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
  14.1-18.1.2008, No. 200  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

Wen's diary packed with world leaders' visits (SCMP)
It has been a hectic start to what will certainly be an eventful year for the mainland's leaders. And no one knows this better than Premier Wen Jiabao. He is already engaged in urgent efforts to rein in inflation, planning a top-level leadership reshuffle in March and trying to organise a flawless Olympics in the summer, and is finding it hard to squeeze in time to rub shoulders with world leaders as they arrive one after another. His schedule has been so tight that the usually punctual Mr Wen was late for a meeting with United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte on Wednesday. He had been held up by a longer-than-planned phone conversation with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is set to arrive today for a three-day visit to Beijing and Shanghai. "Sorry to keep you waiting, I was just talking on the phone with Mr Brown. It took a bit longer than expected," state media quoted Mr Wen as saying. Mr Negroponte was holding talks with state leaders in Beijing before leaving for Guiyang in Guizhou province to attend the fifth session of the US-China "strategic dialogue" yesterday. While the issue of Iran's nuclear activities remains a key area of concern for Mr Negroponte and Mr Brown, Tehran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, arrived in Beijing yesterday for a two-day visit. He will attempt to persuade Beijing to resist the imposition of new United Nations sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme when foreign ministers from the five permanent members of the Security Council and Germany meet in Berlin next week. Following on their heels will be Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem, who is due to arrive on Tuesday for a five-day visit to co-chair the second round of the Vietnam-China steering committee. Late last year, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and French President Nicolas Sarkozy also visited the mainland. ^ top ^

Beijing's refusal over port calls inappropriate, says US admiral (SCMP)
Beijing's refusal to allow American warships to make port calls to Hong Kong was "an example of behaviour that is inappropriate for a major power", the head of the US Pacific Command said yesterday. Admiral Timothy Keating, who stopped over in Hong Kong yesterday after a three-day visit to Beijing, said he had pushed for deeper exchanges and openness between the two militaries. He said he was confident Beijing would grant permission for future American warship visits to Hong Kong. "A singularly important reason for my visit to Beijing is to develop trust, understanding and the look-into-the-eyes [relationship] and get a phone number, so when some day comes up that requires some background, some explanation or of some critical nature, I can make a phone call and make sure someone on the other end of the line would take the call," he said. "I don't know for a fact that this is going to happen. But I'm much more confident today than I was during my first visit in May [last year]." […]. ^ top ^

US diplomats urge end to arrest of activists (SCMP)
US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte held talks with Premier Wen Jiabao yesterday as US diplomats pressured Beijing over the arrests of an Aids campaigner and other activists. Mr Negroponte arrived in China as the United States expressed concern over the arrest of high-profile activist Hu Jia and the detentions of journalists, social activists and lawyers advocating greater rights. US embassy spokeswoman Susan Stevenson said: "These actions appear to be part of an escalating trend to target attorneys, journalists and other individuals who advocate for the rights of their fellow citizens. We urge China to cease such arrests and detentions and take steps to release political prisoners already detained or serving sentences." The US had raised the Hu arrest with Beijing and expressed concerns over the house arrest of his wife, Ms Stevenson said. "As the 2008 Olympics approach, we urge China to seize the opportunity to put its best face forward and respect the universal principles of human rights, including freedom of expression," she said. […]. ^ top ^

Wen, Brown hold talks on ties (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao began talks with visiting British Prime Minister Gordon Brown here Friday morning at the Great Hall of the People, after a red-carpet welcome ceremony. Brown said he was pleased to be in Beijing meeting Chinese leaders so that the two countries could enhance the strategic partnership on all major issues. "I welcome dialogues between the two countries," he said, "and I would like to extend the dialogues from economics, finance to science, education, culture, arts, sports, and dialogues on all major issues affecting two countries and the whole world." He also congratulated the Chinese government on its tremendous economic success and being host of the Olympic Games in Beijing. "This year is going to be an incredibly successful year for both the Chinese economy and China as the host of Olympic Games," he said. Diplomats said that Wen and Brown will discuss a so-called Sino-British "comprehensive strategic partnership," and issues concerning bilateral cooperation on trade and investment, education and academia, climate change and environment as well as Olympics cooperation, and other regional and world issues. ^ top ^

China urges resumption of Iran nuclear talks (Xinhua)
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Thursday night urged all concerned parties to resume the Iranian nuclear talks as soon as possible. "The Iranian nuclear issue is now at a crucial moment. China hopes all concerned parties, including Iran, make joint efforts to resume negotiations as soon as possible in a bid to promote the comprehensive and proper settlement of this issue," Yang told Iranian chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in their talks in Beijing. Yang reiterated China's consistent position on the Iranian nuclear issue. Jalili said Iran's nuclear plan is completely of a peaceful nature. He added Iran appreciates China's position of a peaceful solution and the country is ready to strengthen cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and resolve the issue through negotiations. ^ top ^

Chinese state councillor, Bulgarian PM meet on ties (Xinhua)
Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev met here Wednesday with Chinese State Councillor Hua Jianmin and they pledged to strengthen bilateral ties. At the talks, Hua said that in recent years, the mutual political trust between China and Bulgaria has been increasingly deepened and the bilateral cooperation has yielded remarkable fruits.[…] Stanishev reiterated that the Bulgarian government adheres to the one-China policy and opposes the "Taiwan Independence" and the "UN membership referendum.". ^ top ^

French executive is barred from leaving over graft inquiry (SCMP)
A top executive at French energy giant Areva is embroiled in a graft investigation on the mainland involving one of the nation's top nuclear energy companies, sources familiar with the case said yesterday. Paul Felten, a top negotiator of contracts between Areva and the China Guangdong Nuclear Power Corp, has been blocked from leaving the mainland since the end of November, two independent sources said. […]The French embassy in Beijing refused to comment. […]. ^ top ^

Merkel calls for 'intensive relations' with China (China Daily)
"The German side is perfectly ready" to continue the sound relations with China on both economic and political levels, Merkel told a news conference in Berlin, in response to a question raised by Xinhua. The two countries have to rely on each other when it comes to international cooperation, said Merkel, who plans to visit Beijing in October for the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM). The Chancellor said China played a "constructive role" at the climate conference held on the Indonesian island of Bali in December which laid a groundwork for a successor to the Kyoto agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions. […]. ^ top ^

China, Poland vow to advance cooperation (People's Daily)
China is willing to make concerted efforts with Poland to push forward cooperation between the two countries, visiting Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said here Tuesday. […] Poland has now become China's largest trade partner in central and eastern Europe, he added. Zeng called on the two countries to continue high-level exchanges and strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs. He also praised the Polish government's adherence to the one-China policy. […]. ^ top ^

Mutual trust on agenda as Indian PM makes first visit to China (SCMP)
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrived in Beijing yesterday for a three-day visit aimed at reducing mutual suspicions over long-standing border disputes, while building on strong trade ties to foster trust. […] Leaders of the world's fastest-growing major economies and most populous nations may find common ground on energy and climate change, but analysts cautioned against hopes for any major breakthroughs. […] In their reaction to climate change, India and China sound at their most harmonious. Both resist calls for mandatory curbs on emissions for developing nations and insist the greater burden for mitigation be borne by the west. Yet many irritants remain, such as a festering border dispute and trade barriers, said Zhang Li, at Sichuan University. "This visit probably won't bring breakthroughs in those issues, but it could set a more positive tone for dealing with them," he said. The economic relationship between Asia's engines of growth falls far short of potential. Trade has crossed US$30 billion and is growing fast, but non-tariff barriers remain high. India is unhappy that the trade balance is increasingly skewed in China's favour and would prefer to be exporting more finished goods and fewer raw materials such as iron ore. China complains of barriers to direct investment in India and wants a "level playing field", according to its ambassador to India, Zhang Yan. […] Last year Beijing even seemed to harden its position by restating its claim to the Buddhist monastery at Tawang, and Indian troops complained of border incursions. There are other concerns, too, including China's long-standing relationship with India's estranged neighbour, Pakistan, while Beijing eyes uneasily India's burgeoning friendship with the US and its traditional support for Tibetan refugees. Jian Yang, senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, says China does not treat India as a threat, but the reverse is not true. ^ top ^

Beijing finally comes clean on Malawi ties after Taiwan poll (SCMP)
Beijing yesterday announced it had established relations with the African nation of Malawi after keeping the news under wrap for more than two weeks - apparently fearing its revelation would affect last Saturday's legislative elections in Taiwan. "The governments of China and Malawi, in conformity with the interests and desire of the two peoples, have decided to recognise each other and establish diplomatic relations between the two countries at ambassadorial level as from December 28, 2007," Xinhua quoted a joint statement as saying. […] The mainland-friendly opposition Kuomintang party scored a landslide victory over the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in legislative elections on Saturday. Analysts said Beijing probably made its diplomatic success known only after the election to avoid the announcement backfiring and prompting more DPP supporters to vote in the elections. […]. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official meets Congolese guests (Xinhua)
[…] Zhou Yongkang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, praised the Democratic Republic of Congo for sticking to the one-China principal. He said bilateral relations had made steady progress over the past 30 years. "CPC and PPRD are the ruling parties of their countries," Zhou said when meeting delegates of the PPRD. "The CPC would like to expand exchanges and cooperation with PPRD to help promote bilateral ties between our two countries." […]. ^ top ^

Official visits Seoul to meet president-elect (SCMP)
Wang Yi, vice-minister for foreign affairs, arrived in South Korea yesterday for talks with the country's president-elect, Lee Myung-bak, and other officials, a Chinese embassy official said. Mr Wang was to meet Mr Lee today, according to an official on Mr Lee's team handling the transition to the new government. He did not elaborate and spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media. The embassy official, who also asked not to be named, confirmed Mr Wang's plans to meet Mr Lee. Mr Wang will also meet Foreign Minister Song Min-soon and other officials to talk about North Korea's nuclear programme, Yonhap news agency reported. […]. ^ top ^

China, Costa Rica work on possible free trade deal (People's Daily)
Trade officials from Costa Rica and China on Friday concluded their first technical meeting on a possible free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries. Reviewing the results of the meeting, Costa Rica's Foreign Trade Minister Marco Vinicio Ruiz said the framework to study the FTA had been set. A study on the possible FTA should be ready in six months and a bilateral meeting in Beijing is scheduled for April. A final meeting in San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, is also planned for June. […]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Peasant leader given two years in labour camp - Re-education for activist who fought to recover seized farmland (SCMP)
A peasant leader who led a bold campaign to recover and privatise seized farmland in Heilongjiang province was sentenced to two years in a labour camp yesterday - ironically not for his campaign but for talking to foreign journalists. Yu Changwu, 52, was sentenced to two years' re-education through labour on charges of endangering state security, said family members, who did not want to be named. Yu was convicted of endangering state security because he talked to foreign journalists, family members said, who were told by local officials as the verdict was read at a detention centre in Jiamusi. Mainland police can sentence a person to re-education through labour for up to three years without a public trial. […]. ^ top ^

Activist detained over planned service to honour deposed leader (SCMP)
Police detained a Beijing activist yesterday to prevent him from organising a service marking the third anniversary of the death of deposed former leader Zhao Ziyang, the man's brother said. Li Jinping, who has a memorial to Zhao set up in his home outside the capital and tries to hold a commemoration each year on the anniversary of Zhao's death, was taken into custody yesterday by police, said his brother, Li Jinlong. […]. ^ top ^

Record number of students to travel abroad (China Daily)
The number of students going abroad for studies is estimated to reach 200,000 this year. […] Last year, China had 14 million and 5 million fresh high school and college graduates, according to the Ministry of Education (MOE). And one-fifth of those college graduates had failed to find a job by the end of last year, the MOE said. "The grim job situation at home, a strong and rising yuan and a favorable visa and scholarship environment will together prompt more students to study abroad," [China Education International Cooperation Group General Manager Li Guanjun] said. "So I expect a 30 percent rise in the number of those going abroad for studies." […] "An average of 130,000 Chinese have been going abroad for studies every year over the past few years, boosting exchanges in the educational fields," said Liu Baoli, deputy director of MOE's international cooperation and exchange division. The US, Britain, Australia and Canada are the top choices of the students eager study abroad. […]. ^ top ^

Hu vows to get tougher on graft - President plans 'more systematic approach' (SCMP)
[…] Mr Hu's keynote speech at a plenary meeting of the party's top disciplinary body - the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) - indicated battling corruption would continue to be a big theme in the country this year, analysts said. The party secretary said the campaign would be given priority and urgency, saying unless corruption was brought under control, it would sap the party's authority and undermine its control. […] Despite his heavy-handed campaign against errant or disloyal party officials - which had been going on since he took over as the party chief in 2002 - the list of corrupt officials was getting longer, indicating the country's graft problems are systemic. […] Mr Hu did not spell out in his speech any fresh measures he intended to employ this year. […]. ^ top ^

Farmers to get help in transferring land-use rights for farmland (SCMP)
The State Council has decided to encourage farmers to transfer land-use rights for farmland, for agricultural use only, by improving information sharing and management by the government, according to a Ministry of Agriculture official. Hu Jianfeng, deputy director of rural economic structures and management, said a recent State Council meeting on agriculture highlighted the importance of improving government services and supervision in order to make sure farmers could transfer their land use rights for agricultural purposes voluntarily. […] However, he said there would not be any major changes to the existing laws on the transfer of farmland for agricultural purposes. […] The government holds a tight grip on the conversion of farmland to non-agricultural uses, fearing China might not be able to produce enough food for its vast population. […]. ^ top ^

Anger management - The authorities are slow learners when it comes to dealing with discontent (SCMP)
[…] The mainland's authoritarian government is struggling to deal with protests by farmers and city people who are increasingly well-informed, aware of their rights and eager to demand them. The internet, mobile telephones and text messaging have given them new tools to organise, which the government cannot control as easily as in the pre-internet age. "China's political system is still run on an authoritarian model, but the market economy has produced different interest groups," said Yu Jianrong, head of research on social issues at the Rural Development and Research Institute of the China Academy of Social Sciences. "Authoritarianism cannot regulate these interest groups well. That's the main reason for the conflicts of interest and crisis in society." […] A white paper published two weeks ago by the China Academy of Social Sciences said high property and food prices had made the living standards of the urban poor worse. And the gap between urban and rural incomes has widened, making the government fearful of social unrest. […]. ^ top ^

Half of new buildings fail energy standards (China Daily)
All new buildings in the country were designed for energy efficiency by property developers - but only half have been found to meet national energy conservation standards. The sidestepping of energy conservation requirements by property developers poses a threat to meeting the overall green goal, in which the construction sector is expected to contribute to 30 percent of total energy savings. "The findings are alarming. More comprehensive measures are needed to achieve the national goal," Song Chunhua, president of the China Real Estate Association, said at an energy-saving forum held in Beijing yesterday. The Ministry of Construction discovered in recent nationwide inspections that only 53 percent of projects under construction are turning energy-saving promises into action, said Song. […]. ^ top ^

Provincial CPPCC session kicks off (SCMP)
The 10th session of the Guangdong provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference opens in Guangzhou this afternoon, with hundreds of members of the CPPCC committee expected to push proposals and express opinions on Guangdong's development. Guangdong CPPCC chairman Chen Shaoji will deliver his work report at the opening session, highlighting the committee's contribution to a harmonious society and sustainable development in the province. The committee will present a variety of suggestions and views to influence government policy on food safety, economic development and environmental protection among other issues, Mr Chen is expected to say. The Guangdong People's Congress will open on Thursday in Guangzhou, with the important objective of appointing the province's new governor. Sources said Guangdong Governor Huang Huahua was believed to be leaving his post. Rumours have been circulating for months that Mr Huang would be replaced, even though he has been seeking a second five-year term as governor. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese Christians to contribute to socio-economic development (People's Daily)
At the Eighth National Conference of Chinese Protestant Churches, which closed on Sunday, or January 13, Chinese Christians discussed three main issues with zeal and enthusiasm. Namely, how the Christian civilization, as a Western civilization, was merged into the Chinese civilization, which posed the sole ancient civilization that was never suspended? […] Whether the Chinese Christianity is capable to withstand pressures or penetrations, adhere to the correct orientation and go on integrating Christianity into the Chinese civilization? The unanimous consensuses reached at the recent conference is that Christianity can be adapted to the basic national conditions of the Chinese society, with Christians to become the Salt, the Light and the east in society, as Jesus admonishes them, and to "glorify and honor God", so that the Christianity will be accepted by the splendid Chinese culture and turned into a religion to the welcome of people in China. Confronted with the raging, sweeping tide of diverse ideologies and cultures in the contemporary world, China will go all out not only to carry forward the cultural awareness of the outstanding national tradition but to absorb good, beneficial elements of Christian civilization in the West. […] The definite response of Christians in China is that they, too, are duty bound to contribute their share to the socio-economic development. ^ top ^



New labour law 'setback for HK' (SCMP)
The new labour contract law has come under attack from several Hong Kong members of the Guangdong provincial Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference who are worried it will hurt Hong Kong businessmen in the delta. Poon Siu-chung, chairman of Perfectech International Holdings, said in Guangzhou yesterday as the political advisory body began its annual meeting that the new labour law was another setback for Hong Kong toy factories, following the after-effects of a series of toy recalls last year. He said the law had been passed without sufficient consultation with Hong Kong, Taiwan and foreign investors and was certain to increase labour costs by at least 10 per cent. He said at least three associations, including the Federation of Hong Kong Industries and the Chinese General Chamber of Commerce, had sent teams to Beijing to negotiate with the central government, aiming to find room to revise the law. […]. ^ top ^



DPP suffers landslide defeat in Taiwan "legislature" election (China Daily)
The ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) suffered a landslide defeat to its rival Kuomintang (KMT) in Taiwan's "legislature" elections Saturday. The KMT won 81 of the 113 seats in the elections, beating the DPP which got 27 seats. Two seats went to the New Party. The People First Party, the Taiwan Solidarity Union and a candidate without party affiliation each took one seat, according to the ballot counting authority. Chen Shui-bian announced later in the evening that he resigned his post as DPP chairman to take responsibility for what he termed the most disastrous defeat since the DPP was founded. Two referendums tied to the election, one against corruption and the other demanding the KMT to return what was said to be assets illegally obtained from the people were announced invalid, as the voters' turnout rate did not reach 50 percent. Nearly 300 candidates are competing for the legislative seats in more than 70 precincts across the island. […] But in Nantou County, a polling station was short of more than 400 ballots and several cases concerning the violation of voting rules were reported in some parts of Taiwan. […] Taiwan's "legislature", called "Legislative Yuan," was streamlined this year from 225 seats to 113 in an effort to improve efficiency. ^ top ^

US official criticises Taiwan's planned referendum (SCMP)
The United States stressed yesterday that it opposed Taiwan's plan to hold a referendum on UN membership, while Beijing urged Washington to help oppose a vote that it calls a dangerous provocation. Speaking before regular high-level talks in Beijing, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte pointedly criticised the vote planned for March in which Taiwan's independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian wants approval to seek United Nations membership under the name Taiwan. Echoing comments by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice last month, he said: "From the perspective of the United States, the conduct of such a referendum is a mistake. We think it is a provocative policy on the part of the Taiwanese authorities." Mr Negroponte made the remarks ahead of two days of talks with Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo that will cover Taiwan and other issues, including North Korea and Iran. […]. ^ top ^

Britain opposes Taiwan's planned referendum on UN bid (China Daily)
Britain is opposed to the planned referendum on joining the United Nations in the name of Taiwan, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Tuesday. "We want to see tensions across the Taiwan Strait reduced and the Taiwan issue peacefully resolved. So it follows that we're opposed to the planned referendum on joining the UN in the name of Taiwan," Brown said in a written interview with correspondents of Xinhua News Agency and the People's Daily based in London. The referendum will "do nothing to change Taiwan's status on the international stage," Brown said, adding if it passes, it could raise tension in the region. The prime minister said "Our 'One China' policy has been unchanged since 1972 when we exchanged ambassadors with China." […]. ^ top ^

Beijing's power to win friends and influence people (SCMP)
Much that is discussed about China's foreign policy and security posture today revolves around its military - warships and fighter jets bought from Russia, 1,300 missiles aimed at Taiwan and the latest manoeuvres by the People's Liberation Army. There's another side to China's emerging might, however; what some pundits call "soft power", "smiling diplomacy" or the "charm offensive". Most of that effort is the application of China's expanding economy to trade, aid and investment to achieve political ends. In a wider context, China's soft power seems integral to what may be a campaign to revive the Middle Kingdom, the China of yesteryear that dominated Asia. Chinese armies won't march across international borders; rather, Beijing seeks to acquire such political, economic, and diplomatic clout that major decisions in every Asian capital will require Chinese approval. According to China scholar Joshua Kurlantzick: "China may want to shift influence away from the United States to create its own sphere of influence, a kind of Chinese Monroe Doctrine for Southeast Asia [where] countries would subordinate their interests to China's, and would think twice about supporting the US." […]. ^ top ^

KMT planning cautious session (SCMP)
Taiwan's Kuomintang plans to use great caution in exercising its majority in the legislature to avoid creating a bad image ahead of the presidential election in March.Legislature Speaker Wang Jin-pyng had been tasked with acting as a "safety valve" to ensure that no KMT lawmakers proposed any unreasonable or self-benefiting bills that could hurt the image of the island's main opposition party, KMT caucus leader Kuo Su-chun said yesterday. […]. ^ top ^

Nothing wrong in pushing self-identity, Chen insists (SCMP)
A fiery Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has insisted that he has done nothing wrong in promoting the island's "self-identity", which critics have said is the cause of the ruling party's drubbing in a legislative election last weekend. "The [defeat] has nothing to do with the Taiwan-centric political line, which is not only advocated by `deep-green' supporters, but also by most people in Taiwan," he said in the Caribbean nation of St Lucia, one of Taiwan's diplomatic allies, yesterday. Deep-green refers to a hard-core pro-independence group. […] The island's leader, who resigned as DPP chairman to take the blame for the defeat, called into question unity within the party. […]. ^ top ^

US urged not to sell arms to Taiwan (China Daily)
China will not tolerate "Taiwan independence" and never allow anyone to separate the island from Chinese territory in any name or any way, the vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission said Monday. General Guo Boxiong made the remarks during a meeting with visiting US Pacific Command commander-in-chief Timothy Keating in Beijing.Urging Washington to stop arms sales to Taiwan and sever military links with the island, Guo also told the admiral that the US should not send wrong signals to the Taiwan authorities. China hopes that the US will work with the Chinese to safeguard peace and stability in the region, Guo said. Reaffirming that the US administration remains committed to the one-China policy, Keating said the Pacific Command is concerned over the cross-Straits situation and will carefully deal with possible factors that may disrupt stability across the Straits. […]. ^ top ^



52,000 Tibetan farmers to be moved to permanent housing (SCMP)
The government will move more than 52,000 Tibetan herders and farmers into permanent housing this year, Xinhua reported, a practice rights groups say has been marked by abuses. "The project to improve their living conditions began in 2006, when the regional government set a target of building homes for 220,000 households," Xinhua said, citing local government officials. "That would mean housing 80 per cent of the region's farmers and herders by the end of 2010." The government had spent 1.3 billion yuan in the past two years "to help farmers move into brick houses from wood-and-earth residences and nomadic herders to settle down". ^ top ^



China lays out plan for second West-East gas pipeline (Xinhua)
China on Wednesday laid out a primary plan for its second pipeline of the West-East natural gas transmission project. According to the plan, construction of the 8,794 kilometer gas pipeline, which consists of one major line and eight sub-lines, will involve an investment of approximately 143.5 billion yuan (19.8 billion U.S. dollars). The major line will extend 4,945 km, running from Khorgos in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to Guangzhou, capital of south Guangdong Province. Construction of the pipeline will begin this year and it will go into operation in 2010. The pipeline would pass through 13 Chinese regions. It would carry natural gas from central Asian countries and Xinjiang to the economically prosperous but energy thirsty eastern and southern China areas, including Shanghai and Guangdong Province. ^ top ^

Govt intervenes to curb price rises (People's Daily)
The government has started to temporarily intervene in the market to control the prices of a range of daily necessities such as grain and meat, and rein in inflationary pressure. The prices of grain products, edible oil, pork, beef, mutton, milk, eggs and liquefied petroleum gas are being monitored and any rises have been subject to government approval from Tuesday, the National Development and Reform Commission, the top economic planner, said yesterday. […] The NDRC said it expects to help curb "unreasonable price hikes" and reduce "inflation expectations of the public".Major producers need to obtain government approval before raising their prices; and major wholesalers are required to file a statement to government agencies if they raise prices by 6 percent within 10 days or by 10 percent within a month. "The measures will be lifted once prices ease," said the commission. "But for now, it's necessary for the government to intervene as the prices of some products have risen substantially." […]. ^ top ^

Chinese stocks follow US dive (People's Daily)
Following the dive in US stocks, the Shanghai stock market yesterday dropped 2.81 percent, the largest one-day decline in six weeks. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index slid 2.81 percent to close at 5290.61, with 608 out of 909 stocks closing lower. The Shenzhen Component Index dived 3.58 percent to close at 18351.99. Turnover on the two bourses dropped 6.8 percent to 247.4 billion yuan. Shares of Yunnan Copper tumbled 6.92 percent and aluminum producer Shanxi GuanLu slid 6 percent. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index plunged 5.37 percent to close at 24450.85. Analysts said Citigroup's announcement of the fourth-quarter loss of $9.83 billion has intensified worries of a worldwide economic slump, prompting investors in many markets to hastily unload their holdings. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese currency hits news high against US dollar (China Daily)
China's currency, the yuan, hit a new high against the US dollar on Monday, smashing the 7.26 mark to reach a central parity rate of 7.2566 yuan to one dollar. […] Observers here said the yuan's rise would help China reduce its massive trade surplus, mop up excess liquidity and curb inflation. […]. ^ top ^

China auto production, sales hit record 8.8 mln units in 2007 (Xinhua)
Auto production and sales in China both surged more than 20 percent to a record 8.8 million units in 2007, despite slackening sales in global markets, an industry group said Sunday. […] Total vehicle sales jumped 21.84 percent year-on-year to 8.79 million units in the world's second largest car market after the United States, twice the figure in 2003. […]. ^ top ^


Beijing Olympics

Beijing ready for English menu revolution before Olympics (China Daily)
A set of fixed English translations for Chinese menus is set to be published before the Spring Festival in February, the Beijing Municipal Tourism Bureau said. […] "The proper English translations will not only provide convenience for foreigners coming to Beijing for the Olympics, but it will also improve the English of Chinese people," said the official. […] Translators have divided the dish names into four categories: ingredients, cooking method, taste, name of a person or a place. Misleading, and often hilarious, translations such as "chicken without sexual life", "husband and wife's lung slice" or even "bean curd made by a pock-marked woman" have been replaced with "Spring chicken", "pork lungs in chili sauce" and "stir-fried tofu in hot sauce". […]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

President-elect Lee willing to meet Kim (China Daily)
The Republic of Korea's (ROK) president-elect said Monday he would meet Kim Jong-il, leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), at any time to improve relations and persuade the DPRK to give up its nuclear weapons programs. Lee Myung-bak, who will be inaugurated February 25, said he hoped a summit would take place in the ROK because the two previous summits between the Koreas in 2000 and 2007 were held in Pyongyang. "If the summit between the leaders of South and North Korea will be a help in persuading the North to give up its nuclear programs and improve South-North Korean relations, I can meet him anytime," Lee said at a news conference in Seoul. […]. ^ top ^


Gautier Chiarini
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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