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
  08.03-12.03.2004, No. 10  
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Foreign Policy

US claims on human rights "unreasonable": FM
2004-03-09 Xinhua News
China on Tuesday criticized US Congress claims about China's human rights conditions in a resolution as "unreasonable". "The Chinese government has always been dedicated to protecting and promoting human rights and basic freedoms, and has made tremendous achievements. These are facts acknowledged all over the world," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing. The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution pressing the US government to take up a resolution condemning China's human rights record at a meeting this month of the United Nations Human Rights Commission. "The US House of Representatives, however, ignored the basic facts, and accused China of its human rights situation by passing the resolution. That's unreasonable," he said. "It has been proven that dialogue and cooperation are the right way to resolve the two countries' differences in human rights issues. Confrontation will only lead to a dead end," the spokesman said.


Domestic Policy

100jähriges Bestehen des Roten Kreuzes in China
2004-03-12 Jiefang Junbao
Das chinesische Rote Kreuz (RC) hat am Mittwoch sein 100jähriges Bestehen gefeiert. In einer aus diesem Anlass veröffentlichten Schreiben hieß es, in dem Jahrhundert seit dessen Gründung habe das chinesische RC eine wichtige Rolle im Bereich der humanitären Hilfe und bei der Unterstützung von Katastrophengeschädigten sowie bei der Ausbildung von medizinischem Personal und Rettungssanitätern gespielt. Seit 1987 habe das chinesische RC über 2,7 Mrd. Yuan Spenden erhalten und damit über 100 Millionen Katastrophengeschädigten in China helfen können.( )

6 corrupt senior officials sentenced in 2003
2004-04-10 Xinhua News
A total of six former ministerial-level officials were sentenced on charges of job-related crimes last year, and China's chief justice and procuratorate-general both pledged Wednesday to intensify efforts to crack down on corrupt officials according to law. The six former high-ranking officials included three former provincial governor or deputy governors, one former vice chairman of a provincial committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), one former president of a provincial higher court, and the former president of the China Construction Bank. The penalties on them range from death sentence with a reprieve,life imprisonment, to 12 and 15 years behind bars, according to previous reports. They were among of a group of 537 government workers at countrylevel sentenced on the same charges last year, said Xiao Yang, president of the Supreme People's Court. The courts of the country handled a total of 22,986 cases involving government workers' job-related crimes last year, Xiao said in his report on the Supreme Court's work at the annual session of the National People's Congress, the Chinese version of parliament. ( )

Nuclear reactor put into operation
2004-03-10 China Daily
The No 2 reactor of the second phase project at the Qinshan Nuclear Power Plant -- independently designed and built by China -- joined the nation's electrical power grid and began generating power at 12:18 am Thursday.Li Yongjiang, general manager of the Nuclear Power Qinshan Joint Venture Co Ltd, called the success a milestone on China's way to increasing the proportion of localized technology and design in its construction of new nuclear power generators. ( )The arrival of the four new nuclear power generators alone is expected to increase the proportion of nuclear power in the country's total electricity from the present 1.3 per cent to more than 4 per cent.

Central China province to send medical teams to AIDS-hit rural areas
2004-03-09 Xinhua News
Central China's Hubei Province plansto send 10 medical teams with a total of 30 workers to its 21 AIDS-stricken areas to help curb the spread of AIDS in the region. The teams will begin work at end of this month, according to a working conference held Tuesday. The medical workers will go to rural areas hit hard by the disease to offer anti-virus treatment and help put an end to AIDS transmission from mothers to their babies. They will also help train local medical staff for the designated hospital for AIDS patients. ( ) Official statistics show that there were HIV-positive 1,301 people at the end of 2003. The first infected case was found in 1988 in the province.

Mental crisis center to help stop suicide
2004-03-.09 Xinhua News
A mental crisis treatment and rescue centre, the first of its kind in China, will be set up soon in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province. To be established by Nanjing Brain Hospital, the centre will have three departments - a mental crisis and suicide intervention centre; an emergency centre; and a mental disease centre. A hospital official surnamed Guo said the first department is made up of two sections - one for outpatients and a free hotline (862583712977) for psychological advice; and the other which is responsible for treating people who try to kill themselves. "Our hospital has a long history of providing psychological advice and mental healing for those people who want to commit suicide," said Guo, adding that a suicide intervention centre set up in the hospital in 1991 was the first in the country. It is estimated that since then, the centre has succeeded in preventing about 1,600 people from committing suicide. Statistics show that about 280,000 people kill themselves each year nationwide and about 2 million attempt suicide, of whom 80 per cent do not seek any medical help. The hospital has had an intensive care unit from 2001; and a department of mental diseases since it was founded in 1947.

Rising sex disproportion sparks concern
2004-03-08 China Daily
Some 30-40 million marriage-age men in China would live a singles life by 2020 if the practice of CT gender screening in the embryo stage is not held in check, said Li Weixiong, vice-chairman of the population, resources and environment committee of the national committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. "This is by no means a sensational prediction," said Li. "The great disparities between male and female newborns mean a serious threat to building a well-off society." "The disproportion of male to female has become more and more serious, especially in the rural areas," Li said in a keynote speech at a full meeting of the on-going CPPCC annual session, which opened here last Wednesday. Li quoted the figures of previous population censuses as saying that the newborn gender ratio was 100:108.5 in 1982, 100:111.3 in 1990 and 100:116.9 in 2000 in the country as a whole but it reached as high as more than 100:130 in Hainan and Guangdong. Whereas the normal proportion is 100:104-107. If the situation is allowed to continue unchecked, there would be 30-40 million marriage-age men who would go singles all their lives by 2020.

Shandong tightens control over Internet cafes
2004-03-06 People's Daily
Shandong Province has tightened control over Internet cafes, closing down more than 3,000 illegal ones last year. Related authorities in the province made an overall inspection of the Internet cafes last year to close down the illegally operated ones, according to an official in charge of the provincial cultural affairs. The number of Shandong's Internet cafes has decreased from over10,000 in 2002 to the current 7000, said the official. Shandong had standardized Internet cafe management in terms of scale, location, operation hours and surveillance software. The province will continue its strict supervision of Internet cafes this year, the official said, meanwhile promoting the development of chain Internet cafes.

Beijing opens hotline to help young sex assault victims
2004-03-08 Xinhua News
China's first helpline for girls who have been victims of sexual assault has officially opened in Beijing, receiving 60-odd calls already. The line, set up by Beijing Forestry University and Beijing Academy of Social Sciences, aimed to help minors deal with the psychological results of an attack and live normally, He Minghua, project manager, was reported as saying by Monday's Beijing Youth Daily. "Cases of sexual assault against girls have been soaring in China, and victims are often confronted with great social pressure, which adds insult to injury,"( )

Human rights to be enshrined in Constitution
2004-03-08 Xinhua News
China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC), kicked start a landmark Constitutional amendment which is expected to enshrine human rights protection for the first time Monday afternoon. ; "The State respects and protects human rights," says the new expression to be added to Article 33 of Chapter Two of the existing Constitution, which has undergone three overhauls since its promulgation in 1982. ( )"It's a consistent principle adopted by the Party and the State to respect and protect human rights. The inclusion of human rights protection in the Constitution is also "conducive to the development of China's socialist human rights undertakings, as well as exchanges and cooperation with the international community in the human rights field," said Wang in his explanation. Actually, the 15th and 16th National Congress of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC), convened in 1997 and 2002 respectively, have explicitly stated the Party's commitment to respecting and safeguarding human rights, Wang noted. While maintaining an annual economic rate of more than 8 percent over the past 25 years, China has signed 21 international human rights agreements, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. With the United Nations economic, social and cultural rights covenant already ratified by the national legislature in February 2001, Chinese President Hu Jintao pledged during his France visit earlier this year that the Chinese government would also propose the ratification of the other UN rights covenant when time was ripe.

Steigt die Zahl der Arbeitslosen weiter an?
2004-03-11 Renmin Ribao (Übersetzung)
Im Bericht der Regierung hatte Ministerpräsident Wen Jiabao die Schaffung neuer Arbeitsplätze als ein wichtiges Ziel der Regierung bezeichnet. Allein in diesem Jahr sollen in den Städten und Gemeinden 9 Mil Arbeitsplätze neu geschaffen werden. 5 Millionen sind für die Wiedereingliederung von Arbeitslosen vorgesehen. Die Ausgaben der Regierung für die Beschäftigungsförderung sind in diesem Jahr fast doppelt so hoch wie im Jahre 2003. Diese vor dem Volkskongress bekräftigten Massnahmen werden auch von den Mitgliedern der Politischen Konsultativkonferenz des chinesischen Volkes (PKKCV) begrüsst, die noch bis zum Mittwoch in Beijing tagte. ( )

Protection of rural migrants' rights urged
2004-03-09 Xinhua News
Although China has been dedicating to working for the legal rights of rural migrants seeking jobs in cities, implementation of these policies remain unsatisfactory and the country is in urgent need to enact a law to protect their legitimate rights -- this is a view shared by deputies to the top legislature Tuesday. Rural farm workers, also named "migrant rural workers", have created enormous wealth for the society and their status of "industrial workers" should be recognized, said Ren Zhenglong, member of NPC Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. ( ) Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to solve the problems of defaulted construction costs and wage arrears for migrant workers in the construction industry within a span of three years in his government work report at the opening of the Second Session of the Tenth NPC last Friday. Wen, who helped a countrywoman to get back her husband's defaulted salary of 2,000 yuan (about 240 US dollars) late last year, urged substantial measures taken to ensure that rural workers in cities be paid on time and in full. He also called for closer attention to tackle their wages issue. All unreasonable limitations imposed upon rural farm workers inurban areas be lifted, and basic social insurance provided for them, according to deputies, who echoed Chinese leaders' resolve to help the migrant rural workers. Relevant proposals also add to the law with such expressions as those in "supporting and encouraging rural migrant workers to sell and transfer land-using rights on a voluntary basis."( )

Legislature vows to strengthen supervision
2004-03-10 Xinhua News
It is the primary task of the National People's Congress (NPC) and its Standing Committee, China's top legislature, to strengthen and improve its supervision over the government and judicial organs in 2004, Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said here Wednesday. "We should explore still better ways of supervision and further improve our supervisory mechanism in order to promote a law-based administration and judicial justice," said Wu in a report on his Committee's work over the past year to the ongoing annual full session of the lawmakers. The top legislator noted that the NPC Standing Committee this year would carry out the enforcement inspections of laws pertaining to animal epidemic prevention, land management, compulsory education, trade unions and statistics. ( )


Defence Policy

Top leaders urged military modernization
2004-03-11 Xinhua News
Jiang Zemin, chairman of Central Military Commission (CMC), called on the country's armed forces to get fully aware of the changing situation, accelerate the pace of modernization, perform their sacred mission of safeguarding state security and national unification, raise the level of a regular army and provide a powerful backing to the nationwide efforts to fight for the goal of building a well-off society in all aspects and opening up a new situation in building socialism with distinct Chinese characteristics. Jiang made the call at a panel discussion with a group of NPC deputies representing the country's armed forces during the ongoing Second Session of the Tenth National People's Congress (NPC). President Hu Jintao was present at the discussion in the capacity of CMC vice-chairman. After lavishing praises on the armed forces for the outstanding achievements over the past year, Jiang Zemin encouraged the armed forces to make new contributions to modernizing the army, safeguarding state security and national unification and building a well-off society in all aspects with a high sense of political responsibility and in high spirit in 2004, which, he said, is crucial in performing the Tenth Five-Year Plan.( )

Military spending to swell reasonably
2004-03-08 China Daily
China plans to increase defence spending by 11.6 per cent this year, a move analysts say is in tune with changes in the international security situation, new trends in military modernization and the need to support the country's peaceful development. The defence spending growth is beneath any fuss both in its absolute value or its proportion of the country's total gross domestic product (GDP) considering the security situation in the world and modern military development, said Luo Yuan, director of Second Office of the Department of Strategy Studies of Academy of Military Science of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Budgeted military spending of 21.83 billion yuan (US$2.6 billion), submitted to the national legislature on Saturday, accounts for about 1.7 per cent of China's GDP volume, lower than the world's average of 3 per cent. China's military expenditure only makes up only 8 per cent of the country's total financial expenses, lower than the world's average of 15 per cent. Per capita military expenditure of the United States is nearly US$300,000, and the figures in Britain and Japan are nearly US$200,000, compared with China's US$10,000.


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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