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
  15-21.9.12, No. 441  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Wu urges investment in Myanmar (China Daily)
2012-09-15
China's top legislator said on Friday that the country would continue to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Myanmar, although some projects have encountered setbacks. During a meeting with Myanmar President U Thein Sein, Wu Bangguo, chairman of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee, said the two countries have achieved remarkable results in economic and trade cooperation in the past, but there is still much potential for growth. [...] He said both sides should have confidence and take active measures to erase existing difficulties to ensure the smooth progress of some major projects, such as the joint oil and gas pipeline venture. Thein Sein said Myanmar welcomes Chinese investment, especially in labor-intensive industries and the agricultural processing industry, and is willing to offer favorable policies in these sectors. [...] On Friday, the two leaders also witnessed the signing of nine economic and trade cooperation documents and two finance agreements between China and Myanmar. No details of these documents were revealed. [...]. ^ top ^

China to submit outer limits of continental shelf in East China Sea to UN (Xinhua)
2012-09-16
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced Sunday that China has decided to submit its Partial Submission Concerning the Outer Limits of the Continental Shelf beyond 200 Nautical Miles in the East China Sea to the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The ministry said technical preparations for China's State Oceanic Administration's submission "are close to being completed." [...] The commission shall make recommendations to the coastal state on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of its continental shelf, the ministry said. According to the long-standing position of the Chinese government, "the natural prolongation of the continental shelf of China in the East China Sea extends to the Okinawa Trough and beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea of China is measured," said the ministry. [...]. ^ top ^

China surveillance mission to Diaoyu Islands 'successful' (SCMP)
2012-09-17
Chinese surveillance mission to a disputed islands chain was “successful” in asserting Beijing's sovereignty claim, state media said on Monday, following huge anti-Japanese rallies across China. [...] The visit “demonstrated China's jurisdiction over the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islets, achieved the goal of demonstrating China's sovereignty claim and ensured the country's maritime interests”, Xiao Huiwu, deputy head of China Marine Surveillance told Xinhua, the state-run news agency reported on Monday. Tokyo had on Friday summoned the Chinese ambassador to protest what it insisted was an incursion into territorial waters around islands it controls. In response China maintained the six boats that made up the surveillance mission were patrolling sovereign territory. [...] Japan's coastguard on Friday said the ships were in the area around the islands for about seven hours. [...]. ^ top ^

China's top legislator meets Sri Lankan president on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2012-09-17
China's top legislator Wu Bangguo met with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse here Monday, vowing to insert new energy into relations between the two countries. "China-Sri Lanka relations are now at the best period of development in history," said Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), who is on a four-day official goodwill visit to the South Asian nation. [...] On the economic front, Wu said China and Sri Lanka have in recent years witnessed sustained growth in bilateral trade volume, and have made smooth progress on such infrastructure projects as the second phase of the Hambantota port, a container terminal in Sri Lanka port and a coal-fired power plant in Puttalam. [...] Wu and Rajapakse also witnessed the signing of 16 cooperative agreements between the governments and enterprises of the two countries. ^ top ^

China vows to protect 2,000 fishing boats heading towards Diaoyus (SCMP)
2012-09-18
Chinese authorities pledged to ensure the safety of nearly 2,000 fishing boats that began entering disputed waters in the East China Sea yesterday, as Japan warned it would arrest anyone attempting to land on the Diaoyu Islands. The Fishery Administration Bureau would help vessels in waters near the Diaoyus, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said yesterday. Earlier reports from Xinhua and China Central Television said nearly 2,000 fishing boats from Fujian and Zhejiang were heading towards the Diaoyus on Sunday, after the end of a 3-1/2 month ban on fishing in the East China Sea imposed by Beijing. [...] A Xinhua report written by a reporter on one of the surveillance ships said four Chinese patrol ships got as close as 1.55 nautical miles to the Diaoyus, and were closely monitored by three Japanese coastguard vessels and three helicopters. The two sides exchanged radioed messages to the other side, warning them to leave the disputed waters, the report said. [...]. ^ top ^

China looks to promote military ties with U.S. (Xinhua)
2012-09-18
Senior military leaders on Tuesday called for more efforts to promote military ties between China and the U.S. "The two sides should, within the framework of building a China-U.S. cooperative partnership, promote a new type of military relations featuring equality, reciprocity and win-win cooperation in an active and pragmatic way," Defense Minister Liang Guanglie said. [...] China and the U.S. should explore a path of coexistence and establish a new type of relations that corresponds to their influence, Liang said. [...] Liang encouraged the two militaries to deepen substantial cooperation in areas of non-traditional security, such as humanitarian rescues, anti-piracy efforts and medical assistance. Liang and Panetta exchanged views on U.S. weapon sales to Taiwan, the Diaoyu Islands, the rebalancing of U.S. policy, the South China Sea, cyberspace and outer space security. [...] Stressing that the United States and China enjoy extensive common interests, Panetta said it is conducive for both countries, the Asia-Pacific region and the entire world to maintain the healthy development of bilateral military ties. He hailed a successful joint counter-piracy exercise conducted by the navies of both sides in the Gulf of Aden earlier this week. "These exercises enhance the ability of our navies to work together to combat the common threat of piracy," Panetta said. He said the United States' goal is to have the United States and China "establish the most important bilateral relationship in the world. And the key to that is to establish a strong military-to-military relationship." [...]. ^ top ^

China issues thematic map on Diaoyu Islands (Xinhua)
2012-09-18
China issued on Tuesday a thematic map on the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands. The map is compiled and issued by the SinoMaps Press, announced National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at Tuesday's routine press briefing that the issue of the map is another concrete measure taken by the Chinese government to enhance its administration of the Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands. [...]. ^ top ^

Greece, China hold forum to enhance economic ties (Xinhua)
2012-09-18
Greek and Chinese officials, academics and representatives of the business world on Tuesday reiterated their will to boost bilateral economic ties for the benefit of the two nations and peoples at the 2nd Hellenic-Chinese Business Partnering conference held in Athens. "In order to succeed, one should help others to succeed," Chinese Ambassador to Greece Du Qiwen said in his opening speech. Despite current difficulties, Greece remains an attractive destination for investment in sectors ranging from tourism and renewable energy to agriculture and merchant marine, speakers noted, expressing confidence that the country will overcome the debt crisis and return to growth supported by entrepreneurship. [...] Focus on development is the only way to overcome such crises, stressed speakers such as Long Guoqiang, Director General of Development Research Center of China's State Council, pointing to the impressive Chinese example of reform. [...] In particular regarding to the Greek crisis, pointing to successful examples of cooperation between China and Greece, such as COSCO's investment at Piraeus port and the funding of Greek shipping entrepreneurs from China Development Bank, Greek and Chinese officials encouraged entrepreneurs to explore the potential for further business collaboration which could benefit both sides. [...]. ^ top ^

China's top legislator pledges cooperation with Malaysia's easternmost state (Xinhua)
2012-09-19
China will encourage its enterprises to step up cooperation with Malaysia's easternmost state of Sabah, said China's top legislator Wu Bangguo on Wednesday. The pledge was made during a meeting between Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), and Musa Aman, chief minister of Sabah State of Malaysia. Wu is paying a stopover visit to Kota Kinabalu, capital of the Sabah state, before heading for Fiji, the last stop of his four- nation tour which also involves Iran, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. China encourages relevant provinces and cities to conduct mutually-beneficial cooperation with Sabah state in such areas as infrastructure, port construction and manufacturing, and supports Chinese enterprises to take positive attitudes to explore market in the state, said Wu. As the Sabah state has rich tourist resources, the two sides should make joint efforts to make tourism a new growth point for pragmatic cooperation, Wu said. On China-Malaysia relations, Wu said China has always fostered bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term perspective, and will work together with the Malaysian side to deepen political trust and win-win cooperation so as to bring about benefits for the two peoples. ^ top ^

Xi Jinping warns Japan to 'rein in its behaviour' over Diaoyu Islands (SCMP)
2012-09-19
Xi Jinping said Japan's "purchase" of the Diaoyu Islands was a farce on Wednesday and urged Japan to stop any behaviour that infringes upon China's sovereignty." Japan should rein in its behaviour and stop any words and acts that undermine China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Xi said in a meeting with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. It was the first time Xi had commented on the Diaoyu Islands since the Japanese government announced its decision to "purchase" the Diaoyu Islands on September 10. He said Japan's "purchase" openly questions the legal effects of the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation and has intensified the neighbours' territorial disputes. Xi said the international community will never tolerate Japan's attempt to deny the outcomes of the World Anti-Fascist War. […] Xi also called on the United States to act in the larger interest of regional peace and stability, mind its words and actions, not to get involved in issues regarding the sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands and refrain from doing anything that might escalate tensions and complicate the situation. [...] But Panetta […] sought to convince Beijing that the shift in focus was not an attempt to hem in China, whose neighbours have expressed concern about its expanding military reach. [...] “Our rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region is not an attempt to contain China,” he said. “It is an attempt to engage China and expand its role in the Pacific. It is about creating a new model in the relationship of two Pacific powers.”[...] But the message is difficult to sell to a sceptical Chinese audience concerned about US missile defences in Japan, expanding military ties with the Philippines and suspicion that Washington wants military access to Cam Ranh Bay in Vietnam.[...] Panetta has said the United States takes no position in the territorial dispute between Japan and China, though acknowledges US defence obligations in the event of an attack on Japan. […]. ^ top ^

12 Chinese ships patrol in waters near Diaoyu Islands (Xinhua)
2012-09-19
Ten Chinese Marine surveillance ships and two Chinese fishery administration ships have arrived in waters near the Diaoyu Islands, with two more China fishery administration ships on the way. The twelve Chinese ships carried out law enforcement, fishing, and patrol activities in waters around the area on Tuesday. Japan's patrol ships closely followed, but no action was taken. As fishing season begins, more China's fishery ships are expected to fish in waters surrounding the Diaoyu Islands. Fisherman will continue to be protected by China's fishery administration ships in the area. Japan's media reported that Japan's Coast Guard has assembled many patrol ships, and tightened watch in waters near the Diaoyu Islands. ^ top ^

China, U.S. conduct first joint anti-piracy drill (Xinhua)
2012-09-19
China's Ministry of National Defense confirmed Monday that the Chinese and U.S. navies conducted their first joint anti-piracy drill in the Gulf of Aden on the same day. The drill, conducted by the Chinese missile frigate Yiyang and the U.S. guided missile destroyer USS Winston S. Churchill, lasted for more than five hours, the ministry said. The drill was praised by the Chinese side as being conducive to increasing mutual understanding and trust between the two navies and deepening bilateral cooperation in non-conventional security fields. ^ top ^

Chinese VP meets Laotian PM (Xinhua)
2012-09-21
Vice President Xi Jinping on Thursday met with Prime Minister of Laos Thongsing Thammavong on the sidelines of the ninth China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) being held in Nanning, capital of south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, to discuss bilateral ties. China and Laos share similar political systems and ideals, which is an advantage for the two nations in terms of boosting cooperation and fostering friendship, Xi said, applauding the robust growth of bilateral ties in recent years. [...] "China welcomes Laos to expand its cooperation with southwestern Chinese provinces, such as Yunnan and Guangxi, to generate more benefits for both peoples," Xi added. Speaking highly of the role the China-ASEAN Expo has played in cementing ties between China and ASEAN member nations, Thongsing said he admires the remarkable achievements China has made in promoting its economic and social development. Such achievements have showcased the vitality of the socialist system and contributed to the maintenance of peace and prosperity, Thongsing noted. [...]. ^ top ^

China, EU strike deal to cut carbon despite sour start to summit (SCMP)
2012-09-21
China has struck a deal to work with the European Union to cut greenhouse gases through projects including the development of Chinese emissions trading schemes, the European Commission said yesterday. The EU and China, the world's biggest emitter of carbon dioxide, have frequently clashed over climate policy, and Beijing has flouted an EU law requiring all airlines using European airports to pay for their emissions through the EU's emissions trading scheme. At the China-EU summit in Brussels, Commerce Minister Chen Deming and EU Development Commissioner Andris Piebalgs signed a financing deal promoting the transition "towards a low-carbon economy and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in China", the commission said in a statement. The EU will contribute €25 million (HK$250.9 million) and technical assistance over four years to three carbon-reduction projects. The annual summit got off to a sour start yesterday when Beijing raised long-standing complaints over its treatment by the bloc even as both sides lauded their relationship. Premier Wen Jiabao, in his opening remarks, gave a lengthy list of achievements over the past 10 years, but went on to use forceful diplomatic language to raise the issue of an EU arms embargo, imposed since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, and the EU's refusal to treat China as a fully fledged market economy by lifting all tariffs on Chinese goods. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Belgium eye closer cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-09-21
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo met here Thursday and agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation. Since China and Belgium established foreign relations four decades ago, the two sides have seen their mutual understanding and trust steadily increasing, said Wen. [...] China attaches great importance to Belgium's influence within the EU and on international affairs, said Wen, adding that Beijing is ready to work with Brussels to enhance dialogues and coordination on hot-button and global issues. In view of the current unfavorable global economic conditions, he said, China and Belgium should remain committed to keeping their markets open and jointly resist all forms of protectionism. [...] The two countries need to step up financial cooperation so as to provide better financial services for their companies, Wen said, adding that China is willing to learn from Belgium's advanced experiences and ideas. [...] Di Rupo, for his part, said China is a key partner for Belgium and his country admires China's achievements and values China's international status and influence. Belgium, he said, is willing to strengthen high-level exchanges with China and foster a favorable environment for Chinese investors. [...]. ^ top ^

China opposes excessive pressure, new sanctions on Iran (Xinhua)
2012-09-21
China is not in favor of putting excessive pressure or imposing new sanctions on Iran over Tehran's controversial nuclear program, a senior Chinese diplomat to the UN said here on Thursday. Wang Min, China's deputy permanent representative to the UN, made the statement at a Security Council meeting, where Colombia's UN Ambassador Nestor Osorio, also the chair of the 1737 Committee, reported the committee's latest work. The 1737 Committee was established on UN Security Council Resolution 1737 adopted in 2006. The committee is tasked with monitoring a set of sanctions against Iran established by Resolution 1737 and subsequent Council resolutions. [...] "China has always maintained that the relevant resolutions of the Security Council should be fully implemented, but sanctions are not the fundamental objective of resolutions," he said. "We are not in favor of putting excessive pressure or new sanctions against Iran. We are firmly against use or threat of use of force." [...] "The parties concerned should continue to work on the principles of progressive development and mutual respect, advance the dialogue in pragmatic and steadfast manner, try by all means to find common ground and gradually find the solution to the Iran nuclear problem," Wang said. "This is not only in the common interests of all parties but also the wide expectation of the international community." [...]. ^ top ^

China opens navy's northern headquarters to Leon Panetta (SCMP)
2012-09-21
Defence Secretary Leon Panetta had a rare look inside a Chinese naval base yesterday, as Washington pushes security dialogue with Beijing. On the third and last day of his visit to China, Panetta flew to the eastern port of Qingdao, Shandong, becoming the first Pentagon chief to set foot inside the headquarters of the Chinese navy's northern fleet. The latest naval warships and submarines of the People's Liberation Army are the subject of intense scrutiny by US military strategists, defence analysts and lawmakers amid concerns about Beijing's growing military might. Chinese officers gave Panetta a close-up look at several vessels, a US defence official said, including the frigate Yantai, which recently supported joint counter-piracy operations with the United States in the Gulf of Aden. He also toured the conventionally powered Great Wall 197 submarine, which has torpedo, mine-laying and reconnaissance capabilities. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Vietnam vow to solve South China Sea issue on basis of consensus (Xinhua)
2012-09-20
China and Vietnam agreed on Thursday to implement a consensus reached previously by the leaders of both countries regarding the South China Sea so as to solve the issue via negotiations and dialogue. In his meeting with Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in south China's city of Nanning, Vice President Xi Jinping said issues regarding the South China Sea do not represent the entirety of China-Vietnam relations, but will affect their ties if improperly dealt with. Both leaders have reached many important agreements regarding the sea and the two countries should earnestly implement them, said Xi. "This is also vital for the smooth development of bilateral cooperation," said the vice president. Echoing Xi's remarks, Dung, who is in China for the ninth China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO), said Vietnam and China should conscientiously implement the consensus, despite the fact that the two countries hold different views on the South China Sea. The issue should be properly solved through negotiation and dialogue from a strategic height and in the spirit of brotherhood and comradeship, said Dung, adding that Vietnam will not let the issue affect the overall state of bilateral ties. Xi said China hopes to maintain close communication with Vietnam during an east Asia summit to be held later this year so as to jointly promote east Asian cooperation. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Anti-Japan protests turn violent in Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Qingdao (SCMP)
2012-09-17
Torrid protests against Japan broke out in dozens of mainland cities for a second day yesterday, prompting Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to urge Beijing to protect his country's companies and diplomatic buildings from fresh assaults. Demonstrations sparked by the Diaoyu Islands dispute descended into violence in Shenzhen and Guangzhou and in Qingdao in Shandong province, with angry protesters clashing with police, Japanese factories being burned, restaurants and hotels being smashed, and cars vandalised. Shenzhen police had to fire tear gas and use water cannon to repel protesters who tried to break into government buildings, and detained at least a dozen of them. Several thousands protesters began to gather on Shennan Boulevard, a major road in Shenzhen, at about eight in the morning. About two hours later, they clashed with armed policemen, throwing flowerpots and water bottles at the police force when they were stopped close to the compound of the city's party committee, also on the boulevard. Some protesters also attacked cars believed to be owned by party cadres. [...] In Guangzhou, protesters broke into the lobby of the Garden Hotel and smashed a Japanese restaurant on the second floor, despite a heavy police presence. [...] Several dozen demonstrators climbed onto an arched roof at the hotel's entrance, waving national flags, singing the national anthem and chanting: "Diaoyu Islands belong to China" and "Japan, get the hell out of China." More Japanese restaurants and supermarkets were smashed and looted as evening drew near, despite calls for a peaceful protest from some at the rally. [...] Demonstrators in Beijing yesterday resumed their protests under the nose of tens of thousands of armed soldiers, uniformed police officers and security guards wearing red armbands marked "public security volunteer". They continued to chant nationalistic slogans and threw eggs and water bottles at the Japanese embassy in the city. In Shanghai, about 1,500 people marched towards the Japanese consulate, where they were allowed to enter cordoned-off areas in small groups. [...]. ^ top ^

New Gini figures show instability risks, need for reform (Global Times)
2012-09-17
The widening gap between rich and poor continues to pose a challenge to stability in China, with the latest figures showing that the Gini coefficient reached 0.438 in 2010, which exceeds UN warning levels. The index, which represented the first local release of these figures in five years, was published by a Chinese NGO, the International Institute for Urban Development on Friday, as part of the Blue Book on China's Social Management. The Gini coefficient, an index measuring inequality of income with a scale of zero to one (zero being totally equal and one being totally unequal), suggests that a country with a figure higher than 0.4 has dangerous levels of wealth inequality. [...] No official statistics have been released by the National Bureau of Statistics since 2000. The bureau offered an explanation for this in a monitoring report in 2011, which said that the Gini index couldn't be calculated as the incomes of urban and rural residents are calculated separately. [...]. ^ top ^

Firms close on anniversary (China Daily)
2012-09-18
Many Japanese businesses will shut operations on Tuesday, the anniversary of Japan's invasion of Northeast China in 1931, in a precautionary move ahead of possible protests against Tokyo's recent move to "buy" China's Diaoyu Islands. [...] Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said in a daily news briefing that China will protect Japanese firms and citizens and called for protesters to obey the law. Hong blamed Japan's illegal purchase of the islands for the "gravely destructive consequences" and said it is Japan that should bear responsibility. The government has called for the Chinese people to express their demands in a "legal and rational way". Some Japanese companies closed temporarily, as a matter of prudence. Toyota and Honda both reported that arsonists had badly damaged their stores in the eastern port city of Qingdao over the weekend. [...] Canon announced on Monday it will close its three Chinese factories temporarily. The company's China headquarters told China Daily that the factories are located in Zhongshan and Zhuhai, Guangdong province, and in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. The factories employ more than 20,000 Chinese workers, and they will "take two days off, with pay, on Sept 17 and Sept 18", according to Canon. The factories mainly produce digital cameras and printers. On the advice of police, Canon closed its stores and covered logos on Monday, the company said. Japan's Fast Retailing said it will close 19 Uniqlo outlets in China on Tuesday, up from seven on Monday. [...] In Beijing, some of the convenience stores concealed their logo by hanging up banners of patriotic Chinese slogans. [...]. ^ top ^

Bo Xilai's former right-hand man Wang Lijun goes on trial (SCMP)
2012-09-18
The trial of former Chongqing police chief Wang Lijun started unexpectedly behind closed doors yesterday. Officials had earlier announced part of the case would be heard in open court today. Wang, also the city's former vice-mayor and once the right-hand man of now-suspended Politburo member Bo Xilai, went on trial in Chengdu on two charges relating to state secrets, his defence lawyer Wang Yuncai said yesterday. "Wang Lijun was charged with the crimes of defecting and of abusing power during Monday's trial, which was held behind closed doors," the lawyer said. The abuse-of-power charge relates to prosecutors' accusation that Wang Lijun made "unauthorised use of technical reconnaissance measures", which included forging official approval documents. A spokesman for the Chengdu court had said earlier that part of Wang's trial would be conducted secretly, without giving a date. The lawyer said she was present on Wang Lijun's behalf and that the four-hour hearing ended at around 12.30pm. Asked whether Wang Lijun pleaded guilty yesterday, or if she entered a not-guilty plea on his behalf, Wang Yuncai, who is based in Shenyang in the northeast said: "Excuse me, but it is really inconvenient to talk about that at this stage." Another hearing will begin today on two other charges relating to accusations that Wang Lijun manipulated the law for personal gain and took bribes, the lawyer said. [...] During the trial of Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, there was no mention of whether Bo was in any way linked to her case. Whether or not Bo's name is mentioned in today's open trial may shed some light on the party leadership's decision regarding his fate. While today's trial is supposed to be open, it is expected that all the seats will be filled by selected members of the public, as was the case for Gu's trial. [...]. ^ top ^

Diaoyu protests across China on anniversary of Mukden Incident (SCMP)
2012-09-18
Mass rallies were held in cities across the mainland yesterday as protesters renewed demands for Japan to give up the Diaoyu Islands. The demonstrations also marked the anniversary of the Mukden Incident, the formal start of Japan's war with China and its 14 years of occupation. [...] The demonstrations were generally orderly due to a heavy police presence, though there were a few minor scuffles. [...] Mainland authorities had threatened to clamp down on riots following violent protests over the weekend that saw cars, shops and businesses with Japanese ties vandalised in several cities. [...] In Beijing, about 3,000 protesters marched to the Japanese embassy. Security was beefed up, with nearby roads cordoned off. Some threw water bottles and eggs at the embassy, as they had over the past few days. They waved Chinese flags and chanted patriotic slogans. [...] Three protesters in Guangzhou handed a petition to Japan's consulate-general opposing Tokyo's purchase of the Diaoyus from a private owner. The consulate and the nearby Garden Hotel were completely cordoned off by armed police and riot police yesterday, after the hotel's lobby was smashed by protesters on Sunday. But still more than 10,000 marched between the hotel and Tianhecheng, a major shopping area in the city, throughout the day, disrupting traffic. Some clashed briefly with police when they tried to break through barricades. [...] Shenzhen also mobilised more security forces to prevent a recurrence of violent clashes that broke out on Sunday. An unknown number of plainclothed officers mingled with the thousands of protesters, splitting the crowd into smaller groups and diverting demonstrators away from the compound of the party committee on Shennan Boulevard. Several protesters were detained after clashes with officers. Later, a group of about 200 surrounded Nanyuan police office in Luohu district demanding their release. A renewed wave of demonstrations occurred in the city late in the afternoon. Police confiscated all banners with aggressive words and images of Mao, leaving only national flags. Shanghai also saw one of biggest anti-Japan protests in recent years with about 10,000 people gathering at the consulate-general. [...]. ^ top ^

More Japan-owned companies in China suspend business amid protests (SCMP)
2012-09-19
More Japanese enterprises suspended production and sales operations in China yesterday, fearing further escalation of violent protests over the territorial dispute between Asia's two biggest economies. Following Honda Motor and Nissan Motor, Japanese carmaker Toyota Motor said it had decided to halt manufacturing and other operations it jointly ran with its two Chinese partners - First Automotive Group and Guangzhou Automobile Group. [...] The Beijing-based spokesman for Toyota, Hitoshi Yokoyama, said the factory closures were aimed at ensuring "employee safety". He did not say how long the suspensions would last. [...] Japanese carmakers Mitsubishi Motors and Yamaha Motor, construction machinery maker Komatsu and electrical appliance manufacturer Hitachi also announced temporary factory closures yesterday. A spokesperson for Omron, a Japanese electronics parts maker, said it had received a request from Chinese authorities to halt production at its plant in Guangzhou from Monday night. But the factory will resume operations this morning. The stoppage is unlikely to have a large impact on overall output, the company said. [...]. ^ top ^

Hainan approves first two companies for Sansha city (Global Times)
2012-09-19
Provincial officials in Hainan Province have approved the registration of two enterprises in Sansha, the country's newest city established on July 24 on Yongxing Island, which also administers three other islands in the South China Sea. A construction company and a tourism company were registered in the province on August 23 and September 6, indicating the city is open to investors. [...] Considering the limited office space available in Sansha, enterprises registered there are allowed to set up their offices in other cities, said the administration. Wen Zheng, director of the administration's office in charge of enterprise registration, said applications and enquiries from investors wanting to set up enterprise in Sansha have started to flock in after the State Council approved establishing the city in June. "Investors are welcome to play their part in promoting the city's economic growth, as special channels will be set up for investors, and administrative procedures will also be streamlined to facilitate the registration process," Wen said. [...] Whether foreign-funded enterprises should be given approval in Sansha will be discussed after the city's administration is established. [...]. ^ top ^

China to introduce National Low-carbon Day (Xinhua)
2012-09-19
The State Council [...] decided Wednesday to introduce a National Low-carbon Day in a fresh move to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the world's second-largest economy. The introduction of the National Low-carbon Day beginning 2013 is aimed at promoting awareness about climate change and low-carbon development policies, encouraging public participation and facilitating the country's commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [...] The Chinese government has pledged to cut the energy use per unit of GDP by 16 percent by 2015 from the level in 2011, while lifting non-fossil fuel energy usage to 11.4 percent of the country's total energy consumption from the current 8.6 percent. To meet the targets, the government has adopted a range of measures, including the closure of outdated thermal power plants and iron and cement workshops and a push for the use of clean energy, such as solar and wind power. The government hopes to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions per unit of GDP in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent compared to 2005 levels. At the executive meeting, the State Council also adopted a new sandstorm control plan in north China to minimize dust storms affecting the national capital and neighboring Tianjin Municipality.[...] The State Council urged local governments to continue special programs aimed at improving reforestation and help rural households with their living standards while they return their farmland to forests.[...]. ^ top ^

Hu Jintao likely to remain military chief, says Tung Chee-hwa (SCMP)
2012-09-20
President Hu Jintao is likely to remain chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC) after this year's Communist Party congress, which will see China's new leadership team named, former Hong Kong chief executive Tung Chee-hwa said. Tung [...] told CNN on Tuesday that Hu may follow the practice of his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, and continue to head the military after stepping down as party chief at its 18th national congress. […] He also had "no doubt whatsoever" that Vice-President Xi Jinping would be China's next leader, and that the party congress would "happen sometime in October". As to Xi's two-week disappearance this month, which triggered concerns over whether the once-in-a-decade leadership transition would proceed smoothly, Tung said he merely suffered a back injury while swimming.[...] Insiders said the usually cautious Tung would not make such remarks without at least tacit authorisation. There has been strong speculation that Hu will give up the post of CMC chairman, the most powerful position in the military, at the party congress, when he will retire as party general secretary. [...] Earlier reports had suggested that Hu planned to go into full retirement, but some observers say he might have changed his mind after a series of scandals that may have shaken his camp.[...] "Hu's camp faces challenges after these scandals," said Lin Wen-cheng, director of the Institute of Mainland China Studies at Taiwan's National Sun Yat-sen University. "Leaving all his top posts would leave them no leverage in the power struggle."Antony Wong Dong, president of the Macau-based International Military Association, said Hu might want to stabilise his power base, and the recent diplomatic tensions faced by China could help him solicit support from army top brass."The US and Japan are exerting pressure on China, and there are worries that the leadership transition will lead to a power vacuum that will make these countries act more provocatively," he said. ^ top ^

State to tighten oversight of intl NGOs (China Daily)
2012-09-21
By amending existing law, China will set clear rules for international NGOs to register on the mainland and will strengthen supervision of their activities. Li Liguo, minister of civil affairs, made the announcement at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday. The Chinese government recognizes the contributions of international NGOs in China's economic and social development and praises their contributions in fields like culture, education, health and poverty alleviation, Li said. However, he added, the public and Chinese government also find some international NGOs conducting illegal activities in the country. "Therefore, improving the registration and management of international nongovernmental organizations' activities in China is imperative," he said. [...] As the top supervisory organ for NGOs including charitable organizations, Jiang Li, vice-minister of civil affairs, pledged that the Ministry of Civil Affairs will step in and conduct further investigations and deliver proper punishment to illegal activities of NGOs whenever the media expose them. [...] Jiang added that the ministry also requires a qualified third-party institute to audit the financial reports of NGOs and give star ratings for NGOs based on an independent organization's evaluation on their annual performances. [...]. ^ top ^

Panasonic unsure when it can restart protest-damaged Qingdao plant (SCMP)
2012-09-21
Panasonic Corp said it did not know when it will be able to resume production at its protest-damaged factory in the Chinese port city of Qingdao, and it could not yet give an estimate on how the plant closure will affect its earnings. Anti-Japan protesters had ripped out and bashed equipment and supplies at the Qingdao plant, which makes electronic parts such as switches, the struggling maker of Viera TVs said in a statement on Friday. [...] Panasonic restarted some production at its partially damaged circuit board plant in Suzhou, eastern China, on Monday, and it said it plans to restart soon its telephone factory in Zhuhai, southeastern China, where about 10 Chinese workers had demonstrated. [...]. ^ top ^

Govt salary won't be disclosed (Global Times)
2012-09-21
A student who asked the government to disclose the salary of a Shaanxi official who was photographed wearing ultra-expensive watches has been told the information is not available to the public, raising questions about access to information and government transparency. Liu Yanfeng, a student at the Three Gorges University in Hubei Province, received a reply to his request for information from the Shaanxi Provincial Department of Finance on Thursday. He filed a disclosure request on September 1. [...] "The answer is as expected," Liu told the Global Times, adding that he will continue to insist government officials make public their salary. Liu said that he also sent the same application at the same time to the Shaanxi administration, which Yang heads but has not yet received a reply. [...] Only the Ministry of Health responded and refused Lei's request. "Many people, who are interested in government information, only get their news online," Lei told the Global Times. "Filing an application for disclosure should be done by every citizen to help promote their participation in supervision." [...] "The answer the college student received is not satisfactory, as officials' salaries should not be kept secret," Wang Quanjie, a former deputy to the National People's Congress, who has been calling for disclosure of official assets since 2004, told the Global Times. Currently, the regulation on government information disclosure provides few details on what information will be made public, said Wang. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Govt launches complaint line (Global Times)
2012-09-17
The Beijing government launched a hotline for residents to file complaints about officials they suspect of illegal conduct Sunday, and has promised every complaint will be replied to. The hotline was set up to make filing administrative complaints about government departments and officials suspected of illegal actions and corruption more convenient, according to an announcement on Beijing government's website on Sunday. However, on Sunday, the hotline, number 90160, could not be reached. The line was either busy, or could not be connected. Complaints concerning cases that "strongly damage the government's image and the public interest" would be prioritized, said the announcement. Some residents did not seem surprised the hotline service did not work. A lawyer from Beijing Yingtian Law Firm surnamed Zou, who was allegedly beaten by a court police officer during a civil case in June, said he would not consider using the hotline. "The supreme court and supreme procuratorate set up a similar hotline before, and promised to deal properly with every complaint," said Zou. "However, many complaints against officials are never accepted, so I don't see any hope for the new one," said Zou. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai scales back car-free day (Global Times)
2012-09-16
Shanghai will again scale down its efforts for annual World Car-free Day this Saturday as the local government plans to move the zone where private cars will be banned from Xuhui district to Pudong New Area. For the city's sixth World Car-free Day, the Shanghai Transport and Port Authority will close a three-square-kilometer area in Pudong, including sections of Century Avenue, Xueye Road and Expo Avenue, from 9 am to 4 pm, according to a press release from the authority. Taxis and buses will be allowed to drive through the car-free zone and the transportation authority will arrange free shuttle buses for residents who live there, according to Huang Xiaoyong, a press officer with the transportation authority. Huang did not explain why the authority moved the car-free zone from last year's location in Xuhui, but did say that the impact on commuters will be kept to a minimum. [...] In the event's first year in 2007, the city government imposed a 12-hour ban on private cars on several major roads in the central business district near Lujiazui in Pudong New Area. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Cities tackle garbage crisis (China Daily)
2012-09-18
Residents and companies have been testing a pilot project to reduce the amount of garbage produced in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province, as the city tries to tackle its garbage crisis. The new system requires local residents to pay extra if they dump more garbage, but to pay less for less rubbish, according to Bao Lunjun, chief engineer of the Guangzhou administrative committee of urban management. Bao said that Guangzhou, which has a population of more than 16 million people, plans to be able to deal with more than 15,000 metric tons of garbage a day by 2015 to help solve its garbage problem. The city can now only process about 12,000 tons of garbage per day, which is not enough. Residents will also be fined 50 yuan ($7.90) if they don't sort their garbage before dumping it into designated waste receptacles in their housing estates, while companies will be fined 500 yuan for each cubic meter of garbage that they dump before sorting it. No fines will be issued in the initial three months of the project, from September to November. "We are mainly persuading and educating locals to sort their garbage in this three-months period," Bao said. Currently, every family in the city pays garbage fees of 15 yuan a month. Under the new system, each family in the pilot housing estates will receive 60 special liners each month — 30 for kitchen waste and 30 for other garbage. Families needing extra bags will have to buy them, which may lead to an increase of the fees for some people. Also, only garbage in the special bags can be dumped in the housing estates' waste receptacles, or families will be fined, Bao said. The Guangzhou city government will invest more than 400 million yuan to buy new equipment to help sort garbage this year, according to Bao. [...]. ^ top ^

18 detained in Guangzhou for violence in anti-Japan protests (Xinhua)
2012-09-20
Police in south China's metropolis of Guangzhou [...] have detained 18 people who allegedly committed violent acts while staging anti-Japan protests on Sunday, local police said Wednesday. The suspects were allegedly involved in several violent incidents, including smashing a Japanese-brand car, shop windows and billboards, although most people behaved rationally during the protests, according to the press office of the Guangzhou Public Security Bureau.[...] Police are investigating the acts of violence and have called on the public to provide clues and evidence. Police in east China's port city of Qingdao also announced Wednesday that six people have been detained for alleged violent acts committed during anti-Japan protests that occurred last Saturday. A man surnamed Qi allegedly broke into a Japanese store, smashed several counters and stole digital cameras and sneakers, the police said. Another five suspects allegedly attacked auto shops and smashed or set fire to Japanese cars, according to the police. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan children to receive free heart surgery (Xinhua)
2012-09-19
Fourteen children from southwest China's Tibet autonomous region arrived in Beijing on Tuesday to receive free surgery to treat their congenital heart disease. The children were selected from 54 afflicted children in Lhasa after meeting surgery criteria, said Xie Xianghui, deputy director of Lhasa's Health Bureau. The children will receive their surgery at the Beijing Anzhen Hospital and Beijing Children's Hospital. Seventeen provinces and cities, as well as several Chinese companies, are providing free medical aid to Tibetan children with congenital heart disease as part of a medical program established by the regional Health Department in April 2012. The incidence of child congenital heart disease in Tibet is 10 times higher than other parts of China due to the region's high elevation, said Gu Hong, deputy director of the children's heart disease center at the Beijing Anzhen Hospital. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hong Kong protesters join anti-Japan chorus (SCMP)
2012-09-16
Scores of protesters on Sunday afternoon participated in a march to the Japanese consulate to protest Tokyo's assertion of control over the disputed Diaoyu Islands. Organiser said 5,000 marched from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to the consulate at Exchange Square in Central. Police put the figure at 850. Marchers, which included locals and mainland and Macau visitors, demanded that the Japanese government stop its claim of sovereignty over the islands in the East China Sea, which China calls Diaoyu and Tokyo calls Senkaku. [...] Protesters in Hong Kong also chanted slogans, saying the Mukden Incident, which Japan used as a pretext to invade China in 1931, should not be forgotten. The incident's anniversary is on Tuesday. They burned Japanese military flags and a letter to Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda outside the consulate. [...] A man lighted and waved a flag that melded the Japanese and American emblems as the crowd reached Hysan Place. He was arrested by the police for disorder in a public place soon after. The crowd remained calm when they passed by Japanese department store Sogo, only chanting slogans “boycott Japanese goods”. [...]. ^ top ^

Pan-democrat lawmakers boycott Chief Executive CY Leung's lunch (SCMP)
2012-09-18
Just over half of the 70 newly elected lawmakers attended a lunch hosted by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying at the Admiralty government offices yesterday. Major pan-democratic parties, citing national education as a main sticking point, boycotted the gathering, one of Leung's first attempts to build a working relationship with the new legislature. Despite the boycott, Leung struck an upbeat tone. He said the lunch was meant to show the great importance he attached to the relationship between the executive and legislative branches of the government. "Sixteen among 20 principal officials in our administration are here today, to congratulate the newly elected lawmakers and those who have just won another term," Leung said. [...] Only 38 lawmakers attended yesterday's lunch, of which 35 were pro-government members, including almost all the camp's new faces. The three pan-democratic attendees were newly elected Charles Mok of the information technology sector, Joseph Lee Kok-long of health services and Frederick Fung Kin-kee from the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood. Three other pan-democrats - NeoDemocrat new face Gary Fan Kwok-wai, "Long Hair" Leung Kwok-hung and the Labour Party's Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung - handed petitions to Leung but left before the meal. The trio called for the withdrawal of the national education curriculum and for rights for the disabled. [...]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong government cracks down on cross-border parallel traders (SCMP)
2012-09-19
Parallel traders from the mainland risk having their entry permits cancelled if they breach Hong Kong's laws, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said yesterday. Lam said the city's government would ask Shenzhen authorities to cancel the permits if immigration laws were broken. She made the announcement after chairing a cross-departmental meeting to discuss the problem of thousands of traders who cross the border to buy goods in Hong Kong for resale. Earlier in the day, Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying said he would seek help from Beijing to clamp down on the parallel traders, who have been the subject of protests in North District. While buying goods in Hong Kong for sale across the border is not illegal in the city, the traders are breaching immigration laws by working in Hong Kong. "For those mainland parallel traders who are successfully prosecuted by the [Immigration] Department, we will request our mainland immigration counterparts to have their permits to Hong Kong cancelled," Lam said. [...] Leung said yesterday that parallel trading had severely affected the daily lives of people in North District and disturbed social order. Relevant departments had been instructed to investigate every detail of how parallel trading was conducted in the city and the government would enforce the law vigorously. "I will make a request to the central government that it assist in combating traders from the Shenzhen side," he said. Parallel traders, who profit by avoiding heavy import taxes imposed by the mainland, were back at work on Monday after their numbers dwindled amid protests at the weekend. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's 2012 GDP to grow 7.7-7.8 pct: researcher (Xinhua)
2012-09-15
The Chinese economy will expand between 7.7 percent and 7.8 percent in 2012, surpassing the 7.5 percent growth target set earlier this year, a researcher from the country's top think tank said. "Policymakers have taken into account the changes in the domestic and external environments when setting the growth target earlier this year," said Fan Jianping, director of the Economic Projection Department with the State Information Center, China's top think tank, in a recent interview with Xinhua. Although China's gross domestic product has slowed for nine consecutive quarters, Fan said, the country is still capable of achieving economic growth of between 7.6 percent to 7.8 percent in the July-September period. The Chinese economy slowed to 7.6 percent in the second quarter of this year, marking the slowest pace of growth in more than three years. As the government has adopted a series of measures, including hastening the approval of major projects, the economy will begin stabilizing in the second half, Fan said, adding that he expects such measures to play a counter-cyclical role in stimulating the economy. [...]. ^ top ^

China, EU face dumping claim (China Daily)
2012-09-16
Beijing said Brussels has agreed to begin dialogue and cooperation to resolve the multi-billion-dollar anti-dumping investigation towards China's solar panel manufacturers. But Brussels refused to go into details of such a stance, revealed by Chong Quan, China's deputy representative for international trade talks, after three-hour intensive talks with senior officials of European Commission on Friday afternoon. "They (Brussels) agreed (to hold dialogues) - and I found they are very candid and pragmatic," Chong told China Daily. "I respect my negotiation partner." But when asked how strong Brussels' intention is, Chong said: "I don't know." [...] Chong confirmed that China's Minister of Commerce Chen Deming will be in Premier Wen Jiabao's delegation that will attend the summit during a one-day visit to Belgium. Wen and Chen are expected to urge Brussels to negotiate. Chong said both sides are eager to resolve this dispute through dialogue and both sides need to make every effort to avoid a trade war. In the face of a severe economic slowdown and the magnitude of this dispute, Chong said: "Both of us will become losers if a trade war occurs and the situation is out of control." [...] Chong said the EU should pay attention not only to China's exports of solar panels to the EU but also to the more than 200,000 jobs they create for its industry of photovoltaic power system installation. The EU exports raw materials and technology worth tens of billions of dollars to China to stimulate growth of the solar panel industry of the EU and that of China. [...]. ^ top ^

China releases financial reform plan (Xinhua)
2012-09-17
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, on Monday released a financial reform plan for the 2011-2015 period. The plan includes reforms regarding the marketization of exchange and interest rates and the convertibility of the yuan under China's capital account, as well as plans to encourage more private capital to enter the financial sector. Government intervention regarding small-scale financial activity will be reduced and the government's role will be further clarified during the reform process, the plan states. The liberalization of interest rates will be pushed forward progressively and reforms of the mechanism used to calculate the yuan's exchange rate will occur steadily, the plan states. [...] Authorities will allow freer cross-border capital flow and boost the convertibility of the yuan under China's capital account, according to the plan. Authorities will encourage private capital to participate in the reform of banks, securities firms and insurance companies, as well as guide private capital to expand investment in financial organizations, the plan states, adding that the government also supports private capital in setting up rural banks, credit companies and capital cooperatives. [...]. ^ top ^

China's external debt reaches 785.17 bln USD (Xinhua)
2012-09-17
China's outstanding external debt increased by 34 billion U.S. dollars in the second quarter to reach 785.17 billion U.S. dollars by the end of June this year, the country's foreign exchange regulator said Monday. The amount does not include the outstanding external debt of the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions or that of Taiwan, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) said in a statement on its website. [...] Most of the debt owed to foreign creditors resulted from short-term borrowing, as outstanding external debt with a term of one year or less amounted to 588.22 billion U.S. dollars, or 75 percent of the total, up from 74.2 percent at the end of March, according to SAFE. Long- and medium-term external debt outstanding amounted to 196.95 billion U.S. dollars. [...] According to SAFE data, China accrued medium- and long-term external debt amounting to 21.25 billion U.S. dollars in the first half of the year, as well as repaid 14.78 billion U.S. dollars in principal and 1.2 billion U.S. dollars in interest during the period. ^ top ^

China's wind power to see steady growth (Xinhua)
2012-09-18
China's newly-installed wind power capacity will see growth of 15 to 18 gigawatts (GW) this year, after the country became the world's leading wind power producer in 2011, a report said Tuesday. A report on China's wind power outlook, jointly released by the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, the Global Wind Energy Council and Greenpeace, forecast that China's wind power sector will maintain the steady growth momentum seen last year. China installed 17.63 GW of new wind power capacity in 2011, accounting for 43 percent of the world's total, according to the report. The nation remained the world's largest wind power producer with an accumulated capacity of 62.36 GW by 2011, representing 26.2 percent of the world's total wind power capacity, the report said. By the end of 2011, 47.84 GW of wind power capacity, or 76.71 percent of China's total capacity, was connected to its power grid, an improvement from 69.9 percent in 2010, the report shows. [...]. ^ top ^

Solar firms cut employees (China Daily)
2012-09-20
Chinese solar companies are reducing production and laying off workers to cut costs, in a bid to cope with the crisis triggered by the European Union anti-dumping investigation and anti-dumping duties imposed by the United States. [...] China's solar product exports were worth $35.8 billion in 2011. The EU receives a share of more than 60 percent of those exports, or $20.4 billion. In May, the US decided to impose tariffs on more than 31 percent of solar panels made in China, in addition to the fees ranging from 2.9 percent to 4.73 percent imposed in March, after it claimed that China was "improperly subsidizing its solar manufacturers". Suntech Power Holdings, one of the world's largest producers of solar panels, said on Monday that in order to cut production costs and operating expenses, it has temporarily shut down a portion of its solar cell production capacity at its Wuxi, Jiangsu province, headquarters. The company said the move will affect about 1,500 employees, but declined to say whether they will be fired or relocated to other sections. [...] Trina Solar, another giant Chinese solar company, said it will cut about 200 employees at the management level. New York-listed LDK Solar, which has seen losses recently, said it is going to cut 5,554 employees, accounting for 22 percent of its staff. [...] Chinese solar companies control about 70 percent of the global output of photovoltaic modules, with 90 percent of their products sold overseas, mainly to Europe and the US. [...] German Chancellor Angela Merkel reiterated on Monday her position that the solar dispute between China and the EU should be settled through political dialogue. Vice-Foreign Minister Song Tao on Monday also reaffirmed the country's opposition to protectionist moves following the European Commission's decision to launch the anti-dumping probe. [...]. ^ top ^

Rare earth prices slump amid slowdown (Xinhua)
2012-09-20
Prices of China's rare earth products dropped sharply over the past month as market demand remained weak amid the economic slowdown. Data from Baichuan Information, a raw material information provider, showed that prices of several rare metals, including lanthanum oxide and praseodymium oxide, almost reached the year's lowest level in August despite a rebound starting in June. The price of praseodymium-neodymium oxide, primarily used to make ceramics and magnetic materials, fell to around 360,000 yuan (56,800 U.S. dollars) per tonne in August, compared to the year's lowest of 340,000 yuan per tonne in March, according to Baichuan Information. The figure was also significantly down from the highest price level of 1.4 million yuan per tonne recorded last year. "Weak downstream demand is the major reason for the price slump," said Du Shuaibin, an analyst with Baichuan Information. Du said the market demand for neodymium iron boron (NdFeB), another popular rare earth product known for its magnetic property, has also been quite low, causing many producers to suspend production as they suspected that prices could fall further. Overcapacity has been attributed as another cause for declining prices. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

Russia writes off 90 percent of DPRK's debt to Soviet Union (Xinhua)
2012-09-18
Russia has agreed to write off 90 percent of the 11-billion-U.S.-dollar debt owed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to the former Soviet Union, Russian Finance Ministry said Tuesday. An agreement on the restructuring of the debt was signed on Monday in Moscow, deputy finance minister Sergei Storchak told reporters. DPRK owed former Soviet Union 11 billion dollars since the 1950s. Russia claims to be a legal successor of the Soviet Union which has built 70 plants and factories in DPRK and supplied the country with energy on subsidized prices. Moscow and Pyongyang have been negotiating the debt issue for four years without finding a mutually acceptable solution, said the Russian Finance Ministry. Under the newly-reached agreement, Russia decided to write off 90 percent of the debt and offered to restructure the remaining part. The remaining debt would be included into a "debt for assistance" exchange scheme as investment to be injected into Russia-DPRK joint projects in humanitarian areas and energy sector, said the ministry. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Buildings endangering children to be demolished (UB Post)
2012-09-16
The secure and healthy environment of children has long been an alarming issue in Mongolia. The living and studying conditions of children are very poor in Ulaanbaatar. Thus, the Ulaanbaatar City Mayor, E.Bat-Uul, has received and met some children and listened to their opinions. The children have raised various issues on what actions to take to develop Ulaanbaatar and how the children's right are being violated. They have also requested to create a secure and pleasant environment for children to study and live. They stated “We can make our own contributions on things that we are able to do as we're not just demanding things from the Government.” The children also claimed some problems of Ulaanbaatar, such as, lack of traffic lights, crosswalks, and lightings at streets and most importantly, the traffic accidents need to be looked at. Every year, an average of 32 children lose their lives in traffic accidents. The meeting involved the representatives of the Children's Association of Mongolia, nine districts of Ulaanbaatar and disabled children. The children have submitted the projects ‘Eight things the children to keep in mind' and ‘Children Friendly Capital City-2022' to the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar city. The Mayor claimed at the end of the meeting, “The children must be out of danger on streets and their parents must not worry about their children. The city services will ensure the security of children. There's no other beneficial way than demolishing buildings which endanger the children.”. ^ top ^

UNSC P5 reaffirm Mongolia's nuke-free status (Xinhua)
2012-09-18
The five permanent members (P5) of the UN Security Council (UNSC) -- Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States -- on Monday signed a joint declaration to reaffirm the nuclear-weapon-free status of Mongolia, as well as their security assurance to the country. The five nuclear powers reaffirmed in the declaration their intent to cooperate with Mongolia in the implementation of the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on Dec. 4, 1998, through which Mongolia's self-declared nuclear-weapon-free status was recognized internationally. In the joint declaration, the P5 also reaffirmed "their intent to seek immediate UN Security Council action to provide assistance to Mongolia" if the nuke-free country should become a victim of an act of aggression or an object of a threat of aggression in which nuclear weapons are used. [...] "The People's Republic of China and the Russian Federation recall and reconfirm the legally-binding commitments undertaken by them with respect to Mongolia through the conclusion of bilateral treaties with Mongolia regarding these matters," the declaration added. [...]. ^ top ^

Government to release bonds of up to five billion USD (UB Post)
2012-09-19
On Saturday's Government meeting, it was decided that the government would approve the release of bonds worth up to five billion USD from the Development Bank in the upcoming two years. The government is planning to inform the parliament about their decision.
The revenue from trading bonds on the international market is spent on social welfare, to make up for budget losses or to boost economy, investment into long term development and in support of exportation. For instance, large scale projects such as improvement of railway network, road construction, energy and power supply, the Tavan Tolgoi mine and Sainshand Industrial complex will be financed with this initiative. The government estimates that release of bonds will help reduce the interest rates of bank loans, reduce inflation and help in the renovation of the current financial policy that is largely dependent on foreign investors. ^ top ^

Foreign Ambassadors to Mongolia handed their credentials to the President (News.mn)
2012-09-19
On September 18, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Swiss Confederation to Mongolia Jacques de Wattevill, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to Mongolia Aart Jacobi, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Thailand to Mongolia Wiboon Khusakul, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Peru to Mongolia Gonzalo Gutierrez Reinel and the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Cyprus to Mongolia Ionna Malliotis presented their credentials to the President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj. After the ceremony President Elbegdorj received the Ambassadors. The Ambassador of the Swiss Confederation Jacques de Wattevill noted “We are fully satisfied with successful implementation of development and cooperation projects in agriculture, mining, education and social sectors of Mongolia, and express expectation for its continuance. Government of Mongolia is implementing programs on enhancing economic orientation of foreign relations, moving to green economy and supporting value added production. In this regard, we have a desire to cooperate in those fields”. The Ambassador of Thailand, Wiboon Khusakul said “Our two countries have developed very cordial and warm relations. We hope that our relations will move forward and advance in a positive directions”. President Elbegdorj thanked the Ambassadors for presenting the credentials and expressed his hope that the Ambassadors will make great contribution to expanding relations of the both countries. ^ top ^

Intergov't agreement on visa terms approved (Montsame)
2012-09-19
A plenary meeting of the parliamentary session held on Tuesday approved a draft law on ratifying an intergovernmental agreement between Mongolia and the Republic of Korea on facilitating the visa terms. In accordance with the agreement, ordinary passport holders of the both countries will be exempted from the visa fees and from a duty of being registered at the related organization of immigration in 90 days after entering the territory of each other's country. In case of losing documents, people of the countries will be allowed to leave the foreign territory without exit visa. Moreover, diplomatic and official passport holders of the countries will be able to travel without visas for 90 days. The agreement will come into effect on January 1, 2013.

Election of local representatives Khural will held on November 21
2012-09-20
Election of local representatives khural (Ulaanbaatar city's district and soum of 21 province) will held on November 21, 2012. Irregular session of the parliament which closed on last Friday approved the law. During the discussion some MP's expressed they warning on election date. They criticized November 21 is the time for herders they already settled on winter place and it can be effected on election attendance.

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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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