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
  28.11-2.12.2005, No. 91  
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Foreign Policy

Chinese President to meet Kofi Annan in Beijing, FM spokesman
2005-12-02/ 11-30 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao will meet with United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan during his imminent visit to China, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Thursday. At the invitation of the Chinese government, Annan will pay an official visit to China from Dec. 4 to 7. When asked about the detailed schedule of his China trip, Qin told a regular press conference that President Hu Jintao, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with Annan, and Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will confer with him during his stay in Beijing. "The two sides will have an exchange of ideas on international and regional issues of mutual concern and the cooperation between China and the U.N.," said Qin Gang. U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan will discuss a plan to reform the United Nations Security Council during a visit to China from Dec 4 to 7, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said. () Annan and Chinese leaders would also discuss proposals to reform the Security Council to make it more representative, Liu said, sidestepping a question on whether China and Japan would hold talks on the issue next month. "China supports reform of the U.N. Security Council ... but priority should be given to increasing the representation of developing countries, especially African countries," he said. ()

Chinese senior diplomats say Wen's visit to 5 European, Asian contries "of great importance"
2005-11-01/02 People's Daily
Senior Chinese diplomats said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's impending visit to five countries in Europe and Asia will further improve the mutual understanding and trust between China and the five countries, highlighting the visit as "of great significance". According to Chinese Foreign Ministry's announcement, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to France, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Malaysia from Dec. 4 to 15, and he will also attend the ninth Summit between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ninth ASEAN plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea Summit and the First East Asian Summit in Kuala Lumpur. Zhao Jun, director of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's European Department at a briefing on Wen's visit here Wednesday called the visit to the four European countries "another big event" after Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Europe in November. () Wen's visit to Slovakia will be the first by a Chinese leader since Slovakia gained independence in 1993. "Premier Wen will exchange views with Slovak leaders on furthering China-Slovakia friendly and cooperative ties and issues of common concern, and the two sides will also sign some bilateral documents", Zhao said. () Portugal will become the fifth European country to be given the status of "strategic partner" to China during next week's official visit to Lisbon by Premier Wen Jiabao, a senior official in Beijing said. ()

Talks in US
2005-11-30 SCMP
Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will visit the United States for the second round of high-level strategic dialogue on December 7 and 8, the Foreign Ministry said on its website yesterday. Mr Dai would hold talks with US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick in an effort to deepen an exchange of views on international and bilateral issues of common concern. The first round of talks was held in August when energy, security, terrorism, economic development.

China to further improve Sino-German ties with Germany's new cabinet
2005-12-02 Xinhuanet
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday via a phone conversation with Germany's new Chancellor Angela Merkel that China will make joint efforts with Germany to further boost relations between the two countries. Wen spoke highly of the remarkable achievement made by the two sides in bilateral relations and their good coordination and cooperation in international affairs. Wen pointed out that Chinese President Hu Jintao's recent state visit to Germany has made substantial results and further promoted bilateral relations. He congratulated Merkel on her appointment as German chancellor and exchanged views with the new German Chancellor on issues concerning China-Germany friendly and cooperative relationship. Wen reiterated that China will continue to value the Sino-German ties as it did in the past, expressing the hope that the two sides will maintain high-level official exchanges, strengthen political dialogue and consultation, and push forward bilateral cooperation in the fields of economic and trade, science and technology, education,culture and environmental protection. ()

Agreements strengthen Sino-Mongolian ties
2005-11-29 China Daily
China marked the importance of relations with Mongolia yesterday as the two nations signed 10 agreements to reaffirm their friendship and pledged to increase ties. The check of the Sino-Mongolian border and co-operation in the fields of mining and transportation are the major contents of the protocols. Visiting Mongolian President President Nambar Enkhbayar and his Chinese host President Hu Jintao witnessed the signing ceremony after an hour's closed-door meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Hu said China respected Mongolia's independence and territorial integrity, proposing for closer economic ties, which are expected to result in larger Chinese investment in Mongolian mining and infrastructure. He also called for more co-operation in the fields of education, tourism, environment and the fight against epidemic. Hu said China supported the active role played by Mongolia as an observer in the Shanghai Co-operation Organization, and supports the country's active participation in the northeast Asian and Asian regional co-operation. Enkhbayar said China's rapid economic development has offered great opportunities for the bilateral co-operations, saying Mongolia is hoping to further use North China's Tianjin Port as its main route to the Asia Pacific to develop trade relations with the rest of the region. The newly inaugurated Mongolian president illustrated the importance of stable Sino-Mongolian relations by choosing to visit China as his first trip abroad. Enkhbayar also held talks yesterday with Premier Wen Jiabao and former Vice-Premier Qian Qichen.

China adopts open attitude toward proposals on six-party talks
2005-12-02 People's Daily
China adopts an open attitude toward any proposals conducive to promoting the six-party talks process and to finding a peaceful solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Thursday. Qin told a regular press conference here that the Republic of Korea (ROK) has offered some suggestions concerning the form and site of the six-party talks. It is in the interest of all concerned parties to achieve the goal of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to safeguard the peninsula's peace and stability through dialogue and peaceful negotiations, Qin said, adding that China wants to keep in close touch with other parties concerned and hear their opinions, so as to push forward the six-party talks process.

China rules out meeting with Koizumi
2005-11-30 Xinhuanet
An official from China's Foreign Ministry said in Beijing Wednesday that it is "impossible" for Chinese and Japanese leaders to hold bilateral meeting in the December summits in Kuala Lumpur due to current chilled relations between the two Asian neighbors. Cui Tiankai, director of the ministry's Asian Department, said the relations between China and Japan are in difficulties because the Japanese leader stubbornly persists in paying pilgrimage to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors the convicted class-A World War II criminals along with others died in war. Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi visited the shrine in October, the fifth since he took office in April 2001, which angers China and the Republic of Korea (ROK). The shrine visit "has severely damaged the feelings of the Chinese and other Asian peoples," said Cui at a news briefing on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's upcoming visit to Malaysia to attend the ninth Summit between China and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ninth ASEAN plus China, Japan and the ROK Summit and the First East Asian Summit. "Under such circumstances, the Japanese side wishes everything proceeds normally as if nothing has happened. That is impossible," said Cui. Cui said the trilateral meeting among China, Japan and ROK could be decided through consultations of the three parties, but the bilateral meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders is "impossible." "The Japanese side should bear full responsibility for the difficulties China and Japan are facing in their relations," he added. ()

China, Russia calmly deal with cross-border river pollution
2005-12-02 Xinhuanet
Maintaining frequent contact and information reporting, China and Russia, the neighbors along the Heilongjiang River, have kept calm in dealing with the recent water pollution. China declared Thursday it would provide tools testing the water quality and activated carbon for the Russian border city of Khabarovsk and the Jewish autonomous province, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a regular press conference. Before this, China had already offered the Russian Embassy to China with a list of pollutants in the Songhua River and equipment to monitor benzene concentration. Working groups including Chinese and Russian experts got down to work on the pollution as early as on Nov. 22. A blast at a northeast China's chemical plant on Nov. 13 caused an 80-kilometer-long slick of benzene in the Songhua River, which flows through China's Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces and then into Russia's far east region. The Chinese government has taken measures to control the spread of the pollution soon after the accident happened. Premier Wen Jiabao went to Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang Province, to inspect the pollution of the Songhua River and local public water supply system. A working team and experts sent by the State Council also arrived in the city to guide the anti-pollution efforts. Although the pollution would affect Russia 14 days after the occurrence of the accident, according to the calculation of water-flow speed, China has been trying its best as early as possible to minimize the impact the contamination might have on Russia's far east region. China began to provide Russia with relevant information on November 22. Since last Thursday, China has begun to inform Russia daily of its monitoring results. A hotline was set up between the environmental departments of the two countries. ()

China calls on Iran to continue cooperation with IAEA on nuclear issue
2005-11-28 People's Daily
China hopes that Iran would continue to cooperate with the UN nuclear watchdog in efforts to resolve its nuclear issue, a Chinese official said in Vienna Thursday. At a meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) 35-nation board of governors, Wu Hailong, China's delegate to the agency said that while Iran has already taken cooperation measures since September, there were sill remaining problems that should be clarified. Wu said Iran's nuclear issue, if handled inappropriately, could get out of the framework of the IAEA and worse still, the situation could also get out of control. That would not be in the interest of any country, nor of maintaining the efficiency of the international non-proliferation system and the authority of the agency, Wu said. That would also do no good for regional peace and stability, he added. The Chinese official urged the international community to adopt constructive approaches and actions to help resolve the issue peacefully. On the resumption of the nuclear talks between Iran and the European Union (EU), Wu said China always maintains that Iran' nuclear issue should be resolved properly within the framework of the IAEA and supports the two sides in their efforts to seek a long-term solution through dialogue and negotiations. China welcomes all positive proposals, suggestions and efforts that are conducive to the resumption of the EU-Iran talks and find a long-term solution to the issue, he said. ()

China values cooperation with UN human rights mechanism, says FM spokesman
2005-12-02 People's Daily
China values the exchanges and cooperation with the relevant UN human rights mechanism, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a press conference in Beijing Thursday. Special rapporteur on torture of the UN Human Rights Commission Manfred Novak's current China visit indicates China's sincerity to make exchanges and cooperation with the relevant UN human rights mechanism in a spirit of mutual respect and equality, said Qin. At the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Novak paid the visit to China from Nov. 21 to Dec. 2. Besides Beijing, he has visited Lhasa, capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region and Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. During his stay in China, Novak has met and held talks with officials of China's ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice and Public Security, the Supreme People's Procuratorate, and local officials of Lhasa and Urumqi, acquainting himself with China's practice to reduce and eliminate torture. Novak also visited some houses of detention in the three cities and talked with some personnel, lawyers and scholars from universities, academic institutions and other non-governmental organizations, Qin said. The rapporteur on torture is a special procedure under the UN Commission on Human Rights, and China believes that Novak's visit to China will be conducive to further increasing mutual understanding, Qin noted.

China opposes any foreign intervention in HK affairs: FM spokesman
2005-12-02 People's Daily
China opposes any foreign intervention in Hong Kong affairs, which are China's internal affairs, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Thursday. "The Hong Kong affairs are China's domestic affairs, and the Chinese side opposes any foreign intervention," spokesman Qin Gang said when asked to comment on the meeting between US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Martin Lee, a lawmaker from Hong Kong's Legislative Council. Rice and Lee met on Tuesday in Washington. A US State Department spokesman said after the meeting that the United States supports Hong Kong's democracy and universal suffrage. Qin said China has always attached great importance to and actively supported the progressive development of Hong Kong's political system based on the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Basic Law and the real situation in Hong Kong. The spokesman expressed the belief that as long as all Hong Kong people can take Hong Kong's long-term stability and prosperity into consideration and adopt a rational attitude to seek consensus, Hong Kong's political system would develop in a steady, sound and orderly way, and favorable conditions would be created for finally achieving the goal outlined in the HKSAR Basic Law -- the general election of the HKSAR Chief Executive and all members of the HKSAR Legislative Council.

Beijing urged by WHO to share its virus samples
2005-12-01 SCMP
Beijing has yet to share virus and clinical samples from bird flu patients with the UN health agency, WHO officials said yesterday. Hitoshi Oshitani, World Health Organisation official leading the fight against bird flu in Asia, said: "The [mainland] minister of health has committed to sharing the virus and we are discussing the details." Mainland health authorities have confirmed three human cases of H5N1 flu, two of whom died. The first human case on the mainland was confirmed on November 16, but virus samples had yet to be submitted to the WHO, Dr Oshitani said. "This is the first case in China and we need to see what kind of virus it is," he said. A global meeting in Geneva last month called for "open sharing of virus samples as essential" to early detection and response to bird flu and prevention of a possible human pandemic. Dr Oshitani said Beijing's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention was isolating the H5N1 virus from the three victims and others. The mainland was obliged to share virus and clinical samples with the WHO "as soon as possible so that we can analyse the viruses". "This is important because the WHO can keep track of the evolution of H5N1 flu," he said. The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed 68 people in Asia since late 2003, and several countries in the region are regularly reporting more suspected cases in people and outbreaks in poultry. Last month, China asked the WHO for help in investigating the death of a 12-year-old girl from Hunan . It earlier insisted that her death was not due to bird flu. However, that investigation was made difficult because the girl had been cremated. The girl's nine-year-old brother later tested positive for H5N1, but it took two weeks to confirm the results because experts had to wait for antibodies to develop, Dr Oshitani said. The Hunan investigation also reviewed China's laboratory work and processes. Dr Oshitani said virus samples needed to be analysed by the WHO and its reference laboratories so that seed vaccines could be developed in response to changes in the H5N1 strain. "That is our main concern, the possible implications for the vaccine development [for use in case of a flu pandemic]. That is why we need samples," Dr Oshitani said. ()


Domestic Policy

China reports two new bird flu outbreaks
2005-11-30 China Daily
China has confirmed two new outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain of bird flu in poultry as the virus continues to take its toll on Asia, heightening concern among health experts searching for ways to contain it. China has culled more than 20 million birds this year and has reported 24 outbreaks of avian influenza since mid-October in nine regions and provinces from the far southwest to the frigid northeast. The latest cases were diagnosed in the northwestern region of Xinjiang and in central Hunan province. The Ministry of Agriculture said 288 poultry died on November 22 in Shanshan County in Xinjiang. By Monday night, veterinary authorities in Xinjiang had culled 52,162 poultry within 3 kilometres from the affected areas. The lab also confirmed another bird flu outbreak on November 18 that killed 390 chickens and 12 ducks in Laobutou Village of Yongzhou, Hunan. The Ministry of Agriculture has sent experts to the affected areas to oversee their quarantine work and disease control efforts. In Shanghai, apart from the live chicken, which is available in some 464 designated markets, the city is halting the sales of all other birds starting today. ()

Shanghai to screen international passengers for bird flu prevention
2005-11-27 Xinhuanet
Shanghai will begin on Monday screening international passengers for bird flu prevention. All passengers leaving or entering China will be asked to fill in a health declaration form, specifying whether they have had "close contact with poultry, birds, bird flu patient or suspect over the past week" and whether they have "such symptoms as fever, coughing and being short of breath." A passenger who has a temperature of over 38 Celsius degrees will be further examined; in case the person has been to a bird flu-hit area or had contact with birds or poultry, treatment at a designated hospital is required. The health declaration and temperature monitoring measures were initiated in 2003 when the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic hit China. ()

Negotiation underway for Tamiflu production in China
2005-11-30 Xinhuanet
The Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group is negotiating with Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche Holding AG on the production of Tamiflu in China through technology transfer, Chinese Minister of Health Gao Qiang said here Wednesday. An antiviral drug, Tamiflu does not cure human bird flu but can reduce its severity and might slow the spread of a human pandemic. Gao said at a press conference that the government was improving its emergency plan for a possible bird flu pandemic, which included the research and development of bird flu vaccine for humans and related drugs. China's home-made human bird flu vaccine is now undergoing clinical tests.

Coal mine death toll rises to 164
2005-12-02 China Daily
The death toll in the coal mine blast in Qitaihe, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, rose to 164 yesterday, while seven were still missing, sources said. Meanwhile, the number of miners working underground when the blast occurred was put at 242, one more than the figure released on Wednesday. This was because one more person was counted as rescued, making the total number of survivors 73. The blast occurred last Sunday at Dongfeng Coal Mine under the Qitaihe branch of the Longmei Mining (Group) Co Ltd. It was the second time the number of miners working underground was changed. The number released by the local authority on Wednesday was 241, after a "thorough check" involving the police. An investigation team, approved by the State Council and headed by Li Yizhong, minister of the State Administration of Work Safety, was formed yesterday. Li said that dense coal dust caused the explosion. The investigation team will search for more proof before a final conclusion is made. Li said that the blast was an "extremely serious accident" involving the dereliction of duty by officials. The contradicting figures for workers working underground show a "huge lapse" in the management of the coal mine, he said. Two major officials of Dongfeng coal mine, Ma Jinguang and Cheng Zhiqiang, head and Party secretary, respectively, were detained by police on Wednesday. Qu Jixian, chairman of Qitaihe branch of the Longmei Mining Group, was also suspended from his position yesterday. The investigation team ordered the Dongfeng mine to close for a thorough safety check. If it fails to reach the required standard, it will be closed permanently, said Zhao Tiechui, director of the State Administration of Coal Mine Safety.

15 killed in quake, scared residents camp out
2005-11-28 People's Daily
Hundreds of people were being treated in makeshift hospitals and thousands were sleeping in tents yesterday in East China's Jiangxi Province after Saturday's earthquake which killed at least 15. The Ministry of Civil Affairs said yesterday that seven teams have been dispatched to the worst-hit areas with food, water and tents for the thousands of the affected while supplies were also being rushed from neighbouring Anhui and Hubei provinces which also felt tremors. The epicentre of the earthquake was in the region between Jiujiang, a well-known summer resort on the middle reaches of the Yangtze River, and Ruichang, both in Jiangxi Province, at 8:49 am on Saturday, the China National Seismic Observation Network said. The ministry said as of 2 pm yesterday, the quake had left at least 16 people dead and more than 8,000 injured, 20 of them in critical condition, in Jiangxi and neighbouring provinces. Several aftershocks were reported. In Jiangxi and over 600,000 residents have been moved to safety. About 150,000 houses were destroyed. In neighbouring Hubei Province, one was killed; and of the 87 injured, 78 were students. More than 7,500 were evacuated to safety. In Anhui Province, 32 houses were destroyed and there was no report of casualties. In Jiujiang, thousands of people were seen crowding city streets, rattled by a series of aftershocks and fearing another strong quake. Some wrapped themselves in blankets temperatures range between 10 C and 20 C. The city authorities sent inspection teams to mark out unsafe homes. The famous Lushan Mountain resort, which was about 30 kilometres away from the epicentre, was unscathed, according to a Xinhua report. In and around Ruichang, a total of 420,000 people had left their homes, according to Xinhua. ()

China cuts off water along poisoned river
2005-11-29 China Daily
China cut off water supplies to more communities along a poisoned river in its northeast Monday as it celebrated the return of running water to the city of Harbin. The Songhua River was contaminated by benzene after a factory explosion in the city of Jilin. Beijing has offered no estimates on how many people rely on the river for drinking water. The Chinese government was forced to shut off running water to 3.8 million residents of Harbin for five days. It restored service Sunday but warned that the water was not safe to drink. On Monday, 10,000 people downstream in Yilan County were without water service, China Central Television reported. The Nov. 13 explosion killed five people, forced 10,000 to flee their homes and spewed about 100 tons of benzene into the river. Benzene is an industrial chemical known to pose a leukemia risk at high concentrations. In Harbin, the taps were on again but officials warned that the water wasn't safe to drink after lying in underground pipes for five days. They said radio and television bulletins would announce when the supply was clean enough first to bathe in and later to drink. The government did not say when that was expected to happen. "It's back, but I don't know what I can use it for yet," said Guan Hongya, a manager for a textile company in Harbin. "We can use it to flush the toilet, but otherwise it might be no good." ()

Study links Pearl River pollution to cancer
2005-12-01 People's Daily
Marine life in the Pearl River contain excessive trace metals that may cause cancer, Ta Kung Pao newspaper reported yesterday. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry under the Chinese Academy of Sciences started the research in 2003, which analyzed 58 samples collected in the Pearl River estuary, including fish, shrimp, crab and conches. The research shows a kilogram of shrimp contained 0.835 milligram cadmium, more than 16 times of the national standard (0.05 milligram). The content of lead in fish was 2.2 mg per kilo, also exceeds the national standard, 1 mg per kilo. "Cadmium and lead may cause cancer and damage the haemopoietic system and the central nervous system," Zhang Gan, a professor who headed the research team in the institute, told China Daily yesterday. "The concentrations of various toxic trace metals are moving up." Zhang said the growth of trace metals was mainly derived from pollution, particularly electronic trash. Electronics boosted the Pearl River Delta's economic development but heavily polluted the river, which the local people rely on for their existence, Zhang said. But Zhang noted that a part of the trace metals are produced by nature. The main geological structure of the region is granite, which heavily contains lead and zinc. Moreover, the exploitation of mineral resources in the upper reaches of the Pearl River also helped pollute the lower reaches and the estuary. Because the upper reaches of the Pearl River stretch to the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and provinces of Jiangxi and Yunnan, Guangdong Province alone cannot control the exploitation and clean up the river, he said. ()

China has 130, 000 HIV/AIDS patients
2005-11-29 People's Daily
More than 130,000 confirmed HIV/AIDS carriers and patients have been reported nationwide by the end of September about 50,000 higher than the figure in the end of June last year. "The HIV/AIDS situation in our country remains grave and the task for prevention and cure remains tough," said Vice-Premier Wu Yi yesterday, at a national audio-video conference on HIV/AIDS prevention. But the number is only about 16.1 per cent of the estimated HIV/AIDS cases in the country due to insufficient testing and monitoring measures, Wu said. While taking drugs through injections, which accounts for 40.8 per cent of HIV/AIDS infection cases, remains the main channel for spreading the virus, the ratio of infection from sexual transmission is also rising, according to Wu. The central government will soon unveil the China HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project (2006-10) and HIV/AIDS prevention and care regulation, serving as guidelines as the country faces a host of challenges in the fight against the deadly virus. However, implementation of the guidelines would be the biggest challenge. Some local governments are still sluggish in the HIV/AIDS prevention work because of concerns of their "image," or a blind confidence that the virus would simply not hit their jurisdiction. Some places are even stuck on the debate of whether they should promote the use of condoms. "It is my opinion that awareness is the biggest problem in our work on HIV/AIDS, and it has to be addressed," Wu said. Strengthening publicity, monitoring efforts and intervention measures will be the government's focus in fighting the deadly virus, according to Wu. The government will also mobilize non-governmental organizations and resources in HIV/AIDS prevention tasks, she added. The government allocated 830 million yuan (US$10.2 million) in the fight on HIV/AIDS last year.

Ex-minister to stand trial on graft charges
2005-11-29 China Daily
The trial of former Land and Resources Minister Tian Fengshan, who is charged with receiving bribes amounting to 4.98 million yuan (US$614,000), will possibly begin in the first half of next year. The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People's Court has placed the case on file, the Beijing News reported. Tian was arrested in September last year. He was discharged from his position in 2003 and expelled from the Communist Party of China last year. Born in 1940 in Zhaoyuan County of Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, Tian served as governor of Heilongjiang since 1995. In 2003, he was appointed minister of the Ministry of Land and Resources. Tian allegedly received bribes during 1996-2003 when he was governor of Heilongjiang Province and Land and Resources minister, according to an announcement by the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in November last year. ()

Housing activists held over gripe letter to UN
2005-12-02 SCMP
About 60 housing activists were briefly detained by Shanghai police yesterday for trying to deliver two letters - one to the UN, the other to the Shanghai government - at a corporate responsibility summit. The activists were taken away at 10am from the Oriental Pearl Building, where the UN Global Compact Summit was being held, and were released by 6.30pm, Amnesty International East Asian campaigner Chine Chan said. The activists came from various residential communities involved in land disputes in Shanghai. In one letter, addressed to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, their grievances included ill-treatment, arbitrary detention and imprisonment of fellow housing activists. The letter asked Mr Annan to raise their concerns with President Hu Jintao during his mainland visit, which starts on Sunday. Another letter was addressed to the Shanghai government. "They just want to let more people know about what happened to them ... But they doubt if it would be of any use as the officials might just have thrown their letter away," Ms Chan said. She said more than 1,000 petitioners in Beijing had been carried away during a visit by UN special rapporteur on torture Manfred Nowak. "They were shipped by caged cars to somewhere outside Beijing and dropped off on the road," she said. Mr Nowak's trip, which ends today, follows a decade-long UN effort to send an investigator to look into torture claims.



Monks held and temple sealed in Tibet crackdown
2005-12-01 SCMP
Authorities have arrested five Tibetan monks in a widening crackdown on followers of the exiled Dalai Lama, the US government-funded Radio Free Asia said. Security officers also sealed off the Drepung Monastery - Tibet's largest - for two days when monks staged a silent protest, the station said, citing unnamed sources. The monastery, home to 300 monks, has since reopened to the public. The five monks, all from Drepung, were arrested on November 23 as authorities were leading a patriotic education campaign, the station said.



China to attend London G7 meeting
2005-11-28 China Daily
China, India, Brazil and South Africa will attend part of the G7 finance ministers meeting this week, British finance minister Gordon Brown said on Monday. Finance ministers and central bankers from the Group of Seven industrialised nations will gather in London on Friday and Saturday to discuss the world economy, exchange rates and trade. The extra meeting under the British presidency will pay tribute to Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan who steps down in January after 18-years of running the U.S. central bank. Greenspan will make a major speech on Friday.

Sino-US textile agreement reconciles concerns of both sides
2005-12-02 China Daily
The textile agreement recently signed by the US and China has settled concerns of both sides, which has created a stable and predictable trade environment for businesses of both countries, said an official with China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) Thursday. He said the agreement has provided some space for the US and other developing countries to adjust their textile trade structures, and gave Chinese textile enterprises bigger chances to explore markets.The MOC official said the agreement covered altogether 21 products, involving 3.5 billion US dollars worth of textile products, or 20 percent of the US import of the China-made textile products in 2004. The official said the agreement has greatly reduced the number of the export textile products, and will in turn benefit most Chinese export textile products with free trade treatment. Under the agreement, the growth rates of imports from China in the coming three years will be 10-15 percent for 2006, 12.5-16 percent for 2007, and 15-17 percent for 2008, respectively, far exceeding the 7.5 percent stated in article 242, he added. The MOC official estimated that China's market share of textile exports in the US will increase from 6.7 percent in 2004 to 19.8 percent in 2008.

Airbus signs deal with East Star
2005-11-28 China Daily
East Star Airlines, China's fourth registered private airline, yesterday signed a letter of intent with Airbus to buy 10 A320s and a lease deal with GE Commercial Aviation Service (GECAS) for another 10 A320s. The deals are the largest single orders Airbus and GECAS have signed with a Chinese private airline. The new airline company is owned by China East Star Group, one of the largest private enterprises in Hubei Province. East Star Airlines, based in Wuhan, Hubei Province, received approval for the operation of its service from the General Administration of Civil Aviation in June this year and plans to start its flight service in May next year. The leased A320s will be delivered from the second quarter of next year. "The A320 family aircraft is undoubtedly the best choice for our new airline company. Its unmatched low operating costs combined with the high level of passenger comfort will help the company take off smoothly and successfully," said Lan Shili, president of China East Star Group, which is parent of the airline. Lan declined to comment on the value of the deals. A320s are priced at 60 million yuan (US$7.4 million) each in the catalogue. He said that the 20 A320s will be delivered over the next five years. ()



President visits China
2005-12-01 Mongol Messenger
President N. Enkhbayar won a pledge from China to invest more in Mongolia's mining and infrastructure sectors, Chinese state media reported on Tuesday. The agreement was among a string of Sino- Mongolian cooperation commitments signed between Enkhbayar and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao after an hourlong meeting in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. The Xinhua news agency reported that the 10 cooperation agreements signed by delegates from the two sides included work in resource exploration, infrastructure construction, education, tourism, environmental issues, strengthening ties between the parliaments of both countries, and expanding education and cultural links. However, the primary agreements focused on border patrols and cooperation in the mining and transportation sectors. Enkhbayar arrived in Beijing on Sunday for the week-long China trip, his first state visit since being elected in May. Enkhbayar said China's rapid economic development has offered great opportunities for bilateral cooperation, noting that Mongolia is hoping to expand usage of North China's Tianjin Port as its main route to develop trade relations throughout the Asia Pacific region. He also said that Mongolia welcomes Chinese investment in the development of infrastructure for mining and transportation and reiterated that Mongolia will adhere to the one- China policy supporting China's peaceful reunification. The leaders also talked about conducting a joint survey of their 4,677 kilometerlong border and working together to fight against disease outbreaks. Hu said that China respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Mongolia, proposing closer economic ties that are expected to increase Chinese investment in Mongolia. Hu also pledged support for Mongolia's role as an observer in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and in future northeast Asian and Asian regional cooperation. Another issue facing both Mongolia and China is the expanding threat of bird flu. China and Mongolia have both suffered outbreaks of bird flu this year and experts fear it could mutate into a virus that could spread from person to person, sparking a pandemic. Enkhbayar also held talks on Monday with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and former Vice Premier Qian Qichen. "China is ready to work with Mongolia to push forward their good neighborly relations and the principle of treating neighbors as friends and partners," said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. "The two countries should improve their capability for sustainable development as the way to common prosperity," said Wen, who hoped that the two countries would focus on cooperation in resource exploration and infrastructure construction with a long-term perspective. ()

Defense Minister Ts. Sharavdorj returns from Iraq
2005-12-01 Mongol Messenger
Minister, Ts.Sharavdorj, returned to Mongolia from Iraq on November 28. As we've previously reported, he went to Iraq with some officials from the Ministry of Defense on November 23 to check the current conditions of the Mongolian military troops participating in international peacekeeping activities. During his visit, Ts.Sharavdorj celebrated Mongolian Independence Day with the military troops. At a press conference on Tuesday, Sharavdorj talked about his trip. "We left for Iraq with three goals. First of all, we expected to check the current conditions of the Mongolian military troops fighting for the freedom of Iraq. We met the troops and their conditions were acceptable. As we visited foreign military soldiers, we routinely heard about the heroic actions of Mongolian soldiers and found that they enjoy a good reputation within the international coalition. Our troops serve in a division with soldiers from 14 different countries under the command of P.Chervinskii, major general of Poland's military contingent. Each of these other country's defense ministers was in Iraq and I had an opportunity to compliment them on the distinction of their forces. Major General Chervinskii honored our troops saying they had prevented over 500 casualties in their division. Our soldiers are distinguished, heroic troops and I am proud of them. The reputation of Mongolian soldiers is rising in international peacekeeping activities and becoming one of Mongolia's most important international contributions. ()


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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