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
  23.6-27.6.2008, No. 223  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

Cancellations lessen impact of Japanese destroyer's visit - Warship welcomed in Zhanjiang, but occasion seems hollow (SCMP)
Japanese servicemen were greeted with applause and fireworks from the Chinese navy yesterday when they returned to China nearly 63 years after the end of the second world war. But perhaps the Japanese troops' first friendly exchange with Chinese people in such a long time fell short of expectations, as mainland authorities decided at the last minute to cancel virtually all public functions for the destroyer Sazanami. […] In fact, apart from a well-selected pool of official mainland press and a dozen Japanese media who gained access to the Chinese naval installation through arrangements by the Japanese embassy, no foreign journalists - including those from Hong Kong and Macau, were allowed to cover the landmark event. […] Qingdao University international relations expert Li Guangmin believed there was a need for this visit to stay low profile. […] "The fragile but blossoming Sino-Japanese ties could be easily jeopardised if it raised public resentment." […] The Sazanami carried relief materials including food, blankets and disinfectants for Sichuan earthquake victims. It will be transported to the area by train today. ^ top ^

Growing pains (SCMP)
The latest Pew Global Attitudes survey of public opinion in 24 major countries around the world, released this month, shows signs of apprehension of a rising China - politically, economically and militarily - and what a more powerful China might mean for the rest of the world. The survey, which involves 24,000 people on all five continents, shows a decline in favourable views of China. […] However, it should be of some consolation for China to know that in none of the countries surveyed did a majority of people regard it as an enemy, while residents of some, including Pakistan, Nigeria, Tanzania, South Africa and Russia, actually consider it a partner […] Despite the international outcry about human rights abuses, the survey shows that 86 per cent of Chinese are satisfied with their country's direction. In fact, most Chinese think their nation will eventually replace the US as the world's leading power. ^ top ^

China's top legislature to ratify SCO treaty (China Daily)
Beijing - China will ratify a multilateral treaty for the members of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) to maintain peaceful and friendly border regions. The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), the country's top legislature, on Tuesday started to review a motion by the State Council, China's Cabinet, to approve the treaty. It was hearing an explanation given by Foreign Affairs Vice Minister Wu Dawei commissioned by the government. […] The 26-itemed treaty pledges to intensify cooperation in maintaining regional peace and stability and prohibit members from undertaking activities in their own territory that would jeopardize other's interests. The NPC Foreign Affairs Committee supported the approval saying the treaty would help China secure long-term peace in the country's northwest border areas. ^ top ^

Iraqi nod to Chinese oil firms (China Daily)
China's four oil companies are now qualified to participate in Iraq's coming licensing round for oil and gas contracts, according to the Iraqi oil ministry. The four, China National Petroleum Corp, China Petrochemical Corp, China National Offshore Oil Corp and Sinochem Corp, are among 41 oil firms that have obtained the qualification. Although developing oil and gas is a risky venture in Iraq, the qualification will benefit Chinese companies as oil resources in Iraq are ill developed because of sanctions and war, said Han Xiaoping, senior vice-president of Beijing Falcon Pioneer Technology Co Ltd. […]. ^ top ^

Top leaders: China, Greece to enhance cooperation (People's Daily Online)
Chinese top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday met with Greek President Karolos Papoulias separately and the leaders agreed to enhance bilateral cooperation. Wu, National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee chairman, highlighted the recent growth of bilateral relations, especially since the two nations forged the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2006. He voiced hope that the two sides could step up cooperation on marine transport and deepen exchanges and cooperation in trade, tourism, the Olympics and culture. Wu applauded the frequent friendly exchanges between the two parliaments, calling on the two legislatures to make bigger contributions to friendship between the two nations, bilateral pragmatic cooperation in various fields and development of bilateral relations. […]. ^ top ^

High-level Chinese official ends visit to Cuba (People's Daily Online)
He Guoqiang, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, ended Wednesday his friendly four-day visit to Cuba where he met with Cuba's high-level leaders. […] Before leaving to Trinidad and Tobago He, who is also secretary of the CPC's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, said that his stay in Cuba was a success. During his stay in Cuba, He met with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro who has a severe intestinal sickness since 23 months ago and with Cuban Leader Raul Castro. He also met with the Cuban First Vice President Jose Ramon Machado and witnessed the sign of an agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation between Cuba and China. […] He and his retinue will also visit Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil and Angola. ^ top ^

Vice president's five-nation tour to strongly promote ties (China Daily)
Saana -- Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visits to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), Mongolia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Yemen will effectively push forward the development of China's ties with these countries, a senior diplomat said Wednesday. Xi paid official visits to the five nations at the invitation of the countries' leaders on June 17-25. The five-nation tour, the first visit to foreign countries by Xi after becoming vice president earlier this year, was a tour of "friendship, exchange and cooperation," said Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, who accompanied Xi during the visits, to reporters. The visits, featured with a compact agenda, were "pragmatic and highly-effective," and have yielded rich fruits, he added. […]. ^ top ^

China calls for efforts to solve Darfur issue (China Daily)
Beijing --- Pushing forward the Darfur issue into the next stage calls for multi-aspect efforts from the international community, a Chinese official said here Thursday. […] The Chinese side believed the three parties -- Sudan, the African Union (AU) and the United Nations (UN) -- should fully play the role of the tri-party negotiation as a major channel to promote the deployment of the hybrid UN-AU mission at an early date through dialogue and equal consultation, Zhai said. Meanwhile, peacekeeping operations and the political process should be pushed forward synchronously so as to achieve concrete results for negotiations. An urgent task currently for the international community was to push forward opposition parties in Darfur to unify views and create conditions for peaceful talks, Zhai said. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing lax on firms that break UN sanctions: Pentagon official (SCMP)
Beijing is reluctant to launch a full crackdown on firms conducting business in violation of UN Security Council sanctions, the Pentagon's Asia chief says. "The US government has asked Beijing to halt commercial transactions by Chinese firms that violate UN sanctions, nonproliferation norms and [Chinese] law, but our efforts are met with mixed results," James Shinn, assistant secretary of defence for Asian and Pacific security affairs, told the House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Wednesday. "China's willingness to co-operate on these is uneven." Mr Shinn was particularly concerned over Beijing's sale of conventional weapons to Iran, accusing the Islamic republic of supporting militant groups in Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan "that target and kill Americans and our allies". […]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Wen promises safer schools and hospitals on quake visit - Premier vows strict design standards for rebuilding (SCMP)
On his third visit to the quake zone, Premier Wen Jiabao vowed to make schools and hospitals the "sturdiest, safest and securest" buildings, and said close attention must be paid to safety during construction. Wrapping up a three-day inspection tour of Shaanxi and Gansu provinces, the premier also promised to return life to normal in the provinces within two months. […] Under mounting public pressure, the Ministry of Education promised last month that new construction standards emphasising quake resistance were being drafted, based on the principle that all new classrooms should be built with higher safety standards than residential buildings. The central government has also ordered a thorough safety assessment of remaining school buildings in earthquake-hit areas before students can return. […]. ^ top ^

Uncovering the truth - Grieving parents are accusing officials of a whitewash over their children's deaths in a collapsed school (SCMP)
Since the Sichuan earthquake last month destroyed the remote Muyu Secondary School, parents of children who died have been returning every day to the site where the classrooms once stood. Each day their pilgrimage represents the search for answers from the government, but every day they are disappointed. Unlike other schools that collapsed during the quake, Muyu, tucked away in the mountains of Qingchuan county, has received little attention in the mainland press, with parents blaming the oversight on tight media controls. And unlike other schools, impoverished Muyu's three-storey student dormitory, where the children were having their afternoon sleep, was allegedly dangerous not because of shoddy construction, but because it was converted from a 30-year-old factory building that was not designed to withstand a quake. […] At least 10 times since the quake the parents have protested in front of the Qingchuan county government's offices, hoping to speak to county party secretary Li Haosheng. […]. ^ top ^

CPC publicizes Party's five-year anti-corruption plan (China Daily)
Beijing - The Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on Sunday revealed its five-year plan for the Party's prevention and punishment of corruption. The committee has ordered Party organs at all levels to seriously carry out the plan which aims at establishing a system to punish and prevent corruption from 2008 to 2012. A focus of the plan, a guideline for the Party's anti-corruption work in the next five years, is to correct sybaritic and wasteful spending of the government's money by bosses of state-owned corporations. […] Meanwhile, it supports pushing forward the government's information transparency through holding more public hearings and professional consultation meetings. The plan also invites the mass media to implement press supervision over the government and Party. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing publishes implementation measures of Emergency Response Law (China Daily)
Beijing - With the approach of the Olympics, Beijing has published implementation measures of the Emergency Response Law on Sunday in a city newspaper. The implementation measures, passed at the fourth session of the 13th Standing Committee of the Beijing Municipal People's Congress on May 23, were published in Beijing Daily, and come into effect on July 1, five weeks ahead of the Olympics, to reinforce public security during the event. […] According to the implementation measures, the governments of the city, regions and towns should build up an information publicity system. The press release and spokesman system should be improved and quick response processes should be formed on news reporting, information collecting and analysis. […]. ^ top ^

Judges will be punished for trial errors (People's Daily)
In its efforts to reform and improve its judicial system, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) said on Monday it will track retrials resulting from cases tried by particular judges, and will punish those who are prone to errors. […] It is the first time the SPC has said it will hold judges responsible for issuing verdicts that are later overturned. To facilitate such enforcement, the SPC will improve its national system to track where and why retrials occur, he [Shen Deyong, vice-president of the SPC] said. The SPC is also taking steps to rein in judges' discretionary powers by establishing guidelines for sentencing, he said. […] At the same conference, SPC Chief Justice Wang Shengjun stressed the need to establish a clearer mechanism to gather public input and address concerns. […]. ^ top ^

43 punished for quake relief frauds (China Daily)
Twelve officials have been sacked and 31 punished for misappropriating earthquake relief funds and materials, the country's top discipline watchdog said on Monday. Most of the sacked officials were serious offenders at the grassroots level and directly responsible for distribution of relief, Ma Wen, Minister of Supervision, said. […] The government has received 1,178 public complaints (till June 20) against official misdeeds, said Ma, who is also the head of the National Bureau of Corruption Prevention (NBCP). "Of these, 1,007 cases have been probed and resolved," she told a press conference organized by the State Council Information Office. A vast majority of the complaints were against improper distribution of tents and food, with most of the others related to slow or inefficient official response. […]. ^ top ^

NPC to be briefed on 70b yuan quake-aid work - Finance minister pledges reports amid fears over misappropriation of funds (SCMP)
The finance minister has promised that reports on the use of the 70 billion yuan (HK$79.53 billion) on reconstruction of the quake-hit regions will be made to the nation's top legislative body. The pledge by Xie Xuren at the third session of the 11th National People's Congress' Standing Committee came amid rising concerns over misappropriation of disaster relief funds. […] To date, 54.31 billion yuan from both central and local governments has been allocated to relief and reconstruction. […]. ^ top ^

Relief plan focuses on rural homes (China Daily)
A major part of the reconstruction fund will be used to help farmers rebuild their homes destroyed or damaged in the May 12 earthquake, the central government said on Tuesday. "The government plans to allot 70 billion yuan ($10.14 billion) this year to set up a reconstruction fund for the quake-hit areas, out of which 40 billion yuan will be used to subsidize the rebuilding and repair of farmers' homes," Vice-Premier Hui Liangyu said. […]. ^ top ^

Mao's daughter-in-law dies in Beijing at 69 (SCMP)
Another chapter of the Mao Zedong era ended late on Tuesday night with the death of Shao Hua, Mao's daughter-in-law. Shao, originally known as Zhang Shaohua, died of an undisclosed illness in a Beijing hospital, aged 69, less than a year after her husband, Mao Anqing, passed away, state media reported. […] Shao was a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference from 1988 to 2002. Her recent public appearances had mainly related to her chairmanships of the China Photographers' Association and the China Female Photographers' Association. […]. ^ top ^

Terrorism not ruled out after Xinjiang blast kills three (SCMP)
At least three people died, one person was injured and four others were missing after an explosion yesterday in Fukang, Xinjiang. The accident occurred at about 4pm at the Fukang Iron Coke Company when an oil tank containing 2,000 cubic metres of coal tar ignited, Xinhua reported. An area 200 metres downwind was found to have a concentration of benzene and toluene above the acceptable standard. The authorities said they could not rule out terrorism. ^ top ^

Top court overturns 15% death sentences in 1st half year (China Daily)
The Supreme People's Court (SPC) overturned about 15 percent of the death sentences handed down by high courts in the first half of this year, a senior court official said on Thursday. The high rejection rate shows how cautious the judiciary has been with capital punishment after the SPC took back the right to review death sentences from lower courts on Jan 1 last year. Gao Jinghong, presiding judge of the SPC's Third Criminal Law Court, said the majority of the death sentences were overturned because they were inappropriate or lacked sufficient evidence.[…]. ^ top ^

'World's fastest bullet train' running by August: officials - Changes in air pressure make some passengers dizzy (SCMP)
The "world's fastest bullet train" - the high-speed Beijing-Tianjin rail service - will be running by August, just in time for the Olympics, the Ministry of Railways said yesterday. […] The 120km service will cut travel time between the two Olympic cities by 75 per cent to less than half an hour thanks to a top speed of 350km/h, faster than France's TGV, the current record holder. The train is the latest version of a domestically manufactured model based on German technology. […] The train is the third incarnation of the China Rail High-Speed programme, which abandoned Japanese technology in favour of Siemens-designed technology. […]. ^ top ^

Authorities execute at least six offenders on UN anti-drug day (SCMP)
Mainland authorities executed at least six offenders, including a "drug king" and a Taiwanese businessman, on the eve of - and during - the UN's international day against drug abuse and illicit trafficking. […]High-profile trials are often held in all parts of the country, and drug convicts are paraded before national television to highlight the authorities' determination to crack down on trafficking. China Central Television broadcast announcements yesterday of the six executions. International human rights organisations have criticised China for its mass trials and executions on anti-drug days. Last year in Chongqing, at least five traffickers were executed on the anti-drug day. ^ top ^

Chinese legislature approves int'l convention on rights of handicapped (Xinhua)
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) approved the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at its plenary session in Beijing Thursday. The approval of the international convention is helpful for protecting the rights of the handicapped group in China and is in conformity with the country's realities and needs, according to the NPC Foreign Affairs Committee. […] . ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier underscores job creation, labor rights protection (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang on Thursday called for more efforts to create jobs and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of employees. Employment and labor rights protection have a lot to do with people's well-being and social stability, Zhang told ministerial and provincial level officials at a workshop on employment and harmonious labor relations in Beijing. […] He called on officials to minimize unemployment in their administrations and encouraged more labor-intensive companies in job creation. […]. ^ top ^



Guidelines issued for mainland residents traveling to Taiwan (China Daily)
Travel agencies and mainland residents should not conduct economic, cultural or other exchanges on their visits to Taiwan, say the guideline of the Cross-Straits Tourism Association (CSTA). The CSTA has published three guidelines for mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan, which have been posted on the National Tourism Administration's website Mainland travelers have been warned not to gamble, buy or sell pornography material or narcotics, or indulge in other activities that can hamper mainland-Taiwan ties. CSTA accredited mainland travel agencies have to submit the names of all mainland tourists' to the authorities. […]. ^ top ^

Taipei ends island's long exclusion at World Expo (SCMP)
Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin has arrived in Shanghai to close a deal that will allow a participant from Taiwan to join in the 2010 World Expo - the island's first official return to a world fair since it was ousted from the UN in 1971.Mr Hau, who led a 25-member delegation to Shanghai yesterday for a five-day visit, is scheduled to sign Taipei up for the "best cities for urban practices" exhibition from May to October 2010. Taipei will showcase its wireless broadband internet infrastructure and rubbish recycling system. […]. ^ top ^

Setback for Taiwanese hopes on WHO entry (SCMP)
A top mainland official in charge of Taiwanese affairs has reportedly ruled out the island joining the World Health Organisation, prompting concern from Taipei, which had hoped for Beijing's blessing. In a meeting with Japanese legislators on Monday in Beijing, Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) under the State Council, said the mainland would continue to object to the island's bid to join the global health body. "The mainland would not accept Taiwan formally joining the WHO, but would try to establish a framework to allow Taiwan to share information with other countries through some sort of international network outside the WHO in the event of a bird flu outbreak," he was reported by Kyodo news agency as saying. His remarks raised concern in Taiwan, especially since the two sides had resumed dialogue in a landmark meeting this month to improve ties and shelve political differences. […]. ^ top ^

Falun Gong followers won't budge (SCMP)
Falun Gong followers said they would continue promoting the movement at Taiwanese sites popular with tourists from the mainland, where the sect is banned, despite official Taiwanese requests for them to leave. Authorities in Tainan, a tourist attraction known for its 17th-century Dutch colonial buildings, said they were worried the movement's displays would affect the appearance of the sites. ^ top ^

Official's remarks on Taipei's WHO bid misrepresented, says Beijing (SCMP)
Beijing has moved to hose down any controversy arising from a comment by the official in charge of Taiwan affairs over the island's desire for membership in the World Health Organisation. Fan Liqing, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, said yesterday a Japanese report had misrepresented the remarks of office director Wang Yi . "[Mr Wang] was merely reflecting the mainland's usual stance on Taiwan's participation in the WHO during his meeting with Japanese visitors," she was quoted as saying by Taiwan's semi-official Central News Agency. "The Japanese media report was inaccurate." […]. ^ top ^



Tourists start trickling back to Tibet as 3-month travel ban ends (SCMP)
Tibet reopened to foreign tourists yesterday after a three-month travel ban prompted by deadly rioting in March. But officials and industry insiders were cautious about whether tourism would return to peak-season levels in August. Travel agencies said their phones were busy again after months of slow business following an announcement on Tuesday from the autonomous region's tourism authority that the ban had been lifted. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese Tibetologists say hard to communicate with West (China Daily)
Brussels -- A group of Chinese Tibetologists who are touring Europe for exchange of views expressed their frustration on Thursday at the difficulty in communication with their Western colleagues and politicians. "I find that people in Europe pay much attention to the Tibet issue, but are generally poor in knowledge of today's Tibet -- the society, the economy, the culture and religious freedom," head of the delegation, Ciwang Junmei, told reporters. "In our conversations, our efforts were often being taken as propaganda even when we resorted to our personal experiences to make a point," said Ciwang, former president of the Tibet Academy of Social Sciences. […]. ^ top ^



Falling stocks intertwined with graft probe (SCMP)
At first glance, the mainland's plunging stock markets and an official probe earlier this month into activities of Wang Yi, deputy governor of the State Development Bank, bear little connection. In fact, the two developing events are intricately intertwined, with details emerging in the past few weeks painting a sordid picture of the state of the mainland's financial services, characterised by blatant official corruption, rampant insider dealing and a weak regulatory regime. Mainland stock markets have fallen more than 40 per cent since the beginning of this year and about 60 per cent since their peak in October. […] the government has launched a high-level investigation into Mr Wang and his associates, who wove an intricate web of corruption and patronage involving a number of Shanghai-listed firms. Intense rumours that the inquiry will implicate senior government officials and leading companies have contributed to the stock market's fall in the past few weeks. […]. ^ top ^

China to launch 10 key projects in western regions (China Daily)
China is to launch 10 key projects in the western regions this year to promote the strategy of developing its vast west. The National Development and Reform Commission said on its website that the 10 projects, with a combined budget of 436 billion yuan ($64.12 billion), are aimed at boosting the economic and social development of western regions. […]. ^ top ^

Baosteel to pay almost twice for ore (China Daily)
Baosteel, China's largest iron and steel maker, said Monday it had agreed with Australian mining group Rio Tinto on a price increase of up to 96.5 percent for iron ore in 2008, nearly double that of 2007. […] Baosteel and Rio Tinco, the world's third largest iron ore producer, agreed on the price hike after talks that "maintained traditional pricing mechanism and normal market order, and kept the long-term friendly cooperation between the upstream and downstream sectors", the China steel giant said in a statement. […]. ^ top ^

Central bank chief's warning sparks mainland stock sell-off (SCMP)
Mainland stocks fell sharply and turnover shrank to its lowest level in more than a year yesterday, after central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan warned monetary policy might be tightened further to fight inflation. […] The central bank might formulate "stronger policies" to tackle inflation, as higher energy prices would push the consumer price index higher, Mr Zhou was quoted by Bloomberg as saying in New York on Friday. His remarks outweighed any positive impact from a speech by securities regulator Shang Fulin, who pledged to protect the market's stability by adjusting the timing of new equity offers and encouraging more long-term funds to enter the market. […]. ^ top ^

Insurers pay $49m for quake-related claims (China Daily)
Insurance companies in China had paid out 334 million yuan ($48.5 million) for 250,000 quake-related claims as of Friday, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) said on Sunday. Of that amount, 190 million yuan was for life claims and 144 million yuan for property claims, the industry regulator noted. Chen Wenhui, CIRC's assistant chairman, on Sunday urged to speed up paying out for claims related to insured company assets and construction projects. The indemnities would help the quake-hit businesses to resume production at early dates, Chen added. […]. ^ top ^

Economist: China set for 30 more years of fast growth (China Daily)
China's economy will grow rapidly during the next 30 years, despite a slight slowdown at present, Fan Gang, a well-known economist and member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, told an economic forum on Wednesday. Higher productivity had been a major factor in China's economic growth and would continue to play a role in the coming decades, Fan said. […] Meanwhile, there was still much room for further reforms in government efficiency, state-owned enterprises, pricing mechanisms and the financial and tax systems, which could unleash further economic dynamism, Fan said. […]. ^ top ^

Hot money inflows put at US$1.75tr (SCMP)
The fear that hot money flowing into the mainland could play havoc with the economy - especially if it suddenly flows out - keeps Beijing policymakers awake deep into the night. There is little question speculative funds can drive up property prices, fuel inflation and make monetary policy difficult. The trouble is, exactly how much "hot money" is flooding into the country is anyone's guess. […] Hot money flowing into the mainland totalled US$1.75 trillion from 2003 to March this year, according to a top think-tank. […] Zhang Ming, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said he conducted his research to evaluate the impact on the country's economy in a possible worst-case scenario if speculative money suddenly fled the country. […] "The possibility of large-scale evacuation like in the Asian financial crisis is not very big," said Mr Zhang. "But if they think the economic fundamentals will change significantly, the outflow can be huge." […]. ^ top ^

Inflation may hover around 7% (China Daily)
China's inflation for this year may hover around 7 percent, but the country or Asia for that matter can hardly be held responsible for rising inflation in the developed economies, said analysts. China's consumer price index (CPI), a key gauge of inflation, rose 8.1 percent in the first five months year-on-year. It was 4.8 percent for the whole of last year. […]. ^ top ^

CSRC issues deadline on corporate governance (Xinhua)
If listed companies fail to meet corporate governance standards by Nov. 30, the China Securities Regulatory Commission will refuse their proposals for share incentive schemes or new fund raising, it said yesterday. The watchdog announced the tougher rules after finding common corporate governance problems among listed companies. These included lack of independence due to excessive power by controlling shareholders and failing to clarify responsibilities of independent board members.

[…] It requires boards to be able to freeze shares held by big shareholders in case of emergencies. They should also fortify the process of collecting, safeguarding and disclosing sensitive information to prevent insider trading and market manipulation. […] Listed companies must report their progress before July 20 and finish the process before Nov. 30. ^ top ^


Beijing Olympics

Odd-even rule to reduce traffic by 70% (China Daily)
More than 2.3 million cars, up to 70 percent of the total, could be removed from Beijing's roads during the Olympics, as a result of new measures, the local transport authority said on Friday. In a bid to ease congestion and reduce emissions, between July 20 and Sept 20, Beijing's 3.3 million private car owners will be required to abide by an odd-and-even license plate rule, which allows them to drive into the city only on alternate days. As compensation, road and vehicle taxes will be waived during the period, saving motorists a combined 1.3 billion yuan ($189 million), the authority said. The rule will also apply to 70 percent of the city's 300,000 government vehicles, with exemptions made for public service vehicles, including buses and taxis, and diplomatic vehicles. […]. ^ top ^

Vice-president takes the Games critics in his stride (SCMP)
The man expected to be the nation's next president, Xi Jinping, said Beijing had adopted a cool approach to the chorus of criticism which marked the country's preparation for the Olympic Games. On his first international trip since assuming the vice-presidency in March, Mr Xi told a group of Hong Kong reporters in Doha, Qatar - the third leg of a five-nation tour - that the leadership was never bothered by the sometimes messy situation the Olympic torch created on its world journey. "Whether you like the Beijing Olympics or not, it's not our business," said Mr Xi […] Hu Xingdou, a political scientist based in Beijing, said Mr Xi's international debut showed the new generation of leaders had broader minds and a more liberal outlook. […] At the same time, there was a stronger than ever belief among them that China's ascent to world superpower status was unstoppable. "That's where they get the confidence. They believe that a nation that doesn't know how to handle criticism can't become a superpower, either," he said. ^ top ^

Ground-to-air missile launchers deployed for Olympic security (SCMP)
The central government has bolstered its Olympic security effort by deploying a battery of surface-to-air missile launchers 1km south of the venues for the Beijing Games. At least two camouflaged Hongqi 7 missile launchers were visible from a public road close to the stadium built for the 1990 Asian Games, just across the fourth ring road from the Bird's Nest arena and Water Cube aquatics centre. […]. ^ top ^

Blockade of NGO websites seen as pre-Olympics crackdown (SCMP)
Internet police have stepped up control over websites run by non-governmental organisations on the mainland - a move some activists fear might signal a nationwide crackdown ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games. ^ top ^

Shanghai bars dissidents from speaking to foreign journalists (SCMP)
Shanghai had barred political dissidents from leaving the city and gagged them from speaking to foreign media in action taken surrounding the Olympic Games in August, a human rights group said yesterday. Quoting from a document issued by the Shanghai Public Security Bureau, the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said the new rules had been in effect from April 1 and would run until the end of October. The rules include requiring dissidents to stay in Shanghai and banning them from expressing political opinions to overseas media. […]. ^ top ^

Room rates fall as tourist bookings fail to match overly optimistic predictions (SCMP)
Not all early birds catch the worm, at least where the Beijing hotel industry is concerned. With fewer tourists now expected in Beijing for the Olympic Games in August than had been forecast, hotel guests seeking rooms at the front desk may get a better rate than those who made reservations a year ago. Compared with two months ago, rates at Beijing's mid- and low-end hotels and guest houses are now 2 per cent lower, with 54.5 per cent of rooms in four-star hotels not yet reserved in August, according to the Beijing Tourism Bureau. […]. ^ top ^

International legs of Paralympic relay scrapped (SCMP)
Games organisers scrapped the international legs of the Paralympics torch relay yesterday - citing the need to focus on Sichuan earthquake-relief efforts. Stopovers in Hong Kong and in Chengdu, Chongqing, Urumqi and Tianjin have also been abandoned, along with the overseas legs in London, Sochi in Russia and Vancouver - three future Olympic hosts. […]. ^ top ^

Doping controls at Beijing Games most extensive ever: Bach (China Daily)
Berlin - Anti-doping controls at the Beijing Games will be the most extensive ever implemented, said International Olympic Committee (IOC) vice president Thomas Bach. Bach, the head of Germany's National Olympic Committee who is also chairman of the IOC's disciplinary commission, said anti-doping screening had improved since scandals plagued the 2004 Athens Summer Games and the 2006 Turin Winter Olympics. "The Beijing Games will be by far the most rigorously controlled ever and the most stringently controlled multi-sport event ever," said Bach. […] It is not only an increase in doping checks, up to 4,500 in Beijing from 3,600 in Athens, but also more sophisticated testing, stiffer punishments and the special attention competitors will get for any conspicuous behaviour. […]. ^ top ^

Tibet speech 'not political' (SCMP)
The Foreign Ministry denied yesterday it had brought politics into the Beijing Olympics, despite a rare rebuke from the International Olympic Committee over remarks by a mainland official about Tibet and the Dalai Lama. The IOC said it had sent a letter this week to the Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (Bocog) expressing regret over a speech on Saturday by Tibet's Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, at a ceremony marking the Olympic torch's passage through Lhasa. […] Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said he had no knowledge of the IOC letter but insisted that Mr Zhang's remarks had been intended only to foster a "stable and harmonious environment for the Olympics" and did not constitute political remarks. […]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

Pyongyang declares nuke plans (China Daily)
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) submitted a list of its nuclear program to China on Thursday, paving the way for its removal from the US' list of "terror" states. The DPRK ambassador to China Choe Jin-Su handed over the document to Vice-Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, who is also China's chief negotiator at the Six-Party Talks. […]The US responded with a statement welcoming the declaration but stressed that it needed to be verified. "The US will respond to the DPRK's actions by lifting the provisions of the Trading with the Enemy Act, as well, as announcing our intent to rescind the DPRK's designation as a State Sponsor of Terror in 45 days. During this period, the US will carefully assess the DPRK's actions particularly with regard to verification," White House press secretary Dana Perino said. The DPRK is likely to demolish the nuclear cooling tower in Yongbyon this afternoon. The demolition will be broadcast live, for which TV crews from China, Japan, Russia, the US and the ROK reached Pyongyang yesterday. […] There are still some uncertainties in the denuclearization process, Chinese analysts said, and building of trust between Pyongyang and Washington is crucial. […]. ^ top ^



Mongolian dissident deported (SCMP)
Authorities have released a dissident detained on the mainland for more than six months and deported him to his home in Ulan Bator, the Mongolian capital. Jaranbayariin Soyolt, an ethnic Mongolian, was taken into custody when he landed at Beijing airport in January, and deported this month, the Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre said. ^ 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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