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
  17.05-21.05.2004, No. 19  
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Foreign Policy

China warns Taiwan leaders
2004-05-21 People's Daily
China warns the Mainland will take firm actions if the Taiwan authorities seek separatist moves; China says it is not interested nor does it care about what Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian will say in his inaugural address, but warns the Mainland will take firm actions if the Taiwan authorities seek separatist moves. China's Foreign Ministry spokesman says: "If Taiwan leaders move recklessly to provoke incidence of Taiwan independence, the Chinese people will crush their schemes firmly and thoroughly at any cost." ." Zhu Weidong, expert on Taiwan Studies, says the statement raises stakes across the straits. "It is the most toughly worded, most systematic, most comprehensive statement ever issued by the mainland. It represents the position of the Chinese government and the people." Political analysts say Chen Shui-bian will probably try to avoid using the word independence in his inauguration speech, but in real practice, he will continue pursuing the move. "It is very difficult for him to come back to ¡One China' because he has already defined One China' as equal to surrendering to China."

May 17 statement not ultimatum
2004-05-18 Xinhua News
The statement issued on Monday by the Taiwan Work Office of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on current relations across the Taiwan Straits is not an ultimatum, said Director Yu Keli of the Institute of Taiwan Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences here Tuesday. "But this does not mean the Chinese government and people hold a vague stance in safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity," he said. Chen Shui-bian, to be inaugurated on May 20, has moved to the brink of "Taiwan independence," so it is necessary to send solemn warning signals to him, said Yu. "The current cross-Straits relations are in a crucial time," said Xu Bodong with Beijing Union University, noting Chen's referendum plan for a new "constitution" and implementation of a "Taiwan independence" timetable make the cross-Straits relations more severe. The May 17 statement sent warnings to Chen and other "Taiwan independence" separatists, and aimed to let the United States and the international society see clearly the facts that Chen is a troublemaker and threatens cross-Straits peace, he said. Only along the seven lines proposed in the statement can the cross-Straits relations hold out a bright prospect of peace, stability and development, he said. The statement itself demonstrates the mainland's consistent stance and policies toward Taiwan as well as its sincerity in pushing forward cross-Straits relations, he said. It is necessary for the statement to make the cross-Straits situation clear to all the Chinese and the international society, said Guo Zhenyuan with the Institute of International Studies, warning if Taiwan authorities dare to "play with fire," they will "get burnt" themselves.

Premier holds talks with Vietnamese PM
2004-05-20 Xinhua News
China-Vietnam bilateral ties are displaying a good development momentum, and the two countries should take the whole situation into account and properly resolve problems existing in their relations. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made the remarks Thursday in his talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Phan Van Khai, who is on a five-day official visit to China. ( ) The Chinese government values its relations with Vietnam and is willing to work with Vietnam to raise their good-neighborly and friendly cooperation to a new level, he added. To reach that goal, Wen put forward four proposals: strengthening high-level contacts, and forging stronger political ties; enhancing all-round trade and economic cooperation in all spheres to double trade volume by 2010; expanding local and unofficial contacts and exploring multi-channel cooperation to consolidate their traditional friendship; and taking the whole situation into account and properly resolving problems existing in their relations. Khai said he is visiting China for the third time, and he had seen great progress made in China's reform and opening-up in four years' time. ( ) He said as they are complementary in economy, the two nations harbor great cooperation potential, and Vietnam will take concrete measures to make China its biggest trade partner as soon as possible. ( )

US report a satire of human rights "promotion" in world
2004-05-20 People's Daily
Amid the boiling condemnation over the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by US troops, the US released Monday an annual report on its efforts to improve human rights, which Chinese experts considered the most "satiric" human rights issue since the human society entered the "civilized" 21st century. "While trumpeting the US endeavor in helping other countries improve human rights, the report mentions no word about its own abuse of Iraqi prisoners," said Lin Bocheng, vice president of the China Foundation for Human Rights Development. "Posed as a 'world human rights guard', the United States has made itself a scoundrel as its forces ruthlessly ravaged prisoners' dignity and trampled their basic human rights in Iraq, which has tarnished civilization and is despised by the whole international community. The release of the record, therefore, only serves to satirize its human rights 'promotion' around the world," Lin said. ( ) Lin regarded the mistreatment of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers as an inevitable outcome of the United States' long-term exertion of hegemony and power politics in the world. ( ) The US State Department released its annual human rights report on Monday after an earlier postponement amid a global anger over the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by US soldiers. The report had been initially scheduled to release on May 5, but had to be postponed after pictures of American soldiers abusing and sexually humiliating Iraqi prisoners triggered an international uproar. The United States has always wanted to impose its own ideology on other countries, said Zhai Gang, a worker with a Beijing-based film and television development company "However, what kind of democracy and what of kind of human rights needed in a country is decided by the development situation in the country, just like a family chooses their own lifestyle, so nobody has the right to interfere with other people's affairs," Zhai said. The United States' random encroachment of human rights in other countries fully exposed the hypocritical nature of the so-called democracy and freedom it has pursued and the hypocritical nature of its human rights reports, said He Yuping, a doctorate student of Beijing University.

China favors better India-Pakistan ties
2004-05-18 People's Daily
China hope India and Pakistan can maintain their momentum for improving bilateral relations, Liu said. In response to a question pertaining the future India-Pakistan relations after the formation of the new Indian government, Liu told a routine news briefing that India and Pakistan are very important countries in south Asia, and how their relations develop will have a direct impact on peace, stability and development in the region. For a remarkable period of time, the relations between the two south Asian nations have been improving and developing effectively, Liu acknowledged, adding that China hopes that the two countries could live in harmony, while making due a contribution to peace, stability and development in the region. ( )

US considers reactor deal with DPRK: report
2004-05-20 PLA Daily
The United States has said it would consider again supplying the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) with a light-water nuclear reactor as part of recent talks in Beijing, the Washington Times reported Wednesday. The discussion came during a meeting at the six-party talks last week between Joseph DeTrani, the top US representative to the talks, and his DPRK counterpart, Ri Gun, the report said, citing anonymous Bush administration officials. The DPRK side raised the issue and DeTrani responded that providing the light-water reactor was possible and could be "one element" of a US policy response if the DPRK abandoned their nuclear arms program, the report said. Moreover, DeTrani stressed that before the reactor deal could be discussed, Pyongyang would have to rejoin the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and permit International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to return to monitor the nuclear activities of the DPRK, the report said. The DPRK pulled out of the NPT in January 2003 and ceased cooperation with the IAEA in December 2002.The United States, Japan and South Korea agreed to provide the DPRK with two light-water reactors as part of the 1994 Agreed Framework. The agreements called for supplying the reactors and fuel oil to the DPRK but were later put on hold after the disclosure of the alleged secret uranium-enrichment effort by the DPRK. The United States has demanded the "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" of its nuclear programs before any rewards to Pyongyang could be discussed.


Domestic Policy

Beijing's last two SARS patients to be removed from isolation
2004-05-19 Xinhua News
China's Health ministry said here Wednesday that Beijing's last two confirmed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) patients will be removed from isolation soon. The ministry said one patient surnamed. Yang will be discharged from hospital soon since Beijing's experts team believes that the patient has recovered well enough to leave hospital, the ministry said. The other patient, with surname of Zhang, is still in serious condition due to other diseases, the ministry said. Meanwhile, the ministry said no new SARS cases were reported on the Chinese mainland for the past 24 hours. The World Health Organization (WHO) on Tuesday said that China's latest SARS outbreak has been contained. ( ) WHO said the WHO experts and the Chinese authorities are still trying to determine the exact cause of the outbreak.

Corrupt official gets death penalty
2004-05-20 China Daily
A senior official from a State-owned enterprise in Changchun, capital of Northeast China's Jilin Province, was sentenced to death Wednesday for embezzlement and bribery involving huge sums of money. Qi Kuifan, former general manager of the Changchun Municipal Grain and Oil Supply Corp and director of the Changchun No 10 Grain Depot, was sentenced by the Changchun Intermediate People's Court. Money embezzled and bribes totalled more than 10 million yuan (US$1.2 million). ( ) "I was defeated by my big appetite and loosened self-restraint," he said. Analysts said a lack of effective supervision allowed Qi's crimes to go undetected for so long.

China to examine prison management
2004-05-17 Xinhua News
A nationwide inspection on problems existing in China's jails will be jointly launched later this month by the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP), the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Justice. The inspection, to end in January 2005, is mainly to investigate and redress jail keepers' illegal practices in a bid to safeguard the justice of the law and protect prisoner's legitimate rights and interests, according to a video-telephone conference held here on Monday. Zhao Dengju, deputy procurator-general of the SPP, said at the conference that necessary supervision on jail keepers' illegally reducing prisoners' penalties, releasing prisoners on parole and allowing prisoners to be bailed out for medical treatment was very lacking in some jails. Therefore, judicial corruption emerged in these areas, which damaged judicial justice and exerted a baneful influence on society, Zhao said. He said illegal practices in the before-mentioned areas will be checked and redressed through inspection and a long-term supervision system of jail work is expected to be established through the inspection. ( )

Trade unions: Help the unemployed
2004-05-20 China Daily
The growing unemployment situation across the country deserves more attention, trade unions say. As China moves from a planned to a market economy, the unemployment issue is becoming prominent. Most affected are workers from State-owned enterprises who lost their jobs in the past few years, said the All-China Federation of Trade Unions Thursday. Zhang Junjiu, vice chairman of the federation, said three other groups also demand "great attention." They are workers laid-off from collective enterprises in small cities, self-employed people and migrant workers with temporary jobs. ( ) People who own small businesses or part-time jobs are also worth attention as this population is growing rapidly, he said. Another group is migrant workers, nearly 100 million farmers from all over the country. ( ) By the end of 2003, the registered unemployment rate in urban areas was 4.3 per cent, and the number of registered jobless urbanites was 8 million, according to a report of the Information Office of the State Council.

China had 113.9 million migrant workers in 2003
2004-05-15 Xinhua News
China had 113.9 million migrant workers from rural areas in 2003, who accounted for 23.2 per cent of the total rural laborers, according to a survey carried out by China's State Statistical Bureau. In 2003, about 69 million rural laborers worked in medium-sized cities and 56.2 million rural laborers worked outside their provinces, covering 61 per cent and 49.9 per cent respectively of the total, according to the spot survey, which investigated 68,000 rural families and 7,100 villages among 31 provinces. The survey also showed that the major destinations of rural workers were the relatively developed eastern areas, which attracted 69.9 per cent of the total, while most rural workers come from major grain-producing areas, covering 65.8 per cent of the total. People under 40 years old accounted for 85.9 per cent of the rural workers working outside and 47.3 per cent of them were under 25, the survey said. ( ) However, migrant farmers ran into many obstacles on their way to the cities. The competition with laid-off workers from State-owned enterprises, the unfair labor market and the lack of social care make the life hard for them. Official statistics show that China has another 150 million surplus rural work force, potentially to fuel the flow. ( )



IMF: China's GDP ranks No.7
2004-05-19 People's Daily
The latest data released by International Monetary Fund (IMF) show China's GDP rank dropped from No.6 to No.7 whilst GDP per capita jumped one place from No.111 to No. 110. IMF measured with Atlas Methodology the GDPs and per capita GDPs of 179 countries and regions in 2003. The conclusion is that in 2003 the top ten GDPs were those of the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, China, Canada, Spain and Mexico. China's Hong Kong had a GDP ranking No.31 worldwide dropping three places. China's Taiwan ranked No.20 dropping three places. In 2003 in spite of the SARS epidemic and the infliction of natural disaster the Chinese economy still kept a rapid growth. In that year China's GDP was US$1409.9 billion, which has been one of the fastest increases since 1997. It accounted for 3.9 percent of total world GDP and increased 0.1 percentages over the previous year. Dropping one place over the previous year it took the No.7 place worldwide. It was learned that the reason China's GDP dropped place in 2003 was primarily due to the appreciation of Euro against Dollar and RMB's comparative stable exchange rate to Dollar. The statistics also show that in 2003 China's per capita GDP was US$1,087 ranking No. 110 worldwide. It jumped one place but was still among the mid/low-ranking countries. Though still small compared with those of developed countries China's per capita GDP for the first time exceeded the US$1,000 pass. The countries whose GDP ranked among the top ten were Luxemburg, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Ireland, the United States, Iceland, Japan, Sweden and Qatar.

Foreign banks in Beijing allowed to run RMB business from mid Dec.
2004-05-19 Xinhua News
Foreign banks will be allowed to run RMB business in the Chinese capital as of Dec. 11 this year, announced Mayor Wang Qishan here Wednesday. After China's accession to the World trade Organization (WTO), globalization has become a crucial topic in the country's reform and opening-up. According to the commitments made by the Chinese government to the WTO entry, foreign banks will be permitted to go in for RMB-dominated business in some Chinese cities including Beijing beginning Dec. 11 this year, signifying the advent of a new era for China's financial industry. ( )

China's economy grows 9.8 percent in first quarter
2004-05-18 People's Daily
China has raised its first quarter's annual economic growth rate to 9.8 percent, from the preliminary 9.7 percent, according to revised statistics released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday. This was the first time for China to make such a revision, the NBS said. According to the revised statistics, China's GDP (gross domestic product) in the first quarter grew 9.8 percent over the same period last year to 2,712.8 billion yuan (328 billion US dollars), 2.2 billion yuan greater, or 0.1 percentage points higher, than the preliminary figure. The NBS experts explained readjustment in transportation, warehouse, post, communications, and other service industries raised the tertiary industry growth rate by 0.3 percentage points, or 2.2 billion yuan, in the first four months. The revised statistics show that the added value of the tertiary industry reached 946.5 billion yuan in the first quarter, up 8 percent year-on-year, while other industries showed no changes. Statistics show that China's economy grew at an annual rate of 9.1 percent last year. ( )


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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