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
  29.9-5.10.12, No. 443  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Japan 'stole' Diaoyu Islands, China tells UN (SCMP)
2012-09-28
China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi sparked angry exchanges with Japanese diplomats at the United Nations by accusing Japan of stealing the Diaoyu Islands. Chinese and Japanese envoys staged a series of attacks during Thursday's session after Yang heightened tensions over the East China Sea islands and reopened old diplomatic wounds over second world war. [...] Yang reaffirmed his country's historical claim that Japan tricked China into signing a treaty ceding the islands in 1895. [...] “The moves taken by Japan are totally illegal and invalid. They can in no way change the historical fact that Japan stole Diaoyu and its affiliated islands from China and the fact that China has territorial sovereignty over them,” said the Chinese minister. Japan's move was in “outright denial” of its defeat in second world war, he added, reaffirming China's repeated references to the 1939-45 war. [...] Insisting that Japan legally incorporated the islands into its territory in 1895, Japan's deputy UN ambassador Kazuo Kodama said that “an assertion that Japan took the islands from China cannot logically stand.” Kodama added that the references to second world war were “unconvincing and unproductive”. China's UN envoy Li Baodong responded that “the Japanese delegate once again brazenly distorted history, resorting to spurious fallacious arguments that defy all reason and logic to justify their aggression of Chinese territory.” “The Japanese government still clings to its obsolete colonial mindset,” Li added. “China is capable of safeguarding the integrity of its territory,” the ambassador warned. When Kodama responded that the islands “are clearly an inherent territory of Japan”, Li returned to the attack. He said his Japanese counterpart “feels no guilt for Japan's history of aggression and colonialism.” The Japanese government's purchase of the islands is based purely on “the logic of robbers”, he stormed. [...]. ^ top ^

China calls for dynamic balance in trade with France (Xinhua)
2012-09-29
China on Saturday called for stronger pragmatic cooperation with France and a dynamic balance in bilateral trade. "China and France should deepen pragmatic cooperation in the fields of high-tech, health and urbanization, as well as on particularly big projects, and help bilateral trade move toward a dynamic balance," Vice Premier Li Keqiang said in a meeting with the French president's diplomatic advisor Paul Jean-Ortiz on Saturday. Jean-Ortiz is leading a delegation to Beijing for the annual China-France consultations, which he and Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo co-chaired on Saturday morning. [...] "Under the circumstances of a changing international order and a sluggish global economic recovery, stronger China-France cooperation and new progress in the countries' all-around strategic partnership will go beyond the bilateral scope," Li said. [...] Li expects France to exert its power within the European Union and promote the development of China-Europe relations. Jean-Ortiz said the new French government places great importance on its relations with China and would like to expand cooperation in all fields. Jean-Ortiz said France will take an active part in the cooperation under the EU-China framework and boost France-China and EU-China relations to a new high. ^ top ^

China, Ecuador seek closer trade, economic ties (Xinhua)
2012-09-29
Visiting Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Friday discussed ways to advance trade and economic relations between the two countries. During a meeting with Correa, Chen, who arrived here late Thursday, said his visit was aimed at strengthening bilateral cooperation in the field of trade and economy, as well as expanding Ecuador's exports to China. [...] Also on Friday, Chen and Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino signed an agreement on economic and technical cooperation. According to figures released by the General Administration of Customs of China, the total value of China's trade with Ecuador reached nearly 2.27 billion U.S. dollars in July 2012, a 57.3 percent increase year on year. ^ top ^

China speeds up construction of newly founded city of Sansha (Xinhua)
2012-09-29
Authorities with the newly established city of Sansha, located in the South China Sea, on Saturday began mapping out development plans for four infrastructure projects and started a housing program as the building of the island city revs up. The infrastructure projects include road construction, water supply and drainage on Yongxing Island, where the city government is seated. According to the plan, seven roads with a total length of five kilometers will be repaired or built to improve the island's traffic situation. Meanwhile, a desalinator capable of processing 1,000 cubic meters of seawater a day will be built on the island to ensure fresh water supplies. The projects also include the construction of inter-island transportation and a dock, as well as the development of Zhaoshu Island. On Saturday, Mayor of Sansha Xiao Jie announced the beginning of a housing construction program with a total investment of 18.7 million yuan (2.97 million U.S. dollars). [...]. ^ top ^

Nepal-China ink five-point agreement to speed up Nepal's agriculture sector (Xinhua)
2012-10-01
In a bid to speed up farm commercialization in Nepal, two agriculture Ministries of Nepal and China inked a five-point agreement during third bilateral Nepal-China Agriculture Assistance meeting held in Kathmandu on Monday. A press statement issued after completion of the meeting stated that Agriculture Ministry of People's Republic of China has agreed to develop Nepal's agricultural in applying modern technology in livestock farming, fisheries and agriculture that are based in hilly region of Nepal. Eight-member delegation team led by Chinese Vice-Minister Niu Dun of Agriculture Ministry arrived in Nepal on Sunday and signed the agreement with Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi, secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture Development of Nepal. Dr. Pravkar Pathak, joint secretary and spokesperson at the Ministry of Agriculture said that the agreement was also reached to begin joint agriculture research works the sector of horticulture, cultivation of cereal crops, poultry, pig farming and seeds productions of maize. [...] Pathak said the China was seen more positive in carrying out program relating to reducing diseases that affected both plants and animals. "China agriculture ministry most importantly agreed to develop more qualitative human resources in Nepal in the days ahead after they agreed to enroll Nepali technical teams in China's various agriculture training centres so as to exchange knowledge and ideas, " said Pathak. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese-owned Ralls Corp. sues Obama over wind farm project (Xinhua)
2012-10-03
A Chinese-owned company has sued U.S. President Barack Obama for blocking its wind farm project purchase deal, claiming that the president's order exceeded its constitutional rights and failed to provide detailed evidence. In an amended complaint filed on Monday in the U.S. District Court in Washington, Ralls Corp., a company owned by Chinese nationals, said Obama acted in "an unlawful and unauthorized manner" in issuing the order without providing "any evidence or reasoned explanation" for his decision to use a national defense law in prohibiting the acquisition and ordering the company to divest the four wind farms. [...] By filing the complaint, "Ralls continues to show its profound faith in transparency and due process, and seeks only fair treatment under the law and the Constitution," said Tim Xia, counsel for Ralls Corp., in a statement. U.S. President Barack Obama on Friday issued a presidential order to prevent Ralls Corp., from owning four wind farms in Boardman, Oregon, citing national security risks for their locations near the Naval Weapons Systems Training Facility. Ralls Corp. is owned by two executives of Sany Group, China's largest machinery manufacturer. [...] The Chinese government has repeatedly urged the United States to abide by its commitment against protectionism and maintain a free, open and just international trade environment. ^ top ^

Chinese ships re-enter disputed waters, says Japan (SCMP)
2012-10-03
Chinese government ships entered territorial waters off disputed Tokyo-controlled islands for the second straight day on Wednesday, Japanese coastguards said. Three maritime surveillance ships “ignored warnings from patrol vessels of our agency... and entered our country's territorial waters” shortly after 11.30pm, the coastguard said in a statement. “Our patrol vessels are demanding they leave our country's territorial waters by radio and other means but the Haijians have not replied,” it said, referring to the ships' names. “The [Chinese vessels] responded by saying 'You are already inside Chinese territorial waters. Do not interfere with our operations and leave these waters,'” the Japanese agency said. The three Chinese ships, which were off Kubashima, one of the islands in a chain known as the Senkakus in Japan and the Diaoyus in China, left the immediate area soon after 2pm, the Japanese coastguard said. The Chinese ships were among four vessels that had been in island waters on Tuesday, remaining for around six hours, despite demands from Japan that they leave. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese surveillance ships will continue Diaoyu Islands patrols: FM (Xinhua)
2012-10-03
Chinese marine surveillance ships will continue to patrol in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said on Wednesday. Hong made the comment in response to a question after it was reported in the media that Japanese right-wingers entered waters off the Diaoyu Islands on Wednesday. Chinese marine surveillance ships also entered the waters for a patrol. "China is closely watching the development of the issue. Chinese marine surveillance ships will continue to patrol in the waters off the Diaoyu Islands," Hong said. China firmly opposes the Japanese right-wingers' illegal entrance to the waters off the islands, Hong said. "What is the right-wingers' purpose in repeatedly provoking trouble on the Diaoyu Islands under the current situation, especially when China and Japan are busily consulting with each other on the dispute? Why is the Japanese government again indulging them?" [...] Looking back at history, Japanese right-wingers once led the country to militarism and are the source of war, bringing profound suffering to Asian countries and their people, Hong said. He added that the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands is also an outstanding problem of the war. "We must stress that history cannot be overturned, denied or forgotten. Chinese people, Asian people and the world at large should be highly alert to the ambitions of the Japanese right-wingers," Hong said. [...]. ^ top ^

Preoccupied Beijing quietly defers Kim Jong-un's visit (SCMP)
2012-10-03
China quietly deferred a request by North Korea for its young leader to visit last month because the Chinese leadership was preoccupied with its once-in-a-decade leadership change and a host of other distractions, two independent sources said. The move also suggests that China, North Korea's main food and oil supplier, may be seeking an assurance from the isolated state that it drops its nuclear ambitions, one source said, after it ignored warnings from Beijing not to go ahead with a rocket launch in April. Kim Jong-un's desire to visit China in September was relayed by his powerful uncle, Jang Song-thaek, effectively the second most powerful figure in North Korea, when the latter met Chinese leaders on a visit to Beijing in August. But China discreetly put off the request, which was never publicised, because the Chinese Communist Party has been busy preparing for its five-yearly congress which is scheduled to open on November 8 when leader-in-waiting Xi Jinping is tipped to replace Hu Jintao as party chief. There is no new timetable for Kim's visit. “Kim Jong-un wanted to come but it was not a convenient time,” a source familiar with China's foreign policy said, speaking on condition of anonymity. [...] “From China's perspective, he has to come with something positive,” the source said, referring to North Korea dropping threats to conduct a third nuclear test. [...]. ^ top ^

Diaoyus dispute affecting financial ties as Chinese banks pull out of Japan summits (SCMP)
2012-10-04
The withdrawal of Chinese banks from upcoming global banking summits in Japan shows that the territorial row between the two Asian economic powers is already taking its toll on international financial relations. Several Chinese lenders, including the state-owned "Big Four", have recently cancelled their registrations to attend the International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group summits planned for Tokyo next week. Three of the Big Four - the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the Agricultural Bank of China and the Bank of China - have also pulled out of the Sibos conference on interbank communications, which is scheduled to be held in Osaka later this month. [...] Meetings such as the IMF and World Bank Group summits provide academics, central bankers, finance ministers and senior banking executives a rare opportunity to share ideas and draft plans to solve systemic problems. "The European problems need to be solved through global co-operation," said Sun Lijian, an economic professor at Fudan University. "This may hurt the co-operation." Moreover, Chinese banks could be passing up an opportunity to advance Asia's role as a global economic engine and push reforms to international financial organisations long sought by China, Sun said. The Big Four, which also includes China Construction Bank, had registered months ago to attend the summits starting on Tuesday in Tokyo. Privately, some bankers told their contacts that they should blame the Diaoyus dispute, according to sources familiar with the matter. Some smaller mainland banks also cancelled, the sources said. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese gov't to strengthen int'l cooperation on cyber issues: official (Xinhua)
2012-10-04
The Chinese government will continue to strengthen international cooperation on cyber issues, and work with all countries to build an open and secure cyberspace, said an official here on Thursday at the ongoing Budapest conference on cyberspace. [...] Although cyberspace is virtual, it needs rules and norms to follow, Huang said. China holds that the United Nations, as the most universal and representative international organization, is the best forum for elaboration of international norms and rules in cyberspace, he added. Huang said China proposes that the following principles be observed in strengthening international cooperation on internet related issues. The first, he said, concerned cyber sovereignty. He said that cyber sovereignty is the natural extension of state sovereignty into cyberspace and should be respected and upheld. [...] The second concerned the free flow of information, which he called a "double edged sword," adding that it was no excuse for the "illegal and irresponsible information rampant on the internet," which threatened national security, social orders and the lawful rights of people. [...]. ^ top ^

China offers Burundi logistical materials for military (Xinhua)
2012-10-04
China has offered Burundi 1.3 million U.S. dollars worth of logistical materials to be used by the country's military, an official source has said. The donation was comprised of 600 squad tents each with the capacity to hold 12 people, 600 platoon tents each for 36 people and 100 hospital tents. A document to hand over the materials was signed on Wednesday in Bujumbura by the Chinese ambassador to Burundi Yu Xuzhong and Burundi's defense minister Pointien Gaciyubwenge. The Chinese ambassador recalled this is the second donation by China to Burundi's defense ministry this year. He said the first donation of 10,000 military uniforms worth 1.7 million dollars was offered to Burundi during its 50th independence celebrations, after a visit by a Chinese military delegation which was led by brigadier Jia Xiaoning towards the end of 2010. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

CPC to convene 18th National Congress on Nov. 8 (Xinhua)
2012-09-28
The 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is proposed to convene on Nov. 8 in Beijing. The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee decided at a meeting on Friday to submit the proposal to the seventh plenary meeting of the 17th CPC Central Committee, which will be held on Nov. 1. The Political Bureau meeting, presided over by Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, studied the preparatory work for the November meetings. Participants of the meeting also reviewed the draft work report of the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection to be submitted to the upcoming Party congress. The congress is a very important meeting to be held at a critical time when China is building a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, and deepening reform and opening up and accelerating the transformation of economic development pattern in difficult areas, the meeting said. The congress will hold high the banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, be guided with the Deng Xiaoping Theory and the important thoughts of "Three Represents," and thoroughly carry out the Scientific Outlook on Development, according to the meeting. The congress will review the Party's work over the past five years as well as what the Party has implemented since the 16th CPC National Congress. [...] A new CPC Central Committee and a new Central Commission for Discipline Inspection will be elected at the congress, according to the meeting. All preparatory work for the congress is going smoothly at present and preparations should be continued earnestly to ensure a successful congress, according to the meeting. [...]. ^ top ^

Bo Xilai to face 'multiple' charges, expelled from Party (SCMP)
2012-09-29
China's ruling Communist Party accused disgraced politician Bo Xilai of abusing power, taking huge bribes and other crimes on Friday, sealing the fate of a controversial leader whose fall shook a leadership handover due at a congress from November 8. The once high-flying Bo now faces a criminal investigation that stemmed from a murder scandal, and will almost certainly be jailed. With the Communist Party congress about six weeks away, further steps in the case could come before then, experts said, paving the way for a smooth transition of power. “Bo Xilai's actions created grave repercussions and did massive harm to the reputation of the party and state, producing an extremely malign effect at home and abroad,” the official statement from a party leaders' meeting said, according to a report by the official Xinhua news agency. [...] The official statement carried by Xinhua said that in the murder scandal, Bo “abused his powers of office, committed serious errors and bears a major responsibility”. Rumours that the party could deal Bo, the “princeling” son of a revolutionary leader, a light punishment have now been dealt a fatal blow, and accusations of womanising could further tarnish his reputation in the eyes of Chinese people. [...]. ^ top ^

Tourist sites overwhelmed by huge crowds during holidays (China Daily)
2012-10-04
The extended national holidays and a decision to waive highway tolls have brought many tourist attractions to a virtual standstill since the beginning of the eight-day vacation. Authorities have felt the pinch of the projected 13 percent increase in travelers on the roads, in part boosted by toll-free highways during major festivals, effective since Sunday. According to figures from 119 tourist sites tracked by the National Holiday Office, 5.76 million visitors were out and about by Tuesday, up 29 percent year-on-year. Holiday income at tourist attractions reached 310 million yuan ($49.3 million), skyrocketing by 33 percent year-on-year. But the huge crowds, heavy traffic and exorbitant prices in tourist areas have taken some of the luster out of Golden Week. The huge volume of visitors overwhelmed the capacity of the cable cars at Huashan Mountain, in Shaanxi province, leaving tens of thousands stuck at the peak late into Tuesday night. According to China Central Television, restless visitors demanded refunds from the tourism committee, and police were dispatched to help deal with the crisis. Chen Li, deputy director of the Shaanxi Provincial Public Security Department, said on his micro blog that more than 300 policemen and government officials climbed up the mountain to help trapped visitors. The Palace Museum, or Forbidden City, in Beijing has long been a big draw for travelers. On Tuesday alone, it received more than 180,000 visitors, outstripping its best day's visitor volume by six times. [...] The waiving of highway tolls compounded problems. By spurring unprecedented road traffic, toll-free highways left hundreds of thousands of drivers stuck in traffic during Mid-Autumn Festival. Twenty-four major highways in 16 provinces were effectively transformed into enormous parking lots as 86 million people took to the roads. The China Tourism Academy estimated there would be 362 million travelers on the move this holiday. [...]. ^ top ^

China must advance reform, stick to opening-up, says premier (Xinhua)
2012-09-29
China must steadfastly advance institutional reforms in economic, political, cultural, social and other fields and stick to the opening-up policy, Premier Wen Jiabao said here on Saturday. Addressing a reception marking the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, Wen said "there is still a long way to go" before China becomes a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious. President Hu Jintao, senior leaders Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang, Zhou Yongkang and more than 1,200 Chinese and foreign personages were present at the reception. [...] Wen said, "sixty-three years ago today, the Chinese nation put an end to a century of humiliation and suffering in its modern history, and a new China stood up in the east of the world." [...] "While recognizing achievements, we must always keep a cool head," he said. The country is in an important period of strategic opportunities for development, Wen said, stressing that the power of reform and opening-up as well as the persevering spirit of the Chinese nation will lead China to a brighter future. As to the 18th National Congress of the CPC, the premier said that it will be an important meeting "for us to build on past achievements and open up new prospects for future development." He stressed that "we will unswervingly follow the basic line of the Party and stay committed to the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics." [...] On foreign affairs, the premier said that China will pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and firmly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing's Sept. land sales second highest on record (Xinhua)
2012-09-30
The Beijing municipal government netted 25.74 billion yuan (4.06 billion U.S. dollars) in land sales in September, the highest for a month since Dec. 2010, new data has revealed. This took the city's land sales in the first nine months of this year up to 50.85 billion yuan, Sunday's Beijing News reported. [...] Beijing has seen an increase in land deals since August along with obvious price rises, said Zhang Dawei, an analyst with Beijing-based Zhongyuan Real Estate. [...] The sector will continue warming and show a sharp spike in sales in the fourth quarter of the year, the Beijing News quoted Zhang as saying. The country's property market has cooled significantly since the central government started to introduce measures to cap runaway prices in 2010. But home prices have picked up in recent months following the central bank's move to slash interest rates to buoy the slowing economy, which grew at its lowest rate in more than three years in the second quarter of the year. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Six Guangzhou officials held for taking bribes (SCMP)
2012-10-04
Guangzhou's graft watchdog has arrested six more officials in its latest anti-corruption campaign, including the head of the city's vehicle management agency for allegedly taking more than three million yuan (HK$3.67 million) in bribes. A report in Nanfang Daily yesterday quoted Guangzhou's discipline inspection commission as saying that the head of the agency, under the control of the city's traffic police, was being investigated for graft for accepting bribes in return for allowing substandard cars on to the roads. The newspaper said the agency's boss had accepted more than three million yuan from the Guangzhou Renhe car inspection company in the past four years and had allowed it to run old tests that could be passed by shoddy vehicles. Zengcheng Licheng hospital chief Liu Libiao was also caught in the anti-graft net. Liu is alleged to have favoured the Zengcheng Suikang pharmaceutical company as a drug supplier for one year from January 2011, in return for 390,000 yuan in bribes. He is also being investigated over allegations that he paid 50,000 yuan in bribes to Zengcheng health department officials from July 2008 to May this year. The head of a clinic in the town of Huadu Yayao is also being investigated for graft. Nanfang Daily reported that the clinic chief had embezzled public money and taken 230,000 yuan in bribes from suppliers of drugs and medical equipment from 2010 to May this year. The chief of Panyu's Xianchong village committee allegedly offered 350,000 yuan in bribes to the chief of Longwan village to arrange the illegal sale of communal land. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Company taps clean energy in Tibet (Xinhua)
2012-10-04
A national energy company is planning to invest 100 billion yuan (15.87 billion U.S. dollars) within 10 years to tap into abundant solar and hydroelectric power resources in Tibet. Huaneng Tibet Power Generation Co., Ltd. (HTPG), a subsidiary of the state-owned China Huaneng Group, has signed multiple agreements with the Tibetan autonomous regional government regarding development of clean energy, company sources said. "The investment is aimed at putting an end to the energy shortage in Tibet and sending power out of the region as well," said Liu Xingguo, general manager of HTPG. [...] The 8.5 billion-yuan project, with an installed capacity of 510,000 kilowatts, is expected to go operational in 2014 and reach its full capacity in 2016 after its six power-generating units are put into use, generating 2.5 billion kilowatts of electricity annually. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

38 die in Hong Kong ferry disaster (SCMP)
2012-10-02
Investigations into the cause of a ferry collision that killed 38 people and left 101 injured continued on Tuesday afternoon as authorities boarded the half-submerged boat. It was still unclear whether all 124 passengers from a Hongkong Electric ferry which sank near Lamma Island on Monday night were accounted for. The boat was packed with utility company employees and their families, and three crew members, on their way to watch a fireworks display in celebration of National Day in Victoria Harbour. It collided with a Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry (HKKF) boat headed for Lamma Island from Central around 8.15pm on Monday night. The Hongkong Electric vessel was half sunk in the water with the bow pointing up at an angle of 90 degrees. Of the passengers on the Hongkong Electric ferry, 38 have been confirmed dead and 93 injured. Of the 93 injured, two are listed in critical condition, two in serious condition, 23 as stable and 66 were discharged from hospital. [...] Leung offered his deepest condolence to the families of the victims and to those injured and promised that an independent panel would be set up to investigate the disaster. He declared Thursday as a mourning day for the city and said flags at major government buildings would be flown at half-mast for three days starting on Thursday. [...] Without naming Hong Kong and Kowloon Ferry, Yuen Sui-see, Hong Kong Electric's director of operations, blamed the other vessel for the tragedy. "The ferry rammed the side of our boat. They didn't bother and just left," he said. [...] Marine Department senior official Chung Siu-man told reporters it was too early to determine which vessel was at fault.“ If there is a collision, usually the boat would stay to offer assistance to the other boat, but according to the initial report we received, some passengers on the ferry were injured,” he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Leung's popularity at new low, polls show (SCMP)
2012-10-04
Surveys conducted by two universities have seen Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying's popularity fall to a record low. A Chinese University poll last month shows Leung's rating dropped below the critical 50-point "pass mark" for the first time in this regular survey, falling 1.2 points from the previous month to 48.8. Ratings for Leung's administration on the whole stood at 46.4 points, a 0.2 point drop from last month. Chinese University researchers warned this diminishing popularity might harm the government's ability to implement its policies. But a government source said Leung was still more popular than former chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, whose rating towards the end of his term slumped to about 40 points in the same survey. [...] A poll released by the University of Hong Kong's public opinion programme yesterday recorded Leung's latest rating at 46 points - 0.5 points lower towards to end of September than earlier in the month.Programme director Robert Ting-Yiu Chung said the result showed that Leung's popularity was "lingering at his record low". The administration's relationship with Beijing registered a negative value for the first time, at negative 2 points. This is the poorest figure recorded since the survey series began in July 1997. [...]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong's top two universities lose ground in latest global rankings (SCMP)
2012-10-04
The city's top two universities have lost ground in the latest global university league table. But two mainland institutions have moved up, narrowing the cross-border gap, according to the new rankings released yesterday. In the Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2012-2013, the University of Hong Kong slipped from No 34 to 35, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology dipped from 62 to 65. Peking University edged up three spots to 46, while Tsinghua University leapt 19 places to 52nd. The survey predicts that mainland universities are set to advance further in the coming years, as institutions in the West are hit by government austerity measures. Phil Baty, editor of the Times Higher Education rankings, said in London: "There is no question that the balance of power in global higher education is shifting. There is strong support for world-class universities in the East … in stark contrast, funding cuts are hurting the West." [...] Many Asian universities moved up the rankings, including two in Hong Kong. Chinese University improved from 151 to 124, while City University rose from 193 to 182. [...] "Higher education in Asia is on the rise. The resources that have been put in are paying off," Baty said. But Hong Kong should protect "its fine tradition of academic freedom" in order to excel in higher education. [...]. ^ top ^

Government 'hid public split' on national education (SCMP)
2012-10-05
Public opinion was divided about national education in schools, despite official insistence that the subject had widespread support, documents have revealed. The revelation comes from the long-awaited findings of a public consultation on the controversial policy, conducted last year. After repeated requests by the South China Morning Post, the Education Bureau has now released about 500 written submissions, as well as the findings of a separate survey of teachers. A study of the submissions showed no overriding support for the government's plan to require all public schools to incorporate patriotic lessons into their curriculum. Furthermore, many teachers who said national education was necessary felt it did not need to be introduced as a formalised subject. The findings prompted opponents of the policy to accuse the government of lying and to warn that "dishonesty" in decision making could harm Hong Kong's stability in the long run. [...] A count by the Post of 406 submissions handed to the government between May and August last year, as well as 87 submissions made available for two public hearings at the Legislative Council, showed that more opposed or had reservations about the subject than supported it. Only 30 per cent of those who made the submissions to the government and Legco expressed clear support for the subject, while 47 per cent opposed it. The rest either voiced reservations or did not indicate a clear stance. There were, however, about 100 opposing submissions that looked as though they had been drawn up using a template. Excluding these the numbers of supporting and opposing submissions are similar. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan's new Mainland Affairs Council chairman fails photo test (SCMP)
2012-10-03
Taiwan's new top official for cross-strait affairs took his oath of office yesterday, but was immediately attacked by the opposition for failing to identify photos of most of Beijing's top politicians. Wang Yu-chi, a trusted confidant of President Ma Ying-jeou who served as his spokesman from 2008 to 2010, was criticised in parliament immediately after being sworn in as chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council. Wang was shown photos of the nine members of the Communist Party's Politburo Standing Committee, but could recognise only two. Among those he failed to identify was the mainland's top lawmaker, Wu Bangguo, and the chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, Jia Qinglin - the No 2 party leader on Taiwan affairs. [...] "I just need some time," Wang was quoted by Taiwanese news portal NOWnews as saying. "I need to work harder on recognising pictures." The appointment of Wang last month surprised many and raised concerns about whether the scholar-turned-politician was familiar enough with China affairs. [...] The two faces Wang could identify during the legislator's questioning were President Hu Jintao and his heir-apparent Xi Jinping, the United Evening News reported. ^ top ^

Taiwan added to American visa-waiver program (Xinhua)
2012-10-03
Starting Nov 1, travelers from Taiwan will be eligible to visit the United States without a visa, through an expanded waiver program announced on Tuesday by the US Department of Homeland Security. Taiwan will be added to a list of 36 participants in the visa-waiver program, which allows visa-free visits to US soil of up to 90 days for business or tourism. In fiscal 2011, the waiver program accounted for 18.3 million visits to the United States, or more than 60 percent of all tourist and business travelers entering the country by air, according to the DHS. [...] Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Taiwan's participation in the waiver system at a State Department conference on travel and tourism. Napolitano said Taiwan meets the strict requirements of the program, which requires participants to meet enhanced security standards. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stressed the importance of the industries for the US economy and diplomacy. "In the last year, visitors from just China and Brazil supported more than 40,000 American jobs," she said on Tuesday. [...] By the end of June, the US government had processed a record 1 million visa applications from the Chinese mainland through the first nine months of fiscal 2012. (The current fiscal year ended Sept 30.) About 1.18 million Chinese visited the US in 2011, and the total is expected to reach 2 million in 2015, according to China's National Tourism Administration. [...]. ^ top ^

Former Taiwan leader Frank Hsieh Chang-ting arrives in Xiamen (SCMP)
2012-10-05
Former Taiwanese premier Frank Hsieh Chang-ting arrived in Xiamen, Fujian, yesterday at the start of a five-day ice-breaking visit that he hopes will help improve ties between the island's opposition Democratic Progressive Party and the mainland. Soon after landing, Hsieh, a former DPP chairman, described the trip to his ancestral home of Xiamen - in the southeast across the Taiwan Strait - as a "visit to a familiar place - like one to my brother's home". [...] Hsieh, Taiwan's premier from 2005 to 2006 during the previous DPP administration, is the most senior politician from the pro-independence party to visit the mainland. Hsieh, who visited the mainland for the first time as a legislator 18 years ago, planned to visit Xiamen in 2000 in his capacity as Kaohsiung mayor, but that trip was barred by the DPP because of opposition to mainland visits by any of its officials. Seen as one of the few party heavyweights who support better ties between the DPP and the mainland, Hsieh designed his trip to resemble the historic mainland visit by Kuomintang honorary chairman Lien Chan in 2005 - reaching out and taking the first step in the DPP's rapprochement with the mainland. The focus will be on how the visit, which includes a stop in Beijing, proceeds - whether or not Hsieh is able to meet senior mainland officials and what sort of reception he is given. Those factors will be used to gauge the success or otherwise of his trip. [...] He is scheduled to visit Xiamen University today, where he will take part in a closed-door seminar on cross-strait cultural relations with a group of think tank scholars and experts. Asked if he would meet senior mainland officials, Hsieh said he did not rule out the possibility of communicating and having dialogue with them. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China raises state purchasing price for wheat (Xinhua)
2012-09-29
China will lift the government purchasing price for wheat in 2013 by about 10 percent from this year, the country's top economic planner said Saturday. The move is intended to stimulate grain production, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement. The minimum purchase price for wheat in the country's major wheat-producing areas will be increased to 112 yuan (17.67 U.S. dollars) per 50 kg, up 10 yuan from the 2012 price, the NDRC said. Most of China's 1.3 billion people are fed by domestically produced grain, making wheat a major crop in the country. The move will help stabilize the domestic market amid a volatile global market, analysts said, adding that stabilizing food supplies will be crucial in checking inflation, as food prices account for about one-third of the prices used to calculate it. [...]. ^ top ^

Profit growth slows for China's top 10 banks (Xinhua)
2012-10-03
China's top 10 listed banks saw sharply-slowing net profits in the first half of the year as bad loans increased, a latest report by PwC showed. The top ten listed banks reported 513.2 billion yuan (81.5 billion U.S. dollars) of net profits during the first half, up 17 percent year on year. However, the growth rate dropped from the 34-percent growth in the same period last year. The report attributed the slowing profit growth to the central bank cutting interest rates twice this year, coupled with widening the interest rate bandwidth for loans and deposits. A new rule by the People's Bank of China, the central bank, allows financial institutions to set the maximum limit for deposits' interest rate at 1.1 times the benchmark, while the minimum limit for loans' interest rate at 70 percent of the benchmark. The report also attributed financial authorities' stringent review of the banks' service charges and innovative treasury products as another cause for the slowing growth of profits. [...] The ten banks' total assets reached 76 trillion yuan as of the end of June, up 10.68 percent from the end of last year. The assets accounted for 77 percent of the nation's banking sector. [...]. ^ top ^

China's growth forecast cut amid slowdown (SCMP)
2012-10-04
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has trimmed its forecast for the mainland's and the region's economic growth for this year and next year as weak European and North America demand is expected to drag down growth even as governments are likely to step up spending and ease credit supply. Given the Western markets are expected to stay lacklustre in the medium term, the Manila-based multilateral policy bank said Asian nations other than Japan must speed up reforms and diversify sources of growth to dilute their reliance on the West, where purchasing power has been sapped by unsustainably high debt. In a report on the region's economic outlook released yesterday, the ADB projected the mainland's gross domestic product to grow 7.7 per cent this year, lower than the 8.5 per cent it projected in April. It also slashed its forecast for next year's growth to 8.1 per cent from 8.7 per cent. [...] ADB chief economist Changyong Rhee said the mainland has policy room to prevent an economic crash but he urged faster reform. "The [mainland] government has the means to cushion the economy from global turmoil," he said. "Its strong fiscal position, receding inflation and expansionary policy measures should ensure a soft economic landing, but it needs to expedite its effort to diversify the source of growth and strengthen structural reforms for inclusive growth." [...]. ^ top ^

China's geothermal resources equal to 860 trillion tonnes of coal equivalent (Xinhua)
2012-10-04
China's geothermal energy resources amount to 860 trillion tonnes of coal equivalent, an amount 260,000 times greater than China's annual energy consumption, according to newly issued statistics from the Ministry of Land and Resources. The figure is based on a new evaluation of geothermal energy resources buried 3,000 to 10,000 meters below 287 cities, 12 sedimentary basins and 2,562 hot springs. The ministry said the country's shallow-lying geothermal energy resources add up to 9.5 billion tonnes of coal equivalent, with annually available resources amounting to 350 million tonnes of coal equivalent. If shallow-lying resources are effectively used, the country can save 250 million tonnes of standard coal and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 500 million tonnes, the ministry said. Similarly, resources in sedimentary basins can save 853 billion tonnes of standard coal, according to the ministry. Geothermal energy resources are abundant in China, although the country's ability to develop and utilize them is still in its infancy. ^ top ^

Emerging markets take greater share of Chinese exports (Xinhua)
2012-10-04
Latest customs data indicated Thursday China's exports to emerging markets have been expanding, suggesting a decreasing reliance on demand from developed economies. The General Administration of Customs announced Thursday that the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Latin America and Africa accounted for 9 percent, 6.4 percent and 3.8 percent of China's exports in 2011, up from 7.2 percent, 2.9 percent and 2.1 percent, respectively, in 2002. Chinese exports to India and Russia in 2011 rose by 1.8 and 1 percentage points from 2002, respectively, according to the data. Exports to the United States and Japan dropped by 4.4 and 7.1 percentage points in 2011 compared to 2002, respectively, the data showed. The United States and Japan are China's second-largest and fourth-largest trading partners. Exports to the European Union, China's largest trading partner, rose by 2.5 percentage points last year compared to 2002, the data showed. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK denounces S. Korea's claim of Northern Limit Line as invasion (Xinhua)
2012-09-29
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Saturday denounced South Korea's claim of the Northern Limit Line (NLL) along their disputed western sea border as invasion of its territory, the official news agency KCNA reported. The South Korean political groups' insistence on the NLL is just sophism to justify their infringement upon the DPRK's sovereignty and invasion of its territory, and acts of aggression to hurt its national defense and security, said a spokesman for the Policy Department of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK. "The call for preserving the NLL can only be construed as a declaration of confrontation and only cause the repetition of the Yonphyong Island shelling incident," the KCNA quoted the spokesman as saying. South Korea's Navy on Sept. 21 fired warning shots at six DPRK's fishing boats, which the DPRK has asserted as peaceful fishing boats of some other country. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Land Permissions Forbidden Within 1300 Hectares of Downtown Ulaanbaatar (UB Post)
2012-09-28
The Capital City Representative's Khural or City Council has carried out its 3rd irregular meeting and conducted a poll on draft resolutions about city planning about arranging illegal land granting issues in the Capital City territory, initiated by political party factions in the parliament and its representatives. The proposal from the Democratic Party faction to forbid land granting for all purposes except land auctions, bid elections and landscaping purposes within the 1300 hectares of Ulaanbaatar city centre territory was supported 100 percent by city council delegations. Moreover, the DP faction's initiation to annul land and construction permission which was granted on sidewalks, pavement, schools, kindergartens and hospital areas as well as near headwaters, illegal licenses that are granted on Ulaanbaatar's engineering pipeline building were promoted. The delegations also urgently promoted a proposal to count the state's properties, move brick and leather factories from the city and to organize gravel carrying companies. The Chairman of the capital City Representative's Khural, D.Battulga, named the newly issued resolutions “a historic decision.”. ^ top ^

Mongolia's new government faces old problems (News.mn)
2012-09-28
The term "Dutch Disease" may have originally been coined in relation to a gasfield in The Netherlands, but Mongolia is finding out that it can just as well apply to coal. This "black gold" that propelled Mongolia"s economic growth to a record 17.3% in 2011 is now in a sudden glut and Chinese demand has dropped off a cliff, and the country"s new government is learning the hard way about how reliance on a few commodities can endanger the economy. Mongolia shipped 21.1m tonnes of coking coal to China in 2011 worth $2.25bn, up 26% in volume and a staggering 155% in terms of value from the previous year. The coal excitement reached its peak exactly a year ago in September 2011, when 2m tonnes were sent across the country"s southern border to rake in $380m for those in on the deal. The country overtook Australia as China"s main coal supplier and the previous government"s coffers began to swell with royalty and tax revenue, which it swiftly dealt out to its citizens in preparation for the elections in June this year. But the handouts didn"t work, and now a new government has taken the reins. ^ top ^

A Mongolian wins World memory (News.mn)
2012-10-02
A Mongolian won the World memory championship in Germany on October 1st. T.Myagmarsuren, international champion of memory, won in the final stage of the mind sport competition in Gilden Germany. He competed with his coach and teammate Kh.Khatanbaatar, who is an international master of memory and president of the Mongolian intellectual academy. Representing 20 countries at the final stage of the competition, just 40 competitors out of 150 advanced to compete for five categories. The categories included; multidigit result, product and six digit extractions, and squaring. Kh.Khatanbaatar wrote on his facebook page, “2012.10.01, this is the happiest day of my life. I never expected such a big result in a short time. It is really a surprise. My student won the World championship. We are also proud of S.Tsogbadrakh and S.Akol who won two gold medals and a silver medal in the memory championship in Sweden. ” The next major international intellectual competition, which is held once every four years, is the Mind Olympics on November 23-27. ^ top ^

Chinese Tibetologist delegation visits Mongolia for religious exchanges (News.mn)
2012-10-03
A Chinese Tibetologist and Living Buddha delegation Monday visited Mongolia to boost bilateral religious exchanges, and left the country on Tuesday morning after the trip.
During the visit, the delegation held meetings with Mongolian officials and religious leaders, as well as experts of the Institute for Strategic Studies of Mongolia. They also visited the local main Buddhist monasteries and exchanged views over religious issues with monks there. The delegation and Mongolian religionists conducted extensive and profound exchanges over a variety of issues including Tibetan history, culture, and economic and social development. The exchanges had contributed to the exchanges and friendship between China and Mongolia, the delegation said. ^ top ^

Tavan Tolgoi Begins Operations at Western Portion (UB Post)
2012-10-03
Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi state owned company has opened a second mine beside the Tavan Tolgoi Coal Mine at the Tsogtsetsii som of the Umnugobi. Management of the company stated, “The Western Portion of the Tavan Tolgoi was opened on a very good day (fortunate day by the Mongolian fortune calendar) of the mid month of August.” Economists note that Tavan Tolgoi's expansion is greatly significant to the Mongolian economy, as it determines the thickness of Mongolian's wallets. This day marks the full economical start of the Tavan Tolgoi mine. Furthermore, it means that the decrees passed by the previous parliament, decree number 40 which was passed in 2010 and number 39 which was passed in 2008, can now be implemented. The JORC method was used to determine the deposit, which was estimated at 1.2 billion ton coal, 65 percent of which is high quality coking coal. The removal of the first layer of soil has begun, and the mine is expected to extract 1-2 million ton coals in 2013. The mine's authority has a positive prospect that by exporting the coal to China, 20 million ton coals can be exported by 2017. However 20 million ton isn't the final limit, as they hope to expand to 40 even 50 million ton of coal extraction in the future. Some experts are critical of this, stating, “Don't dig out all the wealth under the soil and move it to another nation. If economic development is stable, there is no need to extract so quickly. Besides, Tavan Tolgoi isn't the only mine in Mongolia. There other economical boosters such as Oyu Tolgoi therefore exploitation should be limited to 15-20 million ton per year. And the profit that is to come shouldn't be handed out carelessly, like before, but invested into production and industrialism.” At any rate, the opening of the western portion provides a secure wealth base for the share owning public and private companies. The company plans to release IPO by next year at the Mongolia, Hong Kong and London Stock Exchanges. The opening of the western section also increases the price of the shares of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi to a sufficient level. Executive Director of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi, B.Enebish, has noted that the mine is secure enough for foreign investors to trust and invest in generously. Though the operations of the company has steadied up it, still needs to develop its infrastructure. They must at least build a secure road to transport their coal. Currently they rent the road built by Energy Resource at the cost of 500 USD per day. ^ top ^

Allowance for Children will be Issued on October 20th, 2012 (News.mn)
2012-10-04
The Government approved a monthly allowance of 20,000 MNT for 170,000 children under the age of 18 that will be distributed beginning on October 20th. However, some parents still do not know where to get the money from. Our journalist spoke with M.Lhagvasuren, the director of the Social Care Office and the Social Care and Service General Administration. The allowance is not distributed by Social Care and we have little participation. It is part of government policy and it is intended to support families and birthrate. According to the rules, parents should contact the bank directly to get the money. For instance, you can submit an application at any branch of a bank and open an account under a child`s name with his or her ID card or birth card. Regarding children who are in a children`s center, a detention center, or, living abroad, a rule has been put in place. The rule states that the children`s center or the court decision enforcement general office can develop a deal with the Social Care Office in order to open an account on the child's behalf. ^ top ^

Australia, Mongolia vow to expand mining cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-10-04
Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Wednesday visited Mongolia to advance mining cooperation between the two nations. Speaking at a meeting with Carr, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj said Mongolia-Australia relations have developed rapidly in various fields since the two countries established diplomatic ties 40 years ago. The president called on both sides to take mining cooperation as an important opportunity in pushing forward their bilateral ties. For his part, Carr highlighted the great importance of mining cooperation in developing Australia-Mongolia relations, noting some 54 Australian companies are operating in Mongolia. The British-Australian mining company Rio Tinto has invested heavily in Mongolia's mining sector. Also on Wednesday, the two countries agreed to launch educational cooperation. Carr said his country is planning to allow more Mongolian students to study in Australia. ^ top ^

FAO, Mongolia sign cooperation agreements (Xinhua)
2012-10-05
The UN food agency on Thursday signed five cooperation memorandums with Mongolia as the country aims to become a wheat and livestock production base in the Asia-Pacific region. Jose Graziano da Silva, director-general of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), spoke highly of Mongolia's achievements in farming and animal husbandry during a meeting with Khaltmaa Battulga, the Mongolian minister for industry and agriculture. He said the FAO will expand its cooperation with Mongolia and support its efforts to build farms, improve food production and ensure food safety. Battulga said the Mongolian government has proposed to improve the quality of agriculture and livestock products for export and turn Mongolia into a wheat and livestock production base in the Asia-Pacific. Thanks to good weather this year, Mongolia has seen bountiful harvests for its farmers and herders. The government has said grain and potato production can fully meet domestic needs. [...]. ^ top ^

 

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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