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
  19.01-21.01.2004, No. 03  
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Domestic Policy

Women drug gang convicted, death, life sentences given
2004-01-18 China Daily
The Beijing No 1 Intermediate People's Court Sunday respectively sentenced one woman to death and another to life in prison for drug trafficking. Police also confiscated 13.2 kilograms of heroin from the two, the largest amount taken in a single case in Beijing history. Last June, ironically on the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, Beijing police received a tip from their Gansu colleagues about a drug-trafficking channel between Beijing and the Northwest province of Gansu. After a week long investigation, police arrested the suspects Ma Xiuqin, 31, and Zhang Ganiang, 32 ( ) According to the Criminal Law, people who produce or sell more than 50 grams of heroin may be sentenced to 15 years, life in prison or can be given the death penalty. The judge's ruled that Ma will die. Zhang has received a life sentence. It is still unknown whether Ma's former boss has been caught,according to the Xinhua news service.

China declassifies first diplomatic files
2004-01-19 Xinhua News
China has declassified its first batch of diplomatic files after the founding of new China in 1949, including manuscripts of Premier Zhou Enlai, said an official withthe Chinese Foreign Ministry here Monday. The first 10,000 items opened to the public were mainly on China's diplomacy between 1949 and 1955, said Zhang Sulin, an official with the ministry's archives. The declassified documents showcased the formation of China's diplomatic relations, such as telegraphs on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Soviet Union and East European countries, directives and speeches drafted by Premier Zhou, then also foreign minister, documents on Geneva and Asia-Africa conferences, and files and materials on consular, protocol and legal affairs, Zhang said. According to China's Archives Law and relevant regulations, historical files should be open to the public 30 years after formation. "Archives should serve the state interests and the public," said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. All interested in the files, including Chinese citizens and organizations and individuals and organizations from overseas, must first apply to the Foreign Ministry's Archives some 20 work days in advance, Zhang said. ( )

One-third of Chinese rural laborers work in non-farming fields
2004-01-19 Xinhua News
More than one third of China's rural laborers now work in non-agricultural fields, following the country's speedy urbanization progress and industrial shift in rural areas, according to official sources. The latest statistics show that 52.6 percent of workers in the country's catering industry and retail industry are from rural areas, while 68.2 percent of workers in manufacturing industries and 79.8 percent of the country's construction workers are also from rural areas. Previously, farmers sought temporary jobs in the city, leaving their family in their hometown, but today many workers from rural areas, or migrant workers, bring their whole family to urban areas after finding a stable job there. The central authorities have required local governments of urban areas to treat migrant workers fairly, lift employment restrictions on them and protect their legal rights and interests.

Premierminister Wen fordert eine ausgeglichene Politik zwischen Reform, Progress und Stabilität
2004-01-19 Xinhua Wang (Übersetzung)
Wen Jiabao hat eine politische Umsetzung von Reform, Fortschritt und Stabilität im Lande gefordert. Auf einer Sitzung des Staatsrates forderte er am Sonntag in Beijing zugleich die Regierungen aller Ebenen auf, den praktischen Problemen der Bevölkerung große Aufmerksamkeit zu schenken. Das Jahr 2004 werde eine wichtige Zeit für Reform und Entwicklung Chinas sein. Dabei müsse sich die chinesische Regierung immer bewusst sein, das materielle und kulturelle Lebensniveau der Bevölkerung zu verbessern und die Gesundheit der Menschen zu erhalten, so Wen Jiabao weiter. ( )

Migrant farmer workers recover 90 percent of overdue wages
2004-01-19 Xinhua News
Employers across the country have paid out approximately 14.8 billion yuan (about 1.79 billion US dollars) inoverdue wages to migrant farmer workers, over 90 percent of 16 billion yuan (1.93 billion US dollars) owed in 2003, the Ministry of Construction announced Monday. The ministry said governments and departments at all levels across the country must make the recovery of overdue pay a priority in the run-up to the Chinese lunar new year, which falls on Jan. 22,. Employers have paid 22.89 billion yuan (2.76 billion US dollars)in overdue payment to migrant workers and construction teams in the past two months, or about 72.3 percent of the total accumulated. In Beijing, migrant workers were owed 7.35 billion yuan (885.5 million US dollars) in 2003, and so far, nearly all the arrears have been paid.

New regulations issued to ensure safe production
2004-01-19 Xinhua News
China has promulgated new industrial safety regulations, with all mines, construction firms and producers of hazardous chemicals, fireworks and civilian explosives across the country required to first obtain a "safe production license". The Regulations on Licenses for Safe Production, adopted by the State Council at its 34th executive meeting on Jan. 7, took effect from Jan. 13. The new regulations aim at promoting industrial safety in minesand enterprises related to construction, hazardous chemicals, fireworks and civilian explosives. "Those enterprises which fail to meet the requirements for safe production that can not get a license are not allowed to continue with their production activities," the regulations stipulate. According to the regulations, any enterprise that produces without a license or in violation of the regulations will be ordered to halt operation immediately, fined for 50,000 yuan (6,045.9 US dollars) to 100,000 yuan (12,091.9 US dollars), and even subject to criminal penalties if major accidents have occurred. ( )

Private property to be given clear constitutional protection
2004-01-19 Shanghai Daily
China's constitution is likely to be amended in March with the inclusion of the sentence: "Lawful private property is not to be violated." It means that private property would be on an equal footing with public property. From the newly wealthy to those less fortunate, the amendment is going to affect the lives of almost every Chinese citizen. The draft amendment to improve the protection of lawful private property and the promotion of the private economy has been hailed by private entrepreneurs, who have accumulated wealth in the past two decades. The present constitution clearly states: "Socialist public property is inviolable," while using more ambiguous words in reference to private property. The constitution says the state protects the right of citizens to own lawfully earned income, savings, homes and other lawful property and protects the right of citizens to inherit private property. "The present constitution does not include a few items of private property, such as means of production, non-work-related income and intellectual property, to be protected," said Tang Haibin, director of the Research Department of All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce. The state has the right to expropriate or collect private property in line with laws in the public interest, but has to compensate owners, under the draft amendment. Tang said the draft amendment set up a critical rule to curb public power and guarantee private owners compensation if they suffer losses in the public interest."The draft amendment will eliminate entrepreneurs' worries about the security of their assets and boost confidence in long-term investment," Tang said. The proposed amendment is hailed not only by the wealthy elite, but also by ordinary citizens who feel they have suffered injustices. "We are not always so confident in representing private clients as sometimes judges lean toward the public party," said Liu Weiping, a Shanghai-based real estate lawyer, who has represented individuals in cases of illegal demolition of homes by some local governments and developers.

Family plan laws updated
2004-01-19 Shanghai Daily
Rules better protect couples' privacy
A new family planning regulation will allow local couples to apply to have a second child without getting approval from their employers or neighborhood committees, city health officials announced yesterday.The new Population and Family Planning Regulation will go into effect on April 15. While most couples in the city are only allowed to have one child, some, such as both husband and wife come from a single-child family, are allowed to have a second child after receiving permission from their district government. Currently, couples must provide a letter from their employers certifying they only have one child. If both husband and wife are unemployed they must provide a letter from their neighborhood committee. ( ) Anyone who deliberately gives false information while applying to have a second child will be seriously punished, said Xie Lingli, director of the population commission.He said punishments still haven't been worked out, but will likely involve a fine, and the city could pass on information to local credit rating services, making it tough for the offenders to get a bank loan.
The new regulation will also spare companies any punishment if one of their employees breaks the one-child policy. Currently, companies can't be named a model unit if their employees break the rule - a punishment that reflects poorly on a company's managers.The new rule will, however, allow couples who break the one-child policy to receive a 50 percent reimbursement from the city's social security fund on medical bills related to the pregnancy and delivery. Previously, those couples had to pay all medical bills by themselves. The new rule also erases the mandatory four-year waiting period between the first and second child to avoid a baby boom, which is expected to fall since 2006.



Comment: Chen has emerged as his own worst enemy
2004-01-19 China Daily
One cannot but observe with trepidation Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian's call, on January 16, for a referendum regarding the island's relations with the Chinese mainland. What he is attempting to do is use the proposed referendum issues to bolster his chances in his uphill battle in Taiwan's upcoming "presidential'' elections. In the first place, Chen points his finger to mainland missiles that are meant, as proclaimed by the government of the People's Republic, to deter any attempt for Taiwan independence. At the same time he asks the public to support his periodic efforts to place orders with overseas suppliers for the purchase of military equipment. This is a blatant attempt to utilize the United States, the islands' biggest arms supplier, as a chessman in Chen's own game. Secondly, Chen asks the public to allow him to work towards building a "framework of peace'' to cover both sides of the Taiwan Straits -- even though he has never demonstrated sincerity in achieving that aim. This is to imply the mainland is a threat to Taiwan's present state of existence, and set it up as a target for scapegoating and windmill fighting during his election campaign. Not long ago in a statement of his would-be fight against the mainland, Chen even went so far as to use the fanatic term "holy war.'' ( )But Chen's somersaults cannot reach unlimited height. Chinese mainland and the United States are co-operating on so many issues, and their relationship is far more important than can be overshadowed by his military purchases. After bearing witness to so many of Chen's flip-flops, the United States sees increasingly clear evidence about who is making trouble in the Taiwan Straits. In the meantime, the mainland will continue to grow in political and economic importance in the world. For Taiwan, there is nothing Chen can do to replace its internal politics with Beijing-baiting. He will achieve even less by disconnecting its myriad of peaceful and mutually beneficial ties with the mainland.


Patrick Dreher
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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