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
  17-23.11.12, No. 450  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Bilateral Issues

Credit Suisse targets the richest of the rich in Asia (SCMP)
2012-11-22
Global private banks always chase wealthy clients, but Credit Suisse has narrowed its quarry further - to the richest of Asia's rich. Like many other big banks, Credit Suisse is reacting to a significantly altered financial services landscape following the 2008 global financial crisis.These days, more banks are making bigger than ever efforts to expand in Asia, given the worsening debt crisis in Europe and a disappointing economic recovery in the United States. In Asia, almost 60 per cent of the Swiss bank's business in terms of assets under management came from ultra-high-net-worth clients, said Yves-Alain Sommerhalder, Credit Suisse's head of ultra-high-net-worth solutions in the Asia-Pacific. He added that the bank would like to see the proportion grow. Credit Suisse focuses on two kinds of private banking clients in the Asia-Pacific - core clients with assets of between US$2 million and US$50 million parked at the bank, and ultra-high-net-worth clients with assets of US$50 million and above under management at the bank, or whose net wealth amounts to more than US$250 million. "I was an entrepreneur before, and I remember when private bankers used to knock on my door and ask me for money, that was the last thing I was interested in. I was interested in people helping me fund my business," said Francesco de Ferrari, Credit Suisse's Asia-Pacific head of private banking. [...] Providing solutions or helping clients make new social connections through various high-level events made the private banker more of a partner than just a sales person, Ferrari said. To attract and retain wealthy clients, Credit Suisse, among other things, holds exclusive events. Last month, it invited 70 ultra-high-net-worth clients to Hong Kong to take part in a discussion about Sino-US relations with the likes of Henry Kissinger, a former US secretary of state, and Clark Randt, a former US ambassador to China. The bank also sponsored a private lunch for 40 clients with Uli Sigg, a former Swiss ambassador to China, who owns one of the world's largest collections of Chinese contemporary art. Banks touting such high-cost business models needed to have at least US$30 million from each client to invest to be profitable, said Kenny Lam, a McKinsey partner who specialises in private banking. Credit Suisse has 430 relationship managers in Asia, mostly based in Hong Kong and Singapore, who directly deal with clients in the region. Ferrari said that while controlling costs was essential to ensuring the health of the business, the bank's assets grew 27 per cent this year, so it was not afraid to spend on its clients. "Our business is a marathon, not a sprint," he said. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

China to change duties on US steel imports, after WTO ruling (SCMP)
2012-11-18
China says it will change its restrictive policy on certain steel imports from the United States after the World Trade Organisation declared it was in breach of international trade rules. After a meeting of the world trade arbiter's dispute settlement body in Geneva, China said that although it "may not agree" with all the WTO's findings, it would respect and "work hard to implement" them. The Chinese statement follows a meeting last month of the WTO's appellate body, which upheld a US complaint that Chinese duties on its high-value specialist magnetic rolled-steel were illegal. The WTO had ruled on June 15 that China breached trade rules by not providing sufficient evidence for imposing the duties, but that decision was appealed by Beijing five days later. The dispute dates back to September 2010 when Washington accused China of breaching trade rules by not providing sufficient evidence that anti-dumping duties were needed on US imports of electrical steel used in the power sector. China must now indicate to the body's other member nations how it intends to bring its legislation in line with WTO rules. [...] Meanwhile, China's top trade and investment officials are railing against what they call a rising tide of global protectionism that blocks its major companies from expanding overseas and further integrating into the global economy. ^ top ^

Chinese premier meets Malaysian counterpart, pledges closer cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-11-19
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with his Malaysian counterpart Najib Razak here on Sunday and pledged to boost cooperation between the two nations. Wen noted that in recent years, China-Malaysia relations have increasingly developed and are among the best bilateral ties China has developed with members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Both sides have attached more importance to mutual understanding and support in political and security spheres with strategic perspectives, said the Chinese premier. Noting China has become Malaysia's largest trading partner, Wen also said that the two countries have achieved outstanding progress in cooperation in finance, major projects and cultural exchanges. [...] Premier Wen proposed that both governments work more closely to map out a five-year blueprint for bilateral economic and trade cooperation and ensure successes of the China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park and the Malaysia-China Kuantan Industrial Park. [...] For his part, Najib said the successful conclusion of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China has made Malaysia have more confidence in the development prospects of both China and the Malaysia-China relations. Malaysia is ready to join hands with China to work out regulations for future bilateral economic and trade cooperation, and successfully build industrial parks between the two sides, said Najib. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Indonesia pledge closer economic cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-11-19
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono here on Sunday and pledged to boost economic cooperation with Indonesia to push bilateral ties to higher levels. Both leaders spoke highly of the bilateral ties, according to Qin Gang, spokesman for the Chinese delegation to a series of meetings for East Asian leaders in Phnom Penh. [...] Wen highlighted frequent high-level interactions, important mechanisms of dialogue, fruitful achievements in cooperation in economy and culture, and close collaboration in major regional and global issues between the two nations in recent years. During the meeting, Wen said China would like to make joint efforts with Indonesia to forge closer trade and economic ties, including formulating a plan of cooperation for the next five years and increasing two-way investment between the two nations. China will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in Indonesia so that the two sides can achieve more balanced growth of trade, Wen said. [...] The two leaders also exchanged views on the forthcoming East Asia meetings. They agreed that all the participants should bear in mind the overall and long-term situation, seek unity and cooperation to appropriately address disputes and make concerted efforts to promote peace, stability and prosperity in the region, according to spokesman Qin. ^ top ^

Chinese envoy to Canada denies company spying (SCMP)
2012-11-19
Beijing's envoy to Canada on Saturday denied that Chinese companies were involved in industrial espionage, and challenged anyone to prove the contrary. “I can assure you that our companies working in other countries are strictly doing business according to the local laws,” Ambassador Zhang Junsai told CBC radio. “If you really have the evidence, come (out) with it. If not...shut up,” he told CBC. The diplomat blamed the allegations on “a Cold War mentality.” According to the ambassador, “even the United States could not give out evidence.” [...] The ambassador's statement came as Canada's Conservative Party government extended a probe into the proposed US$15.1 billion takeover of Calgary-based oil and gas company Nexen by China's state-owned CNOOC, the China National Offshore Oil Corporation. “We're here not to grab your resources. We're here to participate,” the ambassador told CBC. A mid-October poll showed that nearly 60 per cent of all Canadians fear that CNOOC would have a competitive advantage over public companies or believe foreign governments should not be able to control resources on Canadian soil. ^ top ^

China, UN cooperate in geological information development (Xinhua)
2012-11-19
The Chinese government and the United Nations (UN) on Monday signed an agreement to jointly promote geological information management. The agreement, known as the cooperation on geospatial information management capacity development, means the Chinese government will invest 4 million U.S. dollars in a UN trust fund. The money will be used in projects to strengthen China and other developing countries' capacities of geospatial information production, management and distribution. The program will also lead to the improvement of geological information development levels in the Asia-Pacific region, according to China's National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geoinformation (NASMG). The five-year program, to be carried out from 2013 to 2017, will be conducted in workshops, short-term consultations, medium-term training as well as visits and exchanges, the administration said. The program will cover knowledge transfer and capacity building in order to obtain, provide and share information in a more efficient way. It will help to make such information available for disaster prevention and reduction efforts, the NASMG said. Xu Deming, the NASMG director, and Wu Hongbo, the UN under-secretary-general for economic and social affairs, signed the agreement. The administration said the agreement will open a new stage for the cooperation between China and the UN in geospatial information fields. ^ top ^

Aokang wins six-year legal battle against EU tariffs (Global Times)
2012-11-20
A lawyer for Zhejiang Aokang Shoes Co, the largest privately owned footwear manufacturer in China, said Monday the firm's victory in a law suit against EU anti-dumping measures offered encouragement for other domestic firms. "It sets a positive example for domestic firms in their global trade and expansion," Pu Lingchen, who worked on Aokang's case against the EU, told the Global Times Monday. Aokang received a written ruling Sunday from the European Court of Justice, which said the company would get over 5 million yuan ($801,600) in compensation for legal costs from the Council of the EU as a result of winning its appeal against an earlier General Court of the EU ruling. In October 2006, the EU imposed a 16.5 percent anti-dumping tariff on leather shoes imported from China and then at the end of 2009 extended the tariff for 15 months. The measure affected over 1,200 shoemakers in China and many footwear makers had to pull out of the EU market. Aokang and four other footwear makers, however, decided to take legal action. Aokang and the four other shoemakers lost their first law suit in April 2010 and the four others gave up their legal efforts. However, Aokang continued and appealed to the European Court of Justice against the verdict. In April 2010, the Chinese government filed a complaint with the WTO accusing the EU of imposing illegal duties. One year later, the EU canceled the anti-dumping duties upon the ruling's expiration but Aokang continued with its legal battle, eventually winning its appeal. [...] Some Chinese firms tend to accept rulings rather than contesting them through legal channels, as they think that foreign trade lawsuits take up a lot of resources in terms of time, energy and money, and that they stand little chance of winning, He Weiwen, director of International Business and Economics at the Sino-US Economy and Trade Center, told the Global Times Monday. However, He said more companies should take legal measures in foreign trade disputes. ^ top ^

Asia leaders announce regional FTA talks to spur growth (Xinhua)
2012-11-20
Asian leaders launched their long-expected free trade area talks Tuesday, one step closer to broaden the economic reach of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and ease the bloc's reliance on the struggling West. The official launch of Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was made by leaders from ten ASEAN nations and its six dialog partners, namely China, South Korea, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand, after the conclusion of the 7th East Asia Summit (EAS). [...] "As the international financial crisis continues and trade and investment protectionism start to grow, regional economic integration has become the common choice of many countries," China 's Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying said on Saturday in Beijing. The talks on the ASEAN-led trade deal, which will create an area with more than 3 billion people accounting for about a quarter of the world's gross domestic product, is expected to go into effect by the end of 2015. [...] "The ASEAN wants to play a leading role in promoting the RCEP to increase influence and give itself more say in the international arena. It will optimize the ASEAN to be a more coherent economic bloc with less fetters and better order," said Xu Ningning, executive vice secretary-general of the China-ASEAN Business Council. Meanwhile, the much-vaunted Trans-Pacific partnership (TPP), aiming to wrest back U.S. initiative in the economically rich trade opportunities across the Pacific, made one step further on Monday as the United States launched an initiative with the ten ASEAN nations in Phnom Penh to smooth a path for Asian nations to link up with the TPP. [...] Skepticism towards ASEAN's dominating role in fostering the RCEP rises as the bloc is still in the midst of forming its regional economic unit, but observers remain optimistic on the final deal. "The existing five separate free trade partnership between ASEAN and China, South Korea, Japan, India and Australia-New Zealand has laid down a good foundation. Moreover, consensus to cement economic alliance among China, Japan, South Korea and ASEAN will also contribute to closing the final deal," said Xu. [...] The RCEP is easier to be accepted compared with TPP, which requires deeper extent of opening up, as it is likely to adopt a gradual way in opening up member nations' market given that development gap remains, according to Xu. [...]. ^ top ^

Sino-US stability helps the whole world, Wen tells Obama (SCMP)
2012-11-21
Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday used his last meeting with US President Barack Obama to push for stability between Washington and Beijing's new leadership. In a wide-ranging meeting at the Asean East Asia Summit in Phnom Penh, the two leaders discussed economic and security issues, including the growing territorial disputes between China and its neighbours. Wen, who will be stepping down from the post of premier next March, spoke of the global importance of the Sino-US relationship, urging continuing efforts to construct new relations. “Maintaining the steady, healthy and stable development conforms to the fundamental interests of both countries and people. It is also conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and the world,” he said. He added that mutual economic and financial interests could help the two countries tackle “the difficulties we have and resolve the differences and disagreements between us”. [...] Diplomats close to the meeting said the subject of the South China Sea came up. Obama outlined US interests in continued stability, while Wen warned Obama to stop internationalising the issue. It was the first face to face between senior leaders of both sides since the completion of China's leadership transition and Obama's re-election. Obama's second term is expected to be marked by tougher action against China on trade and intellectual property infringement. Sino-US rivalries are expected to intensify as Obama deepens links with China's neighbours and adds an economic element to the military and diplomatic “pivot” to the region. Wen congratulated Obama on his victory and passed on regards from the new Communist Party leader, Xi Jinping, who will replace Hu Jintao as president in March. Mainland analysts said Wen was relaying a message to both the Obama administration and China's next government to keep Sino-US ties stable. [...] Jin Canrong, a US affairs expert at the Renmin University, said: “China has never expected to be a very good friend of the US, but it wants to keep bilateral ties stable. This is a consensus reached by both the current and new Chinese leaders.” [...]. ^ top ^

Ministry urges US, EU to stop 'politicizing' Chinese trade (China Daily)
2012-11-21
Trade protectionism targeting China will continue to be "severe" unless developed markets — especially the United States and the European Union — stop politicizing trade investigations into made-in-China goods, a senior commerce official has warned. "The situation remains challenging and complicated," said Zhou Xiaoyan, head of the Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports & Exports at the Ministry of Commerce. "More and more high-end Chinese exports, such as telecom goods, are getting embroiled in trade investigations, and this will continue," she said. [...] According to the ministry, a total of 758 trade cases worth $68.4 billion were filed against Chinese exporters from 2003 to the end of September. Zhou added: "The US and the EU have started to resort more frequently to filing trade investigations to fend off competition for their own industries and businesses, and they will continue to politicize any trade frictions with China." [...] "The end of the US presidential election does not mean the US will loosen its restrictions on the Chinese exports, but unfortunately, our forecast is not positive," said Han Yong, a division cheif of the ministry's Bureau of Fair Trade for Imports & Exports. "We will probably see trade conflicts between China and the US grow in the coming months", while US economic growth falters, he said. [...] Zhou added that in Europe too, officials are stepping up their challenge of China's trade practices as countries struggle with an ongoing debt crisis. [...] Chong Quan, the Ministry of Commerce spokesman on trade negotiations, said this week that China, and Chinese exports in particular, will have to continue to face the challenge of rising trade protectionism. And this, combined with other factors such as shrinking overseas demand and fierce global competition, will hurt the growth of China's foreign trade. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Russia to strengthen military ties (Xinhua)
2012-11-21
China has pledged to strengthen military ties with Russia during a visit by its defense minister Sergei Shoigu to Beijing. Vice Chairman of China's Central Military Commission Xu Qiliang and Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met with Shoigu respectively on Wednesday. Xu said that the China-Russia comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination has maintained a positive, healthy and stable momentum, during a meeting with Shoigu. [...] Noting that the two countries' military relations have developed, he said China regarded the development of military relations with Russia as a priority. Shoigu said the two countries' relationship has reached an unprecedented level and the two sides have broad common interests and deep mutual trust. He noted that the two sides' military relations have developed smoothly, witnessed by 2012 Russia-China joint naval exercise and Peace Mission 2012 Shanghai Cooperation Organization Joint Anti-Terrorism Military Exercise. [...] Shoigu said the development of China-Russia relations has brought pragmatic interests to the people of both countries and has made a positive contribution to world peace and stability. Russia hoped to make joint efforts and strengthen communication and coordination with China in order to push for in-depth development of the friendly cooperative relations between the two militaries. This is Shoigu's first visit to China since he assumed office as Russian defense chief earlier in November. ^ top ^

Wen hails progress on landmark visit (China Daily)
2012-11-22
China is "sincerely happy" to see Thailand's achievements, in spite of the flooding disaster of 2011 and the financial crisis, Premier Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday. He made his comments as he visited the once chaos-torn country during the first official visit of a Chinese premier in more than a decade. Wen said China will support and cooperate with Thailand in accordance with the five-year plan of economic cooperation. The two countries will forge cooperation on infrastructure development, agriculture, investment and Mekong development schemes, he said. "Development in Thailand not only brings benefit to the Thai people, but it would be a good condition for relations between Thailand and China," Wen said. "It is China's pleasure to cooperate with Thailand to help each other to coordinate also on regional affairs, especially to promote relations between China and ASEAN for the peace and prosperity of the region." [...] "China and Thailand have been friendly neighbors since ancient times, while the two peoples have close contacts and a deep friendship," Wen said at a joint news conference with Yingluck after their meeting. There are nearly 10 million ethnic Chinese living in Thailand. Luo Yongkun, a researcher of Southeast Asian studies with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said a memorandum of understanding on the rice trade China signed with Thailand during the visit is just the latest round of support from Beijing to Bangkok. "In the 1997 financial crisis, we promised not to depreciate the yuan, strongly upholding the economy of Thailand and the whole of Southeast Asia," Luo said, adding that the integration of the East Asian economy accelerated from then on. [...] Though Wen's visit is the first by a Chinese premier in more than a decade, leaders have met frequently at multilateral events. Yingluck visited China in April, forging a comprehensive strategic partnership. ^ top ^

China hails Israeli-Palestinian ceasefire agreement (Xinhua)
2012-11-22
China on Thursday welcomed the Gaza ceasefire agreement and condemned the bus bombing on Wednesday in Tel Aviv, according to Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. Hua made the remarks at a daily press briefing in response to questions regarding the recent bus blast in Israel and the ceasefire agreement between Hamas and Israel. China opposes all forms of terrorism and condemns any action that hurts innocent civilians, Hua said, adding that the Chinese side urges relevant parties in both Israel and Palestine to stop using violence so as to avoid escalating tensions again in the region. China welcomed the ceasefire between Israel and relevant parties in Palestine and expressed appreciation for the mediation efforts from the international community, especially Egypt, the spokeswoman said. "We hope relevant parties implement the ceasefire agreement earnestly so as to avoid more conflicts," Hua said. The fundamental cause of the conflict lies in the long-stalled Palestine-Israel peace talks, she said. "The international community should attach more importance to the issue in order to make more contributions to reviving the peace talks," Hua said. When asked a question regarding Palestine's status bid in the United Nations, Hua said China supports Palestine to be established as a country with East Jerusalem as its capital and in possession of full sovereignty and independence, in accordance with borders agreed upon in 1967. "China understands, respects and supports Palestine on the issue concerning its state observer status at the United Nations," Hua told reporters at the news briefing. [...]. ^ top ^

China seeks delay over global climate treaty (SCMP)
2012-11-22
Beijing's top climate negotiator said yesterday that international discussions for a new global climate treaty starting from 2020 should not begin until next year, after the securing of renewed pledges by developed nations at climate talks starting next week to reduce their greenhouse gas emission from 2013. But Xie Zhenhua also said that countries are still divided on which of the two focal points should be prioritised, resulting in a cloud of uncertainty over the United Nations talks due to begin on Monday in Qatar, which will last until December 7. China, the world's top carbon dioxide emitter, wants to first secure a second commitment period of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol that would go into effect from January 1 and which China hopes will include strong commitments from industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions, according to Xie, who is deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission. "Building on such progress, countries can move forwards to seek a consensus for the post-2020 scheme, with formal negotiations to be launched next year," Xie said. Analysts said China's preference to delay negotiations is likely to be met with strong opposition from countries such as the United States, which has been trying to blur the divide between developed and developing countries in climate negotiations. [...] Li Yan, a Greenpeace China climate campaigner, said that an extension of the Kyoto Protocol, with fewer countries ready to renew their emission-reduction pledges, would have only limited effectiveness in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. [...] "It is understandable that China and other developing nations do not want to see the new treaty move too fast before the sorting out of other problems - rich countries' commitments on emission reduction, financing and technical aide," Li said. [...] Li said that Beijing was prepared to take on some emission-reduction obligations after 2020, but it was not yet ready to formally commit to such obligations. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Jiang Zemin absent from party congress finale (SCMP)
2012-11-17
Former Communist Party general secretary Jiang Zemin did not show up at a gathering on Thursday afternoon at which new party chief Xi Jinping praised his predecessor Hu Jintao for standing down fully from his top party posts. Jiang, 86, had been in the limelight ahead of the once-a-decade power transfer. It was not clear why Jiang did not attend the gathering. State television reported that a slew of party veterans, including Hu's 96-year-old mentor Song Ping, former premier Li Peng and his successor Zhu Rongji had attended Thursday's gathering. Xi told the gathering of more than 2,600 party congress delegates and party veterans that Hu and six other members of the previous Politburo Standing Committee had "taken a lead to step down" from all their party posts, showing their "high virtue and nobility of character", a prime-time China Central Television news programme reported on Thursday night. "We have high respect for them," Xi said. [...] The Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily also sang Hu's praises for his full retirement from party offices in an editorial yesterday, saying the move showed his "supreme loyalty" to the party and people. Analysts have said that by fully retiring from all his party posts, Hu was seeking to end interference by party elders - most notably Jiang - in personnel and policy decisions. Some said Jiang, who stepped down as party chief in 2002, played a key role in selecting the new leadership, outmanoeuvring Hu in some cases. A mainland journalist said: "Hu's been waiting for two decades and when his day comes, he chose to go, and that has at least one direct advantage - his predecessor who had lingered for the past 10 years is now too ashamed to show up again." [...]. ^ top ^

Commerce minister Chen Deming voted out of elite body in rare snub (SCMP)
2012-11-17
The nation's commerce minister was surprisingly denied a spot on the ruling Communist Party's elite body during a conclave this week, sources said, a rare snub for an official that could raise questions about trade policies during his tenure. The failure of Chen Deming to secure a seat on the 25-member Politburo marks one of the few surprises to emerge from the party's five-yearly congress that wrapped up this week with the anointing of a new slate of top leaders who will run the world's second-largest economy. It is also the first time in more than two decades that an official designated for a Politburo spot has been voted out of the party's 205-member Central Committee in elections. Central Committee membership is a prerequisite for a Politburo seat. "Chen Deming was voted out during multi-candidate elections to the Central Committee," one source said. State news agency Xinhua said there were 9.3 per cent more candidates than seats in a preliminary vote before the formal election on Wednesday. Not being named as an alternate or full member during the party's 18th congress means Chen, who was previously an alternate member, is almost certain to step down as commerce minister next March. Party regulations require cabinet ministers to be Central Committee members. It is unclear why Chen, who was seen as a strong candidate for a vice-premiership and at 63 is young enough to serve another five-year term under party rules, did not secure the votes for a seat on the Central Committee. [...] Some experts suggest that Chen's age was the main factor in his ousting. But exceptions to the mandatory retirement age of 65 are often made for cabinet ministers and provincial governors, and politicians can become a vice- premier before they turn 68. ^ top ^

Anger over crash response in Fuan city sparks riot against police (SCMP)
2012-11-19
Residents of a Fujian province city smashed an ambulance and overturned three police vans after a car crash over the weekend, as yet another relatively minor incidents resulted in public unrest on the mainland. The riot in Fuan city appears to have started on Saturday night after a man driving without a licence fled police and struck three scooters and another car, injuring five people. Onlookers, who included friends of relatives of the victims, grew increasingly upset when it took nearly and hour for ambulances and eventually attacked the authorities. Some witnesses also blamed police for causing the crash, according to residents and internet users. A photo of the scene circulated on Sina Weibo showed scores of people crowded around two white vans overturned in the middle of the street. A waiter at nearby restaurant, who declined to give his full name, said that police detained around 20 people after the riot and that tensions had died down. "There are more police patrolling around today, but restaurants and shops are open as normal," he said. [...] Authorities blamed Saturday's crash on the driver, who they said had recently used drugs and was aware he was driving without a licence. The government said the driver sped up after seeing a police car and continued to accelerate despite the patrolman's order for him to stop. [...] While the official statement did not explain exactly how the officers attempted to stop the driver, internet users and locals contended police caused the crash by giving chase. Moreover, friends and relatives of the injured were angry that medical assistance did not arrive until 50 minutes after the accident, according to a widely circulated post on Sina Weibo. The government statement said the ambulance was late to respond because it was occupied transporting other patients. But one internet user said they ambulance was occupied because the city of 600,000 has just two ambulances. ^ top ^

Abused tots' parents sue kindergarten (Global Times)
2012-11-19
Parents whose children were abused by a kindergarten teacher in Wenling, Zhejiang Province, are suing the pre-school for mismanagement and are demanding compensation for their children's trauma. "Kindergartens are responsible for their teacher's behavior and we decided to take legal action to protect our children," the mother of the boy who was lifted off the ground by his ears by his teacher told the Global Times. The mother, surnamed Lin, said her son is still reluctant to go to his new kindergarten for fear of being abused again. Yan Yanhong, the dismissed kindergarten teacher, was detained by local police on October 25 after photos showed her mistreating children were posted online. She was released on November 16 as local police pointed out on its official Sina microblog that Yan's behavior could not be defined as a crime based on the Criminal Law. "Parents have a right to file a civil lawsuit against the kindergarten after the criminal process failed to protect their children," Zhang Wenjuan, deputy director of the Beijing Juvenile Legal Aid and Research Center, told the Global Times. "The Wenling kindergarten surely failed to meet their responsibility of protecting children and parents will probably win the lawsuit based on the teacher's misbehavior and the kindergarten's neglect of duty," Zhang added. According to the law, kindergartens are responsible for the mistreatment of kindergarten children unless they can prove they fulfilled their duty to supervise and manage their school's staff. Lin said she and four other parents involved in the law suit were disappointed that Yan was released, after the teacher had abused their children both physically and psychologically. She and other parents thought Yan should be sentenced to several years in jail. "China does not have a law to specifically deal with child abuse by someone outside the child's family. Also, the criminal law stipulates that the victims of child abuse should initiate a lawsuit themselves, but it is impossible for children to do that," said Zhang. [...]. ^ top ^

China downgrades powerful domestic security chief position (SCMP)
2012-11-20
China confirmed on Monday that it had downgraded the position of domestic security chief as part of a move to a new and smaller top elite, an expected move that reflects fears the position had become too powerful. The official Xinhua news agency said in a brief announcement that Zhou Yongkang's position as head of the Political and Legal Affairs Committee, a sprawling body that oversees law-and-order policy, had been taken over by Public Security Minister Meng Jianzhu. The 69-year-old Zhou had to retire along with most members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the inner council at the apex of power, at this month's 18th Party Congress, due to his age. He turns 70 in December. Meng, however, is only a member of the new Politburo, the 25-member body which reports to the down-sized Standing Committee, putting him on a tighter leash and returning to a pattern the party kept to for much of the 1980s. [...] Zhou had been on the Standing Committee since 2007 while also heading the central Political and Legal Affairs Committee. That double status allowed Zhou to dominate a domestic security budget of US$110 billion a year, exceeding the defence budget. [...] Since the 1990s, China's efforts to stifle crime, unrest and dissent have allowed the domestic security apparatus – including police, armed militia and state security officers – to accumulate power. In another announcement, Xinhua said that Zhao Leji had replaced Li Yuanchao as head of the party's organisation department that oversees the appointment of senior party, government, military and state-owned enterprise officials. [...] There was no announcement on where Li, a reformer who has courted foreign investment and studied in the United States, may go. He missed out on a spot on the Standing Committee despite being tipped to enter it. [...]. ^ top ^

China activists die in custody during stability sweep (SCMP)
2012-11-19
At least two activists died in custody before or during China's Communist Party congress and tens of thousands had their movements restricted, rights groups said on Monday. The action was part of the government's “maintenance stability” campaign aimed at preventing any sign of unrest during the party gathering in Beijing, which ended last week, the Chinese Human Rights Defenders (CHRD) said. [...] CHRD – a nationwide network of activists in China who compile reports of human rights violations – said Zhang Yaodong, a petitioner from Henan province, was beaten to death in police custody in the capital on November 5. On Thursday last week, Chen Chengxiang, a petitioner from Hubei province, set herself on fire in protest over local corruption in front of the Beijing office that houses the UN Commission on Human Rights, the group said. Beijing police refused immediate comment on the two incidents when contacted by reporters, and it was not clear whether Chen survived her suicide attempt. Another campaign group, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, said Xu Wanxia, 53, a petitioner from the eastern province of Anhui, was detained by police in Beijing on November 8 and pronounced dead in Anhui six days later. Xu's body was covered in bruises, prompting her family to believe she was beaten to death, the group said. CHRD said that police had detained, put under house arrest, sent to labour camps or otherwise harassed a wide range of government critics, including political dissidents, human rights activists and academics. The group said hundreds of petitioners, Christian activists and rights lawyers were also targeted during the crackdown, adding that “up to 100,000 people” had been affected according to “conservative estimates”. [...]. ^ top ^

Inner Mongolia party chief Hu Chunhua seen making Politburo Standing Committee in 2017 (SCMP)
2012-11-20
Hu Chunhua the party chief in Inner Mongolia - a favourite to win a seat on the Politburo Standing Committee in the reshuffle that is five years away - has become the first cadre to pledge loyalty to the new leadership. Hu Chunhua, known as "Little Hu" for following in the footsteps of President Hu Jintao, told a regional cadre meeting yesterday "party members should be on the same path as the party led by general secretary Xi Jinping ". Xi was named national party chief during the leadership reshuffle that concluded on Thursday, succeeding President Hu Jintao. Party leaders traditionally groom successors in the younger generation. Little Hu, 49, is seen as a protégé of the president. Both started their political careers in the party youth league and spent time in Tibet. Hu Chunhua stands to join the Standing Committee in the 2017 leadership reshuffle. [...] He is widely expected to be made party chief of economic powerhouse Guangdong, a posting that would test his capabilities but also bolster his political resume. "We should maintain a high sense of political responsibility and alertness, firmly grab the political mission of learning and thoroughly put into practice the spirit of the party congress," he was quoted by Xinhua as saying. "We should implement the path and directions set by the party central leadership in an unshaken way, and be determined to protect the authority of the central leadership." [...]. ^ top ^

Nuclear reboot gains pace (China Daily)
2012-11-20
The restarting of China's nuclear power sector has made substantial progress as construction of two reactors — in Fuqing, in Fujian province, and Yangjiang, in Guangdong province — resumed over the weekend. The reactors, which belong to China National Nuclear Corp and China Guangdong Nuclear Power Holding Co, were approved for construction to commence in the second half of 2011 but were halted after the Fukushima nuclear crisis in Japan. Another reactor in Rongcheng, in Shandongprovince, that had also received approval, may also resume construction within this year. In late October, the State Council approved a development plan and a security plan for the country's nuclear power sector by 2020, calling for the reactor construction of the approved projects to be restarted first. Analysts say a key stage of the reinstatement depends on the approval of new reactors. The first of these to be decided will be reactor number three in Tianwan, Jiangsu province, which was originally scheduled for construction starting in Dec 2012. ^ top ^

Jailed opponent of Bo Xilai released (SCMP)
2012-11-20
A Chinese official sentenced without trial to hard labour for opposing the Maoist revival policies of disgraced politician Bo Xilai has been freed and is seeking compensation, his lawyer said on Tuesday. Ren Jianyu, 25, was released from a re-education through labour camp in Chongqing, the southwestern city Bo used to head, after serving 15 months for attacking his “sing red” campaign, lawyer Pu Zhiqiang said. [...] “Ren Jianyu was released from the labour camp on Monday,” Pu said. “The authorities did not give a reason why they released him, but we believe he was unjustly jailed.” Ren was a local Chongqing official when he was arrested for reposting numerous microblog comments that criticised Bo's “sing red” movement and equating it to the disastrous Maoist “Cultural Revolution” that brought chaos to China from 1966-1976. Police in Chongqing had initially tried to convict Ren of subversion using a T-shirt he owned scrawled with “Give me liberty, or give me death” as evidence. But Chongqing prosecutors threw out the case and Pu was instead sentenced without trial by police to two years of labour in August last year. On the mainland, police can sentence petty criminals to labour camps without trial, a practice widely criticised by rights groups, as well as the United Nations. Last month, Ren's father sued the Chongqing government, demanding his son be released and reinstated to his job, and given a public apology, Pu said. A Chongqing intermediate court is due to rule on the case on Tuesday. Ren's trial and fate have been widely followed on China's Twitter-like microblog Sina Weibo. Since Bo's downfall, state media have also reported Ren's attempts to seek compensation and restore his reputation. ^ top ^

Hazardous chemicals found in clothing (Global Times)
2012-11-21
Hormone-disruptive chemicals and dyes that release cancer-causing substances have been found in clothing from world-leading fashion brands including Zara and Calvin Klein as well as local brands VANCL and Metersbonwe, according to a report released by Greenpeace in Beijing on Tuesday. The environmental NGO in April purchased 141 garments sold in 29 countries and regions by 20 global clothing brands and tested for several hazardous chemicals. About a quarter of the products were made in China. The tests show that all the brands made at least several items that contained hazardous chemicals. About 63 percent of the samples contained NPEs, which could degrade into hormone-disruptive nonylphenol. Four samples had high levels of phthalates that are toxic to the reproductive system, and traces of cancer-causing amines from the use of azo dyes were detected in two products from Zara. Among the 34 samples made in China, 21 of them were problematic, said the report. "The results reveal how much toxic chemicals these brands are dumping in China and other developing nations where products are made and regulations are loose. As the world's biggest fashion retailers, the likes of Zara have no choice but to change their practices, not only for consumers but also for the communities affected by irresponsible suppliers," Li Yifang, Toxics Campaigner at Greenpeace East Asia, told reporters on Tuesday. Li added that during visits to over 100 textile factories in China, Greenpeace investigators witnessed striking scenes of pollution and pollution-caused health problems among people in neighboring areas. [...] NPEs are banned for textile production in Europe, but in China, their manufacture, use and release are not regulated. ^ top ^

Chongqing gets new Party chief (Global Times)
2012-11-21
The southwestern city of Chongqing, where former Party chief Bo Xilai was sacked earlier this year for "serious disciplinary violations," saw its leader change once again Tuesday as Sun Zhengcai, former Party chief of Jilin Province, took over the position. At a meeting attended by Chongqing officials on Tuesday, Zhao Leji, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, announced that Sun Zhengcai has been appointed secretary of the CPC Chongqing Municipal Committee. "The CPC Central Committee made this adjustment after careful consideration based on the needs of Chongqing's leadership construction and the general situation," Zhao said. Sun, 49, was elected as a member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee after the 18th CPC National Congress last week. Born in Shandong Province, he served as Minister of Culture for three years before being transferred to Northeast China in 2009 as secretary of the CPC Jilin Provincial Committee. [...] According to media reports, Zhang had been trying to differ from Bo's tenure by redirecting Chongqing's economic and social development in a low-profile manner. Bo's red song campaign was also discontinued. Zhang urged Party officials to draw lessons from the Bo scandal, take better care of their spouses, children and staff and ensure they are held to the highest standards. [...]. ^ top ^

Plasticizers found in baijiu (China Daily)
2012-11-21
The baijiu industry has suffered a major setback after plasticizers were allegedly found in almost all brands of the liquor. On Monday, shares in the Shenzhen-listed Jiugui Liquor Co, a large baijiu manufacturer based in Hunan province, were suspended from trade after business news website 21cbh.com reported the company's products were found to contain excessive plasticizers. [...] "I felt very confused about the test results as reported by media because there is no special national standard for such a chemical in baijiu at all. And now the company's products have been sent to a qualified department to be tested," Fan Zhen, vice-president of Jiugui Liquor, was quoted as saying by China Central Television on Tuesday. Plasticizers are banned in China as food additives because the chemicals can cause male fertility problems and induce early female puberty, and experiments on animals have demonstrated a carcinogenic effect. Liquor products produced by Jiugui, which were bought in Beijing, were tested for three types of plasticizers at an independent lab, 21cbh.com reported on Monday. The amount of plasticizer DBP in the company's products was 1.08 mg/kg, far exceeding the national standard of 0.3 mg/kg for food, the report said. On Monday, the China Alcoholic Drinks Association said on its website that the country's liquor products do contain plasticizers, but the content is far below the standard limit set on such products overseas. [...] "But since plastic-related products and equipment have been in use in the production of baijiu since the 1970s, no human illness has been reported due to plasticizers in baijiu until now," the statement said. Dong Jinshi, executive vice-president of the International Food Packaging Association, said on Tuesday it is possible that these chemicals were added by manufacturers. "Otherwise, it would not be common to see almost all products contain plasticizers," he said. Dong said the chemicals help liquor products easily adhere to the glass and enhance flavor. [...] China is conducting research into setting a specific limit for the amount of plasticizers in baijiu, according to the China Alcoholic Drinks Association. ^ top ^

China's backroom power brokers block reform candidates (SCMP)
2012-11-21
Retired leaders in China's Communist Party used a last-minute straw poll to block two pro-reform candidates from joining the policymaking standing committee, including one who had alienated party elders, sources with ties to the leadership said. Two sources said the influential retirees flexed their muscles in landmark informal polls taken before last week's 18th party congress, where the seven-member standing committee, the apex of China's power structure, was unveiled. [...] The informal polls are the first time the party has flirted with “intra-party democracy” to settle factional fighting over the line-up of the standing committee. It held informal polls in 2007 to decide the larger Politburo. Two of the candidates voted out of the standing committee were widely viewed as reformers: Wang Yang, the party chief of export powerhouse Guangdong province in the south, and Li Yuanchao, minister of the party's organisation or personnel department. [...] Shedding light on the opaque backroom process, the two sources said votes on the new standing committee were taken among the outgoing 24 members of the Politburo and more than 10 party elders, who had retired from senior posts. The group held more than 10 rounds of deliberations, including at least two informal polls, over several months at the military-run Jingxi hotel in Beijing and other venues, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject. Elders wielded considerable influence over the process and forced a second poll in October to push out Li Yuanchao, the sources said. Eight people were in the running for the five slots on the standing committee beneath Xi Jinping, named party chief, and Li Keqiang, who will be the next premier. [...] The two sources said party seniors decided to drop Wang, who has favoured private enterprise in Guangdong and was seen as a rival of Bo, to avoid further upsetting pro-Mao factions in the party, government and military. “Wang Yang was ousted to avoid Bo supporters creating trouble,” one of the two sources said. [...] Li Yuanchao, 62, was selected in the initial polls in May but party elders forced another vote just weeks before the congress to replace him, the sources said. Liu Yandong, the lone woman candidate, was also denied a promotion. The sources said Li was dumped because he alienated some elders by promoting too many of outgoing President Hu Jintao's allies in his capacity as head of the party's personnel department and by ignoring recommendations by retirees keen to elevate their own men. [...] In previous congresses, held every five years, there was no competitive voting: the number of candidates on the ballot matched the number of seats available in the Politburo and on the standing committee. The straw polls hardly signal a desire for democratic political reform. But they did provide a vehicle through which some of the infighting between factions could be resolved. ^ top ^

Party's number two woman Sun Chunlan named chief of Tianjin (SCMP)
2012-11-22
Sun Chunlan, one of two women on the Communist Party's new Politburo, was appointed party secretary of Tianjin yesterday, succeeding new Politburo Standing Committee member Zhang Gaoli. Sun, 62, was previously party chief of Fujian and a Central Committee member. She won promotion to the Politburo last week. Hu Xingdou, a political analyst at the Beijing Institute of Technology, said Sun, the second-highest-ranked woman in the party hierarchy, behind State Councillor Liu Yandong, should be well suited to her new role given her trade union background and experience in overseeing two provinces, Fujian and Liaoning. "Although Tianjin is a place of great importance, it's smaller and easier to oversee in terms of population and size," he said. "Besides that, she should be a clear-minded person who will not wallow in the mire with others, considering the history between her and Bo Xilai." Sun was reportedly a long-time foe of Bo, the disgraced former Chongqing party boss. After taking over from Bo as party chief of Dalian in 2001, when Bo was appointed governor of Liaoning, she removed nearly all Bo's trusted subordinates in Dalian. [...] Starting out as an ordinary worker in the clock factory in Anshan, Liaoning in 1969, Sun spent the following 40 years in the northeastern province, working in its women's federation and trade union and rising all the way to deputy party chief of the province. She was appointed party secretary of Fujian in 2009 after four years as deputy chairwoman of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. Lu Wei, director of the Institute of Economic and Social Forecast at the Tianjin Academy of Social Sciences, said that despite her rich experience in promoting commerce and investment, Sun faced a lot of challenges in her new role in the port city. "The city has witnessed fast growth owing to investment and exports in past years, but to solely depend on investment will not work for long," he warned. "How to generate growth by stimulating consumption will be a big issue." Sun would also have to tackle the tough tasks of social development and environmental protection, Lu said. [...]. ^ top ^

Wenzhou villagers riot over substation they fear is health threat (SCMP)
2012-11-22
Hundreds of the protestors in Liuliang and Fangbei villages were injured after confronting police, in a bid to stop construction of a 220-kilovolt substation. The project would require building high-voltage power lines over their homes, which some feared could threaten their health. At least four police cars and a local media van were badly damaged in the clashes, which involved protests in each of the two villages. The earlier protest, in Liuliang, involved about 1,000 villagers and 2,000 police, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said yesterday. Two police cars were smashed and officers closed roads to the restive village. A smaller protest in Fangbei continued until yesterday afternoon, when police called in reinforcements to help disperse some 300 villagers, said one resident who uploaded a video of the scene to the internet. The footage shows police firing tear gas at stone-throwing protesters. Local residents have been trying to stop the project for more than a year and have petitioned in the provincial capital of Hangzhou, as well as Beijing. Protesters reportedly clashed with police during a rally outside the township's government headquarters last year. "So far, authorities haven't responded to us on this," a villager said. "They haven't given us any money for this damaging project, either, although they always claim that they have distributed compensation to us." Disputes over large construction projects are occurring with increasing regularity on the mainland, including a successful effort to stop the expansion of a petrochemical plant in Ningbo last month. [...]. ^ top ^

Hu ally appointed propaganda chief (SCMP)
2012-11-22
Liu Qibao, a close ally of President Hu Jintao, has been appointed the country's propaganda chief, with analyst saying they expect he will maintain the hardline press controls of his predecessor. Yesterday's tersely worded Xinhua announcement of Liu's appointment capped weeks of speculation that Liu Qibao, a former Sichuan party secretary, would succeed Liu Yunshan to become the director of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party's Central Committee. Liu Yunshan was elevated to the party's all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee at the end of the 18th party congress and expected to retain responsibility for propaganda control as part of his portfolio. Liu Qibao, 59, a native of Susong county, Anhui province, spent more than a decade overseeing propaganda for his home province's branch of the Communist Youth League before being appointed secretary to the league's Central Committee, a key powerbase of Hu's. Notably, Liu also spent a year in the early 1990s as deputy chief editor of the party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily, a credential which likely contributed to his selection as the country's propaganda chief. Qiao Mu, a communications professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, said that Liu's promotion was a huge career boost that could pave the way for another promotion at the next party congress in five years. However Qiao said that Liu is likely to serve as enforcer for and sidekick to Liu Yunshan. His predecessor had similarly worked under former Communist Party propaganda tsar Li Changchun, who were paired to enact increasingly heavy-handed press controls. "I would say with some pessimism that media will be no freer under this pair because a media-savvy person tends to press harder on media freedoms because he knows better how it works," Qiao said." [...]. ^ top ^

Li calls reforms key to sustaining development (China Daily)
2012-11-23
Vice-Premier Li Keqiang stressed the role of reform in China's social and economic development on Thursday, calling for pioneering measures and a bigger role for the market amid medium-speed growth in the long term. "Reform is still the biggest bonus for China," said the vice-premier at a State Council working conference, after hearing reports from top officials from China's 11 pioneering provinces of reform. "We have benefited from reform in the past 30 years.... We have to march on as there is no way back, Li told the participants of the conference. Li said he did not completely agree with the suggestion that China faces a diminishing demographic advantage, as the country will still have a massive labor force of about 900 million people by 2030. However, he conceded that the country's labor costs would significantly rise, and this will have to be dealt with through further reform. [...] Li said China will not pursue one-sided GDP growth and development will be at a medium-speed in the long term. "It is hard to maintain double-digit growth, but 7 percent will be enough to achieve an affluent society by 2020," he said, adding that realization of that goal also depends on reform. When commenting on the next step of reform, Li said there should be top-level decisions, but innovation from the grassroots should also be respected. "The country has accumulated adequate experience in reform but top-level design is far from enough for a country of 1.3 billion people, and the pioneering spirit of the masses needs to be promoted." [...] "We are also aware that the current reforms have entered a ‘fortified zone' and a ‘deep-water zone'.... We have to face the challenges and break all the systematic obstacles that block scientific development," Li said. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing to issue college matriculation policy for migrant children (Xinhua)
2012-11-17
A new plan for the college entrance exam policy for migrant children in Beijing will be worked out by the end of this year, Beijing education authorities said on Friday. The Beijing Municipal Commission of Education made a public announcement in response to an application filed by migrant worker volunteers in October. The volunteers asked educational departments to publish the results of migrant children's college matriculation research and measures for balancing educational resources. The commission said the new plan will provide equal rights to education and matriculation opportunities for migrant children. However, it did not give a clear answer on whether migrant students who will take the college entrance exams, or "gaokao," in June 2013 could stay in Beijing for the exam. Under current policies, migrant workers' children are not free to attend senior high schools or take college entrance exams outside of their home provinces. Figures provided by the Beijing education commission indicate that about 400,000 migrant children were studying at primary and middle schools in Beijing in 2011. Only about 10,000 stayed on for senior high school there, and the rest returned to their hometowns to prepare for the gaokao or left school to find jobs. Education departments across the country have made various efforts to create policies on the matriculation of migrant children this year, including those in Shanghai Municipality and Guangdong, Fujian, Jiangsu and Heilongjiang provinces. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai updates air pollution gauge (Global Times)
2012-11-18
The Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau rolled out a new index for measuring air quality Friday that recognizes three types of air pollution left out of the previous monitoring system. The launch of the Air Quality Index (AQI) will result in more days when the air is reported to be polluted and could lead to an improvement in local air quality by helping environmental authorities better trace the sources of pollution. Shanghai, along with 24 cities in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, began publishing the AQI as part of pilot program to comply with a new national standard on air pollution reporting, the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau said in a press release Thursday. The Ministry of Environmental Protection has ordered local governments to comply with the new standard before 2016. The AQI gauges three types of air pollutants that weren't included in its predecessor, the Air Pollution Index (API). They are carbon monoxide, ozone and PM 2.5, which stands for particulate matter smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter. The other three are nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and PM 10. [...] Because the new index tracks pollutants that have already been gauged at high levels in the city, Shanghai residents will likely see the number of days when the air is considered polluted rise to more than 100 each year, up from the current 30 or so, according to an engineer surnamed Wang from the Shanghai Environmental Monitoring Center. "The high reading of two of the new pollutants, PM 2.5 and ozone, will certainly push the index higher, so more days of bad air quality will be reported," Wang told the Global Times. [...].

 

Guangdong

Corruption fight goes digital with new database (Global Times)
2012-11-22
The Guangzhou city commission for disciplinary inspection, Guangdong Province, is working on an anti-corruption database in cooperation with the local public security, commercial, housing management and taxation authorities, the commission said Tuesday. The computer program will be able to dig out cryptic messages from corrupt officials and ferret out their hidden assets, said Mei Heqing, spokesperson of the commission, adding that officials must disclose their income, property ownership of their family and their taxes. A platform to track official vehicles is also underway. "Currently, the property ownership information has all been included in the anti-corruption database," Mei added. "The system was brought to realization after the downfall of Cai Bin, 56, an urban management official in Panyu district, and serious problems of untraceable properties," an anonymous official from the commission told the Global Times. The immediate family members of Cai were found to own 21 properties worth 40 million yuan ($6.4 million). His case is being reviewed. "A series of recent corruption hunting cases, which were all started by evidence posted online by netizens, shows loopholes in the management of officials' assets," Wang Quanjie, a former deputy to the National People's Congress, who has been calling for disclosure of official assets since 2004, told the Global Times. He added that the public's participation in providing information has to be strengthened, something the authorities should make use of to improve their anti-corruption work. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibetan woman, the latest to self-immolate, dies (SCMP)
2012-11-19
A Tibetan woman has set herself on fire and died in the latest of dozens of protests against Chinese rule over the Himalayan region, overseas rights groups said. Chagmo Kyi, a taxi driver with two children, self-immolated on Saturday afternoon in a square in Tongren county in western China's Qinghai province, the eighth self-immolation in the Tongren area since November 4, the Washington-based International Campaign for Tibet said in an email. According to the group, 75 people have self-immolated in ethnically Tibetan areas since February 2009, and most of them have died. Tibet support groups overseas say an increase in protests the past two weeks was meant to highlight Tibetans' unhappiness with Chinese rule as the country's leaders handed over power to younger successors at a Communist Party congress in Beijing. [...] The International Campaign for Tibet reported that hundreds of Tibetans were surrounded by troops as they attended Chagmo Kyi's cremation at a site normally used for the cremation of monks and lamas. The group said the woman had frequently driven between Tongren and Xining, the provincial capital, and was also a farmer. London-based Free Tibet also reported the self-immolation, and said at least 20 trucks, each carrying 20 armed police officers, were stationed at intersections in Tongren's capital, Rongwo, where people have previously self-immolated in protest. It also said there were reports of cars, each with about five government officials inside, positioned every 20 paces along most streets, monitoring the population. Authorities in Tongren and Huangnan prefecture, which oversees the county, either refused to comment or said they hadn't heard about the self-immolation. Calls to Tongren police rang unanswered. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

2,749 arrested for abducting Xinjiang minors: police (Xinhua)
2012-11-20
Chinese police have arrested 2,749 people suspected of abducting minors from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and compelling them to participate in criminal gang activities, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Public Security on Tuesday. Since April 2011, a national crackdown on such crimes has led to the rescue of 2,274 abducted minors from Xinjiang, the report said. The statement also revealed that in the latest operation on Oct. 30, police in seven municipalities and provinces, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong, detained 90 suspects and rescued 28 minors. The suspects were found to have abducted minors in Xinjiang, sent them to major cities and forced them to steal -- either with or without the threat of force -- in public areas such as shopping centers and bus stations, said the report, citing preliminary investigations. Police have made arrangements with the help of civil affairs authorities to have the minors sent home as soon as possible, it added. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Four in five Hongkongers want more free television stations (SCMP)
2012-11-20
More than four out of five Hongkongers want to see more free television stations, saying they are unhappy with existing programme quality, two university surveys suggest. Poll respondents were also displeased with the government's delay in issuing new licences for free television. The findings were revealed as ATV continued its opposition to the prospect of facing more rivals. Last night, it launched an attack on one licence applicant, City Telecom (CTI) boss Ricky Wong Wai-kay, describing him as a "telecommunications demon". Both polls ended on the day ATV staged a live broadcast of its protest outside the government headquarters in Admiralty. "If the surveys had been conducted after ATV's protest, more than 85 per cent would've supported more television stations," Baptist University journalism professor To Yiu-ming said. "The landslide opinion already sends a very clear message. If the Leung Chun-ying government does not issue new free-television licences, he is going against public opinion." In a Chinese University poll conducted between October 31 and November 11, nearly 76 per cent of 948 respondents backed the issuing of more licences. [...] More than seven out of 10 told HKU that they were discontented with the licensing delay. One in four believed political reasons were behind the delay, but one in five believed it was a result of commercial considerations, such as efforts to protect the interests of ATV and TVB. The government has denied any political motives, saying it has been following stipulated procedures. [...]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong unemployment rises to 3.4pc (SCMP)
2012-11-20
Hong Kong's unemployment rate rose slightly to 3.4 per cent in the three months from August to October as the economic slowdown continued, the government said on Monday. The latest seasonally adjusted jobless rate was up from 3.3 per cent in the July-September period, the Census and Statistics Department said. However, the under-unemployment rate – which measures the number of people who cannot find at least 35 hours of work a week – fell from 1.6 per cent to 1.5 per cent. Most of the job losses during the recent three-month period were in the accommodation services, transport and construction sectors. Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said employers had become more cautious about hiring in recent months amid continued slow economic growth. [...] Cheung said he expects an upturn in hiring during the year-end festive season, when business usually picks up. ^ top ^

Fury in Hong Kong at Beijing official's claim of 'foreign interference' (SCMP)
2012-11-23
A top mainland official in charge of Hong Kong affairs has lashed out at interference by "external powers" in Hong Kong elections, alleging for the first time that the unspecified powers were helping co-ordinate campaigns for opposition parties. Zhang Xiaoming, a deputy director of the State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office, said "necessary measures" were needed to combat such interference and called for Hong Kong to pass the national security law required by Article 23 of the Basic Law. His words, in an article published yesterday in the pro-Beijing newspaper Wen Wei Po, sparked alarm among pan-democrats, who said it could indicate a harder line by Beijing towards dissent in the city. Zhang wrote that the "external powers" "even get deeply involved in local elections and help co-ordinating campaigns for opposition parties. We have to take necessary measures to prevent external interference." Civic Party leader Alan Leong Kah-kit, describing the allegation as "hollower than hollow", said: "It is the most irresponsible way to make an allegation, because there is no evidence. We only have evidence of how the [central government] liaison office meddles with the elections." Political commentator Johnny Lau Yui-siu said "external interference" had long referred to Britain and the US. But the definition had expanded in recent years to include Taiwan and Chinese dissidents in exile. [...] Zhang also insisted that the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress had legitimate power to interpret the Basic Law, a view echoed by the former Secretary for Justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie. The committee should also take up its role to monitor Hong Kong's legislation, Zhang said. Leong said the article shed light on the central government's changing policy in Hong Kong. "What Zhang said is not only unconstitutional but also immoral," he said. "If it had been said before 1997, I would bet Hong Kong's transition would not have been as smooth as it was." [...] The Democratic Party's acting chairwoman, Emily Lau Wai-hing, said Zhang was twisting the facts. "Hong Kong people are furious at Beijing's interference in the city's internal affairs," she said. [...]. ^ top ^

Many Hongkongers urge cut in number of mainland Chinese immigrants (SCMP)
2012-11-23
Many Hongkongers urge cut in number of mainland Chinese immigrants Hongkongers' negative view of mainland immigrants is underlined by a survey in which half the respondents say the number of migrants should be reduced. One academic says such attitudes could evolve dangerously into discrimination. The Institute of Education conducted random phone interviews in February with 1,024 adults about how they view mainland immigrants and found more than half - 51 per cent - thought the number allowed into Hong Kong should decrease. Just over a quarter thought the number should stay the same, and less than a fifth said it should increase. Chou Kee-lee, professor in the Department of Asian and Policy Studies at the institute, said: "This is worrisome. The sentiment needs to change. The government needs to face this problem before it gets worse." [...] Economic reasons played a major part in forming negative sentiments, Chou said, with a large number agreeing that new immigrants compete for economic resources. In the poll results released yesterday, more than half - 53 per cent - said new immigrants enjoyed welfare benefits, but did not contribute to society, four out of 10 said migrants both enjoyed welfare benefits and contributed to society, while only 3 per cent thought they made contributions without enjoying welfare. The view that new migrants lowered wage levels was held by almost half of those polled - 46.7 per cent - and almost four in 10 said they stole locals' jobs. Meanwhile more than a third thought a rise in new migrants would result in more crime. "The government needs to change negative public sentiment through education, and increase policies targeting specifically immigrants to help them integrate," Chou said. He said perceptions such as new immigrants stealing jobs, were on welfare or would increase the crime rate, might be unfounded. The government should clarify such urban myths. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan's export orders up 3% on new tech products (China Daily)
2012-11-21
The value of Taiwan's export orders in October increased by 3.2 percent compared with the same period last year due to launches of new technology products, according to statistics released by Taiwan's economic authorities on Tuesday. Export orders amounted to $38.38 billion in October, a 1.9-percent increase month on month. Statistics show that export orders were on the rise in the second half of this year as many new technology products hit the market. New smartphones, tablet computers and other products have driven the growth of Taiwan's assembly, contract manufacturing and other relevant sectors along the supply chain. The value of orders in the IT and communication industry reached $9.84, a month-on-month increase of 3.5 percent, while the value of orders for electronic products in October reached $8.95 billion, the highest in history due to strong demand. Orders from the United States topped those from other countries and regions at a record $9.71 billion. Orders from the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong reached $9.39 billion, a drop of $810 million from September. The value of export orders in the first 10 months stood at $360.9 billion, showing a year-on-year decrease of 0.6 percent. ^ top ^

DPP seeks to alter course in its ties with Beijing (SCMP)
2012-11-22
Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party formed a committee yesterday to chart a new direction for its ties with the mainland, a week after the leadership transition in Beijing. But the new committee, headed by DPP chairman Su Tseng-chang, has been named the "China affairs committee" rather than the "cross-strait affairs committee". Taiwanese pundits said it remained to be seen whether Beijing would be willing to step-up contacts with the DPP, given that the committee's name was bound to upset Beijing. The pro-independence party held a central standing committee meeting yesterday to decide whether to form the committee. Some party heavyweights at first questioned the need for such a committee, given that the DPP already had a "China affairs department to handle cross-strait issues. But after a long and heated debate, more than half of the party's standing committee members supported Su's proposal for a committee to co-ordinate all opinions within the party and work out cross-strait policy directions. "In the face of the new situation in China, we cannot cope with all those changes with simply 'no change' and we must gather all wisdom to work out more innovative strategies to deal with this," Su told a press conference after the standing committee meeting. Su said he originally wanted to ask Frank Hsieh Chang-ting, who early last month became the first DPP leader to visit the mainland, to head the committee. "But after repeated consideration, I think I should take up this responsibility and serve as the convener," he said. He said Hsieh had given him his support. Both Su and Hsieh, seen as rivals within the DPP, served as premier during DPP administration between 2000 and 2008. They reportedly both want to steer its cross-strait affairs policy. [...]. ^ top ^

Outcry in Taiwan over rejection of Dalai Lama visit (SCMP)
2012-11-22
Taiwan has decided to bar the Dalai Lama from entering the island, triggering an angry response from a women's organisation that had invited him to a meeting there next month, officials said on Thursday. The Taiwan chapter of the Federation of Business and Professional Women, headed by former vice president Annette Lu, said the move reflected fear of angering China, which sees the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as a separatist. “We are angry as the government is obviously worried about China's reaction. It's ridiculous that Taiwan has to listen to China and seek its approval before doing anything,” said a spokeswoman for Lu. The federation said that they had contacted the Dalai Lama directly and that he had agreed to attend their Asia Pacific regional conference in Taipei in December. Taiwan's foreign ministry confirmed that they would not allow the visit, but denied China had anything to do with the decision. “It's just not a good time,” foreign ministry spokesman Steve Hsia told reporters, declining to elaborate. [...] The Dalai Lama had voiced a wish to visit Taiwan in 2008, but at that time, too, the island's government had argued the time was not right. He did visit Taiwan in 2009 to comfort victims of a deadly typhoon in a trip that was strongly criticised by China and reportedly triggered mass cancellations of mainland tourist groups to the island. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Economy

More convertible yuan next goal, China's central bank chief says (SCMP)
2012-11-18
The People's Bank of China's next step in the overhaul of the exchange-rate system would focus on convertibility, governor Zhou Xiaochuan said yesterday, as his omission from a top Communist Party committee fuelled speculation he may retire. "For the central bank, the next movement related to the yuan is going to be reform of convertibility," Zhou told the annual meeting of International Financial Forum, an advisory group, in Beijing. "We are going to realise it, we are moving in this direction, we need to go further, we will have some deregulation." The governor's comments underscore pledges made by the ruling Communist Party during a once-a-decade power transition last week to promote freer movement of capital in and out of the country for investment purposes and to make the exchange rate more market based. China is seeking to boost the use of the yuan in international trade and finance to reduce the US dollar's global dominance, and curb its own reliance on the currency of the world's biggest economy. [...] China had designated areas including Shanghai, Tianjin and the Pearl River Delta to trial reforms in the financial services industry, Zhou said. This would allow the country to accumulate experience and test for what could go wrong, he said. The new government would continue to value changes initiated at local level by governments and companies while still attaching great importance to overall planning, he said. In a separate speech at Caixin Media's annual conference in Beijing, Zhou said the central bank needed to be especially alert to the threat of inflation as the country moves from a planned to a market economy. ^ top ^

China's FDI inflow declines but less sharply (Xinhua)
2012-11-20
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China dropped 0.24 percent year on year in October to 8.31 billion U.S. dollars, according to figures released by the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday. The drop was less sharp compared to September, when FDI into China dropped 6.8 percent year on year to 8.43 billion U.S. dollars. Nevertheless, this is the fifth consecutive monthly drop in the country's FDI inflow. The figure brought the total FDI inflow for the first 10 months of 2012 to 91.74 billion U.S. dollars, down 3.45 percent year on year, said ministry spokesman Shen Danyang. In the first 10 months, investment from the United States reversed a trend of decline and rose 5.3 percent year on year to 2.7 billion U.S. dollars. Investment from Japan surged 10.9 percent from a year earlier to 6.08 billion U.S. dollars, Shen said. Investment from the EU dropped 5 percent year on year to 5.24 billion U.S. dollars. The fall was smaller compared to the first nine months. Investment from the EU dropped 6.3 percent year on year to 4.83 billion U.S. dollars from January to September. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

N Korea threatens repeat of island shelling (SCMP)
2012-11-22
North Korea has threatened to repeat its 2010 artillery attack on a border island, as South Korea prepares to mark on Friday the second anniversary of the shelling that left four dead. The South plans to hold several commemorative events over the next few days on Yeonpyeong island near the disputed Yellow Sea border and will conduct a military drill in the area on Friday. North Korea heaped scorn on the memorial activities, with the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday quoting a military spokesman who warned of another attack on the island. “The commemoration... on Yeonpyeong island will lead to the second Yeonpyeong island disaster,” the spokesman said. [...] The North Korean spokesman said the South's plans to commemorate the anniversary of the shelling were a “ridiculous farce” that invited derision and censure. The only regret on the North's side, he said, was that the military had not seized the opportunity two years ago “to send the whole of Yeonpyeong island to the bottom of the sea. “It is the steadfast will of the service personnel not to miss the opportunity to do so if the warmongers perpetrate another provocation,” he added. South Korea has stressed that Friday's military drill will not include any live-fire exercises. Since the Yeonpyeong shelling, South Korea has upgraded its defences on frontline islands in the area. Yeonpyeong's 1,200 residents, who live just 1.5 kilometres from the disputed border, are now outnumbered by the marines posted there. [...] On a tour later on Thursday of an army command post south of Seoul, Defence Minister Kim Kwan-jin underlined concerns that Pyongyang might seek to trigger a confrontation ahead of the South's presidential election on December 19. “North Korea could commit provocative acts in order to inject fears of war into South Koreans before the election,” Kim said. “After the election, it may provoke the South to test the new government and tame it,” he said, adding that when “gangsters” attack the only way to respond was with “a large club”. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolia, DPRK pledge to boost cooperation (Xinhua)
2012-11-19
Mongolia and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) pledged here on Monday that they would boost bilateral cooperation in various fields. The two countries have been sharing traditional friendship since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1948, Zandaakhuu Enkhbold, speaker of the Mongolian parliament said when meeting Choe Tae Bok, chairman of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly. "I want to say that Mongolia is ready to cooperate with the new leader of the DPRK and continue the traditional friendly relationship," Enkhbold said, hoping the two countries can cooperate in trade, information technology, exchange of workforce and lease of ocean ports as Mongolia is a landlocked country without ocean ports. Enkhbold noted Choe's visit to Mongolia is very important in enhancing cooperation between the two legislative bodies. The speaker also said the Mongolian government currently is making efforts to promote economic development and raise the international competitiveness of Mongolia's economy, adding Mongolia is implementing big projects such as constructing industrial and processing parks to help it reduce dependency on mining. Choe, for his part, said, "our two countries are closely working together at international levels, especially under the UN framework. This relationship is contributing to friendly and stable development of Northeast Asia." Choe also stressed the DPRK is interested in working with Mongolia in regional economic development, as well as ocean port, coal and mining sectors. Mongolian President Tsakhia Elbegdorj also met Choe on Monday and they exchanged views on promoting stability in Northeast Asia. [...]. ^ top ^

Mongolia becomes 57th OSCE member (Xinhua)
2012-11-21
The Mongolian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday the country's application to join the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has been ratified, making Mongolia its 57th member. Mongolia became an Asian partner of the OSCE in 2004. Then Foreign Minister Gombojav Zandanshatar told a meeting of the OSCE and Asian partners in May 2011 that expanding cooperation with the OSCE is a priority of Mongolia's foreign policy, and expressed willingness to become a member of the organization. In October 2011, Mongolia formally submitted its application for the OSCE membership. Mongolia's participation in the OSCE is considered as part of its efforts to implement a "third neighbor" policy the country has been pursuing. [...]. ^ 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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