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
  21.2-25.2.2005, No. 52  
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Foreign Policy

China urges again for resumption of six-party talks
2005-02-25 People’s Daily
China urged once again all concerned parties to make efforts to resume the six-party talks about the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan in Beijing Thursday. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing exchanged views in depth on the latest developments of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a phone conversation Tuesday night. Chinese Ambassador to Korean Peninsula Affairs Ning Fukui also met on Tuesday and Wednesday with Russian Ambassador to China Igor Rogachev, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to China Kim Ha Joong and Japanese Ambassador to China Koreshige Anami. They discussed the latest developments of the situation on the Korean Peninsular. Kong said the Chinese side said again during these meetings that it hopes all parties stick to the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsular and strive to safeguard the peace and stability there. ( )

EU plan to lift arms embargo on China won't harm third parties
2005-02-23 People’s Daily
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan maintained that the European Union's plan to lift its arms embargo on China won't infringe upon the interest of third parties, and that the lifting of the embargo is "irrelevant" to "the present situation of the Asia Pacific region." Kong told a regular press conference that the arms embargo, put in place in 1989, is a "sequel of the cold war," and the lifting of it is "conducive to a sound and smooth development of the China-EU relations based on equality and reciprocity." "The bilateral relations enjoy a smooth development at present, while the two sides are gradually solving historical problems between them," Kong said. He said he hopes that the United States will temporize to the trend instead of setting obstacles. Kong said the lifting of embargo is actually "the lifting of political discrimination on China, which won't lead to China to buy a large amount of weapons." China, he said, will "pursue peaceful development and a defense policy that is defensive in nature," and will be "no menace to any country." He said, "China is not the obstacle to the world peace and stability but an active strength to maintain it."

Ministers stress Sino-UK co-operation
2005-02-22 China Daily
China expects closer co-operation with Britain to eliminate unstable factors in the global economy, Chinese Finance Minister Jin Renqing yesterday told his British counterpart in Beijing. "The global economy faces many challenges although it is experiencing a pretty good growth momentum. China and Britain should enhance co-operation to meet the challenges," Jin said when meeting Gordon Brown, Britain's Chancellor of Exchequer, who started his three-day visit to China yesterday. The two nations should also work together to help optimize existing international co-operative mechanisms, Jin said. China is this year's president of the G20, a group of the world's major industrial and emerging market economies. ( ) Jin and Brown agreed that the two nations shared many views in terms of realizing the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, which mainly focus on poverty alleviation. Jin and Brown also agreed that there are promising prospects for Sino-British trade and economic co-operation. Bilateral trade was robust last year. China's exports to Britain jumped 38 per cent to US$15 billion, while the United Kingdom's exports to China grew 33 per cent to US$4.8 billion. ( )

Japanese move on islands "illegal"
2005-02-21 China Daily
Japan said it had placed under "state control" a lighthouse built by nationalists on a disputed island in the East China Sea despite claims by China. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing on February 16 that Diaoyu Islands and neighboring islands have been China's territories since ancient time, and any unilateral action is "illegal and invalid". ( ) "Those who built the lighthouse said they no longer can run it," Vice Foreign Minister Shuzen Tanigawa said. "Since they have abandoned the right of possession, it has been transferred" to the state, Tanigawa said. "Japan has been saying they (the islands) are traditional Japanese territory," he said. "Even if we have some trouble, we are going to protect what we have to protect." The move comes amid rising tensions between Japan and China, including a dispute over a major gasfield near the islands.
A Chinese non-government organization, China Federation of Defending Diaoyudao Islands Limited, with an aim of defending the Diaoyudao Islands and adjacent isles has been registered in Hong Kong, and will apply to Chinese authorities to develop the islands.( ). Tong Zheng, president and founder of the federation, said a meeting of the board of directors will be held soon. Tong disclosed that the federation will soon submit an application to the State Administration of Oceanography to lease the Diaoyudao Islands for tourism and exploration activities. It is learned that the federation will be headquartered in Beijing and has its office in Hong Kong. Its articles of association will also be published in its website ( also plans to organize an exhibition of the islands, part of the Chinese territorial sovereignty in the coming months.



China vows to reduce road accidents
2005-02-25 People’s Daily
China's transportation department will take measures to reduce road accidents, said an official with the Ministry of Communication Thursday. In 2004, 94,000 people in China died from road accidents, the largest number worldwide. Of the total deaths, 87.4 percent were killed in accidents caused by drivers. The driver is the most important factor in road security and the ministry has issued a new guidelines for training drivers, said Zhang Jianfei, director of the ministry's Highway Department. Also a new driver's education textbook will be used beginning March 1. Zhang said the student drivers will find it easier to learn from the new book, which has many illustrations. The new textbook also provides many tips to drivers such as the situations in which the rearview mirror is not reliable and how to overtake other vehicles. However, he said to get a driving license will be difficult since the new guidelines are much more strict. Besides improving the education of drivers, the ministry will improve roads and bridges to reduce traffic accidents.

Beijing stresses security for national legislature meeting
2005-02-24 People’s Daily
Beijing has taken steps to enhance security for the upcoming annual meeting of the national top legislature and political advisory body slated for early March, the municipal government said Wednesday. The National People's Congress (NPC) and the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), will hold their annual meetings in March, considered two of the most important political events in the country. Beijing is likely to accommodate thousands of NPC deputies and CPPCC members, as well as domestic and foreign journalists covering the events. Zhou Yuqiu, head of the Beijing Production Safety Supervision Bureau, said the bureau will strive to eliminate any possible safety threats, especially in public places. The bureau's deputy chief, Li Jianwei, said security examinations of more than 4,000 public places, enterprises and organizations began in January. He said five inspection teams would go to "almost every corner of the city hunting for hidden troubles" that may develop into accidents or disasters. Beijing reported 101 accidents in January, which left 112 dead, a slight fall from 114 accidents and 141 death in the same month one year ago. In the Spring Festival holiday last week, Beijing witnessed eight traffic accidents that killed 12, compared with 23 accidents and 23 death a year earlier. ( )

State Council suspends official, takes steps to halt coal mine disasters
2005-02-24 People’s Daily
Liu Guoqiang, vice governor of northeast China's Liaoning Province and responsible for industry and work safety, was suspended after 214 people were killed in last week's colliery gas explosion in the province, according to a decision made at Wednesday's State Council meeting. The meeting, chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao, was convened to work on measures to improve work safety in coal mines, where major accidents involving great casualty and economic losses have occurred with alarming frequency over the past year. On Feb. 14, a gas explosion occurred at Sunjiawan colliery of Liaoning's Fuxin Coal Industry Group, leaving 214 dead out of 574 miners working at the time of the blast. The State Council sent an investigation team headed by Supervision Minister Li Zhilun to the scene, and those responsible for the accident will be punished once the cause of the disaster is found out, according to the statement released following the meeting. China's coal production picture was very grim, said the meeting's statement, which pointed out serious problems such as violation of safety standards and overproduction in some coal mines. ( )

Henan steps up efforts to help AIDS patients
2005-02-23 Xinhua News
Last year's campaign in central China's Henan Province helped provide the region's AIDS patients and carriers of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) with better access to free medical checks and treatment. According to a document released by the Henan Provincial Government at the recent annual session of the Provincial People's Congress, Henan invested 330 million yuan (approximately 40.2 million US dollars) to survey AIDS patients and HIV carriers and provide them with necessary medical service. More than 280,000 local commercial blood and plasma donors were screened and 25,036 tested HIV positive, among whom 11,815 had reported AIDS symptoms. All these people were registered with local governments and hospitals to receive medical checks and treatment regularly. ( )

Chinese president underlines research in building harmonious society
2005-02-23 People’s Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao instructed top officials of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to "enhance their capability of looking into major social issues in building a harmonious society" at a high-level Party seminar Tuesday. Hu, also general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, enjoined officials at the seminar of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee to study developments on social issues such as the structure of social strata, urban-rural structure, population distribution, employment structure, and changes in the structure of social organizations, "to better the government's management of social affairs." He also charged officials to look deeper into improvements in public safety and social security to safeguard social stability. Leading cadres should go deep among the people to improve their understanding of policy and work. ( )

Chief justice: Chinese courts protect human rights
2005-02-22 China Daily
President of the Supreme People's Court and Chief Justice Xiao Yang noted that China has made remarkable progress in the protection of human rights in the administration of justice over the past few years. In an interview published in the latest issue of the Human Rights magazine, Xiao Yang said in March 2004, the Second Session of the 10th National People's Congress made amendments to the country's Constitution, writing "The state respects and protects human rights" into this fundamental law. On the codification of human rights protection at the second session of the 10th National People's Congress, Xiao Yang described it as an "important milestone in human rights development in China," adding that it marked a deeper understanding of how to protect human rights by the Constitution and law and it is of great significance in directing the work of the people's courts. By writing "human rights protection" into the Constitution, it has raised higher demand on the people's courts with regard to case hearing, said Xiao. ( ) In recent years, the people's courts in the country have taken further steps to have the judicial assistance better implemented so that financially difficult special groups can take legal actions, according to Xiao. Over the past two years, the people's courts throughout the country have provided judicial assistance to more than 460,000 people and reducing, postponing the payment of and exempting litigation cost amounting to more than two billion yuan (241 million US dollars). ( ) With regard to criminal control, China has upheld the principle of "combining punishments with correction" and applied reduction of prison terms and release on parole to criminals that have shown real performance of repentance. ( ) But he admitted that in practice, due to various reasons, the hearing of some cases has been dragged and that is why there is still the problem of extended detention to varying degrees. To solve the problem, the Supreme People's Court demanded all people's courts in the country to clear up cases of overdue detention so that all criminal cases are cleared as soon as possible. ( )

China boosts "red tourism" in revolutionary bases
2005-02-22 People’s Daily
China will boost "red tourism," or visits to former revolutionary bases and landmark sites, through 2010 to promote the "national ethos" and "social-economic development" in those areas, according to a national program. ( ) The official said "red tourism" will help people to further review the rise of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the nation. There are abundant facts in these sites showing the Party and socialism are the choice of history and the people. "It will make people, especially the young people, to further consolidate their faith in pursuing the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics and realizing the great rejuvenation of the nation under the leadership of the CPC," he said. ( ) Collective student visits are free of charge and individual student visits are half the normal price, according to the program. The sites, including Jingangshan, Yan'an, Xibaipo and Taihang Mountains, are mostly poor land-locked areas. The official predicted implementation of the program would speed up social and economic development there. ( )

Income gap grows wider in Beijing
2005-02-22 China Daily
The income gap among urban residents in Beijing is widening, according to figures released by the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Statistics. The average income of the richest 20 per cent of its residents is four times that of the poorest 20 per cent, according to figures for last year. That ratio was 3.4:1 for 2003, sources said. Different educational levels were the most influential factors contributing to the widening income gap, according to sources with the statistics bureau. Average per capita income for the richest group was 29,600 yuan (US$3,600) last year. But the figure for the poorest 20 per cent was only 7,400 (US$890) yuan. A survey conducted by the local statistics bureau among 2,000 urban families in Beijing showed that the overall average per capita income of Beijing's residents was 15,600 yuan (US$1,900) last year, 12.6 per cent higher than in 2003. "Low-income families earned more last year than 2003, but the increase rate was lower than for families with higher incomes," the bureau said, without giving further figures. () In 2003, the average income for people with master's and doctorate degrees was 2.1 times that of uneducated workers. But that figure was up to 2.6 last year. Statistics also indicate that people with different jobs end up with different pay. Professionals, government employees and management staff occupied the top three groups in Beijing last year, according to statistics. Their per capita average annual income was 18,500 yuan (US$2,230), 18,400 yuan (US$2,220) and 16,800 yuan (US$2,000) respectively. In contrast, incomes of workers engaged in production and transportation, the service sector and commerce were all below the city's average income level. For example, the average income of production and transportation workers was 12,300 yuan (US$1,500), 66 per cent that of professionals.

State Council revamps working rules
2005-02-21 PLA Daily
The State Council of China has recently amended and publicized the statute on its working rules which are believed to be more scientific, clear, strict and standardized. The newly amended rules are divided into ten chapters including general principles, member duties, full implementation of governmental functions, promoting scientific and democratic decision-making and working styles and enhancing disciplines. The statute said the State Council should work hard to form an administrative management system that is standardized, concerted, fair, transparent and efficient. ( )

China to become "developed country" in 2080
2005-02-21 People’s Daily
China is expected to become an "advanced developed country" in the second half of this century, according to a report published on Friday. The China Modernization Report 2005, released at a seminar organized by the China Centre for Modernization Research under the Chinese Academy of Sciences, concluded China will become a "moderately developed country" before 2050 thanks to its ongoing modernization drive. Experts and scholars involved in the study believe that China's modernization of economy is scheduled to bring it into the ranks of the world's top 40 developed countries in the first half of this century. ( )



Clinton should abide by US commitments to China on Taiwan issue: FM spokesman
2005-02-24 People’s Daily
As former US president, Bill Clinton should abide by the commitments made previous US governments concerning Taiwan, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan at a regular briefing Thursday. While commenting on Clinton's visit to Taiwan and his meeting with Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian, Kong said as former US president and an influential politician, Clinton should know and does know China's firm position on the Taiwan issue. He should abide by the one-China policy and the three joint communiques and oppose Taiwan Independence, said Kong.


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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