SCHWEIZER BOTSCHAFT IN BEIJING
EMBASSY OF SWITZERLAND IN BEIJING
AMBASSADE DE SUISSE EN CHINE

Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  8-14.12.12, No. 453  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Foreign Policy

Wen Jiabao fails to seal gas import deal in Moscow talks (SCMP)
2012-12-08
Premier Wen Jiabao returned to Beijing yesterday after visiting Russia, with leaders of the two countries vowing to deepen co-operation but still failing to reach final agreement on a massive natural gas deal. Wen, who held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, said at a press conference in Moscow before returning to Beijing that he valued the trip because it was the last overseas visit of his political life. "This is the 10th time, and also the last time, for me to attend premier-level talks between the two countries, and it helps form a bridge between the previous talks and the future ones," said Wen, who was scheduled to step down in March. The two countries issued a joint declaration after the talks, vowing to deepen co-operation in trade, aviation and the energy sector. Wen had put forward a seven-point proposal on bilateral co-operation, including expanding two-way trade so that a US$100 billion target originally set for 2015 could be reached sooner. Russian and Chinese officials also signed a protocol on the construction of two more reactors for the Tianwan nuclear power plant in Lianyungang, Jiangsu. The new reactors, to be built by Russia's state nuclear company, Rosatom, would start operating in 2018. But there was still no major breakthrough on a massive deal that would see Russia supply 68 billion cubic metres of natural gas to China each year for the next three decades, even after Chinese officials said that progress would be achieved. Talks on the deal have been going on since the two countries signed a framework agreement in 2009, with the price to be paid for the gas a stumbling block. China reportedly wanted to pay US$250 per 1,000 cubic metres. Moscow wanted to sell at a price on par with what it charges European customers. Russian gas shipped to Ukraine cost more than US$400 per 1,000 cubic metres. ^ top ^

China mostly satisfied with Doha talks (Xinhua)
2012-12-10
China is satisfied with the achievements of the United Nations climate talks held in Doha, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said Monday. Spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular press briefing that by maintaining the basic legal institutions of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changes and its Kyoto Protocol, the talks advanced multilateral climate change talks in general and sent out a positive signal to international society. However, Hong said developed countries diluted their responsibilities and the common but differentiated principle in the talks. They also lack the political will to reduce emissions and transfer techniques, he said. "That's the reason why the talks have seen no more achievements and is the main obstacle the international society will be faced with when countering climate change issues," Hong said. China will further strengthen cooperation with other countries on the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Changes and its Kyoto Protocol, Hong added. United Nations climate talks held in Doha on last Saturday resulted in the adoption of a package of drafts for the second period of Kyoto the Protocol and commitments on climate financing after overnight negotiations over differences between developed and developing countries. ^ top ^

Beijing media attacks Dalai Lama over self-immolations (SCMP)
2012-12-11
Beijing is ramping up the rhetoric against the Dalai Lama before 2013, which has been declared "International Year of Tibet Independence" by pro-independence activists, as state media launch a joint denunciation of the Tibetan spiritual leader. Several state media outlets accused the Dalai Lama of encouraging innocent people to engage in self-immolation and said he was used as a pawn by Washington and New Delhi. Tibetan affairs watchers have warned of a worsening situation in the Himalayan region and expect suppression by the authorities to increase. Ma Lihua, a Tibetan affairs scholar and editor-in-chief of the state-run Tibetan Study Press, said: "It is the worst scenario in the region since the 1950s. It is unacceptable to see so many Tibetans commit self-immolation, and it only suggests a worsening of Chinese-Tibetan relations, no matter what the reason is behind such acts." Tsering Woeser, a Tibetan activist and author, warned that the latest developments suggested that Beijing would take an even tougher line against those campaigning for Tibetan rights. "The crackdown on Tibetans will last a long time and punishment will be severe," Tsering Woeser said. [...] The overseas edition of People's Daily yesterday said the Dalai Lama was stirring things up for the "Year of Tibetan Independence". "The Dalai clique has yet to see clearly that they are just pawns for the interests of a 'godfather' and his ilk. They will always be discarded ruthlessly when they are no longer any use," it said. Another commentary in Global Times, an affiliate to People's Daily, said the Tibetan issue was a pawn being used by the United States to interfere in China's domestic affairs. "These self-immolations make us aware that the US will play the card to disturb China's development, and the interaction between the Dalai group and some Western forces will continue to lead to the ruin of lives," it said. China Daily said: "Since Dharamsala and the 14th Dalai Lama have been crying for 'human rights' for fellow Tibetans, they may want to share their thoughts on the human rights of those who have been taught and helped to kill themselves.". ^ top ^

Chinese, U.S. parties pledge to enhance communication, promote ties (Xinhua)
2012-12-11
Chinese and U.S. political parties pledged on Monday to enhance communication on issues of common concern to promote China-U.S. relations. Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, made the pledge at the fifth high-level dialogue between the CPC and the Democratic and Republican parties of the United States. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Williamson, representing the Democratic and the Republican parties, respectively, attended the dialogue. China values the China-U.S. relationship and hopes to work with the U.S. government, political parties and civil society to promote the all-around development of their cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit, Wang said. Wang briefed the U.S. side on the 18th CPC National Congress and explained China's future goals, ideas and measures for development. [...] China will play a more active role in international affairs, shoulder its responsibilities and make more contributions to global peace and development, Wang said. The U.S. side said China's sustainable and stable development is important for the safety and prosperity of the United States and the world. The two countries should put U.S.-China relations, the world's most important bilateral ties, on the right track and do their best to promote their sound and stable development, the U.S. representatives said. The U.S. side said the Democratic and Republican parties hoped to enhance communication with the CPC on bilateral, regional and international issues through high-level dialogues. The two sides should deepen understanding and reduce misunderstanding to contribute to the development of U.S.-China relations, they added. The high-level dialogue mechanism between the two countries' political parties was launched in March 2010. ^ top ^

China calls for comprehensive strategy to address challenges in Sahel (Xinhua)
2012-12-11
A China UN ambassador Monday urged the international community to formulate a comprehensive strategy to deal with the complex challenges facing the Sahel region. Li Baodong, China's permanent representative to the UN, made the statement at an open debate of the Security Council on the situation in the Sahel region. [...] Li noted that the key to realize the lasting peace and development in the Sahel region lies in tackling the fundamental problems, which include poverty and lack of development. "The international community, particularly the donor countries and international financial institutions, should enhance their funding and technical assistance to the countries in the region taking the achievement of the social and economic development as priority " Li said. [...] "In providing assistance to the Sahel, the international community should respect the sovereignty and independence of the regional countries, and make full use of the existing initiatives and proposals of countries in the region and regional groups," Li said. As for the crisis in Mali, Li urged the international community, on the basis of respecting the sovereignty of the country, to take fast and effective actions to help Mali deal with its multiple threats including separatism, terrorism and extremism. "We support the transitional government of Mali in promoting political process, restoring constitutional order quickly in order to safeguard the unity and territorial integrity of its country," Li said, adding that China is willing to continue to contribute to full settlement of the problems in the Sahel region at an early date. ^ top ^

Advanced patrol ship on maiden voyage near Diaoyu (Global Times)
2012-12-12
Two Chinese government ships sailed into the territorial waters of the disputed Diaoyu Islands on Tuesday, one day after a Chinese flotilla patrolled the waters near the islands, the Japanese coastguard said. The maritime surveillance vessels entered the 12-nautical-mile zone around one of the islands shortly after noon, according to AFP. It is the 15th time China's maritime surveillance ships have entered the waters off the Diaoyu Islands since Japan's decision to "nationalize" the Diaoyu Islands in September, Kyodo News reported. Japan's patrol boat sent warnings to the two surveillance ships, which were painted with the names China Marine Surveillance 50 and 56. But the two Chinese ships responded via radio communication that the Diaoyu Islands have been part of Chinese territory since ancient times, while the China Marine Surveillance 50 signaled on its electronic bulletin board that the Japanese boats should leave Chinese territorial waters immediately, according to Kyodo News. Also on Tuesday, Chinese fishery patrol ship the Yuzheng 206 left Shanghai for the East China Sea. The 5,800-ton ship, one of the largest and most advanced ships owned by China's fishery administration authority, was on its maiden voyage to protect fishing activity, according to the Xinhua News Agency. The commissioning of the Yuzheng 206 will further enhance the law enforcement capabilities of the fishery authority and has significance in terms of safeguarding the rights of Chinese fishermen and the country's maritime interests, the report said. [...]. ^ top ^

Mo Yan's Nobel speech splits public opinion (SCMP)
2012-12-12
Author Mo Yan's speech at the Nobel awards banquet in Sweden has stirred mixed reactions from the public. Some deemed it honest, while others denounced his silence on the issue of mainland censorship. In a five-minute televised speech at the Stockholm concert hall on Monday night, the 57-year-old Nobel literature prize winner stressed his humble upbringing in Gaomi city, Shandong, and described his win as "a fairy tale". [...] However, he stopped short of mentioning the controversy surrounding his selection, announced on October 10, primarily triggered by his refusal to speak out against the jailing of Nobel Peace Prize winner and dissident writer Liu Xiaobo. [...] On awards night, Germany-based Chinese artist Meng Huang staged a nude protest outside the concert hall to highlight the plight of Liu, who is serving an 11-year prison term for subversion. [...] Not long after his selection for the prize was announced, Mo said he hoped for Liu's release, but since then has refused to discuss the matter, saying that he had already said what he had to say. He also said the prize was about literature, not politics. One Chinese blogger said Mo's refusal to discuss "state affairs" meant he did not have the qualities to be a real literary master. Mainland critics also circulated partial transcripts of a Deutsche Welle interview with Perry Link, a professor of East Asian studies at Princeton University, who said politics overshadowed literature in China. Perry was quoted as saying Mo's style indicated censorship or self-censorship was at play. [...] However, others in the online community said Mo should not be forced to make a political stand. One blogger said Mo was being honest, unlike mainland officials prone to "empty talk". In a commentary yesterday, the Global Times, a tabloid affiliated to party mouthpiece People's Daily, criticised the Western media for pressuring Mo on the issue of freedom of expression in China in order to embarrass the government. ^ top ^

China urges just, peaceful and proper settlement of Syrian issue (Xinhua)
2012-12-12
China said Wednesday that it hoped all relevant parties in Syria will work to realize the just, peaceful and proper settlement of the Syrian issue. "Syria's future and destiny should be decided by the Syrian people on their own," Hong said at at a regular news briefing here. He said that the political transition process led by the Syrian people should be launched and pushed forward as soon as possible in order to achieve the just, peaceful and appropriate settlement of the issue. "China hopes all relevant parties of Syria will work towards the above-mentioned goals," Hong said. China is willing to maintain communications with relevant parties in Syria, he said. Hong voiced the country's willingness when commenting on the U.S. recognition of Syria's main opposition group. U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday recognized Syria's main opposition group as the sole "legitimate representative" of the Syrian people. ^ top ^

China overtakes US to become world's largest patent filer (SCMP)
2012-12-13
China's patent office for the first time became the world's largest last year, as the number of global patent filings continued to grow despite the sluggish economy, the UN's intellectual property agency said. Launching its World Intellectual Property Indicators 2012 report on Tuesday, Wipo said global patent filings last year swelled to a record 2.14 million and that China had dethroned the United States to take the biggest portion of the pie. China's State Intellectual Property Office (Sipo) had received a whopping 526,412 patent applications last year, a hike of 35 per cent from 2010, compared to 503,582 for the United States and 342,610 for third-place-holder Japan, the report showed. "In the 100 years before 2011, only three patent offices - Germany, Japan and the United States - had occupied the position of largest office," Wipo said. Overall, patent filings grew 7.8 per cent in 2011 compared to the year before, while patents to protect inventions ballooned 35 per cent, industrial design patent applications grew 16 per cent and trademark filings jumped 13.3 per cent, Wipo said. This growth is good news, Wipo chief Francis Gurry said in a statement, since it "indicates that companies continue to innovate despite weak economic conditions." He said about two-thirds of patent applicants obtain the precious certificate protecting their invention. ^ top ^

China maintains contact with relevant parties on DPRK satellite launch: FM (Xinhua)
2012-12-13
China said Thursday that it has made contact with all relevant parties since the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's satellite launch. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks at a daily press briefing. "China has stayed in contact with all relevant parties on the situation of the Korean Peninsula," he said. "The volatility of the situation on the Korean Peninsula is rooted in security concerns," Hong said, adding that uncertainty has been growing recently. Hong said the DPRK's satellite launch has highlighted the significance and urgency of resuming the six-party talks, which are aimed at realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "We hope all sides concerned will make concerted efforts to resume and advance the six-party talks process," he added. In response to a question on possible sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, Hong said the Chinese side holds that the Security Council's response should be "prudent and moderate" and conducive to maintaining the overall peace and stability of the peninsula instead of escalating tensions there. China will maintain close coordination with all parties, in an effort to properly handle the current situation and safeguard the peace and stability of the peninsula and the region, he said. He reiterated China's regret that the DPRK launched a satellite on Wednesday amid the universal concern of the international community, saying the DPRK is entitled to the peaceful use of outer space, which is subject to relevant UN Security Council resolutions. Hong said China has made unremitting efforts to safeguard peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and to promote the denuclearization of the peninsula, and its achievements have been widely recognized by the international community. China is ready to work with relevant parties to seek the ultimate solution to the long-lasting peace and order of the region and the peninsula, he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Japan scrambles jets to intercept Chinese plane over Diaoyu Islands (SCMP)
2012-12-14
Japan scrambled fighter jets yesterday as it accused a Chinese government plane of entering its airspace over disputed islets in the East China Sea for the first time, escalating tension between Asia's two biggest economies. Japan protested to China over the incident but China brushed that off saying the flight was "completely normal". The incident came on the same day Nanjing marked 75 years since Japanese soldiers embarked on mass killing and rape in the Chinese city. Patrol ships from the two countries have been shadowing each other in a stand-off that has raised concern that a collision could escalate into a clash. Yesterday's incident was the first time that both China and Japan had used aircraft in the dispute. "Despite our repeated warnings, Chinese government ships have entered our territorial waters for three days in an row," Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Osama Fujimura told reporters. "It is extremely regrettable that, on top of that, an intrusion into our airspace has been committed in this way," he said. Japan's military scrambled eight F-15 fighter jets, the Defence Ministry said. It was the first time a Chinese aircraft had intruded into Japan's airspace near the disputed islands, the Japan Defence Ministry said. China's state maritime agency said a marine surveillance plane had joined four Chinese vessels patrolling around the islands and the fleet had ordered Japanese boats to leave the area. "The Diaoyu islands and affiliated islands are part of China's inherent territory. China's flight over the islands is completely normal," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said. Some experts disputed that it was the first time a Chinese aircraft had flown over the area. "I don't think it was the first time, and I don't think it will be the last time," said Xu Guangyu, of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association. "Chinese fighter jets will fly to the islands on regular patrols, just like China's warships, surveillance ships and fishing boats.". ^ top ^

Xi persues better ties between China, US (China Daily)
2012-12-14
Party chief Xi Jinping called on China and the United States to "defy hardship" and "accumulate positive energy" in developing their ties, as he met with former US president Jimmy Carter on Thursday in Beijing. It was the first time that Xi has met a senior US politician since he was elected China's top political leader and head of the military last month. Analysts said that while managing China-US ties will be a major task for Xi, strategic trust between China and the US still needs more effort and can only be achieved by increasing cooperation. During the half-hour meeting, Xi told Carter, 88, that China and the US should strive to develop mutual respect and a win-win cooperative partnership. During his term as US president from 1977 to 1981, Carter personally ensured the establishment of China-US diplomatic ties. Xi's meeting with the former president was also his first with a senior US politician since the US presidential election was held in November. Under the new circumstances, the two countries should defy hardship, and adhere to the pioneering spirit of being innovative in developing their ties, Xi said. As the new leader of the country, Xi's foreign policy, especially China's ties with the US and neighboring countries, has been the focus of world attention. [...] China and the US, the world's two largest economies, have become each other's second-largest trade partners. The two have also maintained cooperation on regional hot spot issues and global affairs. Yet factors such as continuous US arms sales to Taiwan and the repetitious playing up of China's "military expansion" have increased the friction in bilateral ties from time to time. During a seminar held on Wednesday in Beijing, Carter, whose NGO, the Carter Center, has been contributing to Chinese social development for many years, said he will keep boosting communication between China and the US. In the long term, big enterprises such as General Motors Co and Coca-Cola Co, will play a more significant role in the Sino-US relationship, said Carter. He added that student exchanges and increasing tourism will also help stabilize ties. US Ambassador to China Gary Locke, who also attended the seminar, said: "We must build strategic trust, and that can only be achieved by working together in ways that will achieve real results and real benefits to the values of our people and to the international community." "Many global issues cannot and will not be resolved without cooperation and the joint partnership of the United States and China. Working in those ways, we can certainly move away from mistrust and build trust," Locke said. [...]. ^ top ^

China, Australia pledge closer military ties (Xinhua)
2012-12-14
China and Australia pledged on Thursday to strengthen their militaries ties during a meeting between the two countries' senior military officials. The pledge was made when Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Communist Party of China (CPC) met with an Australian delegation headed by David Hurley, chief of the Defense Force of Australia. The delegation is here to attend the 15th China-Australia defense strategic consultation. Xu hailed the sound development of the two countries' military relations and praised the frequent visits between the two military leaders and the progress of pragmatic cooperation in professional fields. He said China is willing to work with Australia to make greater contribution to regional peace and development. Xu also briefed Hurley on the recently concluded 18th CPC National Congress, saying that China will continue to pursue a national defense policy which is defensive in nature and commit itself to world peace and development. Hurley commended the positive results of the consultation and said the two sides exchanged views on world and regional security issues of common concern and reached important agreements. He said he hopes the two militaries will continue to communicate and promote their relations to a higher level. [...]. ^ top ^

China, U.S. hold wide-ranging defense talks
2012-12-13
China and the United States have held wide-ranging talks on defense and security at the 13th annual China-U.S. Defense Consultative Talks in the Pentagon. The talks, held Wednesday, were jointly hosted by Qi Jianguo, deputy chief of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, and Jim Miller, U.S. undersecretary of defense for policy. Officials from the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. Pacific Command, National Security Council and State Department also participated. The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on issues such as bilateral military relations, maritime security, regional and international affairs, and, in particular, on how to implement the consensus reached by the two countries' heads of state to build a new military relationship. [...] During the talks, Qi reaffirmed China's positions on such issues as Taiwan, the Diaoyu Islands and the South China Sea. He said the Chinese government takes an unwavering stand on issues concerning China's sovereign security, territorial integrity and maritime rights. During his U.S. trip, Qi had separate meetings with Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Winnefeld, and Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, as well as former senior U.S. government officials, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. ^ top ^

Domestic Policy

Police clash with thousands of rioters in south China (SCMP)
2012-12-08
Police in a south China city bordering Vietnam clashed with thousands of rioters who were protesting excessive brutality meted out to a suspected smuggler, the government and a rights group said. The incident occurred on Friday in Dongxing city in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, with rioters destroying numerous police and border patrol vehicles and clashing with security forces, local police said in microblog postings. “Five policemen were lightly injured and nine anti-smuggling vehicles were damaged... no one (else) at the scene was injured or killed,” the Fangchenggang prefecture public security bureau, which oversees Dongxing, said on its microblog site late Friday. “During the incident the police did not adopt overly violent behaviour.” According to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy, up to 10,000 people joined in the rioting and over 20 police and customs vehicles were smashed or burned. Up to 100 people were “killed or injured” during clashes, it said. Increasing numbers of anti-riot police and security forces arrived in Dongxing throughout Friday. The rioting erupted after locals on a busy Dongxing street saw a motorcyclist being treated brusquely by anti-smuggling police after crashing their vehicle into him, authorities and the centre said. “Some people in the crowd thought the motocyclist was dead and they refused to let the police vehicles leave... they began overturning and torching police cars,” officials said. Police estimated around 1,000 people were at the scene of the riot, but only a handful of people engaged in lawless behaviour. Photos posted online showed a line of overturned police and government vehicles, some on fire and a tense line of riot police confronting crowds. Calls to Dongxing government and police went unanswered Saturday. Academics estimate China saw 180,000 protests last year over a wide range of issues including corruption, government-backed land grabs, police brutality and unpaid wages. ^ top ^

New allegations against wristwatch mayor sent to Beijing (Global Times)
2012-12-10
The Sina Weibo user who posted photos showing the mayor of Lanzhou, Gansu Province, wearing expensive wristwatches said Sunday he has sent new evidence of corruption to the Central Commission for Disciplinary Inspection after the provincial government dismissed his corruption accusation against the mayor. The netizen, Zhou Lubao, who is a former army reporter from Lanzhou, told the Global Times that he felt the provincial government was covering up for the official, Yuan Zhanting. "They did not perform the investigation thoroughly or responsibly, which is why I decided to forward the evidence to the central discipline authority," Zhou told the Global Times. The Gansu Provincial Commission for Disciplinary Inspection said Saturday that Yuan, the 51-year-old mayor of Lanzhou, purchased three of the five wristwatches seen in the photos with his salary. The commission claimed that Yuan's most expensive watch is a 25,100-yuan ($4,028) Rado, while the 150,000-yuan Omega he is seen wearing is only a cheap fake. The response came after a series of photos Zhou posted on December 3 show Yuan wearing five pricey watches, including a 15,000-yuan Omega and a 20,000-yuan Vacheron Constantin. Many people online criticized the statement because it failed to explain how Yuan might have been able to afford two other expensive watches seen in the photos. [...] Neither the Gansu commission nor the mayor could be reached for comment. Zhou said he held no personal grudge against Yuan but he felt the things Yuan did were not right. ^ top ^

China's wealth gap climbs 50% over alarming level in all regions (People's Daily)
2012-12-10
The Gini coefficient was 0.61 in China in 2010, based on a survey of 8,438 households in the country by the Survey and Research Center for China Household Finance, a body set up by the Finance Research Institute of the People's Bank of China and Southwestern University of Finance and Economics. The Gini index ranges from 0, which represents perfect equality, to 1, which implies perfect inequality. Readings above 0.4 are used by analysts as a gauge of the potential for social disturbances. The index is also measured on a scale of 0 to 100. The World Bank put China's Gini index at 42.48 for 2005, the last year it published a figure for the country. "The gap is wide in all regions and both rural and urban areas," said Gan Li, a chief researcher and a professor at the university. [...] The widening inequality reflected in the Gini reading may exacerbate concerns that the benefits of economic growth averaging 10.6 percent a year over the past decade are going mainly to the rich. The report also estimated the urban jobless rate to be 8.05 percent in July this year, almost double the official figure and 0.05 percentage point higher than July last year. China's urban registered jobless rate, the only official measure of unemployment, was 4.1 percent at the end of September, unchanged from the previous eight quarters. The rate rose to a more than eight-year high of 4.3 percent in 2009 during the global financial crisis. The official data understate unemployment because they exclude millions of rural workers who migrate from one province to another to find jobs. The government set a target of keeping the urban jobless rate under 4.6 percent this year. "Raising minimum salary could lift average individual income but would also hurt employment," Gan said. He suggested the "government could take 3.8 trillion yuan from fiscal revenue and state-owned enterprises' profits to narrow the wealth gap without imposing new taxes or cutting fiscal spending." [...]. ^ top ^

China dissident Hu Jia kept at home on UN Human Rights Day (SCMP)
2012-12-10
Chinese police barred prominent dissident Hu Jia from leaving home on Monday after he proposed marking UN Human Rights Day near the home of a jailed Nobel laureate's wife, Liu Xia, who is herself under house arrest. Authorities have detained Liu Xia at home without charge since her husband Liu Xiaobo – the co-author of a human rights petition – won the 2010 peace prize. He was convicted in 2009 of inciting subversion and sentenced to 11 years in jail. Hu had posted a note on Twitter on Friday suggesting that a park near Liu Xia's home would “be a good place to hold a human rights press conference” to mark the date. But on Monday he told reporters: “The police are keeping me in my home until Tuesday to prevent me from meeting with people like you so that I will not be photographed or filmed for Human Rights Day.” Hu served three years in jail starting in 2008 after years of campaigning for civil rights, the environment and Aids patients, and has remained under surveillance since being released. Liu is one of three people to have won the Nobel award while jailed by their government, and his imprisonment elicited international condemnation. [...]. ^ top ^

Govt curbs overuse of antibiotics (Global Times)
2012-12-10
A recent health survey found that 90 percent of respondents were using antibiotics properly last year following a local government education campaign to curb overuse of the drugs, the city's health promotion authority announced Monday. [...] "Fewer residents are taking antibiotics as a panacea, or asking doctors to prescribe them when they aren't needed," Gu told the Global Times. "Doctors are reducing the amount of antibiotics they prescribe to patients due to both the campaign and a regulation issued last year that capped the amount and types of antibiotics that each doctor can prescribe." The Shanghai Municipal Health Promotion Committee interviewed 3,375 residents this year about how they use antibiotics. About 80 percent said they understand the importance of restricting their use of antibiotics, a 28 percent increase from 2010, according to a committee press release. The proportion of respondents found to be using antibiotics properly had increased from 75 percent in 2010. The average amount of antibiotics used for each patient in Shanghai's public hospitals fell by 20 percent from 2010 following the campaign, according to the press release. Still, patients in Shanghai continued to receive antibiotics at a far higher rate than the world average. About 60 percent of patients treated at local hospitals, including outpatients, were given antibiotics in 2011, according to a study by local health authorities that was published on the news website Eastday.com. Only 10 percent of patients around the world are treated with antibiotics on average, Du Wenmin, vice director of the Shanghai Clinical Center for Drug Adverse Reactions, told China Radio International. A major reason for the overuse in China comes from patients, who often insist that doctors proscribe them antibiotics regardless of whether the proscription is necessary, said Zhen Jianying, a doctor from a community health center. [...]. ^ top ^

Xi Jinping tells officials to 'accept no delay' in restructuring economy (SCMP)
2012-12-11
New Communist Party chief Xi Jinping called for officials and business executives to stay alert to the challenges faced by China's economy, during a meeting on Sunday. A source said Xi visited the 124th division of the 42nd Group Army in Luofushan, Huizhou city, yesterday. Xi's late father, Xi Zhongxun, served as a political commissar of the Guangzhou military district in the late '70s. Xi is also expected to visit a Li Zhengtian a philosopher and dissident in the Cultural Revolution and who was imprisoned for calling for democracy and the rule of law. Li, now a professor at the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, was rehabilitated by Xi's father, Xi Zhongxun. In the first official report on Xi's southern tour, Xinhua said Xi met local officials and business chiefs from state-owned and private companies and stressed that the restructuring of the economy "admits no delay" if China is not to lose out internationally. Xinhua did not mention other activities on Xi's southern tour. Xi was quoted as saing: "We should acknowledge the economic and social achievements we have made so far this year and recognise the long-term fundamentals will remain sound … meanwhile, we should recognise that adverse domestic and overseas effects will be long-term, complicated and winding. We should not run from conflicts and cover up problems." [...] Xi is expected to visit Professor Li during his stay in Guangzhou, two independent sources said. In 1974 Li was among a group of intellectuals who posted a big-character poster titled "On socialist democracy and rule of law" in Guangzhou under the pseudonym Li Yizhe during the Cultural Revolution. They were rehabilitated in late 1978 thanks to the efforts of then Guangdong party chief Xi Zhongxun. Li, 70, said he had a good impression of Xi as he had inherited "precious traditions" from revolutionaries. "Xi Jinping spent many years as a sent-down youth, where he went through many hardships. And his fate has been closely linked with major historical events of this country," Li said. "So I really hope he'd dare to speak out and take actions, just like his father did, and listen to public sentiment." Professor Yuan Weishi, a historian at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, said the meeting, if it happened, would send an extremely positive signal for future political reform. ^ top ^

Xinhua's Twitter account stirs uproar among China's weibo users (SCMP)
2012-12-11
The cat's out of the bag. Chinese netizens are now aware that the Xinhua state news agency has been posting on Twitter since March despite China's “Great Fire Wall” and its attempts to block the popular Western micro-blogging service. The presence of the official press agency of the Communist Party on Twitter has sparked discussions among Chinese web users, many of whom discovered its existence only after a report by the Southern Metropolis Daily surfaced on Tuesday. As of Tuesday, Xinhua's official account has more than 5,500 followers with 3,000 tweets. But the number of people it's following? Zero. The most frequently asked question by China's netizens is: why is Xinhua allowed to use Tweeter, but not us? “I am going to report this to the police: Xinhua is obviously breaching our internet laws,” said a netizen on Sina Weibo, China's micro-blogging service. “Xinhua has proved itself a traitor who has chosen an evil path,” said another Weibo user in an ironic tone, referring to a speech given by President Hu Jintao. Hu had said in his speech at the 18th party congress that “we reject both the old and rigid closed-door path and the evil path of shifting banners”. The phrase “evil path” has since become a hot word among China's internet users. Other people question why Xinhua has kept a low profile about its Twitter presence. “Why does Xinhua have to act like it's a big secret?” said a Weibo user. [...] Another curious fact many people have noticed is Xinhua is following zero people on Twitter. “Why are you not following anyone?” said Zhiying Zhang, a Twitter user. Xinhua hasn't made any replies. [...] Xinhua initially followed more than 400 people on Twitter, but has gradually “unfollowed” all of them since October, said the South Metropolis Daily. The reason remains unclear. [...]. ^ top ^

Public rage over huge Jinan govt offices (Global Times)
2012-12-12
Experts and members of the public have reacted with anger to a report that the office building of the Jinan government in East China's Shandong Province is the second largest office building in the world, second only to the Pentagon in size. People's Daily Online reported Tuesday that the Long'ao Building in Jinan, the capital city of Shandong, where the city's government agencies are located, covers a floorage of 370,000 square meters, making it the largest government workplace in China and also the largest single building in Asia. The news attracted over 7,000 comments on Sina Weibo, mostly from people expressing their opposition to such extravagance. "This indicates that government officials have excessive power in their hands but lack supervision and constraints. With such extravagance, the public will become disappointed and lose their trust for the government," Zhu Lijia, a public management professor with the Chinese Academy of Governance, told the Global Times. There are some 40 elevators inside the building costing 4 billion yuan ($640 million) and up to 45,000 telephones and information outlets. Some of the corridors are a kilometer in length. [...] An online introduction says that the 15-floor building contains around 3,600 offices that can accommodate 6,000 people, equivalent to more than 60 square meters for each person working there. A document on standards for government office buildings released by the National Development and Reform Commission in 2009 specifies that the office area for minister-level officials should not be more than 54 square meters. [...]. ^ top ^

Green card holders to get same rights as Chinese (Global Times)
2012-12-12
A new regulation will allow foreigners who have obtained permanent residence in China to enjoy equal rights and shoulder the same duties as Chinese nationals, with the only exception being political rights and duties, according to a statement from the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security (MHRSS). Meanwhile, the Global Times learned that the authority is mulling lowering the threshold for foreigners to obtain permanent residence cards, including lowering the requirements for senior professional titles and the amount of investment in China. The regulation, jointly drawn up by 25 ministerial-level departments, calls for permanent foreign residents to be granted national treatment in terms of employment, doing business, purchasing homes and obtaining an education for their children, Xinhua reported. The regulation states that the children of foreigners, who possess permanent residence cards, will be able to enjoy nine-year free compulsory education in their place of residence. Permanent foreign residents will also be able to enjoy social insurance and purchase homes using publicly accumulated housing funds, the regulation says. [...] According to a proposed amendment to the application criteria obtained by the Global Times, the authority is considering allowing foreigners who have worked in China for 10 consecutive years with a good tax-paying record and stable life and residence to receive green cards. The previous policy demanded that applicants hold positions higher than deputy general manager, deputy factory manager, associate professor and assistant researcher for more than four years at organizations such as government agencies, universities and high-tech enterprises. It also proposed lowering the threshold of foreign applicants' investment in China to $1 million from $2 million. [...]. ^ top ^

Xi orders PLA to intensify combat awareness (Xinhua)
2012-12-12
General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee Xi Jinping has ordered the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to intensify its "real combat" awareness in order to sustain military readiness. According to a press release issued by military authorities on Wednesday, Xi made the remarks during an inspection conducted from Dec. 8 to 10 at the PLA's Guangzhou military theater of operations, a term usually used to emphasize the coordination and joint operations by forces in air, land and sea. [...] Xi asked PLA officers and non-commissioned officers to adopt real combat criteria in military training and intensify such awareness among soldiers. Xi also reaffirmed the PLA's core task of improving its abilities to wage regional wars in the Information Age and conduct diversified military operations. "Bear in mind that it is the soul of the military to obey the command of the Party without compromise, it is the top priority for the military to be able to combat and win battles, and it is fundamental that the military consolidate itself through governing the troops lawfully and austerely, so as to reinforce its development featuring loyalty to the Party, modernization and standardization," Xi told officers above the division level of the garrison troops in Guangzhou. Wearing an army-green Mao suit during his inspection, Xi boarded a PLA Navy destroyer, the Haikou, and had dinner with sailors on the warship. He also examined an armored vehicle and observed a military drill. [...] "The PLA should unconditionally implement the principles to govern the military lawfully and austerely, train the troops through strict discipline, always focus on grassroots units and further improve fighting capabilities," Xi said. Xi urged the PLA to uphold the great banner of socialism with Chinese characteristics, take Deng Xiaoping Theory, the "Three Represents" and the Scientific Outlook on Development as a guide, deeply implement the main theme and guideline on the development of national defense and the Army, and seriously implement the strategic arrangements on national defense made by the CPC's 18th National Congress. He showed his firm belief that on the way to realize the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, the heroic PLA must carry forward the cause and forge ahead into the future and effectively implement the historic mission. [...]. ^ top ^

Naughty pics cost another official his post after photos posted online (Global Times)
2012-12-13
A discipline inspection official from the health bureau in Linzhou, Henan Province, has been suspended from his position and is now under investigation after three photos showing him cuddling with a naked woman were released online earlier this month, the city's commission for discipline inspection confirmed to the Global Times Wednesday. The pictures of Feng Xilin, 45, who is also a member of the bureau's Party committee, were posted anonymously online. The poster also claimed Feng is a home wrecker, and accused him of destroying several families and keeping mistresses. The bureau told Zhengzhou-based Dahe Daily that the woman in the photo is a doctor at a local hospital, who married Feng two days after the scandal was exposed. Both Feng and the woman were divorced. The official from the city's commission, surnamed Wang, told the Global Times that results of the investigation will be published soon. The health bureau could not be reached for comment as of press time. [...] The Beijing Times reported Wednesday that as of Monday, there had been 39 cases involving corrupt officials exposed through online posts in the last five years, of which 19 came this year. Of the 39 cases, one third involved inappropriate sexual relationships. ^ top ^

China's ecological footprint unsustainable, says WWF (Global Times)
2012-12-13
The per-capita ecological footprint of China has exceeded the global sustainability threshold and is more than double of the available per capita biocapacity in the country, the 2012 edition of WWF's China Ecological Footprint Report stated Wednesday. The biennial survey shows that although China's per capita ecological footprint, the demand the country places on the natural environment, is lower than the global average, the nation is already consuming 2.5 times its biocapacity, the capacity to regenerate natural resources and absorb carbon emissions. The report says carbon remains the largest component of China's overall ecological footprint. Only a small portion of this comes from direct consumption of fuel or electricity in households or of gasoline for transport. The vast majority is made up of indirect emissions, embodied in consumer goods and services, which account for up to 90 percent of the carbon footprint in some regions. The drivers of the average Chinese person's ecological footprint have also changed, with a significant turning point coming in 1985, when growth rates of per capita consumption outstripped production efficiency, said the report. "Of all the demands China is now placing on its environment, carbon emissions are having the biggest impact. The country needs innovative solutions to reduce its carbon footprint. Production efficiency needs to improve, and consumers need to shift their choice to low footprint products," said Li Lin, deputy country representative of WWF China. The report shows that rapid urbanization is having a big impact on China's footprint, with urban areas registering much higher per capita footprints than rural areas across all provinces in the mainland. [...]. ^ top ^

Vice Premier pledges "ecological progress" (Xinhua)
2012-12-13
Vice Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Wednesday to build a "modernized China" featuring ecological progress by exploring new ways of development. "As the whole world pays attention to the environment and development, China is working in an active way as well," Li said as he addressed this year's annual general meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development. Li said ecological progress has been given even more importance in China's modernization drive as blueprinted during the 18th national congress of the Communist Party of China, which concluded last month. To achieve the goal of building a moderately prosperous society, China needs not only industrial civilization, but also ecological progress, Li said, adding that the country should break a "bottleneck" created by resources constraints and transform the current means of development. He said the problems caused in the process of development should in turn be resolved through development. "You cannot buy or borrow a good ecological balance," said the vice premier, adding that China is pursuing sustainable development and the country's industrialization and urbanization should be based on ecological progress. According to Li, China will invest 3.4 trillion yuan (544 billion U.S. dollars) in environment protection in the five-year period from 2011 to 2015. During his address, Li also urged all the Chinese people to make joint efforts to protect the environment and build a beautiful homeland. [...] "We will continue to shoulder our international obligations and work with all other sides to advance the sustainable development of mankind in accordance with the principles of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities, and respective capabilities," he vowed. [...]. ^ top ^

Party dismisses Sichuan official Li Chuncheng over graft (SCMP)
2012-12-14
The anti-corruption drive launched by the nation's newly installed leadership yesterday formally claimed its highest-level victim with the firing of a senior provincial official. The Communist Party's personnel office confirmed that Li Chuncheng had been removed as deputy party secretary of Sichuan province and dismissed from the Central Committee following state media reports this week that he was guilty of influence-peddling and questionable real estate deals. The personnel office said only that Li was fired, for disciplinary violations it did not specify. Li's downfall was unexpected and swift, coming less than a month after the 18th party congress named him as a non-voting member of the Central Committee, a position that usually marks one as a member of the political elite. But the timing and the target appear intended to underscore the new leadership's determination to root out the widespread graft that has disgusted the public and undermined the party's legitimacy. "Opposing corruption is becoming an extremely important part of Chinese politics because the Communist Party must win the hearts of people that are already fed up with the corruption of the officials," said Liu Shanying, a politics researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Li Chuncheng is the first ministerial level official fired after the party congress, but he is definitely not the last one," Liu said. "It's possible that more officials at his level or even higher will be dealt with." The new leadership took office last month, calling the elimination of corruption an urgent matter of survival for the party. In the weeks since, several low-level officials have been ousted, among them a small city police chief for keeping twin sisters as mistresses and a big city district party secretary after a video surfaced showing him having sex with a woman allegedly sent by construction company executives hoping to blackmail him. Li is suspected of corruption on a much larger scale. He is suspected of buying and selling official positions and, as a senior official in the city of Chengdu and later Sichuan province, steering real estate deals in return for favours. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Rare Beijing protest takes aim at high-speed rail project (SCMP)
2012-12-09
Authorities in Beijing allowed a rare protest to take place on Sunday against a new high-speed rail line, with about 300 demonstrators shouting slogans disrupting traffic in a busy eastern suburb. Residents told reporters they were concerned the new line from Beijing to the northeastern city of Shenyang would run too close to their apartments and local schools, causing excess noise and electromagnetic radiation. They also complained the government had refused to listen to their concerns and accused them of faking an environmental impact assessment. “I only knew this line was planned two weeks ago when I got a letter from the government thanking me for my support,” said a protester who gave her family name as Zhang. “But neither me nor any of the other residents support this. They are inventing things.” Government officials were not available for comment. Police allowed the largely middle-class protesters to march down a main road, where they briefly blocked an intersection shouting “down with the high-speed line” and “change the route”. They peacefully dispersed later in the afternoon. The stability-obsessed ruling Communist Party is wary of any protests, especially in the capital Beijing, and often detain demonstrators or break up protests before they reach critical mass. The party worries that the tens of thousands of sporadic protests over land grabs, corruption, environmental problems and economic grievances that break out every year could coalesce into a national movement and threaten its control. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

Shanghai visa plan 'set to boost visitor numbers' (China Daily)
2012-12-10
Shanghai hopes to cement its burgeoning reputation as a global tourist hotspot by allowing visitors to spend three days in the city without a visa. As a new year commences, citizens from 45 countries will be permitted a 72-hour visa-free stay inside the "administrative area" of Shanghai, the municipal government said on Sunday. [...] The new policy, approved by the State Council, comes four days after Beijing officially announced a similar program, the first city to do so. That will also be introduced on Jan 1. Shanghai already had a program allowing visitors from 32 countries a 48-hour visa-free stay. [...] While the city's outbound travel has been enjoying double-digit growth in recent years, inbound tourism fell last year, but there are signs it is picking up. In 2011, the number of foreign tourists visiting Shanghai reached 8.18 million, a 4 percent drop from the previous year that saw the successful hosting of the 2010 World Expo. But it is expected that in 2012 the number of inbound overseas travelers will rise to 8.25 million, a 3 percent increase. [...] The notice issued by the municipal government said the city's two airports, Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport and Shanghai Pudong International Airport, will set up a special channel for visitors entitled to visa exemption. More details will be released. ^ top ^

 

Guangdong

Guangdong requires asset info (Global Times)
2012-12-10
Three regions in Guangdong Province have been selected as a pilot project requiring Party and government officials to report and disclose their assets, as the province implements its anti-graft plan. Hengqin New District of Zhuhai, Nansha New District of Guangzhou, and Shixing county of Shaoguan, became the first areas in Guangdong Province to implement the pilot program, which will require Party and government officials to disclose their assets, "within a certain scope". This is also an important part of the province's five-year Party disciplinary plan, reported the China Business Journal on Saturday. Authorities of all three locales were unreachable for comment on Sunday. Hengqin and Nansha are new districts which enjoy national economic preferential policies aimed at boosting cooperative development between Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao, while Shixing is a provincial poverty-stricken county. The three areas already have some asset-disclosure policies, and are considered to have a better foundation for implementing the pilot project. [...] Requiring party and government officials to report and disclose their assets has become a constant social request as it is seen as a means to curb corruption. However, curbing graft cannot rely solely on a single policy, say experts. Xu Xianglin, professor of the School of Government with Peking University, told the Global Times Sunday that asset disclosure requires an institutional guarantee and detailed practicality. It is essential to set up baselines on the subjects, conditions and scopes of the disclosure, as well as strong inspection, investigation and judicial measures to verify the validity of the published information. "It would be best to disclose assets of officials who are newly appointed, especially those high-level, competitive posts," said Xu. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

First arrests for inciting Tibetan self-immolations since crime ruled murder (SCMP)
2012-12-10
Police detained a monk and his nephew in Sichuan province and accused them of instigating the self-immolations of eight ethnic Tibetans on the instructions of the Dalai Lama and his followers, state media reported yesterday. Xinhua did not detail what evidence police had of the exiled spiritual leader's involvement - which was denied by the self-declared Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India. The report cited a police statement as saying that confessions and an investigation showed that the detained monk, Lorang Konchok, 40, from Kirti monastery in Sichuan's Aba county, kept in contact with supporters of the Dalai Lama overseas and had recruited eight volunteers for self-immolation since 2009. Three of the protesters died, it said. The statement said Lorang Konchok collected photos and personal information of volunteers who agreed to go ahead with the protests. "He also promised to spread their 'deeds' abroad so they and their families would be acknowledged and honoured," it said. The monk's nephew, Lorang Tsering, 31, helped recruit volunteers and was also arrested, the report said. [...] The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India, said it "strongly denied" any accusations of involvement by its representatives or the Dalai Lama. "We believe that [the suspects] have been forced to make these confessions," spokesman Lobsang Choedak said. "We would welcome the Chinese government investigating whether we are instigating these immolations." Police in Sichuan declined to comment on the case. [...] A spokeswoman from the London-based group Free Tibet said there had been no evidence that self-immolation happened in a co-ordinated way. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Police chief in Chinese city sacked over mistress scandal (Xinhua)
2012-12-09
A police chief in northwest China has been removed from the post as he is being investigated for allegedly keeping a pair of twin sisters as mistresses, local authorities confirmed Sunday. Qi Fang, director of public security bureau of Wusu City, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, has been embroiled in the sex scandal since earlier this week. He was sacked on Saturday, the Tacheng prefecture committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) announced. Qi was accused of abusing power to give jobs to twin sisters he has been keeping as mistresses. The informer's post and the photo of two scantly-clad girls in bed quickly became a hit before they were removed from iyaxin.com, one of the largest Internet portals in Xinjiang. The post also claims that Qi rent a high-end apartment unit for the sisters in downtown Wusu and reimbursed the rent as an official expense. An official with Tacheng prefecture committee on Sunday said that "part of the online allegations" were true but many claims and details "remain unverified." But the official did not elaborate on what allegations had been verified. Qi assumed the police chief post in June last year. He is the latest to fall in China's sweeping "cyber- anti-corruption" drive that has notably been gathering steam since the 18th National Congress of the CPC held in November. A handful of officials have been removed from their posts for being caught in sex tape shots, keeping mistresses, and owning large number of properties. All the allegations were exposed on the Internet and the authorities responded with serious probes in relatively short time -- in one case, the sacking came in some 60 hours after the Internet post first appeared. [...]. ^ top ^

Three Uygurs sentenced to death over alleged hijacking of plane in Xinjiang (SCMP)
2012-12-12
Three men were sentenced to death and another to life in prison yesterday over an alleged hijacking attempt in June by Uygurs in Xinjiang. Charges against the men included organising, leading and taking part in a terrorist organisation, and using explosives, Xinhua said, citing the Intermediate People's Court in Hotan, where the incident occurred. It said the four confessed and did not contest the charges. In total, six Uygurs were arrested for the alleged hijack attempt. Two later died from injuries sustained while fighting the crew and passengers. An overseas rights group says it was a brawl over a seat dispute, not an attempted hijacking. Xinhua said the men had prepared for months, hoping to divert the plane overseas or blow it up in the process. Shortly after take-off, they rose from their seats shouting "religious extremist slogans" and attacked the cockpit with pieces of a metal crutch that had been broken apart and sharpened at the ends, it said, adding that they were subdued by air crew and other passengers while trying to light explosives, and the plane returned to Hotan. [...] Dilxat Raxit of the World Uygur Congress said locals had told him that the defendants' court-appointed lawyers failed to properly defend them, calling for an independent investigation. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Poverty Commission set to define poverty line (SCMP)
2012-12-10
A recognised poverty line for Hong Kong should emerge after the Commission on Poverty's inaugural meeting today, a member of the body said. "It's a fairly agreed-on consensus already. It's best to not waste time arguing over it," Oxfam Hong Kong director general Stephen Fisher said. Fisher, former director of social welfare, said all necessary statistics were already available, and were refreshed every quarter, so no additional government expenditure on research would be needed to calculate the figures. Apart from tackling the poverty line, the first meeting is expected to cover the basic ground rules with "nothing new, but all necessary", Fisher said. He hoped the commission would be able to make concrete suggestions to the government, then press it into action. The previous commission was disbanded after two years, and a report in 2007 had little impact on the policies of then-chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen's administration. The current commission is headed by chief secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, and comprises four officials and 18 non-official members, including Fisher. Fisher said he was concerned that as the political turmoil surrounding the administration had affected its policies and programmes, it might also impact on poverty-alleviation plans. [...] Fisher said the new commission might be able to achieve more than its predecessor, being headed by the chief secretary instead of the financial secretary. He said the financial secretary cared mainly about economic aspects while Carrie Lam was serious about poverty alleviation "and making necessary policy changes to move it along". [...] The largest group affected by poverty were the elderly, he said, followed by the working poor - those who have jobs but don't make enough to live on, especially single mothers and members of ethnic minorities. Another group are the victims of inter-generational poverty - children who grow up poor tend to also become poor. ^ top ^

Hong Kong up 26 places in list of costliest cities for expats (SCMP)
2012-12-13
Hong Kong has risen to become the 32nd most expensive city for foreign employees, surpassing Manhattan and Paris, in a survey of 400 locations. Even so, companies were not letting up on staff expansions in the city, because of its proximity to the mainland, human resources company ECA International found in its study. [...] Hong Kong rose from its global ranking of 58th a year ago. Yet it remained in ninth place compared with other cities in Asia, the same as last year. "Hong Kong remains regionally competitive," Lee Quane, ECA regional director of Asia, said yesterday. Manhattan and Paris were ahead of Hong Kong last year, but their rankings of 36th and 42nd this time put them behind it. Goods and services in Hong Kong were 6.7 per cent more expensive than a year earlier, the survey showed. [...] Beijing and Shanghai were even costlier, shooting up at least 13 places to rank 22nd and 26th, respectively. Price inflation in the basket of goods on the mainland stood at 5 per cent, much higher than in North America and Europe. That led to several Chinese cities becoming more expensive than traditionally costly places such as Paris. But it does not seem to have stopped companies from sending employees to Hong Kong or the mainland. "More companies are increasing their staff numbers there," Quane said. [...] The survey is carried out twice a year and does not cover items often included in expatriate packages, such as rent and schooling. The basket of goods includes groceries, drinks, tobacco, clothing and electrical goods. [...]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong chief executive survives no-confidence challenge (SCMP)
2012-12-13
Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying last night survived the first attempt in the legislature to get him out of the top job amid reluctant support from pro-establishment lawmakers. After five hours of debate, a motion of no confidence - moved by Democratic Party's Wu Chi-wai - was voted down before midnight after being defeated 20-9 in the functional constituency, but passed 18-14 by directly elected lawmakers. In order to succeed the motion had to be passed by both constituencies. The non-binding motion was the first of some tough challenges facing Leung after controversies surrounding the illegal structures at his home on The Peak sparked criticisms of his integrity. A resolution to invoke Legco's power and privilege ordinance to launch a special investigation will be tabled next week. Preparations for an impeachment are also under way. In addition to the pan-democrats, only two independent lawmakers from the pro-establishment camp, Lam Tai-fai and Paul Tse Wai-chun, voted for the motion. [...] Liberal Party lawmaker James Tien Pei-chun said they had decided to give Leung a chance. "Who will take the top job if Leung steps down? It is a difficult decision but we do it [the abstention] for the sake of Hong Kong." Tien also warned that the party could call on him to step down if Leung failed to deliver in two years, echoing a suggestion raised by Tse in Monday's question-and-answer session. [...] The Beijing-loyalist Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong was the only party which supported Leung without reservation. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan forum aiming for better cross-strait communication (SCMP)
2012-12-11
A high-profile forum involving some 200 cross-strait experts and officials from the mainland as well as Taiwan's ruling and opposition parties kicked off in Taipei yesterday. The forum's host, Chang Ya-chung, president of the Taipei-based Chinese Integration Association, said the event, the first since the Communist Party changed its leadership after its national congress in Beijing last month, would serve as a communication platform for the island's ruling Kuomintang and the main opposition Democratic Progressive Party as well as the Communist Party to exchange views on cross-strait relations. "It is to urge the two sides to take note of the importance of full mutual recognition and trust," Chang said at the opening of the two-day event. It had originally been scheduled for July but was called off due to Taipei's objection to the participation of "too many" retired generals from the mainland. [...] Sun Yafu, vice-chairman of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (Arats), admitted that it would not be an easy task to seek mutual recognition, given the differences in the economic, political, cultural and social development of the two sides in the past century. The mainland is aware that most Taiwanese do not know what is happening on the mainland or have misunderstandings about it, he said, speaking as director of the mainland's Research Centre on Cross-strait Relations. [...] "It is an objective fact that before the two sides resolve their political disputes, they still have different interpretations of 'one China', but this also means there is a common point and connecting point in the views of 'one China' by the two sides," Sun said. He told reporters later that he and his Arats colleagues - who also attended the forum in unofficial capacities - had not come to Taipei to push for political dialogue. "Given the political differences, it would be difficult to achieve consensus all at once, yet through this forum I can still sense that political issues are still discussable in Taiwan," he said. [...]. ^ top ^

Taiwan debates barring holders of new China passports (SCMP)
2012-12-13
Taiwan will discuss whether to deny entry to holders of new Chinese passports with maps showing two of the island's most famous spots as part of Chinese territory, a top official said on Thursday. Wang Yu-chi, chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council which is the top China policy-making body, told parliament that relevant government units will review the matter within a week. Opposition lawmakers have demanded the government bar Chinese visitors who use the new computer-chipped passports bearing a map that covers Sun Moon Lake and Cingshui Cliff, both popular tourist destinations in Taiwan. Taiwan has protested the controversial new passports, with President Ma Ying-jeou calling on Beijing not to “unilaterally damage the status quo of the hard-fought stability” between the two sides. Beijing still regards Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary, even though the island has ruled itself since the end of a civil war in 1949. Beijing also infuriated its southern neighbours with the new passports showing various islands in the South China Sea as being in its territory despite overlapping sovereignty claims. [...] Beijing has tried to downplay the diplomatic fallout, with the foreign ministry arguing the maps were “not made to target any specific country”. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China's November inflation rises to 2% (Xinhua)
2012-12-09
China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, grew 2 percent year on year in November, the National Bureau of Statistics announced Sunday. The inflation rate rose from a 33-month low of 1.7 percent in October as food prices increased. On a month-on-month basis, November's CPI rose 0.1 percent from the previous month, according to a statement posted on the website of the NBS. "The November growth rate was largely attributable to a surge in food costs," said Wang Jun, an expert with the China Center for International Economic Exchanges. Food prices, which account for nearly one-third of the weighting in the calculation of China's CPI, rose 3 percent in November from one year earlier, pushing the index up 0.95 percentage points. Vegetable prices jumped 11.3 percent year on year in November as cold weather disrupted supplies, pushing the CPI up 0.27 percentage points. Prices for aquatic products gained 4.9 percent from one year earlier, according to the statement. Excluding food prices, China's CPI edged up 1.6 percent. Wang forecast that China's economy will expand by 7.8 percent in 2012 and that the CPI will reach around 2.8 percent for the entire year, well below the government's target of keeping inflation under 4 percent. [...] In the first 11 months, the CPI grew 2.7 percent year on year on average, marking a decline from the 3.3-percent rise in the first half of the year. The NBS said in the same release that China's producer price index (PPI), which measures inflation at the wholesale level, fell 2.2 percent year on year in November. It marked the ninth straight month of decline after the PPI dropped in March for the first time since December 2009. However, the decline was smaller than the 2.8-percent decrease in October, indicating that the economy has been stabilizing. [...]. ^ top ^

Trade sees surprise slump (Global Times)
2012-12-11
China's exports and imports growth slowed to an unexpected pace in November, amid global economic uncertainties, customs data showed Monday, making the country unable to meet its annual trade target. In November, China's exports grew 2.9 percent year-on-year, far below September's growth rate of 9.9 percent and October's 11.6 percent, the General Administration of Customs said Monday on its website. The imports growth rate for the month remained flat year-on-year. The data represented the weakest trade performance of the world's second largest economy since August. "China's lackluster exports showed the weak recovery in overseas demand and the unchanged import rate represented sluggish domestic demand," Chen Hufei, a senior macroeconomic analyst at the Bank of Communications in Shanghai, told the Global Times Monday. The US faces "fiscal cliff" negotiations and the eurozone crisis has yet to be solved, Chen said, noting that the weak demand in these developed economies has also negatively affected growth and demand in emerging economies. In November, China's exports to the US fell 2.6 percent year-on-year, the first decline in 21 months and exports to the EU declined by 18 percent. During the same period, trade growth between China and major emerging economies slackened from double digits to single digits. For example, China's exports to Brazil in November grew only 0.7 percent year-on-year, much slower than the 26.4 percent pace experienced a year earlier. The slowdown in trade growth in November was partly caused by the large trade figures recorded one year earlier, but in fact, both exports and imports increased in November compared with the previous month, Li Jian, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation under the Ministry of Commerce, told the Global Times. [...] "However, it is impossible for China to achieve its 10 percent annual target for trade growth, as external demand is unlikely to see a big rebound in the next few months," Li said. In the first 11 months of 2012, China's foreign trade rose 5.8 percent year-on-year, customs data showed. Li noted that China's trade is expected to grow 6 to 7 percent throughout the rest of 2012 and would continue to have slow growth in 2013. [...] The country saw a seven-quarter-low GDP growth of 7.4 percent in the third quarter and is expected to grow 7.5 percent throughout the year, the slowest in more than a decade. China's economic slowdown was largely caused by withering external demand, as China relies heavily on exports, which accounted for more than one quarter of GDP in 2011, Yao Jingyuan, former chief economist with the National Bureau of Statistics, told a forum Sunday. "However, for a big economy like China, economic growth should not basically rely on external demand," Yao said, noting that China's rising costs in raw materials and labor as well as the appreciation of the yuan have made exports even more difficult. The previous growth pattern can't be sustained and China needs to achieve future growth by boosting domestic consumption, Yao noted. ^ top ^

China's fiscal revenues rise 21.9 pct in November (Xinhua)
2012-12-11
China's fiscal revenues grew 21.9% year-on-year to 787.1 billion yuan (about 125.12 billion U.S. dollars) in November, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said Tuesday. The growth rate was higher than the 13.7% rate recorded in October, according to the MOF data. The ministry said the sharp increase was mainly caused by a lower comparison base last year. On a month-on-month basis, fiscal revenues in November were down 257.3 billion yuan. Last month, incomes for central government grew by 17.9% year-on-year to 367.2 billion yuan, while that of local governments was up 25.6% to 419.9 billion yuan. Tax revenues, the main source of the government's income, rose 21.1% from a year earlier to 676 billion yuan last month. During the first 11 months, fiscal revenues totaled 10.89 trillion yuan, a rise of 11.9% year-on-year. But the rate was down from the 26.8% growth in the same period of last year, the ministry said. It attributed the lower growth rate to the economic slowdown, declines in corporate profits, eased consumer inflation and government structural tax reduction efforts. In November, government fiscal expenditure rose 6.7% from a year earlier to 1.22 trillion yuan, sending the total spending in the first 11 months to 10.49 trillion yuan, according to the ministry. ^ top ^

Yuan loans down, recovery still on track (SCMP)
2012-12-12
The amount of yuan-denominated new loans from mainland lenders was lower than expected in November, but analysts said the central bank's accommodative monetary policy remained unchanged and would keep the country's economy on track for recovery. Fresh loans last month came to 522.9 billion yuan (HK$644.1 billion), down 7.1 per cent, or 40 billion yuan, from a year earlier. But the figure was 3.5 per cent more than October's 505.2 billion yuan, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) said yesterday. Total bank lending was lower than the 550 billion yuan median estimate of 30 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. New lending reached 7.75 trillion yuan in the first 11 months of this year, an increase of 13.5 per cent, or 919 billion yuan, from the year-earlier period. Outstanding yuan deposits at the end of November totalled 90.16 trillion yuan, up 13.4 per cent from a year earlier. Monetary policy remained positive and the new lending for this year was on course to meet government targets of 8 trillion yuan, ANZ senior economist Raymond Yeung said. "New lending has become less important in the social financing, with other financing tools, such as corporate bonds, to bolster economic growth," Yeung said. The Australia and New Zealand Banking Group forecast China's economy to grow in the fourth quarter at 8 per cent, after a 7.4 per cent increase in the third quarter. Yeung said he expected annual growth to accelerate to 8.1 per cent for 2013. Total social financing, a broader measure of funding that includes bank loans, reached 1.14 trillion yuan in November, a 19.2 per cent, or 183.7 billion yuan, increase from 2011, although the figure was down from October's 1.29 trillion yuan, the PBOC said. Corporate bond financing, which amounted to 181.7 billion yuan in November, accounted for about 16 per cent of total social financing, while new yuan loans made up about 46 per cent, down from more than 58 per cent last year. China's M2 measure of money supply - the broadest measure of money supply - reached 94.48 trillion yuan at the end of November, an increase of 14 per cent from a year earlier, the PBOC said. Ma Jun, Deutsche Bank's greater China chief economist, expects new loans this month to reach 500 billion yuan to 600 billion yuan, bringing the total for this year to 8.3 trillion yuan to 8.4 trillion yuan, exceeding the official target. Total new lending last year was 7.47 trillion yuan. The central bank might set next year's new lending target at 8 trillion yuan, a report by China Securities Journal said yesterday, citing an unnamed banker. Ma is more optimistic about next year's loan growth, expecting a 13 per cent to 14 per cent increase in new lending over 2012. "The central bank will maintain a 'stable' monetary policy. It doesn't even need to cut interest rates [to boost lending] as the economy is picking up," he said. Deutsche Bank expected inflation to reach 4 per cent by next year's end, increasing chances of rate rises not cuts, he added. Zhang Zhiwei, from Nomura, said total social financing would stay strong at 1.2 trillion yuan this month. ^ top ^

China's economy to pick up in 2013 (China Daily)
2012-12-13
China's economy is likely to grow by 7.7 percent this year and accelerate to around 8.5 percent in 2013 partly due to the nation's pro-growth policies, according to a report released Wednesday. The country's economy will continue to be affected by many negative factors in the near future, including the faltering recovery of the global economy, strict property curbs and excessive production capacity, the National Academy of Economic Strategy under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said in the report. China's gross domestic product will grow by about 7.7 percent in 2012, the report forecast. The economy will gain steam and expand by around 8.5 percent next year due to favorable factors such as the effects of China's pro-growth policies and recovering external demand, the report said. To buoy the slowing economy, the government has rolled out an array of measures this year, including two cuts to benchmark interest rates, the easing of banks' reserve requirements and the approval of infrastructure projects worth more than 1 trillion yuan ($158.7 billion). China's economy expanded 7.4 percent year-on-year in the third quarter, slowing from 7.6 percent in the second quarter and 8.1 percent in the first, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. [...]. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

DPRK defends satellite launch goals as peaceful, scientific (Xinhua)
2012-12-12
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Wednesday defended its right to launch a satellite for peaceful and scientific purposes. "No matter what others say, we will continue to exercise our legitimate right to launch satellites and thus actively contribute to the economic construction and improvement of people's living standards," the official KCNA news agency quoted a DPRK Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying. The successful satellite launch was in line with the country's scientific and technological development plan, the spokesman said, adding all the DPRK people were greatly excited by the launch. Those who called the satellite launch a "violation of UN Security Council resolutions," and regarded it as a long-range missile launch, "provocation" and cause of increasing tension, were prompted by hostility toward the DPRK, he said. The U.S. over-reaction to the DPRK's satellite launch in April was out of hostile feelings and had compelled the DPRK to wholly "re-examine the nuclear issue," he said. "We hope that all countries concerned will use reason and remain cool so as to prevent the situation from developing in an undesirable direction," the spokesman said. [...]. ^ top ^

DPRK top leader commands satellite launch on-scene: report (Xinhua)
2012-12-14
Kim Jong Un, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), personally commanded Wednesday's satellite launch at the Pyongyang General Satellite Control Command Center and observed the whole launching process, the official news agency KCNA reported earlier Friday. Kim issued the final written order on the launch of Kwangmyongsong-3 satellite to the Korean Committee of Space Technology at 8 am Wednesday, gave the launch order at the Command Center at 9 am and observed whole launching process, said the KCNA. Kim said the successful launch of the satellite "served as an occasion showed at home and abroad the unshakable stand of the DPRK to exercise its legitimate right of using space for peaceful purposes and developing the country's science, technology and economy." He spoke highly of the ardent loyalty and patriotic devotion made by scientists and technicians, pledging to continue launching satellites in the future and bring about a fresh turn in scientific researches. The "Juche (self-reliant) Satellite", developed by the country' s own strength and technology, has consolidated DPRK's status as a space power, said Kim, adding the proud victory has shown the country's high scientific level in spite of disadvantageous winter weather. Kim, first secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea (WPK), first chairman of the National Defense Commission (NDC) of the DPRK, had been accompanied by Jang Song Thaek, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the WPK and vice- chairman of the NDC, and Pak To Chun, member of the Political Bureau and secretary of the WPK Central Committee. [...]. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Mongolian Bonds Rebounds after Taking a Hit due Political Uncertainty (UB Post)
2012-12-10
After taking a hit due to political uncertainty, Mongolia's bonds rebounded with the 2018s quoted at 97.50/98.50 and the 2018s around 98.15/99.15, which is fastrecovery considering it reached levels as low as 93.50 and 94.50. Mongolian bonds plunged 7-8 USD on Wednesday due to the news that the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) refusingto work with the Democratic Party. Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag was in Kyrgyzstan and no one has yet officially accepted the MPRP's resignation.The MPRP ordered all its members holding ministerial posts to resign during a meeting on Monday. General Secretary of MPRP, G. Byambasuren said the decision was made as a protest against Enkhbayar's imprisonment. This news lead the bond prices to plummet until the next day (Thursday), institutional investors were picking them up, which boosted prices by as much as 5 USD. The bonds are still below reoffer of 99.996 and par and have not recovered to the 101.50/102.00 which they reached shortly after being priced. During its launch, Mongolia's 1.5 billion USD debt offering was 10 times oversubscribed or 15 billion USD demand which is twice the size of Mongolian GDP. The attraction of Mongolia is that it is rich in resources such as copper, uranium and coal and its 17.3 percent rate of economic growth in 2011. Mongolia's government has stated that it plans to sell a total of 5 billion USD in bonds to finance the infrastructure required to develop its flourishing mining sector. “It's one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with greatly improved policies, and Mongolia is considerably less likely to default in the next few years than Spain,” said Charles Robertson, chief economist at Renaissance Capital to the Wall Street Journal. The final outcome of the MPRP's departure could “depend on how the exit is handled”, said Vidur Jain, an analyst at local investment bank Monet Capital to Reuters.”This may affect the yields on the recently issued bonds, and make a second bond issuance more expensive.” The MPRP is a part of the “Justice Coalition”, which fought the June parliamentary elections on a largely resource-nationalist platform.This means, MPRP's departure could eventually be welcomed by foreign investors if it helps lift fears of growing resource nationalism in the country. “If the current (Democratic Party) government could maintain control it would be positive for investors, provided the fallout is handled effectively, as the MPRP was strongly opposed to foreign investment,” Jain said. The MPRP's partner in the Justice Coalition, the Mongolian National Democratic Party, said it would remain a part of the coalition government. ^ top ^

Economic growth in Mongolia not benefiting poor: UN (News.mn)
2012-12-10
While the Mongolian economy has experienced continued growth, this has not benefited the country's poor, a United Nations independent expert warned Friday, urging the Government to adopt poverty reduction strategies based on human rights approaches. “While some parts of the country are being transformed, poverty remains very high and is becoming entrenched not only in rural areas but also in urban centres as the income gap widens and inequality increases” said the Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Magdalena Sepulveda, following a visit to the Central Asian country. She added, “The fact that poverty levels remain high and there are increasing inequalities is a clear demonstration that the benefits of economic growth have not trickled down to the poor.” Sepulveda expressed concern about the challenges faced by vulnerable groups affected by poverty and social exclusion in Mongolia, such as women, children, persons with disabilities, older persons, migrants, herders and nomadic communities; ethnic minorities; lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people; persons living with HIV/AIDS, and stateless persons. During her five-day visit, Sepulveda met with senior Government officials, donor agencies, international organizations, financial institutions, civil society and communities living in poverty both within the capital, Ulaanbaatar, and surrounding districts, as well as Erden soum in the Tuv province. The Special Rapporteur urged the Government to immediately address the critical needs of the poorest and most marginalized, ensuring that their rights are protected and they are provided with adequate resources and access to basic services. “I have found that, for the most part, Mongolia has established a robust legal framework, recognizing that everyone must enjoy the rights to education, health, housing, food, etc. –however, the laws do not necessarily translate into the everyday reality for many Mongolians,” she said, stressing that “there are severe implementation gaps in almost all social policies, ranging from domestic violence to trafficking.” Accountability mechanisms to monitor the implementation and progress of poverty reduction strategies will be necessary, Sepulveda noted. “Mongolia must foresee the necessary budgetary implications and ensure sustainability in the long term and implement the strategy with strong cross-sectorial coordination through the leadership of a designated ministry,” she said. “Those living in poverty in Mongolia can wait no longer.” Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work. ^ top ^

Former President Nambar Enkhbayar was sentenced to 2.6 years at the Supreme Court of Mongolia
2012-12-13
The incumbent Head of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP) N.Enkhbayar was sentenced 4 years of imprisonment by the first court decision - Sukhbaatar District Court on August 02, 2012, following the decision N.Enkhbayar and his lawyer appealed for higher court - Capital City Court, but the City Court also remained the term of 4 years (September 25, 2012). Therefore, the last chance was to appeal for the Supreme Court of Mongolia. Prior the Supreme Court hearing, authorities of the MPRP announced to withdraw from the Coalition Government opposing the court procedure and the Parliament and Local Administrative Elections' results, moreover N.Enkhbayar's defenders were also against to hold the final court session and asked to postpone, but the Supreme Court denied lawyers proposals and continued the hearing after taking a break afternoon. Afterwards, the Supreme Court issued a resolution commuting the term of 4 years into 2.6 years of imprisonment. In other words, N.Enkhbayar was found guilty on the illegal privatization of “Urguu” hotel and defrauding a publishing house “Ulaanbaatar Times”, but the other two cases - illegally supplying steel products to Erdenet Mining Corporation and defrauding the TV equipments donated from Japan to Gandantegchinlen Monastery in order to establish his own television station TV9 were rejected under insufficient proof. Consequently, the Supreme Court of Mongolia introduced its final decision stating, “N.Enkhbayar was found guilty under followings - when the subject was a President of Mongolia abused his position devaluating the “Urguu” hotel with D.Dulamsuren, Ts.Batbayar and N.Bolormaa, also illegally privatized the “Ulaanbaatar Times” publishing house with T.Bilegt and D.Chuluunbaatar. Hence, N.Enkhbayar is sentenced to 2.6 years, the abettors J.Myagmarjargal to 1 year, D.Chuluunbaatar to 2.1 years and D.Dulamsuren's pardon was remained.” On September 25, at the Capital City Court decision N.Enkhbayar was sentenced to 4 years, J.Myagmarjargal to 3.6 year, D.Chuluunbaatar to 2.1 years and D.Dulamsuren was pardoned. Moreover, the MPRP is still opposing the decision, where Parliamentarians Z.Bayanselenge, O.Baasankhuu and Deputy Minister for Justice E.Erdenejamiyan have called a press conference on December 08, stating that the decision was against the human rights and promised to continue their struggle. ^ top ^

Three MPs swore in (News.mn)
2012-12-13
Three new parliamentarians took their oaths today. A decision by the General Election Committee, parliamentarian D.Batkhuu who was elected in Uvurkhangai aimag, D.Arvin who was elected in Bayanzurkh district and D.Sarangerel who has replaced former MP U.Khurelsukh by party list, swore their oaths to become MPs. The swearing in ceremony was long delayed. Because MP N.Batstereg asked the Head of the General Election Committee, Ch.Sodnomtseren “DP candidate D.Zorigt was believed to be due to swear in just a few days ago. But today D.Zorigt`s name is off the list and G.Batkhuu is taking swear. Why is this?” Speaker Z.Enkhbold said that “the General Election Committee cannot answer this. D.Zorigt who was elected in Uvurkhangai aimag declined to swear in according to his own request. After the June parliamentary election, DP candidates D.Batkhuu and D.Zorigt sued against MPP candidates N.Tumurkhuu and S.Chinzorig for violating Election law by using teenagers in their election campaign and distributing gifts and bribe money during the campaign. Even the Election General Committee determined that two candidates, N.Tumurkhuu and S.Chinzorig, were in violation of Election law and approved DP candidates G.Batkhuu and D.Zorigt from the Uvurkhangai province as MP's on October 16th. But D.Zorigt turned down the position of MP and explained that he respects Uvurkhangai voters` choice. Reports say that N.Tumurkhuu who is accused of violating election law in Uvurkhangai Court is likely to represent voters in parliament because DP candidate D.Zorigt declined the position. Now Mongolian parliament has 73 members including the three new members. ^ 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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