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
  11.7-15.7.2005, No. 71  
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Foreign Policy

Rice: US-China relations positive
2005-07-11 China Daily
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice left Beijing calling US-Sino relations positive and reiterating Washington's view that China is not a threat. Despite rows over Chinese textile exports, the surging US trade deficit with China and the Chinese currency's inflexibility, Rice, who is on a four-nation Asian tour that takes her next to Thailand, said relations were "complex" but good. "There are many extremely positive elements. I still think that this relationship has a great momentum. It still has more positives than negatives," Rice told a news briefing after meeting Chinese leaders. At the same time, Rice said she raised concerns over over China's military development. "(But) this does not mean that we view China as a threat,' she said Sunday. Still, tensions with Taiwan remain a worry, Rice said, urging Beijing to reach out to the Taiwan authorities. In response, Chinese President Hu Jintao told Rice Beijing was determined to improve cross-strait relations, but also urged Washington to remain vigilant for "secessionist" forces pushing for independence, the Xinhua news agency reported. The effects of Asia's largest economy were also high on the talks agenda, with US lawmakers and businesses stepping up pressure on China recently over the trade deficit and its pegged currency, which the US blames for giving China an unfair trade advantage and contributing to the loss of US jobs. The aggressive bid by Chinese oil giant China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) for California-based Unocal has sparked further US worries of China's growing economic clout."A growing Chinese economy is a good thing. (But) it needs to do so within the context of rules," Rice said Sunday. "The rules-based WTO framework into which China has entered is the only way to assure that an economy of this size has a good effect on the international economy as a whole." Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the two countries should strictly abide by World Trade Organization regulations and resolve problems relating to trade and the economy through dialogue and friendly consultation. () Rice's visit to China is her second in three months. As well as Thailand, she will also make stops in Japan and South Korea.

Rice speaks highly of China's role in relaunching six-party talks
2005-07-11 People's Daily
United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on July 10 that China has been playing a "very active" role in relaunching the six-party talks, which she considered "an important first step" to settle the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Rice made the remarks at a press conference held by the US embassy in Beijing after her separate talks with Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and her Chinese counterpart Li Zhaoxing Sunday morning. "There have been tremendous flurry of diplomatic activities from all the parties of the six-party talks," Rice said, adding that there were efforts of the United States, Russia, the Republic of Korea and especially China. "I think Chinese have played a very active role to show North Korea what path ahead might look like," Rice said. While considering it "a very good thing" to come back to the talks in the week of July 25, Rice noted that it is only a start. "It is not the goal of the talks to have talks; it is the goal of the talks to have progress," she added. Rice also reiterated that the US government recognizes the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a sovereign state, and that the United States "has no intention to invade or attack DPRK". Korean Central News Agency said on Saturday night, hours following Rice's arrival in Beijing, that DPRK has agreed to return to the long stalled six-party talks in the week beginning on July 25 after a break of more than a year. ()

CPC to further relations with Indian political parties, official
2005-07-14 People's Daily
The Communist Party of China (CPC) will further strengthen exchanges and cooperation with all major political parties in India, including the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), said senior CPC official Wu Guanzheng in Beijing Wednesday. Wu, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said the friendly exchanges between the two parties had played a positive role in promoting bilateral relations, in a meeting with a delegation from the CPI-M headed by the party's General Secretary, Prakash Karat. Speaking highly of the development of bilateral relations, Wu said the establishment of a bilateral strategic and cooperative partnership oriented to peace and prosperity in April this year marks a new height in bilateral relations. China believes that as long as the two sides continuously enhance pragmatic cooperation in politics and economy, bilateral relations will be closer in the future, he said, adding, the Chinese side is confident in the future of bilateral relations. Prakash Karat said his party attaches great importance to the traditional friendship with the CPC. The persistent friendly exchanges between the two parties have played an important role in deepening bilateral relations. He said the development of the relations between India and China, the two biggest developing countries in the world, are not only conducive to their own interests, but also to the peace and development in Asia and the world over. It will also help accelerate the process of multi-polarization in the world.

Sino-US agreement closes net on piracy
2005-07-15 China Daily
Two Chinese Government agencies are to work with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) to stamp out video piracy. On Wednesday, China's Ministry of Culture (MOC), the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) and the MPAA signed a memorandum to establish a Sino-US motion picture copyrights protection co-ordination mechanism. The MPAA will meet with the agencies every three months to submit a list containing information on soon-to-be-released films and the names of the local licensees, publishers and the release dates of the official home videos of those motion pictures in China. "The Chinese Government has always been steadfast in protecting intellectual property rights," said Zhang Xinjian, deputy director of MOC's cultural marketing department. "And now we will make more efforts in collaborating with international organizations to fight pirated products." At the meetings, the groups will also "exchange research on the piracy situation of home video products and consultation over action plans," Zhang said. Michael C. Ellis, senior vice-president and regional director of the Asia-Pacific Division of the MPAA, who signed the memorandum with Zhang, said: "The Chinese Government is very sincere in intellectual property protection. I am confident that after the memorandum is signed, the three parties shall, based on good-faith co-operation, seek proper solutions through friendly consultations in order to exchange information, co-ordinate actions and make joint efforts to deal with problems."

China concerned about Japan's plan to grant drilling rights to private companies in East China Sea
2005-07-15 People's Daily
China on July 14 voiced its "serious concerns" about the Japanese government's plan to grant private oil companies test-drilling rights in a gas field in the East China Sea. "It is an objective reality that China and Japan have disputes over the demarcation of East China Sea, but this issue should be solved properly by negotiation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular news conference. According to reports, Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry planned to grant admission to conduct experimental drilling in the East China Sea on Thursday afternoon. Liu strongly urged Japan not to take any action that will impair the stability in the East China Sea and Sino-Japanese relations. "If Japan is bent on doing such things, it will constitute a grave damage to China's rights of sovereignty and make the situation in the East China Sea more complicated," the spokesman said.

Tokyo warned over textbooks
2005-07-15 SCMP - Beijing yesterday criticised the Japanese municipality of Otawara's decision to adopt nationalist textbooks that downplay wartime atrocities, saying the move will damage relations and mislead younger generations. "The right-wing textbooks strive to downplay and excuse Japan from its political and ethical responsibilities," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. "This sort of textbook entering the classroom will seriously mislead and harm young people." He called on Japan to give its younger generations a correct understanding of its militarist past and to face up to its history for the sake of improving its relations with its Asian neighbours and its international image. Mr Liu's views were echoed by the Chinese embassy in Tokyo, with Counsellor Xiong Bo calling the decision "very unfortunate". "Many young Japanese people will be studying these books and there are many difficulties with the descriptions of the war," he said. Otawara is the first municipality to agree to use the latest versions of the books, whose authors are members of the Japanese Society for History Textbook Reform and say they want to offer a counterweight to previous books that are "self-denigrating" and "biased against Japan". ()

China restaurant bars unapologetic Japanese
2005-07-13 China Daily
Japanese customers must apologise for their country's wartime occupation of China before getting a seat at a restaurant in former Manchuria or find another place to eat, Japan's Kyodo news agency said on Tuesday. No Japanese had tried to enter the restaurant in the north-eastern Chinese city of Jilin since it started the new apology policy and hung a sign that read "Japanese people barred from entry". "We totally welcome those Japanese customers who can correctly view history," the manager, surnamed Tian, was quoted as saying. "But as for those customers who still refuse to admit to history, we want to say we don't like them." Staff at the Western-style restaurant were told to ask Japanese customers who walked through the door to give their views of Japan's 1931-1945 occupation of parts of China, including the northeast, and to turn away those who did not apologise and share the owner's opinions, Kyodo said. Many Chinese feel Japan has never owned up to atrocities committed during its occupation, including the 1937 Rape of Nanjing in which Beijing says as many as 300,000 Chinese men, women and children were slaughtered by Japanese troops. China has repeatedly asked Japan to "take history as a mirror" and "correctly" view history to repair ties between the two countries, which this year have sunk to their lowest point in decades.

Nation improves protection of foreign trademarks
2005-07-11 Xinhuanet
China cracked down on 2,451 infringement cases involving foreign trademarks in the first half of 2005, up 55.8 percent over the same period last year, said Li Dongsheng, deputy director of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (AIC), here Monday. In 2004, China cracked down on 5,401 such infringement cases, up 158 percent from the pervious year, he said. This shows that China has improved the protection of foreign trademarks, Li said at a press conference held by the State Council Information Office. In the second half of 2004, China launched a campaign to protect the exclusive right to use registered trademarks, focusing on protecting well-known trademarks, foreign-related trademarks and trademarks used on food and drugs. During the first half year of 2005, China discovered 18,130 trademark infringement and counterfeiting cases in total, up 13.4 percent year-on-year. While the figure in 2004 was 40,171, up 51.66 percent year-on-year. At the end of 2004, the Supreme People's Court and the Supreme People's Procuratorate jointly released the Interpretation on Issues on Application of Law for Trial of IPR (Intellectual property rights) criminal Cases, and strengthened the protection of intellectual property against criminal cases. () In the special campaign, protection of well-known trademarks has been one of the top priorities for AICs at all levels, and the protection has been increasingly strengthened, Li said. This has improved the confidence of foreign companies, especially multinational companies, in China's IPR protection.

China bans foreign participation in domestic TV channels
2005-07-13 People's Daily
The Chinese State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) Tuesday issued a regulation banning any cooperation in channel operation between local TV and radio stations and foreign companies, Wednesday's Beijing Morning Post reported. The regulation stipulates that all local TV and radio stations should not rent their channels to foreign companies and also should not cooperate with foreign companies in running channels. It also bans any cooperation with foreign companies in regular and live programs. Other kinds of cooperation with foreign companies should first be approved by the SARFT's provincial branches. () The regulation means that the government has tightened its control over the cooperation between Chinese media and foreign companies said the paper. It said that the Qinghai Satellite TV Station in western China had ceased its cooperation with the news corporation held by Rupert Murdock, which started early this year.


Domestic Policy

Floods kill 65 in Sichuan, 30 others missing
2005-07-11 China Daily
Sixty-five people have been killed and 30 are missing following flooding in southwest China's Sichuan province since late last month. The Sichuan Daily said the victims died or went missing during flooding from June 28 to July 8. Among them, were 20 people from Dazhou city, which is submerged in deep floodwaters. Rainstorms and flooding swept over 84 counties and cities in the province, with 18 cities and counties reporting rainfall of more than 200 mm. The disasters affected 8.988 million people, flattened 30,000 houses, damaged 106,000 houses and totally destroyed more than 33,000 hectares of crops, according to the provincial disaster relief office on Sunday. The disasters also seriously damaged telecommunications, power supply, water conservancy and traffic facilities in the affected areas, the office said. China Central Television meanwhile said 420,000 people from the seven cities have been relocated, among 7.2 million people affected in those cities. China's civil affairs and finance ministries alloted 23 million yuan (2.7 million US dollars) in disaster relief funds to the cities, it said. () The latest deaths bring the toll from flooding this year in China to about 800 people killed or missing, with the main July-August flood season just starting. Floods have always been part of life in China but this year they have been more devastating than usual. The most severely affected areas have been the southern provinces of Zhejiang, Fujian, Jiangxi, Hunan and Guangdong, as well as Guangxi Zhuang region, where unusually heavy rain had caused rivers to swell.

Death toll rises to 81 in Xinjiang coal mine blast
2005-07-14 People's Daily
The death toll in a gas blast in a colliery in northwestern China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region rose to 81 Wednesday but two miners remained missing, government officials said. Rescuers have found the bodies of the 81 victims as of 11:00 a.m. Wednesday and are searching for the two who are still trapped underground after the blast happened in the Shenlong Mine of Fukang County, 62 km away from the regional capital of Urumqi, early Monday morning. Only four out of the 87 people working underground when the accident took place survived. China's work safety watchdog has blamed the coal mine blast on a number of safety loopholes, including overproduction, lack of a work safety license and ill-management. Li Yizhong, director of the State Administration for Work Safety, said that overproduction had led to an extremely high gas density in the colliery shaft, and the management staff failed to take effective measures to prevent casualties after finding the gas density problem. Li also criticized the colliery management for sending an exceedingly large number of miners underground in order to increase production.

China captures 702,000 gambling suspects in 2005
2005-07-15 People's Daily
The Chinese Ministry of Public Security on July 14 announced that police authorities has cracked 163,000 gambling cases and seized 702,000 suspects involving in gambling since the Ministry launched a special crackdown on gambling nationwide in early January. The police authorities across China also seized gambling capital worth of 2.33 billion yuan (281 million US dollars), as well as 77,000 computers and video game players, which were used for gambling. Seventy major gambling cases, which were jointly superintended by the Supreme People's Court, the Supreme People's Procuratorate and the Ministry of Public Security, have all been cracked. Among the already-seized suspects, 1,479 suspects have been sentenced into prison, 3,874 have been prosecuted, 5,115 are being re-educated through labor, and 105,000 are still under detention. Among the seized suspects, 1,617 suspects were officials. and 47 of them were section chiefs or heads of government departments.

Chinese military to be restructured
2005-07-14 Xinhuanet
The Chinese military is expected to shift its traditional structure by adding new battle units and cutting outdated ones in an effort to create new combat effectiveness, reported Tuesday's Liberation Army Daily. According to the Headquarters of the General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), a program is currently underway to change the structure of the Chinese military by cutting its divisions and increasing brigades. The readjustment and reform program, said the headquarters, is now proceeding smoothly after a schedule earlier was handed down through various levels of the army for observation. The program will increase the number of land army corps, which are designed to have a three-level command system (namely corps, brigadier and battalion levels), adopted by the Chinese forces for the first time. At the same time, the command levels of the air force and the navy will be reduced, said the paper, but gave no further details. The total of the officers serving at headquarters or functional branches at different command levels will be cut to a new low and some grassroots posts previously held by officers will be handed over to skilled soldiers or non-service civil servants. Citing the reform as one of the most wide-ranging and extensive ones the country has ever witnessed, the Headquarters of the PLA General Staff said the reform would serve to optimize the internal structure, increase science and tech contents and intensify the joint combat command capability of Chinese troops. "The establishment readjustment should be ensured to be complete before the end of 2005," it said, citing numerous other breakthroughs already made in those aspects mentioned above. The proportion of officers to soldiers in the Chinese military, together with other related policies, will also be lifted greatly. "With the initial implementation of the new establishment, the Chinese military has already showed new styles in various aspects," said the headquarters.

Public opinions solicited on property law
2005-07-10 Xinhuanet
Chinese legislature on Sunday released its draft law on property rights in full text to general public for soliciting revision opinions. The draft law on property rights, with five chapters and 268 items, had been deliberated for three times by lawmakers by the end of June. Citizens could offer their opinions on the draft law prior to August 20. Then, the Commission of Legislative Affairs of the Standing Committee of the 10th National People's Congress (NPC) will revise the draft law according to public opinions and submit the revised draft law to the NPC Standing Committee for fourth deliberation. The draft law will be submitted to the fourth plenary session of the 10th NPC, which will be held next March, for the fifth deliberation and will be voted for adoption at the session. Normally, China's law draft could be passed through after three times deliberation. The draft law on property rights was, however, arranged to deliberate by lawmakers for fifth times before adoption. The draft law, defining and safeguarding all the property rights, is related to every citizen's fundamental rights. According to the draft law, property owners shall be given reasonable compensation when their properties are taken over for public use. Those who refuse to make the compensation will bear legal responsibilities. Over the past more than half century, China's farmers are allowed to save a certain piece of land to build their own houses. However, as an increasing number of urban citizens became affluent in recent years, they are fond of buying such kind of land from farmers to build villas for their weekend vocation. This time, the draft law on property rights says absolutely no to the phenomenon. () According to official statistics, China losses 40 billion yuan (4.8 billion US dollars) of state-owned assets annually. The loss of the state-owned assets has triggered dissatisfaction and condemnation across the country, as many companies' employees appealed to the governments for intervention. The draft law on property rights was also believed to be another critical legislative step to protect citizen's private assets. ()

70% official archives open to public
2005-07-12 Xinhuanet
2,367 national archives in China, 76 percent of the country's total, have so far shown their official documents to the public, Guangming Daily reported here Tuesday. China's official documents, usually with the title printed in red, were once restricted only to government officials and seen "mysterious" by common Chinese, Mao Fumin, director of the State Archives Bureau, was quoted as saying. These days, however, more than one million persons have viewed the official documents in archives nationwide to learn about governmental policies on issues like jobs, welfare, insurance, resettlement and land management. Mao said archives in China were no longer a storehouse for old and used documents, but a platform for common people to know national policy and more actively participate in political affairs. "Official documents displayed in the archives also help the government better serve the public," he said. Wang Gang, a senior official with the Communist Party of China also pointed out that the archives at all levels should offer more convenient conditions to help people make better use of the official documents.

China opens human rights website
2005-07-11 People's Daily
China opened a Chinese-language website on human rights issues Friday in Beijing. The website, sponsored by the China Human Rights Development Fund, will focus on introduction of the human rights situation both in China and the world and the development of human rights organizations. Huang Hua, honorary president of the fund and China's former vice-premier, said in a congratulatory letter that the website will help the young to know more about human rights and promote human rights development in both China and world. The website has eight columns including news center, human rights organizations and public welfare undertakings.

GDP growth likely to slow down in second half
2005-07-12 China Daily
China's economic growth will slow to 8.6 percent in the third quarter and to 8.2 percent in the fourth amid government efforts to make growth more sustainable, the China Securities Journal quoted a think-tank as predicting. That would take full-year growth to 8.8 percent, significantly lower than 9.5 percent seen last year and in 2003, the paper quoted a report by the National Development and Reform Commission's Macroeconomic Institute as saying. The slower pace of growth would be in accordance with government efforts to adjust macroeconomic controls and would not mean that China would enter a cycle of low economic growth in the coming years, the paper quoted the think-tank as saying. The property market, which has been a focus of government efforts to cool investment amid rapidly rising prices in major cities, would slow significantly, the paper said, adding there were no assurances that a soft landing in the sector could be achieved. Export growth would also decelerate significantly, while a tight credit environment would put the brakes on investment, it said. () Since first-quarter economic output was up 9.4 percent on a year before, the commission's half-year estimate suggests a slower second quarter. Official second-quarter data is due this month. The government has been trying for the past two years to rebalance the economy, promoting consumption while discouraging investment in sectors that it reckons are growing too fast, risking a bust.

China adheres to family planning to keep low birth rate: official
2005-07-11 People's Daily
China will adhere to the family planning policy so as to keep the low birth rate, according to a senior Chinese official. Addressing a recent national population conference in Beijing, Hua Jianmin, State Councilor and Secretary-General of the State Council, said that the family planning policy launched at the end of the 1970s has successfully pulled back China's runaway population growth in rein. The one-child policy has helped cut down the country's population by over 300 million people and postpone the arrival of 1.3-billion populations by four years, he said. "The policy has contributed to the improvement of the nation's comprehensive power, social progress and enhancement of the people's living standard," Hua said. But he pointed out that the large population will remain a knotty problem in the new century and the increasingly tense conflict between population and environment will pose severe challenges to sustainable development. He urged local authorities to increase financial input in the family planning work and expand the mechanism of rewarding one-child families in rural areas. Meanwhile, he noted that efforts should also be devoted to improve the comprehensive qualities of the people, in addition to the control of population growth. Measures should be taken to curb gender imbalance and birth defects. The government should also step up improving the social insurance system to catch up with the country's fastened pace into an aging society, he said.



EU not ready to grant China market status
2005-07-15 China Daily/Xinhuanet
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Thursday in Beijing. The two leaders exchanged views on the arms embargo against China and the EU's failure to grant China full market economy status. The Chinese Premier told Barroso that China highly values relations with the European Union and he is willing to discuss strategic issues with Barroso. Barroso reiterated that EU considers China an important strategic partner and will continue to treat bilateral relations as a priority. Before the talks, Barroso told reporter in Beijing that a decision on granting so-called market economy status to China is unlikely in the immediate future. The European Commission said Wednesday it was not ready to grant market economy status to China - a move that would help Beijing avoid punitive antidumping measures. Francoise Le Bail, chief spokeswoman for the European Union's head office, said it was unclear when China would meet EU criteria for being a market economy. "The Commission is checking to see if China fits this criteria," she said. "It's a very technical process ... It's difficult to give a deadline. Barroso said the EU will continue working towards granting market economy status to China, which Chinese officials are seeking to strengthen their hand in challenging anti-dumping cases. But such a move will have to be reciprocated by Chinese concessions, Barroso said, without giving details. Besides Beijing, Barroso will visit Shanghai, Macao and Hong Kong on his five-day visit to China. It is Barroso's first visit to China as president of European Commission.

World seeks trade breakthrough in China
2005-07-14 China Daily
DALIAN, China - Ministers from around the world sought to keep up momentum on Wednesday in trade talks in China after a modest breakthrough on farm trade, one of the toughest areas in negotiations on a broad global trade pact. The United States, the European Union and Japan agreed on Tuesday that a proposal submitted by the Group of 20 developing countries led by Brazil made a good starting point for serious negotiations on farm trade after months of stalemate. "The talks yesterday were positive. It was roughly in line with our expectations," a Chinese trade official said. Ministers from more than 30 World Trade Organization countries would focus on non-agriculture market access (known as NAMA), development and other areas on Wednesday, the final day of discussions in the north-eastern port city of Dalian, negotiators said. Last week, diplomats said NAMA negotiations, or parallel goods tariff talks, also faced difficulties centering on the formula to be used in deciding how tariffs will be cut -- with divisions running not only between industrialized and developing countries but also cutting across both groups. The G20 initiative is a compromise between the EU, which favored a uniform cut in all farm tariffs, and agricultural exporters such as Australia that wanted high tariffs to be cut the most in order to maximize their market access. The plan groups tariffs into five bands and then subjects them to a uniform cut. To the outsider, Tuesday's breakthrough might appear modest and arcane. For a start, the size of the reductions, and exceptions for developing countries, promises painful bargaining ahead. What's more, the EU and Japan said they would press for the across-the-board cuts to be administered flexibly. WTO Director-General Supachai Panitchpakdi welcomed the progress, but said he was worried that a lack of details would enable negotiators to unravel the formula and make it hard to meet the deadlines for an overall deal.()

China, US discuss textiles in Beijing
2005-07-11 China Daily
Senior Chinese and U.S. officials met for annual trade talks in Beijing on Monday after a second round of technical discussions to try to resolve a dispute over Chinese textile exports failed to make any breakthrough. The one-day U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) session was expected to focus on textiles and other areas of trade friction, such as protection of intellectual property rights. Chinese textile exports surged earlier this year, triggering disputes with the United States and the European Union, after a decade-long system of global quotas was abolished. A U.S. embassy spokeswoman said China and the United States would sign agreements during the session, but she did not give details. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez and U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman would chair the session, the Xinhua news agency said. U.S.Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns and China's Commerce Minister Bo Xilai would also attend. On Friday, China and the United States held "pragmatic" talks on resolving their dispute over textile exports and agreed to further contacts, the Commerce Ministry reported in a brief statement on its Web site, U.S. and Chinese officials have been trying to negotiate a deal on textile trade since Washington imposed quotas on certain categories of Chinese textiles in May. () China's strong export growth in recent months -- higher than 30 percent -- has bolstered critics who say China is keeping the value of the yuan, pegged near 8.28 to the dollar, too low, giving its exports an unfair advantage. ()

VW sees China sales slump as rivals soar
2005-07-13 China Daily
Hit by corruption allegations at home, German carmaker Volkswagen AG appears to be in big trouble in China too after reporting a sharp drop in sales while those of rivals soar. Volkswagen's earnings have been under pressure for some time and it reported a loss for the first quarter but now it faces possible job cuts and the shutdown of plants on home turf as it tries to cope with the damage of a bribe-taking scandal involving several company officers. In China, the company late Tuesday reported half year sales results, saying its two mainland joint ventures shifted a disappointing 265,000 vehicles in the first half of 2005 after 306,000 for the first half of 2004. Although it downplayed the sharp drop as related to a change in reporting methods, analysts widely said that Europe's largest carmaker faces serious structural problems in China. () As China's growing passenger car market picked up speed in the late 1990s with the growth of a middle class, Volkswagen found itself the envy of all foreign rivals. "That made the company forget some of the multinational's good habits and it instead learned bad habits from China's state-owed enterprises, such as having no desire to make progress and (failing to react to) challenges," said Jia. "Now if there is no restructuring of its two joint ventures, one will die," Jia warned.


North Korea

Kim Jong-Il meets Chinese presidential envoy
2005-07-14 People's Daily
Kim Jong-Il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), on Wednesday held talks with visiting Chinese presidential envoy Tang Jiaxuan on Sino-DPRK relations and issues related to the six-party talks. Tang conveyed a message from Chinese President Hu Jintao to Kim, saying that the Chinese Communist Party and government highly respect the long-standing friendship between China and the DPRK, and that China is ready to make joint efforts with the DPRK to further boost relations. On the forthcoming fourth round of the six-party talks slated for late this month, Hu expressed hope that the talks could achieve substantial progress through close exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. For his part, Kim said the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the DPRK's goal. He hoped that the mechanism of the six-party talks could become an important platform for the realization of this objective. "The DPRK expects the next round of the talks to be held on time and make positive progress," he told Tang. Kim expressed his appreciation of China's unremitting efforts towards the resumption of the six-party talks. Tang said that China's stance on the issue is clear, that is, China insists on realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining the permanent peace and stability of the peninsula, and seeking a peaceful solution through dialogue. Tang, a state councillor and former Chinese foreign minister, arrived in the capital Tuesday morning and is expected to stay here for two days. He was received by Kim Yong-nam, president of the presidium of the DPRK's Supreme People's Assembly, at the Mansudae Assembly Hall in Pyongyang early Wednesday. Earlier in the day, Tang visited the Kumsusan Memorial Palace to pay tribute to late DPRK President Kim Il Sung. He also laid a wreath before the Sino-DPRK Friendship Tower to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the Chinese People's Volunteers during the Korean War.


Julie Kong
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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