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
  3-9.11.12, No. 448  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Chinese and Japanese diplomats to continue talks over islands (SCMP)
2012-11-06
Chinese and Japanese diplomats who met in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, over the past two days agreed to continue dialogue to improve bilateral ties, battered by a territorial dispute in the East China Sea. The Japanese foreign ministry said yesterday that Shinsuke Sugiyama, director general of its Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, and his Chinese counterpart Luo Zhaohui discussed the dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan. It said the two sides pledged to communicate at the vice-ministerial level and below and made arrangements for the next round of talks, Kyodo News reported. The director general-level meeting was the third since September, when the Japanese government announced plans to purchase three of the five islets from a private land owner, triggering strong protests from Beijing. Four Chinese maritime surveillance vessels were spotted in waters near the disputed islands on Sunday, the Japanese coastguard said. Mainlanders have vowed to boycott Japanese products because of the dispute, affecting Japanese companies' business plan on the mainland. Carmaker Toyota said yesterday it expected to sell 200,000 fewer vehicles on the mainland in the second half of its fiscal year because of the territorial row. Mazda said that it sold 9,511 new cars on the mainland last month, down 45 per cent year on year. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Laos vow to increase cooperation (China Daily)
2012-11-06
China and Laos pledged to further boost cooperation in various sectors to tackle challenges and benefit the people of both countries, as Premier Wen Jiabao met his Laotian counterpart and the country's president in the capital Vientiane on Monday. Experts said that the cooperation between China and Laos has been enhanced in recent years and the growth in ties is expected to continue. China and Laos are engaging to promote cooperation, which injects dynamic energy to bilateral ties in different fields, Wen told Laotian Prime Minister Thongsing Thammavong before the Ninth Asia-Europe Meeting Summit. [...] Thongsing said Wen's attendance at the Ninth ASEAN Summit, before the upcoming 18th CPC National Congress which was scheduled to start on Thursday, showed the importance he attaches to China-Laos relations and China's support for Laos. Laos hopes to expand cooperation with China in trade and culture, deepen exchanges in all levels between the two peoples and further learn from China in state governance, Thongsing said. Like China, Laos is conducting industrialization reform, and the two countries have similar histories and cultures, so China's development experience can help Laos, said Song Yinghui, a researcher on Southeast Asian studies with China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. [...] "Meanwhile, China can also benefit from cooperation with Laos, because bilateral cooperation will bring more opportunities to Chinese enterprises who want to do business with Laos," Song said. "China needs to upgrade it industries and is facing the challenge of industrial transition, so China needs partners like Laos to achieve economic restructuring." Wen also met Laotian President Choummaly Sayasone on Monday. [...] Wen congratulated Laos on hosting the Ninth ASEM Summit and its upcoming accession to the World Trade Organization, which he said reflected Laos' development and openness. ^ top ^

China takes EU solar dispute to WTO (China Daily)
2012-11-06
China said on Monday that it has made a complaint to the World Trade Organization against photovoltaic subsidies in the European Union, the latest move in the row between the two economies over solar products. The case was launched when the Ministry of Commerce requested consultation with the EU and its member states concerning photovoltaic subsidies granted by Italy and Greece. The two countries issued decrees in 2011 and 2012 that offered additional subsidies of 10 percent on electricity generated by photovoltaic installations if the main components of the installations were produced within the EU or the European Economic Area — comprising of the EU, plus Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein. The ministry said the subsidies violated WTO rules in two ways. First, they violate the "national treatment" principle, which mandates indiscriminative treatment toward imported goods. Second, they constitute prohibited subsides under WTO agreements regarding the use of domestic over imported goods. "They have a significant effect on exports of Chinese photovoltaic products and prejudice the rights of China as a member of WTO," said ministry spokesman Shen Danyang. [...] According to WTO rules, the EU should decide whether to accept China's request for consultation within 10 days. The consultation should settle the dispute in less than two months and if it fails, the case would be submitted to a panel of experts, which should make a judgment in six to nine months, said ministry official Chen Yusong. The case follows the EU's decision in September to launch an investigation into whether Chinese companies were "dumping" solar panels in Europe. [...] But Chinese officials said Monday's complaint is an isolated case, citing that the ministry's research was conducted much earlier than the EU's anti-dumping probe. Ministry officials are also optimistic about the case. China had previously filed 10 similar cases since the nation joined the WTO in 2001, and won six of them. [...]. ^ top ^

China rebuffs UN criticism on Tibet (SCMP)
2012-11-06
China on Monday strongly rebuffed recent United Nations criticism that repression has prompted Tibetans to burn themselves alive in protest, countering that they enjoy full rights and the majority are content. The UN human rights chief on Friday raised concerns about alleged abuses including excessive force and disappearances, following about 60 self-immolations by Tibetans since 2009. “We expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to the so-called Tibet-related statement,” foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing. “The vast majority of people in Tibetan areas are satisfied with their current state,” he said. “People's political, economic, cultural and religious rights and interests have been effectively protected.” Hong reiterated China's stance of blaming the Dalai Lama and his “clique” for encouraging immolations to press for separatism, condemning “such an ugly act of sacrificing other people's lives to achieve its own splittist plot”. He also warned the UN and other foreign bodies not to interfere in China's internal affairs. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged China to address Tibetans' grievances saying: “I recognise Tibetans' intense sense of frustration and despair which has led them to resort to such extreme means”. Pillay said she was disturbed by “continuing allegations of violence against Tibetans seeking to exercise their fundamental human rights of freedom of expression, association and religion”. ^ top ^

Premier Wen Jiabao calls for clear euro-zone debt plan (SCMP)
2012-11-06
Premier Wen Jiabao called on major economic institutions to come up with a clear and reliable plan to solve the euro-zone debt crisis, while pledging that China will assist in Europe's recovery. In a speech at the opening ceremony of the Asia-Europe Summit in Vientiane, Laos, yesterday, Wen also urged co-operation between the two sides on the use of water resources and forestry. [...] "Main economic institutions need to roll out a clear and reliable medium-term financial plan as early as possible to solve the sovereign debt crisis," Wen said. He warned that the global economy still faced downside risks, but Asia and Europe were capable of getting the world economy in order. Wen said China was a responsible country that had put its economy on a stable track and given assistance to countries with economic problems. "We are confident that we can achieve the development goal for this year," he said. "We have the confidence, conditions and capabilities needed for achieving the longer development goal." Growth in trade between the EU and Asian countries at the summit slowed to an annual pace of 6 per cent in the first half of this year, down from 8 per cent last year. French President Francois Hollande said he was in Vientiane to "reassure Asian countries", but also say they have "a role to play in European and global growth". [...]. ^ top ^

China slams Dalai's 18th visit to Japan (Global Times)
2012-11-06
China has expressed its vehement opposition to the Dalai Lama's visit to Japan, and has lodged a solemn representation with the Japanese government, according to the foreign ministry. China strongly opposes all forms of support from any country or individual for the Dalai Lama's separatist activities, Hong Lei told a press conference on Monday. "The Dalai Lama is merely a political exile who has long been engaged in activities to split China under the disguise of religion," Hong said. Hong noted that the Dalai Lama's international activities seek to work with international anti-China separatist forces to undermine relations between China and other countries and lead to the nation being split up. This marks the Dalai Lama's 18th visit to Japan. He arrived in Japan on Saturday and will remain there until November 14, the Japan Times reported. During his stay in Yokohama, near Tokyo, the Dalai Lama urged the Chinese government to rule the Tibet region through more practical measures, considered to be an apparent message to China's incoming leaders. [...]. ^ top ^

China set for East Asia trade bloc talks to stymie US (SCMP)
2012-11-07
China will join negotiations to create a 16-nation East Asian free-trade bloc at a regional summit this month to counterbalance a similar move spearheaded by the United States that excludes China, says the South Korean trade minister, Bark Tae-ho. Bark said in a lecture in Geneva that the bloc, known as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), would include the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. Its launch is to be formally announced at the Asean summit in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, later this month, with the goal of reaching a deal to lower trade barriers across the region by the end of 2015. Premier Wen Jiabao is expected to attend. The RCEP framework was endorsed by leaders at last November's Asean summit, and Asean has sent invitations to the six nations, a grouping favoured by Japan. Bark said China at first only wanted to have Asean and three other nations, China, Japan and South Korea, included in the pact, but the US proposal for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had pushed it to enter into talks for a wider-ranging pact. The Obama administration strongly advocated the TPP, which excludes China, at last year's Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Hawaii. "China preferred anything without the United States," Bark said. "I don't know how much they hope to get but they want to do it because of the TPP." Fan Hongwei, an expert on Southeast Asian affairs at Xiamen University, said China was becoming more aware of the possibilities of using multilateral platforms to offset the impact of US proposals. "But it is possible that the US will attempt to block the initiative because it would hamper Washington's effort to strengthen its presence in Asia," he said. Du Jifeng, a specialist in Southeast Asian affairs at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said some countries in the region were already negotiating free trade deals with Asean and might not be interested in RCEP. China, facing a stronger US presence in the region, has been keen to further cement ties with its neighbours. During an Asia-Europe summit that ended in Vientiane, Laos, yesterday, Wen called on the two continents to step up co-operation on energy security. Kyodo News, quoting Japanese sources, said Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had a "war of words" with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi yesterday over the disputed Diaoyu Islands, known as the Senkakus in Japan. Noda said overcoming conflicts peacefully was important to Japan, but Yang, who took over from Wen at the meeting, replied that the outcome of an "anti-fascist" war should not be denied. ^ top ^

China-Norway relations may get back on track: analysts (Global Times)
2012-11-07
Analysts said Tuesday that cool relations between China and Norway were very likely to get back on track after a brief meeting between the leaders of the two countries Monday. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held a brief meeting with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Monday on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe summit in Laos, AFP reported. [...] Stoltenberg said he had thanked Wen for the inclusion of Norway in the Asia-Europe Meeting, saying it was natural to express gratitude toward China for its "support," according to the report. [...] "We would like to have normal political relations with China and when that's possible we will say so," he was quoted as saying by AFP. Tian Dewen, a researcher with the Institute of European Studies of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday that the meeting indicated that top leaders of the two countries had reached a consensus to lay aside the Nobel Peace Prize spat. "It is against China's interest to let the cooled relations with Norway continue, since good bilateral relations are beneficial to both the countries," he noted. However, Assistant Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu told reporters last Wednesday that it remained up to Norway to "work for the restoration and development of ties," AP reported. Chen Zhimin, a professor of European Studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times more time may be needed to repair a rift that has seen trade exchanges disrupted and political contacts stalled. According to the Norwegian Seafood Export Council, Norway's export of salmons to China, which has seen a huge blow due to the rift, has seen a 174 percent increase year-on-year in the first seven months of this year. ^ top ^

Hu congratulates Obama on re-election (Xinhua)
2012-11-07
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday congratulated Barack Obama on his re-election as U.S. president. Hu said in a message that China-U.S. relations made positive progress in the past four years as a result of joint efforts. Hu said he and Obama have reached consensus on building a China-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit, and on exploring the construction of new relations between big powers. Bilateral mechanisms including the Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange have produced good results, he said, adding the two countries have conducted fruitful coordination and cooperation in bilateral and major international and regional affairs, he said. Maintaining steady, healthy and stable development of Sino-U.S. relations is in the fundamental interests of both peoples and conducive to peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, Hu said. China is willing to work with the U.S. side for the future and strive for new progress in China-U.S. relations in order to bring greater benefits to the two peoples as well as people of the world, he added. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao also congratulated Obama by sending a message. Wen said a favorable and stable Sino-U.S. relationship, which is constantly moving ahead, is in line with the basic interests of the two countries and the common aspirations of the two peoples. It is also conducive to world peace, security and prosperity, he added. Wen believed that, with joint efforts, Sino-U.S. relations will surely make headway. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping congratulated Joe Biden on his re-election as U.S. vice president. ^ top ^

Hu suggests military security trust mechanism, peace agreement with Taiwan (Xinhua)
2012-11-08
Hu Jintao suggested on Thursday the Chinese mainland and Taiwan set up military security confidence-building mechanism and reach a peace agreement through consultation. Addressing the opening of the Communist Party of China's (CPC) 18th National Congress, Hu suggested the two sides jointly explore cross-Straits political relations and make reasonable arrangements for them under the special condition that the country is yet to be reunified. "We hope the two sides will discuss the establishment of a cross-Straits military security confidence-building mechanism to maintain stability in their relations and reach a peace agreement through consultation so as to open a new horizon in advancing the peaceful growth of these relations," he said. Hu said peaceful reunification is in the best interests of the Chinese nation, including compatriots in Taiwan. "To achieve peaceful reunification, we must, above everything else, ensure peaceful growth of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits," he said. [...] He said the two sides of the Taiwan Straits should uphold the common stand of opposing Taiwan independence and of following the 1992 Consensus, increase their common commitment to upholding the one-China framework and, on this basis, expand common ground and set aside differences. "We are ready to conduct exchanges, dialogue and cooperation with any political party in Taiwan as long as it does not seek Taiwan independence and recognizes the one-China principle," he said. Hu urged the two sides to deepen economic cooperation, enhance a common sense of national identity, and further people-to-people contacts to cultivate mutual goodwill. Hu said the compatriots on both sides belong to the same Chinese nation and form a community of common destiny bound by blood ties. Hu warned against any separatist attempt for Taiwan independence, saying that the Chinese people will never allow anyone or any force to separate Taiwan from the motherland by any means. "Any separatist attempt for Taiwan independence, which undermines the common interests of the compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits, is doomed to fail," he said. ^ top ^

Four S China provincial regions conduct joint patrol in South China Sea (Xinhua)
2012-11-08
Four provincial-level administrative regions in south China have carried out their first joint patrol in the South China Sea with one of the country's largest marine patrol ships, the Beijing Daily reported Thursday. The joint patrol, launched by the maritime safety administrations of Guangdong, Hainan and Fujian provinces and Guangxi autonomous region on Wednesday, was aimed at ensuring maritime traffic security and safeguarding national maritime sovereignty, Shen Chunsheng, deputy head of the Guangxi Regional Maritime Safety Administration, was quoted as saying. The joint patrol team, led by the Haixun 31 patrol ship, is expected to travel 500 nautical miles through a number of harbors and key passages in five days. It will check the navigation, berth and operation of in the South China Sea waters, verify the navigation environment in China-Vietnam maritime border areas and curb some vessels' illegal practices that result in ocean pollution, Shen said in the report. A joint patrol will cement maritime patrol and law enforcement cooperation among the four provincial regions, serve as a deterrent force and guarantee long-lasting traffic security in the South China Sea, said Shen. ^ top ^

US report to Congress warns of Chinese sub-launched missiles (SCMP)
2012-11-09
China appears to be within two years of deploying submarine-launched nuclear weapons, adding a new element to its nuclear arsenal that should lead to arms-reduction talks, a draft report by a congressionally mandated US commission says. China in the meantime remains "the most threatening" power in cyberspace and presents "the largest challenge to maintaining the integrity of United States supply chains", the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission said in a draft of its annual report to Congress. China is the only original nuclear-weapons state expanding its nuclear forces, the report said. [...] "[Beijing is] on the cusp of attaining a credible nuclear triad of land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and air-dropped nuclear bombs," the report says. China has had a largely symbolic ballistic-missile submarine capability for decades, but is only now set to establish a "near-continuous at-sea strategic deterrent", the draft said. China is party to many major international pacts and regimes regarding nuclear weapons and materials. But it remains outside of key arms-control conventions, such as the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty of 2010 and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty of 1987. [...] Xu Guangyu, a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association in Beijing, said it was too soon for China to join a more restrictive multilateral arms-control treaty. "China possesses just a few hundred nuclear warheads, while both the US and Russia respectively have more than 5,000, or 95 per cent of the world's nuclear warheads," Xu said. "Only when both the US and Russia fulfil their promises by reducing their warheads to around 1,550, then China and other Security Council members in the United Nations will also set up a multilateral nuclear arms-control treaty," he said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

600 million middle-class Chinese by 2020: think tank (Xinhua)
2012-11-04
China's rapid urbanization will greatly increase its number of middle-class people to 600 million and support an economic growth between 7 percent and 8 percent annually by 2020, a government think tank chief predicted here on Saturday. Speaking at a reform forum in Haikou, capital of China's southern-most province of Hainan, Chi Fulin, executive president of the China Institute for Reform and Development, said, "As urbanization will create huge domestic demand potential, China still has ample room for transition and reform for the coming decade." According to the think tank, China's urbanization rate reached 51.3 percent in 2011, meaning over half of Chinese were living in cities and towns last year. As more farmers are leaving their farmland and becoming migrant workers in cities and towns, China is expected to have another 200 million migrant workers living in urban areas, according to a study by the the China Institute for Reform and Development. The continued urbanization and the increase in middle-class consumers will spur investment demand by at least 40 trillion yuan (6.3 trillion U.S. dollars) over the next 10 years, Chi said. He predicted domestic consumption will replace investment to become China's major engine driving the economy, with residential consumption in rural and urban areas expected to jump to 30 trillion yuan in 2016 from 16 trillion yuan last year. ^ top ^

Hu Jintao ally Li Zhanshu wins second party post (SCMP)
2012-11-04
In a procedural move that nonetheless shores up his rise within the party hierarchy, Li Zhanshu has been appointed to oversee the departments under the Communist Party's Central Committee. The appointment comes just weeks after Li, an ally of President Hu Jintao, was made director of the General Office of the Central Committee. The second appointment solidifies Li's rise in the wake of the sudden transfer of top Hu aide Ling Jihua. Dr Chen Huirong, an assistant professor of public affairs at Shanghai Jiaotong University, said it was common for the head of the General Office also to lead the work committee. Ling held both roles simultaneously, as did his predecessor, Wang Gang and Zeng Qinghong under former president Jiang Zemin. Li, like Ling, is considered a protégé of Hu thanks in part to his having worked at the Communist Youth League, a key base of support for the president. Ling had been considered a contender for higher office until his abrupt transfer to head the party's United Front Work Department in early September. The job change, which was seen as limiting his chances for advancement, followed a scandal after his son died in a fiery car crash in Beijing that also injured two young women. Li was formally appointed party secretary of the work committee of the departments under the Central Committee on October 23, although the organisation did not announce the move until Thursday. The work committee mainly deals with the party affairs of cadres working at the departments. The departments include the Organisation Department and the propaganda Department of the party's Central Committee. Li pledged to step up "political discipline" to ensure unity and party rule. He also vowed to step up the fight against corruption and ensure the "purity" of party members - a term seen as synonymous with loyalty to the party and resistance to corruption. ^ top ^

Party plenum promotes two generals and confirms Bo Xilai expulsion (SCMP)
2012-11-05
Two military generals were appointed as vice-chairmen of the powerful Central Military Commission yesterday when the Communist Party's senior leaders wrapped up a four-day closed-door conclave which also formally expelled the disgraced politician Bo Xilai. Fan Changlong, commander of Jinan Military Command, which oversees large parts of eastern China, and the former air force commander Xu Qiliang will join the party's top decision-making military body, Xinhua said in a report yesterday. The announcements were made on the last day of the seventh plenum of the party's Central Committee. The plenum also endorsed an earlier decision by the Politburo to expel Bo, the former Chongqing party boss, as well as Liu Zhijun, the former railway minister, Xinhua said. Bo and Liu can now be expected to face criminal charges. The plenum also promoted two alternate Central Committee members, Wang Xuejun, 60, deputy secretary general of the State Council, and General Wang Jianping, 58, commander of the People's Armed Police Force, to full members of the committee, filling the void left by Bo and Liu. The 365 senior party officials who attended the secretive four-day meeting at Jingxi Hotel also discussed and approved an amendment to the party constitution, Xinhua said. It did not identify the change, but there has been speculation the party may strip out mention of the late paramount leader Mao Zedong's ideology, known as "Mao Zedong Thought". The plenum communiqué did not mention Mao, marking at least the third time it has subtly dropped references to Mao since October, a move seen by some as sending a signal about the party's intent on reform. The official report on the meeting otherwise shed little light on what of substance was discussed. Fan, 65, and Xu Qiliang, 62, are both expected to be promoted to the Politburo at the party congress later this week. It is widely believed that Xu is a protégé of former president Jiang Zemin, while Fan was a key member of the PLA's "northeast army" headed by the former CMC vice-chairman General Xu Caihou and also a close ally to the defence minister, General Liang Guanglie. Anthony Wong Dong, a veteran PLA watcher based in Macau, said President Hu Jintao might have compromised by appointing Xu Qiliang to the top post in exchange for retaining the CMC chair for a year or two. [...]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen Jiabao calls for party probe into claims of family's 'hidden fortune' (SCMP)
2012-11-05
The communist party leadership has launched a probe into the alleged family wealth of Wen Jiabao at the premier's request, according to sources. In a letter submitted to the Politburo Standing Committee, the party's top decision-making body of which the premier is also a member, Wen asked for a formal inquiry into claims made by The New York Times. [...] The Standing Committee had agreed to his request, the sources said. It is unclear what the inquiry is likely to dig up, or when the results will be published, if at all. The probe is expected to focus on the family's alleged shares in Ping An, one of the mainland's largest insurance companies. The Times report, citing regulatory filings and corporate documents, said that in 2007 Wen's family had a US$2.2 billion stake in Ping An. [...] According to the sources, several conservative party elders known to dislike the premier's more liberal stance have urged him to provide detailed explanations on all the major allegations in the Times report, especially on the Ping An holdings. Businesswoman Duan Weihong, whose company Taihong was described by the Times as the investment vehicle for the Wen family, told the newspaper she used the names of Wen's relatives to register the ownership of the Ping An shares. The party elders argued that this process, which would require registering their official ID numbers and obtaining their signatures, raised immediate questions about how Duan could obtain such personal details without consent from the Wen family. [...] It is also understood the party elders were "unhappy" about the fact that major overseas Chinese websites - which usually swoop on negative news about the mainland's top leaders - have carried a barrage of articles supporting Wen, quoting sources close to his family. According to their reports, Wen had seized the opportunity to demand that a long-overdue "sunshine law" - which would require a public declaration of family assets by senior leaders - be finally put into effect. He also said he would be happy to make public his family's assets. This would appear to be more than just an attempt by the image-conscious outgoing premier to defend his name, analysts say. They say it shows he is keen to use the inquiry as one last chance to push forward the long-stalled "sunshine law". Professor Zhu Lijia, of the Chinese Academy of Governance, said: "It is a ground-breaking step towards greater government openness and transparency." [...] But Professor He Weifang, a law expert at Peking University, remains sceptical about the feasibility of Wen's reported proposal. He asked: "How can we know for sure that such an internal inquiry into one of the top state leaders, who is still in office, is credible and convincing? "Even if Wen wants to disclose his assets, I don't think other senior leaders, who may also have 'hidden wealth' of their own, will allow him to go ahead, considering the explosive social repercussions.". ^ top ^

Bo Xilai in legal limbo, say lawyers (SCMP)
2012-11-06
Two lawyers for disgraced Bo Xilai said yesterday they had no idea when his trial might start and that he was stuck in legal limbo despite the opening of a formal criminal investigation into accusations of graft and abuse of power. [...] Prosecutors formally began a criminal probe into Bo last month but have yet to announce charges. Two lawyers hired by Bo's family, Li Xiaolin and Shen Zhigeng, said that nearly two weeks after the official announcement of the criminal investigation, they had not been given permission to either see him or represent him. "Of course not," Shen said, when asked whether he had seen Bo. "The confirmation [I can represent Bo] hasn't been verified. So how can we see [him]?" Shen said the trial would be after the party congress opening on Thursday in Beijing. Beijing-based Li - who was retained by Bo's mother-in-law, Fan Chengxiu, to represent Bo - said he had no idea where the trial might be, but dismissed speculation it could be held at the Supreme People's Court in Beijing. "There's no evidence for it," Li said. He was waiting for the state prosecutor to approve his application to represent Bo. Li was initially supposed to defend Zhang Xiaojun, an aide to the Bo family, who was sentenced to nine years in jail for acting as an accomplice to the poisoning of Heywood. But Zhang had to use government-appointed lawyers. ^ top ^

Ordinary Chinese not bothered about upcoming party congress (SCMP)
2012-11-06
Just two days before the Communist Party convenes its once-in-five years national congress, where representatives of the 82-million-strong ruling party will usher in a new generation of leaders, ordinary mainlanders appear to be gripped by an overwhelming sense of apathy. "I don't know. It has nothing to do with me," recent university graduate Cao Lifei replied when asked about the opening date of the congress and its duration. "But I know there will be a new emperor, and everything will be changed under the new emperor." [...] But the hobbies and interests of the nation's next leaders are little known, as indeed are their policy preferences. Their names and those of their family members have been strictly censored on the internet. "I don't know what policy agenda they will address; those things are too far from ordinary people like me," a construction worker said. "That's their problems, not my problem." Professor Wu Hui, from the Central Party School, said that when the Communist Party took power in 1949 it stressed serving the people, being from the people and being one with the people. But the 91-year-old party was now facing the growing danger of "being divorced from the people", he said. "The party and its members are keeping their distance from the people, which is supposed to be their power base," he said. "Ordinary Chinese do not get the chance to elect any officials more senior than village leaders, so they don't feel any attachment to the regime." More than a million young people join the party every year. But many people interviewed apparently were apathetic about politics. A retired Beijing resident said it was best "not to talk about political affairs at such a sensitive time". "That's none of our business," he said. "What can we do except pray for the new leaders to promise wellbeing for all." [...]. ^ top ^

China boasts of 'world-class' uranium deposit discovery, but experts wary (SCMP)
2012-11-06
China announced the discovery of a "world-class" uranium deposit in Inner Mongolia yesterday but kept its exact size a secret. [...] Xinhua said it was found in the Daying area, in central Inner Mongolia. "It is a world-class reserve. It will significantly help the increase of domestic, independent supply," the report, quoting the Ministry of Land and Resources, said. But Professor Jiao Yangquan, the chief scientist of the project, from China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, refused to confirm the "world-class" claim. "I am not allowed to discuss the size of the reserve," he said. Jiao led a research team on the site and reported the estimated size of the reserve to senior land ministry officials in July, the university's website said. Neither the ministry nor its Central Geological Exploration Fund, which funded the project, responded to inquiries. Some foreign and domestic experts doubted the "world-class" claim, saying China was known as a country with low uranium reserves and that status was not going to be changed by the discovery of a few uncertain sites. A sales manager with a major foreign uranium trading company in Beijing said the last time China announced the discovery of a "world-class" and "mega-sized" deposit, in Yili in Xinjiang, the actual reserve turned out to be only about 10,000 tonnes. [...] Gu Zhongmao, the deputy director of the China Institute of Atomic Energy's scientific board, said there had been embarrassing exaggerations of uranium reserves in the past with "over-optimistic" claims. "Most of the uranium reserves that have been nailed with certainty in China are small, of low quality and costly to excavate," Gu said. "That's why Chinese companies are actively seeking to buy uranium mines all over the world. Uranium is [a] non-recoverable resource and the more we can import the better. I don't think that policy will change. But any news of large domestic reserves will certainly help as leverage in buyout bargaining.". ^ top ^

One-child policy campaigner Mao Hengfeng 'back in labour camp' (SCMP)
2012-11-07
A woman who has campaigned against the one-child policy has been sent to a labour camp for 18 months, the third time she has been detained for criticising the government, her husband said yesterday. Mao Hengfeng, who lives in Shanghai, was seized in Beijing by security officials on September 20 when she was petitioning the authorities over the rights abuses she suffered during her previous labour camp sentences, her husband, Wu Xuewei, said. Mao's sentence comes as authorities round up dissidents ahead of the 18th Communist Party congress, which starts tomorrow. Wu said he received a letter from the authorities late on Monday informing him that Mao had been sentenced to a labour camp for "disturbing social order", which he said was unfounded. "She is not guilty and she didn't break any laws," Wu said. "They are fabricating offences, making up evidence to lock up people who did not commit crimes in prisons and labour camps." Wu said he has no idea about Mao's whereabouts. She was last known to be held at the Yangpu district police detention centre in Shanghai. Calls to the centre went unanswered. [...] Mao, who has three daughters, has been petitioning the government since she was fired in 1988 from her job at a soap factory after becoming pregnant a second time, in contravention of the one-child policy. The 50-year-old was sentenced in February last year to a labour camp for conducting "illegal activities". In 2010, she was sentenced to 18 months of "re-education through labour" on charges of "disturbing public order" for a protest at the trial of jailed Nobel Laureate Liu Xiaobo. She was released six months early from a labour camp in Anhui province because of poor health, Wu said. [...]. ^ top ^

Death sentences for Mekong River murderers of 13 Chinese sailors (SCMP)
2012-11-07
Four men, including notorious Myanmese militia ringleader and drug lord Naw Kham, were sentenced to death yesterday for murdering 13 Chinese sailors aboard two cargo ships on the Mekong River in Thailand. The verdict was handed down by the Intermediate People's Court of Kunming, in Yunnan province. Another man received a suspended death sentence and a sixth man was jailed for eight years. The men were from Myanmar, Thailand and Laos, and one was without nationality. All six pleaded guilty last month to charges including intentional homicide, drug trafficking, kidnapping and hijacking. The court found they masterminded and colluded with Thai soldiers in the attack on two ships - the Hua Ping and the Yu Xing 8 - on October 5 last year. They were also fined a total of 6 million yuan (HK$7.38 million). Naw Kham, 44, was a drug trafficker in the Golden Triangle, an illicit opium-producing region in Southeast Asia spanning areas in four countries. Prosecutors said he instructed his subordinates to plant more than 80kg of drugs on the ships, and the plan was to team up with Thai soldiers to frame the crew as drug traffickers. All six lodged appeals against their sentences. Li Chunguang, a Kunming-based lawyer who was at the hearing, said that after the defendants announced their intention to appeal, Naw Kham said he would pay the fine, which will go to the victims' families. "My impression is that [Naw Kham] still hopes to live," Li said, referring to the chances of him receiving a reduced sentence. "Otherwise, he would not have offered up the money so quickly." The case is notable because it was the first time China has tried an overseas suspect for crimes committed outside the country. Naw Kham was extradited from Laos at the request of mainland authorities in May. Li said this resulted in the court taking unprecedented measures to make the trial appear fair and thorough. But Li said there were still questionable elements in the case. "The most puzzling detail was the discovery of more than 80kg of narcotics on the boats," Li said. "Such an amount of drugs is worth millions of yuan. "Why would Naw Kham have been so willing to spare such a vast amount of money just to frame the crew?". ^ top ^

Heywood was spying on Bo Xilai for MI6, says Wall Street Journal (SCMP)
2012-11-07
A British businessman murdered by the wife of Bo Xilai had informed on the couple for over a year to his country's spy agency, The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. Neil Heywood shared details based on his close access to the powerful couple, the paper said, citing his friends and current and former British officials. The revelation that Heywood was murdered brought down power politician Bo and revealed rifts among top leaders as they negotiated a once-a-decade power handover set to take place this week. "He had been knowingly providing information about the Bo family to Britain's Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, for more than a year," the report said. It said Heywood became close to the family in the 1990s when Bo was mayor of the northeastern city of Dalian. He was found dead last November in Chongqing municipality, which Bo ran at the time. [...] After meeting someone in 2009 who later acknowledged being an MI6 officer, the businessman "met that person regularly in China" and provided "information on Mr Bo's private affairs", the paper reported. [...] Heywood's links with the family frayed in the last two years of his life. He was apparently trying to obtain money that he thought they owed him before he left China, the newspaper said, citing his close friends. Neither Chinese nor British officials pointed to Heywood's spy links as a reason for his murder, it said. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the report and the British embassy spokesman in Beijing could not immediately be reached. [...]. ^ top ^

Jinan activist lawyer detained (Global Times)
2012-11-07
A lawyer from Jinan, Shandong Province was taken from his home by police on Monday night and put under criminal detention, his wife told the Global Times saying authorities are holding him because he has written extensively about the shady deals of local government officials on his blog. For more than a year Shu Xiangxin, 43, has written about his conflicts with local authorities, alleging they attempted to bribe him to drop a law suit brought by farmers that would "humiliate" the government. Shu's wife, Liu Xiuqin, said five police officers came to the couple's home around 11 pm Monday night and detained Shu accusing him of blackmail. The Jinan police said on their official Weibo that they had "abundant evidence" of Shu's crime and will publish the results of their investigation in due time. When contacted by the Global Times Tuesday they refused to answer questions. Liu wrote about her husband's detention on her Weibo, posting a plea for help along with her phone number. In a recent blog posting Shu wrote that he had been beaten and harassed by local mobsters. He claims the attack was related to defending farmers whose land had been forcibly taken away by the government of Guanxian county, Shandong Province. Shu also wrote in April 2011 that the head of discipline inspection commission of Guangxian county, Han Jinfang, tried to bribe him in return for dropping the case against the local government. "He offered my husband 800,000 yuan ($128,108) to remain silent but we refused to be bought," Liu said. Shu has continued to push the case and posted an article on tieba.baidu.com, a popular online forum, accusing county party secretary, Hong Yuzhen, for abuse of power. A week or so later, he alleged that the Guanxian county government sent four mobsters to Shu's office to scare him off. [...] Shu was later accused by the Jinan City People's Congress of "blackmailing the government." [...] Shu's license to practice law was suspended and his office was shut down by the Jinan City Bureau of Justice in May 2011, Shu wrote on his blog. He was detained in June 2011 but released within 24 hours. The police didn't press any charges then but now say he is a criminal. I asked them who my husband had blackmailed, they told me I was not authorized to know," said Liu. The Guanxian county government could not be reached for comment on Tuesday. [...]. ^ top ^

Princeling commissar Liu Yuan forfeits key role over rumoured links to Bo (SCMP)
2012-11-08
General Liu Yuan, the political commissar of the People's Liberation Army's General Logistics Department, has failed to retain his membership of the presidium of the Communist Party's national congress, sparking speculation about his early retirement amid rumours of his connection to disgraced former Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai. Liu, 61, was left off a list of nearly 250 members of the congress presidium released yesterday, Xinhua reported. Professor Joseph Cheng Yu-shek, a political scientist at Hong Kong's City University, said Liu's political career "may have been adversely affected by rumours about him and Bo Xilai". A source close to Bo's family said Liu was a classmate of Bo Xilai's younger brother Bo Xicheng, adding: "He [Liu] might have been deeply implicated by Bo's downfall." Both Liu and Bo Xicheng were born in 1951 and were students of Beijing's prestigious No4 Middle School, the alma mater of scores of descendants of the party's revolutionary veterans. [...] Another source familiar with military affairs said: "Liu has also been undermined by his political rivals after bringing down Gu Junshan earlier this year." Gu was dismissed as a deputy head of the PLA's General Logistics Department in January and later put under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes. Liu failed to secure promotion to director of the PLA's General Political Department in the latest military reshuffle a few weeks ago, despite being tipped as a leading contender for the post. It remains unclear whether Liu will also lose his membership of the party's Central Committee, which will be "elected" by the more than 2,000 delegates to the party congress when it closes next Wednesday. [...]. ^ top ^

Hu Jintao's 'scientific development' to live on in revised constitution (SCMP)
2012-11-08
The Communist Party will incorporate more of general secretary Hu Jintao's pet theory into its revised constitution at its week-long national congress, opening today, in a move to further cement the retiring leader's political legacy. Congress spokesman Cai Mingzhao told a press conference in Beijing yesterday it would "make further elaborations on the scientific concept of development" in an amendment to the party constitution. Hu's theory was enshrined in the party's constitution at its previous congress five years ago. "The party congress will put forth fresh suggestions on deepening study and implementation of the scientific concept of development," Cai said. [...] A string of recent of omissions of the term "Mao Zedong thought" from several party documents had stirred up speculation that the party might be about to remove it from the party constitution, but Cai made reference to it yesterday, alongside Marxism, as the party's guiding principles in an apparent effort to dismiss such speculation. Gu Su, a Nanjing University law professor who is familiar with Chinese politics, said the party might elaborate on the "scientific concept of development" by stressing its goals of social harmony and even income distribution - both things strongly advocated by Hu over the past decade.The elaboration of Hu's theory has parallels with the party's handling of his predecessor Jiang Zemin, who extended his legacy by adding his "theory of the three represents" to the party constitution. "The elaboration is an attempt by Hu to give the impression that he has accomplished his political task," Gu said. [...] Hu is expected to deliver a report lasting more than two hours at today's opening ceremony. How he addresses the thorny question of political reform will be closely watched. Cai gave a few clues about the future direction of political reform yesterday. While insisting that it had always been a crucial part of China's reform plan, Cai ruled out any possibility of a Western-style democratic or pluralistic political system in the near future. He said the overall direction of political reform was to "stick to political development with Chinese characteristics" and "stick to one-party rule". While saying that greater efforts would be made to promote "intra-party democracy" and allow more consultation from outside the party, Cai said the current system of one-party rule was not up for debate in the coming decade. "The Communist Party's leading position in China is a choice made by history and by its people," he said. "Reform of the political system must suit China's national reality. And China's great achievements since the founding of the republic, and particularly since reform and opening up, prove that China's political-party system suits China's reality. [...]. ^ top ^

Corruption crackdown as party tells of 'profound lessons' of Bo Xilai scandal (SCMP)
2012-11-08
The Communist Party said yesterday it had learned profound lessons from the Bo Xilai scandal and was devising a working plan to better prevent and punish corruption. Cai Mingzhao, the spokesman for the party's 18th national congress, which starts today, said that corruption had occurred at senior levels within the party, as shown by the cases of former Chongqing party chief Bo and former railways minister Liu Zhijun. "The lessons were extremely profound," Cai said, adding that the party's anti-graft watchdog was working on a plan to build a better system to combat corruption in the next five years. [...] Cai also tried to ease public anger over official corruption by saying that China was a nation in transition, and "the phenomenon of corruption happens easily and often; to punish and prevent corruption is a complicated long-term task for the party". The once-a-decade power reshuffle that will follow the congress was nearly derailed by the scandal surrounding Bo. The New York Times reported on Tuesday the Ministry of State Security had suspected British businessman Neil Heywood, poisoned by Bo's wife Gu Kailai in November last year, was a spy for Britain's MI6 foreign intelligence service. The story quoted an anonymous source with high-level party ties as saying: "Heywood was on the ministry's watch list, possibly for years, as a result of his relationship with the Bo family". [...] An earlier internal investigation recommended that Bo face criminal prosecution on charges of corruption, abuse of power and tampering with the investigation into Heywood's death. However, there has been speculation that his real offence was his eagerness to challenge the leadership transition. Cai pledged that the party would show no mercy to any corrupt senior official, "no matter who he is, and no matter how high-profile he is". Zhang Lifan, a historian formerly with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the party's announcement did not foreshadow any progress on fighting corruption because the party still wanted to handle such matters internally. "They could punish their men, such as Bo and Liu, but they don't want any supervision from outside of the party," he said. ^ top ^

Jiang Zemin leads show of strength by party old guard at 18th congress (SCMP)
2012-11-09
Former Chinese leaders Zhu Rongji, Song Ping and Li Lanqing at the opening of the 18th Communist Party Congress. Photo: Simon SongFormer president Jiang Zemin and other party veterans returned to centre stage at the Great Hall of the People yesterday, demonstrating their continued power to shape the country's future. The 86-year-old retired party chief, who was rumoured to be near death last year, walked slowly to the stage with the help of an aide immediately behind his successor, Hu Jintao. Jiang mingled with his comrades and appeared in good spirits even before the repeated mention of his name in Hu's 90-minute speech. Jiang took a central seat next to Hu in the first row, one strictly reserved for the presidium's 41 Standing Committee members. All were there except the 96-year-old Wan Li and the 88-year-old Qiao Shi who have been battling failing health for years. Wan also missed the last party congress five years ago. The all-important first row looked congested, with many party elders making rare appearances. Their mere presence was seen as an assertion of their influence over China's once-in-a-decade leadership change. Jiang, in particular, has been seen as a reemergent force in the run-up to the party congress. Zeng Qinghong, a former vice-president and close ally to Jiang, looked the picture of health, sporting a sleek, black pompadour at the age of 73. A few spots away sat Hu's 96-year-old mentor Song Ping, energetically taking notes through the speech. Some of the party's younger rising stars, like Sun Zhengcai and Zhou Qiang, the party bosses of Jilin and Hunan provinces, respectively, took careful notes. By comparison, Hu Chunhua, the party chief of Inner Mongolia, and Li Zhanshu, newly appointed director of the General Office of the party's Central Committee, appeared relaxed. Jiang also looked at ease, leaning back in his chair through most of the session. He did not appear to read Hu's report and checked his watch more than once, the first time just 20 minutes into Hu's address. After the long session, three aides helped the ageing leader rise from his chair. Jiang nonetheless made a courteous effort to make way for Deng Pufang, the wheelchair-bound son of the late paramount leader and market reformer Deng Xiaoping. [...] Although many had written Jiang off as a figure of diminished political importance, he has made a comeback this year. Many analysts say he has been able to out-flank Hu to shape a new lineup for the Politburo's supreme Standing Committee. ^ top ^

Zhang Dejiang denies Chongqing Model existed, in blow to Bo Xilai (SCMP)
2012-11-09
Chongqing party secretary Zhang Dejiang yesterday denied that the "Chongqing Model" ever existed - yet another blow to the legacy of his disgraced predecessor, Bo Xilai. The term has often been used to describe the series of initiatives that Bo championed during his tenure as party chief of the western metropolis, including his revival of Mao-era culture. "What you've just mentioned … referring to the so-called Chongqing Model, no such Chongqing Model ever existed in my opinion," said Zhang, who is also a vice-premier, after the city's delegation met at the party congress. Zhang was responding to a reporter's question as to whether Bo's removal from the party - and likely prosecution for corruption and his role in his wife's murder of a British businessman last year - was also a denial of the Chongqing Model. More than 100 domestic and foreign reporters flocked to the Chongqing Hall at the Great Hall of the People an hour or two before the scheduled opening time of 3pm to attend an open session of Chongqing party delegates. But most of the reporters found they could not squeeze into the tiny press area, which comprised roughly a quarter of the relatively small room. During his time as party secretary, the media-savvy Bo used to open half of the venue to the media. Bo also routinely filled the reception area of the hall with books, computer discs and glossy brochures advertising Chongqing's success. Zhang, in contrast, provided just black-and-white background data books. Zhang has been widely tipped for promotion to the party's innermost decision-making body, the Politburo Standing Committee, after the closing of the party congress on Wednesday. Asked about his possible ascension, Zhang played it safe, saying only that he had no time to concern himself with such things. He was too busy preparing for the party congress and studying President Hu Jintao's work report. Zhang also said he had not seen any evidence to substantiate reports that Neil Heywood, the businessman murdered by Bo's wife, was a British spy. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Early winter snowfall in Beijing breaks records (SCMP)
2012-11-05
Snow and rain battered parts of Beijing over the weekend, causing transport chaos in the capital and surrounding regions that authorities were still trying to clean up yesterday afternoon. Meteorologists said 59mm of rain and snow fell in central Beijing between Saturday and yesterday morning - setting a record high for rainfall over a 24-hour period between November and March. An orange alert, the second-highest for snowstorms, was issued on Saturday night. The Ministry of Public Security implemented emergency road-management measures yesterday, ordering local police bureaus to ensure that enough relief materials were on hand, and to intensify the monitoring on and around bridges, crossroads and inclined roads. The measures came after the local government was heavily criticised for its poor response to the severe rainstorm in July, the heaviest in more than 60 years, that killed dozens. But despite the stepped-up emergency measures, hundreds of vehicles were stranded between Saturday night and yesterday afternoon on the Beijing-Tibet Highway inside the capital as snow drifts reached 80cm. "I have been trapped for 16 hours. The wind and snow are getting worse. I still have no idea when I can get moving," a stranded Hebei Television reporter wrote on a Sina microblog around noon yesterday. [...] The storm also damaged trees along Beijing's metro Line 13 on Saturday night, causing branches to fall on the tracks. It took about four hours before normal operations resumed, the subway operator said on its official microblog. An estimated 15,000 trees were damaged in Yanqing and Haidian districts. In the worst-hit part of Yanqing, where snow drifts reached 47cm, more than 7,000 homes lost power and 1,800 lost heating. This was despite authorities turning on Beijing's public heating yesterday, 11 days ahead of schedule. [...] The storm front will move northeast to Liaoning and Jilin provinces today, the National Meteorological Centre said. Icy winds are expected to continue blowing through Beijing today and tomorrow. ^ top ^

Beijing investment forum to set new record (SCMP)
2012-11-05
The slowing mainland economy has failed to dent the enthusiasm of Hong Kong businesspeople for investment in Beijing. Contracts expected to be signed at the Beijing-Hong Kong Economic Co-operation Symposium in Hong Kong this week were set to reach a new high, a senior official at the Beijing Investment Promotion Bureau said. This was because investors from Hong Kong were showing a strong interest in cultural and real estate projects. "The total contract amount has not been finalised, but it will definitely surpass any of the previous events," Zhou Weimin, a director of the bureau, said. Zhou added that deals would be signed for more than 30 major investment projects at the symposium, which was scheduled for the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre today and tomorrow. The symposium, now in its 16th year, is the biggest government-driven economic event to be staged by the two cities each year. [...] Official figures show that Beijing attracted about US$3.52 billion of investment from Hong Kong between January and August, which rose by half year on year. Hong Kong remains the single largest source of foreign investment for Beijing. By the end of August, Hong Kong investors had established 11,908 enterprises in the capital, and accumulated investments had reached US$23.8 billion. During the first eight months of this year, Beijing directly invested about US$270 million in Hong Kong, up 33 per cent from a year earlier. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai tops China in attracting multinational headquarters (Xinhua)
2012-11-04
About 60 multinational corporations have set up their Asia Pacific or Asian headquarters in Shanghai, more than in any other city in the Chinese mainland, according to data revealed on Sunday. The statistics from the city's commerce commission also showed that, as of the end of September, about 77.1 percent of Shanghai's 393 regional multinational headquarters were involved in manufacturing and 22.9 percent of them were involved in the service sector. Enterprises from the United States cover 32.6 percent of the multinational corporations with regional headquarters in Shanghai. And enterprises from Europe and Japan cover 25.4 and 23.7 percent, respectively. Shanghai has issued a package of new policies, including subsidies and duty exemptions, to encourage more multinationals to set up corporate headquarters and R&D centers in the finacial hub of China. New regional multinational headquarters in Shanghai will be able to receive a launch subsidy of 8 million yuan (about 1.27 million U.S. dollars) in three years, while foreign R&D centers will enjoy duty-free imports of facilities and equipment for their own use. [...] The city attracted 17.5 billion U.S. dollars in contractual foreign investment in the first three quarters this year, with 12.2 billion U.S. dollars already in actual use, a rise of 13.3 percent and 22.1 percent, respectively, from a year earlier.

 

Guangdong

Guangzhou takes lead in reducing homework (China Daily)
2012-11-08
Cheng Yinglan is used to having to stop her daughter from doing homework after 9:30 pm. "Stop doing your homework and go to bed quickly," Cheng told her 8-year-old daughter on Monday night. "And I will write in your assignment book to tell your teacher that you have done enough." The homework reprieve is thanks to a new policy at her daughter's school. "The school has informed all the parents that we can decide the amount of homework for our children to reduce their burden after school," said Cheng. "It is good news for students and their parents." The new policy is aimed at reducing the huge amount of pressure placed on students from their studies, and to help develop their interests after class, said the deputy headmaster from Huayang Primary School, surnamed Chen. "The school hopes to cooperate with parents to create a more relaxed environment for the students," he said. His school in Guangzhou's Tianhe district has taken the lead in the provincial capital in allowing parents to decide the amount of homework. [...] According to the Research Report on the 10-year Development of Chinese Children (1999-2010) from China Youth and Children Research Center, the time students at primary and middle schools spend sleeping has decreased over the past 10 years. Around 80 percent of students are not getting enough sleep, with heavy homework demands being the main reason, said the report, which interviewed more than 5,000 students from 184 schools in 10 provinces and regions on the Chinese mainland. The average sleeping time for primary and high school students was seven hours and 37 minutes a day in 2010, one hour and 23 minutes less than the national standard of nine hours a day. It was also down one hour and 22 minutes from the figure recorded in 2005. More than 78.1 percent of students sleep less than nine hours a day. The figure increased by 32.4 percent when compared with the data recorded in 2005. Even during weekends, the average sleeping time for students was seven hours and 49 minutes — one hour and 11 minutes less than the national standard, and one hour and 47 minutes less than the figure reached in 2005. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Six Tibetans self-immolate in 48 hours (SCMP)
2012-11-08
Six Tibetans set themselves on fire in China in an escalating wave of protests as the country's leaders gathered for a once-a-decade power transition, exile leaders said on Thursday. A man set himself ablaze on Thursday in the Tibetan-inhabited Huangnan prefecture in Qinghai province where a 23-year-old woman self-immolated and died on Wednesday, the India-based exile government announced. A trio of teenaged monks also set themselves alight on Wednesday in Aba County in Sichuan province, the focus of previous protests, while another burning was confirmed in the Tibetan Automonous Region on the same day. Self-immolations to protest Chinese rule in Tibet have occurred regularly since March last year, but Wednesday marked the first time such a large number have happened on the same day. Two were reported dead. [...] A total of 69 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since February 2009, of which 54 have died, according to the government in exile, which has been based in India since Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959. [...] Stephanie Brigden, director of the Free Tibet campaign group, said that the spate of protests were “aimed at sending the next generation of China's unelected regime a clear signal that Tibetans will continue to fight for their freedom”. [...] The self-immolations have divided exiled Tibetans with some seeing them as legitimate acts of protest while others are concerned by what they view as behaviour contravening Buddhist beliefs in the sanctity of life. Many gathered for a candle-lit vigil in Dharamshala, home to about 10,000 exiled Tibetans, on Thursday in front of a large poster bearing the faces of those who have self-immolated. [...]. ^ top ^

Transport boost for Tibet (China Daily)
2012-11-09
Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region will speed up construction of its transport network in coming years to boost the flow of passengers and goods, a senior regional official said on Thursday. Construction of a new railway linking Lhasa, capital of Tibet, and Nyingchi prefecture in the region's southeast will start very soon, Padma Choling, chairman of the autonomous region, told a group discussion at the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing. He did not disclose details of the route or budget for the line. Media reports in April said the 435-km-long Nyingchi-Lhasa Railway is part of the proposed Sichuan-Tibet Railway, linking Chengdu in neighboring Sichuan province and Lhasa. Upon completion, the journey between Lhasa and Nyingchi, which now are linked by car and airplane, will be shortened to less than two hours from the current more than nine hours' drive. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be 1,900 km long, with investment of about 130 billion yuan ($20.8 billion) in State funds. Construction will take six years, according to the Tibet Daily. [...] On Thursday, a senior Tibetan legislator also said another railway, between Lhasa and Xigaze, will begin operating by the end of 2014. [...] The line from Lhasa to Xigaze is the first extension of the world's highest-altitude rail link, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which opened in July 2006. [...] The two new lines will boost the flow of passengers and goods, thus bringing in more travelers and products from other parts of China or the world, said Zhou Guangzhi, Party chief of Lhasa's Quxu county. Both lines will pass through the county. Construction of the two new lines is part of the autonomous region's plan to speed up development of its transport system, Padma Choling said, adding that more roads and airports are being planned. [...] Hao Peng, deputy Party chief of Tibet, who is also in Beijing to attend the Party congress as a delegate, said on Thursday that stability is the foundation for Tibet's further development, while development is the key to solving all problems in Tibet. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Preferential policies for Xinjiang (China Daily)
2012-11-07
Chinese financial regulators announced on Wednesday that preferential financial policies would be applied in Kashgar and Huoer Guosi in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region. To facilitate the two special economic zones, the government will provide more credit support in the areas, promote innovation of cross-border yuan usage, and encourage the establishment of various financial institutions in the two places, according to a statement posted on the central bank's website. "And the authorities would provide support for the two zones in terms of direct financing, insurance reform and innovation, foreign exchange management, settlement and clearance," it said. The statement was jointly announced by the People's Bank of China, China Banking Regulatory Commission, China Securities Regulatory Commission and China Insurance Regulatory Commission. China announced in 2010 plans to spur economic growth in Xinjiang. Kashgar, a pivotal freight station in western Xinjiang, and Huoer Guosi have been chosen as locations for planned special economic zones modeled on Shenzhen. With a borderline of 888 kilometers, Kashgar connects China with Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and India. China planned to invest 50 billion yuan from 2009 to 2013 to build 13,000 projects in the Kashgar region. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Minister blames previous government for national education woes (SCMP)
2012-11-06
The education minister has blamed the previous administration for failing to address students' and parents' feelings during consultations about national education, which later led to emotionally charged protests against the government. "You might have the best policy on earth, but when you do the implementation, make sure you address not just the rational part of the policy, but also the emotional part of it," Eddie Ng Hak-kim told an audience at a Foreign Correspondents' Club lunch. "Don't ever overlook the response, knowledge [and] information required by parents and students. These are the two areas where we were running a little bit short in the first round of consultations." Ng helped shelve the proposed curriculum last month. The Moral and National Education Ad Hoc Committee under the Curriculum Development Council held a consultation from May to August last year, while Michael Suen Ming-yeung was education minister. [...] After 120,000 people rallied outside government headquarters on September 7, Ng noted that the fight ceased to be a purely rational one. "It's basically just emotion," Ng said. [...]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong losing its advantage as China's 'go-between' with world: Report (SCMP)
2012-11-06
Hong Kong's advantage as an intermediary between the mainland and the outside world is on the wane, and it is natural for conflicts to emerge between the city and the mainland, says a report compiled by several central government agencies. These problems will surface as the pace of economic and trade development between the city and the mainland slows, the report on economic and trade co-operation between Hong Kong and mainland China, said. The paper, published yesterday, was compiled by the State Information Centre, the Hong Kong branches of Xinhua and People's Daily, and Hong Kong-based China Institute of Culture. Speaking at a seminar on the launch of the report, Dr Fang Zhou, assistant chief research officer at Hong Kong's One Country Two Systems Research Institute, said that to deal with the conflict, the SAR government must improve its economic planning and clarify the city's orientation as China moves forward. Referring to late US president John Kennedy's famous quote, Fang said: "Hong Kong should not just ask what the country can do for you, ask instead what Hong Kong can do for China." He was responding to a view in the report that "as Hong Kong and the mainland further integrate in economic and social aspects, some problems and conflicts that were less obvious before will gradually emerge, especially those deep-rooted problems implied in the '[one country,] two systems' concept". [...] While the mainland market was quickly opening and becoming more internationalised thus causing Hong Kong's advantage as an intermediary to wane, the report said, Hong Kong would still keep its other advantages for the long term. "Hong Kong's core competitive advantages" such as its free market, independent judiciary, graft-free administration and internationalised society "could further stand out," it said. [...]. ^ top ^

Lawmakers reject call for public debate on gay-bias law (SCMP)
2012-11-08
While most legislators agreed initially that public consultation on the issue would be beneficial there was deep division on whether a law was needed. Supporters of a law said it would protect against discrimination those with non-mainstream sexual preferences. Opponents said it was a moral issue, arguing that a law could inhibit people from speaking out on the issue and might trigger reverse discrimination. Religion featured strongly on both sides of the argument, as legislators quoted the Bible and prayers and professed their religious affiliations. The motion, proposed by Cyd Ho Sau-lan of the Labour Party, called on the government to "expeditiously" launch a public consultation. Raymond Chan Chi-chuen of People Power, the first openly gay lawmaker anywhere in China, appealed to his fellow lawmakers to end discrimination in the workplace, in schools and in society. "This is only a lowly and mild plea to open communication in society through public consultation," Chan said. "We are not even asking for legislation of controversial areas at the moment." The secretary for constitutional and mainland affairs, Raymond Tam Chi-yuen, said there were two problems with the motion - its timing and the controversial subject matter. "While we need to address [discrimination], it's important to see whether it is the right time for these discussions," he said. While Hong Kong was a tolerant and open society, traditional views of marriage and family were still strong. [...] Ho said she was disappointed that her motion had been voted down and accused the government of having a closed mind and not doing its duty. A spokesman for Pink Alliance, a network of rights groups for sexual minorities, said: "The defeat shows the government and certain legislators are in the Stone Age and oblivious to world trends." [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Ma Ying-jeou says to continue promoting cross-Strait peace, prosperity (Xinhua)
2012-11-04
Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said on Saturday that the island's authorities will continue to promote cross-Strait peace and prosperity based on the "1992 Consensus." Ma, also chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) party, made the remarks when elaborating Taiwan authorities' policies on relations across the Taiwan Strait during his tenure while addressing a KMT party meeting. Ma said in the coming three years and more, efforts will be focused on the following three major areas: Firstly expanding and deepening cross-Strait exchanges. Ma expressed the hope that negotiations on the remaining issues covered by the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) will be completed as soon as possible in the next one to two years. Meanwhile, he said, Taiwan will increase the quota for mainland students to study at Taiwan's colleges and universities, adding that relevant departments of Taiwan are working on allowing mainland students to join local health care scheme to improve their "study environment." Secondly, Ma said he hopes the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) can set up representative offices in all major cities on the mainland as soon as possible, and welcome the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) to have its offices in the island. He said that the number of people commuting across the Strait has exceeded 7 million each year since the resumption of postal service, trade and transport at the end of 2008. [...] "The cross-Strait relations have entered a new stage... and will, in every way, develop steadily in the future," said Ma. Thirdly, as for the island's cross-Strait relation act, Ma said the act, which has been in practice for over 20 years, will be examined and revised. ^ top ^

Ma Ying-jeou cuts special allowances, but not his pay (SCMP)
2012-11-07
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou said yesterday he would cut his annual special allowances by NT$10 million (HK$2.65 million) to stem criticism from opposition legislators. "In the face of the economic doldrums, I am willing to cut my special state allowances by NT$10 million, hoping that this can end all the unnecessary squabbling and get all parties back to work," Ma said in a speech to an overseas business leaders' summit in Taipei. Ma has come under strong pressure from opposition lawmakers to give half his monthly salary of NT$470,000 to charity after failing to live up to his campaign promise to lift the island's economic growth rate to 6 per cent a year. As president, Ma has wide discretion over the use of special state allowances - which are not part of his remuneration - and does not need to account for any spending. In the past they have been used for confidential diplomatic missions but also as a slush fund. The legislators had demanded that, as well as cutting his pay, he reduce his annual NT$40 million in special allowances by half due to the sizeable shortfall in the government's finances. A budget deficit of NT$214 billion is forecast next year. Such calls grew even stronger after lawmakers bowed to public pressure on Thursday and agreed to reduce their own annual allowances by 47 per cent. [...] Ma said yesterday that since becoming the island's president in 2008, he had not pocketed one cent of his special allowances, which had all been spent for the public good. He did not provide details of the spending, but spokesman Fan Chiang Tai-chi said Ma had given his allowances to charities that served minorities and the underprivileged and as consolation payments for the families of military personnel and police officers killed while on duty. He said Ma had donated NT$75 million since becoming president, more than three times his salary since taking office. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Key index shows modest recovery in China's services sector (SCMP)
2012-11-04
The mainland's services sector rebounded last month from a two-year low in September on stronger activity in the construction and retail sectors, adding to signs of a modest economic recovery. The official purchasing managers' index (PMI) for the sector rose to 55.5 in October from 53.7 in September, according to the latest survey from the National Bureau of Statistics. The sub-index for the construction services sector rose to 60.2 from 58, while the sub-indices for activities in the sectors of retailers, hotels, environmental protection and public utilities all stayed above 60. But the new orders sub-index for the services sector as a whole eased to 51.6 in October from 51.8 in September. The services PMI reading in September was the lowest in nearly two years, although the sector remains above the 50-point line that divides expansion from contraction. [...] The central bank said in a policy report published on Friday it would prioritise supporting the economy above other needs, affirming expectations that the recovery in the growth engine is feeble at best. [...] The services sector index follows two manufacturing PMI surveys that showed the economy may be regaining some steam in October following a series of policy steps."Overall, we can say that recent government stimulus steps have started to gain some traction," said Hua Zhongwei, senior economist at Huachuang Securities in Beijing. "This is a positive sign which shows that increased investment is boosting demand for related services." [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

North Korea says proud of its human rights record (SCMP)
2012-11-04
North Korea's UN delegation declared on Friday that it was proud of Pyongyang's social system and human rights record and rejected as baseless a UN monitor's report that described appalling human rights abuses in the reclusive country. Pyongyang was reacting to a report to the UN General Assembly's Third Committee, which focuses on rights issues, from UN special rapporteur on North Korea Marzuki Darusman that described “a wide range of human rights violations.” Among the abuses Darusman referred to in his annual report on North Korea were the alleged “extensive use of political prison camps, poor prison conditions and prisoners being subjected to forced labour, torture and corporal punishment.” North Korean delegate Kim Song read a statement to the committee, which includes all 193 UN member states, that said: “My delegation totally and categorically rejects the... groundless allegations.” “The report of the special rapporteur is a product of the hostile policies of the United States and European Union against the DPRK [North Korea] and is a typical example of politicization, double standards and selectivity on the issue of human rights,” Kim said. Darusman complained that North Korea had refused to cooperate with him during his assessment of the human rights situation in the impoverished nation. [...] Pyongyang's delegate said North Korea had previously co-operated with UN and European Union human rights bodies but stopped doing so in 2006 after the EU began sponsoring annual General Assembly resolutions condemning Pyongyang for its rights record. “We have nothing to hide,” Kim said. “We have nothing to be afraid of. On the contrary, we are proud of our superior system of promoting and protecting human rights in our country, including free medical care and free education system.” “We will further develop and strengthen our social system that guarantees promotion and protection of human rights,” he added. [...] China and other countries complained about the practice of adopting General Assembly resolutions that single out countries for their records on human rights. [...] “We neither recognise nor accept the mandate of the special rapporteur appointed by a resolution against the DPRK,” Kim said. “This is our principled position and it will not change in the future.” “It is a big mistake if certain countries expect any change from DPRK through political pressure,” he added. “We remain consistent in our peaceful position to solve all problems through negotiation and dialogue.” The assembly's Third Committee is expected to pass a resolution condemning the rights situation in North Korea later this month, to be followed by formal adoption in the General Assembly in December. Such resolutions are an annual U.N. ritual for North Korea, Iran and Myanmar. [...]. ^ top ^

North Korea forms new sports body led by Kim's uncle (SCMP)
2012-11-04
North Korea's ruling communist party on Sunday announced a new sports body headed by the uncle of leader Kim Jong-un, state media said. Jang Song-thaek was named head of the State Physical Culture and Sports Guidance Commission, which will “control the overall sports work of the country in a unified manner”, according to the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Jang – the husband of late leader Kim Jong-il's sister Kim Kyong-hui – is seen as a key figure in the North's power elite. The formation of the commission, aimed at helping the North become a global “sports power”, comes after the secretive and impoverished communist country won four gold and two bronze medals at this year's London Olympics – in weightlifting, judo and wrestling. Athletes thanked past and present rulers for their performance. Official propaganda bestows near-godlike status on the Kim dynasty, who are customarily credited with inspiring all national achievements. ^ top ^

North Korea's 'industrial hub' open for business but sees few takers (SCMP)
2012-11-06
A lonely farmer and his ox cart are the only sign of activity on a dusty island meant to be an industrial hub that will raise North Korea's wrecked economy. Despite talk of reform by the secretive state after the third generation of the Kim family dynasty took over nearly a year ago, about all that seems to be growing is the gap between the tiny population of rich and the already malnourished poor. And while the government is hoping to lure in foreign investment, more often than not, the money, and tens of thousands of workers, are heading out of the impoverished North instead. The 1,400-hectare Hwanggumphyong island is one of four economic zones that were designed to be a magnet for Chinese capital and manufacturing. [...] But Chinese investors are showing little appetite for North Korea, whose economy is worse than it was 20 years ago from a combination of sanctions over its nuclear weapons ambitions, famine and mismanagement. "We Chinese would like to go to North Korea to invest because they have space for business. But policies are not stable, so we dare not invest there," said trader Zheng Qiwei from the Chinese coastal province of Zhejiang, far from North Korea. [...] Hwanggumphyong was launched last year with great fanfare by Jang Song-thaek - the uncle of Kim Jong-un, North Korea's young ruler who is only in his twenties - with a pledge of tax breaks and repatriation of dividends, hoping to emulate a formula that has worked for economic zones the world over. But for the moment, it remains little more than a small, boggy island. [...] Any improvement in living standards in one of the world's poorest countries - UN data shows a third of the children in North Korea are malnourished - looks to be almost entirely focused on the capital, Pyongyang, home to the elite which keep the Kim family in power. [...] The rise in Pyongyang's living standard may also have something to do with the more open style of the new, young leader Kim, a far cry from the dour image his father cultivated. [...] The young Kim, who took power in North Korea after his father's death of his father last December, appears to have reinforced policies to bolster fortunes of the capital, which is home to more than 3 million people, or about 12 per cent of the population. It has been dubbed the "Republic of Pyongyang" by outsiders, thanks to the relatively lavish perks given to its residents in the form of theme parks, new apartments and renovations. [...]According to Seoul-based advocacy groups, about 60,000 to 70,000 North Koreans sell their labour outside the country, working in factories in China, logging camps in Siberia and construction sites in the Middle East. Some choose a more direct route to escape the North's poverty where annual gross domestic product per capita is estimated to be just $1,800. A middleman in Shenyang has seen women choosing to be sold into marriage in China, or to work in brothels. "They want to flee home, but there's no other way than to be sold in a form of marriage," said the Korean-speaking man who requested anonymity for his safety. "One person is worth 10,000 yuan to 12,000 yuan.". ^ top ^

N Korea ready to conduct nuclear, missile tests (SCMP)
2012-11-09
South Korea's defence minister said on Thursday that North Korea has completed preparations for another nuclear test, and would also test-launch long-range missiles sometime in the future. “Many preparations have been made for a third nuclear test,” Kim Kwan-jin told reporters, adding the timing would depend on “a political decision”. [...] Kim also predicted that North Korea would make another attempt at some time to test-fire a long-range missile, after the failure of its rocket launch in April. [...] In September, US website 38 North said satellite imagery showed North Korea had halted work at a site capable of launching intercontinental missiles, possibly setting the project back by up to two years. The website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies said the cause of the work stoppage was unclear, although heavy rain might be a factor. The new launch pad, being built in the northeast of the country, had been scheduled for completion around 2015, it said. Even if completion is delayed, Pyongyang could still test longer-range rockets at a northwestern base, the website said. Satellite images showed “refurbishment” underway on an existing mobile launch pad used to test long-range rockets, it said. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

19,134 Candidates running in local election (UB Post)
2012-11-05
Local elections will be conducted on November 21st by a mixed system. The General Election Committee has officially announced the number of candidates in accordance with the election law. During this election, local elections will be held to vote for members of the Citizen's Representative Board in the provinces and districts. The General Election Committee announced that 2,765 candidates will compete for 985 seats in the Citizen's Representative Board in provinces and districts. A majority system will be used to select 689 of 985 seats and 336 by the proportional system. Six parties and two coalitions have already announced that they will participate in the Citizen's Representative Board in province and districts. The MPP and the DP nominated their candidates while the MPRP were jointly nominated from the Civil Will—Green Party Coalition and the MNDP in some voting units. A total of 1029 candidates from the MPP, 1019 from the DP, 115 from the Civil Will-Green party Coalition, 28 from the Civil Justice Coalition, MPRP and Civil Will-Green party, 46 from the MNDP, 69 from the Justice Coalition comprised of the MPRP-MNDP, six from the Freedom Implementing Party, and 332 from the MPRP have been nominated. A further 134 independent candidates have been nominated for the Citizen's Representative Board in the provinces and districts. Another 16,369 candidates have been nominated for 6828 seats for the Citizen's Representative Board in the soums. ^ top ^

Mongolia's top copper-gold deposit gears up for production (Xinhua)
2012-11-06
Mongolia's biggest copper-gold mine had signed a power purchase deal with China's Inner Mongolia Power Corporation in a key step toward starting production, local media reported Tuesday. The mine is expected to begin a seven-week test run of ore-processing equipment within the next few weeks and the first concentrate production should follow within a month. The Oyu Tolgoi mine has an estimated deposit of more than 31 million tons of copper, 1,328 tons of gold and about 7,000 tons of silver. Canadian mining giant Turquoise Hill holds 66 percent of the shares and the Mongolian government owns the remaining 34 percent under an agreement signed in October 2009. The project was now on the verge of becoming a world-class mine and would deliver long-term benefits to Mongolia, Turquoise Hill Resources CEO Kay Priestly said. He also noted the governments of Mongolia and China had been instrumental in concluding the power supply deal. ^ top ^

Bulgaria, Mongolia to boost trade ties (News.mn)
2012-11-07
Bulgarian and Mongolian presidents Rosen Plevneliev and Tsakhia Elbegdorj had a bilateral meeting to discuss relations between the two countries in the framework of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Laos on 6th November. Meeting in Laotian capital Vientiane, which hosts the 9th ASEM, the two presidents stressed Tuesday that trust is the keystone on which relations between Bulgaria and Mongolia are founded. The two heads of state agreed to deepen their countries' joint work in the field of military industry and training. Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev presented the traditions and quality of Bulgarian military production, and expressed interest in the opportunities Mongolia gives for military training in camps across the country. On his part, Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj expressed his country's interest in signing an agreement of cooperation in the field of military technology with Bulgaria. President Elbegdorj also expressed interest in boosting trade in pharmaceutical products, especially generic drugs produced in Bulgaria. The Mongolian leader also said that Bulgarian agricultural products, such as foods, wines and tobacco products, can find a good market in his country. In addition, Elbegdorj stressed that Bulgarian universities have remained attractive for Mongolian students. ^ top ^

U. Khurelsukh leaves Parliament (Montsame)
2012-11-08
Mr U.Khurelsukh has been freed from his a post of a parliamentarian. This happened at a session of the Great State Khural on Thursday, when a secret ballot was carried out to reveal that some 58 percent out of 48 gathered supported Khurelsukh's official request to free him as such for the reason that he must take care of his wife who needs a long treatment abroad. Some MPs were against freeing him, saying that Khurelsukh can take a leave, there are some here who would go for medical treatment even without a leave, and doubting whether he was forced to do so. Others said MPs must respect such a touchy issue. Mr Kurelshukh was absent, already in S.Korea with his spouse. Now that he is not MP anymore, Ms D.Sarangerel may occupy his place. At the parliamentary election this summer, first nine candidates were elected MPs by the list of candidates from the Mongolian People's Party (MPP) through proportional voting. D.Sarangerel is the tenth. ^ 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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