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
  3.7-7.7.2006, No. 122  
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Foreign Policy

President Hu urges restraint over missile test crisis
2006-07-07 China Daily
China is committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and opposed to any actions that might aggravate the situation, President Hu Jintao said yesterday. Hu made the remarks when talking to his US counterpart George W. Bush about Pyongyang's launch of several missiles on Wednesday. In the telephone conversation, Bush said that the United States was concerned about the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. Washington still adheres to the commitment of resolving the Korean Peninsula issue by diplomatic means, Bush was quoted as saying in a statement from China's Foreign Ministry. The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it had launched the missiles. It vowed to conduct more tests and threatened to use force if the international community tried to stop it. "We will go on with missile launch exercises as part of efforts to bolster deterrence for self-defence in the future, too," DPRK's official KCNA news agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying. "The DPRK will have no option but to take stronger physical actions of other forms should any other country dare take issue with the exercises and put pressure upon it." The DPRK reportedly launched at least six missiles from its east coast early on Wednesday, including a long-range Taepodong-2, which some experts said could hit Alaska. The Republic of Korea (ROK) press reported yesterday that the DPRK had three or four short- or medium-range missiles on launch pads ready for firing. US Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns told CNN yesterday that his country would work to muster international pressure on the DPRK to "cease and desist" such actions. Russia and China said only diplomacy could halt the DPRK's nuclear and rocket development programmes. Japan circulated a Security Council resolution that would ban any country from transferring funds, material and technology that could be used in the DPRK's missile programme. Hu said China is "deeply concerned" over the situation. "Under such a complicated situation, it is highly necessary for all the related parties to keep calm and show restraint," he said, adding that China is willing to continue negotiations with related parties on this issue. It is of vital importance for the realization of a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula and the maintenance of peace and stability on the peninsula to fully implement the joint statement adopted during the fourth round of Six-Party Talks last September, Hu said. He hoped all sides would create conditions for the resumption of the talks at an early date. Bush said the United States appreciated China's efforts to maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. US Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill will visit China today to discuss the missile issue, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news briefing. Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei and Hill will exchange views on how to promote the Six-Party Talks under current situation, Jiang said. "Facts prove that dialogue and consultation are effective ways to solve problems," said Jiang, noting that China would strive to ease tension through diplomacy.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State arrives in Beijing to discuss DPRK issue
2006-07-07 Xinhuanet
The U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill arrived in Beijing on Friday early morning to discuss Wednesday's test-firing of missiles by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). "I don't have much to say right now", Hill told reporters at the airport. Hill, who is also chief U.S. negotiator to the six-party talks on Korean nuclear issue, is scheduled to meet with China's Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei to discuss how to promote the six party talks under current situation, according to the information from Chinese Foreign Ministry. The official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Thursday that a spokesman for the DPRK Foreign Ministry confirmed that the DPRK had test-fired the missiles. During a phone conversation between Chinese President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart George W. Bush on Thursday evening, Hu told Bush that China is committed to maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and opposed to any actions that might intensify the situation. "Under such a complicated situation, it is highly necessary for all the related parties to keep calm and show restraint", Hu said.

Chinese vice premier to visit DPRK
2006-07-04 Xinhuanet
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu will head a Chinese good-will delegation for a visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) from July 10 to 15. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu made the remarks at a regular press conference here Tuesday. Jiang said Hui will also attend activities remembering the 45thanniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and DPRK. Jiang said Hui will pay the visit at the invitation of the DPRK government.

China, Montenegro forge diplomatic ties
2006-07-06 Xinhuanet
China and Montenegro on Thursday inked a joint communique to establish diplomatic ties. "The establishment of China-Montenegro diplomatic ties is a significant event in the history of bilateral relations," said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, following the signing of the joint communique by Li and his Montenegro's counterpart Miodrag Vlahovic. Montenegro is the 168th country to establish diplomatic relations with China, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry. China and Montenegro, in keeping with the interests and desire of the two peoples, have decided to establish diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level as from July 2006, the communique says. The two countries agreed in the communique to develop friendship and cooperation on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence. China respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Montenegro, it says. "Montenegro recognizes that there is but one China in the world, that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory," the communique says. Montenegro opposes "Taiwan independence" of any form and opposes Taiwan's accession to any international or regional organizations whose membership applies only to sovereign states, it adds. Montenegro vows not to establish official relations of any form or have any official exchanges with Taiwan, it says. China and Montenegro agree to provide each other with all the necessary assistance for the establishment and performance of the functions of their respective embassies on the basis of equality and mutual benefit and in accordance with international practice, the communique notes. "The communique spells out the common aspiration of the two peoples and conforms to the fundamental interests of them," Li said in the meeting with Vlahovic. "It lays a solid foundation for China-Montenegro relations in the new era." "We thank Montenegro for its opposition to "Taiwan independence" of any form and Taiwan's accession to any international or regional organizations accessible to sovereign states," Li said. Vlahovic appreciated China's prompt recognition of Montenegro's independence. Hailing China's vital role in international affairs, Vlahovic said Montenegro would like to develop mutually-beneficial cooperation with China in various fields. The Chinese government announced its recognition of Montenegro's sovereignty and independence on June 14 this year. Montenegro was admitted as the 192nd member of the United Nations on June 28. Montenegrin parliament Speaker Ranko Krivokapic declared the independence of Montenegro on June 3 after the parliament ratified the result of the independence referendum held on May 21. The declaration ended Montenegro's longtime union with Serbia since 1918.

China, others sign UN convention on electronic communications
2006-07-07 Xinhuanet
China, Singapore and Sri Lanka signed the United Nations Convention on the Use of Electronic Communications in International Contracts Thursday. The three countries joined the Central African Republic, Lebanon and Senegal as signatories. The Convention was prepared by the UN Commission on International Trade Law, and adopted by the General Assembly last November. As the core legal body of the UN system in the field of international trade law, the convention is aimed to enhance legal certainty and commercial predictability where electronic communications are used in international contracts. The convention also contains rules on how to locate a party in an electronic environment, and on how to determine the time and place of dispatch and receipt of electronic communications.

China says new UN secretary-general should be an Asian
2006-07-07 People's Daily
China on Thursday said it wants the next UN Secretary-General to be Asian. "China firmly believes that next UN Secretary-General should come from Asia and Asian countries will keep solidarity and coordinate the selection of a competent, prestigious Secretary-General, who is widely accepted by Asian countries," China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a news briefing. French Ambassador to the United Nations, Jean-Marc de La Sabliere, said Wednesday that the first "straw polls" for a new UN Secretary-General are due to be held in the UN Security Council by the middle of July. Sabliere, who is the Security Council president for July, told reporters at UN headquarters in New York that the UN Security Council hopes to submit the final candidate to the General Assembly either in late September or early October allowing the new Secretary-General several months to prepare before taking over the job at the beginning of next year. Jiang said the straw polls are unofficial consultations and are aimed at testing Security Council members' general reactions to different candidates. UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan's second five-year term will end on December 31. The UN charter allows the Security Council to nominate a candidate who is then be approved by the UN General Assembly.

Visit points to revival of Orthodox church - Mainland officials at Moscow religious talks vow to 'resolve issues of concern'
2006-07-07 SCMP
China's top official responsible for religious policies has sent out a strong signal that the revival of the Russian Orthodox Church on the mainland is making strides. In a meeting with Moscow Patriarch Aleksei II on Tuesday, State Administration of Religious Affairs director Ye Xiaowen pledged to "resolve issues of concern" to the Orthodox church, according to information released by the Moscow Patriarchy. Mr Ye led a delegation to a conference in Moscow on religion in modern society, organised by an inter-faith group in Russia, ahead of the first G8 meeting to be hosted by Russia next month. In his public appearance, Mr Ye made it clear that China would not compromise on the "independence" principle. The Orthodox Christian church must be self-governing, self-supporting and self-propagating along the same lines as the official Catholic and Protestant churches. As if to underscore that point, Mr Ye's delegation included Ma Yinglin , the new bishop of Yunnan , whose appointment was made without the Vatican's approval. Mr Ye expressed his thanks to Russia for not inviting the Dalai Lama to the conference, saying the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader was "not a simple religious activist, but one who intends to split the nation". Last year, a visit by the Dalai Lama to Russia prompted the central government to put on hold a process of improving conditions for those practising the Russian Orthodox faith in China. There are an estimated 12,000 Orthodox Christians on the mainland. Many of the 200 or so Orthodox Christians in Beijing trace their ancestry to Russian prisoners of war dating back to the late 17th century. But since the death of Orthodox priest Aleksandr Du Lifu in 2003, no clergy or congregation have been approved by the state. Russian President Vladimir Putin has appealed to President Hu Jintao to grant freedom of worship to the Orthodox Christians. The State Administration of Religious Affairs has set up an office of Orthodox affairs, headed by Wang Yanming, who was a member of the Moscow delegation. The revival of the Orthodox church hinges on the formation of a Chinese clergy, but authorities have been adamant that Chinese priests must be ordained by Chinese bishops. ()


Domestic Policy

43 killed in village explosion in Shanxi
2006-07-07 China Daily
A powerful explosion at a villager's home in Shanxi province killed 43 people and injured 28 others early Friday morning, Xinhua reported. Earlier reports put the death toll at 30, but it rises as rescue operation goes on. The blast, said to be triggered off by explosives stored home, occurred at about 6:30am at the home of a villager in Ningwu county, north China's Shanxi province.A county official said the villager's home caught fire first and then many villagers rushed there to help extinguish the blaze.Suddenly, an explosion occurred and 37 were killed in the explosion, and six more died in the process of medical treatment.Preliminary investigation found that the explosion was caused by illegally stored explosives in the fire, the official said. But it is unknown how much explosive the villager illegalled stored at his one-story house.Rescue efforts are underway there and local officials have rushed to the site to direct the rescue operation.The cause of the explosion is under further investigation, Xinhua reported.

677 abandoned chemical weapons found in N.E. China
2006-07-06 People's Daily
A total of 677 chemical weapons have been found in Suihua City, northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, from June 26 to July 2. Around 600 of the 677 were discovered on July 1, said Liu Yiren, head of the office in charge of abandoned weapons with the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The weapons have been initially identified as having been abandoned by Japanese troops at the end of World War II. The batch of chemical weapons have been transferred to a safe place near the discovery site. On Wednesday, a team of experts from Japan and China began to excavate a pit at Ning'an City of Heilongjiang Province, recovering 31 Japanese bombs with seven confirmed to be chemical weapons. The Foreign Ministry said Japan abandoned at least two million tons of chemical weapons in China. More than 2,000 Chinese people have been killed by abandoned chemical weapons since the war ended in 1945.

At least 30 dead as storms continue
2006-07-06 People's Daily
At least 30 people have now died as a result of the powerful storms which continue to batter East China. Torrential rain has swept Anhui and Jiangsu provinces since the end of June, affecting more than 13 million people. Jiangsu is thought to be the hardest hit, with 8.9 million people affected by the storms, which have hit northern and central parts of the province since June 30. Xuzhou, Huai'an and Yancheng have even been struck by tornadoes. "So far, 27 people are reported dead, nearly 40,000 have been evacuated, and more than 8,400 houses have collapsed," said Zhao Jie, an official in charge of disaster relief with the Ministry of Civil Affairs, in a telephone interview. Anhui has also been assaulted by heavy rain and flooding. The province has experienced continuous rain since June 28, resulting in three deaths and more than 4.12 million people affected, said Wang Haili, an official with the provincial civil affairs department. More than 25,400 residents now face a shortage of drinking water and total damage amounts to 810 million yuan (US$101 million). The province has launched a natural disaster emergency response mechanism, sending working groups to flood-hit areas, mostly regions near the flood-prone Huaihe River, to organize flood prevention and relief operations. By yesterday, at least 44,400 people had been displaced, said Wang. In addition, Sichuan, Henan and Shandong provinces have also been hit by rainstorms since the end of June. Torrential rain will continue sweep across the provinces over the next couple of days, the Central Meteorological Office warned yesterday. In another development, the bodies of five railway workers, missing since a landslide in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday afternoon, were found yesterday morning. The find brought the landslide's total death toll to 10. Caused by torrential rain streaming down from nearby mountains, the landslide struck a railway bridge on the Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway in Turpan Autonomous Prefecture in Xinjiang Tuesday afternoon, killing five workers instantly and leaving one other injured. Normal services were restored on the railway yesterday.

Writethru: Summer climate disasters ravage China, killing at least 349
2006-07-04 Xinhuanet
Climate disasters frequently hit China this summer, killing at least 349 people in June while 99 others missing, and causing an economic loss of 20.2 billion yuan (about 2.53 billion U.S. dollars), according to the China Meteorological Administration (CMA). Wang Bangzhong, vice-director of disaster forecast and relief department of CMA, said Monday at a press conference that the most serious climate disasters during June were rainstorms which caused floods, landslides, mud-rock flow in a dozen of provinces, municipalities and autonomous region in south China. The rainstorm-related disasters killed at least 267 people while 99 other missing and caused total economic loss of 16.7 billion yuan (2.08 billion U.S. dollars). Continuous heavy rains since late May have also caused serious floods in Fujian, Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan, Guangdong, Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan provinces as well as Chongqing municipality. In Fujian Province, with the most serious flooding disaster, the rainstorms left 26 people dead and caused economic loss of 5.5 billion yuan (687.5 million U.S. dollars). China suffers floods every year during the June-to-August rainy season, during which rivers overflow and water rushes down mountains, often causing deadly landslides. While heavy rains were pouring down in south China, west and central parts of the country were attacked by severe drought due to rare rainfall and high temperature. In June, rainfall in Hubei Province, Henan Province and Chongqing Municipality reported only 30 to 50 percent of average. According to CMA statistics, the drought has affected water-supply for a total population of 12 million and damaged 1.5 million ha crop fields in the regions, with direct economic loss of more than 1 billion yuan (125 million U.S. dollars). Experts with CMA forecasted a heavy rainfall within the coming 10 days in west and north China. "The rainfall will ease the drought and hot weather in the area," the experts said. In addition, more than 20 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions across China suffered strong convection weather disasters such as thunder storm, hailstorm and tornado, which killed at least 82 people and caused 2.5 billion yuan (313 million U.S. dollars) direct economic loss. The CMA experts warned possible typhoon landing in late June, calling for full preparations in coastal areas, especially area near East China Sea. The first typhoon this year, Chanchu, landed at China on May 18, 40 days earlier than the average date in previous years. More typhoons will hit China this year partially due to the warm ocean current in the northwestern Pacific and high temperatures in the Qinghai-Tibet Autonomous Region, according to CMA experts. CMA data shows that typhoons caused about 23 billion yuan (2.88 billion U.S. dollars) of economic losses and 440 deaths from 1988 to 2004 in China.

Mainland gag would include foreign media
2006-06-04 SCMP
Foreign media would be bound by a proposed law that could see outlets fined 50,000 to 100,000 yuan for publishing unauthorised reports of emergencies, a vice-director of the State Council Legislative Affairs Office said yesterday. Wang Yongqing's remark was the first by a National People's Congress official that the proposed penalty would apply to overseas media, as well as Hong Kong outlets, which often play a leading role in exposing unreported public disasters, health hazards and mass riots on the mainland. Defending the law as a means to combat irresponsible journalism rather than to curb press freedom, Mr Wang said it would only be applicable if a media report caused "grave social consequences". The mainland has other laws to deal with issues such as state secrets, but the proposed legislation is the first to deal specifically with public emergencies. A draft is being reviewed by the NPC Standing Committee and is expected to be passed this year. Mr Wang said local governments had a duty to release timely information on public emergencies and manage how they were reported by the media. "The law is to prevent false reports. If a report is true, then it will not cause any of the so-called grave consequences and the media outlet should not be punished," he said. "If a local government is not releasing information [about an emergency], or if the release of information is delayed, or inaccurate, then I encourage you to expose it. "If they impose a fine on you, an administrative penalty is not final; you can sue them in court [to appeal against the fine]." But Mr Wang failed to explain clearly how it would be determined if a report was true if it was different from the official account - particularly given local governments' record of covering up or playing down public emergencies. The full text of the proposed legislation has not been released but published excerpts have sparked strong opposition from journalists. Mr Wang yesterday specifically said the media should not publish any unauthorised reports on earthquake alarms and large animal disease outbreaks. Some mainland newspapers, including the Southern Metropolis News and China Business News, criticized the law as backtracking and likely to encourage local governments to cover up emergencies. A media source said some media had been warned by propaganda department officials not to report on the public debate on the proposed law. Serenade Woo Lai-wan, chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists' Association, said the city's journalists already faced many restrictions when reporting on the mainland and the law would make their jobs more difficult. "The public has the right to know and reporters have the right to report," she said. "We are under one country, two systems. The two legal systems are different. I don't see why Hong Kong journalists have to follow this regulation."

Aids activist stabbed after corruption claim
2006-06-04 SCMP
An Aids patient-activist in Shangcai county, Henan - ground zero for China's HIV/Aids epidemic - has been stabbed in an apparent revenge attack for revealing corruption among health officials. Liu Xiaowu, 40, from Shilipu village, was stabbed in the back three times by an unknown assailant on June 15, four days after he complained to the Ministry of Health about health officials profiting from free medicine supplied by the central government. Mr Liu lost consciousness for three days from blood loss and was still receiving treatment yesterday at the county hospital. He said medical treatment for the stab wounds had cost him 8,000 yuan and the police had "not actively" tried to track down his attacker. Mr Liu has accused the head of his village's health institute, Zhou Xinzhi, of dealing in the free medicine given to HIV/Aids patients. "He buys the medicine from the village patients at 0.7 yuan per dose and resells it to a wholesale pharmaceutical store in the county for 6.9 yuan," he said. "Some villagers are not sick enough to take the drugs or need the money, so they are prepared to sell the medicine." More than 300 patients in Shilipu are given free treatment for HIV/Aids. Mr Liu and a few other villagers had repeatedly lodged complaints about Mr Zhou with the Shangcai county Health Bureau, but had not received a response. Mr Liu then took the issue to the Ministry of Health and was summoned - along with several Aids patients - four days later to the county's Centre for Disease Control and Prevention for regular viral load testing. He was attacked after the meeting. Mr Liu took part in a 2002 epidemiological survey of HIV/Aids in the Henan countryside, which revealed cover-ups about the diseases in many parts of the province.



President Hu expects Qinghai-Tibet Railway to prosper China's west
2006-07-03 Xinhuanet
Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged local officials to get hold of the opportunities brought by the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to bolster the prosperity and ethnic unity in the country's west areas. The railway stretches 1,956 km from Xining, provincial capital of Qinghai, to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It went into operation on Saturday. Right after the celebration marking the launching of the railway, the president got on a train Saturday noon to inspect the construction and operation of the railway, praising the contribution of workers in the past years to construct the highest rail in the world. Some 960 km of the railway's tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters. Actually, a section of 814 km from Xining to Golmud began operation in 1984 and the Golmud-Lhasa section started construction on June 29, 2001. Hu asked local officials to make full use of resources to accelerate economic and social development and improve the people's living standard. In the meantime, the environment should be protected well for the benefit of future generations. At a railway station, Hu visited the control rooms for the operation of trains and tracks, and asked about the living and working conditions of railway staff in the plateau areas, wishing them good health and calling on them to contribute more to the country's railway contribution.



Chinese airline to buy 50 Airbus jets
2006-07-07 China Daily
China Southern Airlines Co., one of China's three biggest carriers, said Friday it has agreed to buy 50 Airbus A320 aircraft. The airline signed an agreement to buy the planes Thursday after its board approved the purchase, it said in a statement published in the China Securities Journal. Total catalog price of the medium-range jets totals 26.53 billion yuan (US$3.3 billion), but the airline said it would pay less, without giving an exact amount. The 50 planes will be delivered to the airline from 2009 to 2010. The deal, however, is still subject to approval by the airline's shareholders, according to the statement. China Southern said it will submit the purchasing plan to an upcoming shareholders' meeting for review. It didn't give the date of the meeting. Rival airline China Eastern Airlines Co. last week announced the purchase of 30 Airbus 320s. The announcements came after the Chinese government said last month that it has approved Airbus's plan to open an assembly plant for A320s in the northern city of Tianjin. Airbus, based in Toulouse, France, and its U.S. rival, Chicago-based Boeing Co., are looking to China's growing aviation market to drive sales in coming decades. The purchase announced late Monday appeared to be part of a 150-aircraft order from Airbus by six Chinese airlines, announced during a visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to France in December. Wen's first stop in France was the Airbus production base in the southern city of Toulouse. Airbus has in the past taken about one-third of China's aircraft orders, with Boeing winning about 60 percent. The airline also said it would fund the deal with bank loans, but hasn't yet signed any agreement with any bank to raise the funds. China Southern is one of China's three biggest airlines in terms of traffic, along with Air China Ltd. and China Eastern Airlines Corp.


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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