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
  18.9-22.9.2006, No. 133  
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Foreign Policy

China, U.S. launch strategic economic dialogue
2006-09-20 Xinhuanet
Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and U.S. Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson announced on Wednesday the establishment of a China-U.S. economic strategic dialogue. "The dialogue will occur at the highest official levels and is the first of its kind," said a fact sheet accompanying the joint statement on the dialogue. Wu and Paulson will co-chair the dialogue as special representatives of Chinese President Hu Jintao and U.S. President George W. Bush. It will examine long-term strategic issues, and provide coordination among specialized continuing dialogues. They said the two nations should enhance the strategic dialogue in the economic field, which is conducive to bilateral economic cooperation and the two countries' constructive and cooperative relations. The dialogue will also have positive influence on global economic development and international security, they said. The dialogue mechanism was established according to a consensus between the two presidents, said Wu. "What the Chinese government do and the pace of change is remarkable," Paulson said. "This time I came here to encourage Chinese leaders to move forward the reform and get the Chinese capital market reform quicker." Depicting the dialogue mechanism as a "unique opportunity and great initiative" to "reflect the 21st century global economy and redefine the U.S.-China economic relationship", Paulson said he would work with the Chinese leadership to make this dialogue "practical", and strengthen the long-term economic relationship between the two countries. The dialogue will convene semi-annually in Beijing and Washington, with the first meeting to be held before the end of 2006. Paulson noted the launching of the mechanism sends a message that the two countries are working to establish a "mutually beneficial relationship" to decrease economic risks, as well as political and security risks. He also called on the two countries, as "global economic leaders", to treat global economic challenges in a "responsive, constructive and creative way." The existing China-U.S. dialogue and consultation mechanisms, such as Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, Joint Economic Committee and Joint Commission on Science and Technology, will remain unchanged, said the joint statement on the new dialogue. "The new mechanism is a rational choice for China and the United States," said Mei Xinyu from the Trade Research Institute of the Ministry of Commerce. "The mechanism provides a good opportunity for both sides to fully contact and exchange views with each other, and will play a positive role in ameliorating communicative channels and reducing conflicts between the two sides," he said. ()

China, Japan to hold 6th round of strategic dialogue
2006-09-21 Xinhuanet
China and Japan will hold the sixth round of strategic dialogue in Tokyo on Sept. 23 and 24, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman announced Thursday.Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Japanese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs Yachi Shotaro would head the two delegations to the meeting, spokesman Qin Gang said. "China would like to take this opportunity to exchange views with Japan on bilateral ties and other issues of common concern," Qin said. It was still unknown whether Dai would meet with Shinzo Abe, the newly-elected President of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party, Qin said. China and Japan held the previous five rounds of strategic dialogue in May, June and October last year, and February and May this year.

China opposes sanction on DPRK
2006-09-20 Xinhuanet
China is opposed to financial sanctions on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), said Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang on Tuesday, warning against further complication of the thorny issue. The spokesman, in a comment on Japan's newly-approved financial sanctions on the DPRK, urged all sides in the six-party nuclear talks to keep calm and exercise restraint. China has always maintained that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula should be solved through dialogues, Qin told a press briefing. "All parties concerned should focus on how to resume the talks as soon as possible and avoid any action that may further complicate the situation," the spokesman said. He said that the situation on the peninsula is sensitive and complicated, calling for efforts to ease the tension. However, Qin said that China has no plan to attend a 10-nation meeting proposed by the United States on the nuclear issue. Tuesday marked the first anniversary of the Joint Statement of the six-party talks. The statement, adopted at the end of the fourth round of talks on Sept. 19, 2005, was regarded as the most substantial document since talks began in August 2003. The statement offered a framework for solving the nuclear issue through dialogues, Qin said, urging all parties to make efforts to implement the statement. The six-party talks, involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan, have stalled after the first phase of the fifth round of talks ended last November.

China calls for diplomacy on Iran nuclear issue
2006-09-20 Xinhuanet
All parties involved in the Iran nuclear issue should maintain diplomatic negotiations and dialogue, and promote a peaceful resolution, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang on Tuesday. Qin said all sides should make the most of the opportunity provided by the negotiations between the European Union and Iran, which were making progress. French President Jacques Chirac on Monday urged the six major powers involved the issue -- Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the United States -- not to refer Iran to the UN Security Council, and to find an agenda for negotiation, then engage in the negotiations. A peaceful resolution of the Iran nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations was the common will of the international community, Qin said, adding it was also in the interests of all parties and the "best option". He called for all parties to show patience and calm, and maintain the momentum of diplomatic negotiations and dialogues. Referring to reports that Iran is jointly carrying out nuclear programs with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Qin said the Chinese government hoped all the measures would promote the diplomatic negotiations, and help resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Iran nuclear issue peacefully.

More peacekeepers head to Lebanon
2006-09-19 China Daily
The nation will increase the strength of its peacekeeping force in Lebanon to 1,000 from fewer than 200 now to try and achieve stability in the country, Premier Wen Jiabao said yesterday. "China is very concerned about the situation in Lebanon and hopes it can be fully resolved," Wen said at a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi after a one-hour closed-door meeting. The announcement came as the United Nations peacekeeping force is being expanded to uphold a shaky truce between Israel and the Hezbollah guerrillas. China sent 182 peacekeepers to Lebanon at the start of the year, its first peacekeeping contingent to the Middle East, before the clashes erupted in July between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hezbollah. Wen also said that the country would offer humanitarian assistance in materials worth 40 million yuan (US$5 million) to Lebanon, half of which has already been provided. Prodi praised China for sending more peacekeepers, saying it shows that "China is assuming more and more international responsibilities." Prodi began a six-day official visit last Wednesday, which took him to major Chinese cities such as Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Tianjin. The capital is the last stop on his trip. Speaking at the news conference, Prodi said his country was inclined to supporting the end of a 17-year-old ban on arms sales China. Italy is "leaning towards lifting the embargo on arms sales to China," he said. The embargo was imposed by the European Union (EU) in 1989 and Beijing has repeatedly tried to get the ban lifted, calling it a "Cold War relic." France is in favour, but others in the 25-nation EU have failed to reach agreement. Prodi also expressed support for China's efforts to win market economy status, which would help the nation avoid dumping allegations. "We should resolve this issue as quickly as possible because it can't wait," said Prodi, a former European Commission president. China is the first non-EU country that Prodi chose to visit since he became Italy's prime minister. Observers consider his trip a part of Rome's new quest to improve political relations with Beijing and search for business opportunities in the fast-growing economy. Accompanying him is a large delegation comprising government officials and more than 700 business leaders. In an article published after assuming the post of the prime minister, Prodi said he plans to turn Italy into a "Door to the East" with a plan that includes expanding the country's business presence in China and attracting Chinese investment into the euro zone's third-largest economy. "I have taken note of Mr Prodi's words," Wen told reporters. "I want to stress here that China's door is open to Italy and the whole world as well." Wen said he hopes the Italian government can continue to play a constructive role in China-EU relations. During the talks, the two leaders agreed to make efforts to balance trade between the two countries, expand mutual investment in various fields and increase cooperation between small enterprises. They also witnessed the signing of 15 documents concerning partnerships between the two countries.

Belgian PM meets Chinese Vice-Premier
Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt met here on Thursday with visiting Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan, vowing to boost the relations between China and Belgium. During the meeting, Zeng lauded the smooth development of the bilateral relations, according to Chinese diplomats. Zeng said this year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and Belgium, and the bilateral ties have witnessed "satisfactory" development. The vice-premier noted that the bilateral cooperation has been deepened in a wide range of fields like trade and economic cooperation, investment, finance, environment protection, culture and education. The Chinese side was willing to join hands with the Belgian side to elevate and expand cooperation in various fields like telecommunications, nuclear energy, bio-pharmacy and logistics, said Zeng. Zeng also spoke highly of the Belgian government's adherence to the one-China policy. Zeng said China has always attached great importance to Belgium, and China takes Belgium as a vital cooperation partner within the European Union (EU). China was willing to join hands with EU member states including Belgium, to promote the China-EU ties into a higher level, he added. Guy Verhofstadt, on his part, also spoke highly of the marked achievements Belgium and China had scored in various fields like politics, trade and economic cooperation, according to Chinese diplomats. He said Belgium values its relations with China, extending the hope for continuing high-level dialogue as well as for boosting the bilateral cooperation in an all-around manner. After the meeting, the two sides signed two pacts, one on nuclear technology cooperation, and the other on strategic investment cooperation. Zeng arrived in Brussels on Thursday afternoon for a four-day official visit.

China supports Margaret Chan's candidacy for WHO chief
2006-09-18 Xinhuanet
China reiterated its full backing for Margaret Chan's candidacy for the position of director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) here Monday, adding the preparatory work is well under way. State councilor Tang Jiaxuan told Chan the central government attached great importance to her bid and fully supported her candidacy. Chan currently serves as WHO assistant director-general for communicable diseases. The election for director-general will take place in November this year. Tang said the government believed Chan was fully competent for the position with her outstanding talents and rich experience. At present, the preparatory work was going well and quite efficiently, Tang said, expressing his hope Chan would make persistent efforts for final success. Chan said she would prepare well for the election campaign, vowing to do her utmost to make greater a contribution to world health development if she succeeded. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing also met with Margaret Chan on Sunday and expressed his hope that she would make persistent efforts based on the preparatory work and successfully run for the top WHO position. Li said the WHO undertook responsibility for safeguarding health around the world, and the government actively supported Chan's bid. In 1994, Dr. Chan was appointed as the first female Director of Health in Hong Kong and gained experience in combating infectious diseases like avian influenza and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). In 2003, she joined the WHO as director of the Department of Protection of the Human Environment. In June 2005, she was appointed director of Communicable Diseases Surveillance and Response as well as representative of the Director-General for Pandemic Influenza. Thirteen candidates are in the running and the winner will replace Lee Jong-Wook of South Korea, who died suddenly in May.

Chinese Muslim leader expresses anger over Pope for speech against Islam's Prophet
2006-09-18 Xinhuanet
The head of China's Muslim society expressed on Monday his deep anger over remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI on Sept. 12, when he cited the words of a Byzantine emperor who characterized some of the teachings of Islam's Prophet Muhammad as "evil and inhuman". "In his speech, Benedict had insulted both Islam and the Prophet Muhammad," said Chen Guangyuan, president of Islamic Association of China in an exclusive interview with Xinhua. "This has gravely hurt the feelings of the Muslims across the world, including those from China," Chen said. "Both the Islamic Association of China and Chinese Muslim would here express their anger and condemnation over Benedict's words," he said. "We strongly request Pope Benedict XVI to immediately take back his words and apologize openly and in person," said the president. Actually, Chen said, the Islam is a religion which advocates peace, tranquility, tolerance and benignity. "Prophet Muhammad is an emissary of peace who had devoted his whole life to promote and practise the mission of peace, tolerance and benignity," he said. "We did not send you for the reason other than to symbolize and serve as an embodiment of mercy, which God has extended to all His Creatures," Chen quoted Allah, who assigned missions for Muhammad in Al-Quran, as saying. According to Chen, Prophet Muhammad had also made it clear that his only task is "guide and exercise mercy" to the people from across the world. "We will adhere to the aforesaid spirit promoted by Prophet Muhammad and hope that different religions and civilizations may respect each other, carry out dialogues equally and exist peacefully," he said. Benedict on Sunday said he was "deeply sorry" for his speech last week in Germany that offended Muslims, particularly his quoting of the medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of Islam's founder as "evil and inhuman" and referred to spreading Islam "by the sword." In a declaration released here Monday, the Peace Committee of Chinese Religious Circle condemned Benedict for his remarks against Islam and Prophet Muhammad. According to the declaration, Benedict's remarks had not only hurt the feelings of Chinese Muslims, but also rendered negative effect on China's religions. "China's religious circles are greatly concerned about and express strong condemnation over the remarks," said the declaration. "Peace, security, accord and harmony are the common goal admired by the whole world," it said. "Various religions, including Islam, have all enjoyed long standing and wide influence as well as teachings of treating others equally, coexist with others harmoniously, run against violence and act with mercy and love." Although Rome has apologized to the Muslim worldwide, the declaration said, in order to prevent reoccurrence of similar case, "we here call for equal dialogues, mutual respect, peaceful coexistence under the principles of friendship, peace, development and cooperation." "All the confrontation remarks that help create confrontation between civilizations, religious conflicts and ethnic disputes will be grave betrayal to religious wisdom," it said.

China refutes criticism by Amnesty International on its efforts to improve human rights
2006-09-21 People's Daily
China on Thursday refuted the content of a report released by Amnesty International (AI) which criticizes its efforts to improve human rights. Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang made the remarks at a regular press conference when asked to comment on the new AI report which said China had failed to fulfil the promise it had made during its bid for the Olympic Games to improve human rights. Qin said the AI has always been prejudiced against China and "its reports are usually politically motivated". The AI, established in London on May 28, 1961, is an international human rights organization. Qin pointed out that it is a violation of the aims of the Olympic Games if any organization or individual intentionally attempts to politicize the event. Anyone who thinks China's determination to improve human rights was merely a ploy to be able to host the Olympic Games is simply revealing the poverty of his own heart and imagination, Qin said. Qin stressed that China sees the respect and protection of human rights as a lofty target to which it dedicates unremitting effort. The Chinese government is committed to promoting democracy and legal systems, building up a country that is ruled by law and striving for a fair, just and harmonious society so as to realize the all-round development of its people. Preparation work is progressing smoothly, said Qin. China is fulfilling the promises it made during its bid for the Olympic Games and will continue to do so. China is confident that it has the capacity to host a successful Olympic Games, Qin added.


Domestic Policy

Number of cancer cases rises rapidly
2006-09-20 China Daily
The combined factors of improper diet and stress have increased the incidence of some highly fatal cancers in China, including colorectal and pancreatic cancers. During recent medical conferences, experts reported alarming growth of some forms of cancer and called on the public to guard against the diseases by changing unhealthy lifestyles and ensuring early detection.
The major killer: The Ministry of Health reported early this year that cancer has become the leading killer of Chinese. Cancer deaths have increased 29 per cent over the last 20 years. In Shanghai, colorectal cancer has become the most fatal cancer after lung cancer, surgeons reported at the Second International Colorectal Cancer Forum on Saturday. In 2000, the cancer was reported to have hit 40.8 Shanghai residents in every 10 0,0 0 0.Its incidence rate has increased by 4.2 per cent each year. "The cancer incidence rate in Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou almost equals that in Western countries, but the growth is twice the global figure," said Dr Xu Xinyu of Zhongshan Hospital. The same is true of pancreatic cancer, the most risky malignant tumour of the digestive system. Pancreatic cancer hits about 10 in every 100,000 people, foreign medical journals report. China's statistics are not available. "We have seen the number of patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer increase year by year around the country," said Professor Zhao Yupei, president of the Chinese Society of Surgery under the Chinese Medical Association, during the 11th China Pancreatic Surgery Conference held early this month in West China's Qinghai Province. The Beijing-based Peking Union Medical College Hospital reported that the number of pancreatic cancer patients admitted to the hospital is six times greater than five decades ago. ()

171 suffer from suspected food poisoning in NE school
2006-09-21 Xinhuanet
One hundred and seventy one students in a vocational school in northeast China's Heilongjiang Province may have come down with food poisoning Wednesday evening, local health authorities said on Thursday. The students developed symptoms of nausea and vomiting on Wednesday evening after they had supper at Qiqihar Medical School. A total of 171 students were taken to the No. 2 Hospital affiliated to Qiqihar Medical College from Wednesday night to Thursday noon, said a doctor at the hospital. One hundred and seventeen students have gone back to school, and the rest who are still receiving medical treatments are stable, said the doctor. Preliminary investigation showed that the students may have come down with food poisoning, but local health and disease prevention and control departments have taken food samples from the school meals over the last several days for further testing. The municipal government of Qiqihar has ordered a check-up of food safety at all schools immediately after the incident. Earlier on Monday, 223 high school students in northwest China's Shaanxi Province were hit by food poisoning after they ate their school lunch.

Petitioners publicise plight near embassy
2006-09-19 SCMP
A small group of petitioners gathered outside the information section of the US embassy in Beijing yesterday to draw foreign attention to their grievances against the central government. Only about eight protesters took part, but such displays are rare in a country where public protest is frowned upon and any dissent against the authorities can have grave consequences. One man in a wheelchair shouted, "We want rights!" and "We want to survive!" before the group was ushered into a police van as an officer videotaped the scene. A man, surnamed Zhao, said the petitioners had come from outside Beijing to report grievances to the government's Letters and Visits Office. Mr Zhao, who called himself a "person with sympathy for the petitioners", said the protest was prompted when an elderly petitioner from Heilongjiang was beaten to death by thugs in Beijing. "The petitioners wanted to send a signal to the international community ... of China's corrupt legal system," he said. Calls to the petitions office went unanswered.

Tiananmen protester released from prison
2006-09-22 SCMP
A factory worker has been released after serving 17 years in jail for setting fire to a military vehicle during the Tiananmen Square democracy protests in 1989. Zhang Maosheng was 21 in 1989 when he was sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of counterrevolutionary arson. His sentence was commuted to life in prison and then reduced several times for good behaviour. Of the 15,000 people sentenced to death or jail following the June 4, 1989, crackdown, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy says at least 200 people remain in jail.

Security crackdown on crime black spots - Sweep aims to clean up capital ahead of National Day holiday
2006-09-20 SCMP
Unregistered occupants of rented homes in Beijing face eviction if picked up by authorities in a rigorous three-day security inspection before next month's National Day holiday, according to the city's police department. The Beijing Public Security Bureau said the inspection of residency permits was due to end tomorrow and would cover 100 of the capital's more unsafe areas, which have a high proportion of transient people, a large amount of rental accommodation and frequent burglaries. Officers would go door-to-door inspecting identification papers and checking whether each police district had at least 50 residential security guards. Tenants without residential permits would have to move out immediately and landlords would face fines of up to 10 times their monthly rental income, the bureau said. An official said the inspection was aimed at making the city more secure for the upcoming National Day holiday. "During the holiday, many domestic and overseas tourists come to and from Beijing, so money and assets move more frequently. We are clearing the rented houses to clean up potentially unsafe spots, especially places on the border between urban and rural areas," he said. The areas were sometimes used by criminals without registration papers to "store drugs and pornographic discs". The official said: "We routinely inspect these suspect areas but more personnel will be deployed during this intensive examination." The inspection would assess whether residential areas had adequate monitoring systems, apartments had security devices to deter burglars, and car park attendants knew how to guard vehicles and register cars coming in and out of compounds. The inspection is not aimed at construction workers whose accommodation is usually arranged by contractors. A Beijing official also denied this week that the city would expel a million migrants working in the construction industry during the 2008 Olympics. Wu Senzhong, vice-director of the municipal people's congress' legal department, said on Monday there was an unsatisfactory level of criminal behavior among the migrant population. About two-thirds of people prosecuted in Beijing recently were not city residents and about half of the migrants appearing before the courts were involved in "illegal seizure of assets". According to the Public Order Administration Punishment Law, in effect since March, landlords can be fined up to 500 yuan if they let houses to people lacking proper identification, and can face up to five days in detention if they do not report crimes carried out by their tenants. The announcement of the sweep follows reports that burglaries in Beijing dropped by 7.1 per cent in the first half of this year compared with the same period last year. But burglaries in rented accommodation soared 28.2 per cent year on year, especially in zones between urban and rural areas.

Guangdong seeks tougher rules for foreign residents
2006-09-20 SCMP
Tougher controls on Guangdong's foreign population are being considered by authorities as the number of overstayers and crimes committed by foreigners rise. Sources with insight into the problem, who requested anonymity, said there were 1.2 million foreigners registered with police for short stays in Guangdong last year and an additional 45,400 with long-stay residence permits; police were struggling to manage them. The sources said China's law on foreigners was adequate for controlling entries and exits, but lacking when it came to managing resident foreigners. The law also does not specify how different departments should handle foreigners and they end up writing their own contradictory regulations. Moreover, Guangdong's border police are too understaffed and lack the foreign-language skills needed to handle foreigners. Foreigners mainly commit such offences as illegal entry, robbery, theft, fraud and smuggling. Of 21 smuggling cases cracked by customs in the first half of last year, 15 had to do with drugs, an increase of 27.5 per cent from 2004. A total of 53.9kg of drugs were seized from smugglers, who came mainly from Southeast Asia and Africa. Earlier this month, customs officials caught seven African drug mules and two other drug couriers at Baiyun International Airport. The complexities arising from diverse nationalities and religious practices was also a concern, but Guangdong's struggle to manage its foreign population had not reached a "critical" stage, one source said. The government has been urged to be wary of the global trend towards waiving visa requirements or simplifying visa application procedures and to strengthen controls. Most of the foreigners who entered and left Guangdong last year - a total of 8.5 million border crossings - were on valid visas and involved in normal business activities. But there were many overstayers and the number of illegal entries has risen by an average of 40 per cent a year in the past few years. "Some hope to live here permanently and some request to live together and to practice their religion collectively," the source said. Most foreigners in Guangzhou have no fixed address or jobs and are constantly on the move, making it difficult for police to control them. In 2001 there were about 2,400 overstayers. The number rose to about 6,300 last year, with most coming from the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. Nearly 13 per cent deliberately overstayed. Foreigners who posed the most "problems" also came from those regions. There are about 2,000 Americans registered with the US consulate and about 12,000 Japanese staying in Guangdong for at least three months, but the Japanese consulate said the unofficial number was much higher. A Nigerian embassy spokesman, who said that Nigerians were the most numerous of Africans in China, estimated that there were 2,000 to 3,000 people from the African nation in Guangdong, with 50 in jail for overstaying. Guangdong's Public Security Department declined to confirm the figures, but a police source said that registration of foreign residents failed to capture many who rented apartments or lived with friends. ()



Inhumane to cut off ethnic groups: official
2006-09-22 SCMP
Beijing has defended the opening of the first rail link to Tibet and its approach to indigenous issues, amid growing claims it is accelerating cultural assimilation of ethnic minorities. State Ethnic Affairs Commission vice-minister Tondrub Wangben said it would be a grave mistake to isolate any ethnic group in the name of cultural preservation and deny them their right to pursue economic prosperity. "If an ethnic group is to be cut off from the outside world and be admired simply because of its unique culture, I would say it is inhumane even though it may preserve [the group's] originality," he said at a briefing on government policy towards the 55 ethnic minorities. "We must take development into consideration when talking about the inheritance of culture." Mr Tondrub made the remarks when asked about the impact on local ethnic groups from infrastructure projects, such as the Qinghai-Tibet railway, which opened in July, and the controversial hydroelectric projects in Yunnan and Sichuan. "Protecting the culture of various ethnic groups has become a global issue and also the biggest challenge for many countries." Without giving details, he said, "Some indigenous people had been isolated in certain countries to live a primitive life exactly the same as their ancestors". The 1,142km Lhasa rail link, cutting across the world's highest plateau and one of its most fragile ecosystems, has drawn fire from environmentalists and other rights groups that view the project as another attempt by Beijing to strengthen Han Chinese domination and the cultural assimilation of the Tibetan ethnic minority. Hydropower plants, especially those proposed for Yunnan, have been criticised by activists as stripping the local people, mostly ethnic minorities, of their livelihoods and traditional cultures. But Mr Tondrub warned that overdevelopment of tourism in ethnic minority regions could have a negative impact, citing the examples of Lijiang in Yunnan and Jiuzhaigou in Sichuan, both popular tourist destinations featuring the culture of Tibetan and other ethnic groups. He promised to significantly increase investment to preserve the culture of ethnic minorities, but declined to give any figures.



China to become 3rd biggest car producer
2006-09-20 Xinhuanet
China will replace Germany this year as the world's third largest maker of cars and vans, according to a report of market research released Tuesday. China will produce about 5.9 million light vehicles this year, outpacing Germany's 5.38 million, according to figures released by Polk Marketing Systems, a key car market research and consulting company based in the German city of Essen. The capacity of both countries is so far well behind United States (11 million) and Japan (10.63 million), but Polk said China would reach the level of 10 million within a decade. The Polk study indicates worldwide car and van production this year would reach a record of more than 64 million.



Enkhbold meets Bush
2006-09-21 UB Post
Prime Minister M.Enkhbold, who is taking part in the 61st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, met with President GeorgeW.Bush while he attended a r o u n d t a b l e meeting of .Partners in Democracy. in NewYork City. Heads of state and heads of governments from Mongolia, L i t h u a n i a , M a c e d o n i a , Syria, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Finland, Georgia, Italy, Croatia, and Malaysia attended the meeting, which was chaired by the US President. The one-hour discussions focused on the ways of cooperation between the government and the civil society to strengthen the forces of democracy in a country. Representatives from civil society organizations in Belarus and Georgia also took part in the meeting. Mongolia will also participate in the 30th annual meeting of the Ministers for ForeignAffairs of the Group of 77 to be held on September 22. This international group of developing countries was established in June 1964 and even though its membership has increased today to 131 countries, it has retained its initial name. G-77 is the largest coalition in the United Nations. It works to promote its members. collective economic interests and to enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues in the United Nations, and to promote economic and technical cooperation among developing countries.

Enkhbayar attends NAM summit
2006-09-21 UB Post
President N.Enkhbayar led the Mongolian delegation to the recent summit meeting of the118 member-nations of the Non-aligned Movement in Havana, Cuba. The meeting is held once every two years during the regular session of theUNGeneralAssembly. A meeting of the group of landlocked countries in NAM was held on the sidelines of the main summit. This meeting provides a platform for these countries to draw attention to their special situation and the difficulties facing them, and to demand special treatment at talks held within the scope of the World Trade Organization. Speaking at the meeting, N.Enkhbayar stressed the importance of alleviating the trade and transportation problems facing Mongolia. He referred to Mongolia.s efforts to conclude a general agreement on transitional transportation with its two neighboring countries, China and Russia. Mongolia joined the Non-Aligned Movement in 1986 as a guest, in 1988 as an observer, and finally in 1991 it was recognized as a full member. President Enkhbayar has proposed Ulaanbaatar as the venue for the next summit meeting in 2007

Scholarship competitions
2006-09-20 Mongol Messenger
The Zorig Foundation and SDC (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation) are offering 150 scholarships covering up to 80 percent of the tuition fees for Mongolian university students who have financial difficulty. There are 120 scholarships for students in Ulaanbaatar, 24 for students in Khovd universities and 6 for students in Gobi-Altai universities.

Mining forum positive
2006-09-20 Mongol Messenger
The Discover Mongolia 2006 investment forum was held in Ulaanbaatar, September 12-13, with about 400 representatives of over 170 companies from 13 countries. Deputy Prime Minister M. Enkhsaikhan said that the government was keen to stabilize the business environment to ensure secure minerals investment.


Alert on China border sparks Kim talk: report
2006-09-14 SCMP
Security authorities have been put on alert in China's northeastern city of Dandong, sparking speculation of an imminent visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to Beijing, a news report said on Thursday. South Korea's independent Hankyoreh daily quoted a source in Dandong as saying that a security alert has been issued in the city for three days between Wednesday and Friday. Dandong, linked by a river bridge to North Korea's border town of Shinuiju, is the normal point of entry when Mr Kim visits China by rail. He is known to shun flights. "Chinese security authorities there were put on alert for three days from Wednesday through to Friday," the source said. "This might be a signal that Kim Jong-Il's visit to China might be imminent," the source was quoted as saying. South Korean officials declined to comment on the news report. "We are not in a position to comment," a spokesman for the Unification Ministry said. Speculation about a possible visit has been brewing since mid-August, amid efforts to revive six-nation talks on North Korea's nuclear programme involving China, the two Koreas, the United States, Russia and Japan. But China said last week it had not made any arrangements for a visit by the reclusive leader. If confirmed, it would be his first visit to China since January. Mr Kim is known to have visited China four times since 2000. Each time, neither nation acknowledged the trip until after he returned home. North Korea sparked regional concern and international condemnation in July for test-firing seven missiles. There have also been media reports that it is considering a nuclear weapons test. The United States has stepped up pressure on China to take stronger action over the missiles and to urge North Korea to return to the six-nation talks. Pyongyang says it will not return to the forum unless US financial sanctions against it are removed, warning it would take "all necessary counter-measures."


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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