are required to enroll in schools near their place of residence, some parents pay large sums of money to enroll their children in nicer schools that are located far from their homes, leading some parents to complain about unequal access to education due to a failure to enforce the residency-tied enrollment rule. [...] To increase education resources, Wen called for more participation by the private sector in investing and running not only higher educational institutes, but also primary and secondary schools. The government's function is to ensure basic education services and maintain fair regulations for education development for both public and private schools, Wen said. [...] The premier said students and teachers should be freed from exam-oriented education. To achieve the above-mentioned targets, Wen urged reforms for the entrance exam system to allow students to have multiple chances to gain admission to universities. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese police urged to safeguard social stability (Xinhua)
2012-09-08
Zhou Yongkang, a senior leader of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has asked police across the country to safeguard social stability for the upcoming 18th CPC National Congress. Police authorities at all levels must strive to safeguard social stability, the fundamental interests of the people and the authority of the law, said Zhou, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. Police should make efforts to create a safe and stable social environment to ensure the success of the 18th CPC National Congress, said Zhou, who is also secretary of the Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee. The comment was part of his written instructions announced at a meeting of public security department chiefs from provincial-level governments held Friday in northeast China's city of Dalian. [...]. ^ top ^

Mining company blamed for blast (China Daily)
2012-09-11
Poor management led to a coal mine accident that killed 45 people, the country's top safety watchdog said on Monday. The State Administration of Work Safety also vowed to close poorly managed small coal mines and urged local governments to take stricter measures to ensure safety. [...] Liu Yuntao, head of the accident investigation department of the State Administration of Work Safety, who led the investigation of the accident, told China Daily on Monday that the mine's three owners have been taken into custody and the victims' family members have been compensated by the company. [...] Yang Dongliang, head of the State Administration of Work Safety, criticized the mine company's disorderly management after the accident. The administration is going to thoroughly check all coal mines nationwide, and the government will halt the production, or even close coal mines if serious potential safety hazards are found, Yang said on Wednesday. More small coal mining companies with poor safety facilities will be merged with big companies to upgrade the safety equipment and increase profits, the administration said. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing, Shanghai scrap tenure for teachers (SCMP)
2012-09-11
Teachers' Day was a little less festive in Beijing and Shanghai yesterday as teachers digested the news that the cities would be the country's first to scrap lifelong tenure in favour of regular performance reviews. Education authorities in both cities disclosed the plans over the weekend just as teachers were preparing for the national holiday celebrating their contribution to society. Shanghai told the China Daily that, starting this school year, primary- and middle-school teachers would have to pass exams every five years to keep their certification. Wu Wu, the human resources chief for the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education, told The Beijing News that the capital was also drafting a review regime to comply with a Ministry of Education directive on improving teacher quality. [...] Those who have taught for more than 25 years or have passed five exams in a row would be exempted from the scheme, which is expected to soon be introduced in other cities. [...]. ^ top ^

China to step up comprehensive cares for the disabled (Xinhua)
2012-09-11
The Chinese government has vowed to increase financial support for, as well as encourage public investment in, disability care services, according to the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF). Such services are designed to provide all-around support, including rehabilitation, medical treatment, education, training and employment, for both mentally- and physically-handicapped adults. According to a circular jointly released Tuesday by eight government departments that include the CDPF and the ministries of finance and civil affairs, more funds will be spent on improving care center infrastructure and boosting general public service centers' abilities to host the disabled. The document came two weeks after a survey conducted by the country's legislators revealed that about 80 percent of disabled respondents said they are in dire need of medical and rehabilitation services as more than half of the 547,000 communities or villages surveyed do not provide rehabilitation services for the disabled. [...] China has more than 85 million disabled people, and their living conditions could involve about 260 million people if their family members are taken into account, according to the survey. ^ top ^

Chinese Vice-Premier Xi Jinping's public absence put down to ailment (SCMP)
2012-09-12
Top leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping, who has set off a storm of rumours after not showing up at scheduled public events for over a week, is nursing an ailment, possibly a back injury suffered while swimming, sources say. [...] Beijing, however, has declined to spell out what is ailing Xi, 59 - in keeping with decades of official secrecy over the health of senior leaders, a tradition viewed in the West as being out of step with a modern state and emerging superpower. [...] A source close to the Beijing leadership said: "Xi injured his back when he went for his daily swim." The source declined to give further details on the injury, including exactly when and where the incident took place. Another source, citing people close to Xi, said: "He's unwell, but it's not a big problem." Both sources spoke on condition of anonymity. [...]. ^ top ^

Mainland passengers come to blows on flight to Shanghai (SCMP)
2012-09-12
Two groups of mainland passengers brawled on an international flight from Saipan to Shanghai last Friday in the second such incident in a week. Friday's brawl reportedly erupted when two Chinese men fought for a seat on Sichuan Airlines flight 3U8648, which left Saipan at 6.10am. [...] Several passengers, believed to be members of the two men's families, then joined in the brawl. Flight attendants repeatedly asked the two groups to stop fighting and return to their seats. [...] A Tianning Huangchao staff member told the South China Morning Post that the two men who had triggered the brawl were taken away by police after the plane landed in Shanghai at around 8.40am on Friday, and they could face criminal charges. "Some Chinese passengers can suddenly lose their temper, but Sichuan Airlines normally won't return to the original airport under such circumstances," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

China sees 900,000 newborns with birth defects annually (Xinhua)
2012-09-12
About 5.6 percent of newborns in China have birth defects, with about 900,000 affected infants born each year, according to a Ministry of Health report. Birth defects have become the second-greatest cause of infant deaths in China, accounting for 19.1 percent of infant deaths, says the report on the prevention and treatment of newborn defects for 2012, issued by the ministry on Wednesday. Of the babies born with defects, about 30 percent die within 5 years after birth, while another 40 percent suffer lifelong deformities, the report says. About 250,000 newborns have visible defects, it says. Experts believe the increase in birth defects may be linked to the withdrawal of compulsory premarital health checks in 2003, as well as an increase in the number of women who have their first child at an older age. [...] Birth defects are a serious problem in China, particularly in rural areas. Neural tube defects, congenital heart disease, cleft lip and hydrocephalus are among the most common defects. [...]. ^ top ^

Communist Party discipline chief He Guoqiang reappears in public (SCMP)
2012-09-13
The Communist Party's discipline chief, He Guoqiang, appeared in public for the first time in days yesterday amid rumours linking his absence to the mystery surrounding leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping. He, who is one of nine members of the Politburo's supreme Standing Committee, was shown on CCTV's 7pm broadcast visiting a periodical affiliated with the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and a Beijing-based party newspaper. It was the first time He had appeared in public since August 31, when he attended an event touting his achievements in the country's fight against graft. His time out of the limelight had become the subject of intense speculation because it coincided with a similar absence by Xi. [...] One particularly sensational rumour claimed that both Xi and He were hurt in separate car crashes caused by party rivals. But analysts of Chinese politics say Xi is probably suffering from a relatively minor health issue, since anything more serious would have prevented President Hu Jintao from taking part in the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Vladivostok last week. The government has repeatedly refused to give any explanation for the absence. "I have no information to offer you on this," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said yesterday. [...]. ^ top ^

Rumour-plagued Zhang Guangning gets top post with steel firm (SCMP)
2012-09-13
Former Guangzhou party chief Zhang Guangning has gone from denying reports of his suicide last month to starting a new life at the helm of the mainland's second-largest steelmaker Angang Steel. The State Council and the Organisation Department, the party patronage office, said yesterday that Zhang had been appointed chief executive, chairman and party boss of the steelmaker based in northeastern Liaoning province. The appointment appears to be the strongest evidence that rumours Zhang is under investigation for his handling of the 2010 Asian Games are false. [...] The Asian Games rumour was one of several to plague Zhang, 59, since he stepped down as Guangzhou party secretary in December. Two weeks ago, internet chatter that had him jumping out of a window had grown so strong that he issued a statement saying: "I'm still here." Zhang also made a pair of public appearances with local party officials - his first in months - providing a strong signal he is in the clear. In May, he was selected by the Guangdong party committee to attend the upcoming national party congress. [...]. ^ top ^

China targets long-distance coaches in safety campaign (Xinhua)
2012-09-13
China's traffic bureaus have been told to strictly oversee long-distance coaches, especially sleeper buses and those operating at nighttime. According to a statement released on Thursday after a meeting on the safety of passenger buses, the Ministry of Public Security urged traffic bureaus at all levels to strictly control cross-province coaches with nighttime operations and a single route distance of more than 1,000 km. Local bus stations and police departments were told to implement a system where coaches should stop operation between 2 to 5 a.m., or passengers should be transferred to other coaches at designated venues to continue their journeys. Thursday's guidance came after a road safety campaign initiated in July by the ministry saw road accidents and fatalities drop by 13 percent and 18 percent in the past two months, according to the statement. In addition, the ministry called for a more transparent rewards system to encourage public whistleblowers in order to prevent road misconduct. ^ top ^

China seeks higher-educated youth in conscription (Xinhua)
2012-09-13
China will draft more well-educated young people into the army, according to a national conscription tele-conference held on Wednesday. According to the conference, China aims to draft more young people with high school diploma and above. Priority will be given to the draft of collage graduates and students. Young people with high degrees and fresh collage graduates will be preferred in the conscription. [...]. ^ top ^

Mention of Xi fails to quash rumours (SCMP)
2012-09-14
The first official mention of missing leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping in nearly two weeks did little to dispel rumours about his health or ease uncertainty surrounding the Communist Party's leadership transition plans. Reports by China News Service late on Wednesday and by the official Guangxi Daily yesterday said Vice-President Xi had expressed condolences to the family of a party veteran who died last week, along with party general secretary Hu Jintao and other leaders "through various means". They were the first time Xi's name had been mentioned in the state media since he dropped out of public view 12 days ago. Analysts said the reports were clearly aimed at defusing swirling rumours about the mysterious disappearance of Hu's heir apparent ahead of the once-in-a-decade leadership shake-up. But they said the reports failed to answer the main question on everyone's lips: where is Xi? Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei again refused to comment on rumours about Xi's health yesterday. He also remained silent about the date for the party's 18th national congress, which is expected some time next month. But he insisted that preparations for the meeting, during which Xi, 59, is expected to take over as the country's top leader from 70-year-old Hu, were "well under way". [...] While most rumours in the past week have said that Xi may be recovering from a minor health problem, such as a back injury suffered while swimming or playing football, unsettling speculation about more serious illnesses has begun to emerge over the past two days. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said yesterday that Xi was diagnosed with early-stage liver cancer on September 2 during a regular check-up. ^ top ^

Guangdong party secretary Wang Yang urges reform in late power grab (SCMP)
2012-09-14
Guangdong's party secretary Wang YangGuangdong's party secretary Wang Yang has made a fresh call for reform in what analysts are describing as a last-ditch attempt to garner support for his ascension to the top ruling body in the National Party Congress. Wang, who is widely seen as one of the party's leading voices for reform, told party officials in Foshan on Tuesday that the drive for change "must never stagnate and never stop", the Southern Metropolis Daily of Guangzhou said yesterday. He was talking mainly about market and administrative reforms needed to improve the economy and the investment environment, but also of the need to defuse social conflict that might otherwise escalate into unrest. To make his case, Wang used the "frog-in-the-pot" analogy. "Like a frog immersed in warm water, when the water temperature isn't too hot, nobody wants to take a risky step. But by the time you realise [how hot it is], it is already too late to find a solution," Wang was quoted as saying. "Reform is the fundamental solution; we shouldn't be afraid of risks," he said. "It is difficult, but there will be more difficulties if we don't carry out reform." [...] Wang has built much of his reputation as a reformer with his relatively liberal approach to managing the mainland's most populous province, including removing corrupt cadres and allowing democratic elections in the restive village of Wukan. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing overseas tourists decline in August (Xinhua)
2012-09-13
Beijing saw overseas tourist arrivals down 6.4 percent year on year in August as the gloomy global economy took its toll on tourism spending, according to data released by the local statistics bureau on Wednesday. The Chinese capital received 444,000 overseas tourists last month, the Beijing municipal bureau of statistics said in a statement. Of that number, 386,000 were from foreign countries, an annual decrease of 4.5 percent, Meanwhile, 58,000 were from Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao, down 17.4 percent year on year. During the January-August period, the city hosted 3.36 million overseas tourists, a slight annual increase of 0.5 percent, according to the statement. The United States, Japan and the Republic of Korea were the three biggest tourist sources, contributing 1.16 million visitors, or 34.6 percent of the total, it added. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Migrant rights groups report forced evictions in Shenzhen (SCMP)
2012-09-11
Workers' rights groups in the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen are being forcibly evicted from their offices, scholars have said in an open letter, urging an end to the crackdown. About 10 groups that offer help to the millions of migrant workers living and working in Shenzhen have reported random inspections and evictions, some of which turned violent, said the letter seen by AFP on Monday. “Police have failed to prevent labour organisations from being evicted from their offices for unknown reasons, sometimes even violently,” said the letter signed by 20 scholars and sent to the city and provincial governments Sunday. [...] “There has been a sustained campaign of harassment against NGOs in Shenzhen,” said Geoffrey Crowthall, spokesperson for Hong Kong-based monitoring group China Labour Bulletin. Crowthall said local government was involved in the moves against labour organisations in Shenzhen, which he called a “misguided attempt by the government to reorganise or reconfigure NGOs in the city”. None of the groups contacted by AFP was able to explain the crackdown, but some speculated that the local office of the mainland's only legal trade union, the All China Federation of China Trade Unions, saw them as competition. [...] Calls to provincial government offices in Guangdong went unanswered on Monday, and a spokesman for the Shenzhen city government said he was unaware of the open letter. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

China woos overseas Tibetans (Global Times)
2012-09-10
The Tibet Autonomous Region is expected to set up an office to communicate with and serve overseas Tibetans this month, according to a Friday report from the Hong Kong-based Ming Pao. There are about 150,000 Tibetans living overseas, but Tibet does not have an organ to serve them while all other provinces and autonomous regions in China have overseas Chinese affairs offices, the report said. [...] China began to change its thinking toward overseas Tibetan affairs and the united front work in 2009, the Ming Pao reported, when Chinese officials first affirmed it would carry out patriotic work with overseas Tibetans while meeting with overseas Tibetans and their relatives during the Tibetan New Year. [...]. ^ top ^

Foot-and-mouth disease reported in Tibet (Xinhua)
2012-09-13
Foot-and-mouth disease infections have been confirmed in livestock in southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, the Ministry of Agriculture announced Thursday. A total of 123 live head of cattle and 108 pigs at a village in Bomi County, Nyingchi Prefecture, showed symptoms associated with foot-and-mouth disease, according to the MOA. The National Foot-and-Mouth Disease Reference Laboratory on Thursday confirmed that the livestock were infected with type O foot-and-mouth disease after testing samples collected at the farm, the MOA said. Local authorities have sealed off and sterilized the infected area, where a total of 612 head of cattle and pigs have been culled and safely disposed of in order to prevent the disease from spreading since the case was confirmed, according to the MOA. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese govt wary over Dalai Lama's successor (Global Times)
2012-09-14
Authorities said Thursday China would support the successor to the Dalai Lama as long as his selection conforms with Chinese laws and historical rules, and the will of the Tibetan people. But analysts doubt whether the successor could serve only as a religious leader of the Tibetans as opposed to a political one, as the Dalai Lama himself is still not free from political involvement. In a speech delivered in New Delhi, the Dalai Lama said he is "in a semi-retirement position," adding that he has changed a tradition that had been in place for almost four centuries since the fifth Dalai Lama, in which the Dalai Lama was the political and religious leader of Tibetans, Press Trust of India reported. Xu Zhitao, an official with the United Front Work Department of the CPC Central Committee, told the Global Times Thursday the central government revoked the Dalai Lama's role as a political leader of Tibetans after the democratic reform of Tibet in 1959. "It's ridiculous for the Dalai Lama to say he changed the centuries-old tradition, because the tradition was already changed in 1959," said Xu."The central government will definitely support the Dalai Lama's successor if he or she is selected according to Chinese laws and historical rules, and the Tibetan people's will," he added. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Campaign against national education goes on, say protesters (SCMP)
2012-09-10
Protesters against national education ended their siege of the government headquarters at Admiralty - but warned that their campaign would go on. Organisers decided to disperse the crowds in the early hours of yesterday morning after Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying staged a dramatic U-turn on the controversial classes. He announced the scrapping of a three-year deadline for implementation, saying schools would instead be free to choose independently whether to teach the subject. But a citywide class boycott scheduled for tomorrow at universities will proceed. And the activists said they intended to continue monitoring schools where the subject is introduced. They declared the first stage of their fight "effective". Eva Chan Sik-chee, co-founder of the Parents' Concern Group on National Education, said: "The occupation has ended but our campaign hasn't. We foresee that some schools will still launch the subject and we will help the parents." [...] The Federation of Students, meanwhile, will go ahead with their class boycott on university campuses tomorrow. [...] The campaigners said they were not fully satisfied with the government's policy change, but ended the rally to protect the health of the hunger strikers. [...]. ^ top ^

Legco election creates stumbling block for Leung (SCMP)
2012-09-11
Executive Leung Chun-ying faces fresh challenges after Sunday's Legislative Council election produced a more fragmented legislature and signalled the continued rise of radicals in the pan-democratic camp. [...] The Democratic Party lost two seats but, overall, pan-democratic candidates secured 27 seats in the 70-seat Legco, meeting the "critical minority" threshold of 24 seats to be able to block constitutional changes. [...] The pan-democrats won 18 of 35 directly elected seats in the five geographical constituencies, with 1.02 million votes (56.6 per cent) - fewer than in 2008, when they won 19 out of 30 seats. [...] That is in contrast to rivals in the Beijing-loyalist camp who secured 17 directly elected seats with 765,761 votes (42.3 per cent). The results showed a further drop in the total share of votes held by the pan-democrats from their peak in 2004, when they held 61.9 per cent. Still, the camp won six seats in the 28 traditional functional constituencies - two more than in 2008. And pan-democrats secured three of five "super seats" with 50.7 per cent of the 1.67 million ballots cast in the new district council (second) functional constituency. Social scientist Chung said Leung would find gaining support from pan-democrats more difficult as the Democratic Party was no longer the camp's leader." One-quarter of pan-democratic supporters [or about 264,000 people] have voted for the radical candidates of People Power and the League of Social Democrats, whose [four] elected lawmakers will have more power to block Leung's policies by alternative means like filibustering," he said. The Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong was the biggest winner, with all its nine slates in geographical constituencies winning. [...]. ^ top ^

Thousands boycott classes in national education protest (SCMP)
2012-09-12
About 8,000 students and teachers took part in a citywide class boycott yesterday to demand the scrapping of the national education curriculum. Participants attributed the higher-than-expected turnout to Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's weak response to the issue. He announced on Saturday that he would let schools decide whether to teach the controversial subject instead of making it mandatory. But protesters said "threats of indoctrination" still remained because the government could force schools to implement the policy through measures such as subsidy requirements. [...] The crowd sang songs and chanted. Two banners on the stage read "anti-national education, anti-colonialism, class boycott by university students". Organisers, who had initially expected 1,000 participants, said 15 universities and tertiary institutions took part in the rally, including lecturers from the mainland and Taiwan. [...] But defending his decision yesterday, the chief executive urged protesters not to "live in the past" or bear grudges. He said he did not completely withdraw the subject as some schools would like to teach it. A committee, led by Executive Councillor Anna Wu Hung-yuk, set up to scrutinise the curriculum held its second preparatory meeting yesterday. [...]. ^ top ^

C.Y. Leung suffers blow as judge allows challenge to election win (SCMP)
2012-09-13
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying received a setback yesterday when a High Court judge ruled that a challenge by defeated chief executive candidate Albert Ho Chun-yan against his election victory in March could proceed. Leung's lawyers wanted Ho's petition thrown out without a hearing. [...] Ho accused Leung of lying about illegal structures at his Peak homes at the time of the election and called his integrity into question. The structures were exposed by the media after the election. [...] In his judgment, Mr Justice Johnson Lam Man-hon rejected Leung's suggestion that the court had no power to handle such a petition after the central government had appointed Leung as the government chief. [...] Lam also ruled against a suggestion by Leung's lawyers that Ho's case should not be heard because he missed the statutory seven-day deadline to file the petition after the announcement of the poll result in March. Lam ruled that the court had the discretion to extend the deadline because it had a constitutional duty to oversee and safeguard a free election. Lam said Ho had an arguable case on whether Leung made a false statement when he attacked election rival Henry Tang Ying-yen over illegal structures at Tang's Kowloon Tong home in a televised debate. Ho said the statement implied that Leung had made no unauthorised alterations to his Peak houses, yet six suspected structures were uncovered by the media. [...] A one-hour hearing has been scheduled for September 25, during which Ho will make his application for extension of the deadline. ^ top ^

HK$500,000 schools debenture scheme slammed for favouring rich (SCMP)
2012-09-14
he English Schools Foundation's new debenture scheme, which will charge parents HK$500,000 to reserve a school place for their children, has been criticised for unfairly favouring rich students over the poor. Starting next month, local and foreign parents wishing to reserve a place for 2013 and beyond at ESF's primary and secondary schools will have to pay the non-refundable fee for each child, who will be given priority placement should they meet the admission requirements. Newly elected education sector lawmaker Ip Kin-yuen said the scheme was skewed towards wealthy families, and he questioned why the government did not intervene in the matter. Ip said the plan looked more like a practice by a private school rather than a government-subsidised body such as the ESF. [...] But ESF chairman Carlson Tong Ka-shing maintained yesterday that ESF had no intention of going private. He said the new scheme was the only way for it to raise the funds to maintain and refurbish ageing school buildings, and to keep school fees at a level that parents could afford. He added the plan would not affect existing students and their siblings. "Under our admission policy, siblings whether of past or present students have priority. And this priority is ahead of the nomination rights," Tong said. The ESF chief said the scheme only applied to 150 places, out of more than 1,000 available every year. [...] Ip, meanwhile, added that when the Legislative Council session resumes, he would raise the issue of the lack of English-medium school places and the inundation of international schools with local and mainland children. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan strongly protests Japan's move to "purchase" Diaoyu Islands (Xinhua)
2012-09-11
Taiwan's leader, officials and media have strongly protested against Japan's move to "purchase" parts of the Diaoyu Islands. [...] Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said on Monday that he was closely monitoring the situation and Taiwanese authorities would take appropriate action to deal with it. He added that the island would not back down if the Japanese government moved ahead to sign the "purchase" agreement. [...] Lee Tung-hao, a ranking member of the People First Party, said he would propose a draft at the local legislative body to require all related bodies of the Taiwanese authorities to work together to defend the sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's industrial output, investment continue to slow (Xinhua)
2012-09-09
Industrial production and investment have continued to falter in China, dimming hopes for a robust recovery in the world's second-largest economy this year, official data showed Sunday. China's industrial value-added output expanded 8.9 percent year on year in August, down from 9.2 percent in July and and the slowest rate since May 2009, according to figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). Urban fixed-asset investment increased 20.2 percent year on year to 21.8 trillion yuan (3.4 trillion U.S. dollars) in the January-August period, 0.2 percentage points slower than the growth of the January-July period. Private fixed-asset investment went up 25.1 percent to 13.5 trillion yuan, down 0.4 percentage points from the January-July period. Annual retail sales growth accelerated to 13.2 percent in August from 13.1 percent in July, although inflation-adjusted growth actually slowed by 0.1 percentage points from July to 12.1 percent. [...] Wang Jun, a researcher with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, said exports in August will likely see zero or even negative growth. He viewed the government's response to the economic slowdown as "too conservative," as policymakers are worried that aggressive lending could drive inflation up. [...]. ^ top ^

China to raise gasoline, diesel prices (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
China will raise the retail prices of gasoline by 550 yuan (85.75 U.S. dollars) per tonne and diesel by 540 yuan per tonne starting Tuesday, the country's top economic planner announced on Monday. [...] The price hike, which marks the second such increase in a month and the fourth this year, comes amid rising pressures for the country's refineries as increasing global crude prices keep driving up their operation costs. [...] The price hike will help trim refining losses at oil companies. PetroChina's refining business lost 23.31 billion yuan during the first six months of 2012, according to the company's first-half report. [...] The logistics sector will be most affected. As transportation fees account for 70 percent of total costs in logistics, it will see a nearly 2-percent increase in costs after the hike, according to Yu. ^ top ^

China plans slower growth in domestic consumption (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
Chinese policymakers have scaled down the country's growth target for domestic consumer goods for the next five years ending in 2015, according to a development plan for domestic trade released Monday. China aims to expand its retail sales of consumer goods to around 32 trillion yuan (5.05 trillion U.S. dollars) by 2015, with an average annual growth rate of 15 percent, according to the 12th Five-year (2011-2015) Development Plan for Domestic Trade released by the State Council, China's Cabinet, on its website. The targeted growth in retail sales for the 2011-2015 period is 1.1 percentage points slower than that seen in the past decade when an average growth rate of 16.1 percent drove the country's retail sales of consumer goods to 18.4 trillion yuan in 2011. It is hoped that the domestic trade sector will provide jobs to 130 million people by 2015, with 5 million new job opportunities added every year, according to the plan. [...]. ^ top ^

Economy Trade data show further slowdown (China Daily)
2012-09-11
China imported less in August than in the same month a year ago and saw its exports continue to increase at a slow pace, giving the Chinese government more reason to consider adopting further stimulus and monetary easing policies. Last month, China's imports decreased by 2.6 percent from a year earlier, showing the first monthly decline in seven months, according to the General Administration of Customs. In July, it increased by 4.7 percent. "The drop (in imports) happened unexpectedly, suggesting the nation's economic growth is continuing to slow down," said Wang Tao, Chinese economist at UBS AG. [...] Although the figure was up slightly, the increase seen in exports was "still pretty bad", and "will probably continue to be in the next few months", said Li Wei, an economist with the financial services company Standard Chartered Shanghai. [...]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen urges easing restrictions on exports to China (Xinhua)
2012-09-11
Premier Wen Jiabao said at the 2012 Summer Davos on Tuesday that China does not seek trade surplus with the United States, while urging the world's largest economy to lift restrictions on exports to China. The United States refused to ease its restrictions on exports of Black Hawk helicopter parts to China when the country was badly in need of such parts for rescuing people in the devastating Sichuan earthquake in 2008, Wen said while meeting entrepreneurs on the sidelines of the event, which is being held in north China's port city of Tianjin. Wen also dismissed claims that the Chinese currency is undervalued and that China is stealing American jobs. [...] The currency is at an equilibrium against the U.S. dollar, the premier said. Wen called for large-scale bilateral trade and investment cooperation, which will help boost the U.S. economy and increase employment. [...]. ^ top ^

China inks second port deal with North Korea (Global Times)
2012-09-12
A deal giving China the right to use Chongjin port in North Korea will both help reduce logistical costs for China's commodity circulation and improve the North Korea's economy, analysts said Tuesday. It is the second port leasing agreement signed between the two countries, the first being inked in 2010. [...] Under the deal, Haihua Group holds a 60.46 percent stake while the North Korean side owns the rest, to operate the Chongjin port's No.3 and 4 wharves for 30 years. The ports will be capable of processing 7 million tons of cargo a year and be put into use this year. The South Korean Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported that China will try to lease three more North Korean ports because access to the Sea of Japan to the east will save it huge transportation costs. Currently, China's Liaoning Province and its landlocked provinces Heilongjiang and Jilin mostly use railways to transport various goods to the east and south of the country. [...]. ^ top ^

China to 'allow full yuan convertibility' by 2015 (SCMP)
2012-09-13
China will probably take the groundbreaking step of making the yuan a fully convertible currency as early as 2015, former central bank governor Dai Xianglong said. "If nothing unusual takes place, there will be a breakthrough in three to five years," Dai said in a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin yesterday, referring to the liberalisation of the country's capital account." [...] Dai, the chairman of the National Social Security Fund, is the first senior mainland official to give a tentative timetable in public for the yuan's full convertibility. He was the head of the People's Bank of China between 1995 and 2002 before he became mayor of Tianjin. Dai began overseeing the 870 billion yuan (HK$1.07 trillion) national pension fund in 2008. The full convertibility of the yuan was put on the PBOC's agenda in 1996, but Beijing has never unveiled a timetable for its implementation. All that officials would say was the capital account would be liberalised when the timing was right. [...]. ^ top ^

Govt revenue down in Aug for first time in 2012 (China Daily)
2012-09-13
August saw the central government collect less monthly income year-on-year for the first time in 2012 as the country's economy continued to weaken. The central government collected 376.5 billion yuan ($59.5 billion) in fiscal revenue last month, 6.7 percent less than in the same month a year ago, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Tuesday. Despite the decline in the central government's collections, governments at all levels brought 4.2 percent more fiscal revenue year-on-year in August, 786.3 billion yuan in total. In the first eight months, the country's fiscal revenues increased by 10.8 percent year-on-year, rising to 8.23 trillion yuan. Even so, that rate of increase was down 20.1 percentage points from the same month in 2011. [...] Despite the decrease in the central government's collections, the income brought in by local governments went up by between 10.2 percent and 16.8 percent from July to August, the Finance Ministry said. [...] One boon for local governments has been non-tax revenues, which were up by 31.6 percent year-on-year in August. The Ministry of Finance said the increase resulted in part from those governments collecting more revenue from sales of mining rights, as well as taking more steps to strictly collect charges imposed on the use of State-owned resources. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK accepts S. Korea's aid offer: report (Xinhua)
2012-09-10
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) accepted South Korea's offer to provide emergency relief aid, local media reported Monday. The DPRK notified South Korean authorities of its decision earlier in the day via the Red Cross liaison channel at Panmunjom, a border-straddling village, according to Yonhap News Agency. The move came a week after South Korea offered to help the estranged northern neighbor recover from dry spells, heavy rains and typhoons, the first such offer in two years. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian PM says to ensure foreign policy continuity (Xinhua)
2012-09-07
Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altanhuyag said Friday that the new government will maintain the foreign policy directions of the previous governments. Altanhuyag made the remarks when receiving heads of diplomatic missions and international organizations. "We will build on balanced relationship and wide-ranging, good-neighborly cooperation with our two neighbors," Altanhuyag said, adding that the government will also seek to develop friendly relations with regional and world powers. Altanhuyag also emphasized the importance of foreign investment, saying foreign direct investment plays a significant role in the development of the Mongolian economy. [...]. ^ top ^

Ulaanbaatar needs to re-planning its urban construction (Montsame)
2012-09-12
The Urban construction seminar started on September 12. It has been co-organized by the Ministries of Construction and urban development, of Road and transportation, and the Administration of Ulaanbaatar and a Ministry of Land, infrastructure, road, transportation and tourism of Japan.The UB city, initially designed for 500 thous. people but populated now by a million and 200 thous., intends to learn the Japanese experience in re-planning and urban construction and to cooperation opportunities. The two sides representatives gave reports on state policy regarding the urban development, its legal environment and stability, Ulaanbaatar's infrastructure, construction, public transportation, railway, and urban construction in cold weather conditions. A Mayor of Ulaanbaatar, E.Bat-Uul said Tokyo has managed to re-plan its urban construction, spending for this some 20 years. We have a lot to learn from experience and to develop Ulaanbaatar in short time by re-planning its construction, besides, the Japanese earthquake-proof hi tech is to be studied as well, he said. A research has started to construct together a metro in the UB city, he added. A research, made by the UB city authority, the Ministry of roads, transport and urban development and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency /JICA/, says that the UB city's population will reach two million by 2030. A vice manager of the research project group, Nagayama Katsuhide says the metro will be ready by 2020, a construction will take five years, some 1.5 billion US dollars will be needed. The 18 km line will stretch from the west to the east with six kilometers under Enkhtaivan Avenue. The research will finish this year, the financial matter has not been finalized yet, he added. ^ top ^

Special Tax on tobacco and alcohol is increased (News.mn)
2012-09-12
Irregular session of the parliament discussed several amendments to the tax law such as Special Tax, VAT and Customs law and approved after the first discussion yesterday, on Tuesday. According to the approved law special tax on tobacco and alcohol increased two times. During the discussion some MP's warned when tax increased on alcohol companies and individuals trying to sell false vodka. Therefore should increase attention of inspection organizations said MPs. Now price on tobacco will increase from MNT 1000 to MNT 2000, while bottle vodka will increase MNT 5000-7000. ^ top ^

Mongolian government to seek Oyu Tolgoi copper mine talks – Report (News.mn)
2012-09-13
Mongolia's new government has given its strongest indication yet that it will seek to renegotiate a landmark deal to develop the Oyu Tolgoi project with global mining giant Rio Tinto, adding to uncertainty over one of the world's largest copper-gold mines. Mining Minister Ganhuyag Davaajav told the Odriin Sonin (Daily News) paper on Wednesday his government would seek to raise its current stake of 34 percent in Oyu Tolgoi, as part of an "action plan" that has not yet been finalised. The initial Oyu Tolgoi agreement, signed in 2009, allowed for the two sides to renegotiate the deal once the investors recouped their first investment, the paper quoted D.Ganhuyag as saying. "It's just clear that the new contract should say that after the first investment is paid back (to Rio Tinto) Mongolia will own 50 percent," he added. D.Ganhuyag's office confirmed the accuracy of the newspaper report when contacted by Reuters. The government has long been under pressure to implement a parliamentary resolution that Mongolia should own 50 percent of the project once the principal investors -- Rio Tinto and Turquoise Hill Resources -- have recouped their start-up investment. D.Ganhuyag's comments come a week after 24 members of parliament sent a letter to prime minister Altankhuyag Norov, demanding that the agreement be renegotiated. Rio Tinto responded to the petition by saying the MPs' comments "did not reflect the reality of the agreement", and urged the Mongolian government to show "leadership". At a recent mining conference, Cameron McRae, chief executive of Oyu Tolgoi and Mongolia country representative for Rio Tinto, told delegates it would take two decades for investors to break even, by which time the government would have earned $7 billion to $8 billion from the project. Oyu Tolgoi, located 80 km north of Mongolia's Chinese border, is expected to become one of the world's three largest copper and gold mines when it reaches full production in 2018. It is expected to begin commercial production in the first half of next year. ^ top ^

Mongolia expects good harvests due to favorable weather (News.mn)
2012-09-13
Mongolia started its autumn harvests Tuesday, expecting to see the fifth consecutive crop increase annually thanks to favorable weather conditions so far this year. Industry and Agriculture Minister Kh. Battulga said at a recent government meeting that thanks to the favorable weather conditions since early 2012, Mongolia was expected to have another bumper harvest. Mongolia's wheat output in 2005 registered 75,000 tons, with most of the country's flour and rice then imported from China and Russia. Since its third land reclamation campaign in 2008, Mongolia's grain production has increased for four years running, and its grain output in 2011 totaled 430,000 tons, making it self-sufficient.

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Fabian Eng
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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