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
  21.4-25.4.2008, No. 214  
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Table of contents

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Foreign Policy

Thousands rally in Europe, US (China Daily)
Chinese overseas staged a series of peaceful demonstrations in major Western cities over the weekend to protest against biased media coverage of the recent riots in Tibet and show their support for the Beijing Olympics. The cities which witnessed the protests include London, Birmingham and Manchester, Paris, Vienna and Berlin as well as Washington and Los Angeles. Thousands of Chinese, most of them wearing mouthmuzzles, staged a silent demonstration outside the House of Parliament in London while about 1,000 wearing "I love China" T-shirts, gathered outside BBC Manchester. The demonstrators, mostly mobilized via the Internet, carried banners like "BBC unfair," "Stop media distortion and "Respect history, truth and China".They said BBC had "misled the British public and the rest of the world by providing untruthful reports and biased coverage".[…]". ^ top ^

Beijing appeals for calm as rallies spread to more cities - Carrefour chain remains focus of demonstrations (SCMP)
Beijing repeated calls for calm amid an "eruption of nationalist passion" as protests targeting French supermarket chain Carrefour spread to more mainland cities yesterday. […] Carrefour become a focus for anti-western sentiment because of robust attempts by protesters to disrupt the Olympic torch relay in Paris, scenes which were relayed to millions of mainlanders on television. The company has since been accused of supporting the Dalai Lama, a claim the company denies. The "eruption of nationalist passion", as described by a front-page commentary on the People's Daily yesterday, comes at a time when "national interests are threatened and national dignity is challenged". But the paper urged people to "express patriotism in a rational way", in a bid to prevent the situation from disintegrating. Peaceful rallies were seen in Xi'an, Harbin and Jinan following Saturday's demonstrations in Beijing, Hefei, Qingdao, Wuhan and Kunming. […]. ^ top ^

Embassy rejects report of Chinese troops in Zimbabwe (SCMP)
The Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe yesterday denied a British newspaper report that Chinese troops were patrolling with Zimbabwean soldiers in the third-largest city of Mutare before and during a strike last Tuesday. "China has never sent any troops to Zimbabwe," an embassy spokesman said. "The report is utter nonsense." The Independent in London reported that 10 Chinese soldiers, armed with pistols, joined patrols on the streets. ^ top ^

Torchbearer invited to visit France again (China Daily)
French President Nicholas Sarkozy on Monday invited disabled Chinese torchbearer Jin Jing - who has become a national celebrity for defending the Olympic torch from Tibet secessionists during the Paris leg of its relay - to visit France again "to make up for the pain you have suffered". Sarkozy's invitation was delivered in a letter presented to Jin by French Senate President Christian Poncelet soon after he arrived in Shanghai for a week-long visit to China. […]. ^ top ^

Paraguay's president-elect reiterates hopes for establishing diplomatic ties with China (Xinhua)
Paraguay's president-elect Fernando Lugo Tuesday said the government will push for establishing diplomatic ties with China, according to news reaching here from Asuncion, capital of Paraguay. At his first press conference after winning the presidential election, Lugo said Paraguay is the only South American country without diplomatic relations with China despite their increasingly close economic links in recent years. […] After swearing-in, his government will present the bill on establishing diplomatic ties with China to parliament for approval, he said. […]. ^ top ^

Paris move a severe provocation (China Daily)
The government Tuesday expressed strong discontent over, and resolute opposition to, the Paris city council's decision making the Dalai Lama an honorary citizen, calling it a "severe provocation" against the Chinese. "The move is a gross interference in China's internal affairs and severely hurts the China-France relationship, especially the friendly relations between Beijing and Paris (which are sister cities)," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in a statement after a regular press briefing yesterday. […]. ^ top ^

Joint efforts needed to promote Sino-French ties (China Daily)
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman on Tuesday called for joint efforts by China and France to push for the stable and healthy growth of bilateral relations. The former Chinese ambassador to France Zhao Jinjun paid a visit to France as a special envoy of President Hu Jintao from April 18 to 22. This was an important diplomatic move taken by China in the recent situation, and indicated that China valued the traditional friendship with France, Jiang [Spokeswoman Jiang Yu] noted. During his stay in France, Zhao met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Senate President Christian Poncelet and former prime ministers Jean-Pierre Raffarin and Dominique Galouzeau de Villepin. Zhao conveyed President Hu Jintao's letter to Sarkozy, and discussed the China-France relations and other issues of common concern with the French side. Sarkozy reiterated that France attached great importance to relations with China, and firmly adhered to the one-China policy on the Taiwan and Tibet issues. The president also wished success to the Beijing Olympics. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese lawyers take CNN, commentator to court (China Daily)
Fourteen Chinese lawyers have filed a lawsuit with the Chaoyang Court in Beijing against CNN and commentator Jack Cafferty, charging harm to their reputations from Cafferty's comments. […] It is not immediately known if or when the court will accept the case. During an appearance on "The Situation Room," a program that aired on April 9, Cafferty said while speaking about the US trade deficit with China: "We continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we're buying from Wal-Mart. "So I think our relationship with China has certainly changed," he said,"I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years." CNN issued a statement early last week in which it said, in part, that Cafferty had made critical comments about many governments, including the United States. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing launches Liberia project (SCMP)
Beijing has started a project to fund the production of food and cash crops in Liberia and other African countries in the next 50 years, a visiting delegation was quoted as saying in Monrovia yesterday. The delegation, headed by Chi Jianxin, chief executive of the China-Africa Development Fund, arrived to explore investment opportunities in the agricultural sector. He said the fund had the financial capacity and expertise to develop and stabilise the food situation in Liberia. ^ top ^

Hu's Japan trip to have profound impact on China-Japan ties (People's Daily)
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said in Beijing Wednesday that President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to Japan would have a profound impact on bilateral strategic and reciprocal relations. […] He expected the two countries to seize the chance to become good neighbors and partners featuring peaceful existence, long-term friendship, reciprocal cooperation and common prosperity. Xi also hoped the two sides could strengthen the exchanges between their peoples and cities to enrich Sino-Japanese friendship and cement bilateral ties. […]. ^ top ^

China, South Africa hold first strategic dialogue (Xinhua)
China and South Africa held their first strategic dialogue here Wednesday, according to a statement released by China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The dialogue was co-chaired by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui and his South African counterpart Aziz Pahad, the statement said. The two sides briefed each other their foreign strategy and policy on African affairs, exchanged views on bilateral ties and international and regional affairs, reaching broad consensus. […] The two sides agreed to build the dialogue into an effective mechanism to advance bilateral ties. ^ top ^

French Senate president willing to increase dialogue with China to improve relations (Xinhua)
French Senate President Christian Poncelet said his country was willing to increase dialogue with China to improve the relationship between the two countries when meeting with local reporters here on Thursday. […] Before talking with reporters, Poncelet was met by President Hu Jintao who stressed China hoped the French could face squarely the current problems and work to eliminate future disturbances and properly handle the new situation and issues of the bilateral ties. Poncelet suggested both sides should hold discussions on the basis of the comprehensive strategic partnership, adding France would not implement any preconditions to open the dialogue. […] Poncelet said Paris city council's decision to make the exiled Dalai Lama an honorary citizen of the French capital didn't represent the foreign policy of the national government. […]. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official meets EU Commissioner on external relations (Xinhua)
Wang Jiarui, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC), met here on Thursday with Benita Ferrero-Waldner, European Union's Commissioner on external relations. The two sides agreed that it accords with the common interests of both sides to strengthen China-EU mutually beneficial cooperation in various sectors, calling for stepping up dialogues and deepening mutual understanding under the framework of comprehensive strategic partnership. […]. ^ top ^

Extradition treaties with Australia, France set (China Daily)
Australia and France can no longer serve as safe havens for Chinese fugitives, with the country's top legislature approving two extradition treaties Thursday. They [the treaties] were submitted by the State Council for review at the second session of the Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress on Tuesday and were ratified when the session ended yesterday. But the texts of the two treaties were not made public. […] However, Wu [Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei] said the death penalty was a major problem during the treaties' negotiation, but the problem was properly solved after repeated discussions. No details were given. […]. ^ top ^

UN urged to lead on tech transfers (China Daily)
China's top official on climate change Thursday called on the international community to build a mechanism for technology development and transfer to help tackle problems associated with global warning. […] The UN should set up a panel to assess technology development and transfer, its funding and effectiveness, Xie [Xie Zhenhua, deputy head of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)] said. Wealthy countries should offer financial incentives to domestic developers to encourage technology transfer and provide training and pilot programs to developing countries, he said. […]. ^ top ^

EU leader Barroso visits China at special time (China Daily)
Jose Manuel Barroso, the European Union (EU) Commission president, arrived here on Thursday afternoon, starting a China visit at a time of several Sino-EU disagreements. During his three-day tour, Barroso will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and talk with Premier Wen Jiabao. He will also attend a picture exhibition and a seminar on climate change. The first China-EU High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue will also take place during his Beijing stay. Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson will co-host the dialogue. […] "Trade relations, energy and climate change will be major topics of the dialogue," said Zhang Jianxiong, a research fellow of European studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Science. […]. ^ top ^

Tibet issue to take back seat as EU-Beijing economic talks focus on old concerns (SCMP)
The Tibet issue is not expected to garner most of the attention at the first China-EU high-level economic talks in Beijing today because the two sides have more crucial topics on the agenda. Analysts said that under pressure from its Parliament and the western community, the European Union would press Beijing to engage in a dialogue with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, but trade friction, exchange rates and a strategic relationship would have the highest priorities. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing recalls weapons bound for Zimbabwe - Mainland bends to pressure over arms shipment (SCMP)
The mainland has decided to recall a shipment of weapons bound for Zimbabwe amid international efforts to prevent the supplies from reaching the volatile African state. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said yesterday the unidentified Chinese arms producer had decided to take back the shipment because "the Zimbabwean authorities could not take the delivery as scheduled". […] Without acknowledging international fury over the arms deal, Ms Jiang [Foreing Ministry spokeswoman] stressed that the shipment was a purely commercial transaction that broke no laws or UN Security Council resolutions. She also accused critics of wanting to "create conflict between China and African countries". "We will continue to deal with the issue [of arms trade] by upholding these principles," she said. […]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Beijing set to tighten its grip on key polar area (SCMP)
Beijing will strengthen its grip on Dome Argus, the highest and coldest place in Antarctica, by finishing construction of a permanent outpost before the end of next year, state media reported yesterday. The timetable has been adjusted to one year earlier than the goal set by the Polar Research Institute of China. […] While previous Chinese activities on the plateau focused almost exclusively on astronomy, subsequent research will embrace a much wider range of areas and subjects. […] State media has called the expedition "an unprecedented success", "an indication that Chinese have the capability to reach and stay anywhere" and "a turning point" in the country's short but rapidly growing presence on Antarctica. […]. ^ top ^

NPC to make all draft laws public (Xinhua)
The country's top legislature Sunday promised to make all draft laws public to give people more say in formulating legislation. In principle, all draft laws submitted to the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee for review will be released in full text to solicit public opinions," the NPC Standing Committee announced. The draft laws will be published on our official website ( If they're closely related to the interests of the people, the drafts will also be published on major newspapers," the Committee said. […]. ^ top ^

Pledge to address human rights issue (China Daily)
Despite achievements in advancing human rights, the country does not ignore existing problems and pledges to solve them, a leading Chinese human rights expert said yesterday. "People's civil and political rights are protected, but there are still some problems," Luo Haocai, president of the China Society for Human Rights Studies, told the inaugural Beijing Forum on Human Rights. […] He said China had never shunned the problems and had pledged to solve them through economic and social development, and the continuous improvement of democracy and the legal system."On the other hand, some Western countries adopt double standards on the human rights issue and condemn China and other developing countries, but turn a blind eye to their own human rights problems," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Rebuilding from winter storms "nearly complete" (Xinhua)
The country has almost completed the reconstruction of all power grids, transportation networks and public facilities ravaged by the worst winter storms in 50 years that hit central, southwest and southern regions in January and February, a senior official said Tuesday. […] Zhang [Zhang Ping, director of the State Development and Reform Commission] said the central government has allocated 29.5 billion yuan (4.2 billion U.S. dollars) for the reconstruction. ^ top ^

China's top legislature outlines priorities of work in 2008 (People's Daily)
The Standing Committee of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC) will discuss the amendment or adoption of 18 laws, hear seven work reports and conduct reviews on the implementation of five laws in 2008. The numbers were disclosed in a work agenda approved after a recent meeting of the chairman and vice chairpersons of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over by top legislator Wu Bangguo. The NPC Standing Committee will review draft amendments to 11 laws this year, including the Law on Protection of the Disabled, the Law on Insurance, the Patent Law, the Law on State Compensation, and the Electoral Law. […] The focus of this year's NPC Standing Committee's work is to "improve the socialistic legal system with Chinese characteristics", the work agenda said. ^ top ^

Crackdown as farmers fight to own land they till - Activist disappears following his arrest (SCMP)
Police have detained another farmer involved in a bold campaign to gain ownership of seized farmland as officials try to push ahead with a controversial project despite opposition from the community and a call by the central government to respect farmers' rights. Cui Zhongshan, 56, from Dongzhuang village in Tianjin's Wuqing district, was taken away on Sunday afternoon, and no word of him has been heard since, relatives and villagers said. Mr Cui is one of a number of organisers from Wuqing who, along with farmers from Heilongjiang, Shaanxi and Jiangsu , issued separate but similar online statements in December declaring the villagers had full private ownership of their farmland. […] However, the movement seemed to lose steam under the heavy crackdowns by local governments, which also resulted in pioneers of the campaign […]. ^ top ^

Hu Jia will not challenge verdict, lawyer says (SCMP)
Prominent dissident Hu Jia would not appeal against a guilty verdict meted out to him for attempting to overthrow the central government, his lawyer said yesterday. Li Jinsong said a Beijing intermediate court told him on Monday that Hu had decided not to appeal against his April 3 conviction of inciting subversion of the state. Also on Monday, Hu was made an honorary citizen of Paris. His 3-1/2-year sentence would stand, Mr Li said, adding: "I support Hu's decision." […]. ^ top ^

Villager shot dead in protest over firm's tungsten mine plan (SCMP)
At least one demonstrator was shot dead and more than 20 injured by police during a protest on Sunday against a Hong Kong-listed mining company's plans for a tungsten mine in Yunnan, according to a human rights watchdog. […] A duty officer at the police station of Mengdong township, which oversees Saixi, said the conflict had basically been resolved. He could not give any further information because he was not at the scene during the clashes. A spokesman for the Zijin Mining Group denied yesterday that the company had any responsibility for the incident. […]. ^ top ^

Programme of health reform unlikely to be ready this year (SCMP)
The much anticipated national health reform programme will probably not be ready this year, said Liao Xinbo, a vice-director of Guangdong's health department. Mr Liao was quoted by the Information Times as saying at a seminar in Guangzhou that the government had not yet carried out an extensive public consultation. He said a key issue was the financing and supervision of hospitals. Premier Wen Jiabao recently chaired two public consultations to review the reform plan, but an official date to publicise the plan had not been announced. ^ top ^

China adopts amendment to law protecting disabled (Xinhua)
Chinese lawmakers on Thursday adopted a law amendment to better protect the country's more than 83 million disabled, in the run-up to the Beijing 2008 Paralympics in September.The amendment to the Law on Protection of the Disabled, which has been discussed twice by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) in February and April, was expected to go into effect July 1. […] The amendment added details about stable financial support, better medical care and rehabilitation for the disabled, along with favorable jobs and tax policies. […]. ^ top ^



New move to protect reservoirs (Xinhua)
Miyun and Guanting reservoirs, which supply water to almost 7 million Beijing residents, have been listed as top water-quality protection areas, the government said yesterday. […] A circular by four ministries on a plan to better protect the reservoirs and six major rivers in China for the period 2006-10 was made public yesterday. The Haihe River Basin, where Beijing is located, is defined as "severely polluted". Thirty cities discharge more than 150 million tons of wastewater into the basin a year. Beijing also suffers from an acute water shortage - less than 300 cu m a year per individual - this is about one-eighth of the national average. "The water quality of Beijing, as the host city of 2008 Olympics, looms large and it obviously has to be improved," the plan said. […]. ^ top ^



Taiwan's new cabinet line-up unveiled (SCMP)
Taiwan's incoming Premier Liu Chao-shiuan on Monday unveiled the bulk of his cabinet line-up, with it mostly composed of experienced members of the former Kuomintang government. […] Paul Chiu, a former finance minister and now the chairman of EnTie Commercial Bank, was named the upcoming vice premier. Sixteen other members, among them the economic affairs minister, foreign affairs minister, justice minister and transportation minister, were included in the name list. But Liu did not unveil the incoming defence minister and chief of Mainland Affairs Council, the island's top China policy decision-making body. […]. ^ top ^

Taipei out to woo ally Paraguay's new leader (SCMP)
Taiwan has stepped up efforts to cement ties with Paraguay, an ally that could switch formal diplomatic ties to the mainland after Ma Ying-jeou takes office as president on May 20. The move came after Paraguay, one of Taiwan's 23 allies, elected a new president known to favour establishing diplomatic ties with the mainland. […] Mr Lugo said during his campaign that he would seek formal ties with the mainland if elected, fuelling concern that Taiwan could lose its only ally in South America. […] "We will do what we can to cement ties with Paraguay, our ally for 51 years," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Phoebe Yeh Fei-bi said. […] Ms Yeh said that in an interview with the Taipei-based, government-funded Central News Agency before the election, Mr Lugo had said establishing formal ties with the mainland was a major issue to be discussed. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwanese party seeks to become third force - Group changes tactics and cuts ties with DPP (SCMP)
The Taiwan Solidarity Union has decided to officially sever its link with the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party and take a more moderate stance in the hope of becoming a third force on the island. Chairman Huang Kun-huei yesterday announced the reorganisation of the party, which was set up in 2001 with the help of former president Lee Teng-hui. Its mission had been to co-operate with the DPP in promoting the island's identity as a self-ruling entity with the ultimate goal of building a "Taiwan nation". Under the new plan, the TSU would not only cease to be the DPP's ally and become its competitor, it would also ditch its hard-core pro-independence position in favour of a more moderate stand. […]. ^ top ^

KMT official thanks Taiwanese in Shanghai on warming visit (SCMP)
Chiang Pin-kung, a vice-chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang, arrived in Shanghai yesterday on the first stop of a four-day visit to the mainland that signals improving relations across the strait. Mr Chiang, who will become the top negotiator of the Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), expressed his gratitude to Shanghai-based Taiwanese businessmen for supporting Ma Ying-jeou, who won the presidential poll in a landslide. […]. ^ top ^



Reports: New arrests in Tibetan areas of western China (AP)
Beijing (AP) — New protests broke out in a restive Tibetan region of western China, prompting wide-scale arrests and tightened security, an activist group and local hotel workers said Friday. More than 100 ethnic Tibetans, including Buddhist monks and lay people, were detained after Thursday's protest in Tongren county, Qinghai province, the Tibetan Center for Human Rights and Democracy reported. […] Monks on Thursday called for the release of fellow Buddhist clergy. They were joined by area residents at a local market, according to the center, which is based in the seat of the Tibetan governmment-in-exile in the Indian town of Dharmsala. The center said police who were rushed to the scene began beating participants, despite efforts at mediation by a senior monk. Receptionists reached by phone at Tongren hotels confirmed the protest, saying a crowd had gathered near the local county government offices. […]. ^ top ^

Political education drive launched in Lhasa (SCMP)
The mainland's Communist Party has launched a two-month political education campaign in Tibet's restive capital Lhasa to attack pro-independence sentiment and support for the Dalai Lama. […] The campaign to “fight separatism, protect stability and promote development” would focus on “unifying the thinking and cohesive strength of officials and the masses, deepening the struggle against separatism, and counter-attacking the separatist plots of the Dalai clique,” said the paper. Party members and officials would be assessed on their “performance” in the two-month drive, which will include television programmes and organised denunciation sessions. […]. ^ top ^

MOC: China welcomes Carrefour's statement against Tibet independence (Xinhua)
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOC) on Tuesday welcomed French retail giant Carrefour's statement that opposes Tibet independence and supports Beijing Olympics. China noted the French government and companies had taken positive action to improve and safeguard bilateral relations, and firms including Carrefour have issued statements to oppose Tibet independence and support the Beijing Olympics, an MOC official said. […]. ^ top ^

Stay out of Tibet issue, diplomats and experts urge (People's Daily)
Diplomats and human rights experts from China and abroad on Wednesday urged foreign countries to stay out of China's Tibet issue. The Tibet issue is China's internal affair, "so nobody should go and intervene in it," Lovelia Cabrera Laping, special assistant to the undersecretary of the Philippines Foreign Ministry, told Xinhua. Laping was commenting on an article by U.S. Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Paula J. Dobriansky in the Washington Post, in which Dobriansky said the Tibet issue reflected "China's long-standing repression of religious, cultural and other freedoms." […] Ahmed Saadi, deputy director with the department of the multilateral affairs of the Algerian Foreign Ministry, said China's sovereignty deserved respect from other countries. […]. ^ top ^

Tibet receives first tour group since unrest (People's Daily)
Tibet received its first domestic tour group since the March 14 unrest on Thursday evening, another sign the region was returning to normal. The 15-member tour group from the eastern city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province, arrived at the Lhasa Railway Station at about 9:50 p.m.. Each was presented with a hada -- a long white silk scarf used as a greeting gift in Tibet -- by staff from the travel agency. But they were soon put on a bus headed for a downtown hotel, declining to answer questions raised by reporters.[…]. ^ top ^

Tough warning against disturbing peace in Tibet (SCMP)
Mainland authorities will harshly deal with anyone who spreads rumours which "excite popular feelings" or disturb social harmony in the already restive region of Tibet , the government said yesterday. The notice seems to be aimed at Tibetans who listen to foreign radio broadcasts about the recent demonstrations in their remote mountainous region, skirt the mainland's firewall to access overseas websites or simply exchange news with friends. "We will severely root out and give no indulgence to people with ulterior motives who spread rumours or excite popular feelings," the Tibet government said in a statement on its website. ^ top ^

Suicide bomber claim denied (SCMP)
The leader of a Tibetan exile group in northern India denied Chinese news reports that its activists planned to launch suicide attacks. "Relying on these baseless allegations, the Chinese Communist Party hopes to hijack our nonviolent struggle and weaken the Tibetan independence movement," Tsewang Rigzin, the president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, said. ^ top ^



Better IPR protection 'takes time' (China Daily)
As American companies increasingly sue Chinese counterparts for copyright infringements, Hollywood producers are joining forces with Chinese websites to tighten online protection. The seven most popular Chinese websites - where millions of films and television programs are being uploaded, watched or downloaded every day - signed an agreement with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) concerning copyright protection of American films on Friday. Under the agreement the websites promised to remove any programs illegally uploaded by users upon being notified by MPA and its member companies. […]. ^ top ^

China's yuan hits new high against U.S. dollar (Xinhua)
China's currency, the yuan, was set to trade at 6.9837 yuan against the U.S. dollar on Wednesday, a new high since the government unpaged it from the dollar in 2005. The yuan has risen almost 4.6 percent against the dollar so far this year. Market analysts attributed the rise to the continuing weakening of the dollar, led by a fall in confidence in the U.S. currency and sell-off activity. […]. ^ top ^

Yangtze River Delta vows to coordinate region's financial services (Xinhua)
Government leaders and business executives have laid a roadmap for greater coordination of financial service development in the Yangtze River Delta during a financial forum concluded on Monday in Nanjing. It calls for promoting partnerships among governments, financial service authorities and businesses in the region, enhancing the capital flow and integrating the functions of financial infrastructure in the area.[…] Further reforms of foreign exchange management are needed for a freer flow of capital in the region, and coordinated steps should be taken to combat money laundering, prevent financial risks and promote the healthy development of the financial industry. […]. ^ top ^

Power coal reserve falls to 12 days amid rising prices (People's Daily)
Reserves of coal for power generation have dropped to fewer than seven days in some Chinese provinces, vice chairman of the China Electricity Regulatory Commission Wang Yeping said on Tuesday. The nation's entire coal reserves slumped to 46.69 million tons as of April 20, down 12 percent from 53 million tons in the early March, said Wang at a news conference on Tuesday. The national stockpile was only sufficient for 12 days of consumption, three days fewer than the March record. […]. ^ top ^

China cuts stamp tax to revive stock market (China Daily)
China slashed the trading cost for stock investors on Wednesday in the latest attempt to rebuild confidence in its flagging equity market. The stamp tax on stock trading was cut to 0.1 percent from the current 0.3 percent starting from Thursday, the China Central Television (CCTV) reported, citing the Ministry of Finance and the State Administration of Taxation. The new measure came after the country's stock market has fallen nearly 50 percent from its peak since mid-October in the face of a mixture of factors, including the over-valuation of shares, tight monetary policies, and concerns over the economy and corporate earnings due to a global economic slowdown. […]. ^ top ^

Signing of FTA could offer new opportunity (China Daily)
The signing of a free trade agreement (FTA) between China and New Zealand on April 7 could give the soon-to-air cartoon Jane and the Dragon a Chinese touch. That's because the agreement calls for the New Zealand government to provide up to 1,800 work permits annually for Chinese who work in fields where there is a skill shortage, such as traditional medicine and language instruction. The two countries also agreed to establish a scheme enabling 1,000 young, skilled Chinese to enter New Zealand on working holidays every year. […] Unlike China's previous FTAs, in which trade of goods served as the starting point and other fields later become areas for expansion, the agreement with New Zealand would cover trade in goods and services, and investment from the moment it takes effect. It is China's first such agreement with a developed country. […]. ^ top ^

Slowdown, rising yuan squeeze exporters (China Daily)
[…] The yuan is stronger and the world market is weaker, the result of the unfolding credit crisis. And that's had an impact on the number of buyers and orders for exporters who are attending the China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou, capital of the southern Guangdong Province. Figures from the fair show 128,155 foreign buyers in attendance, 5.8 percent fewer than the last spring fair. The number of US purchasers decreased 23.3 percent and those from France and Germany were down 11.8 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively. […] Customs statistics showed China's exports to the United States rose 5.4 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, a deceleration of 15 percentage points compared with the same 2007 period. Exports to the EU grew 24.2 percent, 10.3 percentage points lower. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier underscores jobs creation (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang on Thursday called for more efforts to create jobs. At a trans-ministries meeting on employment in Beijing, Zhang said that after years of concerted efforts, the unemployment rate in urban areas have been in steady decline on the economic boom during the past few years. He acknowledged that the current employment situation in China was grave, with more uncertainties over the economy and jobs creation. The vice premier called ministries concerned to take proactive policies on jobs creation and unemployment reduction, in particular for the college graduates. […]. ^ top ^

Stock rise biggest in 6 years (Xinhua)
The key mainland stock index yesterday soared 9.29 percent, the biggest one-day jump in six years, as investor sentiment was boosted by the government lowering of stamp duty. The slashing of trading tax from 0.3 percent to 0.1 percent, effective yesterday, was widely seen as another government effort to lift the stock market from the doldrums it has been in for six months. […] Analysts said the reduction in the stamp duty and restrictions on the sale of unlocked shares showed that the market has fallen as low as the government would like to see. […]. ^ top ^


Beijing Olympics

Japanese leg of relay to start from vacant site in Nagano (SCMP)
The Japanese leg of the Olympic torch relay will kick off from a vacant patch of land in Nagano on Saturday after a historic Buddhist temple pulled out as host over security concerns and complaints from the faithful, a city official said yesterday. Also, the three corporate sponsors for the Japanese leg of the relay - Coca-Cola, Samsung and Lenovo - will not send vehicles to take part in the event, which Japanese media said would attract protests. Last week the Zenkoji temple distanced itself from the relay, partly over Beijing's actions in Tibetan-populated regions. […] Eighty torch-bearers are expected to jog the 18.5km route through the central Japanese city that hosted the Winter Games in 1998. ^ top ^

Indonesia marks relay behind closed doors (SCMP)
Yesterday's Indonesian leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay proved that the flame can go out even without a protest. The torch was paraded behind closed doors at a by-invitation-only event in Jakarta held under blanket security, where it spluttered out and had to be re-lit. Before the relay began, police broke up a rally by pro-Tibet activists outside the sprawling national stadium, which was closed to the public. […] Rights activists said Indonesia had buckled under Chinese pressure to quash protesters angry at Beijing's rule over Tibet. […]. ^ top ^

Roof leak during test event embarrasses Bird's Nest managers (SCMP)
A leak in the "Bird's Nest" Olympic Stadium during a test event last weekend has landed venue managers of the iconic centrepiece of the Beijing Games in hot water. It is also the first public relations test since the multibillion-yuan stadium opened less than a week ago. Officials insisted the damp conditions, which affected part of the stands and a few backroom offices on Sunday as a marathon finished inside the venue, were accidental rather than structural, and would be fixed in days. […] The membrane roof over the interwoven steel structure is an eye-catching feature of the venue and helped earn the arena its nickname. But it has become a source of embarrassment for Beijing's Olympic organisers, who apparently fear critics might link the leak with substandard quality of construction. […] The venue official said a public statement was being prepared to clarify the details of the incident. ^ top ^

Chinese-Australians in large show of support for torch - 10,000 drown out Tibet independence activists (SCMP)
More than 10,000 Chinese-Australians staged the biggest pro-Beijing rally of the protest-marred Olympic torch relay yesterday, bringing a sea of red flags and drowning out Tibetan demonstrators. Protests during the previous relay legs have sparked a wave of patriotism among Chinese at home and abroad, and thousands of them, chanting "One China", packed the start and finish of the torch relay in Australia's capital. […] "It was highly organised," Tibet independence supporter and Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown said. "Australians will feel a little bit uncomfortable by the fact that communist China came to town and just showed it can buy anything." China denied the charge. "I don't know how this question is relevant," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said in Beijing. "If someone is interested in it, then has he asked those people who disrupt and sabotage the torch if there are any organisers and instigators behind them? I think that question is more newsworthy." […] Scuffles broke out between pro-Tibetan demonstrators and China supporters, who included Australian-Chinese and Chinese students in Australia, before the start of the relay and as a few protesters tried to block the runners. […]. ^ top ^

Public won't be getting near Games' torch during Japan leg (SCMP)
Japan will shut out the public at the start, midpoint and end of its leg of the Olympic torch relay, Japanese officials said. The torch will travel tomorrow through the mountain town of Nagano, site of the 1998 Winter Olympics. The relay will start at a parking lot after a revered Buddhist temple backed out in protest over the Tibet situation. The city decided that "the starting point and midpoint will now be limited to people linked to the Beijing Olympic Committee and invited guests", said local official Takuro Miyashita. […]. ^ top ^

11th-hour block to foreign coverage of Everest torch ascent (SCMP)
Beijing abruptly closed the door yesterday on most foreign media coverage of the Olympic torch's Mount Everest ascent after journalists raised concerns over safety and reporting curbs in Tibet. Beijing plans to take a special high-altitude Olympic torch to the summit of the world's tallest peak next month and had invited world media to cover the event as a triumphal symbol of Beijing's hosting of the Olympics. But last-minute changes this week by Beijing Olympics officials called for a rapid and tightly controlled two- to three-day trip through riot-hit Tibet to Mount Everest's northern base camp. The changes raised concerns among journalists about the health impact of ascending too quickly to the camp's elevation of 5,150 metres. After foreign media requested further information on the safety concerns, Beijing Olympic Games organisers set a sudden payment deadline yesterday morning for air tickets to Lhasa. The situation descended into farce when the Olympic official tasked with collecting payments refused to accept the fees from international news agencies as he headed to the airport to purchase the tickets. […]. ^ top ^

Rock festival falls victim to security drive (SCMP)
Fun has become the latest casualty of Beijing's drive to ensure security in the sensitive time leading up to the Olympic Games, with at least four outdoor events cancelled or curtailed in the past month. The most recent victim is the Midi Festival, a four-day rock event scheduled for a Beijing park next week. […] The Midi concert is one of a long line of events that have been cancelled or postponed. Canadian singer Celine Dion's April 13 Beijing outdoor concert was called off because she was concerned about the effect of sandstorms on her voice, and an indoor venue could not be booked in time. The European Union had planned a carnival in Beijing's Chaoyang Park for mid-May to celebrate ties between Europe and China, but a spokesman for the European Commission said organisers had been unable to get a permit for security reasons. A street festival in a trendy Beijing neighbourhood set for the weekend of April 12-13 was also called off at the last minute with organisers saying it would now be held after the Games. ^ top ^


Irene Frei
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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