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
  31.10-04.11.2005, No. 87  
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Foreign Policy

Fifth round of six-party talks slated for Nov. 9
2005-11-03 Xinhuanet
The fifth-round of the six-party talks will begin on Nov. 9 in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan announced at a regular press conference here Thursday. Kong did not say how long the negotiation would last, but said that "holding the talks by phases in the new round could have a better result" as the chief negotiators of the six parties might also attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit slated for mid November in Pusan of the Republic of Korea (ROK). The experience in the last round of the talks has proved that it is a "good idea" to hold the talks by phases, the spokesman added. "We hope the participants in the new round of negotiation could have an in-depth exchange of views on the consensus reached in the last round," said Kong. The six-party talks, aiming at resolving the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula, group China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the ROK, Russia and Japan. () The fourth-round six-party talks ended on Sept. 19 with the adopting of the first joint statement. The DPRK pledged in the statement to abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs and return, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The United States affirms that it has no nuclear weapons in the Korean Peninsula and has no intention of attacking or invading the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons, says the statement. China has all along contributed to the peaceful settlement of the Korean nuclear issue. It advocated to hold the the six-party talks, which has been proved to be an effective way to solve the complicated issue. Fourth rounds have been held up to now. () The DPRK and Japan held bilateral talks Thursday in Beijing. DPRK head Song Il-Ho and Akitaka Saiki, Japanese head and deputy head of the Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, discussed the issue left over from the past as well as the upcoming six-party talks. "We don't think the six-party talks is the best arena for the DPRK and Japan to discuss the issue left over from history, and they should consult with each other within the bilateral framework," said Kong. ()

Chinese, Russian prime ministers meet, setting future cooperation goals
2005-11-04 People's Daily
Chinese and Russian prime ministers drew up a blueprint of goals for future bilateral cooperation Thursday in Beijing, highlighting the results already achieved. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov held the 10th regular prime ministers' meeting amidst Fradkov's on-going China visit. Wen described the bilateral ties as in "the best development period in history." "The formation of the Sino-Russian strategic and cooperative partnership and the signing of the Good-neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation demonstrate the aspiration of the two sides to hold bilateral ties with strategic and long-term viewpoints," he said. He particularly mentioned the lay-out for implementing the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, approved by the heads of state of the two countries last year. The document planned the direction for future development of bilateral ties, he stressed, adding that the two governments were satisfied with the implementation of the lay-out. The expansion of economic cooperation was high on the agenda of the meeting. To boost the cooperation, Wen proposed improving commodity structure and regular trade order; signing the agreement for the construction of the oil pipeline at an early date while enhancing power and nuclear power cooperation; signing a pact to protect and expand mutual investment; strengthening exchanges of scientific personnel and the transfer of scientific results; supporting cooperation along border regions; advancing educational, cultural, health, sports and tourist communication between the two countries; and holding China Year in Russia and Russia Year in China. Fradkov also commended the "important role" played by the regular prime ministers' meeting. Through the joint military exercise and the approval of the complementary agreement on the demarcation of borders in the eastern section, Fradkov said, the two countries enhanced mutual trust and showed the aspiration of coping with new challenges and threats, protecting fundamental interests and territorial integrity and establishing a just and rational international order. "Tasks ahead are still heavy," he said. He called on the two sides to enhance cooperation on major issues and major projects, particularly in the fields of investment, energy, space, science and technology and telecom. The two prime ministers reiterated that they would have good neighborliness and political trust. In an efficient and pragmatic attitude, the two sides agreed to well handle the demarcation work in the remaining section along the eastern border in an effort to build up a friendly nexus for the two peoples along the border areas. () The two prime ministers stressed the statement is of great significance for pushing forward multi-polarization and promoting democratization in international relations and in the formation of a just and rational international order. After the meeting, the two countries signed cooperation documents on language teaching, economic and trade cooperation and banking. This is Fradkov's first China trip since he assumed the premiership. He is scheduled to meet other Chinese leaders Friday.

Bush making 3-day visit this month
2005-11-04 SCMP
A top Communist Party official yesterday urged Washington to grasp the "overall situation" and be pragmatic when dealing with China, a call that coincided with the announcement of a formal visit by US President George W. Bush. Zheng Bijian, a professor of the Central Party School, said in Beijing that Sino-US ties could only progress if the two sides paid special attention to the "overall situation" and "pragmatism". "Just as R&D [research and development] can help promote economic development, the `O' in the `overall situation' and the `P' in `pragmatism' could also bring fruitful progress in Sino-US relations," Professor Zheng said. Professor Zheng's comments came as Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan announced that Mr Bush would make a formal visit to China from November 19 to 21 after attending the Apec summit in South Korea. Professor Zheng expressed "appreciation" of the big picture presented by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick in September, but said Mr Zoellick demonstrated "prejudice" when discussing China's politics.

President Hu's visit to Vietnam "successful"
2005-11-02 Xinhuanet
The visit to Vietnam by General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese President Hu Jintao is "successful," said a senior CPC official Wednesday. Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks when briefing journalists accompanying Hu on his three-day official goodwill visit to Vietnam. The visit coincides with the 55th anniversary of Sino-Vietnamese diplomatic ties and it is a "great event" in the relations between the two parties and the two countries under the new circumstances, said Wang. Hu began his visit Monday as guest of General-Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nong Duc Manh and Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong. During the visit, Hu met with Vietnamese leaders and youth representatives, and delivered a speech at the National Assembly of Vietnam. The two sides signed a series of cooperation documents including an economic and technical cooperation agreement, and issued a joint statement. Summarizing the achievements of the visit, Wang said it first of all consolidated the bilateral traditional friendship, enhanced mutual trust and helped raise good-neighborliness and friendship and overall cooperation between the two countries to a new level. Secondly, Wang added, party-to-party exchanges and people-to-people friendship have been strengthened through the visit, thus consolidating the political and social basis for bilateral relations. Thirdly, he said, it helped create new concepts and expand new ways for cooperation, injecting new vigor into bilateral economic and trade cooperation. And fourthly, it helped address concerns properly and push forward regional cooperation, thus making contributions to peace, stability and prosperity in the region and the world at large. The visit is bound to promote all-round friendship and cooperation between the two countries to higher levels, Wang said.

China, EU agree on govt procurement
2005-11-02 People's Daily
Chinese and European Union officials signed an agreement on cooperation in government procurement Wednesday, under which the two sides will establish a regular dialogue on government procurement. Under the agreement, Chinese finance officials and their European counterparts will meet once every year for a dialogue on matters concerning government procurement, including legislation, implementation of government procurement rules, practice and cooperation between governments and private businesses. The agreement was signed by Zhang Hongli, assistant minister of finance of China, and Alexander Schaub, director general of the European Internal Market and Services of the European Commission. Zhang Hongli said government procurement was introduced only late last century and China can learn quite a lot from Europe on ways to regulate and promote government procurement. In a statement, the Chinese Ministry of Finance described the agreement as the first concrete measure taken by the two sides following first finance dialogue between China and European Union held last February in Brussels. The second Sino-EU Finance Dialogue is scheduled to be held next March in Beijing.

Chinese vice president calls for closer links with Austria
2005-10-31 People's Daily
Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong said Friday in Beijing that China is ready to work with Austria to further expand Sino-Austrian and Sino-EU relations. Zeng made the remark when meeting with Andreas Khol, president of the National Council of Austria, in Beijing Friday. Zeng said Sino-Austrian relations are currently having good momentum as the exchanges between the governments and legislatures of the two countries have kept growing. Zeng said the two countries have continuously deepened mutual understanding and trust and carried out good dialogues on issues of each other's concern. Noting that trade and economic cooperation between the two countries has been growing smoothly, Zeng said bilateral exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of fields, such as culture, education, science, technology, tourism and personnel training, are also fruitful. Zeng said China has always attached importance to developing relations with Austria and on the role that Austria plays in European and international affairs. He expressed the willingness to further advance Sino-Austrian and Sino-EU relations. Khol is heading a high-caliber delegation of Austrian parliamentarians from various political parties and groups to China. Khol and his delegation arrived in Beijing on Oct. 27 at the invitation of Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of China. Khol said the aim of his visit is to further enhance friendly relations between Austria and China. He conveyed the greetings from Austrian Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel to Zeng. Khol said the development of Austria-China relations is important for both countries. ()

FM: Shrine visit a serious political issue
2005-11-02 China Daily
China will continue to improve Sino-Japanese relations in the spirit of learning from history and facing the future, despite the recent cabinet reshuffle by Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a regular press conference yesterday that China always advocates improving and developing Sino-Japanese ties in the principle of the three political documents the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement, the Peace and Friendship Treaty and the Sino-Japanese Joint Declaration and following the spirit of learning from history and facing the future. In a cabinet reshuffle on Monday, Koizumi appointed to key posts two politicians known to support his annual visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, seen as a symbol of Japan's past militarism. Kong also repeated Beijing's "strong opposition" to Japanese leaders visiting the shrine, saying they were in violation of Japan's commitments to show remorse over its wartime atrocities. "The visits to the Yasukuni Shrine are not a matter of dialogue," Kong said, "but a serious political issue." He said it is a question of whether the Japanese side can truly keep its commitment to show remorse over history and pursue peaceful development. He said Sino-Japanese relations are facing difficulties now, but the responsibility does not lie with the Chinese side. "The key to overcoming the difficulties and to bringing bilateral ties back to the normal level of development is concrete action by the Japanese side, and not just words, to show the political will to improve relations," Kong said.

Pakistan's prime minister thanks China for prompt aid
2005-11-04 Xinhuanet
Pakistan's Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz on Thursday expressed gratitude to the Chinese government and people for their prompt aid after a strong earthquake hit the southern Asian country on Oct. 8. In talks with a Chinese governmental delegation, Aziz said that the Chinese were among the most reliable and trustworthy friends of the Pakistanis. "Each flight of Chinese relief aid to Pakistan reinforces the Pakistanis' confidence to face the challenges," he added. The Pakistani prime minister also expressed hope that China would send a high-level delegation to attend the international conference on reconstruction and rehabilitation scheduled on Nov. 19 in Islamabad. Chen Jian, head of the delegation to assess the after-quake situations in Pakistan, said that the earthquake had resulted in massive losses of lives and property of the Pakistanis who the Chinese people deemed as brothers. Chen told Aziz that feeling as they themselves had the sufferings, the Chinese government and people took prompt action and had since pledged relief aid of more than 20 million US dollars, sent a search and rescue team and a medical team to the most affected areas. The Chinese government and people are concerned about the living conditions of those in the affected areas, Chen said. To help the homeless Pakistanis to pass the coming winter, he disclosed, the Chinese government has collected more than 10,000 tents which are being transported to Pakistan by air and land. Chen said that the Chinese government and people would do their best to help their Pakistani brothers in their utmost power.


Domestic Policy

New bird flu outbreak confirmed in Liaoning
2005-11-04 China Daily
China reported its fourth bird flu outbreak in three weeks Thursday, saying the virus killed nearly 9,000 chickens in a northeastern village, prompting authorities to destroy 369,900 poultry. The outbreak occurred October 26 in Jiangtai village in the town of Badaohao, in Heishan county of Liaoning province in northeast China, the Agriculture Ministry said in a report posted on its website on Thursday. The report came despite Chinese government efforts to tighten controls on the country's vast poultry flocks and vaccinate millions of birds. Authorities also found 20 dead magpies and other wild birds, said the report by the ministry's Veterinary Bureau. Local veterinarians initially suspected Newcastle disease, another poultry infection, but laboratory tests showed it was the H5 strain of bird flu on November 1, and the test finding was confirmed by the National Avian Influenza Reference Laboratory on November 3, the report said. Heishan county is located the East Asia-Australia bird migrating route, experts believe this outbreak was likely caused by migrating birds. In addition to cull 369,900 poultry, 13.9 million more poulty were immuned in an emergent action. The report said Agriculture Ministr Du Qinglin, leading an expert group, has arrived at the outbreak area to direct the bird flu control efforts. The H5 strain is not the same type that has proven deadly to humans. The H5N1 strain began ravaging poultry stocks across Asia and jumped from birds to people in late 2003. Since then, it has killed at least 62 people in Southeast Asia. It said officials quarantined the area and ordered the vaccination of 13.9 million poultry in Liaoning. ()

China bans poultry imports from 14 countries
2005-11-02 Xinhuanet
China has suspended poultry and poultry product imports from 14 countries where bird flu cases were reported, a government notice says. The import suspension was imposed on October 28, according to the notice published on the website of the Ministry of Commerce Tuesday, November 1. The 14 countries are Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Japan, North Korea, Romania, Croatia, Kazakhstan, South Africa, Mongolia, Turkey, Russia and Sweden, according to the notice jointly issued by the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Agriculture, the General Administration of Customs and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The notice says the import suspension is meant to prevent the infection of animal epidemics as bird flu, to protect the health of the people and guarantee the safety of China's animal husbandry. The suspension will be valid until further notice. ()

Two billion Yuan earmarked for bird flu control
2005-11-03 People's Daily
China's fight against bird flu received a strong shot in the arm yesterday the government has earmarked a special fund of 2 billion yuan (US$246.6 million) for epidemic control. "(We) must realize the severe and compelling situation in bird flu control, maintain high vigilance, and never let down our guard," said a statement from a State Council (China's cabinet) meeting held yesterday in Beijing. The meeting, presided by Premier Wen Jiabao, decided to set aside the amount from this year's central budget for prevention and control of the highly pathogenic avian influenza. It also announced that it would reactivate the national command headquarters to co-ordinate efforts against bird flu. ()

Shanghai firm applies for Tamiflu licence
2005-11-02 China Daily
Swiss drug company Roche is assessing an application sent by a Shanghai pharmaceutical company for a licence to produce Tamiflu. With the spread of bird flu prompting high demand for the antiviral medication Tamiflu, Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group Co Ltd (SPG) submitted a written application for the license. If approved, SPG will be the first Chinese company to produce Tamiflu, which according to tests is effective against bird flu in humans. "We made the application in view of the growing demand for the drug and its high price," said Huang Yanzheng, vice-president of SPG. () Currently all Tamiflu in China is imported through Shanghai Roche Pharmaceutical Ltd. Priced at 298 yuan (US$37) per 10 granules, the drug is now being purchased only through the government, an indicator of stringent supply. Domestically produced Tamiflu could be as much as 30 per cent cheaper than imports, said Zhou Qianjun, a doctor with Shanghai No 1 People's Hospital. "Yet domestic consumers might not benefit from the saved cost as there is the possibility that SPG will monopolize the business," Zhou added. Roche headquarters will carry out an intensive evaluation of SGP's capabilities, including its raw materials, facilities and processes, Xu Chao, corporate communications manager of Roche's Shanghai office, said yesterday. SGP is gearing up for the coming evaluation, said Huang. Declining to reveal more details, he said: "I will be able to provide better answers in two to three weeks." The application came after a verbal exchange between the top management of the two companies when Roche's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Franz Humer paid a visit to Shanghai last week. ()

China plans 2007 space mission
2005-11-04 China Daily
China plans to put three men into space within the next two years as it looks ahead to an orbiting space station and a mission to the moon, domestic media said on Thursday. China last month successfully completed its second manned space mission aboard the Shenzhou VI, and is now developing a series of new craft up to the Shenzhou X, two Beijing newspapers said. The Shenzhou VII would carry three people and be launched within the next two years, the Beijing Morning Post said. But the Shenzhou VIII and IX would only carry equipment for the planned orbiting space station, the newspaper said, quoting chief rocket designer Liu Zhusheng. Shenzhou X would carry the people who will work in the space station, Liu told the newspaper, without giving a timeframe for its launch. But he said once the space station project got under way, Shenzhou VIII, VI and X could be launched within a month of each other. "Once one part has gone up, we need to immediately send up the next bit to connect it, so we'll carry out a series of quick launches in succession," Zhu said. ()

Gas accident kills 17 in Shanxi coal mine
2005-11-02 Xinhuanet
A coal mine gas accident that occurred in north China's Shanxi Province Monday has killed 17 people, the local coal mine safety supervision authorities confirmed on Wednesday. The accident occurred at 4:50 p.m. Monday at Fenhemao Coal Mine in Lianggou town of Yuanping in the city of Xinzhou, killing all the 13 miners who were working underground. Management of the mine immediately sent a team of six rescuers down the pit, but two of them were suffocated to death. The tragedy killed another two miners in the neighboring Xiaosangou Mine because the two mines share one lane. Fenhemao, a village-run coal mine, reports an annual output of 30,000 tons. It holds a safety credential but its business certificate and production permit have both expired, said officials with the Shanxi provincial coal mine safety supervision bureau. Yu Youjun, acting governor of the province, has urged the bureau and the Xinzhou city government to continue rescue efforts, pinpoint the cause of the accident and compensate the victims' families in time and in full.

4,500 officials report shares in coal mines
2005-11-02 China Daily
China's latest move to bring an end to collusion between government officials and colliery owners a major cause of frequent coal mine accidents has seen "initial success," it was revealed yesterday. By October 20, 4,578 officials had reported investment in coal mines totalling 653 million yuan (US$80.5 million), said Vice-Minister of Supervision Chen Changzhi at a press conference. Of the amount, 473 million yuan (US$56 million) has been withdrawn, Chen said, while summing up the two-month drive by four ministerial departments to clear collieries of officials' investment. Those who have withdrawn shares from coal mines include 3,002 civil servants and 1,576 heads of State-owned enterprises. They would be exempted from punishment, said Chen. But criminal or disciplinary penalties would be meted out to those who invested in coal mines using money generated through bribery or other illegal channels. The four departments involved are the Ministry of Supervision, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China, the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration of the State Council, and the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) Starting late August, the departments launched a joint drive to clear coal mines of shares held by officials, setting October 20 as the deadline. Lured by huge profits, some officials have abused their power to provide protection umbrellas to owners of illegally-run collieries lacking the basic guarantees for miners' safety, said Li Yizhong, head of SAWS. Collusion was particularly rampant in privately-owned mines, experts said. Statistics indicate that about 6,000 miners are killed in colliery accidents each year as a result of work safety loopholes. Government officials are forbidden by law to acquire shares of non-listed companies. But some corrupt officials ignored the restrictions and raked in huge amounts of money through direct investment or share options in some private coal mines. They have abused their power, accepted bribes and helped cover up fatal coal mine accidents, said Li. ()

Wasp attacks kill 10 farmers in Shaanxi
2005-11-01 SCMP
Wasp attacks have killed at least 10 farmers and frightened so many others that crops have not been harvested in Shaanxi province this year. A doctor at the Ankang city Central Hospital said his staff had received 41 patients suffering from wasp stings since August. "Six patients have died in our hospital, and there are still six or seven other patients still here," he said. In a situation which highlights the problem with the mainland's medical system, the doctor said the death toll could be higher because many farmers who were stung did not go to hospital because they could not afford treatment. "The medical fee for dialysis for patients who have been stung is 20,000 yuan," he said, adding that the cost was due to the complicated treatment methods and the lengthy hospital stay required. The doctor said he knew of many poor farmers who had given up trying to save the lives of relatives after learning of the high cost of the treatment. "The amount of money involved in the treatment is exorbitant for farmers," he said. "It's a pity that I can't do anything for them. You know, under such a medical system, hospitals are financially responsible for profits or losses in all their business dealings." He pointed out that a normal sting could be cured easily, using the first aid measure of washing the wound with soapy water. But the victims in the latest attacks had dozens or even hundreds of stings. One patient still in hospital had 38 stings on his shoulder. "The toxicity in blood will reach alarming levels because of the number of stings. It's impossible to cure a patient whose heart is filling up with poison," he said. Shaanxi's Huazhang Daily newspaper said the wasps had been attacking people in the Ankang region since 2002. Hundreds had been stung and at least 30 had died. () A district official confirmed yesterday that many farmers had given up their struggle against the wasps because they could not afford to be stung and had left their crops unattended. "It's not only the high cost, but also the high risk. We cannot be sure a victim would be cured even after spending 20,000 yuan," the district official said, adding that many farmers had lost most, if not all, of their crops. ()

Half of disposable utensils a health hazard
2005-11-04 SCMP
Half of all disposable fast-food containers, bowls and spoons used on the mainland are hazardous to health, the China Daily reported yesterday, quoting the results of a nationwide investigation. Too much recycled plastic and "unsafe materials" were used to produce throwaway tableware, Dong Jinshi, vice-director of the Packing Resources Utilisation Commission of the China Packing Association, was quoted as saying. Mainlanders use about 6.5 billion disposable plastic tableware items a year. Plastic food wrappers containing DEHA were banned nationwide last month. "Overuse of recycled plastic and materials such as talcum powder and calcium carbonate can generate chemicals that can cause cancer if they come in contact with hot food and oil," the newspaper said.

Priests arrested after illicit Mass
2005-11-01 SCMP
Two underground Catholic priests have been arrested after a Mass in Zhejiang province as the government continues to crack down on "underground" churches, according to a report on a religious website yesterday. Fathers Shao Zhumin and Paul Jiang Sunian were taken into custody in Wenzhou on October 27, AsiaNews reported. Police seized the two after they celebrated a Mass for 600 people that brought to a close the Year of the Eucharist, a special year for the church proclaimed by the previous pope, John Paul II. Father Shao was ordering food in a restaurant when he was arrested, according to the Milan-based website, which cited witnesses. Meanwhile, other Catholics were waiting in a room. The ones waiting in the room sneaked out of a back door to avoid arrest. Father Jiang, who was not at dinner, was taken into custody at a toll booth. Both men had been previously detained in 1999, which resulted in Father Jiang serving four years in jail for illegally publishing 120,000 hymn books. Police declined to comment and the report could not be independently confirmed. No problems occurred after a similar Mass was heard at another parish on October 22, even though it was attended by more priests and a bigger congregation, a parishioner was quoted on the website as saying. Other sources said the situation in the Wenzhou underground church community had been calm for some time, and a number of previously detained priests had been released in recent years. James Lin Xili, the bishop of Wenzhou who was arrested in 1999, remained confined in the city's government-recognised cathedral without freedom of movement, the website said.

'Mad' dissident speaks out after release
2005-11-03 SCMP
A dissident thrown in a police-run mental asylum after staging a brief pro-democracy demonstration on Tiananmen Square has been released after 13 years, a human rights group said yesterday. Wang Wanxing, 56, was freed on August 16 and immediately left for Germany, where his wife and daughter have been living as political refugees, according to Human Rights Watch. His release from the Beijing Public Security Bureau's Ankang hospital for the custody and treatment of mentally ill offenders came shortly before a visit to China by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour. Of the 3,000 or more political detainees believed held in police-run psychiatric custody since the early 1980s, Mr Wang is the first-known inmate of the notorious Ankang system to have left the country and spoken out. In an interview with Human Rights Watch, he said he had been warned when he left: "If you ever speak out about your experiences at our hospital, we'll come and bring you back here again." According to Mr Wang, the extent of patient-on-patient violence in his ward was terrifying and he frequently stayed awake all night to avoid sudden and unprovoked attacks. Although he had kind words for some of the doctors and nurses, he described others as being sadistic. Staff would routinely punish patients by tying them to a bed and administering painfully high levels of electric acupuncture treatment while others were forced to watch. Mr Wang witnessed at least one death from this treatment, while on another occasion a man brought in for persistent petitioning activities was tied to a bed and force fed, which caused him to choke to death. Despite his experiences, Human Rights Watch said Mr Wang appeared lucid and normal. He is arranging for the Global Initiative on Psychiatry to give him an independent examination to evaluate the authorities' persistent assertion that he was "dangerously psychiatrically disturbed".



Dalai Lama will make autonomy appeal to Bush
2005-11-04 SCMP
The Dalai Lama will appeal to US President George W. Bush in talks next week to prod Chinese leaders to give genuine autonomy for the Himalayan territory, said Lodi Gyaltsen Gyari, the special envoy of the Tibetan leader. The meeting with Mr Bush would take place during the Dalai Lama's 10-day visit to Washington starting on Tuesday, he said. "His holiness will ask the president to take the opportunity to once again convey to the Chinese leadership his holiness' sincerity and commitment to finding a solution."

Panchen Lama starts first-ever closed-door religious retreat
2005-11-02 People's Daily
The 11th Panchen Lama, Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu, started Tuesday evening his first-ever closed-door religious retreat in the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery in the Tibetan city of Xigaze, the traditional seat for successive Panchen Lamas. The retreat began at about 7 p.m. when the sun was about to set and will last for 18 days. The 11th Panchen Lama, accompanied by five other monk dignitaries, will spend the period on prayer, thought and study of Buddhist scriptures, consuming only a little food and water each day. Bainqen Erdini Qoigyijabu was confirmed and approved by the State Council, China's cabinet, as the reincarnation of the 10th Panchen Lama on Nov. 29, 1995 after a ceremony of drawing lots from a sacred gold urn, which was conducted in strict compliance with religious rituals and historical conventions. He ascended the holy throne as the 11th Panchen Lama at a formal solemn ceremony held at the Zhaxi Lhunbo Lamasery on Dec. 8, 1995.



Commerce minister to meet EU trade chief
2005-11-04 SCMP
U Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will meet Commerce Minister Bo Xilai in Brussels today amid accelerating moves to rescue a pact to free up world trade. A European Commission spokesman confirmed the meeting, but gave no details of what the two would discuss. Ministers from the world's key trading regions will meet in London and Geneva next week to seek to overcome differences on issues such as the row between Brussels and the US over tariffs on farm goods. US Trade Representative Rob Portman said on Wednesday a new global pact to lower trade barriers and lift millions out of poverty was in jeopardy unless the outlines of an accord on farm subsidies and tariffs were reached next week. All 148 World Trade Organisation member countries are scheduled to meet in Hong Kong next month to prepare such a pact.

US, China make progress in textile talks
2005-11-03 China Daily
The Bush administration on Wednesday reported progress in talks this week with China on an agreement to limit the amount of Chinese clothing and textile products coming into the US. The negotiations in Washington from Sunday through Tuesday produced "substantial progress on a large number of issues," David Spooner, the administration's special textile negotiator said in a statement. "We look forward to meeting again soon." In contrast, after the previous negotiating session in Beijing, the US side expressed disappointment at a failure to narrow differences. The latest round, the fifth since August, was held without any advance public notice. US textile industry officials said Wednesday they had not received any briefings on this week's talks; some viewed the secrecy as a hopeful sign the two sides might be nearing a deal. "From my experience in Washington, the quieter things are, that means progress is being made or they are close to a resolution," said Lloyd Wood, a spokesman for the American Manufacturing Trade Action Coalition. ()

Foreign trade growth to lose momentum
2005-11-01 China Daily
China's foreign trade growth will suffer a slowdown next year after a possible record surplus this year, the Ministry of Commerce said yesterday. Foreign-trade volume is tipped to increase by about 15 per cent to US$1.6 trillion from an expected US$1.4 trillion in 2005. Growth was 35.7 per cent in 2004, and is forecast at 21 per cent for this year. The slowdown in foreign trade will help ease the government's concern on the impact of a high trade surplus on the currency issue and trade disputes. The easing of growth next year will be a result of the large base this year and rising trade tensions, said Li Rongcan, a ministry official, when releasing China's autumn foreign trade report, jointly drafted by the ministry and the Chinese Academy of International Trade & Economic Co-operation. Foreign trade volume this year is expected to reach US$1.4 trillion, up 21 per cent year-on-year. The trade surplus is forecast at a record high of US$90 billion, the report said. Total exports this year are estimated at US$746 billion, a rise of 26 per cent year-on-year, while imports are expected to surge 18 per cent to reach US$655 billion. Dramatic falls in imports of raw materials and machinery equipment were the result of effective measures to rein in runaway growth in some sectors. Imports of steel products dropped by 3.93 million tons in the first three quarters, while whole-set equipment decreased by more than 4 per cent. "Though domestic demand waned and imports slackened in the first half, due largely to macro-economic controls, it is totally wrong to consider the Chinese Government influenced foreign trade with administrative instruments," said Li Yushi, vice-president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Co-operation. "China is not in pursuit of a trade surplus. On the contrary, the continuous growth in trade surpluses has become one of the major concerns of the government, as it helped increase China's foreign exchange reserves to US$760 billion, which has begun to affect the national economy," Li Yushi said. The State Administration of Foreign Exchange also said yesterday that China's first-half current-account surplus widened almost eightfold to US$67.3 billion from a year earlier as exports surged. ()

Beijing invites Taiwan to talk about non-stop flights
2005-11-03 Xinhuanet
The Cross-Straits Aviation Transport Exchange Council of the Chinese mainland Thursday invited the Taipei Airlines Association (TAA) in Taiwan to discuss opening non-stop charter flights, especially during the Spring Festival period. In a message to TAA Chairman Tony Fan, vice-president of the council Pu Zhaozhou invited Fan and members of the TAA to hold direct talks with the the council as early as possible on the technical and business issues of opening passenger and cargo charter flights after the fashion of the previous Spring Festival, namely non-stop charter flights via Hong Kong. "Realizing direct air links across the Taiwan Strait is the common aspiration of compatriots on both sides of the Strait. It is also a necessity of fast growing travels and and economic relations across the Strait," says the message. It calls for adopting "flexible, practical and effective" measures to facilitate the early opening of direct air links across the Strait, with the emphasis on promoting non-stop passenger and cargo flights at present. "In this field, the mainland side has made a lot of positive effort," says the message. It mentions that the council has sent messages twice to the TAA on holding direct talks as early as possible about opening passenger and cargo flights across the Strait after the fashion of the 2005 Spring Festival. The proposed talks aim to promote the launching of passenger charter flights on holidays, weekends and regularize such flights and the launching of cargo charter flights with equal participation by air carriers on both sides. "The mainland side has made ample preparations. We are ready to talk about this anytime," says the message.


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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