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
  25.8-31.8.2007, No. 180  
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Table of contents

Beijing Olympics

North Korea- Six-Party Talks

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Foreign Policy

Merkel pushes rights issue after meeting mainland journalists (SCMP)
German Chancellor Angela Merkel emphasised the importance of respecting human rights yesterday after meeting four mainland journalists. "The issue of human rights is of vital importance from our point of view," Dr Merkel told an audience at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on her second full day of a visit to the mainland. Dr Merkel earlier met journalists, including Li Datong, who became something of an icon of free speech last year after he lost his job as editor of a hard-hitting weekly supplement in the mass-circulation China Youth Daily. (…) Apart from Li, Dr Merkel also met Zhao Mu, a well-known blogger, He Yanguang, a prominent photographer, and Zhan Jiang, a journalism professor, according to a German embassy spokesman. (…) On Monday, the German leader raised human rights and other controversial issues, such as climate change, counterfeit products and substandard mainland exports, during meetings with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao. ^ top ^

Premier Wen tells Merkel China opposes hackers (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao told visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday that the Chinese government would cooperate closely with Germany to prevent computer hackers operating across international boundaries. Wen was responding to a reporter's question concerning a reported Chinese hacker's attack on the computer networks of the German government. "The Chinese government attaches great importance to the hacker attack on the German government networks," Wen said, adding China would take "determined" and "forceful" measures to combat hacker activities. (…). ^ top ^

Japan urged to be prudent on Taiwan (China Daily)
Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan Thursday urged Japan to recognize the sensitivity of the Taiwan question and stick to the one-China policy - to which top leaders in Tokyo responded positively.(…) He said China hopes that Japan will have no official contact with Taiwan and not send any wrong signals to the separatists. Cao is on a five-day official visit to Japan, the first by a Chinese defense minister to the country in nine years. The two countries agreed to launch a study group on setting up a military hotline. They also reached an agreement on Komura's visit to China next year, and Cao invited Japan to observe a Chinese military exercise next month. To enhance military exchanges and promote mutual trust, a Chinese navy fleet will visit Japan in November or December. (…) On the Taiwan question, Abe said Japan does not support any remarks or actions that would unilaterally alter the status quo across the Taiwan Straits. Cao on Thursday also met Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura. ^ top ^

Chinese top advisor meets former Japanese PM (Xinhua)
Chinese top advisor Jia Qinglin met here Sunday with former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori, proposing that the two countries should seize key opportunities to step up the development of bilateral relations. Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said the two sides should strengthen political trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation and expand common interests. (…) Agreeing with Jia's view on bilateral relations, Yoshiro Mori said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made a successful visit to Japan in April and that the two sides should use the chance and open a new stage for bilateral ties. (…). ^ top ^

UK Minister Presses China On Human Rights, Darfur (Wall Street Journal)
A U.K. minister said Thursday he pressured China to improve its human rights record, telling officials a failure to do so could affect their staging of next year's Olympic Games. Lord Mark Malloch Brown, Britain's minister for Africa, Asia, and the United Nations, also appealed to China to help persuade the Sudanese government to negotiate with the African country's rebel groups. "It is critical for us to go on reminding China that there is still very significant progress in our view to be made on the human rights side," Malloch Brown said. (…) Malloch Brown urged his Chinese counterparts to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and raised the case of self-trained lawyer Chen Guangcheng, whose attorneys say he was jailed in retaliation for his activism. (…)Chinese officials told Malloch Brown they would "look into it," he said. Malloch Brown arrived Tuesday for a two-day visit that included a meeting with China's special envoy on Darfur, Liu Guijing. He was to meet Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi later Thursday before heading back to London. On Darfur, Malloch Brown said he made an appeal to China to help bring the government to the negotiating table with the rebels and hammer out a peace agreement. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese selected to lead UN peacekeeping force in W Sahara (Xinhua)
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Monday appointed Major-General Zhao Jingmin as the new Force Commander for the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO). Maj.-Gen. Zhao succeeds Gen. Kurt Mosgaard of Denmark, who will complete his tour of duty as Force Commander Monday, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters. It is the first time that the world body has had a Chinese national to head one of its missions. (…). ^ top ^

China, ROK leaders meet on bilateral ties, NE Asia peace (Xinhua)
Some 50 leaders from China and the People's Republic of Korea (ROK) met here Tuesday for discussions on bilateral ties and peace and security in northeast Asia. (…) Luo Haocai, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top advisory body, addressed the one-day forum, which is jointly hosted by the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA) and the 21st Century Korea-China Exchange Association.(…) ROK's former Prime Minister Lee Soo-Sung, President of the CPIFA Yang Wenchang, Chairman of the 21st Century Korea-China Exchange Association Kim Han-Kyu and ROK ambassador to China Kim Ha-joong also delivered speeches on the opening ceremony. ^ top ^

CPC delegation to visit 5 countries in Asia, Europe (People's Daily)
A delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC) left Urumqi, capital of northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Sunday night for a visit to five countries in Asia and Europe, including Tajikistan, Georgia, Macedonia, Albania and Turkmenistan. The delegation, led by Wang Jiarui, head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, went to visit the countries respectively at the invitation of the People's Democratic Party of Tajikistan, United National Movement of Georgia, Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity, Democratic Party of Albania, and Democratic Party of Turkmenistan. ^ top ^

China, Vietnam vow to promote military ties (People's Daily)
Liang Guanglie, chief of general staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) on Sunday met with Phung Quang Thanh, the Defense Minister of Vietnam. The two military leaders promised to further promote bilateral military ties. Liang, also a member of the Central Military Commission, said the China-Vietnam friendship and military exchanges are expanding to new width and depth, and that China is willing to join hands with Vietnam to further mutual trust and deepen bilateral cooperation. (…). ^ top ^

China sets route for 2nd West-East natural gas pipeline (China Daily)
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), China's largest oil producer, announced Monday that route of China's second West-East natural gas pipeline has been basically decided. The pipeline will go through 13 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities to transmit natural gas from central Asian countries, including Turkmenistan, and Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to energy-thirsty eastern and southern China, including East China's Shanghai and South China's Guangdong Province. Construction of the project will be launched in 2008 and natural gas supply will start in 2010. (…). ^ top ^

President calls for climate change to be on Apec agenda (SCMP)
Climate change is a priority for Beijing and should be on the agenda at the Asia-Pacific leaders summit next week, President Hu Jintao said during a phone conversation with Australian Prime Minister John Howard yesterday. (…) He supported discussion of the issue at the summit and hoped the delegates could reach an agreement that reflected their common ground, it added. The mainland is coming under increasing international pressure about its carbon dioxide emissions, which are expected to overtake those of the US by next year. But its leaders have rejected caps on output for fear they will curb economic growth. […]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Beijing surprises with five new ministers (SCMP)
The central government named five ministers yesterday in a sweeping reshuffle ahead of a key Communist Party meeting in October. The timing surprised some observers, since personnel changes had not been expected until March. Xinhua said the NPC Standing Committee had approved Jin Renqing's resignation as finance minister and his replacement by Xie Xuren , the director of the State Administration of Taxation. (…) The South China Morning Post reported this week that Mr Jin's departure from the Ministry of Finance was linked to a sex scandal in which a number of senior government officials had been implicated. (…) The new minister for state security is Geng Huichang , formerly deputy state security minister. (…) The Commission of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence - which sets policy for weapons procurement and helps manage the space programme - will also get new blood. Zhang Qingwei, second in command of China's manned space programme, will take over from Zhang Yunchuan. (…) Ma Wen, deputy secretary of the party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, will head the Supervision Ministry, led by Li Zhilun until his death. She will be one of only three women ministers. Yin Weimin moves up from vice-minister of personnel to head the Personnel Ministry. (…). ^ top ^

Congress date set; new team lined up - Mid-October start for party's key meeting (SCMP)
The Communist Party will start its 17th National Congress in Beijing on October 15, party leaders announced yesterday, and hinted strongly they had reached consensus on a new leadership lineup and key policies. The decision was made yesterday at a Politburo meeting chaired by President Hu Jintao , Xinhua reported. The party's Central Committee will hold a plenary meeting a week before the congress to set the agenda for the meeting. The party meeting will decide its new leaders and is a big opportunity for Mr Hu, its general secretary, to further consolidate power and set policy goals for the coming five years. (…). ^ top ^

Cyber-dissident held in Zhejiang (SCMP)
Cyber-dissident Lu Gengsong, was detained by police in Zhejiang province , a rights watchdog says. Mr Lu, 51, was picked up at his home on Friday in Hangzhou as part of a crackdown ahead of this year's Communist Party Congress and the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Chinese Human Rights Defenders said. ^ top ^

Dissident to be freed, says group (SCMP)
One of the mainland's longest-serving political prisoners, arrested during the early days of the 1989 Tiananmen pro-democracy protests, is expected to be released later this year, said a US-based rights group. Li Weihong was charged with hooliganism and sentenced to death in 1989 with a two-year reprieve. He is set to be released from prison on November 11, the Dui Hua Foundation said. ^ top ^

Foreign tourists stabbed (SCMP)
Two foreign tourists were stabbed yesterday in front of a hotel near Beijing's Tiananmen Square, Xinhua reported. The two, both women, were from Germany and Poland. They were rushed to hospital, where their condition was not life-threatening, the report said. Police had detained a suspect, a 34-year-old man from Hebei. ^ top ^

Villagers hurt in clash with police (SCMP)
At least seven residents of Dongzhou township in Shanwei, Guangdong province, were injured as a result of a confrontation with armed police on Friday, villagers said yesterday. A resident who gave his name as Huang said villagers wanted to stop construction workers building power lines from a local electricity plant across their fields. He said officials had hired local thugs to stop the protesters and called in the police on Friday to disperse them. He accused local officials of illegally taking over villagers' land in building the power plant and not paying them proper compensation. (…). ^ top ^

Cities' low-income earners to get housing (SCMP)
Plans are afoot to provide housing to low income earners in eastern provinces by next year as the central government tries to bridge the widening wealth gap. A national housing conference last week, chaired by Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan , also reiterated a promise to provide for the urban poor nationwide by 2010. The government also intends to hand out housing subsidies to urban low income earners - most of them recipients of the minimum living allowance - by next year. "The problem of housing is directly related to the enhancement of people's living standards," Mr Zeng was quoted by Xinhua as telling the conference. (…) Beijing is announcing a raft of measures to address public grievances caused by insufficient social welfare, including medical insurance and housing, in the run-up to the 17th Communist Party congress in autumn, when the party will highlight its "People's First" policies as achievements. The low rent housing only targets urban residents, but Mr Zeng also made vague promises to improve the living conditions for migrant workers. (…). ^ top ^

Gansu to bring in reforms that put farmers on an equal footing (SCMP)
A Gansu county has introduced an ambitious reform of household registration that abandons all social discrimination against farmers, regardless of the central government's caution on the issue. The reform, endorsed by the government of the Subei Mongolian Autonomous County and supervised by the local social security bureau, went into effect last week, the Lanzhou Morning Post reported. The entire rural population of the county, or more than 4,000 farmers, will receive a new household registration paper, or hukou, by the end of the year identical to those held by urban residents. With that document, the farmers will be allowed to participate in urban residents' social welfare schemes covering education, employment, social security, housing, medical insurance and birth control. (…). ^ top ^

Taiwan books to be available in mainland bookstores (China Daily)
Books published by Taiwan publishers, subject to restrictions on the Chinese mainland, are now expected for sale in mainland bookstores for the first time. The third Cross-Straits Book Fair will open in Xiamen, a costal city of East China's Fujian Province, from October 26 to 31. (…). ^ top ^

Laws on handling disasters and creating jobs passed (SCMP)
Legislators have adopted a controversial law regulating responses to emergencies and another promoting employment and equal opportunities. The Emergency Response Law was adopted by a unanimous vote of the National People's Congress Standing Committee, but without a hotly disputed clause that would have severely restricted the media's freedom to report on domestic crises. Also adopted was the Employment Promotion Law, which aims to set up a "long-term systemic framework of promoting employment by governmental actions and policies", committee members told a press conference after the meeting closed. (…) The Standing Committee also adopted the Animal Epidemic Prevention Law, which becomes effective on January 1. ^ top ^

China legislates to tolerate scientific failures (China Daily)
Chinese lawmakers are legislating for the first time to allow scientists to report failures during the process of innovation without blotting their records in future funding applications. They say they want to lift some of the pressure on scientists to report successes to create a better environment for making innovations. Legislators are discussing a draft amendment to the Law on Science and Technology Progress that states: "Scientists and technicians, who have initiated research with a high risk of failure will still have their expenses covered if they can provide evidence that they have tried their best when they failed to achieve their goals." (…). ^ top ^

China to ban tobacco promotion by 2011 (Xinhua)
China, the world's largest tobacco producer and consumer, will ban all forms of tobacco promotion by January 2011. A ban on tobacco advertising has been in place since 1996, but firms have managed to sidestep the rules and promote their brands in other more subtle ways such as sponsoring sporting events, or using their logos without mentioning "cigarettes" on television, radio and in newspapers and magazines. (…)Yang Yan, a researcher with Chinese Center for Disease Prevention and Control, said 12 percent of deaths in China are caused by tobacco related illnesses, and by 2025, that figure will climb to 33 percent. ^ top ^

Rainfall dampens rescue efforts to reach 181 miners (Xinhua)
It rained again early on Thursday, but rescuers continued their efforts to pump out water from two flooded coal mines in a bid to reach 181 miners who have been trapped inside the coal mine shafts in Xintai, east China's Shandong Province, since 13 days. (…). ^ top ^

278 cities suffer untreated sewage (China Daily)
More than half of the population is living in an environment where sewage is not treated, an expert said. By the end of 2005, 278 cities across the country had no sewage treatment facilities, including eight with a population of more than 500,000, Zhao Baojiang, chairman of the China association of city planning, told a recent conference on sustainable sanitation held in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. About 5,000 administrative towns and 20,000 market towns also had no sewage treatment facilities, he was quoted as saying by (…) Members of the city's government leadership will not get promotion either said the province's deputy governor Zhang Dawei. ^ top ^

Hopes raised for 'extinct' river dolphin (SCMP)
A white-flag dolphin, the species that roamed its native Yangtze River for millions of years but was finally declared extinct last year, was spotted swimming in the wild this month. (…) The white-flag dolphin, or Bai Ji Tun in Chinese, has survived in the Yangtze for millions of years but was declared effectively extinct in December after a fruitless six-week search of the river by scientists from six countries. (…) August Pfluger, a Swiss economist-turned-naturalist who helped set up last year's failed expedition to find dolphins in the Yangtze, said the reported sighting was "a big surprise" and "incredibly fantastic news". (…). ^ top ^

Virtual Beijing police to patrol in cyber world (China Daily)
A policeman and a policewoman would be on duty around the clock on Beijing's gateway websites starting from Saturday, accepting complaints mainly about the cyber world. A Beijing netizen need only click the two cartoon police if he or she wants to report malicious information or pornographic websites. (…) Police would only take action on disputes on virtual assets and Internet accounts, which are common in China at present, if the accused people had breached the law, and also handle calls of emergencies in real world. (…). ^ top ^

Death sentence affirmed (SCMP)
The Beijing Higher People's Court has affirmed a death sentence, suspended for two years, for a former senior State Food and Drug Administration official. China National Radio reports that Cao Wenzhuang, formerly director of the drug registration department, was convicted of receiving 2.34 million yuan in bribes from pharmaceutical companies between 2003 and 2005. ^ top ^

China returns more than 24 mln hectares of farmland to forest (People's Daily)
China has returned more than 24 million hectares of farmlands to forests since 1999, Xinhua learnt from a national conference on forestry work held on Saturday. China started the nationwide campaign of returning farmlands to forests in 2000, involving 124 million farmers of more than 32 million households in 25 provincial areas. (…) The government will earmark another 200 billion yuan (about 26 billion U.S. dollars) to the campaign in the coming years, making the total investment reach 4.3 trillion yuan. (…). ^ top ^

Crude oil spill pollutes river in NW China (China Daily)
A tributary of the Yanhe River in northwest China's Shaanxi Province was polluted by crude oil leaked out from a pipeline, according to local sources on Wednesday. A pipeline belonging to the fourth oil extraction factory of the Changqing Oil Field was broken by landslide at 7:30 a.m. (…) Clean-up crew has managed to plug up the cracks and people are building dams to contain the oil. (…) Local environmental protection bureau urged the clean-up crew to ensure safety of water in the Wangyao reservoir, which provides drinking water for the city. Yanhe River is a tributary of the Yellow River, the country's second longest. ^ top ^



Shanghai to invest heavily on public transport ahead of 2010 World Expo (People's Daily)
China's business hub Shanghai will invest 110 billion yuan (about 14.47 billion U.S. dollars) in the next three years to expand and upgrade its public transport system, according to a plan released by the Shanghai municipal government Friday. The investment will be used to improve infrastructure for public transit, including building rail lines and bus transfer hubs, according to an action plan issued to prioritize public transit in the city. (…). ^ top ^

Chen kicked out of NPC (China Daily)
Former Shanghai Party chief Chen Liangyu was yesterday stripped of his last official post as deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), the top legislature, for serious violation of law and Party discipline. (…) Chen has been expelled from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and dismissed from all government posts and is in detention awaiting trial. (…). ^ top ^



Villager on subversion charge over Dalai Lama call: rights group (SCMP)
The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said Tibetan villager Runggye Adak, 53, has been charged with subversion after he spoke in support of the Dalai Lama's return. Runggye Adak was detained after he addressed a crowd at a horse-racing festival about the need for greater religious freedom and for the Dalai Lama to return. "On August 27, the prosecutor's office in Ganzi, Sichuan province , formally arrested Runggye Adak on a charge of incitement to subvert state power," the group said. Xinhua has said Runggye Adak was the only person detained over the demonstration in Litang, but the Hong Kong group said 30 were held. ^ top ^



US slams Taiwan's plan for UN vote - Chen's referendum 'threatens status quo' (SCMP)
The United States has stepped up its criticism of Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, calling his push for a referendum on the island's United Nations membership a mistake and seeing it as the first step towards declaring independence. "We oppose the notion of that kind of a referendum, because we see that as a step towards a declaration of independence of Taiwan, towards an alteration of the status quo," US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said. (…). ^ top ^

Chen sure Nicaragua will support bid for UN seat (SCMP)
Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has expressed confidence that Nicaragua will back the island's bid for a United Nations seat. Mr Chen said he had received a promise of support from Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega during a private meeting. "We really trust his word," Mr Chen said(…). Mr Ortega said he would decide whether to support Taiwan's bid for a UN seat after Mr Chen held a referendum on the subject. Mr Chen also said he liked Mr Ortega's idea of recognising both Beijing and Taipei, adding that the president would be worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize if he could pull off what no other country had. Mr Ortega had told Mr Chen he would try to establish relations with Beijing, "but not if it depended on severing ties with Taiwan". (…). ^ top ^



Inflation to surpass 3% for full year (China Daily)
This year's consumer inflation is likely to exceed the central bank's target of 3 percent, a top official said Wednesday. Given the relatively high inflation in the first seven months of the year, even if we step up control measures now, the consumer price rise will still probably be above 3 percent for the whole year," Su Ning, vice-governor of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), told a news conference in Beijing Wednesday. The central bank is paying close attention to changes in prices and will take further macroeconomic control measures to keep prices stable," Su said (…). ^ top ^

Key problem blocking move to free-market economy not tackled (SCMP)
Analysts say fundamental questions remain unanswered about the Anti-monopoly Law approved yesterday. "The law only provides a legal framework to promote competition and prohibit monopolistic activities, while leaving details to related regulations," said Professor Wang Weiguo , dean of the school of civil, commercial and economic law at the China University of Political Science and Law. Zeng Junping , president of the public finance department at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, said the law failed to clearly ban administrative monopoly by state-owned companies - the key problem hampering the development of a free-market economy. The law bans monopolistic agreements and practices, such as cartels and price-fixing, but allows for monopolies authorised by state organs for security and economic reasons. While reformers in the government have been keen to pass the law, the protracted debate illustrates the power that the many state monopolies and oligopolies wield. […]. ^ top ^

Yuan hits new high against U.S. dollar (Xinhua)
China's currency, the yuan, hit a new high on Tuesday against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday at 7.5545 yuan to one U.S. dollar, according to the Chinese Foreign Exchange Trading System. (…). ^ top ^

OECD urges innovations boost (SCMP)
The mainland needs to implement a series of reforms - including strengthening protection of intellectual property rights and opening its capital markets - to improve its capacity for innovation, according to a new OECD report. Such changes, in turn, were key to laying the basis for sustained, more balanced and more environmentally friendly economic growth, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said in the report released yesterday. (…) Beijing has increasingly given more priority to moving industry, particularly its exports, up the value chain to help upgrade its economy and make it more energy- and resource-efficient. (…). ^ top ^

Chinese premier to attend 2007 "Summer Davos" (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the opening ceremony of the Inaugural Annual Meeting of the New Champions -- from Davos to Dalian, known as the "Summer Davos", that will be held in northeast China's Dalian city from September 6 to 8.(…) Liu said Premier Wen will give a speech at the opening ceremony of the meeting, sponsored by the World Economic Forum (WEF). (…). ^ top ^

China's direct investment in Africa hits 480 mln USD in first half (People's Daily)
Direct investment by Chinese firms in Africa surged to 480 million U.S. dollars in the first half of this year, said Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wei Jianguo on Tuesday. The figure exceeded that for the whole of 2006, which stood at 370 million U.S. dollars. China has signed labor service contracts worth 11.27 billion U.S. dollars with African countries during the first six months, said Wei at a meeting on corporate investment and trade with Africa. (…) China has become the third biggest trade partner of Africa, and trade between China and Africa has been growing by an average 30 percent each year since 2000. (…). ^ top ^

Stiff penalties for price rigging (Xinhua)
Mounting inflationary pressure and public concerns about further price rises have led the government to impose tougher punishments on price manipulators. (…) The new regulation, when approved, will impose tougher punishments on industrial associations if they illegally increase prices. The fresh warning to industry associations comes after the China branch of the International Ramen Manufactures Association was found to have colluded to manipulate prices of instant noodles. (…). ^ top ^

Cumulative FDI in China exceeds 750 billion U.S. dollars (Xinhua)
China's actual use of foreign direct investment (FDI) had cumulatively exceeded 750 billion U.S. dollars by the end of June this year since the beginning of its opening-up policy in 1978, according to a senior commerce official. Vice Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo said the country had approved the establishment of 610,000 foreign-funded enterprises by the end of June this year. In the first half of 2007, exports of foreign-funded enterprises accounted for 57 percent of the nation's total, said Wei at a forum on the social responsibility of foreign-funded enterprises. (…). ^ top ^

Trade between mainland, Taiwan hits 66 bln U.S. dollars in first seven months (People's Daily)
Trade between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan hit 66.17 billion U.S. dollars in the first seven months of this year, a year-on-year rise of 12.6 percent, according to latest statistics from the Ministry of Commerce. Mainland exports to Taiwan reached 13.16 billion U.S. dollars from January to July, up 17.4 percent compared with the same period last year, and imports totaled 53.01 billion U.S. dollars, up 11.5 percent, revealed the statistics. The mainland also approved 1,956 Taiwan-funded projects in the seven months, with the funds actually used up to 830 million U.S. dollars. By July, the mainland had attracted 44.73 billion U.S. dollars of direct investment from Taiwan, making the island its fifth largest investor. ^ top ^

Chinese president calls for accelerating banking reform (Xinhua)
China's top leader Hu Jintao has called for accelerating banking reform to push forward the sustainable and healthy development of the country's financial sector. (…) Hu pledged in his speech to push forward banking reform in an all-around way, focusing on building a modern banking system and innovating organization, service and administration of the sector. He stressed to accelerate the banking reform for the countryside, and push forward the healthy development of the financial market. He also called for more effective use of financial means in macro-economic control and demanded to strengthen risk control to ensure the country's financial security. He urged officials to take the lead in studying financial theories, particularly knowledge about modern banking, to increase their abilities concerning the banking sector. ^ top ^


Beijing Olympics

Chinese dishes get official English names (China Daily)
Foreigners will find it easier to order a meal in Beijing during the Olympics as most dishes and drinks will have proper English translations. Beijing Tourism Bureau has released a list of translations for 2,753 dishes and drinks to solicit public opinions. The list, once finally fixed, will be used in restaurants across the country, to replace confusing, even ridiculous translations, according to the bureau. (…) The committee also plans to launch a training program to equip waiters and waitresses with knowledge of the dish names in case customers demand explanations. ^ top ^

China to check police behavior for Olympics (People's Daily)
A special campaign to check the behavior of police officers will be launched nationwide on September 1, as part of the government efforts to ensure the success of the 29th Olympic Games in 2008, China's Ministry of Public Security (MPS) announced on Wednesday. The campaign, aiming to strengthen police's discipline and regularize law enforcement, will be spearheaded by the Olympic host of Beijing and other co-host cities on September 1, and followed by major tourist cities on January 1, 2008. (…) According to the ministry, the campaign is to focus on the behavior and manner of police officers on duty, particularly in public places and on the spots of large-scale activities. Wearing uniforms or police signs in a wrong way is seen as inappropriate and should be rectified. (…). ^ top ^


North Korea

N Korean leader's wayward son back home (SCMP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il's eldest son has returned to Pyongyang after living overseas and taken up a post at the ruling Workers' Party, possibly signalling a shift in succession plans, a news report said on Monday. (…) Some experts on the secretive North — the world's only communist dynasty — have said there had been little movement involving leader Kim's three known sons to suggest any of them was being groomed for leadership. (…) Succession plans are one of the most closely guarded secrets in the reclusive state. Many expert said if Kim Jong-il were to suddenly die, he would most likely be replaced in a collective leadership comprised of government and military elite. (…). ^ top ^

N Korea fencing off Yalu border: report (SCMP)
North Korea is constructing a fence along its border with China to stop an exodus of its refugees, a news report said yesterday. Quoting residents in the mainland border city of Dandong, Liaoning province, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said North Koreans had been erecting posts for wire fences along the border-marking Yalu River for the past month. The 10km fence, covering a narrow tributary used for illegal border crossings, paralleled one already built by China last year, the agency said. (…). ^ top ^

US envoy expects deal with North Korea by next month (SCMP)
The United States said it expected a multilateral agreement with North Korea next month, requiring Pyongyang to declare and disable its nuclear weapons programme by the end of the year. Despite some delay in working out the technical details, the pact could be clinched at six-party talks among envoys early next month, Assistant US Secretary of State Christopher Hill said. (…) If an agreement for North Korea to disable its nuclear arsenal is ready for implementation with "no real barriers ahead", Mr Hill said the first ever meeting of foreign ministers of the six parties - the United States, China, Japan, the two Koreas and Russia - could be held in October in Beijing. (…). ^ top ^

U.S., North Korea to meet in Geneva Sept. 1-2 (Reuters)
The United States and North Korea will hold talks on normalizing their relations on Sept. 1-2 in Geneva, the U.S. State Department said on Monday. The meeting of the U.S.-North Korea working group is called for under a multilateral agreement in which North Korea agreed to give up its nuclear weapons programs in exchange for the prospect of economic and diplomatic benefits. (…). ^ top ^

China to provide aid to flood-hit DPRK (Xinhua)
Chinese government decided to provide humanitarian aid to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) which is suffering serious flood caused by heavy rain, announced foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao on Thursday. "Chinese government pays great attention to the situation in the DPRK and decided to provide humanitarian aid such as medicine and equipment to help the flood victims to overcome difficulties and rebuild their homes," Liu said. The heavy rain, which started on Aug. 7, caused huge losses of life and property and left 100,000 people homeless, according to reports by the Korean Central News Agency. ^ top ^



Joel Baumgartner
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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