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
  12.6-16.6.2006, No. 119  
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Foreign Policy

SCO summit aims at regional prosperity, harmony
2006-06-15 Xinhuanet
The annual summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) sent a clear signal on Thursday that the member economies will intensify all-round cooperation and strive to turn the region into a harmonious one with lasting peace and common prosperity. To that effect, Chinese President Hu Jintao proposed the formation of a convention featuring lasting good neighborhood relations and cooperation within the SCO framework at the SCO summit meeting Thursday in China's largest city Shanghai, where the regional cooperation body was founded on June 15, 2001. The summit started at 9:00 a.m. at the Shanghai International Convention Center in Pudong, with group photos, handshakes and a closed-door meeting of Hu and his counterparts from the other five member countries -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov and Uzbek President Islam Karimov. They were later joined for an extended meeting by other participants to the summit, including representatives from the four observer countries of Mongolia, India, Pakistan and Iran, and international organizations. Afghan President Hamid Karzai also attended the talks as a guest of the host country. The four observers were represented by Mongolian President Nambaryn Enkhbayar, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and Indian Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas Murli Deora. "We should respect and support the interests and concerns of all SCO member countries, enhance coordination and cooperation in international and regional issues, and timely consult on measures to cope with major international and regional issues," Hu told the summit. He proposed the formation of a convention to consolidate the foundation of political trust, unity and coordination among SCO member states, and ensure the lasting vigor of the organization. "We should carry out at an early date a number of economic and technological cooperation projects that will benefit all the parties involved, especially in the fields of energy, electricity, transportation and telecommunication," said the Chinese president. He expressed the hope that the international community could respect the social system and road of development independently chosen by SCO member countries and observer countries, respect their internal and external policies of peace, friendship and cooperation based on their own domestic situation, and create a harmonious and easy environment for their development. Hu said it was a "historic decision" to establish the SCO, attributing its growth to the member countries' advantages and adherence to the principles of peace and development, sufficient democracy and opening-up. "The successful experience of the SCO can be condensed to one point, that is to unswervingly advocate and practice the Shanghai Spirit of mutual trust and benefit, equality, respect for cultural diversity and a desire for common development," he said. Peace, development and cooperation have become a trend of the current world, but various traditional and untraditional threats to security still interweave. Like the other parts of the world, the SCO region maintains basically stable but is faced with "three evil forces" of terrorism, separatism and extremism, and the problems of drugs and cross-border crimes. In particular, the region is economically less developed. "We should enhance all-round cooperation and strive to turn the region into a harmonious area with lasting peace and common prosperity," the Chinese president said. China will join hands with other member countries to push forward the SCO's substantial cooperation with observers, with Afghanistan, and with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the Commonwealth of Independent States, he said. "China's peaceful development will bring about great opportunities for neighboring countries, especially SCO members, and China will constantly increase input and push forward the development of the SCO," he said. Echoing Hu's remarks, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev said the SCO is an important element in current international relations and has witnessed an increasing status and a stronger anti-terrorism capability. Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev spoke highly of Hu's proposed convention on lasting good neighborhood relations and cooperation within the SCO framework. The SCO should expand cooperation with other countries and international organizations in international information security, economic and trade as well as humanistic sectors, said Russian President Vladimir Putin. Tajik President Emomali Rakhmonov said the SCO's establishment is "an inevitable trend" and its members should make concerted efforts to improve the organization's international prestige. The collaboration among SCO members based on mutual trust, mutual respect and constructive cooperation will contribute to regional peace and stability and will improve the lives of the people, said Uzbek President Islam Karimov. The other participants also made separate speeches at the summit. They spoke highly of the SCO's achievements over the past five years, and expressed hopes to further intensify cooperation with the organization. After the talks, the presidents of the six SCO members signed 10 documents, including a declaration on the SCO's fifth anniversary, a joint communique on closer SCO cooperation, a statement on international information security, an anti-terrorism resolution for 2007-2009 period, an agreement on joint anti- terrorism actions among member countries, and an agreement on cutting off the infiltration channels of terrorists, separatists and extremists. The day ended with artistic performances, including a chorus presented by 10 artists, one from each of the SCO's members and observers. Next year's SCO summit will be held in Kyrgyzstan.

Hu, Putin reaffirm Iran nuke stance
2006-06-15 People's Daily
President Hu Jintao and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday reaffirmed their desire for a diplomatic solution to the Iran nuclear issue. Hu and Putin, meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) summit, agreed that relevant parties should "seize the opportunity" to promote a peaceful solution to the stand-off over Iran's nuclear programme, referring to the package of incentives offered last week to persuade Teheran to suspend uranium enrichment. They also agreed that China and Russia would maintain communication and co-ordination on the issue. China, Russia, the United States and Europe have reached consensus on the package of incentives, which include an offer to provide Iran with nuclear technology to get it to step away from enriching uranium, and to bring Washington into direct talks with Teheran. Hu and Putin also discussed bilateral and regional issues during their meeting, calling for closer co-operation between China and Russia. They agreed to strengthen co-operation within the SCO framework, and to promote the implementation of the consensus reached at this summit to foster better development of the organization. Hu said he looks forward to the signing of a proposed 2006-10 roadmap for China-Russia trade and economic co-operation, which has set the target of bilateral trade volume at US$60-80 billion by 2010. The two countries should continue to optimize trade structure, improve trade regulation, and enhance the legal environment that protects mutual investment, said Hu. Putin said China and Russia enjoy many promising co-operative projects, and he expected the two sides to strengthen co-operation in such fields as trade, energy, machinery and electronics, and environmental protection. Trade between China and Russia reached US$29.1 billion in 2005, jumping 37.1 per cent year-on-year, according to the Ministry of Commerce. In a move to solidify friendship between the two peoples, China is hosting the "Year of Russia in China" this year and Russia is to host the "Year of China in Russia" next year, which involve a series of cultural exchanges designed to increase mutual understanding. Hu and Putin attended the signing of a number of bilateral co-operation deals after the meeting. The two presidents are to meet again next month at the G8 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Chinese president invites African leaders to attend China-Africa summit
2006-06-15 People's Daily
Chinese President Hu Jintao has sent formal invitations to African leaders to attend the third ministerial meeting of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum slated for this November, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Thursday. The invitations were well received by African countries, said Jiang Yu, noting that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic ties between New China and African countries. Jiang said that China and many African countries are all developing nations and they share common interests and consensus on many issues. The long-lasting friendship between China and Africa is due to mutual support, equality, cooperation and common development, the spokeswoman said. It is important for China's diplomacy to consolidate and develop cooperation with African countries, she noted. China hopes to carry on the traditional friendship and develop a new type of strategic partnership with African countries, she added. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will embark on a seven-nation African tour this Saturday. Jiang said that Wen will hold talks with leaders of the seven countries and discuss promoting bilateral relations and other issues of common concern, based on the spirit of deepening friendship, enhancing mutual trust, expanding cooperation and common development. As major events in China-Africa relations, China published early this year an African policy document and Chinese President Hu Jintao visited three African nations in April.

Japan says would welcome China President Hu visit
2006-06-12 China Daily
Japan's top government spokesman said on Monday that Tokyo would welcome a visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to improve ties between the two nations. Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe confirmed reports that Hu had told a Japanese diplomat in Beijing on Saturday that he hoped to visit Japan at an appropriate time under the right conditions. "Japan's door is always open and we would like to welcome President Hu," Abe told reporters. Asked about the possibility of Koizumi holding such talks before his term in office expires in September, Abe said: "In light of the importance of Sino-Japanese relations, it is natural that summit talks between the two leaders should take place." Ties between Beijing and Tokyo have cooled in large part due to Koizumi's annual visits to Tokyo's Yasukuni shrine, where some convicted World War Two war criminals are honoured along with Japan's war dead. Hu and other Chinese leaders have said the shrine visits are a big obstacle to improved ties, although the two countries have also been feuding over other issues including territorial rights, energy resources and mutual suspicion over military policy. But Abe quoted Hu as telling Japanese ambassador to China Yuji Miyamoto in Beijing on Saturday: "I hope to visit Japan at an appropriate time when conditions are smoothed out." Abe added: "We basically take his remarks positively, as they focus on the importance of Sino-Japanese relations." In a sign of a potential thaw in relations, Japan earlier this month gave the go-ahead to grant 74 billion yen ($650 million) in low-interest loans to China after delaying the decision for more than two months due to the strained ties.

Washington sanctions on China firms 'irresponsible'
2006-06-15 China Daily
Beijing yesterday criticized Washington for imposing sanctions on four Chinese companies allegedly involved in arms sales. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said the US action was "completely unreasonable and irresponsible." "We express our strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition," she told a regular news briefing. On Tuesday the US prohibited all transactions with four Chinese companies and one US company alleged to have helped Iran acquire weapons of mass destruction and the missiles capable of delivering them. Washington said the companies supplied Iran with missile-related and dual use components. Three of the Chinese companies are Beijing Alite Technologies Company Ltd, LIMMT Economic and Trade Company Ltd and Great Wall Industry Corporation. The company with US connections is China National Precision Machinery Import/Export Corporation, whose US representative is GW Aerospace Inc, based in California. "The US Government did not provide any evidence before they froze transactions on the four Chinese companies. This is completely unreasonable and irresponsible," said Jiang. She noted that proliferation of weapons of mass destruction threatens peace and security, and does not serve China's interests. "The Chinese Government is firmly opposed to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and does not allow any companies or individuals to support or engage in proliferation of any form," she said. "This is our clear and firm stance." China and the United States share common interests on non-proliferation, but the latest sanctions have "severely harmed" bilateral co-operation in this regard, as well as the development of bilateral relations, she added. Jiang urged the US to correct its mistakes and stop exerting sanctions and pressures against China. Observers said no country is authorized to override international law with its domestic laws and the US sanctions, based on US law, are therefore illegal. "These sanctions are in flagrant disregard of international law, and are a sign of disrespect towards another country's sovereignty," said retired diplomat Zhang Yijun. While Guo Xiaobing, a researcher with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, told Global Times that the move reflected the US hegemony. ()

China urges political commitment to six-party talks
2006-06-15 People's Daily
China calls on all parties concerned to deliver their political commitment to resume the six-party talks over nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday at the board meeting of the U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Tang Guoqiang, Chinese ambassador to the Vienna Office of the United Nations, said that progress has been made through the six- party talks last year. Tang urged all parties to implement the joint statement adopted in September last year at the end of the fourth round of six-party talks and called for an early resumption of the talks. "All parties should adopt a constructive attitude," he said, adding that China has been actively mediating among the concerned parties and has recently exchanged views with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the United States. The Korean Peninsula nuclear issue concerns the peace and stability of the peninsula as well as the northeast Asia, he added. During the last round of six-party talks in Beijing September last year, the DPRK agreed to dismantle its nuclear program in return for security guarantees and energy aids. However, the DPRK has said it will not return to the talks if the United States does not lift the sanctions imposed on the country.

Chinese delegation to attend first meeting of UN Human Rights Council
2006-06-13 Xinhuanet
A Chinese delegation will attend the first meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council to be held in Geneva from June 19 to 30, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Tuesday. "China attaches great importance to the meeting," said Jiang Yu, noting that Sha Zukang, top Chinese diplomat to the UN office in Geneva, will head the Chinese delegation and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will address the meeting. China will put forward its viewpoints on the future development of the newly-established council and participate in discussions of all topics in a positive and constructive manner, said Jiang. "We are ready to make joint efforts with all parties to make the meeting a success and a good starting point for the council," Jiang added. The UN General Assembly in May elected the 47 members of the Human Rights Council to replace the much criticized and defunct Human Rights Commission. China was elected to the council with 146 votes. The first meeting will outline the operation rules of the council and discuss problems on the international human rights issue, said Jiang. Jiang urged all parties concerned to take pragmatic action to ensure the role of the council in improving and protecting the human rights and to avoid taking the old road of political confrontation and double standards.



China confirms new human case of bird flu
2006-06-16 People's Daily
A 31-year-old man in south China's Guangdong Province has been confirmed to have contracted bird flu, bringing the country's total human infections of the disease to 19, reported the Chinese Ministry of Health on Thursday. The patient, surnamed Jiang, is a migrant worker in Shenzhen City. He showed symptoms of fever and pneumonia on June 3 and has been hospitalized ever since. He is now in critical condition, said the ministry in a report. Epidemiological research found Jiang had been to a local market, where live poultry were sold, several times before developing the symptoms. Jiang was tested H5N1 positive by the Shenzhen center for disease control and prevention (CDC) and the provincial and national CDCs. He has been confirmed to be infected with bird flu in accordance with the standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Chinese government, said the ministry. The ministry has reported the new case to the WHO, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, as well as several countries. Jiang was reported by the local health authorities as a suspected case of bird flu on Tuesday. All 98 people who had close contact with Jiang tested negative for the disease, according to the local health bureau. The health department in neighbouring Hong Kong on Tuesday warned the public to be vigilant against bird flu, while Macao announced on Wednesday it would halt the import of live poultry from Shenzhen. Jiang is the 19th human case of bird flu reported in China. Among the previous 18 cases, 12 have died. Globally, 225 human infections, including 128 deaths, have been recorded by the WHO, according to its official website. Health experts fear the bird flu virus would mutate into a form that can easily pass between people, causing a global pandemic. ()

25 dead, 30 still missing following flash floods
2006-06-15 People's Daily
Severe flash floods triggered by heavy rainfall killed at least 25 people and left 30 missing in Southwest China's Guizhou Province, sources with the provincial government said yesterday. Downpours that lasted for three hours on Monday night caused flash floods in Wangmo County, toppling 400 homes, according to the province's information office. Wangmo is a mountainous county, under the Qianxinan Bouyei and Miao Autonomous Prefecture of Guizhou. An average of 190 millimetres of rainfall hit the county during the period, while in some parts it surpassed 200 millimetres, the office said. The provincial government has dispatched officers from relevant departments to Wangmo for disaster relief efforts. "The downpours cut off water and power supplies, communications and transport facilities in the county seat," said a provincial official surnamed Zhao, who is in charge of flood control and disaster relief. Because the floods happened at about midnight on Monday, many people living in remote regions had little time to flee, Zhao said. A panel headed by officials from the Ministry of Civil Affairs have rushed to the county for flood relief support, said Wang Zhenyun, director of disaster relief at the ministry. A total of 5,900 people were evacuated to safe places in Wangmo and neighbouring Luodian County ahead of the torrential rain. According to Wang, the province's civil affairs department has allocated 1 million yuan (US$125,000) for flood-hit residents. The provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Guizhou, Jiangxi and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region have been hit by rainstorms since May, with floods, landslides and house collapses killing about 100 people and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people. The central government earmarked 116 million yuan (US$14.5 million) in emergency disaster relief for flood victims in South China yesterday.

Growing illegal gun industry targeted in crackdown
2006-06-14 SCMP
Authorities have admitted the mainland's "rampant" illegal market in explosives and ammunition is a serious threat to society and the nation's underground gun-making industry is growing more sophisticated. Announcing a four-month nationwide crackdown yesterday, Ministry of Public Security spokesman Wu Heping said: "At present, the security situation concerning explosives, guns and ammunition is still not [looking] optimistic. Explosives and gun-related [criminal] cases continue to occur frequently in some parts of the country, posing serious threats to people's lives and property." Xu Hu, deputy head of the ministry's Public Security Administration Bureau, said tough gun restrictions on the mainland meant criminals turned to illegal channels to buy weapons to commit crimes, generating huge profits for gun traffickers. "That is why the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of guns and ammunition has not been eradicated despite frequent crackdowns," Mr Xu said. He said the ministry's latest push was aimed at turning the tables and would concentrate on seizures of illegal weapons, explosives and "controlled cutting tools" such as daggers and flick-knives. Different elements of the campaign will focus on different regions. Officers will root out illegal production, storage and sales of explosives in major mining areas such as Shanxi, Hebei, and Hunan, while gun smugglers will be targeted in border regions including Guangxi, Yunnan, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Heilongjiang. Police in Qinghai and Guizhou will focus on curbing the widespread black market in gun manufacturing and dealing in the two production bases of Hualong and Songtao counties. He said most of the 3.8 million illegal guns seized by police in recent years were homemade, but legal factories were increasingly supplying components to illegal gun makers. Mr Xu also singled out Guangdong, where, due to the province's proximity to Hong Kong and Macau, guns were more often used as weapons in crimes. "In a few recent busts, we have found guns imported by Hong Kong and Macau organised crime gangs," he said. "Some impounded firearms have even been more sophisticated than police weapons."

Vice-mayor of Beijing sacked in graft probe
2006-06-12 SCMP
The Beijing People's Congress yesterday fired vice-mayor Liu Zhihua for alleged corruption, Xinhua reported. Liu, who was in charge of construction for the Beijing Olympics, was sacked "because he lived a decadent life", the brief report said. It said the Beijing People's Congress Standing Committee had verified "facts about his wrongdoings" which were "quite serious" and had a harmful social influence. Highlighting the seriousness of Liu's alleged crimes, Xinhua said his case was now being investigated by the country's two highest anti-corruption bodies - the Communist Party Central Commission for Discipline Inspection and the Ministry of Supervision. The investigation into Liu's alleged crimes appeared to be a well-kept secret. On May 1, he was still to be seen inspecting various construction projects in Beijing with other city government leaders. The 57-year-old vice-mayor from Liaoning province was responsible for Beijing's construction, housing, transport and sports activities before his downfall. He was also in charge of the Engineering and Construction Office for the Olympics. The report did not give details of Liu's alleged crimes or specifically link him with the Olympics. China's top leaders have vowed to closely watch funding for Olympic projects to stem corruption and embezzlement. News of the sacking spread quickly on the internet, with messages speculating over Liu's crimes. "It looks like this fat job has given vice-mayor Liu plenty of support to live a decadent life," read one. Liu is the most senior Beijing city official to be sacked over alleged corruption since the jailing of former Beijing party secretary Chen Xitong in 1998.

Vice-mayor given job of overseeing Olympics work
2006-06-16 SCMP
Beijing Vice-Mayor Ji Lin, former chief of the Communist Party Youth League in the capital, has been chosen to oversee Olympics construction projects, replacing disgraced former vice-mayor Liu Zhihua. The promotion of 44-year-old Mr Ji, who was previously in charge of transportation, security and environmental protection in Beijing, was announced late on Wednesday night. Liu's sacking for alleged corruption and a "decadent lifestyle" was announced on Sunday. His alleged wrongdoings included keeping mistresses and involvement in financial scandals. His surprise dismissal prompted concerns that the corruption-free image of the 2008 event would be tainted. [...] Mr Ji, a Shanghai native, had a stint with the Communist Youth League, President Hu Jintao's power base, in the 1990s after he received a master's degree in criminal law from Beijing's Renmin University. Before his elevation to vice-mayor in 2004, he served as president of the league's Beijing committee for four years then its Miyun county chief from 1998. Mr Ji ranks third among Beijing's seven vice-mayors after Zhai Hongxiang , in charge of economic development, and Liu Jingmin, a vice-president of the Olympics organising committee. Mr Ji is also in charge of the construction of environmental projects for the Olympics.



Motion launched to oust scandal-hit Chen
2006-06-14 China Daily
Opposition legislators in Taiwan launched a motion to oust "president" Chen Shui-bian yesterday. The recall motion, launched at a special session of Taiwan's "parliament," while unlikely to pass, turns up the heat on Chen, whose family and aides are already reeling from a series of scandals. It listed 10 reasons to recall him, including violation of laws, creating political chaos, corruption and failing to invigorate economy. The motion deepens a political crisis that has pushed Chen's public approval ratings to record lows. Despite holding a slim majority, the opposition led by the Kuomintang and People First Party lacks the two-thirds required to push the recall motion through. But opposition lawmakers hope launching it will produce evidence of wrongdoing and stiffen anti-Chen sentiment among the public. Chen has seven days to respond in writing to the motion, which if passed would authorize a referendum on whether he should step down. His office has said he has not yet decided whether or not to write a defence. Chen's son-in-law was detained last month on suspicion of insider trading, and his wife has been accused of accepting millions of Taiwan dollars worth of department store gift vouchers. The "parliament" will have 15 days to deliberate the issue and can summon witnesses. Taiwan media reports said the entire legislature was expected to review the motion on June 21, 22, 23 and 26, and then vote on it on June 27.

Taiwan urged to drop political concerns on direct flights
2006-06-15 Xinhuanet
Chinese experts called on Taiwan authorities on Thursday to give up political concerns about the early realization of direct air links with the mainland. Guo Zhenyuan, a researcher with the China Institute for International Studies, said chartered flights across the Taiwan Strait for festivals and special cases failed to meet public demand for direct transport links on both sides. "The new agreement by aviation organizations of the Chinese mainland and Taiwan will undoubtedly promote cross-Strait exchanges, but the progress is a bit slow and the advances are small," Guo said. China's General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) announced on Wednesday that the mainland-based Cross-Strait Aviation Transport Exchange Council and the Taipei Airlines Association had agreed on the framework of chartered flights for festivals and special occasions. Chartered flights will operate during Qingming, or the tomb-sweeping festival, the Dragon Boat Festival and the Mid-Autumn Festival, in addition to the Chinese lunar new year season, according to the agreement. The two sides also agreed to open chartered flights for emergency medical rescue, first aid for the handicapped and special chartered cargo flights. People from both the mainland and Taiwan had for years wanted direct, two-way, comprehensive air links, but the Taiwan authorities had always disappointed them with political excuses, Guo said. The two sides had successfully operated chartered flights during spring festival in recent years, showing the feasibility of open direct flights by non-governmental aviation organizations from both sides, Guo said. "Despite deliberate obstruction from the Taiwan authorities, the realization of direct air links is inescapable with the development of economic and trade relations between the two sides," he said. Sun Shengliang, an associate research fellow with the research institute of Taiwan issues under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Wednesday's agreement was another step towards direct, two-way air links. "It proves that the mainland side is sincere in promoting the realization of demands by the Taiwanese people no matter what political changes occur on the island," Sun said. Aviation businesses on both sides are keen to begin weekend charters or regular flights and even direct air links as soon as the Taiwan authorities dropped their political concerns, Sun said. Direct air links have become an urgent issue in cross-Strait exchanges with the deepening of economic and cultural exchanges between the two sides in recent years. ()



China-made Tamiflu approved for production
2006-06-13 Xinhuanet
A Chinese company has been approved by the State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA) to produce the anti-flu drug, Tamiflu, sources with the SFDA said Tuesday. Tamiflu is an anti-viral drug which is considered the most effective treatment available to counter the H5N1 strain of bird flu. Tests showed the domestic Tamiflu was as effective and safe on humans as the imported version, said an official with the SFDA. It would be used to treat type A and B flu in adults and children over the age of one, and to prevent type A and B flu in adults and youngsters over the age of 13. Buyers must have a doctor's prescription and take the drug under guidance, the official said. Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche Swiss granted a sub-license for the production of Tamiflu to the Shanghai Pharmaceutical Group in December. Clinical studies on the effectiveness of Tamiflu began in March. Tamiflu was invented by US-based Gilead and licensed to Roche in 1996. Roche, based in Basel, now has exclusive world-wide rights for the manufacturing and marketing of the medicine. The latest bird flu outbreak occurred in remote Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region early this month has been contained, with more than 17,100 poultry slaughtered. The country has reported more than 30 outbreaks in birds since last October. China has reported 18 cases of human infection of bird flu since last November with 12 fatalities. The last case was confirmed on April 27. Globally, 225 human infections, including 128 deaths, have been recorded by the World Health Organization (WHO), according to the WHO website. The central government is strengthening prevention and control of bird flu although no new human cases have been confirmed for more than a month, a health official said Monday. "We are still keeping a close eye on bird flu and have strengthened scientific research and nationwide surveillance," said Ministry of Health spokesman Mao Qun'an at a press conference. So far, the virus outside of the human infections had shown no sign of mutation, and human-to-human transmission was still unproved in clinical studies, he said. China's Ministry of Agriculture also issued an emergency order Monday for local governments to tighten controls over poultry stocks to prevent bird flu contamination by migratory birds. The order calls for strict supervision of areas below all possible flight paths of migratory birds, lakes and other sites with a record of bird flu infection. Farmers living in these areas are advised to keep their poultry in coops to avoid contact with the migratory birds. The ministry also ordered immediate reporting of any dead poultry or wild birds to county-level animal epidemic prevention agencies, and suspected cases must be reported to the state-level bird flu laboratories. Meanwhile, the Chinese government was working closely with international organizations in fighting bird flu. Last week, China joined in a pandemic response exercise in prevention and control of bird flu held by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which aimed to test the preparations of the organization's members for an epidemic in terms of information sharing, technological support and prevention of cross-border spread. On Tuesday, a center was set up by China and the World Health Organization to fight infectious diseases including influenza. The center, based in south China's Guangdong Province, will become a training base of southern provinces of China and may expand to become a training center for neighbouring countries, according to WHO. It will also work with the Guangdong CDC laboratory to detect emerging infectious diseases and carry out epidemiological research and study the origin of diseases that can be spread from animals.

Cathay Pacific takes over Dragonair
2006-06-10 China Daily
Hong Kong airline Cathay Pacific is buying its rival Dragonair for HK$8.22 billion (US$1.05 billion) to expand its flight network on the Chinese mainland. Cathay Pacific currently operates just two passenger routes between Hong Kong and the mainland. It will now be able to take over Dragonair's 23 mainland routes. As part of the deal, Cathay will also spend HK$4.7 billion (US$605.5 million) to double its stake in Air China to 20 per cent. In return, Air China will pay HK$5.39 billion (US$694.4 million) for 10 per cent of Cathay. Cathay Pacific and Air China also said they planned to set up a joint cargo airline based in Shanghai. A total of 51 per cent of that firm will be owned by Air China, with 49 per cent owned by Cathay. Neither company has disclosed further details about the new airline. "Gaining mainland access will give unlimited possibilities to Cathay Pacific, and I believe it will have the ability to turn around any unprofitable routes that Dragonair currently has, and reduce its costs significantly," said Peter Drolet, senior analyst at UOB Kay Hian, a Hong Kong-based stock brokerage house. Because of an earlier arrangement between Cathay and Dragonair, the former's presence on the mainland has been limited to passenger routes from Hong Kong to Beijing and Xiamen. But rumours about the company taking over Dragonair, which will keep its current branding under the new deal for at least six years, have been floating around for years. "The reshuffle of Cathay and Dragonair will reinforce the status of Hong Kong as an international aviation hub," said Steven Ip, secretary for economic development and labour in Hong Kong. "Hong Kong will be the main channel for foreign travellers to the mainland." Cathay, which already held a 17.8 per cent stake in Dragonair, is buying the shares that it does not own from its own parent, Swire Pacific, as well as CITIC Pacific and China National Aviation (CNAC) for HK$820 million (US$105.6 million) in cash and the remainder in new shares. The deal will see Swire's stake in Cathay pared from 46.3 per cent to 40 per cent, while CITIC Pacific's holding in Cathay will fall from 25.4 per cent to 17.50 per cent. Although its holding will decrease, Swire Pacific will remain Cathay Pacific's largest shareholder. Swire Chairman Christopher Pratt stressed at a press conference in Hong Kong that the firm has no intention to further reduce its stake. "Air China is a prestigious brand name in the mainland aviation industry and it is an invaluable opportunity for us to enlarge our shareholding in the company." The combination of Cathay's international reach and Dragonair's well established branding on the mainland will mean several airlines will face stiffer competition, especially Shanghai-based China Eastern and Guangzhou-based China Southern airlines, analysts said. ()



EU opens first office in Mongolia
2006-06-15 UB Post
The first permanent office of the European Union in Mongolia was opened in a brief ceremony in Ulaanbaatar on June 8. So far the EU office in Beijing had been looking after its affairs in Mongolia with staff from there making regular visits here. This will still continue but more and more work will be done locally in Mongolia. Mr Franz Jessen, Minister-Counsellor and Deputy Head of Delegation of the European Commission to China and Mongolia, described this opening of what he termed "a facilitation office" as an "important step" in furthering EU-Mongolia ties. Reminding the small but select gathering present on the occasion that the EU was currently Mongolia's biggest trade partner, Mr Jessen said that 90 percent of Mongolia's export to the EU were accorded preferential treatment. He hoped that with the opening of the present office, conditions would gradually be created when not just government departments but also "stakeholders in the wider society" would find it easier to make use of what the EU had to offer. The Mongolian Minister for Foreign Affairs, N. Enkhbold, replied to this in a brief speech. On two occasions he departed from his printed text, once to confirm that the government was indeed happy that the EU had seen the need to have an office in and for Mongolia. The other time he referred to this having been called a first step and reminded those present that "an ancient oriental proverb" had it that "even a journey of a thousand steps had to begin with a first step". Mongolia has greatly expanded its political and financial ties with the USA, Japan, and the European Union, while still remaining dependent on its two big neighbors, Russia and China, for the development of its economy and trade. It has also received generous funding from the International Monetary Fund and donor countries, but economic progress has been slow and growth has been hampered by corruption. In 1990 Mongolia abandoned its 70-year-old Soviet-style one-party system of government and embraced political and economic reforms. Democracy and privatization were enshrined in a new constitution, but the collapse of the economy after the withdrawal of Soviet support caused widespread poverty and unemployment. The EU is the world's largest provider of development aid, while the Commission alone is the world's third largest donor after the USA and Japan. The EU-Mongolia relationship is entering areas of new priorities in order to adapt to the postenlargement effects, notably by increasing the trade flow, expansion of transport network, new investment opportunities, environmental protection, cross-border cooperation as well as cooperation in the fields of Justice and Home Affairs. Prior to Mongolian political reforms in 1990, relations were very limited. However, since the beginning of these reforms and of the transition process in 1990, the EU has been very active and relations developed rapidly and positively. The EU is involved in national and regional cooperation and regards Mongolia as an important partner in developing these common ties even further. The overall aim of EU policies towards Mongolia is to foster enduring political, economic and cultural links as to ensure peace and security. The respect of democratic principles and human rights and the transition towards market economy are encouraged and supported. The EU recognizes Mongolia's commitment to these principles and will continue to help Mongolia in reaching the goals embodied in the transition process, particularly difficult due to climatic conditions, poor infrastructure, being a landlocked country as well as the status as developing country surrounded by two important neighbors. Nevertheless, among the countries in similar transition Mongolia is a leader on the way to democracy and a market economy but economic crises and natural disasters have proved to be serious setbacks. In view of the EU enlargement process eastwards, the number of EU countries sharing a border with partner countries will increase. This will influence the dialogue between EU and Mongolia as well. Central Asia figures high on the political agenda and Mongolia, being pro- European, is a case study for economic and political reform as the country has made important progress in consolidating its democratic institutions.

Enkhbayar to meet Putin in Shanghai
2006-06-15 UB Post
The President, N.Enkhbayar, left on June 14 to attend the sixth summit meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). He will meet high-level officials of the organization, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, in Shanghai. The specific dates for his planned visit to the Russian Federation will be decided during his meeting with Putin. The heads of state of the six SCO member countries will all be there at the meeting, along with observers and representatives from countries and international organizations that have established cooperative relations with the SCO. Established in 2001, the SCO comprises China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2004 and 2005, it accepted Mongolia, Iran, Pakistan and India as observers. Xinhua has reported a senior Mongolian official as saying that the SCO will certainly grow into an effective platform for cooperation in the Asian region. Expressing confidence about the broad prospect of the SCO, Samdan Enkhtsetseg, chief of the presidential press office, said that the economy in the SCO member countries, China and Russia in particular, has been enjoying a rapid development. He added that the organization is becoming more and more active and its prestige is growing on the international arena, and Mongolia hopes that the present summit will help promote cooperation and dialogue between SCO member states and observer countries.

Dutch prince visits
2006-06-14 Mongol Messenger
Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander and his wife Princess Maxima Zorreguieta are to pay an official June 14-18 visit. The princess is an Argentine of French, Spanish and Italian descent, and she married the prince in February 2002. They were invited to Mongolia by Prime Minister Ts. Elbegdorj when he visited the Netherlands last June. The prince is scheduled to meet Parliamentary Speaker Ts. Nyamdorj and Ulaanbaatar Mayor Ts. Batbayar and will visit Xac Bank, the National History Museum and Gandan monastery, Yarmag and Khan-Uul districts and the Khustai National Park.


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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