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
  1.8-5.8.2005, No. 74  
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Foreign Policy

China, US to hold back G4's proposal together, Chinese UN ambassador
2005-08-04 People's Daily
Wang Guangya, Chinese ambassador to the United Nations said on August 3, 2005 that China and the United States agreed to make joint efforts in holding back the draft resolution on the enlargement of UN Security Council put forward by Japan, Germany, Indian and Brazil, according to report by Associated Press. Wang said that the agreement was reached during his meeting with John R. Bolton, the newly appointed US ambassador to the UN on Tuesday. "The ultimate goal of China and the United States is an expansion of the Security Council that will not divide its member countries," added Wang. "But at this stage, I think our objective will be to oppose the G-4, to make sure they do not have enough votes to take the risk to divide the Council," said Wang.

China, Russia to launch first joint military exercises
2005-08-03 People's Daily
China and Russia will hold their first joint military exercises starting from Aug 18 to 25, China's Ministry of Defense announced Tuesday in Beijing. In a press release, the ministry said the exercises, dubbed "Peace Mission 2005", will be carried out in Vladivostok in far eastern region of Russia and East China's Shandong Peninsular and nearby offshore seawaters. The exercises will involve nearly 10,000 troops from the armies, navies, air forces as well as airborne units, marine corps and logistic units of Chinese and Russian armed forces, said the press release. Chinese and Russian defense ministries signed a memorandum on conducting joint military exercises in July, 2004. The chiefs of the general staffs of Chinese and Russian armed forces will announce the commencement of the exercises in Vladivostok on Aug. 18. China and Russia have invited the defense ministers from member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and representatives from SCO's observer countries to watch the joint exercises. ( ) "The exercises neither aim at any third party nor concern with the interests of any third country," said the press release. The ministry said that the mission of the drills mainly aim to deepen Sino-Russian mutual trust, promote mutual friendship and enhance the cooperation and coordination of the two armed forces in the areas of defense and security. The joint exercises will also help strengthen the capability of the two armed forces in jointly striking international terrorism, extremism and separatism. ( )


Domestic Policy

Hospitals under fire for only after profits
2005-08-05 Xinhua News
In an advent of health service reform to be announced in China, the Ministry of Public Health in a rare move published a lengthy report of Minister Gao Qiang Thursday to slam "some medical institutions" for infringing upon public interests for economic gains. Earlier this week, the research center with the State Council, or the central government, released a report, which admitted the country's medical reform in the past decades as a "failure." And the Ministry of Health said the following day that it was drafting a new reform plan in collaboration with other government departments. One of the public woes on the health service sector was the soaring medical expenses in recent years. Gao said in the report that the mismanagement of a large number of health institutions are to blame, which holds back ordinary Chinese from seeking adequate and proper medical care. "Chinese medical institutions have been over-commercialized, relying chiefly on exorbitant charges for their maintenance and development," he acknowledged. "The goal for medical reform in the next step shall focus more on public interest and affordability of medical services for all." According to the ministry statistics, the nation's hospitals have been maintaining a double digit growth rate in income while receiving fewer patients each year. The public expense on medical bills have been growing faster than people's income in the past eight years. With 4.7 percent patients going to the hospitals managed by health departments in 2003 than 2000, health institutions still recorded a growth of 69.9 percent in their profits. Out of the profits, 49.8 percent were obtained from medical treatment and 38.7 percent from drug sales, while only less than 10 percent were derived from government funding. "Putting profit ahead of other functions by health institutions not only add burdens to patients, but seriously undermined the image of both medical personnel and public health departments," Gao said. Gao also suggested instituting a public health mechanismin in which state government should play a bigger part to guide hospitals to work for better welfare for the general public. Since the late 1970s and early 1980s, the central government had reduced its funding to public health institutions so that the ratio of government input in China's medical and health work was lowered year by year. And less imput and supervision from the government has resulted in over-commercialization of hospital practices. ()

New channels to ease Beijing energy shortage
2005-08-05 Xinhua News
Energy-guzzling Beijing has been desperately searching for new sources of natural gas to fuel its buzzing economy after the city suffered from winter shortages, when demand peaked. New channels that will bring the relatively clean energy to the capital include two overland gas pipelines and a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal, according to the Beijing Municipal Commission of Development and Reform. One of these pipelines is the Second Shaanxi-Beijing Line, which began operations last month, said Liu Yinchun, who is in charge of infrastructure construction for the commission. 900-kilometre pipeline has the capacity to transfer up to 12 billion cubic metres of natural gas annually from oilfields in Northwest China's Shaanxi Province to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region, which is crying out for the fuel. ( ) The second new pipeline is the Jining Linkage Line, which will bring gas from Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region all the way to Beijing, as well as to neighbouring areas around the Bohai Sea coast. The Jining line is part of the mammoth west-to-east gas transportation project. With an investment of 8 billion yuan (US$988 million), it will connect the main pipeline to the second Shaanxi-Beijing line, according to sources at Petro China, the country's largest oil and gas producer. The 890-kilometre line, spanning the three provinces of Jiangsu, Shandong and Hebei, will be completed by the end of the year and start operations in January, said Chen Xiangxin, a project manager in charge of the Jining construction. The third new channel that will feed Beijing is the multi-billion US dollar LNG terminal that will be built at Caofeidian of Tangshan in Hebei Province. ( ) "Construction of the port at Caofeidian will probably start this month." Caofeidian, located 80 kilometres south of Tangshan, is a tiny island that is 2 kilometres long and 1 kilometre wide. It is a natural harbour that can berth ships with a loading capacity of 300,000 tons. ( ) Beijing Mayor Wang Qishan said early this year the city must diversify energy supplies to ensure long-term economic security. "It is very worrying that much of the city depends on gas and there is only one pipeline," the mayor said in January, during the chronic shortage. Beijing's demand for natural gas is growing by an annual rate of 17 per cent and will reach 5.8 billion cubic metres in 2008 as the city switches from reliance on coal in its drive to cut air pollution before the Olympics. Demand for gas is forecast to top 7 billion cubic metres in 2010 and 12 billion in 2020. ( )

1 new death of pig-borne endemic reported in Sichuan
2005-08-04 Xinhua News
The death toll of the pig-borne endemic in southwest China's Sichuan Province had reached 38 as of 12:00 a. m. Wednesday, with one dead and one new case confirmed, according to the Chinese Ministry of Health. The province has reported 206 cases of swine streptococosis II.Among them, 165 were confirmed cases and 41 suspected ones, said the ministry in a latest report. Eight people were discharged from hospital Wednesday and brought the number of the discharged to 26, with 27 others are still in critical condition, the report said. The epidemic broke out late June in cities and counties including Ziyang, Jianyang, Lezhi and Neijiang. All the patients had direct contact with ill or dead pigs.

More reform still required in country's pension system
2005-08-04 Xinhau News
The government issued 37 licences to 29 companies to take care of the country's voluntary corporate pensions on Tuesday in order to straighten out the pension management market. The Ministry of Labour & Social Security offered licences to fifteen companies, including four joint ventures, to manage voluntary corporate pensions.The ministry also gave custodian licenses to six banks, trustee licenses to five companies and administrator licenses to 11 companies. Eight companies got two licences( ) There are two types of corporate pensions in China "basic corporate pension", which companies are required to turn into the government for distribution to retired corporate staff; and a "voluntary corporate pension," which works as a supplement to the basic pension and commercial retirement insurance and is voluntarily provided by enterprises for their staff as a retirement benefit. ( ) Around 7 million people in China were covered by this type of pension plan by the end of 2003. ( ) In China only about 5 per cent of companies, mostly big companies with sound finances, establish voluntary pension plans. In developed economies, the number can be as high as 80 to 90 per cent. The reason for this is that in China pensions are not obligatory, and there is a tax levied on the investment and gains. To adjust the tax system and issue some favourable policies for pension investment is an essential step in encouraging companies to establish a voluntary pension system and use it for investment, said Zhang. ( )

China to build NW. autonomous region into int'l business hub
2005-08-03 People's Daily
Chinese Vice Premier Huang Ju has said China will endeavor to build its northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region into an international business hub connecting China and surrounding regions. He made the remark during a July 27 to Aug. 2 trip to Xinjiang, where he visited local companies and the Xinjiang Construction Corps. He said Xinjiang should make use of its geographical advantages to expand business ties with central Asia, south Asia, west Asia and east Europe so as to become an international business hub linking the Chinese inland with the four regions. Xinjiang should concentrate on economic development by upgrading industrial structure, developing agriculture with local features, tapping petroleum, natural gas and coal reserves, renovating textile industry, developing hi-tech industry and tourism industry, he said. He also stressed the importance of building an resources-saving society and developing a circular economy.

Nearly half of Beijingers against limiting private cars
2005-08-02 Xinhua News
Nearly half of Beijing citizens oppose restrictions on the development of private cars aimed at solving chronic traffic jams in the Chinese capital, Beijing News reported on Tuesday. A survey, organized by the Beijing-based newspaper, found that 47 percent of the respondents say they are against restrictions on the growth of private cars. They believe development of public transportation is the fundamental way to help ease crippling traffic jams in Beijing. Some 60 percent of the respondents hold that traffic jam is a serious problem and affects the image of this capital city. And 52 percent believe that irrational urban planning should be blamed for the city's worsening traffic congestion. Another 70 percent of the respondents say that improvement of management on traffic control and better transportation facilities will be helpful. Beijing, with 15.2 million registered inhabitants, has more than2 million cars. The number is expected to increase to 3.2 million by 2008.

Beijing population to top 15.5 mln
2005-08-02 Xinhua News
The total population of Beijing is expected to exceed 15.5 million by 2010. A Beijing-based research institute on demographics predicts the number of people in the city will reach the peak of some 17 million in 2025. The institute suggests Beijing may also witness a rising number of elderly people, about six million by 2045. It adds the number of migrant people in the city hit nearly 4.1 million in 2003, with a growth of about one million from 2000. More than 80 percent of them are engaged in wholesale, retail, catering, manufacturing, construction and service sectors. By the end of 2003, there were more than 14.5 million permanent residents in Beijing. Enditem



Chinese mainland official criticises Taiwan leaders' separatist remarks
2005-08-05 People's Daily
A spokesman with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council criticized separatist remarks by Taiwan leaders in recent days, saying they run counter to Taiwanese' wishes and fundamental interests. "It's very natural these remarks meet with attack and opposition from the public as they run counter to Taiwanese' wishes and fundamental interests," the spokesman said. Compatriots in the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are working to push personnel exchange and economic and cultural communication. They hope to realize cross-Straits passenger and cargo charter flights, Taiwan tours by mainlanders and the promotion of cross-Straits relations on the track to peace and stability, the spokesman said. But contrary to this, the separatist remarks of "Taiwan independence" by leaders of the Taiwan authorities have intended to make the Chinese mainland and Taiwan stand against each other and have caused new tension. Although the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are not reunited, the fact they belong to one China has never changed, he said. He stressed that anything involving China's sovereignty and territorial integrity must be decided by all the 1.3-billion Chinese people, he stressed. He said the central government will continue to work with Taiwan compatriots and oppose any "Taiwan independence" activities and promote cross-Straits relations, peace and stability.

Charter flight talks welcomed
2005-08-03 Xinhua News
The mainland welcomes Taiwan authorities' approval of the talks on passenger and cargo charter flights across the Taiwan Straits. "We have noticed the remarks of officials with the Taiwan authorities regarding the cross-Straits passenger and cargo charter flights. We welcome such remarks," said the spokesman with the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, under condition of anonymity. He made the remark after Taiwanese "premier" Frank Hsieh reportedly said yesterday that his government is ready to hold talks with the mainland on expanding cross-Straits charter flights and allowing Taiwanese airlines to fly over mainland airspace. It is a consistent policy of the mainland that direct air, shipping, postal and commercial links across the Taiwan Straits should be realized, the official said. ( ) Apart from direct cross-Straits charter flights, the need for Taiwan commercial aircraft to fly over the mainland to save time and costs has become urgent after sharp rises in international crude oil prices. Taipei has banned cross-Straits direct transport since 1949. The island's airlines serving destinations in Europe must make a detour to bypass the mainland. Bilateral negotiations are needed before Taiwan can decide whether it will offer reciprocal rights to mainland airlines, Hsieh added. There would also be demands for direct charter flights between Taiwan and the mainland during the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays, Hsieh said. The two sides launched their first non-stop passenger flights during the holidays in February.


North Korea

6-party talks to continue on Friday
2005-08-04 Xinhua News
The fourth round of the six-party talks will continue on Friday, spokesman of the Chinese delegation Qin Gang said here Thursday. Qin said it was quite common that the participants had differences during the negotiation, but all the negotiators managed to listen to the other sides calmly. The six parties had deepened mutual understanding over the past days, which was "the biggest achievement" of the fourth round of the talks compared with the previous three rounds, the spokesman said. The negotiators had exchanged views on the key issues, "which itself is a progress," he added. He stressed it was not up to China but the attitude of every party to decide whether the talks would come to an end. The spokesman did not disclose the contents of the draft common document proposed by the Chinese delegation, which all the parties involved have been discussing over the past few days. "The signing of a common document is also an option," he said. "The six-party talks is a process and there is a long way to go to realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which requires unremitting efforts." Qin said it was "too high" expectations that all the problems related to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue could be resolved in just a few days. "We must neither be too optimistic nor too pessimistic." The six parties have held 72 bilateral consultations since the current round of talks started on July 26, which exceeded the total number of bilateral meetings held during the previous three rounds. Qin said the Chinese delegation had 14 one-on-one consultations with the Untied States, 11 with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), seven with Japan, six with Russia and four with the Republic of Korea. ( )


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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