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
  29.9-30.9.2008, No. 236  
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Table of contents

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Foreign Policy

Chinese FM attends "developing-five" gathering, meets Russian, British counterparts (People's Daily)
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday attended a foreign ministers' meeting of China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico, and held separate talks with his Russian and British counterparts. […] At the meeting, held on the sidelines of the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, the five foreign ministers had in-depth exchange of ideas on such issues as food security, climate change, and financial stability, and discussed furthering cooperation among the five nations. […]. ^ top ^

Vice Minister of Agriculture: China, India not to blame for grain crisis (People's Daily)
It is wrong to blame developing nations, China and India for the current global grain crisis. Niu Dun, vice minister of agriculture, made those remarks Saturday at a seminar on grain security at the ongoing 2008 Summer Davos Forum held in this northern metropolis. He said an energy shortage and cost increases for agricultural production are the root factors behind the grain shortage. Developing economies, which include China, have recorded significant deficit in world farm produce trade and increasing export costs. As a result, agricultural production has been adversely affected and farmers incomes squeezed in these nations and regions. Besides, Niu added, climate changes worldwide caused by the industrialization also impacted global agricultural production. He noted that the impact of bio-energy development on agriculture should also not be ignored. The Chinese Government disapproves of producing bio-fuels with maize, soybean and other cereal crops as raw materials. However, China encourages agricultural wastes and some natural resources to be fully used to produce bio-fuels but not at the expense of forests, rain forests and the ecological system at large, Niu added. […]. ^ top ^

Premier Wen pledges to provide foreign experts with better environment to work in China (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has vowed to provide foreign experts serving China with better working and living conditions. Wen made the remark in meeting with 50 chosen foreign specialists and their families at the Great Hall of People here on Monday, in which he issued the experts Friendship Award of the year on behalf of the Chinese government. […] The premier told the award-winning experts that China would continue the policy of reform and opening up which had been proven to be the correct way of leading the country to prosperity, and which enjoyed its 30th anniversary this year. Wen said governments at all levels would strive to create better working and living conditions for foreign experts in China and protect their legal rights and interests to realize their career ideals. The Friendship Award is the top prize awarded by the Chinese government to foreign experts who make outstanding contributions to China's economic construction and social development. […]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China's landmark spacewalk mission ends (China Daily)
The Shenzhou-7 space module carrying three astronauts landed safely by parachute Sunday afternoon in China's northern grassland, after a landmark spacewalk mission that leads the country further in its space exploration. Astronauts Zhai Zhigang, Liu Boming, and Jing Haipeng came back from a 68-hour flight, which included a 20-minute spacewalk on Saturday. "It was a glorious mission, full of challenges but the result is perfect. I'm proud of my country," said Zhai Zhigang, sitting on a chair after emerging from the module. The space capsule was suspended down by a 1,000-square-meter parachute and landed on its flank at Siziwang Banner in central Inner Mongolia, where 300 search and rescue staff waited. Premier Wen Jiabao, who arrived at the control center to watch the landing, clapped hands and beamed with smile when watching the spacecraft touch the ground. […] During the spacewalk on Saturday, Zhai wore a hulking 4-million-U.S.dollar homemade Feitian space suit and spent 20 minutes outside the spacecraft. Tethered to the craft with two safety wires and a long electric cord providing oxygen and communications, he moved slowly along a set of handrails around the orbital module. "Shenzhou-7 is now outside the spacecraft. I feel well. I am here greeting the Chinese people and people of the whole world," Zhai said. He waved a Chinese flag handed over by his companion Liu Boming, who helped the "walk" in the orbital module. […]. ^ top ^

Spokesman: China to build space station in 2020 (Xinhua)
China aims to set up a space station in 2020 and before that it will launch a "simple" space lab in 2011, said a spokesman of the country's manned space program Sunday evening. […]. ^ top ^

Senior CPC members to discuss rural reform in mid-Oct (People's Daily)
Senior members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) will meet from Oct. 9 to 12 in Beijing to discuss major issues about promoting reform and development in the rural areas. The decision to hold the third Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee in October was made at Sunday's meeting of the CPC Central Committee's political bureau. At Sunday's meeting, chaired by CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao, political bureau members discussed issues about pushing forward rural reform and development as well as the bureau's work since th 17th Congress of the CPC and the First Plenary Session of the 17th CPC Central Committee. They heard a report on opinions collected from both within and outside the party about a draft of the CPC Central Committee decision on major issues concerning pushing forward rural reform and development. The members decided to submit the draft to the central committee's plenum in October for deliberation after further revisions reflecting Sunday's discussion are made. […] Economic and social development in urban and rural areas must be coordinated and efforts should be made to ensure farmers benefit from China's economic development, according to the meeting. ^ top ^

Premier Wen: China to stick to reform, opening-up (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday vowed the administration's resolve to stick to reform and opening up on the eve of the 59th anniversary of the People's Republic of China. "We will continue to free our mind, stick to reform and opening up, promote social harmony and strive for new achievements in building a moderately prosperous society," Wen said at a reception in the Great Hall of the People marking the anniversary. […] As this year coincided with the 30th anniversary of China's reform and opening up, Wen said this drive was "a crucial choice that shaped the course of China's development." "It represents the only way leading to the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Wen said. […]. The central government will continue to work with compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao to maintain and promote prosperity and stability, to work with the Taiwan compatriots to bring about new progress in the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, Wen said. […]. ^ top ^

In rare interview with foreign broadcaster, Wen pledges to advance democracy (SCMP)
Premier Wen Jiabao has pledged to advance the country's democracy in a rare interview with a foreign broadcaster that touched on a range of sensitive topics, including the Tibet issue. When asked during the interview with CNN about the lessons he had drawn from the 1989 Tiananmen Square "problem", Mr Wen went silent for a few seconds before replying: "I think the core of your question is about the development of democracy in China." This, he said, covered three areas. "Firstly, we need to gradually improve the democratic election system so that the state power will truly belong to the people and the state power will be used to serve the people," he said in the interview that aired last night. Secondly, the legal system should be improved and the country be run under the rule of law. "We need to build an independent and just judicial system," he said. Thirdly, he said the government should be subjected to oversight by the people, the news media and other parties. Despite repeated calls by activists, China's leadership has described the June 4 crackdown on demonstrators as an "incident" and many dissidents who joined the protest back then are still declined entry into the country. Censorship on the mainland has long drawn criticism from western countries. But in the interview, Mr Wen insisted that China, like many other countries in the world, has imposed some "proper restrictions" to uphold state security while adding that the internet on the mainland carried many postings critical of the state. On the Tibet issue, the premier described the Dalai Lama's advocacy for a "Greater Tibetan region" as a means to "use religion to intervene in politics" - to separate the region from the mainland. "Many people in the United States has no idea how big is the so-called `Greater Tibetan' region ... [it] includes Tibet , Sichuan , Yunnan , Qinghai and Gansu , altogether five provinces and the areas it covered accounted for a quarter of China's territory," he said. "As long as Dalai Lama is willing to recognise Tibet as an inalienable part of China's territory and as long as the Dalai Lama gives up his separatist activities, we are willing to get in touch with him and his representatives." And in what appeared to be a reference to the tainted-milk scandal, Mr Wen said some companies have pursued their profits at the expense of morality. "We would not allow economic growth at the expense of the loss of morality because such approach simply cannot sustain.". ^ top ^

Hu Jintao urges Party members to better learn socialist theory (Xinhua)
Communist Party of China (CPC) chief Hu Jintao has urged Party members to learn the theory on socialism with Chinese characteristics more conscientiously. Hu, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark at a seminar which was participated in Sunday afternoon by members of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee. […] Presiding over the seminar, Hu said the theory on socialism with Chinese characteristics is a fundamental guideline of the Party and government for social and economic construction. Party members should understand the basic principles of the theory and use them in their practical work, he added. Hu asked Party organs at all levels to make the theory accessible and understood by every Party member and draw long-term plans to promote and develop the theory. ^ top ^

Hospital heads sacked over 8 dead newborns (China Daily)
Two hospital chiefs have been fired after eight babies at their facility died after contracting infections, the hospital's superior administration said Sunday. Ma Aiqun was dismissed as the president of the No. 1 hospital affiliated with the College of Medicine, Xi'an Jiaotong University in Shaanxi Province's capital. Lu Yi, vice president of the hospital, was also removed from his post. The decision was made by university management. […]. ^ top ^

Police in Hebei seize melamine in farm raids (SCMP)
Police have seized a total of 222.5kg of melamine from farms and milk stations in Shijiazhuang amid efforts to salvage the mainland dairy industry. The seizures were made in raids by more than 800 police officers on 41 farms and milk stations in the Hebei capital after the infant formula produced by Shijiazhuang-based diary giant Sanlu tested positive for the industrial chemical, Xinhua reported yesterday. […] According to the report, police found evidence that melamine was produced in underground plants and then sold to dairy farms and milk stations. One detainee, identified as Gao, said he had produced "protein powder" containing melamine in Ding county since late last year. Another man helped him sell it to milk stations. Another suspect, named Geng, who ran a farm in Ding county, said Sanlu repeatedly rejected his milk for failing the company's test. After learning that lacing the milk with melamine could increase the protein count and help his milk pass the test, he started adding it. So far, 13 of the 22 people detained for their involvement in making and selling melamine and tainting milk with the chemical had been issued arrest warrants. Among the detained, 19 were managers of 17 farms and milk stations, the report said. […] The scandal has pushed the dairy industry to the brink of collapse. Beijing has called on local authorities to help millions of beleaguered farmers because many large firms have stopped buying raw milk. […]. ^ top ^

China finds 14,000-km underground rivers in rock desert areas (Xinhua)
A newly conducted geological survey has found more than 3,000 underground rivers with a total length of 14,000 kilometers in southwest China's rock desert areas. A latest report released by the China Geological Survey showed that these underground rivers collect water from a combined area of 300,000 square kilometers, with an annual runoff of 47 billion cubic meters, equivalent to that of the Yellow River, the country's second longest river. These underground rivers account for 70 percent of the total underground water in the rock desert areas, which is a valuable resource for future development, the report said. China's rock deserts are mainly in the karst erosion areas in southwestern provinces of Guizhou and Yunnan and the southern Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. […]. ^ top ^

Floods leave 17 dead, six missing in south China (Xinhua)
Floods triggered by continuous torrential rain have left 17 people dead and six others missing in south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, local authorities said Monday. Rainstorms have pounded Guangxi since last Wednesday when Typhoon Hagupit slammed into the neighboring Guangdong Province, affecting the lives of 6.5 million people. Some 678,000 people were forced to evacuate, according to the Guangxi autonomous regional department of civil affairs. […] Hagupit, the 14th strong typhoon of this year, left China on Thursday and moved into Vietnam, after killing at least 17 people in Guangdong. ^ top ^

Weakened Typhoon Jangmi expected to bypass China's coast (Xinhua)
Typhoon Jangmi, downgraded to strong tropical storm Monday afternoon, is expected to bypass China's coast in the night, but it will still bring strong winds and heavy rains to some areas. Jangmi, which slammed into Taiwan Sunday afternoon, left two people dead and forced the closure of schools, offices and financial markets before moving to the Chinese mainland early on Monday. It was thought to land in northern Fujian Province late Monday afternoon or night. […] But the typhoon weakened into strong tropical storm and changed its course to the northeast Monday afternoon, and it will not likely make landfall in the mainland, meteorologists said. […]. ^ top ^

South China braces for tropical storm Mekkhala (Xinhua)
South China's Hainan Province is bracing for tropical storm Mekkhala, which is expected to land in the island on Tuesday or brush its southern coast. Mekkhala, the 16th tropical storm this year, was developed from a tropical low pressure at 8 a.m. Monday on the South China Sea, according to the Hainan Provincial Observatory. […] Local meteorologist authorities on Monday issued warnings of the tropical storm, which is forecast to bring strong winds and heavy rains in the next two days. […]. ^ top ^

Politicians, Olympians ride a patriotic wave (SCMP)
The mainland honoured its Olympic heroes yesterday as top leaders rode a wave of patriotism that has surged because of the successful Games and the country's first space walk. In a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People, President Hu Jintao and Vice-President Xi Jinping , the top Communist Party leader who oversaw preparations for the Beijing Olympics, praised what they said was China's realisation of a 100-year dream to host the Games. As political, military and sports officials paraded by in the three-hour ceremony shown live on national television, Mr Xi said holding the games would keep China on its reform path. "The successful holding of the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics has carried forward the Olympic spirit, improved the understanding and friendship between Chinese people and all people of the world," he said. Movie director Zhang Yimou , who directed the lavish and spectacular opening and closing ceremonies, broke ranks from the parade of dignitaries to shake hands with Mr Hu. […] The ceremony, just ahead of National Day tomorrow, was heavy on politics with every member of the Communist Party's Standing Committee on hand. Mr Hu spoke for about an hour on China's drive to host the Games. "We have stamped China's red seal in the history of the modern Olympic movement," he said. The Olympics and the Paralympics were widely praised as well organised, although the central government was criticised by some for stifling any possible protests during the Games. ^ top ^



Visa approvals surge in Beijing (SCMP)
The number of visas issued to foreigners wanting to visit or reside in Beijing increased sharply after the Olympics, Xinhua said yesterday. The agency said "a record number" of temporary-residency and entry visas had been issued by the Beijing Public Security Bureau in recent weeks. Between September 18 and Sunday, the authorities had processed 12,000 visa applications. Xinhua said the daily number of visas issued was twice that during the Olympics. The report was the latest indication that the mainland has relaxed the visa restrictions it imposed on foreigners during the Beijing Olympics and Paralympics. Officially, however, Beijing has never admitted that it tightened entry and residential visa requirements for foreigners during the Games, attributing the high number of refusals during the period to "technical reasons". Xinhua said yesterday that many foreigners chose to visit Beijing after the Games to avoid the rush. As well, many visitors who came for the Olympics wanted to stay longer in the capital, and many foreigners residing in Beijing returned to their home countries for the summer holiday and returned after the Olympics. All these factors pushed up the number of visa applications. Beijing granted visa-free access to overseas visitors accredited by the International Olympic Committee for a month before and after the Games. These visitors included journalists, athletes and support staff. It tightened visa rules for other foreigners during the Olympics, causing great inconvenience to many foreign businesspeople and tourists. Earlier, travel agents in Hong Kong confirmed that mainland authorities would lift the visa restrictions on foreigners in the city from October 16. ^ top ^

Beijing car restrictions to take effect (China Daily)
Beijing has announced a series of post-Olympics car restrictions which will take effect next month and hopefully sustain the smooth traffic flows and good air quality during the Games. Under the new traffic restrictions, 30 percent of government vehicles will be sealed off as of October 1, said a circular issued by the Beijing municipal government on Saturday. The remaining 70 percent of government vehicles, as well as all corporate and private cars, will take turns off the roads one out of the five weekdays as of October 11, it said. Cars whose number plates end with 1 or 6 will be taken off roads on Monday, while those ending with 2 or 7 will be banned on Tuesday, 3 or 8 on Wednesday, 4 or 9 on Thursday and 5 or 0 on Friday. The ban does not apply on weekends. The ban will be applicable within the Fifth Ring Road inclusive, from 6 am to 9 pm for private cars and round the clock for government and corporate vehicles. It will take effect on a trial basis on October 11 for six months until April 10, but does not apply to police wagons, ambulances, fire engines, buses, taxies and other public service vehicles. […]. ^ top ^



Macau officials march for rise (SCMP)
More than 1,000 civil servants in Macau took to the streets yesterday to demand a 20 per cent pay rise. Jose Coutinho, a legislator and head of the 10,000-strong Macau Civil Servants' Association accused the government of being unfair for giving a wage increase of 20 per cent only to high-ranking officials. ^ top ^



China's economy in good shape despite global financial chaos (People's Daily)
China's economy was in good shape and capable of maintaining financial stability despite global chaos, Liu Mingkang, chairman of the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC), said on Saturday. Liu made the remarks at the ongoing 2008 Summer Davos forum, also known as the Annual Meeting of the New Champions 2008, which kicked off on Saturday in the north China metropolis of Tianjin. Though feeling gloomy about the outlook of the world economy, most attendees were confident about China's economic prospects. "China has full confidence and capabilities to ensure sound and fast economic growth for a long period of time," Premier Wen Jiabao said at the opening ceremony. Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said China is still a fast growing economy and maylead the world economy in the future. But for now, as the financial market globalizes, no country could escape the financial crisis, Liu said. He forecast the annual economic growth would slow to between 9 percent or 9.5 percent, as falling consumer spending in Europe and the United States cut export demands. China's economy expanded 11.9 percent last year. "This is not a bad thing for China," Liu said, "China needs not only speed, but also quality." "We had more room to boost growth as consumption and investment demands could make up for the falling exports," Liu said. […]. ^ top ^

Cadbury recalls 11 chocolate products in Hong Kong (People's Daily)
The Center for Food Safety of Hong Kong (CFS) announced on Monday that the Cadbury Asia Pacific would recall some of its chocolate products. The CFS said it was informed by Cadbury Asia Pacific that the company would, as a precautionary step, recall 11 Cadbury chocolate products. According to the company, the affected products were manufactured in its Beijing plant and distributed to Hong Kong, including Cadbury Dark Chocette 45g, Cadbury Dark Chocette 80g, Cadbury Hazelnut Praline Chocolate 312g (2008 Chinese New Year) and Cadbury Dairy Milk Chocolate 300g (2008 Chinese New Year). "We appeal to the public to stop consuming the chocolate products concerned," a CFS spokesman said on Monday. "We would alert the trade to stop selling the affected products. The Center would test the related products. We are closely monitoring the situation." he added. ^ top ^

China handles more trademark infringement cases (People's Daily)
China has stepped up efforts in protecting trademarks with 21,045 trademark infringement cases investigated in the first half of this year, up 10.92 percent from a year earlier. Statistics released by the State Administration For Industry and Commerce (SAIC) on Monday showed that these cases include 16,630 domestic ones and 4,415 foreign-related ones, up 7.58 percent and 25.6 percent, respectively. Fines from these cases reached 175 million yuan (25.74 million U.S. dollars), up 8.58 percent; and 50 trademark-related criminal cases and 53 suspects were handed over to judicial organs for judgement, according to the SAIC. […]. ^ top ^


Gautier Chiarini
Embassy of Switzerland

The Press review is a random selection of political and social related news gathered from various media and news services located in the PRC, edited or translated by the Embassy of Switzerland in Beijing and distributed among Swiss Government Offices. The Embassy does not accept responsibility for accuracy of quotes or truthfulness of content. Additionally the contents of the selected news mustn't correspond to the opinion of the Embassy.
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