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
  30.6-4.7.2008, No. 224  
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Table of contents


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Foreign Policy

China lodges strong representation to Japan over Diaoyu Islands inspections (People's Daily)
China made strong representations to Japan on Monday about the so-called "aerial inspection" over the Diaoyu Islands by lawmakers. The leading official of the Asian Department of the Foreign Ministry summoned officials of the Japanese Embassy in Beijing and protested at the Japanese government's tolerating the so-called "aerial inspection" by several Japanese Diet members, disregarding China's strong opposition. The official stressed the Diaoyu Islands had been Chinese territory since ancient times and China held indisputable sovereignty over the islands. The official demanded the Japanese side stop activities infringing China's sovereignty so as to prevent such incidents happening again. According to Japanese media, Japanese Diet member Yukio Edano's office confirmed that Edano and several other legislators took an aircraft of the Maritime Safety Agency to inspect the Diaoyu Islands on Monday. ^ top ^

China calls for early consultation, dialogue within Zimbabwe (People's Daily)
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Tuesday that encouraging dialogue and consultation among the different Zimbabwean political parties is a priority in resolving issues concerning Zimbabwe. "Only by doing so, can the differences among those parties be resolved and that serves to the interests of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean people", spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular press conference. Liu said China had been keeping a close eye on the development of the situation in Zimbabwe, calling on the parties to maintain restraint and stick to the dialogue and consultation. "We think the issues concerning Zimbabwe should only be resolved by the Zimbabwean people and the international community could play a constructive role by promoting dialogue and reconciliation," Liu said. "China supports the mediating efforts of the African Union and Southern African Development Community", Liu said. The United Nations Security Council should fully respect and listen to the voices of the two organizations and support their efforts. […]. ^ top ^

Food security on agenda for UN chief in Beijing (SCMP)
UN chief Ban Ki-moon was meeting top mainland officials on Wednesday during a visit to Beijing expected to focus on food security and other major international challenges. Mr Ban was due to first meet Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, followed by afternoon sessions with Premier Wen Jiabao and president and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao. In a speech at Beijing's Foreign Affairs University on Tuesday, Mr Ban praised China's role as a net grain exporter but also called on the communist leadership to further join in efforts to address soaring food prices, climate change and global disease outbreaks. “This is an area where China stands tall. You are leading the activities of the UN as one of the five permanent members of the Security Council and your financial and peacekeeping contribution is growing,” Mr Ban said. “China will need to rise even higher in both rankings if we are to meet growing global challenges. Today, the entire United Nations system expects China to help lead on the international agenda,” he said. […]. ^ top ^

China pledges support for UN's role on world affairs (Xinhua)
China on Wednesday pledged its support for United Nations role of safeguarding world peace and coordinating on international issues. Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a meeting with visiting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon that the UN shoulders increasingly important responsibilities for promoting world peace and development. China was a firm supporter and important partner of the UN, Hu told Ban, pledging that the country would fully participate in UN work, carry out its due responsibilities and maintain close communication and coordination with the UN. Hu said China agreed with necessary and rational reform of the UN based on democratic consultation and would continue its cooperation with the UN as well as support for Ban's work in a responsible and constructive manner. Ban welcomed China's constructive role in significant international and regional issues. The UN valued China's role in promoting world peace and development, Ban said, citing China's contribution to the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue and development in Africa. The UN hoped China would play a bigger role in realizing the UN millennium objective and addressing international challenges such as climate change and food security, Ban said. He praised China's earthquake relief work and expressed his confidence that the country would host a successful Olympic Games in August. […]. ^ top ^

Brothers-in-arms no more as trade falters (SCMP)
To judge from the recent exchanges between the leaders of China and Russia, all is sweetness and light in the strategic partnership between the two leading Eurasian powers. But beneath the surface, problems over military sales, trade and energy are eroding Sino-Russian relations when they appear to be at an apex. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China received 94 per cent of its major conventional weapons from Russia in the five years to last year. They included combat aircraft, helicopters, warships, submarines, air defence systems and missiles. Yet in last year, no new contracts for planes or ships were signed. Analysts in Moscow say that the Russian-Chinese bilateral commission on military technical co-operation has not met for two years, and that Russia's defence minister has repeatedly postponed a planned visit to Beijing because of a dispute over the supply of Russian heavy-lift transport planes and air refuelling tankers to China. Beijing has resisted Moscow's moves to renegotiate the contract price and delivery schedule. Before the stalemate, sales to China made up 40 per cent of Russia's total military exports, earning as much as US$2.5 billion a year. China now has more than 280 Russian Sukhoi Su-27 and Su-30 Flanker fighters, 12 missile-armed submarines and four destroyers. The lack of new orders from China may stem from dissatisfaction with delays in the supply of the transport planes and tankers, which are critical for military mobility. However, China is intent on developing its domestic arms industry to become as self-sufficient as possible. It turned to Russia because of US and European restrictions on exports of arms technology. Russian and western analysts say that China has stopped licensed production of Sukhoi fighters because it has been able to copy them and make local versions. […] China's trade with Russia last year reached US$48 billion, a mere 2 per cent of China's global trade, and eight times less than its trade with the US. The Sino-Russian strategic partnership seems to be founded more on rhetoric than substance. ^ top ^

China says developed, developing countries need cooperation on global challenges (Xinhua)
A senior Chinese diplomat on Thursday urged developed and developing countries to work on common policies and cooperation to address the global challenges such as climate change and food security. China values dialogue between the Group of Eight (G8) and developing countries", Assistant Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi said at a briefing on President Hu Jintao's attendance at the Outreach Session of the G8 Summit. At the invitation of Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda, Hu will attend the Outreach Session of the G8 Summit in Japan from July 7 to 9. The G8, comprising the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada, France, Italy, Japan and Russia, holds a summit each year. Liu said the issues to be discussed would be "important" and "urgent", and he hoped the meeting would promote the dialogue between South and North, step up multilateral cooperation to resolve global issues and ensure lasting peace and common prosperity. Liu said China had been cementing dialogue and exchanges with the G8, citing the fact that Hu had participated in the past four dialogues among leaders of the G8 countries and developing countries. China was involved in the ministerial meetings between G8 and developing countries focusing on finance, environment, development, science and technology, and energy, Liu added. Hu would participate in a joint meeting with leaders from India, Brazil, South Africa and Mexico, attend in a summit of G8 countries and five developing countries, and take part in a meeting of leaders from the major economic powers to discuss energy security and climate change. President Hu will also attend a working lunch to discuss issues of common concern such as the world economic situation, food security and development", Liu said. ^ top ^

Jailed US businessman paroled after 8 years (SCMP)
A Chinese-born US citizen sentenced to 16 years' jail on what his supporters called false tax-evasion and fraud charges was released on parole after serving more than half the term, a human-rights group said yesterday. Businessman Jude Shao left Qingpu prison in Shanghai on Wednesday to be with his family, the San Francisco-based Dui Hua Foundation said. Shao, 45, graduated from Stanford Business School in California and started a company in 1993 exporting US medical equipment to the mainland. His supporters said he was arrested in early 1998 after refusing to pay a bribe sought by tax officials and was convicted in 2000. A panel of six Chinese legal scholars retained by Shao issued an opinion in 2003 that there was insufficient evidence to convict him and said he deserved a new trial. The Supreme People's Court rejected his final appeal. Dui Hua said Shao had already had his sentence reduced because of good behaviour and that his willingness to stay in Shanghai, his birthplace, was an "important" factor in the court's decision to grant parole. The terms of the parole were unclear. "We're incredibly excited, mostly for Jude, for the opportunity for him to resume his life," said a school friend, Chuck Hoover, who has spent 10 years lobbying for his release. He said Shao had been eligible for parole for more than two years. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao did not have details about the release, but said the mainland "always handles relevant cases according to Chinese law". ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Health fears as refugees dig through rubble (SCMP)
Beichuan, one of the areas hardest hit by the Sichuan earthquake, was sealed off again on Thursday after people allowed back for three days to collect belongings tried to exhume bodies from the rubble, raising the threat of an epidemic. Authorities also detained dozens of people for allegedly trying to steal property from the debris. Xie Rong, 44, a refugee whose home was flattened by the quake, said yesterday that crowds of displaced residents scrambled among the ruins of the Huaxing Supermarket on Tuesday morning to pull out a quake victim. "More than 100 people gathered at the scene. They were using spades and their bare hands to try to save someone they thought was still alive under a big heap of rubble after they saw some smoke coming from the debris," Mr Xie said. He said others told him that two or three bodies were uncovered from the remains of other buildings that day by relatives. A propaganda official from Mianyang , a city which oversees Beichuan county, warned that people ran a high risk of disease if they tried to excavate bodies with their hands. ^ top ^

Chinese riots over girl's death (BBC News)
Angry crowds have attacked government buildings in south-west China in protest at the death of a teenage girl. Reports said several thousand people took part in the riots, setting fire to police stations and cars in Weng'an county in the province of Guizhou. Local residents were angered after a police inquiry concluded that the girl, found dead in a river earlier in June, had committed suicide. Her family accused the son of a local official of raping and killing her. Order 'restored' "Local residents were very angry about the injustice exercised by local authorities," one resident, who is a local official, told Reuters news agency. "About 10,000 people rushed to the site and totally burned down the county party office building, and burned other offices in the county government. "They also burned about 20 vehicles, including police cars," the official said. AFP news agency said riots had erupted on Saturday when the girl's uncle was pronounced dead in hospital after seeking justice for his niece. It quoted locals saying he had been badly beaten - it is not clear by whom. Chinese news reports said provincial leaders had gone to the area to deal with the unrest. Xinhua news agency said order began to return after crowds dispersed early on Sunday morning local time. ^ top ^

Fengshen death toll rises to 16 in Guangdong (China Daily)
Torrential rain from tropical storm Fengshen has killed 16 people in Guangdong province, up from nine on Friday, local authorities said on Sunday. Another nine have gone missing since the downpours began, a provincial flood control headquarters spokesman has said. Fengshen, which means "God of Wind" in Chinese, lashed most parts of Guangdong with rain, causing rivers to swell after landing in Shenzhen early on Wednesday. […] The provincial flood control headquarters said on Friday that strong rain had affected about 340,000 people, destroyed more than 1,200 houses and inundated more than 640,000 hectares of crops. It had also damaged roads, power lines, reservoirs and embankments. Total direct economic losses in Guangdong were estimated at about 1.2 billion yuan ($175 million). […]. ^ top ^

Card scheme for migrant workers to be expanded - Shenzhen to create huge database (SCMP)
Shenzhen announced it would expand a pilot scheme involving hi-tech residency cards in an effort to fight crime and keep track of 12 million migrant workers. Officials said the city would create a database to enable eight governmental departments to keep tabs on its floating population. Enrolment in the system, introduced in Yantian district last year, will be compulsory for all migrants from August 1. The database will store a wealth of personal information, including each migrant's name, address and ID card number, as well as family planning compliance and any criminal record. The scheme will replace Shenzhen's two-decade-old temporary permit system and is part of government efforts to give migrant workers a sense of belonging by omitting the word "temporary" from their identity documents. Wang Pu, director of Shenzhen's Legislative Affairs Office, said the residency card would allow migrants access to certain welfare benefits that had been unavailable. "Replacing the temporary resident permit with a residency card can promote the welfare of migrant workers, weaken discrimination... and provide high-quality services to them," he said. […] Hu Xintian, a Shenzhen education bureau department chief, said yesterday migrants would still need to pay 2,000 yuan (HK$2,278) per year per child to enrol their children in Shenzhen schools, a service free to permanent residents for the first nine years. In addition, the personal details of migrant workers would be collected and available through a centralised system to agencies including the police, labour, floating population administration, family planning, industrial and commerce, and housing bureaus. Permanent residents' details not relative to crime prevention are in a separate system. All 2.6 million rented flats and houses in the city have been coded, and migrants' addresses will be matched against them in the powerful tracking systems. […]. ^ top ^

Up to 30,000 took part in Guizhou mass action (Xinhua)
Up to 30,000 people took part in the mass action in Weng'an county of Guizhou province on Saturday, torching government buildings and smashing and burning cars. In its latest update, Xinhua said Monday that trouble began when about 300 people, protesting against the authenticity of a police report on a 17-year-old girl's death, gathered at the county government and public security bureau around 3 pm. The girl, Li Shufen, was a student of No 3 High School in Weng'an, and her body was found floating in a river on June 22. The girl was from a rural township and lived in a rented apartment in Weng'an. "She was a quiet and nice child. She seldom hung out or played around. I don't think she killed herself," said her landlord, Liu Jinxue, who helped pull out her body from the river. The police report said it was a case of drowning, but her family members and kin alleged that some local officials' relatives had murdered her. Deputy county chief Xiao Song insisted that preliminary investigation had found no connection between her death and the officials' relatives. This enraged the crowd further, and more people joined in the protest, eventually charging into the public security bureau building, witnesses said. Some people were carrying banners that read: "Return justice to the people." Police used tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd. Order had been restored by Monday morning, but about 100 armed policemen were patrolling the area. The provincial government has formed a work team with 10 criminal investigators and forensic experts to re-investigate the death. Police said 14 people had been detained. ^ top ^

We won't accept an evil deal, say parents (SCMP)
The parents of the teenage girl whose death stirred a massive riot in Guizhou province on Saturday were ordered yesterday to accept 9,000 yuan (HK$10,200) in "compensation money" by a senior provincial Public Security Bureau official. The official, surnamed Zhou, travelled from the capital, Guiyang, to Weng'an county yesterday afternoon and notified the parents of 15-year-old Li Shufen that three suspects had offered to pay 3,000 yuan each to "compensate" for the loss suffered by Li Xiuhua and his wife, Luo Pingbi. One of the suspects is related to a senior government official. "We will never accept an evil deal like this," Mr Li said. "We need to seek justice for our daughter." Mr Zhou also ordered the parents to send their daughter's body to the mortuary in the nearby town of Duyun for cremation. Shufen's body is being kept in a refrigerated coffin after being found on a riverbank 10 days ago. The parents said they would guard the coffin day and night for fear local police might take it in an attempt to conceal evidence. They said there had already been two attempts to steal the body - last Tuesday and on Saturday. […]. ^ top ^

Spacecraft ready for final test (China Daily)
The team that developed Shenzhou VII, China's third manned spacecraft, will begin the final test at Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu province in a few days. Zhang Bainan, chief designer of the spacecraft, said yesterday that the research and development team of China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp (CASC) will leave for Jiuquan early this month. This, according to insiders, signals the final preparation stage of the country's third manned space mission. Shenzhou VII is scheduled to carry three astronauts and blast off atop the Long March-2F rocket from Jiuquan in October. The Long March-2F rocket will be carried to the launch site in the beginning of August, a spokesman for China's manned space program said yesterday. One of the astronauts will be the first Chinese to walk in space as part of the second stage of the country's manned space mission. The mission is aimed at mastering two key technologies necessary for setting up a space laboratory or station, where spacecraft can dock and perform extra-vehicular activities, reports said. Shenzhou VII, which means "divine vessel" in Chinese, has passed the inspections of the CASC and an expert panel, he said. "Its functions and performance fulfill the comprehensive requirements of the space program." […]. ^ top ^

Zheng makes history with semis spot in grand slam (Xinhua)
The remarkable Zheng Jie upset 18th seed Nicole Vaidisova 6-2, 5-7, 6-1 Tuesday to reach the Wimbledon semifinals where she will meet former champion Serena Williams. […]. ^ top ^

Earthquake losses exceed 1 trillion yuan (SCMP)
Direct economic losses caused by May's devastating earthquake in southwest China have already exceeded 1 trillion yuan (HK$1.14 trillion), a provincial official was quoted as saying. The website of the ruling Communist Party mouthpiece newspaper the People's Daily said that Huang Xiaoxiang, a vice governor of Sichuan province, gave the estimate to a visiting US delegation. The figure was much higher than the 67 billion yuan previously announced by Xi Guohua, a vice minister of industry and information technology, at a news conference in May. China's last year gross domestic product was 24.95 trillion yuan. The earthquake killed about 70,000 people and made more than 10 million homeless, according to official figures. ^ top ^

Poisoned schoolchildren out of danger in south China (Xinhua)
More than 60 children who fell ill in a suspected deliberate poisoning at a south China primary school are all out of danger and stable, say doctors. "The children are all out of danger and are recovering well," said a doctor with the People's Hospital of Guanyang County, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region,where the incident happened. Zou Xin, vice head of the county government, said the children were possibly poisoned with organic phosphorus, a pesticide widely used by local farmers. […]. ^ top ^

LPG attack latest incident showing public discontent - Extreme protests a trend: analysts (SCMP)
The mainland has recently experienced a series of violent clashes and riots that have forced open the floodgates of pent-up social anger. Up to 30,000 residents in Weng'an county, Guizhou province, in the southwest, torched government buildings and burned police cars last weekend to protest against the handling of a local schoolgirl's death. Shanghai was shocked by a bloodbath on Tuesday caused by an unemployed Beijing man who stormed into a district police station armed with homemade bombs and a long knife, and stabbed to death six officers. And yesterday at least 12 people were injured, five seriously, in Zhangjiajie, Hunan province, when a resident ignited liquefied gas containers in a government office building in apparent revenge for the demolition of his property, according to mainland media. Analysts say growing numbers of Chinese have been taking to the street, or resorting to extreme measures, to protest. "Ironically, as the Chinese economy is soaring, ordinary Chinese - farmers stripped of their land, workers upset about low wages as well as urban dwellers disillusioned by local government policies - are increasingly seeking more channels to air their grievances," said Jing Tiankui, a sociology professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "This shows that public discontent has become widespread, and the underprivileged have been driven to desperation." And these incidents are happening with the most important event for the country this year - the Olympic Games in Beijing - just over five weeks away. Those caught up in the clashes - mostly farmers, migrant workers and members of ethnic minorities - represented a wide spectrum of disadvantaged groups, Professor Jing observed. "Unable to voice their discontent, they are often very ready to resort to drastic action when they're stepped on," he said. […]. ^ top ^

China floods leave 252 dead, 64 missing (China Daily)
Flooding and related disasters since the beginning of June have left 252 people dead and 64 missing across China, which saw the start of the main flood season on Tuesday, a senior flood control and drought relief official said on Wednesday. About 50 million people and 3 million hectares of land were affected, with around 200,000 houses destroyed, Zhang Zhitong, vice director of the Office of State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters, told a press conference on Wednesday afternoon. "The flood control efforts will be hampered by higher than average rains that are expected soon in the Yellow River areas, parts of northeast provinces as well as the quake zone in southwest China," Zhang said. He promised the headquarters would take effective measures to protect people during the main flood season. However, floods in southern China and northeast regions and typhoons along the coast had come early this year, he said. The Pearl River delta had already embraced the worst floods in more than five decades, and the first typhoon this year was two months earlier than usual when Neoguri made a landfall in south China in April, he said. ^ top ^

Dead girl's parents 'accept' payout (SCMP)
The parents of Guizhou teenager Li Shufen whose death triggered violent mass protests last week said yesterday that they were under pressure to accept compensation for their daughter's death and bury her. Li Xiuhua and Luo Pingbi kept their daughter's body in a refrigerated coffin for almost two weeks near the river where she was drowned, protesting against authorities' handling of the investigation into her death. On Wednesday, Guizhou Public Security Department spokesman Wang Zhengxing said her parents had agreed to bury their daughter - tacitly accepting police conclusions that Li Shufen committed suicide and was not raped and murdered. When contacted yesterday, Mr Li and Ms Luo said they were followed constantly by police officers who wanted them to drop their case. "My mobile phone has been bugged since Tuesday," Mr Li said yesterday. "We are very scared but we can do nothing." He said dozens of officials - some from the provincial government - had visited the couple. "They talked to me from around 5pm to 10pm and forced me to sign a document to accept the 30,000 yuan (HK$34,170) as my daughter's funeral expenses," Mr Li said. The father - a farmer from Leiwen village of Yuhua township in Weng'an - said he had never been so scared. "We faced great pressure from officials - people from provincial government and the police," he said. "I have to accept their arrangement because I am just a farmer." Mr Wang said that on Wednesday, three of Shufen's friends - the people she last saw before her death - had been released after questioning and were not connected with local officials or police. He gave no reasons why Shufen would have killed herself. Yesterday, Mr Li denied that he had demanded 500,000 yuan compensation from his daughter's friends and said it was a suggestion made by a police officer. "I just wanted justice for my daughter when I confronted the vice public security director of our county, Zhou Guoxiang ," Mr Li said, adding that it was Mr Zhou's suggestion. "It's him [Zhou] that suggested I solve the problem with money. And I pretended that I wanted 500,000 yuan. Then Zhou said he would help me demand the money from families of the three," Mr Li said. "It's just a bluff, I don't really want their money." Mr Li said Shufen was buried yesterday after a third autopsy. ^ top ^

Guizhou officials admit residents harbored grievances (China Daily)
Officials in Guizhou province have admitted that residents of Weng'an county have been harboring social grievances, following a violent protest over the weekend sparked by the death of a 17-year-old girl in the counry. At a panel discussion on the protest on Wednesday, officials from the provincial and local governments said local authorities in Weng'an had failed to solve disputes over the work at mines, demolition of homes for urban development, relocation of residents for reservoir construction and the reform of State-owned enterprises, among other issues. The panel suggested that Shen Guirong, chief of the Weng'an public security bureau, and Luo Laiping, political commissar of the bureau, should be removed from their posts. It also requested an investigation of major county government and Party leaders over the matter. "Some legitimate interests (of the people) were not effectively protected, and some people bore grievances," said a Guizhou Daily report on Thursday. […]. ^ top ^



Assets officials investigated (SCMP)
Two Shanghai officials of the state-owned assets commission have been placed under investigation for alleged "severe violation of discipline", Caijing magazine said on its website. Department chief Sun Weijun and researcher Zhang Linrong were suspected of illegal manipulation in the state-share reform of Shanghai Jiao Da Onlly Co, a health care food company that has been listed on the mainland since 2001. ^ top ^

Man runs amok, kills five cops (China Daily)
A man stabbed five policemen to death and wounded five others at a police station in Shanghai's Zhabei district Tuesday. The 28-year-old suspect, surnamed Yang, first stabbed a security guard to death at the police station around 9:40 am, a Shanghai public security bureau press release said. He then started a fire at the gate before barging into the police station and stabbing nine policemen, four of who died of their injuries, police said. The whole incident happened so suddenly that it took the shocked colleagues some time to recover and overpower the attacker, who has been detained. It was not clear how Yang, an unemployed Beijing resident, managed to fatally attack so many policemen inside a police station and why he was not detained immediately after he started the fire. The five injured, one of whose condition is serious, have been admitted to three hospitals. A witness, surnamed Yi, said some of the policemen were slashed in the chest and face. "When the injured were carried into the emergency room, their bodies were soaked with blood and their faces were pale," said a witness surnamed Jia at Shanghai Changzheng Hospital. "The scene was too horrible to watch," he said. […] Less than two months ago, a bus explosion killed three persons and injured 12 in the country's financial hub, which is also one of the venues of the Olympic Games. The killings, rare in the country, come amid government efforts to beef up security before the Beijing Olympic Games. ^ top ^

Harvard to open Shanghai office (SCMP)
Harvard University, one of the top US institutions, is opening an office in Shanghai and plans to start another in Beijing, partly to spur research into the nation's economy. The office will help faculty and students who are teaching or doing research in China and arrange interviews of prospective students, the Massachusetts university said on its website. It would also foster alliances with universities and other organisations, and build ties with Harvard alumni. ^ top ^



Taiwan ends ban on mainland media (SCMP)
Two state media organisations, Xinhua and the People's Daily, will repost reporters in Taiwan after Taipei ended a ban in place since April 2005. The decision yesterday by the Mainland Affairs Council also allows for the length of stay for each mainland journalist stationed in Taiwan to be extended from one to three months. Taipei imposed the ban after Beijing had enacted the Anti-Secession Law in March 2005, which allowed the mainland military to attack the island. ^ top ^

Bolster combat readiness and be prepared to defend island, Ma tells cadets (SCMP)
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou urged military cadets yesterday to strengthen their combat readiness, and be prepared for war to defend and safeguard the island from any incoming attacks. Addressing a joint exercise of the armed forces academies in Fengshan, southern Taiwan, he said many people had been puzzled by recent developments between Taiwan and the mainland. Mr Ma said although the two sides were improving ties by beginning weekend cross-strait charter flights tomorrow, the mainland still had more than 1,000 missiles aimed at the island. "Do what you must do to build up your combat preparedness, and only when we are well prepared shall we be able to stop a war," he said. "Taiwan will never ask for war, but it will not shun war or be afraid of going to war." Mr Ma has adopted a policy of engagement with the mainland to improve ties. He made a three-point pledge in his May 20 inaugural speech that summed up his basic attitude in dealing with the mainland - that there would be "no independence, no unification and no use of force". ^ top ^

Taiwanese silence on Beijing military stand (SCMP)
Taiwanese authorities declined to comment yesterday on remarks by a top mainland military official that Beijing would not cut back its military forces ranged against the island despite the mainland-friendly Kuomintang's return to power. But they said they had been keeping a close watch on the mainland and had maintained combat-readiness to cope with any situation. Xu Caihou, vice-chairman of the Central Military Commission, was recently quoted by Japan's NHK television as telling a group of visiting Japanese defence officials that although Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT had been elected president, the two sides had yet to officially end their hostility. General Xu said before such hostility was removed, Beijing would not reduce its military forces in dealing with Taiwan. Asked when it would reduce its armaments ranged against Taiwan, General Xu said this would have to wait until the two sides ended their rivalry "before we will review possible reduction". He said the next step was for the two sides to sign a peace treaty. The remarks, made before the launch of direct weekend charter flights between the two sides today in a move heralding a further warming of relations, apparently caught the Taiwanese authorities off guard. […] Citing a report on Wednesday by the China Times that Beijing had upgraded rather than retracted some of its missiles aimed at Taiwan, Mr Lai hit out at Mr Ma for efforts to befriend the mainland that only resulted in the cold shoulder. The report said Beijing had replaced missiles deployed at the Lungtian and Shantou missile bases with more sophisticated ones with a range up to 200km. In a legislative session yesterday, DPP legislators also hit out at the launching of cross-strait weekend charter flights, saying they would seriously endanger the security of the island, as it was highly likely Beijing would use commercial planes to cover its fighter jets to launch a surprise attack against Taiwan. On Wednesday, Mr Ma said the military must strengthen its combat-readiness and be prepared for war to defend and safeguard the island from any incoming attacks, despite warming relations with the mainland. ^ top ^



Central authorities to meet Dalai's representatives in early July (People's Daily)
The authorities announced Sunday that relevant central government departments will meet personal representatives of the Dalai Lama at his request in early July. […] "Our door is always open for the dialog with the Dalai Lama," he said, "(We) hope that the Dalai Lama would treasure this opportunity and give positive response to the requirements of the central authorities." On May 4, officials from relevant central government departments had a meeting with representatives of the Dalai Lama at his request, the first time after the March 14 riots in Lhasa. ^ top ^

Closed-door talks start on tensions in Tibet (SCMP)
Closed-door talks start on tensions in Tibet (SCMP)
Beijing resumed talks with the Dalai Lama's envoys yesterday in a last-ditch effort to resolve tension in Tibet in the run-up to the Olympic Games, which start in 37 days.

Representatives from the Tibetan government-in-exile and from the United Front Work Department held a closed-door dialogue at an undisclosed location in Beijing. It was the second time the two sides had met since deadly protests rocked Tibetan-populated areas in March. The central government has been under intense pressure to talk to the Dalai Lama to address the volatile situation in Tibet. An international chorus against the crackdown on Tibetan protesters derailed Beijing's ambitious international torch relay, and critics warned that the situation in Tibet would deteriorate if no breakthrough was achieved before the Games. Both sides remained cautious over revealing details about yesterday's talks. The Foreign Ministry said only that contact would be made between the central government and the Dalai Lama's representatives. "We've learned from relevant authorities that the central government will make contact with the Dalai Lama's representatives, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, in the [next] few days. I have no other details to provide," ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said. Thubten Samphel, a spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile, said that because of the sensitivity of the issue, their envoys would disclose details of the talks only after they returned to Dharamsala, India, the seat of the government-in-exile. "The talks are going to affect the future of the Tibetans," he said. The government-in-exile's foreign minister, Kesang Yangkyi Takla, said in Tokyo yesterday that the ball for easing tensions in Tibet was in China's court. "I think the world community expects that there should be some sort of positive response this time," she said. This is the seventh round of official dialogue between Beijing and the Dalai Lama's representatives since 2002. […]. ^ top ^

Envoys to brief Dalai Lama after closed-door talks with Beijing (SCMP)
Beijing and the Dalai Lama's envoys ended two days of secretive talks yesterday as the Tibetan spiritual leader voiced his commitment to resolve tensions in Tibet through dialogue. Little has been revealed about progress of the talks, a last-ditch effort to prevent the issue overshadowing the Olympic Games, but the Dalai Lama said he hoped the talks would contribute to making "marked improvement in our discussions". "We are committed to resolving the issue of Tibet through dialogue and discussion in finding a mutually acceptable solution, that is, within the constitution of the People's Republic of China," he said in a letter. Thubten Samphel, spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile, said the talks continued until last night and the envoys would return today to Dharamsala, the Indian seat of the government-in-exile. […] The Tibet Daily, the official mouthpiece of the autonomous region, cited Tibet party secretary Zhang Qingli repeating the official line that the "Dalai clique" was responsible for the riots. In a meeting with a delegation from the China Disabled Persons' Federation on Tuesday, Mr Zhang said that the unrest had been planned for a long time under the support of "hostile western forces". The Dalai Lama repeated in the letter to Japanese supporters that he was not seeking an independent Tibet. "We are neither anti-China nor anti-Chinese, and we have great admiration for China and its people," he wrote. "It's extremely important that we reach out to the Chinese brothers and sisters, wherever possible. China's current unremitting efforts to assimilate Tibet are eroding the Tibetan people's distinct cultural and spiritual heritage." The progress of these talks may influence French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a decision on whether to attend the Olympic opening ceremony next month. A poll by popular internet portal found 88 per cent of nearly 100,000 online voters said Mr Sarkozy, a critic of Beijing's handling of the unrest, should not attend the ceremony. ^ top ^

Chinese central government officials meet with Dalai Lama's private representatives (Xinhua)
Du Qinglin, head of the United Front Work Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met with private representatives of the 14th Dalai Lama in Beijing recently, the department said on Thursday. Du, also the vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), told the two representatives, Lodi Gyari and Kelsang Gyaltsen, the central government's policy towards the Dalai Lama is consistent and explicit. The door for dialogue is always open. The Dalai Lama should openly and explicitly promise and prove it in his actions not to support activities to disturb the upcoming Beijing Olympic Games, not to support plots to fan violent criminal activities, not to support and concretely curb the violent terrorist activities of the "Tibetan Youth Congress" and not to support any argument and activity to seek "Tibet independence" and split the region from the country, he said. […] Zhu Weiqun and Sitar, two deputy heads of the department, also met with the Dalai Lama's representatives and exchanged ideas on detailed issues. If the Dalai Lama makes positive moves, the next round of contact may be held before the end of this year, according to the officials of the department. The Dalai Lama's representatives also expressed their ideas on several relevant issues and said they would report the results to the Dalai Lama. During their stay in Beijing, the two toured the Olympic stadiums and talked with some Tibetologists. […]. ^ top ^

Moderate 5.1 quake hits Tibet, no casualties reported (People's Daily)
A moderate earthquake measuring 5.1 on the Richter scale hit northern Tibet early on Thursday, but no casualties have been reported so far. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing offers more talks with Dalai Lama's aides (SCMP)
The central government confirmed yesterday that a senior Communist Party official had met envoys of the Dalai Lama and offered to hold a new round of talks before the end of the year if Tibet's spiritual leader displayed "positive behaviour". Beijing has accused the Dalai Lama of instigating riots in Tibet in March, a charge he has repeatedly denied. In the first official statement about the talks this week, Xinhua said Du Qinglin - head of the party's United Front Work Department, which deals with ethnic minorities and religious groups - had "met with private representatives of the 14th Dalai Lama here recently". It was the highest-level meeting since talks resumed in 2002 and the second closed-door meeting since rioting by Tibetans took place in March. Despite the meeting, Xinhua continued its tirade against the Dalai Lama yesterday, releasing a lengthy article under the headline: "Dalai coterie's conspiracy aimed at sabotaging Olympics, seeks Tibet independence". Chhime Chhoekyapa, an aide to the Dalai Lama, said he did not yet have any information on how the talks went. ^ top ^



Oil hits record high of $143 (China Daily)
Oil rose to a record high above $143 a barrel yesterday, as expectations of a weaker dollar spurred investors to seek refuge in dollar-denominated oil futures as a hedge against inflation. ^ top ^

UBS falls as US wants light shed on accounts (China Daily)
UBS AG, the biggest wealth manager, fell to the lowest level in almost a decade in Swiss trading after US prosecutors sought the authority to force the bank to reveal names of American clients with secret accounts. UBS dropped 1.30 Swiss francs, or 6.1 percent, to 20.14 francs by 12:41 pm in Zurich. The shares fell as low as 19.90 francs, not far from the all-time low of 19.03 francs on Oct 2, 1998, three months after the bank was formed through the merger of Swiss Bank Corp and Union Bank of Switzerland. Prosecutors on Monday asked a Miami federal judge to let the Internal Revenue Service issue a summons to Zurich-based UBS for client information as part of an investigation into whether the Swiss bank helped affluent customers evade American taxes. The US probe is intensifying at the same time the bank is reeling from record losses on subprime-infected assets. The probe "has the potential to develop into a serious strategic headache for UBS in its most profitable business", Stefan-Michael Stalmann, an analyst at Dresdner Kleinwort, said in a note to clients. He said UBS may seek to settle the case, though "there is a clear risk that the damage will reach beyond whatever the direct cost of a settlement or fine will be". The bank will probably post a loss for the second quarter after writedowns on real estate securities, analysts including Stalmann have forecast. The bank may report markdowns of about 5 billion francs ($4.9 billion) for the second quarter, according to the median estimate of six analysts, following more than $38 billion of writedowns in the previous three quarters. […]. ^ top ^

New rules set to stop influx of 'hot money (China Daily)
The government is ready with new rules to tighten control over speculative capital inflow from abroad, or "hot money". The move follows economists' warning that hundreds of billions of dollars in illegal capital have entered the country in the garb of normal trade. The new system will make it mandatory for companies to provide evidence to the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) for verification from July 14. Exporters will be required to park their export receipts in temporary verification accounts till they are cleared as genuine trade revenue, according to a statement issued by the SAFE, the Ministry of Commerce and the General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Wednesday night. The new rules are aimed at stopping overseas traders from inflating their invoices to bring in more foreign money. Inflating invoices is believed to be a common way of pushing overseas speculative capital into China. Traders will have to report advance payments for exports and deferred payments for imports, too, because either of these channels can be used to bring in "hot money". The new rules make it clear that the annual deferred payments for exports should not exceed 10 percent of a trader's total payments for exports in the previous year. The SAFE will work with the Ministry of Commerce and the GAC to implement the new rules through a nationwide computerized network. Banks' computers will be linked to those of the Customs to crosscheck data. The departments used to monitor trade-related foreign capital flows separately, an arrangement that has not proved effective. The collaboration will make the regulation more effective, said Zhang Ming, an economist with the Institute of World Economics and Trade of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. ^ top ^

Full speed where? - For some, China's labour law hails a new era of industrial relations. Employers think otherwise (SCMP)
China's passage of a law aimed at bringing more rights to its workers has been heralded as a breakthrough for improving labour rights in China. Businesses, however, view the law as the twilight of cheap Chinese labour, depriving it of a prized economic advantage in a globalised economy. China's economic boom and low consumer prices in the west were delivered largely on the backs of an overworked and underpaid workforce, which lacks fundamental protections that labourers in developed countries enjoy. The new law signals the government's intention to rein in what they see is an unacceptable gap between economic expansion and poor working conditions. On January 1, the Labour Contract Law went into effect, ushering in sweeping changes to Chinese labour policy. The law - brought about after a spate of headline-grabbing incidents of severe worker abuse in China - aims to curb exploitation and promote sustainable relationships among employers and employees. Apart from offering tacit admission of mistreatment of workers, the law dovetails with President Hu Jintao's efforts to cement his "harmonious society" legacy. Under the law, which affects both domestic and foreign companies operating on the mainland, workers will see increased protection through labour unions and significant overhauls in policy ranging from contract formation to severance packages and job training. The most influential - and controversial - change centres on an open-term clause for long-term employees. Workers with 10 straight years, or having signed two consecutive fixed-term contracts with a company, are entitled to a contract without a fixed end date - effectively lifetime employment. Many foreign businesses say the law will add unnecessary bureaucratic steps to management practices, making business in China more costly and restrictive. "It will be more difficult to get rid of unsatisfactory employees," says Andreas Lauffs, partner at Baker & McKenzie in Hong Kong and an expert on Chinese labour law, adding that the law will reduce management autonomy. Still, experts within China and labour groups abroad call it the most significant labour law since China starting adopting market forces in the 1980s - and necessary to protect employee rights. […]. ^ top ^


Beijing Olympics

Visa policy 'not designed to deter visitors (China Daily)
The recent changes to China's visa policy is aimed at ensuring a safe environment for the Olympics and not to limit foreign visitors, a senior Foreign Ministry official said. The application procedure for Chinese visas was changed in late April. Under the new arrangements, applicants for business and tourist visas are required to provide invitation letters, round-trip airline tickets and proof of hotel bookings. "The purpose is to guarantee the Beijing Olympics is held safely," Wei Wei, director-general of the ministry's consular department, said on Monday. Security of the Olympics is a "top priority", Wei said. "To keep dangerous forces outside the country and ensure a safe environment for athletes and visitors is the responsibility of the Chinese government." An application for a Chinese visa still remains comparatively easy even after the policy change, Wei said. "Although there are changes in the visa procedure, the new policy is not as strict as might be imagined. Those who apply to come to China for justifiable reasons will be given every convenience," he said. Wei said the policy is in line with international practice. He was responding to some foreign media reports that "China is overacting on the issue". "Any country would do the same. In fact, Western countries have much stricter visa policies than China," he said. Wei said the Foreign Ministry had done extensive research on the visa policies of countries that had previously staged the Olympic Games or major sporting events, such as the 2000 Sydney Games and the 2006 Turin Winter Games. "We found that most host countries had adopted stricter visa policies," Wei said. […] The Foreign Ministry in recent weeks has repeatedly explained its visa policy in response to foreign media reports."We do not require fingerprinting for foreign visitors" Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in May. Statistics show China issued 8.13 million visas to foreigners last year. ^ top ^

Xinjiang terror top threat to Olympics: security official - Meng Hongwei names three dangers to event (SCMP)
A senior public security official has named what Beijing perceives as the three top security threats to the Olympic Games and vowed to use all available resources to ensure that hostile forces do not disturb the event. On the sidelines of a Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) anti-terrorism meeting in Beijing yesterday, Meng Hongwei, deputy minister of public security, said the three threats were international terrorist groups, the East Turkestan Islamic Movement and mainland criminals. Since last year, the mainland conducted several anti-terror drills designed to ward off attacks by international terrorist organisations and other criminals, but this is the first time the public security authority has named them. Mr Meng identified the Xinjiang separatist group as the greatest of the three threats. "As for China, the main terrorism threat comes from the East Turkestan Islamic Movement, which has publicly announced through the internet that it will launch terrorist attacks during the Beijing Olympic Games," he said. […]. ^ top ^

Qingdao races to clear outbreak of algae for Olympic sailing events (SCMP)
The Olympic port city of Qingdao is racing against time to meet the July 15 deadline of cleaning up an algal bloom that is threatening the sailing events. The Qingdao municipal government yesterday reiterated its vow that the Olympic competition areas would be clear of the green gunk in time for the event next month. More than 10,000 workers were struggling to remove algae covering 32 per cent of the sea area set aside for the sailing competitions, Xinhua quoted local officials as saying. The algae blossomed around June 1 in waters off Qingdao, on the coast of Shandong province , about 600km southeast of Beijing. So far, 170,000 tonnes have been removed by workers using 1,200 boats. Steps were also being taken to block more algae from floating into the competition area, Xinhua said. About 32,000 metres of mesh are being used to stop the algae's movement, but Shandong can provide only 14,000 metres, so an emergency taskforce has been set up to solve the problem. The State Oceanic Administration has ordered nine neighbouring port cities to chip in. […] Another difficulty the port city encountered was that initially, there was no available method to determine from where the massive swathes of algae were coming. But scientists were able to discover that most seaweeds came from the waters of Rizhao and Jiaonan - two port cities south of Qingdao. […] Algae blooms when nutrients, sometimes caused by excessive pollution, build up in the water. While posing no health threat, the algae has at times blocked sailing routes, complicating preparations for the August 9-21 events, with the closing ceremony on August 23. […]. ^ top ^

Fukuda plans to fly on military jet to Games opening ceremony (SCMP)
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has reportedly decided to attend the Olympics opening ceremony and travel to Beijing aboard a military plane to save fuel, Japanese media reported yesterday. Kyodo quoted unidentified government sources as saying that Mr Fukuda would arrive in Beijing on August 8 in a 19-seat Air Self-Defence Force plane instead of a government aircraft. […] Tong Zeng, a leading anti-Japan activist, said any move by Mr Fukuda to travel to China on a military aircraft would be provocative. "Saving fuel is just an excuse. He should travel to Beijing on a government plane," Mr Tong said. Attending the Olympics opening ceremony will present a logistical challenge to Mr Fukuda, who intends to show up at commemorations for the 63rd anniversary of the atomic bombing of Nagasaki on August 9. It is not clear if these plans are related to the decision to use a military aircraft. […]. ^ top ^

Yuan exchanges to be limited during Games (SCMP)
Overseas visitors coming to the mainland will be limited to exchanging the equivalent of US$50,000 into yuan without documentation during the Olympic Games, local media reported yesterday. The cap was established because officials were concerned about an influx of speculative money during the period, Shanghai Securities News reported. […] "The new rule clearly shows that the authorities want foreigners to spend only on consumption during the Olympics instead of making speculative investments," Renmin University economics professor Zhao Xijun said. ^ top ^



Montsame (Mongol Messenger)
Some citizens, refusing preliminary conclusion of the June 29 parliament elections, organized on July 1 a demonstration that turned into public disorder and riot resulted burning down and looting the Headquarter of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party (MPRP), the Central Cultural Palace and cars. In connection with this extraordinary condition, the President of Mongolia decreed to declare a 4-day state of emergency in Ulaanbaatar, the capital city of Mongolia within his prerogative rights. Presently, an increased protection has been established in Ulaanbaatar's strategically important objects, including all thermal power stations, transmission and distribution stations of central heating, electricity and water, sources of drinking waters, sewage plant, petroleum stations, oil storage tanks and objects producing main food commodities etc. During the 4-day state of emergency in Ulaanbaatar, it has prohibited to sell, serve and distribute alcoholic drinks and to organize any public gatherings of performances, presentations, concert etc. Traffic movement is restricted in the central part of Ulaanbaatar. All televisions except Mongolian National Public Broadcasting Television have been stopped until the expiration of a state of emergency and the usage of the technical devices intensifying sounds have been banned. A curfew has been placed from 10pm to 8am in the central part of the capital, and police and military patrols have been working in central streets to check persons breaching the curfew regime and to detain individuals having no ID cards in the period until the expiring the quarantine or for 72 hours no long until the person will be identified. However, a state of emergency is established, the condition is calm and quiet in Ulaanbaatar and public service organizations and entities are operating normally. ^ top ^

Five die as a State of Emergency is Declared (Mongol Messenger)
Five people died, 100 police officers were seriously injured, and 220 civilians were hurt during a violent riot in the Mongolian capital, Ulaanbaatar. The riot grew from a mass protest that attacked the headquarters of the governing political party, the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party, after the party declared itself victors of the national election held on June 29. Three of the deceased were found shot on the street, and one man, trapped inside the MPRP building, died of gas poisoning. Around 500 civilians were arrested during a mass round up that took place close to 01:00am on July 2. During the riot, the police shot at protesters with riot guns, and tear gas. The five storey headquarter building of the MPRP was completely burnt down. Private businesses that rent rooms on the lower floors of the MPRP building, including a duty free shop, an air ticketing office of theAeroMongolia civil aviation company, and a branch office of Credit Bank, were destroyed. Neighboring private businesses also came under attack. The Modern Art Gallery, located behind the MPRP office, was deliberately burnt down and around 4,000 paintings in the gallery destroyed as a result, a gallery officials confirmed. The President, N.Enkhbayar, Commander in Chief of Mongolian Armed Forces, signed a decree, declaring a state of emergency throughout the territory of metropolitan Ulaanbaatar for four days starting from 24:00 July 1. The decision, made after an urgent National Security Council meeting, became effective at once. After President Enkhbayar declared a state of emergency, essential pieces of public infrastructure including the water sanitation and filtration facility, power plants, the National Public Television and Radio stations, and any petrol sources came under secure guard. Armored vehicles and army tanks, mobilized from the nearest military unit, were used to support police forces.


Patricia Straessle
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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