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
  1-7.2.14, No. 510  
Startseite / Homepage   Archiv / Archives
Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

Mongolia

^ top ^

 

Foreign Policy

China dismisses ADIZ reports (China Daily)
2014-02-02
China on Saturday dismissed allegations by some Japanese reports that it is to set up an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the South China Sea and expressed optimism over regional situation. "In a general view, the Chinese side has yet to feel any air security threat from the ASEAN countries and is optimistic about its relations with the neighboring countries and the general situation in the South China Sea region," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said in a press release Saturday. Earlier this week, the Asahi Shimbun daily of Japan reported that China has drafted proposals for the Air Defense Identification Zone over the South China Sea. Hong said the right-wing forces of Japan have repeatedly clamored about the alleged plan of China to set up ADIZ over the South China Sea. He said this move is of ulterior motive and simply aimed to shift international attention from and cover up the plot to change Japan's pacifist constitution and expand its military power. "We sternly warned these forces not to mislead public opinions with rumors and play up tensions for their own selfish benefit," Hong said. Hong stressed that China and the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN) share a bright future for their relations. He said China and the ASEAN countries are working together to implement the declaration on the conduct of parties in the South China Sea in a comprehensive and effective way to safeguard peace and stability in the region. In response to reports about US officials' comments on the issue, Hong said China hopes the relevant parties remain cautious about their words and deeds, maintain a calm and objective stance, make joint efforts with China and make concrete contribution to peace, stability and security in the air and on sea of the region. Hong said China, as a sovereign country, has all the legitimate rights to adopt all measures, including setting up ADIZ, to safeguard national security in response to the situation of air security. No one should make irresponsible comments on this, Hong said. ^ top ^

China pulled towards action in South Sudan (SCMP)
2014-02-03
China has taken a more proactive role in trying to end the fighting in South Sudan, one of its main oil suppliers, suggesting Beijing is strengthening political engagement with African nations, observers say. But any contacts would still be made in a low-key way in keeping with its policy of non-interference, despite pressure on China to step up its global political and security role as its economic power increases around the world, they said. China imported about 14 million barrels of crude oil from South Sudan in the first 10 months of last year, about 80 per cent of its total export, and has more than 100 registered enterprises in the African nation. Beijing sent special envoy Zhong Jianhua to carry out mediation efforts in South Sudan after violence broke out in December between its president, Salva Kiir, and rebels loyal to ousted vice-president Riek Machar. The two sides signed a ceasefire last month. Foreign Minister Wang Yi also called for an end to hostilities during his visit to Ethiopia last month, urging all sides to start talks. China was deeply concerned about the crisis and South Sudan should be concentrating on economic development, Wang said. Professor Daniel Large, an expert on developing nations at the Central European University based in Budapest, Hungary, said Beijing's energy ties meant it had to take a more direct role in South Sudan. "China can be committed to non-interference of course, but at the same time Beijing has to interfere," he said. Observers said China had decided to take prompt action to prevent the crisis from escalating because Beijing did not want a repeat of the events in Libya, which saw the toppling of the regime of Muammar Gaddafi. China had limited investments in Libya, but the turmoil led to concerns in Beijing that any future government would be less favourable to Chinese financial backing, analysts said. "China's direct interest in Libya is not that high, but still the chaos there created tremendous losses," said Zhang Hongming, an African studies researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "In South Sudan, China has a huge financial interest and the potential losses could also be huge if the situation gets out of control." Zhang said Beijing was reluctant to engage itself politically in Africa, but African nations have called for more Chinese involvement on the continent as China expands its presence there. "China realises that if it does not try hard to mediate, then it will only suffer more when crises keep unfolding," Zhang said, adding the principle of non-interference should be flexible. [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing slams Benigno Aquino for 'ignorant' Nazi Germany comparisons (SCMP)
2014-02-05
Beijing launched a scathing attack on Benigno Aquino after the Philippine president compared China with Nazi Germany in staking claims to disputed territory in the South China Sea. A commentary by Xinhua described his remarks on China's handling of the territorial dispute as senseless and said it had "exposed his true colours as an amateurish politician who was ignorant both of history and reality". "Philippine President Benigno S. Aquino III, who has taken an inflammatory approach... has never been a great candidate for a wise statesman in the region," it said. Aquino told The New York Times he wanted world leaders to support the Philippines in resisting China's assertive claims over the South China Sea, drawing a comparison to the West's failure to support Czechoslovakia against Adolf Hitler's demands for Czech land in 1938. Aquino said he saw some parallels as Manila was now facing a challenge to surrender territory piecemeal to a much stronger foreign power, and world leaders should not make the mistake of appeasing China in disputes. "If we say yes to something we believe is wrong now, what guarantee is there that the wrong will not be further exacerbated down the line?" he said. "At what point do you say, 'Enough is enough?' Well, the world has to say it." [...] Xinhua criticised Aquino for joining the ranks of "disgraced" Abe and wasting the chance of improved ties after China sent aid in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan. Yesterday, Aquino's spokesman Sonny Coloma insisted he was merely citing historical fact and did not aim to offend China. "As a storyteller... the president often gives details of a particular situation, so it could have happened that he was simply citing the fact that there was such incident," Coloma said, adding that there were "antecedents" during the New York Times interview that "would logically lead" to Aquino's Hitler citation. ^ top ^

China slams NHK's denial of Nanjing massacre (China Daily)
2014-02-06
China on Wednesday slammed the remarks of an official of Japan's public broadcaster, NHK, who denied the Nanjing massacre. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said that such behavior is "a barefaced challenge to the international justice and human conscience." Naoki Hyakuta, a member of the NHK board of governors, said that the Nanjing massacre never happened in a speech just a few days after NHK's new chief's comments about "comfort women", which sparked widespread anger. "The Nanjing massacre is a brutal crime committed by the Japanese militarism during their invasion of China, which has irrefutable evidences. The international community already had a verdict about it," Hong said. He noted that a handful of people in Japan attempted to blot out, cover up and distort that history, which is a barefaced challenge to the international justice and conscience of the human being. Such behavior is in the same line as those of some Japanese leaders who try to reverse the history. The international community should be highly vigilant at this. Hong urged Japan to face up to and deeply reflect on the invasion history, handle the problems left over by the history with a responsible and proper attitude, and regain trust from its Asian neighbors and the global community with concrete actions. More than 300,000 Chinese people, including infants and the elderly, were massacred after Japanese troops occupied the city of Nanjing in December 1937. ^ top ^

Exclusive: How mainland Chinese millionaires overwhelmed Canada's visa scheme (SCMP)
2014.02.06
Applications by tens of thousands of mainland millionaires flooded Canada's consulate in Hong Kong and overwhelmed the country's investor immigrant programme, an investigation by the South China Morning Post has revealed. Canadian immigration department spreadsheets obtained by the Post show how the huge number of applications forced the government in Ottawa to freeze the world's most popular wealth-based migration scheme. One document, dated January 8 last year, showed there was a backlog of 53,580 Hong Kong-based applications for Canadian federal investor visas. That represented more than 70 per cent of the global backlog. And attempts by Ottawa in 2010 to tighten access to the coveted visas by doubling the wealth criteria had the effect of increasing Chinese domination. In 2011, applications sent to the Hong Kong consulate made up 86 per cent of the global total. Analysis of arrival data suggests that about 99 per cent of applications in Hong Kong were lodged by mainlanders. Under the scheme's current limits, applicants worth at least C$1.6 million (HK$11.2 million) receive residency if they "invest" C$800,000 in the form of a five-year interest-free loan to Canada. The applications in the Hong Kong consulate's queue in January last year represented potential "investment" of C$7.5 billion. The queue was revealed when Ottawa halted new applications to deal with the backlog in 2012. What was not revealed was that the vast majority were applications by mainland Chinese which swamped a single consular office in Hong Kong. Vancouver immigration lawyer Richard Kurland obtained the spreadsheets after making freedom of information requests, then shared them with the Post. He said: "The scheme has not been handled properly. The programme is dramatically underpriced." The spreadsheets do not distinguish between mainlanders and Hongkongers. But the Post's analysis of provincial arrival data suggests nearly all applications pending in Hong Kong were lodged by mainlanders. This was confirmed by internal Canadian immigration data. In British Columbia, preferred destination of most Chinese investors, mainland arrivals outstripped those of Hongkongers by 95 to one. Yet few applications were lodged in Beijing - only 252 from 2009 to 2011, compared to 63,796 in Hong Kong. Former Canadian ambassador David Mulroney, who served in Beijing from 2009 to 2012, said he was aware at the time of the huge number of applications in Hong Kong compared to those in Beijing, but could not explain the disparity. "There might have been a technical reason," he said. There were 3,643 investor visa approvals worldwide in 2012. The investigation shows applications received in Hong Kong soared from 520 in 2002 to 34,427 in 2010 - more than 81 per cent of the world total. The figure fell in 2011 as the rise in the wealth criteria took full effect, but still exceeded the processing capacity. Canada's programme was by far the most popular such scheme among rich Chinese. By 2010, applications at the Hong Kong consulate surpassed the combined number received for investor migration schemes run by the US, the UK and Australia. ^ top ^

Chinese, Russian presidents hold talks on bilateral ties (Xinhua)
2014.02.06
Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping met his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, here Thursday for talks on bilateral ties. The two leaders reviewed the important achievements in the China-Russia ties in the past year, made strategic plans for the bilateral cooperation in the new year and reached important consensuses on the strategic coordination on major international and regional issues. While expressing his delight to be invited to the opening ceremony of the 22nd Winter Olympic Games, Xi referred to the pleasant concurrence of the Sochi Olympics and the Chinese Spring Festival. Sochi's hosting of the major international sports event serves as a symbol that Russia is on its way to prosperity under the leadership of Putin, added the Chinese president. Calling China and Russia good neighbors, good partners and good friends, Xi said he came to Russia to offer his congratulations in person as is customary for the Chinese people to do upon their neighbors' joyous occasions. He also voiced his confidence that, with Russia's careful preparations, the Sochi Winter Olympics will be a splendid and unforgettable sports event and make fresh contributions to the Olympic cause. Additionally, Xi extended his wishes that the Sochi Winter Olympic Games be a complete success and that Chinese and Russian athletes score good results. For his part, Putin conveyed his hearty welcome to Xi and thanked the Chinese president for traveling to Sochi to share the magnificent occasion with the Russian people. Noting that the Chinese Spring Festival is a time for the Chinese people to visit relatives and friends, Putin said Xi's trip to Russia is exactly a reunion with a good friend. The Russian president also wished Xi and the Chinese people a happy Lunar New Year and the Chinese athletes excellent results in the Sochi Olympic Games. ^ top ^

US presses on South China Sea (Global Times)
2014.02.07
The US on Wednesday urged Beijing to clarify or adjust its claims in the South China Sea, a move denounced by Chinese observers as interference in China's internal affairs. Danny Russel, the US assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, challenged Beijing's nine-dash line, adding that maritime claims under international law needed to be based on land features. "Any Chinese claim to maritime rights not based on claimed land features would be inconsistent with international law," Russel told a congressional committee. Russel supported the Philippines' right to take its case to a United Nations tribunal, a move denounced by China. "China could highlight its respect for international law by clarifying or adjusting its claim to bring it into accordance with international law of the sea," Russel said. Shi Yinhong, director of the Center on American Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times that Russel's comments were to make clear the bottom line of the US in issues regarding the South China Sea and to deter China. "The US sees the South China Sea as an important strategic channel and believes it will play a key role in China's expansion, which will lead to future contest with the US," Shi said. Russel's remarks indicate an increasingly active US stance on the South China Sea. In 2010, then secretaryof state Hillary Clinton declared on a visit to Vietnam that freedom of navigation was a US national interest in the South China Sea, through which more than half of the world's merchant goods are shipped. But the US, while boosting military cooperation with allies Japan and the Philippines, has generally stressed that it takes no stance on sovereignty in Asia's myriad disputes, a position that Russel reiterated. Russel also repeated warnings to China not to impose an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), which calls on planes to report to Beijing, over the South China Sea. "We neither recognize nor accept China's declared ADIZ," Russel said. "We made clear to China that it shouldn't attempt to implement that ADIZ and should refrain from taking similar actions elsewhere in the region." Ji Qiufeng, a professor of international relations at China's Nanjing University, told the Global Times on Thursday that Russel's comments came out of a cold war mentality which sees China as a potential threat and it reflected the US intention to contain China under the "pivot to Asia" or "rebalancing" strategy. "The US turned to South China Sea recently as it is now hard to harmonize Japan and South Korea in the US-Japan-South Korea triangle. Its doubts over China's sovereignty could be regarded as interference in our internal affairs," he said. Meanwhile Philippine President Benigno Aquino in an interview with The New York Times called on world leaders not to "appease" China and drew a parallel to the 1938 decision to give Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Adolf Hitler's Germany. His comment was slammed by Xinhua, which said the comments showed Aquino was an amateurish politician who was ignorant of both history and reality. ^ top ^

Trade frictions with the EU likely to grow (China Daily)
2014.02.07
China and the European Union may face a fresh round of trade friction as Brussels is planning harsher trade defenses against Chinese imports. EU trade chief Karel de Gucht is seeking to update the tools that Brussels uses to fight "unfair trade practices" and which date from before China's transformation into a powerful exporter, Reuters reported on Thursday. Some in Europe say the rules are too soft. The European Parliament pressed the trade chief on Wednesday to build stronger defenses against cheap imports from China. EU lawmakers want to make it easier for small companies to take on countries that flout world trade rules by exporting goods at below the cost of production. Legislators also want to do away with a European rule that limits punitive sanctions to only what is absolutely necessary to correct any injury caused by illegally subsidized imports, Reuters said. The Parliament's position is "a lot more radical", Christofer Fjellner, the lawmaker leading negotiations with the European Commission on the issue, was quoted as saying. The commission is the 28-nation bloc's trade authority in Brussels. Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, called the moves "trade protectionism that aims to boost local employment. "The EU's economic recovery is very slow and the unemployment rate is very high. The bloc expects more jobs. This is the key reason for the protectionist move," Sang said on Thursday. He added that China, which is tipped to become the world's largest goods trader, has very competitive advantages, especially price advantages, in exports to the EU. Sang said China should turn to the dispute settlement body of the World Trade Organization and push the EU to avoid the misuse of trade protectionism measures. "The Chinese government must increase direct communication with the EU because China-EU trade growth benefits both sides. Only bilateral trade expansion can create more jobs in the bloc and boost its economic recovery," Sang said. ^ top ^

UN agency warns risk of bird flu crossing China's borders grows (SCMP)
2014.02.07
The proliferation of the H7N9 bird flu virus among poultry in live-bird markets in Guangxi has "significantly increased the risk" it will spread to neighbouring countries, a United Nations agency warned. The Food and Agriculture Organisation yesterday urged countries sharing a border with China to review their emergency preparations and response plans to address a possible outbreak. "The current situation in Guangxi will require a renewed vigilance to mitigate the effects of cross-border spread," it said. Its warning came after the province reported two human cases of H7N9 on Tuesday, involving a five-year-old boy and his 41-year-old mother. Guangxi, which shares a border with Vietnam, was where the Chinese authorities tracked movement of the H7N9 infection to live-bird markets between January 24 and 28. It was also where the first human casualty was reported. Neighbouring Yunnan shares borders with Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos. China's national health commission said there was no proof that H7N9 was spreading sustainably from person to person, but it could not rule out the possibility of "limited" human-to-human infections. There have been at least 290 confirmed human H7N9 cases and 66 deaths in the mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Beijing, Guangdong and Hunan each reported a new human case of H7N9 yesterday, while Jiangsu reported two, Xinhua said. All patients had been exposed to poultry except the Guangdong case, but there were no details about how the Foshan woman, 36, contracted the virus. The fact that the virus produced no detectable symptoms among infected birds had seriously disrupted poultry production and markets, the UN said, adding that close contact between infected poultry and humans - particularly during festivals such as the Lunar New Year - presented a serious health risk. Despite the risk, there was no evidence that the virus was present in Vietnam or any of China's other neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia. But there were indications, based on experience with the H5N1 virus, that H7N9 was easily capable of crossing borders. A three-week ban on live chicken sales is in effect in Hong Kong until February 18 after H7N9 was found in a live chicken from the mainland. University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said poultry exposure was the main cause of human infections and warned the public to avoid contact with live poultry. ^ top ^

 

Domestic Policy

Ruling party urges innovation in discipline inspection (Global Times)
2014-02-02
China's ruling party has called for innovation in discipline inspection as part of efforts to combat corruption and build a clean government. Local discipline watchdogs have been asked to report possible corruption cases to both local Communist Party of China (CPC) committees and discipline inspection agencies of their immediate superior level, said a research center under the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) of the CPC. Each local discipline inspection agency is under the dual leadership of the CPC committee at the same level and the inspection agency of a superior level. However, local discipline agencies used to report clues of possible corruption to their local CPC committees only. Such cases could be investigated after leading officials of the local CPC committees agreed. "Reporting clues to superior discipline organs can help restrict the power of the local CPC committee and crack down on corruption," the CCDI research center said. Wang Qishan, secretary of the CCDI, said recently that the Party would streamline its discipline inspection system by granting more power to discipline inspection agencies. Barriers and flaws in the system have resulted in anti-graft organs' ineffective operation, which has affected anti-graft work, the CCDI research center said. In addition, the nomination and evaluation of heads of discipline inspection agencies will be conducted by superior discipline organs and organization departments, it said. Inspection teams should focus more on leading officials, including members of the CPC Central Committee who concurrently hold posts as provincial-level Party chiefs, it said. Last year, 10 teams of discipline inspectors visited 20 provincial governments, big state-owned enterprises and public institutions, collecting important clues that helped bring down a number of corrupt officials. ^ top ^

Chinese courts handle over 13 million cases in 2013 (People's Daily)
2014-02-02
Chinese courts handled more than 13.37 million cases in 2013, up 6.8 percent year on year, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said Saturday in a statement. Courts at all levels closed more than 12.94 million cases, including a number of major ones, such as the trials of former secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China Bo Xilai and former railways minister Liu Zhijun, it said. According to the SPC, 1,960 cases that had not been concluded for more than three years were completed last year. Several wrong judgements were corrected in 2013, including the case of Li Huailiang who was wrongly detained and jailed over 12 years for the rape and murder of a teenage girl in central China's Henan Province. The SPC also issued a series of judicial interpretations concerning food safety and creating and spreading online rumors. ^ top ^

Premier Li signs regulation on state secrecy law (Global Times)
2013-02-03
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has signed an enforcement regulation on the state secrecy law in an effort to boost government transparency. Organs and units have been told not to label items that should be made public as "state secrets", and they should not publicize those related to state secrets, the regulation said. The regulation defines secrecy levels and authority limits, and clarifies time limits for differing levels of confidentiality and conditions for declassification. Signs of "state secrets" should be labelled at prominent areas of state secret carriers and state secret equipment, according to the regulation. It includes specific rules on state secret carriers such as facilities used to reveive and transmit state secrets. It also asked authorities to destroy state secret carriers in accordance with state secrecy standards and ensure such facilities can not be restored any more. Organs and units are asked to report possible state secret leakage to secrecy department at the same level or superior department which is in charge of state secrecy with 24 hours, it said. Administrative departments which are in charge of state secret work should regularly carry out education on confidentiality and officials who failed to perform their duties will be punished, it added. The regulation, which is released Sunday, consists of 45 articles and will come into force on March 1. ^ top ^

China fights corruption through stricter audits (Xinhua)
2014-02-05
China will impose stricter audits in key areas to intensify its crackdown on corruption, according to the National Audit Office. "Auditing plays an important role in supervision, and auditing bodies at various levels should be sharp-sighted in detecting problems of power abuse and corruption," said the office. The audits will focus on five areas, including fiscal fund management, public project construction, extension of bank loans, land transfer and state asset management, according to the office. Auditors nationwide spotted over 1,400 signs of possible malpractice in the first 11 months of last year and transferred the cases to judiciary or discipline inspection organs for further investigation. ^ top ^

Doctors warn of pandemic potential of the new H10N8 bird flu virus (SCMP)
2014-02-05
A novel bird flu virus that has killed one mainlander and left another critically ill has the potential to spread efficiently among humans, doctors warn. They say the fact that the H10N8 bug jumped to humans for the first time in December is an important warning of a possible pandemic. "The pandemic potential of this novel virus should not be underestimated," the research team headed by virologist Shu Yuelong from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in Beijing says in a paper in The Lancet medical journal, published yesterday. "[The latest case] reveals that the H10N8 virus has continued to circulate and may cause more human infections in the future." An expert in infectious diseases in Hong Kong, meanwhile, said tests for the H10 virus should be stepped up among flu patients and poultry. A 55-year-old woman critically ill in hospital in Nanchang, Jiangxi, was confirmed to have the virus on January 26. This followed the death of a 73-year-old woman there on December 6. The fifth novel influenza strain to emerge in 17 years, the virus has a worrying genetic profile and should be closely monitored, the researchers wrote. It appears to be able to infect tissue deep in the lung, they said. The warning stems from analysis of a virus sample taken from the woman who died. Her death from H10N8 was announced on December 18. The virus strain had previously been found only twice on the mainland - in a sample from a lake in Hunan in 2007, and in live poultry in Guangdong in 2012. The Lancet paper said the strain infecting the two humans was different from those two samples. University of Hong Kong microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yuen said it was important to monitor the activity of H10N8 in both poultry and humans as it was difficult to predict how an influenza virus would evolve. ^ top ^

China reports 11 new H7N9 human cases (China Daily)
2014-02-06
Eleven Chinese people were confirmed to be infected with the H7N9 bird flu on Wednesday in four regions, with 8 in critical condition, according to local health authorities. The southern province of Guangdong reported 4 new cases, including a 5-year-old girl and a 42-year-old man in Zhaoqing City, a 49-year-old man in Foshan City and a 56-year-old man in Shenzhen City, said the provincial health and family planning commission. The girl and the man from Foshan are in stable condition while the other two remain in critical condition, according to the commission. The eastern province of Zhejiang, the region hit hardest by the H7N9 virus, confirmed four new human cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of affected cases to 69 in the province so far this year, said the provincial health and family planning commission. The patients were two men and two women, all in critical condition, according to the commission. Two new cases were reported in Hengxian County in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, according to the regional health and family planning commission. They were a 41-year-old woman, in critical condition, and his 5-year-old son. A 36-old man in Quanzhou City of east China's Fujian Province was confirmed to be infected with the virus on Wednesday. He is in critical condition, according to the provincial health and family planning commission. Chinese health authorities on Wednesday reaffirmed no proof has been found that the H7N9 virus is spreading from human to human. Most human H7N9 infection cases have been isolated so far, said a statement from the National Health and Family Planning Commission. During the Spring Festival holidays, expert teams sent by the commission have been supervising local hospitals in Beijing, Shanghai, Zhejiang, Fujian and Guangdong in diagnosing and treating H7N9 patients, the statement said. Health authorities and hospitals in provinces with high incidence of H7N9 are working hard to identify H7N9 cases as early as possible, it said. The health authorities will strive to prevent cases of severe infection and reduce casualties, it added. ^ top ^

Alleged spree killer detained in China (China Daily)
2014.02.06
A man who allegedly shot dead six people and wounded three others in a village in Southwest China's Yunnan province was detained on Wednesday afternoon, local police said Thursday. Shao Zongqi, a 38-year-old man from the village of Qingkou, Tengchong county, is suspected of carrying out the fatal shooting with a rifle before he escaped on January 30, the eve of the Spring Festival, said Huang Bizhong, chief of the county's public security bureau. Police captured him on February 3 and later found the rifle and the remaining 40 bullets. In China, civilians are forbidden to possess guns, and according to Huang, Shao had bought the weapon abroad illegally. An initial investigation found Shao committed the murders after he discovered his wife's extramarital affairs. His wife, who is believed to have known about Shao's intent to seek revenge and to have seen the rifle earlier, was also detained for the crime of shielding. Further investigation is under way. ^ top ^

Severe weather causes holiday migration chaos (Global Times)
2014.02.07
Rain and snow have disrupted the journeys of millions of people traveling across the country after the Chinese lunar new year holiday, causing chaos during peak-day travel. China's top weather authority issued a yellow alert for blizzards on Thursday morning, the final day of the holiday, saying snowstorms would hit provinces including Henan, Hubei, Anhui and Jiangsu from Thursday morning to Friday morning. As more travelers departed from their families, complaints about the world's largest annual migration shifted from ticket-buying difficulties to return journey hardships. The snow forced 69 highways to partially close on Wednesday, the Ministry of Transport said. A total 89.11 million road trips were made on Wednesday, 5.4 percent higher than last year. Railway traffic was affected as some high-speed trains were capped at a maximum speed of 200 kilometers per hour, the Beijing Times reported, causing nearly 100 late arrivals on Wednesday. Big cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen saw the largest returning population. Beijing railway authorities said 407,000 people arrived in the capital on Wednesday, china.com.cn reported. Between complaining about late trains and planes, jammed highways and bad weather, some Chinese people began to wonder why they bothered returning at all. "Big cities gather the most talent as well as resources and opportunities," Huang Dan, a Hubei native who works in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday. Back from being the caring daughter and sister of her family, Huang dressed up as a white-collar worker again in her office at the Advanced Business Park in Beijing and plunged back into the faster pace of her daily work environment. Despite the cutthroat competition, bad air and pricey housing, Huang said she still appreciates the more international environment and advanced urban planning. "After all, young people like adventures, and small cities can hardly give you that," Huang said. Wang Yuancheng, a Net user on Zhihu, a knowledge exchange website similar to Quora, also believe big cities provide a better platform for young people. Wang shared his story of returning home from Shanghai, attracting a massive online response. "Shanghai is a city that cares nothing except for your hard work," Wang said. In his third-tier city hometown, people focused more on background, connections and nepotism, he believed. Young people like Huang and Wang must adjust to the difference between the city and their hometown, an expression of the continuing urban-rural economic imbalance in China's divided society. Recently a rather sarcastic post gained online traction describing young people from small towns as "debutantes" in the big city, joking that their workplace English names contradicted their humbler hometown nicknames. The post, while illustrating young people's confused identities, also reveals that life in the big city is often only fancy on the surface. "Some will eventually leave big cities like Beijing due to heavy work pressure and the high cost of living," said Du Xiaoshan, an economist with the Rural Development Institute of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "In addition to opportunities, people also seek comfortable lifestyles," Du said. Many young people find it costs too much time and energy to settle there, he noted. "To attract talent back to their homes in small cities and towns, the key is to find suitable pillar industries and good job opportunities," Du said. While believing the urbanization drive will reduce regional disparity, Du said there is no timetable for full elimination of the massive festival migration that is a cultural tradition and a sign of social progress. Relocation of administrative and economic resources would change things a lot, suggested Wang Chunguang, a sociologist with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "Migration also follows the market rule," Wang told the Global Times. The implementation of central policies that boost development in underdeveloped regions would decide if underdeveloped regions would catch up, he believes. China's transport system is put to the test during chunyun, the 40-day travel period which literally means "Spring Festival transport." During the first 20 days that ended Tuesday, about 121.22 million trips were made by train, up 13.6 percent from the same period last year, according to the China Railway Corporation. ^ top ^

Anti-graft favors family (Global Times)
2014.02.07
To many millions of Chinese people, Chunjie, or Spring Festival, is most marked by journeys to hometowns, as part of the planet's biggest annual migration, and reunions with loved ones. However, to modern Chinese who are living through a deeper social change, the holiday is also a chance to witness this change firsthand as they make this annual journey. Global Times reporters were also part of this mass migration. Immersed in all kinds of anxieties and excitements, returning home is an experience of warmth tempered by loss, and of discovering that the world left behind has gradually changed beyond recognition. For the first time in nearly a decade, Li Qiaoming (pseudonym), a director of a State-owned enterprise (SOE) in South China's Hainan Province, was able to return to his hometown for Spring Festival. He felt a little unaccustomed to being with his family, as he was so used to spending the lunar new year's eve eating luxurious meals and drinking Moutai, all to court visiting superiors from his corporation and officials from the superior government. Dubbed China's Hawaii, Hainan, the tropical island with a beautiful coastline and clean air, is a popular winter vacation spot for Chinese people, and for years, officials took advantage of this to bring their families there for Spring Festival. It was hardly a secret that they enjoyed luxurious meals, expensive hotel suites and lavish tours or golf perks on either public funds or from private companies who wished to "make powerful friends." Millions of dollars were spent as gestures of "hospitality" and Spring Festival had been for years "the busy season" for local officials. Li spent nearly every lunar new year's day in the past decade on the golf courses accompanying visiting officials. His enterprise sent trucks to the Moutai factory in Guizhou Province to ship expensive bottles back for banquets and gifts. Yet this year, the officials didn't come, perhaps out of fear of losing their jobs due to the strict anti-graft campaign. Strict rules were issued for the use of government vehicles. Sending gift cards, hosting galas, joining private clubs and having lavish weddings or funerals are a no-no. The rule changes have meant that for the first time in years, officials like Li could finally return home for the festival. It had become an unspoken rule that providing such "hospitality" was an important opportunity and a necessary step for local officials to build connections with the central government and climb the career ladder. The world has witnessed the economic miracle China has achieved in the past three decades. Yet as China grew stronger, the phenomenon of corruption grew with it. One might ask why people should be so concerned about corruption. It seems extremely difficult to root out the problem; some even see it as a necessary evil. But corruption is, at such a large scale, an indicator of bigger issues. It creates greater social inequality as resources are misappropriated and public funds are splurged by a few. It is also a sign of a malfunctioning political machine when money and connection become key factors in promotion which inevitably bring the danger of putting wrong people in important positions. Both signs lead to bigger chance of social instability at a time when China is going through major and difficult reforms. As for Li, his family think the campaign is good. His children may be too young to understand the significance of the move, but they got their father back home for Spring Festival, the most important family-reunion event in a year. ^ top ^

 

Beijing

Beijing sees 38 pct slump in fireworks sales (Global Times)
2014-02-06
Fireworks sales in Beijing have slumped 37.7 percent this Spring Festival holiday season as more people shun them amid worries about worsening the city's air pollution. Local residents bought 195,000 boxes of fireworks between Lunar New Year Eve on Jan. 30 and Feb. 4, down 37.7 percent from a year earlier, the Beijing municipal public security bureau said in a statement Wednesday. Prior to the Lunar New Year holiday, authorities and environmentalists had called on residents to cut spending on fireworks, as severe smoggy weather has become a constant source of public anger and complaints. During the six days from Lunar New Year Eve to Feb. 4, 108 people were injured while setting off fireworks, down 34.5 percent from the same period a year ago, the bureau said. There were no reports of deaths or loss of eyes. During the period, local police received 7.4 percent fewer reports of fires caused by fireworks than a year ago, it said. The Chinese have a tradition of celebrating the Lunar New Year with fireworks to add to the festival atmosphere and fend off evil spirits and bad luck. ^ top ^

Beijing reports second human H7N9 case (China Daily)
2014.02.06
Beijing has confirmed this year's second human case of the H7N9 bird flu, the local health authority said Thursday. The patient, who was still in critical condition Thursday, had raised, traded and slaughtered live poultry before falling ill, the Beijing municipal health and family planning commission said in a press release.The document said the case was confirmed by the municipal disease prevention and control center on Wednesday, but did not identify the patient. The capital city's first human H7N9 case was reported on Jan 24. The patient, a man, had reportedly bought pigeons and eaten them before testing positive for H7N9 bird flu. ^ top ^

 

Xinjiang

China's Xinjiang sizzles with green energy (People's Daily)
2014-02-03
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, a major power supplier in China, has accelerated the development of green energy as it recorded higher installed capacity in 2013. Statistics with the Xinjiang branch of the State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC) showed that by 2013, the combined installed capacity of wind power, hydropower and solar power stations exceeded 1,368 million KW, accounting for about one third of all installed capacity in Xinjiang. The installed capacity of wind power stations reached 500 million KW, nine times of that in 2009, while the figure of solar power stations increased to 277.1 million KW from zero in 2010, according to a report released by the SGCC Xinjiang branch on Sunday. Xinjiang is rich in both traditional and new energies. A project to connect the Xinjiang power grid to the northwest China grid was launched in 2010 to transmit Xinjiang's redundant electric power to other parts of the country. The money made from this is used for developing Xinjiang. The SGCC Xinjiang branch has put an average annual investment of 500 million yuan towards green energy projects. Total installed capacity is expected to reach 6,048 million KW by the end of 2014, and that of green power will exceed 2,200 million KW. ^ top ^

 

Hongkong

Hang Seng Index investors rush for exit as lunar new year trading starts (SCMP)
2014-02-04
Hong Kong stocks got off to a poor start in the Year of the Horse as the market crashed to its lowest point in seven months, joining others in a region-wide meltdown over fears Beijing will tighten credit and the United States will further taper its stimulus. The Hang Seng Index lost 2.9 per cent, or 637.65 points, to close at 21,397.77, its lowest level since July. The sharp drop made it the worst opening day of trading in a lunar new year since 2008, raising fears that it portends a year of losses. "The Hang Seng Index will gallop between 20,000 and 24,000, just like a horse, in the new year," said Ben Kwong, chief operating officer at KGI Asia.[...] Hong Kong was not alone in taking a beating yesterday. The Japanese market, which posted impressive gains last year amid optimism over Abenomics, plunged the most in the Asia-Pacific region, with the Nikkei 225 Index losing 4.2 per cent to close at its lowest level since June. The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index has lost more than US$538 billion so far this year in terms of market capitalisation of the region's blue-chip stocks. Adding to the persistent weakness, US$2 billion left the area's equity markets in the week to January 29, according to US brokerage firm Jefferies. Data showing US factory expansion at its slowest pace in eight months in January and that in China at a six-month low added to concerns that a tapering of the US Federal Reserve's bond buying would lead to a flight of capital from developing and emerging markets. The Fed's US$85-billion-a-month quantitative easing programme has been trimmed to US$65 billion and is expected to be cut further in the coming months. Mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, which track stock indexes, have been net sellers of Hong Kong equities for eight straight weeks, pulling out US$691 million from the local market, according to Jefferies.[...] The mainland stock markets, among the worst performers in recent years, are expected to follow the regional decline when they resume trading on Friday following weak manufacturing and service sector data. ^ top ^

Police evacuates 1,000 after largest WWII bomb found in HK Island (Xinhua)
2014.02.06
More than 1,000 people were evacuated after a World War II bomb was found by construction workers who were digging an underground hotel structure near the Cosmo Hotel in Happy Valley on the Hong Kong Island on Thursday. The 2,000-pound bomb is the largest unexploded World War II-era device unearthed in Hong Kong, local police said. Yuen Hongwing, senior bomb disposal officer of the Hong Kong Police Force, said that initial investigations indicated that the bomb was left by the U.S. armed forces when they were bombing Japanese military facilities during World War II. Containing 1,000 pounds of TNT, the bomb is 67 inches long with a diameter of 24 inches. "If it is not properly handled, the powerful bomb may badly damage nearby buildings and Queen's Road East," Yuen said. More than 1,000 people within 500 meters of the place were the bomb was found at around 3:45 p.m. local time, most of them visitors in the two hotels nearby had been evacuated by 9:00 in the evening. The bomb disposal squad will pile up sand bags around the bomb to cushion blast in case it explodes, and adopt cryogenic method to cut the bomb for taking out the explosive before moving the bomb to safe place, according to a policeman surnamed Wong. Kate Froster, a nearby resident, told Xinhua that she isn't afraid as she has heard of similar cases before. She also hoped that no one would be hurt while dealing with the bomb. Japanese invaders occupied Hong Kong from late 1941 to August 1945, and World War II bombs have been discovered in the island since the end of the war.^ top ^

 

Taiwan

Taiwan leader expects great role of mainland-based businessmen (Xinhua)
2014-02-05
Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on Wednesday expressed expectation that Taiwanese businessmen based on the Chinese mainland further their efforts to promote cross-Strait peace and prosperity. Ma recognized the great contributions that mainland-based Taiwan businessmen made for the growth of cross-Strait trade and job creation, when attending a Lunar New Year reception in Taipei for the businessmen who returned home for family reunion. Ma said more frequent cross-Strait exchanges in the forms of tourist visits and student exchanges also facilitated mutual understanding between people across the Taiwan Strait. In 2013, 2.21 million tourists from the Chinese mainland traveled to Taiwan. More are expected to visit Taiwan this year as the daily quota for entry was expanded for mainland tourists. Mainland students studying in Taiwan have increased from around 800 before 2008 to the present over 24,000. Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), said at the reception that Taiwan businesses based on the mainland should make transformation and upgrading to stay competitive, and this called for supports from both the mainland and Taiwan. ^ top ^

 

Economy

China losing status as 'world's factory' (SCMP)
2014-02-03
China's status as the world's factory is facing a spirited challenge by would-be contenders for the crown in low-end production from rivals near and far, especially in fast-growing Africa. Now, even high-end manufacturing is moving out, with the United States added to the list of countries squeezing China's production base. Hong Kong manufacturers, under margin pressure and mindful of Africa's growing appeal, are thinking about taking a long shot to invest in some countries in the continent, including Rwanda and Ethiopia, lured by an abundant and cheap workforce. Africa has become increasingly popular for a roster of global brands, including H&M, Tesco and Walmart, to source low-end, mostly non-urgent products. At the other end of the scale, Hon Hai Precision Industry, the flagship unit of Foxconn Technology, drew attention when it announced plans recently to build advanced facilities in the US. The maker of Apple's iPhones and iPads is looking to expand in its largest market. Analysts said the firm's move was aimed to meet growing demand for US-made products and offset damaging publicity from a series of suicides by workers in some of its mainland factories. While Hon Hai's US plans have grabbed the headlines, the biggest threat to China's manufacturing sector comes from developing countries keen to tout an edge in cheap labour, against the backdrop of rising wages and worker shortages on the mainland. Lin Yifu, a former chief economist at the World Bank, has urged mainland manufacturers to move labour-intensive factories to Africa. The young labour force of the continent's one billion population was similar to China's profile in the 1980s, said Li, who is now vice-chairman of the All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce. Stanley Lau Chin-ho, chairman of the Federation of Hong Kong Industries, looks to Africa's labour advantages. "The salary in Africa is about US$50 per month now, which I expect will continue to be very competitive in the next 10 years," he said. Shenzhen authorities recently announced yet another rise in the minimum wage, by 13 per cent to 1,808 yuan (HK$2,297) a month. The increase, which came into effect on Saturday, would set the pace for other cities in the Pearl River Delta, Lau said. [...] ^ top ^

China's non-manufacturing PMI drops in January (China Daily)
2014-02-03
The purchasing managers' index (PMI) for China's non-manufacturing sector slipped for a third straight month in January due to a slowdown in the real estate sector, new data showed. The index dropped to 53.4 percent last month, the lowest since February 2012, from 54.6 percent in December, according to official figures released on Monday. The index tracks non-manufacturing sectors including construction, software, aviation, railway transport and real estate. A PMI reading above 50 percent indicates expansion, while a reading below 50 percent reflects contraction. The monthly indicator is released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). CFLP Vice Chairman Cai Jin attributed the drop mainly to a slowdown in the real estate sector in the past two months. The price index for real estate dropped to below 50 percent from December to January, while the price index for the non-manufacturing sector as a whole dropped 1.9 percentage points to 50.1 percent. "However, the sub-indices for retail business activities and new orders both rose for two consecutive months to above 60 percent as demand from residents increased before the traditional Spring Festival," Cai said. In January, the new export orders index rose 0.7 percentage point month on month to 50.1 percent, while the index for business outlook dropped 0.6 percentage point to 58.1 percent, indicating that fewer companies were optimistic about business prospects in the next three months, according to the NBS data. ^ top ^

China imports more natural gas in 2013 (Global Times)
2014-02-04
China saw its aggregate volume of natural gas imported from overseas jump 25 percent year on year in 2013, approaching one-third of its apparent consumption, a new report has showed. The country imported 53 billion cubic meters of natural gas last year, 31.6 percent of its domestic gas output plus imported volume, according to a report released by an economic and technological academy under China National Petroleum Corporation, the country's state-owned oil giant. In 2013, local authorities more strongly promoted the use of natural gas to reduce dependency on coal, prompted by the needs for environmental protection and economic advances. The drive contributed to the country's surging imports of natural gas, noted the report. Despite the increased imports, it said, "there would have been a supply-demand gap of 22 billion cubic meters in 2013 in the case that all the needs for natural gas were satisfied." China's natural gas consumption increased 13.9 percent year on year in 2013. The total consumption accounted for 5.9 percent of consumed primary energy resources, up from 5.4 percent in 2012, making China the world's third-largest gas user. The report estimated that China's total domestic gas production and imported volume increased 11 percent year on year to 186 billion cubic meters in 2014, and put the estimated proportion taken up by natural gas in primary energy consumption at 6.3 percent. The figure indicated a more tightened balance between supply and demand and increasing seasonal scarcity of natural gas in the year. The Chinese central government initiated a nationwide reform of the natural gas pricing mechanism in July, 2013, hoping to bring it gradually into line with the market situation. ^ top ^

China's luxury goods market slows down growth (Global Times)
2014-02-05
The growth of China's luxury goods market may continue slowing down in 2014, predicted the management consulting firm Bain & Co. The sales growth of luxury goods in China dropped from 7 percent in 2012 to 2 percent in 2013, Wednesday's China Daily quoted the company's report as saying. The report attributed the slowdown to more Chinese shopping luxury goods abroad. About two-thirds of luxury goods were bought abroad, it said. Another major factor to cool the market was the government campaign to curb extravagance and promote frugality, according to the report. The campaign has especially affected the sales of luxury watches and other goods favored by men, it said. The sales of watches, which makes up more than one fifth of the total domestic luxury goods market, declined by 11 percent in 2013. Menswear shifted from a booming business category in previous years to a slightly declining one in 2013. However, Chinese remains the largest nationality of luxury buyers across the world, contributing 29 percent of purchases in the global market in 2013. Comparing with a slowdown in men's category, women's spending on luxury goods showed strong momentum, the report said. The sales of luxury goods favored by women, such as womenswear and shoes, reported annual growth of 8 to 10 percent in the past few years. In 2013, women spent as much on luxury goods as men, while in 1995, more than 90 percent of spending was done by men. ^ top ^

Chinese tech giant Huawei enters Nepal's market (People's Daily)
2014-02-05
Huawei, a Chinese global information and communications technology (ICT) solutions provider, has officially entered into Nepal's market, on February 4, 2014. Speaking during the launching program held in Kathmandu, Huawei representative Mr. Li Ji said that the Chinese tech giant in partnership with Nepal Telecom, the country's state owned telecommunication service provider, has the potential to bring a positive change in the lives of Nepalese nationals. Chinese Ambassador to Nepal Wu Chuntai remarked that in the 21st century communicating is the key for productivity and growth of one's country. "The cooperation between Huawei and Nepal Telecom will bring benefits to telecommunications consumers as well as boosting Nepal' s economic development," says Wu. According to the Nepal Telecom Authority mobile penetration reached 72.58 percent in the country. Similarly, internet penetration in Nepal increased from 19.92 percent to 27.92 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal year. Of the 7.3 million internet subscribers in the country, 6.9 million surf the net on their mobile phones. Smartphones are increasingly popular in the Himalayan nation, as consumers demand internet access everywhere. Established vendors will battle to maintain their large Nepalese market share as Huawei provides similar products at a lower cost. "Thanks to Huawei even people in rural areas will have access to high-speed internet," says Anoop Ranjan Chattarai, managing director of Nepal Telecom. Peng Wei, the economic and commercial counselor at the Chinese Embassy in Nepal, said that customers will now have another choice in the local market and wished for the cooperation between Huawei and Nepal Telecom to be successful. Call Mobility, an authorized distributor of Huawei in Nepal, has announced the opening of an exclusive "Experience Zone" to provide customers a personal experience of the brand's smart phones and utility services. Huawei products and solutions have been deployed in over 140 countries, serving more than one third of the world's population. The country office of Huawei Nepal currently employs 200 staff, out of which 70 percent are Nepalese. ^ top ^

 

DPRK and South Korea
South and North Korea family reunion date fails to dispel wariness (SCMP)
2014-02-05
North and South Korea agreed yesterday to hold a reunion later this month for families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War - the first such event for more than three years. Officials from both sides, meeting in the border truce village of Panmunjom, decided the reunion would be held from February 20-25 at the North's Mount Kumgang resort, the South's Unification Ministry said. The agreement marks a small sign of progress between the two rivals who, in recent years, have struggled to co-operate on even the most basic trust-building measures. However, both sides have been here before. The two Koreas had agreed to hold a reunion last September but, even as the chosen relatives prepared to make their way to Mount Kumgang, Pyongyang cancelled the event just four days before its scheduled start, citing "hostility" from the South. And there are widespread concerns that the families could end up being disappointed again this time around. South Korea is due to begin joint military exercises with the United States at the end of February, and North Korea has warned of dire consequences should they go ahead. The annual drills are always a diplomatic flashpoint on the Korean peninsula, and last year resulted in an unusually extended period of heightened military tension. Yoo Ho-yeol, professor of North Korean Studies at Seoul's Korea University, predicted that the North would use the reunion as a bargaining chip. "Rather than cancelling the event again, it may try to extract concessions, like a scaling down of the joint military exercises, or an easing of South Korean sanctions," Yoo said. Millions of Koreans were separated by the war, and the vast majority have since died without having any communication at all with surviving relatives. Because the Korean conflict concluded with an armistice rather than a peace treaty, the two Koreas technically remain at war and direct exchanges of letters or telephone calls are prohibited. Up to 73,000 South Koreans are on a waiting list for a chance to take part in one of the reunion events, which select only a few hundred participants at a time. The reunion programme began in earnest in 2000 following an historic inter-Korean summit. Sporadic events since then have seen around 17,000 relatives briefly reunited. But the programme was suspended in 2010 following the North's shelling of a South Korean border island. Pyongyang is also pushing for a resumption of six-party talks on its nuclear programme - a long-stalled process involving the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States. Since the beginning of the year, North Korea has been on a charm offensive, making a series of conciliatory gestures that critics have largely dismissed. [...] ^ top ^

 

Mongolia

Foreign Minister Meets UK Ambassador (Montsame)
2014.02.06
The Minister of Foreign Affairs L.Bold Thursday received Mr Christopher Charles Stuart, the Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Mongolia. Mr Stuart conveyed to the Foreign Minister a letter of Mr William Hague, the UK First Secretary of State and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and exchanged views with the Minister on works to be done this year in frames of the bilateral relations. In response, the FM pointed out that the bilateral trade and economic ties and cooperation have intensified thanks to many works in a scope of celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Mongolia-UK diplomatic relations in 2013. He hoped that British companies will continue their participation in the biggest projects of Mongolia, and that the second investment negotiations for the Oyu Tolgoi project will become successful. The sides also agreed to study an opportunity for the Mongolian representatives to take part in a summit of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative which has been launched by Mr William Hague. This summit will run this year in London. ^ top ^

Freedom house: Mongolia is a free country (Montsame)
2014.02.06
The US-based Freedom House NGO Wednesday released the Freedom in the World 2014 Report on global political rights and civil liberties involving 195 countries and 14 related and disputed territories around the world. According to the report, Mongolia was categorized into Free Country with one point in political freedom and two points in civil liberty that show as same as the 2013 Report, but in the 2012 Report, Mongolia was categorized into Free Country with two points in the both political freedom and civil liberty. This is the 41st edition, where 54 countries showed overall declines in the political rights and civil liberties, compared with 40 that showed gains. The Freedom House classifies the countries as “Free”, “Partly Free” and “Not Free” using the 7-point value--1-2.5 points (Free), 3-5 (Partly Free) and 5.5-7 points (Not Free). The Freedom House website says that there were some positive signs for the year, for example, civil liberties improved in Tunisia, the most promising of the Arab Spring countries, and Pakistan showed gains due to successful elections and an orderly rotation of power. Furthermore, in Africa, gains occurred in Mali, Cote d'Ivoire, Senegal, Madagascar, Rwanda, Togo, and Zimbabwe. Honduras, Kenya, Nepal, and Pakistan raised the number of electoral democracies to 122 as well. ^ top ^

 

Mrs. 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.
 
Page created and hosted by SinOptic Back to the top of the page To SinOptic - Services and Studies on the Chinese World's Homepage