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
  23.1-27.1.2006, No. 99  
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Foreign Policy

China, US preparing Hu's visit to US
2006-01-25 Xinhuanet
China and the United States kicked off a new year brimming with major events in bilateral relations, as senior officials announced here Tuesday a planned visit to America by Chinese President Hu Jintao later this year. During talks between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and visiting U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, both sides pledged to carefully prepare Hu's visit to the United States, the second trip he will make to America in less than 12 months. Both parties said that the upcoming visit of Hu Jintao to the United States is a "big event" in bilateral relations and is of great significance in promoting the constructive and cooperative partnership between the two countries in the new century. Zoellick, Washington's number two foreign policy official, said the series of meetings he had with Chinese officials Tuesday were "good and full discussions." Zoellick arrived in Beijing Monday evening after concluding a visit to Japan, the first leg of his two-nation Asian trip. Starting early in the morning on Tuesday, Zoellick met with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and also held talks with Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo. Both sides reaffirmed their willingness to further develop constructive, cooperative relations. They said bilateral relations developed at a "steady and positive" way over the past year. Zoellick's meeting with Wen was prolonged far beyond the scheduled time as they "exchanged views on bilateral relations and regional and international issues of common concern." During the media session, Wen said China attaches great importance to developing relations with the United States. China is ready to strengthen the bilateral strategic dialogue so as to deepen mutual understanding, enhance mutual trust and maintain the stable, healthy development of Sino-U.S. relations. () Zoellick's current visit to China is part of the system of dialogue developed since Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President George W. Bush agreed last year to develop a constructive and cooperative Sino-U.S. relationship in an all-round manner. Hu and Bush met five times on different occasions in 2005 and maintained contact over a telephone hotline during the year. ()

China, Saudi Arabia sign energy co-op deal
2006-01-23 Xinhuanet
China and Saudi Arabia signed a protocol here Monday evening on cooperation in petroleum, natural gas and minerals, in a fresh move to expand the substantial cooperation between the two countries. Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz attended the signing ceremony after their talks. The two countries also signed cooperative documents concerning economic cooperation and professional training. China and Saudi Arabia have made remarkable achievements in economic, trade and energy cooperation, Hu said during the talks, adding that Saudi Arabia has become China's biggest trade partner in west Asia and north Africa. Hu proposed that the two countries should strengthen energy cooperation for mutual benefit so as to further bilateral relations and substantial cooperation in various fields. China will make joint efforts with Saudi Arabia to conduct all-dimensional cooperation in the energy field and improve the bilateral energy dialogue mechanism and mode of cooperation, Hu said. Abdullah said Saudi Arabia will advance bilateral reciprocal cooperation in economy, energy and infrastructure, and encourage cultural exchanges with China. The Saudi king arrived here on Sunday for a three-day state visit to China as guest of President Hu. It is the first ever visit of a Saudi king to China since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990. It is also the first official visit of Abdullah to another country since he came to the throne last year. ()

China welcomes Russian nuclear proposal on Iran
2006-01-27 China Daily
China welcomed a plan to enrich Iran's uranium on Russian territory Thursday, saying the nation supports all kinds of diplomatic efforts to properly resolve the Iran nuclear issue. "We believe the proposal could be a useful attempt to break the stalemate," Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said, "We hope all parties involved will use their wisdom to provide new proposals and resume the talks." The European Union and the United States have previously given backing to the plan. Kong added that China has received no "formal invitation" from Iran to take part in the Russian's proposal. Kong reiterated China's policy of negotiations on the Iran nuclear issue, urging all the involved countries to take more practical diplomatic efforts to end the global standoff. Iran is facing a referral to the United Nations Security Council for possible sanctions against it because Western nations are worried that it may seek to build an atomic bomb. Kong told reporters at the last regular press briefing that China preferred diplomatic channels to other methods of resolving the issue. China is a key player in the international effort to address concerns over Iran's nuclear issue, as it is a permanent veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council. "All Non-Proliferation Treaty countries' rights to peacefully use nuclear power should be respected, but we must emphasize that these countries should also strictly abide by the relevant regulations," he said. China is opposed to using sanctions or threatening sanctions, which always complicate the issue, he said. According to Kong, China has kept contacts within the UN Security Council and other parties to push the process of a peaceful negotiation forward. Top Iranian nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani, who arrived in Beijing Thursday for a one-day visit, held talks with State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing. During his talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, they mainly discussed the Iran nuclear issue and other related topics concerning the growth of bilateral relations.

Chinese FM to visit six European Countries
2006-01-25 Xinhuanet
Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing is to visit Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Monaco and France, according to sources with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to his European tour, Li will attend an international conference on issues concerning Afghanistan held in London from Jan. 31 to Feb. 1 at the invitation of the British and Afghan governments. Li's official visit to the other five nations will follow the conference, starting from Feb. 2 to 9. During his tour, Li will meet in Vienna with his counterparts from the EU trio of Britain, France and Germany.

Japan, China to hold talks February 10-11
2006-01-26 China Daily
Japan and China have agreed to hold subcabinet-level talks on February 10 and 11 in Tokyo to discuss how they can resume meetings between their leaders, which have been in abeyance because of strained bilateral ties, Japanese Foreign Ministry sources said Wednesday. Japanese Vice Foreign Minister Shotaro Yachi and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will attend the talks. The last subcabinet-level talks were held in October last year in Beijing. Japan is likely to sound out China about resuming talks between Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Chinese President Hu Jintao as well as the foreign ministers of the two countries. Koizumi's latest visit to the war-linked Yasukuni Shrine in October put a stop to all contacts between the leaders of the two countries. China is among Asian countries which suffered under Japanese militarism before and during World War II and have protested against Koizumi's visits to the Tokyo shrine, which honors Japanese Class-A war criminals along with the war dead. Japan is also expected to urge China to study a Japanese proposal for joint research of bilateral history as part of efforts to help ease the current tensions, the sources said.Japan Times reported that Tokyo will propose conducting joint historical research on the bilateral relationship to ease growing tensions over past events. Differing interpretations of history, especially Japan's invasion of China in the early 20th century, have long poisoned postwar relations between the Asian giants. Japan will suggest that scholars from each country discuss historical issues spanning ancient to modern times, they said. Working-level talks have been suspended since Beijing angrily protested Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni Shrine last year. The October visit put a stop to all contacts between the leaders of the two countries. The Yachi-Dai talks are also likely to touch on the bilateral dispute over China's natural gas project in the East China Sea, as well as the suicide of a staff member of the Japanese Consulate General in Shanghai in May 2004.

China calls for early resumption of six-party talks
2006-01-25 China Daily
China on Tuesday urged participants in the six-party talks to show more goodwill so that the talks can be resumed at an early date. "All parties should be dedicated to bridging differences through dialogue and dealing properly with postponement factors so that the six-way talks can restart soon," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said at a regular press briefing. He said that, when the six parties concluded the last phase of talks, they agreed to hold the second phase of the fifth round of talks at an early date. "But it is worrying that new problems and complicated factors have emerged during the follow-up process," he said. He expressed his hope that the other five parties will be more cooperative and show more goodwill in order to create favorable conditions for the resumption of the talks. When asked to comment on the reported meeting between Japan and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in Beijing in early February, the spokesman said China supports the two countries' attempts to solve bilateral problems through one-on-one consultation. The six-party talks, which aim to find a peaceful solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, involve China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan. So far, the six countries have held five rounds of talks in Beijing.

China, Africa to step up cooperation in four areas: FM spokesman
2006-01-27 Xinhuanet
China will strengthen cooperation with African nations in politics, economy and trade, education and international affairs, Chinese Foreign Minister spokesman Kong Quan said in Beijing Thursday. In response to a question concerning China's African policy, Kong said, China and Africa enjoy a broad prospect of cooperation. In political field, Kong said, China will enhance bilateral high-level visits as well as people-to-people exchanges at all levels. As for economic and trade cooperation, Kong said, China will further diversify the forms and deepen the substance in its cooperation with African countries. "We also have a great prospect in educational cooperation as there have been many students from African countries in China," Kong noted. Kong said China and African countries share the same or similar views in major international and regional issues. "China will continue to step up coordination and cooperation in international affairs with African countries so as to safeguard the rights and interests of developing countries," the spokesman added. The third ministerial-level conference under the China-Africa Cooperation Forum is to be held in Beijing this autumn. According to Kong, the Chinese side would like to hold a summit of heads from both sides when they meet for this year's session of the Forum, and the preparation of the summit is going on.

China willing to enhance cooperation with Switzerland: official
2006-01-27 People's Daily
Switzerland can play a special role in international affairs, and China is willing to enhance cooperation with the Alpine country in bilateral and multilateral fields, Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said on Thursday. Zeng, who is in Davos to attend the 2006 World Economic Forum, made the remarks in a meeting with Swiss President Moritz Leuenberger. He briefed Leuenberger on China's future development strategies and its reform and opening policy. "China has great market potential, while Switzerland has advanced technology in finance, medicine, machinery and environmental protection," the vice premier said, adding that the two countries should strengthen their cooperation in these fields. "We sincerely welcome Swiss companies to do business in China, so the two sides can push their trade and investment cooperation to a new level," he said. Zeng also praised Switzerland's support for the one-China policy. Leuenberger, for his part, praised China's achievements in opening-up and economic development. He also expressed hope that the two countries would further enhance their cooperation in political, economic and cultural fields. The 2006 World Economic Forum opened on Wednesday with the theme of "Creative Imperative." Some 2,200 world political and economic leaders will discuss such topics as how to solve current problems with creative thoughts during the five-day event. Created in 1971 and based in Geneva, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum describes itself as a global community of business, political, intellectual and other leaders of society committed to improving the state of the world. Earlier on Thursday, Zeng also met with founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab.

Greek PM visits Shanghai, pledging to enhance closer economic ties
2006-01-23 People's Daily
The visiting Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis pledged here Saturday to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between Greece and China, especially in such areas as port construction, aviation, tourism and mining industry. Karamanlis made the remarks at a China-Greece economic and trade cooperation forum opened Saturday in Shanghai, China's largest metropolis. In a meeting with Karamanlis, Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng briefed the Greek prime minister about economic and social development of the city and the latest development in economic cooperation between Shanghai and Greece. Karamanlis said this is his first ever visit to China after assuming office. The main purpose of his trip to Shanghai is to seek more cooperation opportunities between the two sides in trade and investment. He invited Chinese enterprises to invest in Greece in various fields, especially in port construction and mining industry. Shanghai and Greece enjoy frequent cooperation. Statistics show the import and export volume between the two sides in 2005 soared 120 percent year-on-year. Karamanlis left Shanghai for home Saturday evening, wrapping up his three-day official visit to China at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.


Domestic Policy

China announces 7th human death of bird flu
2006-01-26 Xinhuanet
Another human case of bird flu in China died recently, bringing the total bird flue death toll to seven, the Ministry of Health said in Beijing Wednesday. The new fatality is a 29-year-old woman, surnamed Cao, from Jinhua Town of Chengdu City in southwest China's Sichuan Province, the ministry's information office told Xinhua. Cao was identified as the 10th human case in China on Monday, after being hospitalized in a critical condition, according to the ministry. Three of the 10 patients are either recovered or under treatment. On Jan. 12, she showed fever and pneumonia symptoms. Her samples tested H5N1 positive. The office failed to provide more details about the victim, but said it is probing into the source of her infection and any possible bird flu outbreak among poultry in the area where she lived. Cao's death brought the country's bird flu fatalities to seven. She was the second bird flu death in Sichuan. The other deaths were reported in the provinces of Anhui, Jiangxi, Fujian, and in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.

Gas pipeline blast kills 9 in Sichuan
2006-01-21 China Daily
Nine people were killed and nearly 40 more injured in a gas pipeline explosion on Friday afternoon in Renshou County, southwest China's Sichuan Province. A total of 1,837 residents in the vicinity were evacuated after the explosion and have been properly accommodated, sources from Sichuan Provincial Work Safety Bureau said. According to the same sources, the outward and inward gas pipelines with Fujia Gas Station of China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) Southwest Oil and Gas Field Branch exploded around 12:17 hours on Friday, producing a big hole in the ground. Eight people were killed on the spot, and one more died in the local hospital, four others were seriously injured. Most of the killed were workers with the gas station and their family members. The explosion also destroyed buildings in the vicinity and slightly injured more than 30 more people. All the injured, mostly suffering from burns, are hospitalized. A spokesman with CNPC Southwest Oil and Gas Field Branch said the exploded pipelines were laid down 1970s and had been operating normally before the accident. The explosion also led to a suspended gas supply for daily use in Renshou, and Ziyang, Jianyang, all in Sichuan Province. CNPC Southwest Oil and Gas Field Branch has organized manpower to repair the pipelines and it is expected that gas supply will resume by Saturday noon. Specialists from the General Administration of Work Safety (GAWS) and CNPC have arrived at the site of the explosion. A special group has been set up to investigate into the cause of the explosion.

Poverty reduction targets set for next 5 years
2006-01-26 Xinhuanet
The Chinese government has set major poverty reduction objectives for the 2006-2010 period, including more efforts to help the poor in the countryside obtain sufficient food and clothing. The major tasks set at the executive meeting of the State Council cover easier access to radio and television programs, roads, electricity supply, drinking water, medical services and nine-year compulsory education for the needy and poor in rural areas. At the meeting, which was presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday, the participants approved a draft regulation on licensing the use of water and collecting water resources fees to promote conservation and rational utilization of water resources. The regulation will be promulgated by the State Council after further revisions. On poverty reduction, the government will help enhance the capabilities of the rural labor force and provide necessary relief and assistance to the incapacitated in the countryside. The government will build more infrastructure to improve the rural people's living and working conditions, and develop businesses to increase farmers' income. China's reform and opening policy adopted in the late 1970s has helped increase the income of most people in the country and the poor population has been cut by about 200 million to less than 30 million. Also discussed at the meeting was the improvement of the working conditions of police and judicial organs at village and township levels. A total of 7.4 billion yuan (US$ 913 million) will be spent for this purpose in the central and western parts of the country.

Medical disaster brings ministry warning
2006-01-27 China Daily
The Ministry of Health issued a warning Thursday to health watchdogs and medical institutions to learn from a serious medical accident in which 10 patients lost their eyesight in East China's Anhui Province. All medical institutions and workers are urged to abide by relevant laws and regulations and follow the moral code of medical services, said a circular issued by the ministry on its website. Medical administration departments must also improve their supervision of medical institutions, the circular said. It reminded public hospitals of the prohibition against participating in illegal commercial co-operations such as renting out their medical departments. Ten people who had cataract surgery at the Suzhou City Hospital in Anhui last month became seriously infected after their operations, the ministry circular said. All 10 patients were transferred to Shanghai the next day, but when emergency treatment there failed, doctors had to remove the eyeballs of nine patients and remove part of the corneas from the 10th, it said. Ranging in age from 33 to 81, all the victims now live in misery, reports said. "My eyes keep festering, and I suffered so much that I could not fall asleep at night," said Zhang Juling, 80, one of the victims. To conduct the surgery, Zhang and his wife sold grain and borrowed money from their relatives to collect 2,800 yuan (US$345) for his operation. Inquiries showed that the scandal reflected the chaotic management of the hospital, its illicit co-operation with a non-medical concern as well the disregard of medical regulations, the circular said. It blamed an illegal co-operation between the hospital and the Shanghai Shunchunyang Science and Technology Trading Co for carrying out the cataract operations. It turned out that the Shanghai company was not licensed to provide medical services. After the tragedy, the Anhui Provincial Department of Public Health confiscated 318,600 yuan (US$39,330) that the hospital collected for the illegal operations.

Courts struggle with judicial enforcement
2006-01-26 Xinhuanet
According to sources with the Beijing High People's Court, 10 per cent of the total judgments made by courts in Beijing during the past three years were not enforced. No figures are available for the nationwide situation, but the Supreme People's Court has decided to start a half-year campaign to enforce judicial decisions that have not been carried out, a nationwide televised conference revealed yesterday. In a typical case, Liu Xuehong, a resident in Nanchang, East China's Jiangxi Province, paid 80,000 yuan to a local real estate company in 1993 to buy a house. However, Liu found two years later that he was cheated as the company had sold his house to someone else as well. The Nanchang Intermediate People's Court made a final judgment in 1998, ruling that the company repay Liu the 80,000 yuan plus legal costs some 90,000 yuan in total. "However, the judgment has not been enforced at all during the past eight years," Liu said. Many final judgments were not enforced due to regional and departmental interests, which has become a headache for the judicial system, "When meeting interference from regional and departmental protectionism, courts should report to supervision departments for support," Cao Jianming, executive vice-president of the Supreme People's Court told yesterday's conference. According to Chinese law, commissions for discipline inspection of the Communist Party of China and government supervision departments are responsible for investigating and punishing Party and government officials involved in corruption and malfeasance, or who disobey Party and government rules. The cases will then be transferred to judicial organs if they are suspected to be in violation of the law. According to the Criminal Law, refusal to meet obligations or orders from the courts is a crime, which is punishable by a fine or imprisonment. According to the Supreme People's Court, a working plan will be fixed by next month. During the next four months, courts will focus on enforcing judgments that have not been carried out. An examination will be conducted in June and July into the success of the campaign, sources said.

Officials punished for buying posts, election bribery
2006-01-23 Xinhuanet
The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC) on Monday announced that a number of local officials, involving in scandals of buying public and Party official posts with bribery in elections, have been severely punished. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the CPC, together with the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, held a press conference Monday to notify the general public some of the scandals on buying public and party official posts with bribery in elections of local Party committees that are undergoing personnel adjustment. According to the information released by the press conference, the officials, including Lei Yingquan, former head of investment division of the Finance Department under the Sichuan Provincial People's Government, Shao Jianwei, former director of the Public Security Bureau of the Linfen City, Shanxi Province, Wu Bao'an, former secretary of the Yicheng County Committee of the CPC, Shanxi Province, Yin Liming, deputy magistrate of the Lianghe County, Yunnan Province, have been severely punished in line with laws and Party discipline for buying or selling official posts. Among them, Wu Bao'an has been sentenced 15 years in prison in July 2005 for taking bribes. According to the court ruling, from April 2000 to May 2004, the defendant Wu took advantages of his posts as the magistrate of Yicheng County, Shanxi Province and secretary of the Yicheng County Committee of the CPC to help 28 persons be promoted or obtain illicit interests after accepting bribes worth of 888,000 yuan. General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao once stressed that selecting qualified officials and giving them proper posts are vital to maintaining the advanced nature of the Marxist ruling Party and consolidating the ruling status of the CPC. ()

Cadre gets 5 years for his role in illegal mine
2006-01-24 SCMP
A deputy director in charge of work safety in a district in Heilongjiang has been sentenced to five years in jail for participating in illegal mining that resulted in casualties. Peng Guocai, deputy director of the Work Safety Supervision Bureau in Taoshan district, Qitaihe city , was held responsible for a "major accident" on March 14 last year, a district court in the city heard recently. The accident resulted in 18 deaths, one serious injury and direct economic losses of 4.27 million yuan, according to Xinhua. Peng's fall from grace was the latest example of collusion between officials and business interests in the notorious mining industry. The court heard that Peng was the owner of the Xinfu mine and had applied for an operating licence through his elder brother, Peng Guicai, the deputy manager of the mine. Peng, also through his elder brother, bought a mine that was pronounced closed in early 2002. After getting 80,000 yuan in compensation through his elder brother, Peng secretly connected the two mines and illegally operated it until the accident occurred. The court heard that Peng had shirked his responsibilities after the accident. He not only failed to launch a prompt rescue and compensate families of the deceased, but also transferred 180,000 yuan in bank deposits to an unknown account, denied being the mine owner and refused to admit to his crime and breach of conduct. The mine had been operating illegally without proper safety facilities despite being ordered to shut. In August, the State Council ordered all government officials to withdraw their stakes from mines or face dismissal.

Journalists banned from workshop
2006-01-26 SCMP
Mainland reporters have been banned from attending a journalism workshop organised by the British embassy amid stepped-up controls over the media. Media organisations had been warned by the Communist Party Propaganda Department that staff "at all levels could not apply for nor give media coverage to a journalism workshop organised by the British embassy in February", sources said. One source said the ban targeted the country's main media organisations, with at least one outlet posting a notice in its office warning journalists not to take part. The workshop, held to discuss media regulations in Britain, will feature speakers from the Thomson Foundation, a British-based media training and consultancy agency. It is scheduled for early next month. Sources said they were surprised by the ban as the workshop did not appear to be sensitive, even though participants were allowed to discuss and compare media regulations in China and Britain. "Many journalists got scholarships and studied abroad. Isn't that even more sensitive?" asked one source. It is not clear if the ban applies only to the country's main media organisations.

Controls spell bad news for the media
2006-01-26 SCMP
Mainland journalists are experiencing their worst censorship in recent years, with outspoken media outlets being crushed one by one. Journalists and academics said the momentum to mute forthright journalists and media outlets reached a peak on Tuesday with the closure of the popular four-page China Youth Daily weekly feature section, Bingdian. A mainland journalism researcher said: "This is the worst it has been in recent years and we have no idea what will be next." Just weeks ago, the popular Beijing News also fell victim to the clampdown with the sacking of chief editor Yang Bin , a move that sparked a rare collective walkout by the newspaper's reporters. The censorship chill descended in 2004 after a brief honeymoon period in 2003 when the new leadership was eager to portray a liberal image and allow the media to venture into grey areas such as investigative reporting on accidents and disasters. But officials started a shutdown in 2004 and imposed control in a variety of forms. For example, the Strategy and Management Journal was closed after 11 years over censorship issues. Other publications were stripped of their editors, as in the case of liberal Guangzhou publication Tong Zhou Gong Jin. The editor-in-chief of the Southern Metropolis Daily, Cheng Yizhong , was taken into custody that same year for five months on corruption and embezzlement charges. Although he was released later, two colleagues, Yu Huafeng and Li Minying, were convicted and sent to jail. The arrests dealt a heavy blow to a vanguard of outspoken media, the Southern Daily Newspaper Group, which many believed was purged because of its exclusive reports about the Sars epidemic. But more subtle means are becoming increasingly common, such as stopping deliveries to subscribers, as was the case more than a month ago of Phoenix Weekly, a Phoenix TV magazine. ()



Taipei urged to 'obey will of the people'
2006-01-25 China Daily
Beijing urged Taipei to "obey the will of the people" yesterday and drop its tougher line against the mainland, on the eve of the inauguration of the island's new "premier" Su Tseng-chang. Li Weiyi, spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, warned the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration against "adopting practices that run counter to the wishes and interests of Taiwan compatriots." He said people on both sides share the common aspiration for promoting closer economic links as well as the peaceful and stable development of cross-Straits relations. "We hope the Taiwan authorities will recognize the trend of the times, obey the will of the people... and boost cross-Straits exchanges and co-operation, as well as ease and develop cross-Straits ties," Li told a regular news conference. The new "cabinet," headed by Su, takes office today. Taiwan "president" Chen Shui-bian appointed Su, a former DPP chairman, as the island's fifth "premier" since 2000 in a bid to avoid becoming a lame duck following the ruling party's crushing defeat in local elections last month. Chen signalled a tougher policy towards the mainland in his New Year's Day speech by tightening control over cross-Straits economic relations. Su's new "cabinet" is widely expected to follow Chen's mainland policy of imposing restrictions on trade exchanges. Li, however, condemned Chen's policy for ultimately undermining Taiwan's economy and impairing the immediate interests of the Taiwanese people. "Deliberately impeding cross-Straits economic and trade co-operation is a move that puts personal interests at the expense of the interests of Taiwan compatriots," Li said. The spokesman pointed to the fact that the island's current economic development has greatly benefited from its stronger economic co-operation with the mainland. () At the news briefing, Li welcomed Taiwan business people to invest in Olympic projects and related commercial activities ahead of the 2008 Games in Beijing. "We welcome Taiwan athletes to compete in the 2008 Olympic Games, and also welcome other Taiwan compatriots to come and serve as volunteers for the Games," he added. Li said the mainland will seriously consider allowing the Olympic torch relay to cross Taiwan. ()



China's economy grew by 9.9% in 2005
2006-01-26 People's Daily
China's economy expanded by 9.9 per cent in 2005, buoyed by strong domestic demand that economists believe would continue to drive dynamic growth this year. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) announced yesterday that the country produced an output of 18.23 trillion yuan (US$2.23 trillion) last year, or a per-capita gross domestic product (GDP) of US$1,700. Economists' predicted growth figure for 2006 varied from 8.5 per cent to more than 10 per cent. But they agreed the economy is riding momentum and will continue to be vibrant this year. The adjustments that the government initiated in 2004 continued to suppress activity in overheated sectors such as the steel industry last year. However, investments in other sectors remained robust, said NBS Director Li Deshui. Growth in consumption and exports were also respectable, he said. "All three main drivers for the economy (investments, consumption and net exports) were in good shape," he said at a press conference hosted by the State Information Office. "The economy is full of vitality." Economists agreed that overall domestic demand has been favourable and is improving. A research note released yesterday by a group of economists at Goldman Sachs said they believed the GDP grew last year partly because of domestic demand. It was the third year that China's economic growth rate was around 10 per cent. It grew 10 in 2003 and 10.1 per cent in 2004. The rates were much higher than those of most other economies in the world. But China's rates were still quite close to what economists call potential growth of the country, which means a growth pace that can be maintained without running into macroeconomic problems such as high inflation, according to Louis Kuijs, senior economist at the World Bank's Beijing office. He said China's potential growth in recent years has been between 9 and 10.5 per cent. "Thus, from this perspective, (China's) growth (rate) was appropriate not too low, not too high." Quarterly GDP growth rates for all of 2005 were more balanced than in previous years, which indicated economic growth was becoming increasingly stable, said Niu Li, an economist with the State Information Centre. Rates for the four quarters were between 9.8 per cent and 10.1 per cent. In previous years, fluctuations could be 1 percentage point or even bigger. "This means that the intrinsic power of the economy mainly market forces instead of factors outside the economy was having a greater influence, which was a good thing," Niu said. ()

Nuclear fusion reactor to be built
2006-01-23 People's Daily
An experimental device that aims to generate clean energy using nuclear fusion will be built in the next few months in Hefei, capital city of East China's Anhui Province. Experiments with the advanced new Tokamak device, a doughnut-shaped reactor, will start in July or August. If the experiments prove successful, China will become the first country in the world to build a fully-functioning Tokamak fusion device, experts said. Nuclear fusion aims to join together atomic nuclei. This process, similar to the chemical reactions that take place on the sun, releases energy. This China project, dubbed EAST (experimental advanced superconducting Tokamak), is being undertaken by the Hefei-based Institute of Plasma Physics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. It will require a total investment of nearly 300 million yuan (US$37 million), only one-15th to one-20th the cost of similar devices being developed in the other parts of the world. The new device will be an upgrade of China's first superconducting Tokamak device, dubbed HT-7, which was also built by the plasma physics institute, in partnership with Russia, in the early 1990s. HT-7 made China the fourth country in the world, after Russia, France and Japan, to have such a device. "The EAST project research results will be significant for the International Thermonuclear Experiment Reactor, or ITER, in terms of basic research both in engineering technology and physics," said Wan Yuanxi, who is in charge of the project. The ITER programme, still in its initial stages, involves Russia, Japan, the United States, the European Union, China and the Republic of Korea. Controlled nuclear fusion is seen as an efficient way for people to generate infinite amounts of clean energy to offset the reducing amounts of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal. Scientists believe that deuterium, extracted from seawater, can be used to produce enormous amounts of energy from a deuterium-tritium fusion reaction under huge temperatures of 100 million C. After nuclear fusion, the deuterium extracted from one litre of seawater will produce energy equivalent to 300 litres of gasoline.

Airbus to build assembly line in China
2006-01-24 China Daily
European aviation giant Airbus is likely to establish a final assembly line for single-aisle aircraft in China this year, Airbus said yesterday. It is working with China's government departments and companies to conduct a feasibility study, Airbus President and Chief Executive Officer Gustav Humbert said in a release. "If everything goes well, the company is expected to make the decision on building the assembly line plant in China in the middle of this year," Humbert said. The result would be an Airbus-dominated joint venture with a planned production capacity of four single-aisle A320 series each month. The A320 family, comprising A319s, A320s and A321s, are medium-range, single-aisle, twin-engine jets capable of carrying up to about 180 passengers. The aircraft have been the European company's most popular models since they entered service in 1988. China has stated its ambitions to build large passenger jets by 2020 although it is still struggling to develop a market for domestically built jets of 70 to 90 seats. China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I), one of the nation's major aircraft manufacturers, declined to comment on the programme. Currently, five affiliates of AVIC I and AVIC II are producing parts for Airbus aircraft. As part of the wide-ranging accords signed by Premier Wen Jiabao during a visit to France in December, Airbus clinched an order of 150 A320 jets worth nearly US$10 billion. Airbus also offered China a 5 per cent stake in its A350 aircraft programme. The A350 is the company's response to Boeing's new generation 787 "Dreamliner" passenger jets. "China boasts a vast aviation market, so intensifying partnership with China is of great significance," Humbert said. China is acknowledged as the world's fastest-growing aviation market and is a major battleground for the world's two aerospace giants Boeing and Airbus. Airbus' main focus this year is to have a greater presence in the marketplace with its aircraft by looking at all the elements of the market, including major, regional and start-ups, according to Laurence Barron, Airbus senior vice-president and Airbus China president. He said Airbus hoped to have 50 per cent of the market in China before 2013. Boeing currently dominates the Chinese market with 67 per cent, and Airbus holds 29 per cent.



Mongolia picks new PM
2006-01-26 UB Post
On January 25, the State Great Hural (parliament) voted during an irregular session, to approve M.Enkhbold, chairman of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), as the Prime Minister of Mongolia with 85.1 percent of vote. A total of 57 out of 67 members present voted yes. On the same day, the acting Prime Minister Ts.Elbegdorj handed over the government's stamp and files to the newly appointed Prime Minister at the government house. The approval comes a day after President N.Enkhbayar approved the nomination of the MPRP chairman to the seat of prime minister. On the same day, the parliament's Standing Committee on State Structure debated the nomination of M.Enkhbold. At the standing committee's meeting, only four Democratic Party members stood against the nomination of M.Enkhbold out of the 28 members present. Z.Enkhbold (DP) asked the nominee to reveal his personal income statement in order to set a good example for cabinet ministers to follow. M.Enkhbold replied that his personal income statement had been published last August, when he was a candidate in the 65th electoral district for the parliament's by-election. He said there is not any additional information to report about his income since that time. A law on corruption that would require top officials to make their tax statements public, is under discussion in the parliament, but has not yet passed. On January 11, ten cabinet ministers from the MPRP withdrew from the coalition government. On January 13, the parliament approved the minister's resignation with a majority, causing the dissolution of the sitting government headed by Ts.Elbegdorj. Riff in Democratic Party Chairman of the Democratic Party, R.Gonchigdorj, expressed his firm position last week over the formalization of the new government, stating that his party will not be a part of it. He said his party will work as a strong opposition force in the parliament by joining with the Civil Will Party in building a "shadow" government. Although the party's official position is against the resignation of Ts.Elbegdorj, four members of the Democratic Party including J.Narantsatsralt, M . E n k h s a i k h a n , M.Sonompil and J.Batkhuyag, voted for the resignation at the parliament session on January 13. Those four democratic members are likely to be a part of the new government, which the MPRP is calling a government of "national unity." The four have said that the Democratic Party should not remove itself from the new government, which they believe represents the choice of the people of Mongolia. "The Democratic Party represents a plurality of the people in the parliament as a result of the last parliamentary election; it has no choice but to work with the government under any circumstances." In response, Gonchigdorj said that, constitutionally, the majority party should consult with other parties in the State Great Hural, not with individual members. He said it will violate the Constitution if the MPRP includes the four rouge members of the Democratic Party in building the new government. He also said that if the four members are elected to government positions, the party will suspend their membership and they will not represent the Democratic Party.

Miyegombo ENKHBOLD Born in 1964. Married with two children. 1992-1999, Governor of Chingeltei District of Ulaanbaatar. 1999-2005, Mayor of Ulaanbaatar Since 2005, Member of Parliament, Chairman of MPRP

DP, CW to form shadow cabinet
2006-01-26 Mongol Messenger
The Democratic Party and the Civil Will Party have agreed not to join the new government but to work as an opposition, with a shadow cabinet. CW leader S. Oyun said that the so-called government of national unity was just a political manoeuvre by the MPRP, and that it was not possible for the MPRP to eliminate corruption, bribery, unemployment and poverty, and a shadow cabinet was needed.The DP met on January 18, and supported the idea of a shadow cabinet. They declared that the DP "would not be involved in the insinuations of the communists masked by the fancy words of 'national unity' that in reality meant protection of corrupt ministers and officials."

Tsagaan Sar: the Lunar New Year
2006-01-26 Mongol Messenger
In common with other eastern and central Asian countries, Mongolia has for centuries followed the 12 animal cycles of the lunar calendar, so the date for Tsagaan Sar in the lunar cycle is variable, between late January and early March. Mongolians used to celebrate Tsagaan Sar in autumn, when there was an abundance of dairy products. In 1206, when Temujin was proclaimed the Great Khan of all the Mongols, he held an elaborate feast on the last day of winter, and decided to make this the New Year.
Tsagaan means White Month, as on its old date, there was plenty of milk, and Mongols have always revered white. As the start of the year, it has special significance.

Inquiry into illegal immigrants planned
2006-01-26 UB Post
On January 24, the daily Onoodor newspaper reported that the Office of Immigration, Naturalization and Foreign Citizens (OINFC) will move forward with a program to determine the scale of the illegal immigrant population living in Mongolia. From February 15, the office will set up a special phone number, 1882, for citizens to report information concerning illegal immigrants. According to officials of the OINFC, in the past few years, the number of illegal foreigners has increased dramatically in Mongolia. Although numerous foreigners enter Mongolia temporarily for up to a month, some of them have stayed illegally in Mongolia past their visa expirations. According to the OINFC, the illegal immigrants stay mostly to work in construction, live predominantly in Ulaanbaatar, and are mostly Chinese nationals. The OINFC's announcement comes after numerous accounts of crimes being committed by foreigners, particularly Chinese, which has in turn lead many people to suggest that the accusations are over-blown and reflect a mistrust of foreign citizens by Mongolians. Information collected from the phone hotline between February 15 and March 1 will be used to determine the scale of the problem. The OINFC is expected to announce.


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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