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
  14-18.10.13, No. 497  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

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Switzerland

World Italian Language Week begins in Beijing (China Daily)
2013.10.14
World Italian Language Week 2013 was launched at the Italian Embassy in Beijing on Monday, offering a series of events aimed at promoting Italian language and culture within China. Despite it's name, the event this year will be held over a period of two weeks, ending on Oct 30, so as to give the Chinese public a greater opportunity to benefit from Italian-language related events. Initiated by the Italian Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the event is being organized by the Italian Cultural Institute and the Swiss embassy in Beijing, in partnership with their counterparts in other Chinese cities. The events will be open to the general public, but will target Chinese students of Italian in several cities, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The program will explore the presence of Italian language in the fields of contemporary literature, cinema, music, TV and science, as well as examining figures in the arts ranging from Leonardo Da Vinci through to modern-day pianist Michele Campanella. In an effort at bridging linguistic and cultural differences between the two nations, Italy has sent more language teachers to work in Chinese universities in recent years. This effort will be boosted over the next two weeks by the provision of intensive Italian language training courses in five universities in Beijing. ^ top ^

'Against human nature' (China Daily)
2013.10.15
Dalai Lama 'separated' Tibetan children from parents: report - Leaving behind loved ones is one of the eight sufferings of human beings, according to Buddhism. So separating a family is often the last thing one would do. But the Dalai Lama forced hundreds of children to leave their parents and be adopted by foreign families in the 1960s, Swiss media have reported. The Foreign Ministry and experts described the move, which aimed to nurture talent for his "Tibet independence" movement, as "against human nature". "The stories in the Swiss media showed how the Dalai Lama and his clique fabricated so-called orphans and sent them to Switzerland," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Tuesday. "He caused hundreds of families to be torn apart." "His deeds have trampled on the children's rights and violated common ethics and morality." On Sept 11, the Swiss newspaper Neue Zuercher Zeitung published a story about how the Dalai Lama and Swiss businessman Charles Aeschimann arranged to take about 200 Tibetan children to Switzerland in the 1960s. The Dalai Lama called for US and European families to adopt Tibetan children after he fled to India following a failed armed rebellion. Aeschimann helped take about 200 Tibetan children to Switzerland. The Dalai Lama told the Swiss public that the children were all orphans, but only 19 of them were. Some of the children were even forced to go to the Switzerland without their parents' knowledge, the newspaper reported. The Dalai Lama hoped the children could gain a good education in Switzerland and come back to his "government in exile", the report said. But many of those children have been suffering from psychological sickness due to parting from their parents at a young age, it said. Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, said the Dalai Lama aimed to use Switzerland to train successors for his cause of "Tibet independence". Neue Zuercher Zeitung's report came after Swiss director Ueli Meier made the documentary Tibi and His Mothers in 2012. The protagonist of the film was one of the 200 Tibetan children, sent to Switzerland in 1963 when he was 7. "In the process of making the documentary, my sense of absurdness got stronger. Here is a mismatched timeline, there is a suspicious document," Meier told Neue Zuercher Zeitung in an interview. "By the end of the shooting in India, I was told by the birth mother of our protagonist that Tibi was, without her knowledge and without her agreement, sent to Switzerland." Meier said Tibi's love for his original family could not be replaced by his Swiss foster mother Ruth Graber's tender care and devotion, and so Tibi embarked on a journey to find his real parents. But when he came back from his family reunion in India, he felt at a loss, because he found that his birth mother will never be able to understand him. Meier told Neue Zuercher Zeitung that of the 200 children, Tibi was one of the lucky ones. According to research by the University of Zurich in 1982, among all Tibetan children who have grown up in Switzerland, suicide happens only among those 200 children, the newspaper said. ^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

Russian PM to visit China next week (Xinhua)
2013.10.14
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will pay an official visit to China from Oct. 22 to 23 as a guest of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Monday. During Medvedev's stay in Beijing, he and Li will co-chair the 18th regular meeting between the Chinese and Russian heads of government. Medvedev will also meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Hua told a regular news briefing. The regular meeting mechanism, launched in 1996, has become an important platform to outline cooperation between the two countries. "As the first meeting between the Chinese and Russian premiers since China's new government took office, the upcoming meeting is significant in deepening bilateral ties," Hua said. China and Russia are each other's most important strategic partner of coordination. President Xi's successful state visit to Russia in March has produced important consensus for bilateral cooperation, and this is being implemented by the two sides, she said. China-Russia relations are now at a new starting point, Hua told the news briefing, expressing hope that Medvedev's visit can further explore the huge potential for cooperation and contribute to mutual economic development. Apart from Beijing, Medvedev will also visit Anhui Province, Hua said. ^ top ^

UN experts ask China about treatment of activists (SCMP)
2013.10.16
UN human rights experts say they have asked Chinese authorities for more information about reports that Chinese activists are being threatened, arrested or banned from taking part in demonstrations. Margaret Sekaggya, speaking for a group of UN special rapporteurs in Geneva, said on Wednesday that these actions appear to be targeting people trying to participate in the UN Human Rights Council's review of China's human rights record, which is scheduled next week. The group said in the statement that it also called on Chinese authorities to immediately release all those detained after peacefully protesting since June for more civil society participation in the review. China was last reviewed in 2009 by the 47-nation council, the UN's top human rights body, which examines each nation's rights record every four years. ^ top ^

Li raises four-point proposal on upgrading China-Vietnam business cooperation (Xinhua)
2013.10.16
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday laid out a four-pronged proposal on further deepening business cooperation between his country and Vietnam. The rapidly growing economic and trade cooperation between China and Vietnam boasts great potential, and their common interests far outweigh their differences, Li said at a luncheon attended by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and representatives of the two countries' business communities. He urged the two countries to integrate their development strategies and accelerate the expansion of their economic and trade cooperation with a market-oriented, enterprise-centered approach. First, the two sides need to advance their overall cooperation, Li said, adding that he and his Vietnamese counterpart have agreed on forming three work groups to simultaneously advance maritime, onshore and financial cooperation. Li said the consensus on the three-track approach heralds a better business environment for the enterprises of both countries, and will boost investor confidence and infuse new vigor into China-Vietnam cooperation. Second, the two countries should promote trade facilitation, set in motion a related joint work group within the year, and strive to raise bilateral trade to 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2017, proposed the premier. Noting that trade growth requires robust financial support, he said China stands ready to work with Vietnam to expand the scale of bilateral currency swap and local currency settlement so as to help advance the liberalization and facilitation of bilateral trade and investment. Third, Li called on the two countries to boost mutual investment, saying that his country assigns priority to transportation, communications, energy and other interconnectivity-building projects, encourages Chinese enterprises to invest in Vietnam, and welcomes investment by Vietnamese businesses. Fourth, China and Vietnam need to deepen cooperation under the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said the premier. He said that at the series of East Asian leaders' meetings last week, he made a seven-pronged proposal on the framework of China-ASEAN cooperation in the next decade, and that negotiations are set to begin on upgrading the China-ASEAN free trade area. On China's economic performance, the premier said that, with the Chinese economy growing steadily on the basis of stability, China is fully able to achieve this year's major socioeconomic development targets. China will stick firmly to the path of economic reform, and China's development will provide Vietnam and the region at large with a huge market and a multitude of development opportunities, Li added. For his part, Dung noted that economic and trade cooperation is an important pillar in the edifice of bilateral friendship and that the two sides benefit from each other's development. The latest consensus between the two sides will further consolidate the foundation for future expansion of bilateral cooperation in various fields, he said, adding that Vietnam is willing to create a more favorable environment for Chinese enterprises to invest in the country. ^ top ^

Chinese premier calls Southeast Asian tour "complete success" (Xinhua)
2013.10.15
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang used "a complete success" to describe his attendance to a series of East Asian leaders' meetings in Brunei and his visit to three Southeast Asian countries. He made the remarks Tuesday when talking to the Chinese press corps accompanying him before leaving the Vietnamese capital for Beijing. Li recalled that during the series of East Asian leaders' meetings, he raised a seven-pronged proposal on the framework of cooperation between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the coming decade. The initiative, which highlights pragmatic cooperation and win-win cooperation of mutual benefit, resonated well with ASEAN leaders, he said. During the meetings, Li said the Chinese side reiterated its principled position on the South China Sea issue, expressing its belief that China and relevant countries have the wisdom to solve the problems between them and resolve disputes through bilateral consultations and negotiations. Li said China is ready to continue to work with ASEAN countries to guarantee freedom and safety of navigation in the South China Sea for now and in the future. China also believes that relevant parties are capable of maintaining the tranquility and peace of the South China Sea. He also said that on the sidelines of the East Asian leaders' meetings, he held many bilateral meetings with foreign leaders and reached important consensus with them. China will stick to the path of peaceful development, and make the greatest efforts with the utmost patience to safeguard peace in the South China Sea and resolve disputes between China and other claimants, Li said, adding that China is determined to safeguard its national sovereignty and territorial integrity. In Thailand, the second leg of the Southeast Asian tour, Li said the traditional familial affection between China and Thailand has been cemented by a new bond. Political trust between China and Thailand has increased while breakthroughs have been made in practical cooperation, Li said, noting that the two countries have reached an agreement in principle on railway cooperation. China's high-speed railway for this region is competitive in performance, price and safety, Li said, telling the press corps that Chinese experts have already conducted geological surveys along the route on which the railway line is expected to be built. "We're able to build railway in Thailand and participate in projects of high-speed railway connected to regional networks," Li said. This would be a landmark project for Chinese enterprises doing business abroad, Li said, adding China has fully considered the real conditions of Thailand in order to achieve mutual benefit. China and Vietnam, the third and last leg of Li's trip, also reached important consensus, recognizing the significance of safeguarding and consolidating traditional friendship, safeguarding peace and tranquility of the South China Sea, and properly handling their differences. Li noted that in his talks with Vietnamese Premier Nguyen Tan Dung, they agreed to build three work groups respectively on maritime exploration, onshore infrastructure and financial cooperation, which are expected to start their work within this year. The cooperation of maritime exploration will be primarily focused on the Beibu Gulf, and later extended to further areas, Li said, adding that the bilateral drive is to tell the region and the world that the South China Sea has to be a peaceful and tranquil area. Both China and Vietnam have the wisdom to properly handle their differences and prevent the South China Sea issue from disrupting the overall cooperation, Li said. With regards to onshore infrastructure and financial cooperation, Li said the two sides will push forward such cooperation in a more effective and vigorous way. "We're going to implement the important consensus, with efforts from the Vietnamese side, in a bid to work for benefiting bilateral, regional and world people," he said. Li also answered a question from the press corps on China's economy. The Chinese government released the consumer price index (CPI) in September and the increase was within the controllable range, Li said, adding that China will be able to control this year's CPI increase at a level of some 3.5 percent. "The major economic targets can be reached and the good momentum of China's economic growth will be kept," Li said. The long, sustained and healthy growth of the Chinese economy will benefit the whole nation, Li said. "We are bravely and resolutely continuing to restructure our economy, realize sustained and healthy growth, and let people enjoy real benefits," Li said. ^ top ^

Chinese president meets Myanmar defense chief (Xinhua)
2013.10.16
Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Myanmar's Defense Services, on Wednesday in Beijing. Xi, also chairman of the Central Military Commission, hailed the bilateral relationship and described China and Myanmar as "good neighbors, good friends and good partners." To cement the comprehensive strategic partnership in a sustained way is not only in the fundamental interests of the people of the two countries, but also helps to promote peace and stability in the region and the world at large as the international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes, said the Chinese president. The Chinese side firmly adheres to a friendly policy towards Myanmar and stands ready to work with Myanmar to increase strategic communication and advance practical cooperation in a smooth way to ensure the healthy, stable and continuous development of the bilateral relationship, Xi said. China attaches great importance to peace and stability in China- Myanmar border areas and supports the process of ethnic reconciliation in Myanmar, he added. Xi said China hopes peace and stability in northern Myanmar can be restored at an early date and China is willing to continue playing a constructive role toward this goal. The president also lauded military-to-military ties between the two sides, proposing the two militaries increase exchanges and boost cooperation to contribute to the bilateral relationship. Hailing the friendship between the sides, Min Aung Hlaing said that enhancing the comprehensive strategic partnership under the current circumstances is of great importance. Myanmar is grateful for China's long-lasting support and positive role in maintaining peace and stability in its north, and is willing to deepen cooperation with China to advance the bilateral relationship, said the senior general. The Defense Services of Myanmar will make unremitting efforts to enhance the relationship between the two countries, he vowed. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier to visit Singapore (Global Times)
2013.10.16
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli will visit Singapore from Oct. 20 to 23, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Wednesday. Zhang will make the visit at the invitation of Teo Chee Hean, deputy prime minister, coordinating minister for national security and minister for home affairs, Hua said at a daily news briefing. Zhang and Teo will co-chair the 10th meeting of the Joint Council for Bilateral Cooperation, the 15th China-Singapore Joint Steering Council Meeting for the Suzhou Industrial Park and the sixth China-Singapore Joint Steering Council Meeting for the Tianjin Eco-city, according to the spokeswoman. ^ top ^

Chinese FM, ASEAN secretary-general hold talks (Xinhua)
2013.10.17
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Le Luong Minh in Beijing on Thursday. Reaffirming ASEAN as a priority of China's diplomacy with neighboring countries, Wang said the successful visits by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in October outlined the future direction for China-ASEAN relations. Both sides should earnestly implement the consensus reached between the leaders of the countries and strengthen cooperation in politics, economy, connectivity, finance, security, maritime and culture, Wang said. Le said ASEAN-China relations have made important contributions to regional peace, stability and prosperity. Both sides should use the 10th anniversary of the strategic partnership as a chance to deepen mutual trust and pragmatic cooperation in order to push bilateral ties to a new level. Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi also met with Le on Thursday. Both sides spoke highly of the positive developments since the strategic partnership was established, expressing a willingness to seize opportunities to further bilateral ties and contribute to regional stability and prosperity. Le is paying an official visit to China from Oct. 16-19 as guest of Wang. ^ top ^

China responds to Abe's Yasukuni Shrine offering (Xinhua)
2013.10.17
China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying on Thursday responded to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe making an offering to Tokyo's war-linked Yasukuni Shrine by urging Japan to properly deal with the issues surrounding the controversial site. Hua's remarks came as the shrine marked its annual autumn festival. Abe paid for a "masakaki" tree offering traditionally used in Shinto rituals at the shrine on Thursday morning but refrained from visiting. The shrine, which honors Japanese war dead, including 14 class-A war criminals, is considered a symbol of Japan's past militarism. Hua said China has repeatedly stated its attitude and position on the Yasukuni Shrine issue. "We again urge the Japanese side to face up to and make real introspection for its history of aggression, respect the feelings of people in war-victim Asian countries, including China, and properly deal with relevant issues," she said. Repeated visits to the shrine by Japanese cabinet ministers and lawmakers have been a major obstacle for Japan to mend ties with China and the Republic of Korea. Abe also made offerings during the shrine's spring festival in April and on the anniversary of Japan's World War II surrender on Aug. 15 this year. ^ top ^

Chinese president calls for new momentum in ties with Australia (Global Times)
2013.10.17
Chinese President Xi Jinping called for new momentum to be injected to bilateral ties with Australia when he met Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Beijing on Thursday. China and Australia are good friends and strategic partners. As important members in the Asia-Pacific region, the two countries share growing mutual interests and potential for cooperation, Xi told Bryce, who is on a state visit to China. "Both sides should proceed from a strategic and long-term perspective to create a new chapter in bilateral cooperation in the spirit of mutual trust and benefit," Xi said. Xi suggested China and Australia work in the spirit of mutual understanding and accommodation and show flexibility to facilitate the bilateral free trade agreement talks towards breakthrough at an early date. The two countries should actively expand cooperation in emerging fields, including energy and resources, infrastructure, financial services, energy efficiency and environmental protection, clean energy and biomedicine, according to Xi. Both sides should also have closer partnership in education, tourism, science and technology as well as youth exchanges, Xi said. He also called for further cooperation within the UN, G20, APEC and other multilateral mechanisms. Welcoming Bryce to attend the 14th Western China International Fair, Xi said Western China is a new powerhouse for the Chinese economy, which will bring broad opportunities to Australia. "China welcomes more Australian investment in Western China to realize mutual development," Xi said. Australia and China share traditional friendship. China is an important partner of Australia, while Australia is a stable supplier of energy and resources to China. The two countries enjoy broad common interests and prospects for cooperation, Bryce said. Hailing China's development as an important contribution to the prosperity of the region and world, Bryce said her country admires China's achievement and attaches importance to bilateral ties. Australia is willing to make full use of their complementary advantages with China, expand mutually beneficial cooperation and reach bilateral free trade agreement as soon as possible, Bryce said. Australia will strengthen cooperation with Western China, have closer communication and coordination in cultural exchanges, international and regional affairs so as to promote the bilateral ties to a higher level, Bryce said. Prior to their talks, Xi held a welcoming ceremony for Bryce outside the Great Hall of the People. ^ top ^

Beijing urges all sides to take opportunity in negotiations with Iran (Global Time)
2013.10.18
China called on all parties Thursday to seize the opportunities that have emerged after the latest round of talks over the Iranian nuclear issue. "China has always maintained that a solution based on dialogue is in the interests of all parties. The new round of talks has created fresh opportunities in this regard," said Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying. "We hope all parties can take a flexible, pragmatic attitude to accommodate each other's concerns and hold substantive negotiations in order to achieve progress at an early date," said Hua. European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on Wednesday said that the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States - plus Germany, agreed on a joint statement for the first time after two days of talks with Iran. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif presented an outline of a plan as a proposed basis for negotiation, which is being carefully considered by the P5+1 delegates as an important contribution. After the Wednesday deal, Iran said it was hopeful for a "new phase in our relations" with the international community, but will not back down on its rights. The White House said Iran had shown a greater level of "seriousness and substance" than ever before at the talks in Geneva. Germany was also positive, saying the latest talks had boosted hopes for a diplomatic solution but a wary Russia warned that there was "no reason to break into applause." Russian negotiator Sergei Ryabkov was less than upbeat, saying the negotiating sides lacked mutual trust. "The talks were sometimes intense, and sometimes unpredictable," he said. Israel warned that the world must judge Iran's intentions by its actions and not by its "presentations." "The pressure of sanctions brought Iran to this point and must continue until Iran is stripped of its nuclear military program," a senior Israeli official said. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Typhoon Nari approaches S.China's Hainan Province (Xinhua)
2013.10.13
South China's Hainan Province initiated an emergency response on Sunday morning as Typhoon Nari is expected to arrive near the Xisha Islands on Monday. The center of Nari was located at 15.3 north latitude, 114.2 east longitude, 260 kilometers southeast from Hainan's Sansha City (Yongxing Island of Xisha Islands) at 11 a.m. Sunday, with winds of up to 137 km per hour. It moved westward at a speed of 15 km per hour, said the Haina provincial meteorological station. Around 27,000 fishing boats were called back to port by 9:00 a.m. Sunday. All fishermen from Yongle Islands, where the typhoon is forcasted to hit hard, were relocated to Jinqing Island. The National Marine Environmental Forecasting Center has raised the emergency response to level two, predicting waves up to 10 meters in the South China Sea and between 2.5 and 3.5 meters off the east and south coasts of Hainan Province from Sunday noon to Monday noon. A storm tide is also expected to sweep through the Leizhou Peninsular, Hainan Island and coasts of Beibu Gulf from Sunday afternoon to Thursday morning. ^ top ^

Chinese investigators given jail terms for torture of party official (SCMP)
2013.10.14
Six Chinese Communist Party officials have been sentenced to between four and 14 years in jail for torturing another official to death, lawyers and his ex-wife said on Monday, in a case that shed light on the workings of the party's judicial system. The sentences marked a rare instance of legal punishment handed down over the abuse of a party official detained under the organisation's secretive extra-legal detention process, lawyers for the family of the dead man said. A court in the eastern city of Quzhou issued the verdicts on September 30, a decision not reported by Chinese media. The trial had opened on September 17. The six officials were convicted of intentional infliction of harm leading to death over the drowning in April of Yu Qiyi, 42, a chief engineer for a state-owned investment firm in the nearby city of Wenzhou. Yu had been dunked repeatedly in a bucket of ice-cold water. It is not precisely clear why Yu was being investigated, although it was possibly related to a land deal, according to his family's lawyers. Yu had spent 38 days under “shuanggui”, a form of detention imposed on party officials being investigated for disciplinary violations. Five officials from the party's corruption watchdog, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, were given sentences of four to 14 years, according to a lawyer for one of the accused and lawyers representing Yu's family. The five were Zhang Fangchao, Li Xiang, Cheng Wenjie, Wu Zhiwei and Nan Yu. Gu Chenfu, from the local prosecutor's office, was sentenced to eight years. The six had faced a maximum penalty of death. “In reality, they want to control the scope of people who can be targeted for this,” said Pu Zhiqiang, a lawyer for Yu's family, referring to the trial. “But the fact that members of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection can face these kinds of criminal penalties, this is already rare.” “Shuanggui” refers to the time and place at which party members summoned by the commission must appear for questioning. Family members are often kept in the dark and detentions can last for an indefinite period. Two other Communist Party officials died while under “shuanggui” between April and June this year, according to lawyers involved in those cases. Acting on orders – lawyer for one of the accused - Chi Susheng, a lawyer for Li Xiang, called her client's jail term of 10 years unreasonable, adding the accused had appealed. All six men had testified that Yu was deprived of sleep and beaten during his extra-judicial detention, according to a defence statement by Chi, who cited testimony from the accused. But they insisted they had treated Yu harshly at the behest of more senior officials in the commission, according to the statement. “The higher-up officials have not been held accountable, don't you think this is unfair?” Yu's ex-wife, Wu Qian, said by telephone from Wenzhou. “We are very dissatisfied that the main culprits have not been brought to justice.” Pu said the party was making the six officials scapegoats. Lawyers for the other five jailed officials were not available for comment. Neither the government nor the party has publicly given an account of what happened. The trial has not received any coverage in state-run media. An official from the Quzhou court, who declined to be identified, said she was aware of the case but declined to confirm the sentences. During the two-day closed-door trial, lawyers representing Yu's family were thrown out of court. Investigators put Yu's head in a bucket of ice-cold water and held it down repeatedly, eventually causing his death, according to lawyers for his family. Yu was also beaten and his body scarred by what appeared to be cigarette butt marks. The verdicts come as China wages war on corruption. President Xi Jinping has pledged to go after “tigers” and “flies” in the battle against graft, referring to both political heavyweights and low-ranked officials. Ousted Chinese politician Bo Xilai, who was sentenced to life imprisonment on charges of corruption and abuse of power last month, was subjected to “shuanggui” for 17 months. During his trial, Bo recanted an earlier confession to party investigators saying it was made under psychological pressure. Pu said it was unlikely that officials would do away with “shuanggui” as a tool to fight corruption, but Yu's case might prompt them to rethink the brutality of the system. “The lesson that should be learned from this case is that if you wantonly beat a person to death, your organisation will not stand up to fight for you,” he said. ^ top ^

Govt offers 5b yuan to fight pollution (China Daily)
2013.10.14
The central government said on Monday it is offering a total of 5 billion yuan ($818 million) in financial rewards to Beijing and its neighboring provinces to fuel their fight against air pollution. The Ministry of Finance announced that the special budget is up for grabs among Beijing, Tianjin and the surrounding areas of Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong provinces as well as the Inner Mongolia autonomous region, where the air quality did not meet national standards for nearly two-thirds of August. The cities with the worst air quality and those located in the surrounding areas of Beijing are higher on the priority list for receiving the special central government funding. At the end of the year, the central government will assess which region on the priority list made greater strides in reducing air pollution and allocate the special budgetary fund accordingly. Most of the central government's funds will likely be funneled to the heavily polluted province of Hebei, which is currently taking considerable steps to reduce its air pollution. Seven cities in the province were included on a list of the top 10 Chinese cities with the worst air quality in August. The 5 billion yuan will help create an incentive for the designated regions to meet their air pollution reduction targets, to invest in pollution control and to aid in their efforts to reduce airborne pollutants. Hebei, which has experienced smoggy conditions since the start of the year, has taken efforts to cut down on emissions, including making energy consumption and its industrial structure more efficient. The province's economy is primarily made up of heavy industries. "We will rein in industries that consume a lot of energy and are heavy polluters, such as iron, steel and cement. We will also promote clean energy, like gas, and make sure our economic development in the future is higher in quality and is more environmentally friendly," said Gao Junzhao, assistant inspector from the Hebei Development and Reform Commission. About 411 small coal-fired boilers and kilns in Hebei were removed through the end of September and another 14 coal-fired generation units have been upgraded, according to the latest statistics released by the commission. The production of steel will be reduced by 60 million tons in five years and the consumption of coal in Hebei will be reduced by 40 million tons. Meanwhile green energy and natural gas usage will climb to 15 billion cubic meters in 2017 from 5 billion cubic meters in 2012, though Gao said the supply of gas in the province isn't adequate. For the coming winter season, the supply of gas in Hebei will increase sharply to 3.1 billion cubic meters. "But we are short about 760 million cubic meters of natural gas, so we have to buy liquid natural gas and build stockpile stations in four cities as a precaution," Gao said. The province is working to cut air pollution with both short-term and long-term measures. One short-term measure is to cut down on dust from construction sites in six months. All construction sites in Shijiazhuang and Hengshui have been suspended pending new inspections. The province will also install surveillance cameras in 95 percent of its construction sites in urban areas by the end of the year and in 95 percent of rural construction sites by May 2014. Supervision on air pollution, which will include the installation of monitoring stations, will cover all of the province's 143 counties and districts by the end of June 2014. "We found that 85 percent of complaints on environmental pollution are from rural areas, so we will expand our monitoring network to cover all the areas," said Yin Guangping, deputy director-general of the Hebei Environmental Protection Bureau. ^ top ^

Xi attends memorial conference marking 100th anniversary of father's birth (Global Times)
2013.10.15
Chinese President Xi Jinping attended a conference in memory of the 100th anniversary of the birth of his father Xi Zhongxun on Tuesday. Xi Zhongxun, who died aged 89 in 2002, was a respected Communist elder and former vice premier of China, who made significant contributions to the design and implementation of the reform and opening-up policies of the country, especially when he worked as governor of Guangdong Province. Various activities were held across the country on Tuesday to commemorate and promote his achievements, revolutionary spirit and leadership. A series of books on Xi Zhongxun, which include 210 selections from the late revolutionary, 98 articles on recollections about him by his comrades-in-arms, colleagues and relatives, as well as hundreds of photographs featuring his work and life experiences, were published recently. A six-episode documentary telling stories of his revolutionary glories and policy contributions is also being aired on China Central Television from Monday to Wednesday. The Communist Party of China's Hunan Provincial Committee published a commemorative article Tuesday in Hunan Daily, reviewing Xi's remarks and advice for the development of Hunan, which are characterized by creativity, reform spirit and close connection to the public. Many people on Tuesday came to Xi's memorial park in Fuping county, Shaanxi Province, where he was born, to pay their respects. ^ top ^

Security tightened in disaster-hit Yuyao after clashes over relief efforts (SCMP)
2013.10.16
Security has been tightened in a city in coastal Zhejiang province after thousands of local residents clashed with police over insufficient disaster relief efforts following Typhoon Fitow.On Tuesday, an estimated 3,000 to 4,000 residents gathered outside the municipal government building in Yuyao, a city of about one million people that is an hour away from the provincial capital Hangzhou, and removed the “Serve the People” motto engraved at the building entrance, according to an eyewitness. The sign in the calligraphy of Mao Zedong is commonly found at government buildings throughout China. By the evening, the square had been cordoned off by riot police, the witness said. Photos shared online showed hundreds of riot police clashing with demonstrators. Some demonstrators appeared to have head wounds. Cai Qi, a provincial Communist Party official, called on residents to exercise restraint on Tuesday. A day earlier, the Nanjing Military command had sent 4,800 troops from the First Group Army to Yuyao to assist disaster relief efforts. Typhoon Fitow slammed into Zhejiang province last week, leaving at least ten people dead, thousands homeless and tens of thousands without power and fresh water supplies. The provincial government estimated that 12.4 billion yuan of economic damage had been caused by the tropical storm. Over the last days, Yuyao residents shared photos of corpses floating in the city's flooded streets. A local resident surnamed Zhu told the South China Morning Post he knew of 57 people detained in Yuyao on Tuesday for sharing reports of the situation in the city on their microblogs. Zhu, who posted updates himself, said he was questioned and released after he agreed to delete his online posts. “The residents should know they can't use violence,” he told the Post by telephone. “But the government should know they also can't just pull out the batons when dealing with their demands.” ^ top ^

Nanjing mayor latest target of anti-graft drive (Global Times)
2013.10.18
The mayor of Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, has become the latest high-level official to come under investigation for suspected discipline and law violations during the central authority's anti-graft campaign, the discipline watchdog of the Communist Party of China (CPC) revealed on Thursday. Ji Jianye, 56, has been leading the second largest city in East China since August 2009. The CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection published the information on Thursday, confirming earlier reports that Ji was put under investigation on Wednesday morning. Ji appeared publicly as recently as Tuesday, when he chaired a meeting of the city government, discussing improvement measures for a sewage diversion project, according to a Wednesday report in the Nanjing Daily. The project is one of the many controversial construction projects Ji launched in the past four years. These projects involving huge amounts of work on building and tearing down roads and bridges led to public discontent on the worsening environment in the historic city. The fondness for huge city construction projects had even won Ji the nickname of "bulldozer mayor." Sources within the discipline watchdog system disclosed that in addition to some problematic projects and his alleged corruption, the probe is also related to Zhu Xingliang, a locally renowned entrepreneur who runs a Suzhou-based project contracting company, the 21st Century Business Herald reported Thursday. Zhu has been under investigation and residential surveillance since July. Many of the projects in Yangzhou, where Ji served as acting mayor, mayor and Party chief from 2001 to 2009, were conducted by Zhu's company, the sources said. "Some local officials tend to go after construction projects after taking office, as opportunities for making profits and taking bribes can be easily created this way, and officials generally enjoy great powers and supervision over the expenditure of projects is lacking," Xu Xianglin, a professor with the School of Government at Peking University, told the Global Times. A report in the Shanghai-based China Business News confirmed the flaw in the system. It quoted sources as saying that Ji always pushed for the projects in a "forceful" manner, in which he made decisions on the sites without any planning and then completed the formalities according to his schemes. Ji reportedly has a tough work style and likes to get involved in specific affairs, the China Business News reported, noting that the projects he decided to launch came under strict and frequent supervision over their schedules, and he would aggressively urge officials to push forward the projects. "I want to do more things that will be the firm foundation for the city's further development. Large numbers of construction projects are underway, but they will all benefit our future generations," the report quoted the official as saying at a recent conference. "Being devoted to people's livelihood is an official's obligation, but if he breaks the law, he shall be punished," Xu said, stressing that the projects must be carried out in accordance with law. "One can never expand his own power and exploit supervision loopholes." Ji's case follows the investigation and punishment of a list of high-level officials in the latest anti-corruption campaign, which includes Jiang Jiemin, former head of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and Liu Tienan, former deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission. Chinese President Xi Jinping vowed to go after both "tigers" and "flies," referring to high-ranking and low-level corrupt officials. According to a Thursday statement issued by the Supreme People's Procuratorate, prosecutorial agencies have placed 129 officials at the prefectural level or higher under investigation for suspected corruption and bribery in the first eight months of this year. Commenting on the tighter grip on corruption, Xu said the new central leadership has made it a major task in a bid to win people's trust. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing to impose odd-even car ban to combat serious air pollution (SCMP)
2013.10.18
Beijing drivers will soon be restricted to using their cars every other day during periods of heavy pollution, Chinese state media reported Thursday. The capital is regularly hit by extended bouts of choking, acrid smog, with heavy industries and car use both among the key culprits. Under the scheme cars with odd and even licence plates will be banned from the city's roads on alternate days whenever serious air pollution persists for three consecutive days, Xinhua said. The plan was approved on Wednesday and is set to be implemented by Beijing city authorities, the official news agency reported. More than a quarter of Beijing's 20 million people own a car, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper. Residents have greeted previous odd-even car bans with mixed reactions, with some arguing that the measure should be made permanent and others contending the city's public transportation infrastructure is insufficient to make up for the increase in use brought about by the ban. The new rules will be an expansion of current restrictions, under which cars are blocked from Beijing's streets for one weekday per week, depending on the final digit of their licence plate, with two numbers banned each day. A four-colour rating system will be used for Beijing's air quality, with red the worst. Further details, including fines for those who violate the regulation, were not immediately available. The plan mirrors a scheme that was rolled out during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and again in 2011. In an effort to limit the number of vehicles on the road, the city launched a lottery system two years ago for distributing new car licence plates. China's booming economy has driven demand so high that as of March, only one in every 80 applicants had a chance of receiving a registration, the newspaper reported. ^ top ^

 

Shanghai

First interprovince subway route opens (China Daily)
2013.10.17
A new subway route that connects Shanghai and Jiangsu province will boost economic integration in the region and encourage more people to take the metro, experts said. The route, an extension of Shanghai's subway line 11, opened on Wednesday for a trial run linking the country's commercial hub and Jiangsu's Kunshan, a booming county-level administration. "It integrates people living and working in the Yangtze River Delta region and boosts regional development," said Yu Hongsheng, director of the Urban Development Research Center under the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences. Spanning 6 kilometers, the extension takes only 7 minutes to travel from the last stop in Shanghai, Anting station, to Kunshan. The extended route makes stops at three new, elevated stations at Zhaofeng Road, Guangming Road, and Huaqiao station, all in Kunshan. Escalators, elevators, public restrooms, and air-conditioned waiting rooms have been built at each new station. From Huaqiao station, residents can travel to the commercial Xujiahui district in downtown Shanghai in about one hour. The extension brings the total length of Shanghai's metro network to 468 kilometers with a total of 303 stations. As China's first interprovince subway route, the new line will help break the deadlock set by different administrative divisions and benefit both Shanghai's and Kunshan's economies, experts said. "Compared with Shanghai, the housing prices and commercial costs have remained low in Kunshan," said Zhou Weilin, a professor of economics at Fudan University. "The new line will definitely promote Kunshan's tourism, employment and its commercial links with Shanghai." The new line will also make it easier for Shanghai to shift its low-end manufacturing businesses during its pursuit to develop its financial sector, he added. It is a good start and its success will see a city cluster linked by subways and further break the administrative barrier, he said. More cities in Jiangsu, including Suzhou and Wuxi, have outlined rapid transit rail routes to link with Shanghai's metro lines. On Wednesday, residents and company owners said the new extension brought great convenience to their lives. Wang Jia is an office clerk in Shanghai but lives near Huaqiao, a town located in eastern Kunshan. "Before the new extension opened, I had to take a bus to Anting, take line 11 and then shift to other lines to travel to my destination," he said. "The extension to Huaqiao will greatly shorten my daily commute." Lee Han-ling, a manager from Taiwan at Hongta Textile Co in Kunshan, said the line saves both time and money for the thousands of people who need to travel between Shanghai and Kunshan on a daily basis. "Businessmen in Kunshan make frequent business trips to Shanghai because of the cities' close business connection. Although the high-speed railway is good, it takes a lot of time to check in, wait, and get to your destination," he said. "Sometimes we chose to drive, only to find that we were caught in a serious traffic jam." Lee suggested to extend the subway further into downtown Kunshan, as most of the factories, including his textile factory, are clustered downtown rather than in Huaqiao. ^ top ^

 

Tibet

Tibet to reduce poverty by 45% (Xinhua)
2013.10.16
Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region is expected to reduce its population living in poverty by 45 percent in a three-year period by the end of this year, a regional official said on Wednesday. The number of people living below the national poverty line of 2,300 yuan (375 U.S. dollars) in per capita income per year in Tibet's rural and pastoral areas should be reduced to 457,000 at the end of 2013, which is 55 percent of that in 2010, said Qoi'nyi Yarphel, Communist Party chief of the office of Tibet poverty alleviation and development. So far, the central and regional governments have allocated 3.905 billion yuan in poverty alleviation funds to the plateau region, with this figure covering aid in education, financing and technology for Tibetans, he said. Tibet had the highest poverty rate in China in 2010, with 34.42 percent of its rural and pastoral population living below the country's poverty line. Much of Tibet's success in boosting livelihoods has come from improving agriculture. For example, Latok, a farmer living in a suburb of the regional capital Lhasa, had a bumper harvest this year due to help from the regional poverty alleviation authorities. "The yield of highland barley per mu (0.0667 hectares) was as much as 200 kg before, but it has grown to 300 kg this year as I planted new barley seeds introduced by the authorities," said Latok. The Tibet regional poverty alleviation and development office has earmarked 10 million yuan this year to promote "Zangqing 2000," a new type of barley, on 36,200 mu of farmland. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

Festive cheer in Xinjiang (China Daily)
2013.10.16
At 7:20 am, Parhat put on his finest suit for the biggest occasion of the year, which is also called Corban Festival by Uygurs. Although everyone in Xinjiang gets a five-day holiday, the 54-year-old shop owner decided to work as usual, putting handmade fur hats on the shelves outside his house in the old town of Kashgar. He then went to his mosque for morning prayers before joining the large crowd outside, most of whom were led by their imams to Id Kah Mosque. By the time Parhat and more than 100 others from his mosque arrived at 9 am, the square in front of Id Kah was already packed with people carrying prayer mats. The inside of the mosque, which can accommodate up to 20,000 worshippers at prayer time, was full. After the prayers, Parhat rushed home to slaughter the sheep that had been kept on the top floor of his house, according to tradition. "It is the second year we bought a sheep for Corban Festival. We couldn't afford them before," he said. Parhat grew up in the old town, a 4-square-kilometer area in the heart of Kashgar that has a history of more than 2,000 years. It is home to 126,800 people, almost all of them Uygurs. (…). The mazelike streets and small alleys of the old town may have been renovated, but the traditional Uygur architectural features and lifestyle have been maintained. The renovation plan for each house was individually designed and the redecoration left to the owners. Some preferred to smear mud onto the brick walls to preserve the traditional look of their old mud houses, which could turn to dust in an earthquake. Some carefully paste triangle-shaped clay tiles all over the facades of their houses, and wooden sculptures with Uygur characteristics decorate the doors and windows. By September, more than 85 percent of the decrepit houses in the central area of the old town had been renovated. The project, which will benefit more than 49,000 households, is due to be completed in 2014. Electric motorcycles have become the most common means of transportation, now that the streets have been widened, but some still prefer carriages drown by horses with bells hanging from their necks. (…). Parhat said he will close his shop on Wednesday to visit relatives. He will bring them the good news that by the next Corban Festival, he will be cooking on natural gas instead of coal. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

UN committee says Hong Kong schools' policy 'de facto discrimination'(SCMP)
2013.10.14
Segregation of Hong Kong's ethnic-minority students in specific schools is "de facto discrimination" and should stop, a United Nations committee says. The Committee on the Rights of the Child called on the government to "urgently abolish" the so-called designated schools and use the resources to promote minority children's access to mainstream schools. Releasing its conclusions after last month's hearing on Hong Kong's implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the committee also expressed regret at what it terms the city's lack of a comprehensive policy and strategy on children. Campaigner Fermi Wong Wai-fun urged the Equal Opportunities Commission to launch an investigation. "It is a very strong tone for the report to confirm the existence of 'de facto discrimination'," Wong, of minority-rights group Unison, said. "Various bureaus are shirking the responsibility of racial segregation in schools." Of 852 government schools, 31 enrol mostly ethnic minorities and teach limited Chinese. The government earlier said the label "designated schools" was removed this year. Minorities and their supporters say the system limits the children's learning of Chinese and condemns them to low-paid jobs. The government has previously claimed any racial segregation that might appear in the schools is a result of parental choice. But the UN committee said parents' choice was limited by the possible exclusion faced by their non-Chinese children in mainstream schools that did not cater to their special needs. Other "regrets" expressed by the committee concerned the government's inaction to implement the UN's previous recommendations on child protection. In response, a government spokeswoman said: "Additional resources have been allocated to … explore stepping up support for the non-Chinese speaking students to enhance their learning of the Chinese language." Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing, who attended the two-day hearings in Geneva, Switzerland, will file an oral question about the report in the Legislative Council tomorrow. "A lot of problems are highlighted by the report," Lau said yesterday. Seven groups that aid children said they would meet with the related bureaus and the Equal Opportunities Commission to push the government for policy improvements. Equal Opportunities Commissioner Dr York Chow Yat-ngok last month said he might launch a probe on the city's education policy for ethnic minorities after Unison said it would sue the government for breaching anti-discrimination laws. ^ top ^

Baby bonus to boost Hong Kong birth rate to be proposed in consultation (SCMP)
2013.10.15
Cash handouts to couples who have children and tax rebates for family-friendly bosses could be on the agenda as Hong Kong looks to solve the problem of its ageing population. They are among ideas expected to be debated in a four-month public consultation due to be launched next week. The consultation is designed to help the government's steering committee on population policy find ways to encourage more couples to have children. The committee will ask broad questions rather than make concrete recommendations. Committee member Paul Yip Siu-fai, a demographics expert at the University of Hong Kong, said: "Women in Hong Kong do desire a child. It is the social barriers that deter them from having one." The consultation comes amid worrying predictions that a third of Hongkongers will be aged 65 or over by the year 2041. Committee members, who declined to be named, said they would raise the idea of financial incentives similar to those offered in Singapore and Canada. In Singapore, parents receive a "baby bonus" of S$6,000 (HK$37,323) for their first two children and S$8,000 for their third and fourth. Working mothers also save S$3,000 in taxes if grandparents act as carers. In Canada, parents receive monthly government subsidies ranging from C$156 (HK$1,168) to C$185. Other proposals discussed by the committee include tax incentives to employers who pay for childcare services for their workers, paid parental leave for employees to visit schools to review their children's report cards, and improved access to assisted reproductive treatment. Yip said that last year, his research team interviewed more than 1,500 married or cohabiting women. The proportion who wanted a child or a second child rose from 12.7 per cent to 20.2 per cent - the highest figure since 1992. But the number of women who went ahead and had a child actually went down. "That means they need more support to realise their desire," Yip said. "It would involve a great change of mindset for workers, officials and employers." The committee would also propose that all government bureaus be required to carry out detailed family impact studies on all future policies. Anthony Wong Kin-wai, of the Council of Social Service - which has a committee representative - said: "The assessments should be comparable to the statutory assessments conducted on environmental impact and be examined by the Family Council." ^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan under pressure to engage China in political dialogue (SCMP)
2013.10.13
Experts from both sides of the Taiwan Strait have completed two days of talks in Shanghai to seek consensus on the possibility of future political dialogue between the two sides. Analysts regard the first Cross-Strait Peace Forum as highly significant, following a recent warning by President Xi Jinping that lingering political issues between Beijing and Taipei should not be left to the next generation to resolve. They also say the presence of several prominent scholars and politicians from Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party signals a growing desire for the pro-independence camp to participate in such events so it will not be left out in future should official political talks start. The two-day forum, which began on Friday, was held under the watchful eyes of the government of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, whom, analysts say, is eager to make cross-strait rapprochement his legacy after his current term ends in May 2016. Zhang Zhijun, head of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said at the opening of the forum on Friday that it was "unrealistic" and "impossible" for the island to deal only with economic issues while ignoring political matters. "[The mainland] has the necessary patience as well as a strong determination to see cross-strait unification, but that does not mean waiting passively without doing anything," Zhang told Taiwanese media. Noting that Taiwan and the mainland fall within the one-China framework - Beijing's bottom line it considers non-negotiable - Zhang asked forum participants to find ways for breakthroughs on outstanding issues that have restricted or even prevented cross-strait relations from progressing further. Zhang's comments came after Xi warned last Sunday that the "political divide that exists between the two sides must reach a final resolution step by step and cannot be passed on from generation to generation". Xi made the comment during a meeting with Taiwan's former vice-president Vincent Siew Wan-chang on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit. Xi said Beijing was willing to have equal consultations with Taiwan on cross-strait issues within the one-China framework, under which both sides agree there is only one China but interpret that differently. "Officials in charge of cross-strait affairs may also meet each other to hold discussions," he was quoted as saying by Taiwanese media covering the meeting. Such political talks remain controversial in democratically run Taiwan, where there is no consensus on how reunification should proceed, if at all. The day after Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, met Zhang at the Apec forum, Wang said Taiwan was not ready to engage Beijing in a political dialogue aimed at reunification. Kao Yu-jen, chairman of Taiwan's 21st Century Foundation - a Taiwanese think-tank that co-hosted the Shanghai event with its mainland counterpart, the National Society of Taiwan Studies - yesterday called for the two sides to respect each other's sovereignty and recognise each other jurisdictions. Some 120 experts from both sides, including scholars and officials, discussed cross-strait political relations, external affairs, security and mutual trust as well as a framework for peace. However, Taiwanese and mainland participants yesterday differed over whether signing a peace pact should be seen as the prelude to the reunification of Taiwan and the mainland, who were bitter rivals until relations thawed after Ma Ying-jeou became president. Former DPP vice-premier Wu Rong-yi, who now heads the Taiwan Brains Trust, was one of a dozen DPP politicians and scholars who debated at length with mainland experts on the content of the "one-China" framework. Hsu Yung-ming, associate professor of political science at Soochow University, said in Taipei that the forum reflected Beijing's eagerness to push for political dialogue with Taipei before Ma's tenure ends in 2016. "While it remains to be seen whether Ma would go by Beijing's timetable, with nothing to brag about his domestic government performance there is no doubt that Ma wants to make the improvement of cross-strait relations his legacy," Hsu said, referring to Ma's decision to adopt a policy of engaging Beijing after he took office as president in 2008. Ma's public approval ratings have slipped as low as 9 per cent recently following political feuds within the KMT. ^ top ^

Taiwan looks to first vaccine against fatal H7N9 avian flu (SCMP)
2013.10.14
Taiwan is scheduled to roll out its first vaccine against the H7N9 strain of avian flu in late next year, after the island confirmed the first outbreak of the deadly virus earlier this year, researchers said on Monday. Health authorities in Taiwan confirmed in April that a 53-year-old Taiwanese man, who had been working in the eastern Chinese city of Suzhou, showed symptoms three days after returning home via Shanghai. The man, who was infected in China, was in serious but stable condition when he was hospitalised. Although the patient was eventually discharged, the outbreak prompted Taiwanese authorities to gear up research on a vaccine against the strain of avian influenza, given the ever closer exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. “We plan to start Phase II clinical trial in March,” which will contain 300 clinical cases, Su Ih-jen, director of the National Institute of Diseases and Vaccinology at the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI), said. After that, the project is scheduled to move into Phase III clinical trial in June, with 1,000 people being tested, he said. The NHRI is able to produce 200,000 doses of the cell-based vaccine once the project clears the Phase III trial stage, he said. Su termed as “one of the most deadly diseases” threatening human beings. “As of now H7N9 is the virus most likely to cause comprehensive transmission throughout the world as studies show that it can be spread through upper respiratory tract,” Su said. He was comparing it to the H5N1 strain of avian flu, which affects airways and lungs, or the lower respiratory tract. Since 2003, the H5N1 strain has killed more than 250 people in a dozen countries, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). As of August, WHO has been informed of a total of 135 laboratory-confirmed human cases with avian influenza A(H7N9) virus, including 44 deaths. Most of the cases were recorded in China. Following its first outbreak, Taiwan had brought forward plans to ban the killing of live poultry in traditional markets by a month, to May 17. Under the ban, market vendors will not be allowed to sell birds they have killed themselves, only poultry supplied from Taiwan's 79 approved slaughterhouses. There are about 870,000 Taiwanese people living in China. Trade and cross-strait travel have soared in recent years, after decades of tension since the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war. ^ top ^

Taiwan legislative body reviews no-confidence motion (Xinhua)
2013.10.14
The legislative body of Taiwan on Monday held a meeting to review a no-confidence motion initiated by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) against Jiang Yi-huah, chief of Taiwan's administrative authority. Legislative body members will cast an open vote on the motion on Tuesday. Taiwan's legislative body has 112 seats and if the motion wins half of the members' support, it will be passed. However, observers believe the chance may be slim as the ruling Kuomintang, resolved to defeat the motion, holds 65 seats while the DPP has only 40. If the no-confidence motion fails, Jiang will be free from another motion for the next year. The no-confidence motion was tabled last week by representatives from the DPP and another group that controls three seats at the legislative body. The DPP has accused Jiang for alleged involvement in "conspiring to create political battles, meddling in legislative affairs and illegal wiretapping." However, also on Monday, Jiang and 38 chiefs from Taiwan's major administrative departments attended a press conference and refuted the DPP accusations as unfounded and "completely contrary to the truth." Jiang said he respects the DPP's decision to file the motion but totally can not accept the arguments in its reasoning. He also expressed his worry about the current political standoff in Taiwan that may hold back the island's economic development and improvement of people's livelihoods. Moreover, Jiang mentioned that he had been to the legislative body six times in an attempt to give his administrative address, but never made it because of the DPP representatives' filibuster manoeuvre. ^ top ^

Beijing ends Ma Ying-jeou's dream of meeting Xi Jinping at next Apec summit (SCMP)
2013.10.17
Beijing has ruled out the possibility of the two leaders from across the Taiwan Strait meeting during next year's Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit on the mainland. Fan Liqing, spokeswoman of the mainland State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, made it clear at a news conference in Beijing yesterday that such an event would not take place. "A cross-strait leaders' meeting is an affair between the Chinese people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and will not be held through any international venue," she was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency. Fan said Apec's memorandum of understanding clearly laid out the criteria for the Taiwan delegation to attend the informal leaders' meeting and, by taking part, Taipei would be indicating it was prepared to abide by the regulations. Her comments dashed any hopes of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou meeting President Xi Jinping at the summit. Beijing still regards Taiwan as a wayward province despite warming cross-strait relations aided by Ma's policy, since he took office in 2008, of engaging Beijing. The mainland leadership has consistently opposed the attendance of the Taiwanese leader at the summit to avoid the impression that the island is an independent state. The Ma government had hoped that improved relations between the two sides would have led Beijing, as the summit's host, to agree to Ma participating in the Apec meeting. Wang Kung-yi, director of Taiwan Strategy Research Association, said improved relations between Taiwan and the mainland - which have been rivals since the civil war which ended in 1949 - is considered by Ma to be his most important goal in ensuring he maintains credibility in his leadership of the island. "With poor approval ratings for failing to lift Taiwan's economy, and other lacklustre domestic administration, a Ma-Xi meeting amid the cross-strait rapprochement would have given him something to brag about after his tenure ends in 2016," Wang said. During the Apec summit held on the Indonesian resort island of Bali earlier this month, Taiwanese media gave prominence to reports about the possibility of Ma meeting Xi next year, saying former vice-president Vincent Siew Wan-chang, an economic technocrat and the Taiwanese envoy representing Ma at the event, could have discussed the possibility during a meeting between the two on the sidelines of the summit. Siew later denied he had discussed such a matter with Xi. Wang Yu-chi, who heads Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council and attended the event as one of Siew's aides, also refuted reports of discussions of such a meeting. During a legislative session in Taipei yesterday, Wang said "it is still too premature to discuss the issue". But the mainland did not entirely close the door on a Ma-Xi meeting, as Fan pointed out there would be chances for such meetings at other venues. "We have long endorsed meetings between leaders across the Strait and will remain positive and open to any move that benefits peace and relations across the Strait," she said. Li Fei, deputy director of Xiamen University's Taiwan Research Institute, said a meeting at an international venue like Apec would "violate the one China principle". "If such a meeting took place, what sort of status would be given to Ma? If he used the title of Republic of China president, it would create a misunderstanding globally that the mainland had changed its 'one China' stand," Li said. ^ top ^

 

Economy

Administrative reform benefits economy and fights corruption (Xinhua)
2013.10.13
China's administrative reform is helping promote the Chinese economy's upgrade and curb corruption. Economic development has entered a key period of restructuring, but excessive intervention of government in economic activities has severely constrained the economic development vitality. The situation is changing, with the central government's further exemption of administrative approval items or delegation of the approving rights to authorities at lower levels. The redundant administrative approval items have frequently gone under the knife since the new leadership assumed office this March. On Sept. 25, premier Li Keqiang announced another 75 items exempted from central government approval, taking the total number of such items to 221 since March. Consequently, the dividend of reform is being released. Reduced government approval and intervention have not only given enterprises more say in investment and production, but give the government more space to manage affairs that truly call for management. The arrangement will also encourage fair market competition, avoid unchecked construction and reduce idle capacity. Corruption will be curbed during the reform. Administrative approval rights used to be owned by few government departments. The convergence of rights makes it easy to breed corruption. The reform has slashed rights of government departments and made approval procedures more transparent. The reform also shows the central government's management innovation, which could improve its image. As the reform will inevitably affect the interests of certain parties, central authorities must be tough in supervision of the reform across the nation and punish those who fail to carry out it. ^ top ^

Orient Group owner says payment by Zurich Insurance was no bribe (SCMP)
2013.10.14
The owner of Orient Group yesterday denied allegations that an offshore account worth nearly US$17 million had been used to bribe high-level Chinese officials, and also said the daughter of Li Peng, the former premier, had never had business dealings with the company. Zhang Hongwei, the chairman of the Shanghai-listed conglomerate, said in a statement that his group's Hong Kong branch once helped Zurich Insurance develop its presence in China, for which it was paid US$16.9 million, but that it was "normal business behaviour". In the statement, posted on the company's website, Zhang also denied that Orient Group had sold a stake in New China Life to Zurich Insurance, nor did his company have business dealings with "a woman surnamed Li". Zhang could not be reached for comment yesterday. The statement was made in response to a report in British newspaper The Daily Telegraph that Li Xiaolin, daughter of Li Peng, had brokered a deal by helping Zurich buy a stake in New China Life, the country's largest private insurance company, in 1995, before foreign firms could invest in the sector. The report, citing court documents and transcripts, said Zurich paid US$16.9 million through an offshore account as a "good faith fee". In return, New China Life agreed to sell Zurich almost a quarter of the company. Orient Group used the money to bribe several high-ranking Communist Party officials and their relatives when they visited the US, the report claimed. It named as beneficiaries the daughter of the former finance minister Xiang Huaicheng, the former land and resources minister Tian Fengshan and Huang Mengfu, a vice- chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Committee until this year. Zhang denied the allegations, saying that some of the money Zurich paid was misappropriated by a company employee, Bill Zhao, against whom Zhang launched a lawsuit in 2010 in the US state of Virginia. Li has publicly denied allegations that she brokered the deal by introducing executives from Zurich in 1995 to three Chinese businessmen who held a majority stake in New China Life. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea

New bridge to boost China-DPRK trade (Xinhua)
2013.10.14
A new bridge will link China and the Democratic Republic of Korea (DPRK) by 2014 and greatly boost exchange and trade between the two countries, officials said Monday. A new border trade complex, complete with customs services, border control and quarantine services, as well as office buildings, hotels and markets will also be operational by 2014, according to Shi Guang, mayor of Dandong city, where the bridge is located. The whole complex will cover 38 hectares and cost two billion yuan (325.8 million U.S.dollars) to build, Shi said. The new bridge is 10 kilometers down the Yalu river from the old bridge, which was built in 1937 and has been sole major passage on the China-DPRK border. The two governments agreed to build the new bridge in early 2010. It will have four lanes and a span of about three kilometers. The new facilities will be able to handle as many as 20,000 vehicles and 50,000 people a day and Dandong authorities expect that businesses done at the trade complex will account for 60 percent of China-DPRK trade. ^ top ^

North Korea has 15 nuclear facilities, says South Korean government (SCMP)
2013.10.15
North Korea has 15 nuclear facilities and laboratories as of August 2013 and most of them are located in Yongbyon, the South Korean government confirmed on Monday. Yongbyon, around 90 kilometres north of the capital Pyongyang, had 13 nuclear facilities, including a five-megawatt nuclear reactor, a 25-30 megawatt electrical (MWe) nuclear power station and an IRT-2000 research reactor, said a Ministry of Unification report submitted to lawmaker In Jae-keun. The five-megawatt nuclear reactor was believed to have produced plutonium used in the country's first and second nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, reported South Korea's Yonhap News Agency. Other facilities at Yongbyon included a 50 MWe light water plant, a radiochemical lab, a uranium enrichment site, a production line for fuel rods, an institute for using isotopes, a nuclear fuel storage bunker, three waste management facilities and an assembly plant for fissile materials. Pyongyang was the home of a fissile material facility, while the western coastal town of Thaechon had a new 200 MWe power station, it said. Such sites could be used for producing nuclear weapons, reported Yonhap. The ministry's report did not clarify how many North Koreans were working at the facilities and whether the number of nuclear sites had increased recently. In March, the US Congressional Research Service reported that North Korea had an estimated 20 nuclear facilities with some 3,000 workers. ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Independent representatives demand transparency from Government (News.mn)
2013.10.10
Three non party-independent representatives in Parliament held a press conference regarding the Oyu Tolgoi issues. Talks over the Oyu Tolgoi dispute between the Mongolian Government and Rio Tinto were held in London in September. Now the negotiations are ongoing with unsolved issues including 22 points related to the massive Oyu Tolgoi project. The three no party-independent representatives in Parliament expressed their stances over the controversial issues of Oyu Tolgoi. MP Kh.Bolorchuluun said that the Oyu Tolgoi deposit contains an estimated 45 million tons of copper, 1800 tons of gold and silver and is ranked as the third largest in the world. But the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement lacks. Mongolia has lost the chance to benefit from tax income of the deposit. He continued to say that there is no value added tax income from Oyu Tolgoi except gold. Oyu Tolgoi has been freed from the Entity Income Tax till 2017. Oyu Tolgoi was granted a tax relief that exists in no other place in the world. Now the project investors want to increase the project cost and investment. MP Ts.Davaasuren said that Oyu Tolgoi has been freed from tax. However it is now avoiding tax. The law on making the gold trade transparent was submitted to Parliament plans to reduce the royalty for use of gold resource. According to the law on gold trade transparency the five percent royalty for gold trade will be reduced to 2.5 percent. The issue is that Mongolia frees Oyu Tolgoi from tax in order to mine its own gold. MP S.Ganbaatar said that everyone knows and says that the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement is lacking. 24 MPs submitted demands to the Prime Minister. If the new Oyu Tolgoi board members negotiate over the Oyu Tolgoi Investment Agreement it should be transparent to the public. They should report on it to Parliament. If the Government ignores the demands, the independent representatives in Parliament will suggest that the Government resign. The current negotiations over Oyu Tolgoi are closed even to Parliament. The negotiation needs to be transparent. ^ top ^

Global miner Rio Tinto resumes talks with Mongolian Government (News.mn)
2013.10.16
Representatives of Rio Tinto, an Anglo-Australian mining company, arrived in Ulaanbaatar on Monday to resume talks with the Mongolian government, official sources said. The government is pushing Rio Tinto to continue developing underground mining shafts in the Oyu Tolgoi mine, the construction of which was halted by the mining giant in August due to the government"s rejection of its financing proposal on the project. During the talks, both parties are expected to discuss the project cost overruns, the updating of the feasibility study -- a major source of conflict -- and most importantly, the project financing scheme proposed by Rio Tinto. The Mongolian government claims that Rio Tinto, which is in charge of the copper-gold mining project in South Gobi region of Mongolia, has exceeded the cost limit initially approved by 2 billion U.S. dollars. Rio Tinto had been trying to get approval from the Mongolian government for its financing proposal since last winter, but the government never offered a direct reply. According to the proposal, Rio was to get a financing package worth 4 billion dollars from several leading global banks, such as International Finance Corporation, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Standard Chartered Bank. Faced with deteriorating economic conditions and a shortage of hard currency, the Mongolian government is now attempting to bring the global miner back to its investment in the country. Earlier this October, three Mongolian board members of the Oyu Tolgoi LLC, the joint venture between Rio Tinto and the Mongolian government, visited the London headquarters of Rio Tinto for talks on the disputed issues. Otgochuluu Chuluuntseren, a board member of the joint venture and director general of strategic policy and planning of the country"s mining ministry, said the talks in Ulan Bator will continue until December. ^ top ^

Italian entrepreneurs request to cooperate in wool and cashmere production (Montsame)
2013.10.16
Speaker of the State Great Khural Z.Enkhbold Wednesday received Mr Armando Branchini, a president of the European Cultural and Creative Industries Alliance (ECCIA) and head of the Italian-Mongolian business council. Mr Branchini said the Italian large-scale companies are interested in cooperating with Mongolia in manufacturing and retailing wool and cashmere products. "Italians prefer the highest quality found in the Mongolian wool and cashmere products only. However, a lack of good marketing management to manufacture and sell these kinds of product is taking down the industrial capacity of Mongolia," he said. Mr Branchini also added that Italian part would like to open an Italy-Mongolia joint factory in their country as a part of the cooperation in the sector. Attending the talks, a General Director of "Buyan" cashmere company Mr B.Jargalsaihan said," Mongolia at the moment is not able to invest in raw materials and foreign trade, therefore this project suggested should receive a support from the state". He requested the Speaker to form a working group on the matter, with an aim to improve the legal environment of the industrial cooperation. Responding to this, Mr Enkhbold said that a working group can be formed to make proper amendments to the related laws, but under this working group, a subgroup with Ministries and business federations of the two countries must have their representation. ^ top ^

 

Ludivine Candiotti
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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