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
  5.1-9.1.2009, No. 250  
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Foreign Policy

China, Cote d'Ivoire sign economic, technical cooperation agreement (People's Daily)
Abidjan - China and Cote d'Ivoire on Wednesday signed an economic and technical cooperation agreement under which China will provide assistance worth 2.1 billion African francs (about 4.2 million U.S. dollars) to the country. The agreement reflects the sound relations between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire Wei Wenhua said. China highly appreciates Cote d'Ivoire's firm position on the one-China policy and is satisfied with the productive bilateral cooperation over the past several decades, he said. China will, as always, support the economic development of Cote d'Ivoire on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, Wei said. […]. ^ top ^

China hands over donation to Guinea-Bissau ahead of New Year's Day (People's Daily)
China has handed over 15 containers of vehicles, information equipment and other materials to Guinea-Bissau ahead of New Year's Day, news reaching here said on Thursday. Chinese Ambassador to Guinea-Bissau Yan Banghua presented the donation to local officials at a hand-over ceremony held on Tuesday in the capital Bissau. […] He said it was part of a three-year aid package of around 1.2 million U.S. dollars signed between the two countries several months ago. […]. ^ top ^

Ministry denies deal with Japan on joint gas exploration has been broken (SCMP)
China yesterday rejected a Japanese report that it had violated an agreement with Tokyo by continuing with development of a gas field in a disputed area in the East China Sea. Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said: "The Tianwaitian oil and gas field is inside China's undisputed territorial waters." The Sankei daily newspaper in Japan reported that China had violated an agreement by developing the gas field unilaterally. Mr Qin said the report had distorted facts and misunderstood the agreement. Under the agreement the two sides reached in June on the East China Sea issue, the countries will jointly explore gas and oil resources in "mutually agreed areas", Mr Qin said. He said the field was not covered by the agreement because it is not in disputed waters. " [The joint development] will be carried out in other parts of the East China Sea, not in China's undisputed territorial waters," Mr Qin said. […]. ^ top ^

China, Japan to hold 9th strategic dialogue (Xinhua)
Beijing - China and Japan will hold their ninth strategic dialogue in Tokyo on Jan. 9, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang announced here on Monday. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya and Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka will head delegations to attend the dialogue, respectively, said Qin. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral ties and other international and regional issues, according to the spokesman. So far China and Japan have held eight rounds of strategic dialogues. The last round was held in Beijing in February of 2008. ^ top ^

Naval escort fleet to protect 15 Chinese merchant vessels from pirates (People's Daily)
Beijing - After successfully carrying out its first escort mission, the Chinese Navy prepares to cover another 11 domestic merchant vessels planning to travel around Somalia this week. "We will actively provide information and necessary rescue services for those merchant ships passing through the Gulf of Aden and Somali waters," said He Jianzhong, spokesman with Ministry of Transport (MOT). A governmental spokesman said on Tuesday that the naval task force will protect a total of 15 Chinese merchant ships between Tuesday and Saturday. Consisting of two destroyers and one supply ship, the naval fleet arrived in waters off Somali coast on Tuesday after a voyage of more than 4,400 nautical miles. It set sail on Dec. 26. […]. ^ top ^

Special representative of Chinese gov't for Darfur arrives in Sudan (People's Daily)
Khartoum - The special representative of the Chinese government for Darfur Liu Guijin arrived in Khartoum on Tuesday on a four-day visit to Sudan. Received by high-ranking Sudanese officials at the Khartoum International Airport, the Chinese special representative said the visit, the sixth since he was appointed to the post in May 2007, was aimed at "exchanging ideas and views with the Sudanese leadership on the Darfur issue." "The Chinese government believes that the international community should work together urgently to find out a proper solution to the crisis so that the political process (in Sudan) will continue," the Chinese diplomat told reporters. […]. ^ top ^

China urges Security Council to push for immediate ceasefire in Gaza (Xinhua)
United Nations - China on Tuesday called on the UN Security Council to take swift action to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. China's UN Ambassador Zhang Yesui made the appeal at a high-level meeting of the Security Council on the Gaza crisis. "We hope the Security Council will respond to the will of the international community and the appeals of Arab states, and take swift actions to adopt a resolution so as to send a positive and clear signal to the parties concerned and push for an immediate ceasefire," Zhang told the Council. […] The top priority now is for the parties concerned to achieve an immediate ceasefire to avoid further civilian casualties, he said, urging Israel to halt its military operation immediately and open all the border crossings in Gaza, and the armed Palestinian factions to stop rocket firings. […]. ^ top ^

China offers Comoros $1.4 mln in budgetary support (People's Daily)
Ananarive - China has offered the Union of Comoros 1.4 million U.S. dollars in budgetary support to the efforts by the heavily-indebted Indian Ocean islands to overcome consequences of a coup foiled last year. According to information monitored here, Comoros' Finance Minister Mohamed Ali Soilihi and Chinese Ambassador Tao Weiguang signed the aid program in the capital city of Moroni on Tuesday. Ambassador Tao said China made the donation when Comoros was in dire need of support to recover from a secessionist rebellion in Anjouan in March 2008. […]. ^ top ^

Envoy predicts bright future for Sino-US ties (SCMP)
US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte spoke optimistically about the future of Sino-US relations yesterday during a high-profile trip to Beijing to celebrate 30 years of diplomatic ties. "There are many different possibilities in the US-China relationship, and I'm sure in the next 30 years, it will only get better," Mr Negroponte said after a table tennis match between Chinese and US teams. The match was held to commemorate the US table tennis team's tour of China in 1971, which became known as "ping-pong diplomacy" when it began a warming of cold war relations and led to the establishment of formal ties on January 1, 1979. "It [ping-pong diplomacy] played a very important role, and now after 30 years, we have a very broad and deep relationship," Mr Negroponte said before formal talks with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi. […] Mr Negroponte was also expected to discuss current global issues of concern, such as the nuclear programmes of North Korea and Iran, as well as the economic crisis. "North Korea, Iran ... it's a broad relationship. I'm sure they'll talk about economics as well," US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said late on Tuesday as he outlined Mr Negroponte's agenda. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese company drills ten wells in Sudan's Darfur (Xinhua)
Khartoum - China and Sudan signed here on Thursday a certificate of handing over ten wells drilled by Chinese companies in the arid western Sudanese region of Darfur. Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Li Chengwen and Sudanese Commissioner for the Humanitarian Assistance Affairs Hasbu Mohammed Abdullah signed the document at a ceremony attended by Liu Guijin, the special representative of the Chinese government for Darfur, who is currently visiting Sudan. Expressing his government's thanks for the assistance provided by the Chinese government to Darfur, Hasbu noted that China had become the country providing the most assistance of development to the western Sudanese region, which had been ravaged by armed conflicts. […]. ^ top ^

UNDP names goodwill ambassador, launches ethnic minority culture protection initiative in China (People's Daily)
Beijing - Chinese singer Zhu Zheqin was named goodwill ambassador here on Thursday by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to enhance the protection of China's ethnic minority cultures. […] Zhu Zheqin, also Dadawa, a Han nationality born in south China's Guangdong province, was named ambassador. The plan consists of two components, including "preservation and revival of the ethnic music" and "preservation and development of the ethnic handicrafts." […] UN resident representative in China, Khalid Malik, said that the protection work had "special meaning" amid the global financial crisis. "It will increase people's incomes in the ethnic minorities' residential areas and help solve the problems of the crisis," Malik said. "The crisis will not last long but the cultures will," he said. […]. ^ top ^

China calls for U.S. to mend military ties despite 30th anniversary celebration (Xinhua)
Beijing - China is urging the United States to take actions to repair military ties seriously damaged by a U.S. arms sale to Taiwan. "China-U.S. military ties lag far behind overall relations. The United States should take concrete measures to repair them," Ma Xiaotian, deputy chief of general staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, told the visiting U.S. […] "Military ties, which don't enjoy a solid foundation, were further damaged by the U.S. move," Ma said in his hour-long meeting with Negroponte. "That created an obstacle to exchanges and cooperation in a range of spheres. The responsibility for this belongs entirely to the United States." […]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Chinese official gets life sentence for taking bribes (Xinhua)
Nanjing - A former official in the eastern province of Jiangsu was sentenced to life in jail for taking bribes. Shan Dingfang, 43, who was deputy head of the Chongchuan District in Nantong City, and vice-mayor of Rugao city from 2002 to 2008, was convicted of taking bribes worth 5.27 million yuan, according to a judgment handed down Tuesday by the Nantong Municipal Intermediate People's Court. The court, which started hearing the case on Dec. 9, ruled that Shan had abused his power by seeking benefits from others, including real estate developers. […]. ^ top ^

China sets up compensation fund for tainted milk victims (Xinhua)
Beijing - China Dairy Industry Association (CDIA) on Thursday told Xinhua more information on setting up a medical compensation fund for victim babies in the tainted milk powder scandal. "The scandal caused great harm to infants and the society, so firms involved in the scandal feel very regretful for this. To be responsible for their wrongdoing and rebuild the dairy industry's reputation, these companies offer to shoulder social responsibilities," said the association. Sanlu, the dairy producer at the center of the tainted milk powder scandal, and other 21 firms blamed in the scandal had decided to set up a compensation fund for the victim infants. "The money from these companies for this fund has been in place now. The fund will cover the charge on acute disease medical treatment and the one-time cash payment for victims," said the Beijing-based association. But no specific amount of the fund or compensation for each victim baby was revealed. […]. ^ top ^

Free voices on Internet new path to democracy in China (People's Daily)
Beijing - Chinese netizens have made their voices heard more loudly and their presence better recognized in headline news events over the past year. […] As to domestic affairs, netizens did not sit aloof. After the dairy scandal emerged in September, netizens' strong criticisms finally led to the resignation of Li Changjiang, then director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. Yan Jirong, professor at Peking University's School of Government, said this incident showed the government was paying attention to public voices on the Internet. […]. ^ top ^

Education to boost growth, orders Wen - Premier unveils 12-year training plan to counter financial crisis (SCMP)
Premier Wen Jiabao has called for the formulation of an education reform plan that will focus on improving rural education, vocational training and teachers' welfare, citing the global financial crisis as a call to arms to bolster education. The plan, which will span 2009 to 2020, must take into account the nation's evolving population structure, rural-urban wealth gap and rural-urban migration, and meet the talent requirements for industrialisation, urbanisation and modernisation, Mr Wen said in a speech delivered at an earlier education conference and published in today's People's Daily. […] "Education will take a prominent position as we seek to mitigate the impact of the global financial crisis on our economy," Mr Wen said. "Education has become the cornerstone of national development." […]. ^ top ^

Websites face crackdown over 'vulgar' content (SCMP)
Beijing has launched a crackdown on major websites accused of threatening the nation's morals by spreading pornography and vulgarity, including the dominant search engines Google and Baidu. The Ministry of Public Security and six other government agencies announced the campaign at a meeting yesterday, state television reported, showing officials hauling digital equipment away from one unidentified office. The meeting "decided to launch a nationwide campaign to clean up a vulgar current on the internet, and named and exposed a large number of people who are violating public morality and harming the physical and mental health of ... young people", the report said. The 19 internet operators and websites named had failed to swiftly cut vulgar content and had not heeded warnings from censors, it said. […] was also one of those named. The Communist Party is wary of threats on its grip on information and has launched many such censorship efforts before, targeting pornography, political criticism and web scams. […]. ^ top ^

China spends 600 bln yuan on rural development in 2008 (People's Daily)
The central budget on the rural development and agriculture is expected to reach nearly 600 billion yuan in 2008, representing a year-on-year increase of 38 percent, said Finance Minister Xie Xuren at a national work conference, adding that more money and favorable policies would be adopted in 2009 to develop the rural areas and agriculture and improve the livelihood of farmers. Subsidies to farmers from the state exchequer more than doubled in 2008 to 102.77 billion yuan, according to Xie. […]. ^ top ^

Laid-off migrants doomed to suffer in crisis (SCMP)
The mainland's 130 million migrant workers are bearing the brunt of collapsing global demand and factory closures. Many have lost their jobs and returned to the countryside without the unemployment insurance and social welfare that are enjoyed by laid-off city dwellers. For decades, migrant workers have contributed to the mainland's extraordinary economic growth, and now they are shouldering much of the burden caused by the crisis in the country's export-driven economy. As the workers head home, authorities are worried that anger could spell trouble for their administration and threaten social stability. […]. ^ top ^

Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan ships can request escort of Chinese mainland navy (Xinhua)
Beijing - Ships from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan can request the escort services of the Chinese mainland's navy fleet in Somalian waters, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang at a regular press conference here Tuesday. Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are all part of China. The Chinese government attached high importance to the safety of overseas Chinese, and the escort flotilla in Somalian waters will also protect ships from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, Qin said. […]. ^ top ^

China allocates 2.5 billion yuan for quake-stricken areas (People's Daily)
After the implementation of the temporary living assistance fund policy came to an end in August 2008, China will further offer a three-month follow-up living assistance to people in need in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi, three provinces severely hit by the earthquake disaster. […] The average assistance amount for each victim will be 200 yuan per month; 2.5 billion yuan will be allocated from the central government budget to Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi. By the end of 2008, a total of 3.4925 million people in need in these three provinces had received assistance. ^ top ^

Young migrant worker dies of bird flu in Beijing after handling and eating ducks (SCMP)
Beijing health authorities confirmed yesterday that a 19-year-old woman died in the capital from the H5N1 bird flu strain. The woman, Huang Yanqing, was a migrant worker from Putian, Fujian province. She was living in Sanjianfang, a densely populated community in the capital's Chaoyang district. Huang bought nine ducks and had them butchered in a rural market in Langfang, Hebei province, on December 19, Xinhua said. The municipal government said it had launched an emergency response plan that included informing all municipal agencies about the incident and raising alerts in hospitals. The World Health Organisation's China office said it was told about the death but was still seeking more details from the government. […]. ^ top ^

Baby who drank tainted milk dies - Death raises doubts about true numbers (SCMP)
A baby boy who fell ill after drinking melamine-tainted baby formula died yesterday in Qingzhou, Shandong province. The death, the seventh known to have been caused by tainted milk, has raised doubts about the actual number of infants who have died as a result of the contamination. Hou Rongbo said his one-year-old son, Hou Haiqi, was diagnosed with kidney stones in September and died of respiratory failure around 8am yesterday at a Qingzhou hospital. Mr Hou said the boy, who was also diagnosed with leukaemia that same month, had been fed powdered milk produced by the Sanlu Group - the company that triggered the nationwide scandal - since birth. He said the hospital had yet to give the cause of death, and that his application to municipal public health authorities for an autopsy had been rejected. "But I still want the body to be examined because then I can know for sure if he died of melamine contamination," he said. […] Authorities have maintained that only six children died as a result of consuming contaminated powdered milk. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing shows new signs of forcing media to toe line (SCMP)
More mainland journalists have been punished for reporting news unacceptable to authorities, pointing to renewed efforts to bring the media under control. Guangdong propaganda authorities ordered the popular Guangzhou Television media-watch programme News Eyes to remove its outspoken chief editor and anchorman, Chen Yang, last weekend, station sources said. The order follows punishment meted out to a Shanxi television station for coverage of a textile-factory closure. The sources at the Guangzhou TV station said they were ordered to "tighten news administration and reinforce positive propaganda" on Sunday and to reshuffle several programmes, including News Eyes. Chen, who earned a reputation in Guangzhou for his sharp commentary on current affairs, was banned from any management role on the programme, possibly because of remarks he made on Saturday's show, the source said. […]. ^ top ^

Stark warning from Xinhua on threat of mass social unrest (SCMP)
The mainland faces surging protests and riots this year as rising unemployment stokes discontent, a state-run magazine said in a blunt warning of the hazards to the party's control amid a sharp economic downturn. The unusually stark report in this week's Outlook magazine, issued by Xinhua, said faltering growth could spark anger among millions of migrant workers and university graduates left jobless. "Without doubt, now we're entering a peak period for mass incidents," a senior Xinhua reporter, Huang Huo, said. "In 2009, Chinese society may face even more conflicts and clashes that will test even more the governing abilities of all levels of the party and government." […] The biggest threats to the social fabric will come from graduating university students, facing a shrinking job market and diminished incomes, and from a tide of migrant labourers who have lost their jobs as export-driven factories have shut. Factory closures, sackings and difficulties paying social security had already sparked a wave of protests, the report said. […]. ^ top ^

Prolonged drought hits parts of north, east China (Xinhua)
Taiyuan - Six provinces in north and east China are battling a prolonged drought that has affected water supplies for people, livestock and agriculture. Nearly 1 million people and 160,000 head of livestock in Shanxi have faced difficulties getting drinking water due to the prolonged drought since October, the provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters said on Wednesday. The province has had no rain since late November, it said, and the drought has affected 520,000 hectare of wheat land, 140,000 ha severely. […] The drought has also hit other provinces such as Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Anhui and Gansu, all major wheat producers. […] The Ministry of Agriculture said Tuesday the six provinces had had 5.42 million ha of drought-hit cropland, almost five times the area last year. […]. ^ top ^

Reconstruction work started for over 60% of earthquake-affected homes (People's Daily)
Reconstruction work for 1.488 million rural homes that collapsed or were damaged in earthquake-stricken areas (including Sichuan, Shaanxi, Gansu, Chongqing and Yunnan) have already started, accounting for 61% of the total recovery and reconstruction workload. Recovery and reconstruction has already been completed for 858,700 houses, accounting for 35% of the total. Homes that have been renovated amount to 2.023 million, representing 91% of total. […]. ^ top ^

Strategy to help graduates find work - Beijing to subsidise degree holders who take jobs in less developed regions (SCMP)
The central government has unveiled a comprehensive work plan to tackle the rising number of university graduates left jobless by the economic slowdown. The seven-point plan was formulated at a State Council meeting yesterday chaired by Premier Wen Jiabao and came after a think-tank gave a bleak assessment of job prospects for university students. In its annual social-development blue book published last month, the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Cass) warned that university graduates and migrant workers were particularly vulnerable in the job market because of oversupply. […] Under the new job-creation guidelines for college graduates, the central government promised to provide subsidies or waive some loan repayments for university graduates if they agree to take up jobs at grass-roots level institutions or in the less-developed western region. The government also pledged sweeteners for mainland firms, particularly hi-tech ones, that hire more college students, and for students who open their own businesses. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing bans all live poultry during cleanup after woman dies from bird flu (SCMP)
Beijing municipal officials banned all live poultry from entering the capital after a rural migrant died from bird flu on Monday. Checkpoints were set up on highways and at railways to make sure no live poultry was smuggled in, Xinhua said. […] The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that the case did not appear to signal a new public health threat. It added that Huang's case was similar to others reported worldwide and did not appear to involve human-to-human transmission. "This single case, which appears to have occurred during the slaughtering and preparation of poultry, does not change our risk assessment," the WHO's Beijing office said. ^ top ^

Activist who tried to establish party jailed (SCMP)
A 65-year-old veteran democracy activist who tried to set up an opposition party on the mainland has been sentenced to six years in jail, a human rights group said yesterday. A court in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, sentenced Wang Rongqing on Wednesday on charges of subverting state power for organising the banned China Democracy Party, according to the Chinese Human Rights Defenders network. Wang was detained in June, two months before the Olympics started, the group said. […] Founded by dissidents in mid-1998, the China Democracy Party was quashed six months later. The mainland allows a small number of officially recognised alternative parties, although they serve as advisers to the ruling Communist Party. […]. ^ top ^

China unveils detailed public hospital reform measures (Xinhua)
Beijing - Responding to growing public criticism of soaring medical fees, lack of access to medical services, poor doctor-patient relations, Chinese government will launch a pilot program to reform its public hospitals. "As China aims to provide universal medical service to 1.3 billion people," Chen Zhu said, "state-run hospitals must be overhauled." […] He specified, under the reform plan, the government will be responsible for giving subsidies to build public hospitals' infrastructure. Money will also be spent on purchasing big medical apparatus, key academic research, doctor training and covering health care costs for retirees. The government will also give special subsidies to hospitals providing public health services such as disease prevention, inoculation and health education. […] According to Chen, the government is going to select several cities to try out the new reforms. The trial period will last for the next three years. Chen did not give the number or names of those selected cities. […]. ^ top ^

China to see 2.32 bln travelers over Spring Festival holiday period (People's Daily)
China expects 2.32 billion travelers during the upcoming 40-day travel peak as people flock home for the traditional Spring Festival holiday, government authorities said Thursday. That represents an 3.5-percent growth from the same period of last year, according to officials at a teleconference held here Thursday by eight central government departments. […] The country will see a record 188 million train takers in this year's Spring Festival travel rush, 8 percent more than the same period last year, Xinhua learnt from the Thursday meeting. Railway authorities in the cities of Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Hangzhou have added 319 temporary express passengers trains for the holiday rush. In the busy period, which lasts from Jan. 11 to Feb. 19, the number of air travelers will rise 12 percent year on year to 23.2 million. Travelers by bus and by water will reach 2.07 billion and 31 million respectively, up 3 percent and 8 percent. The Spring Festival falls on Jan. 26 this year. ^ top ^

Tainted milk feared to have killed another baby (SCMP)
Authorities in Zhejiang province are investigating the sudden death of a two-month-old baby, which may be connected to drinking tainted milk formula. Li Junjie fell ill on Saturday afternoon, shortly after being fed milk formula produced by Guangdong Yashili Group. The baby was taken to TCM Hospital Changxing, in the north of the province, early on Sunday, but died before dawn. The cause of death has yet to be determined, but local media reported that the child's family had lodged a complaint with police as they suspected the death was due to the milk powder. […]. ^ top ^



Beijing exceeds 2008 "blue sky" air quality goal with 274 clear days (Xinhua)
Beijing - Beijing had 274 blue sky days this year, 18 more than the target, meaning that air quality in the capital improved for 10 consecutive years. "We fulfilled the target 31 days in advance, which is the earliest since 1999," Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau deputy director Du Shaozhong said on Wednesday -- the last blue sky day in the year. […] The city aims to have at least 259 blue sky days next year. ^ top ^



Shanghai to create 500,000 jobs (China Daily)
Creating more jobs, providing better care services to senior citizens and improving educational facilities for migrant workers' children, are some of the "10 practical projects" the city's municipal government hopes to complete in 2009, a top government official said yesterday. […] Amid a gloomy job market haunted by the global economic downturn, Shanghai plans to create 500,000 new jobs this year, with 100,000 for farmers-turned-laborers. About 100,000 migrant workers will be trained on occupational skills, and 98 percent of rural residents will be covered in the city's pension program, Chen said. […]. ^ top ^



Macao SAR legislature passes state security bill (People's Daily)
The Legislative Assembly of Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) Monday approved the general outline of the government-drafted state security bill with the majority of the assembly members voting in favor of it. […] Under the SAR's BL 23, Macao shall "enact laws on its own" to prohibit any act of treason, secession, sedition, subversion against the Central People's Government, or theft of state secrets, to prohibit foreign political organizations or bodies from conducting activities that endanger national security in the Region, and to prohibit political organizations or bodies of the SAR from establishing ties with those foreign political organizations or bodies. The bill will be discussed on committee level for the next few weeks before an article-by-article vote during its second reading. ^ top ^

Xi Jinping to meet Macau contenders (SCMP)
Vice-President Xi Jinping will begin his first Macau visit as a state leader on Saturday, during which he is tipped to meet the city's potential candidates for chief executive. Analysts said preparation for the election would be the main focus of Mr Xi's two-day trip, while Hong Kong-listed casino shares soared on speculation that he might announce a relaxation of controls on mainlanders visiting the gambling hub. […]. ^ top ^



President Hu offers six proposals for peaceful development of cross-Strait relationship (Xinhua)
Beijing - President Hu Jintao offered six proposals to promote the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relationship in a speech to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the mainland's "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" here on Wednesday. Hu said the mainland is willing to discuss with Taiwan proper and reasonable arrangements for Taiwan's participation in international organizations, as long as this does not create a scenario of "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan". […] Hu, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, sent a message in his speech which urged the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to "clearly understand the situation and stop secessionist activities". […]. ^ top ^

Beijing may reduce cross-strait missiles (SCMP)
The mainland may be planning to slowly reduce the number of missiles aimed at Taiwan in a significant show of goodwill towards the self-ruled island, a Taiwanese military official said yesterday. […] President Hu Jintao last week called for a military mutual trust mechanism with Taiwan. Beijing may be planning to remove some of its approximately 1,300 short and mid-range missiles aimed at Taiwan, which is about 160km away from the mainland, said Chih Yu-lan, spokeswoman for the island's defence ministry. […]. ^ top ^

Chen to spend Lunar New Year in detention as top court rejects appeal (SCMP)
Former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian's hopes of spending the Lunar New Year holiday at home were dashed yesterday after the island's High Court rejected an appeal against his detention. The Taiwan High Court said yesterday it was upholding an earlier decision by the Taipei District Court to send Chen back into custody because it was likely that he would destroy or tamper with evidence and collude with witnesses. […]. ^ top ^

Cross-strait talks to be held every six months - Negotiations will become a regular exchange (SCMP)
Cross-strait talks between the two semi-official organisations representing the mainland and Taiwan will be held every six months, the island's top envoy for handling ties with Beijing revealed yesterday. The high-level negotiations will, therefore, become a regular exchange for the first time. […] On the agenda will be the possibility of normalising the status of daily direct cross-strait charter flights, how to facilitate Taiwanese bank loans to businesses on the mainland, and the issue of whether Taiwanese businesses will be permitted to use their assets in Taiwan as collateral for mainland bank loans. The next meeting will also work out how to facilitate mainland investment in Taiwan, give more protection to Taiwanese enterprises and how to fight cross-strait crime. ^ top ^



China's PMI rises to 41.2% in Dec. (Xinhua)
Beijing - The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of China's manufacturing sector climbed 2.4 percentage points month-on-month to 41.2 percent in December, China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP) told Xinhua Sunday. The index has been lower than 50 percent for three consecutive months. It was also the fifth time the index remained below 50 percent within last year after it fell to a record low of 38.8 percent in November. The new monthly figure reflected the country's economy had further contracted, analysts said. ^ top ^

China's state companies expect 30% drop in 2008 profits (Xinhua)
Beijing - Profits at China's centrally-administered state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are expected to fall 30 percent in 2008 from a year earlier, the first annual decline since 2002, figures from the state assets watchdog showed Monday. Profits in the 142 SOE giants would total 700 billion yuan (about 103 billion U.S. dollars) last year, Huang Shuhe, deputy director of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Management Commission (SASAC) told a conference here Monday. Natural disasters, government-capped energy prices and the ongoing global financial crisis all contributed to the decline, Huang said. […]. ^ top ^

Yuan slips against dollar on first trading day of 2009 (People's Daily)
China's currency, the yuan, weakened slightly against the U.S. dollar on Monday, the first trading day of 2009, according to the People's Bank of China, the country's central bank. The central parity rate of the yuan was 6.8367 yuan to the U.S. dollar, down 0.0021 yuan from Dec. 31. [...]. ^ top ^

670,000 small firms shut; jobless rate doubled (SCMP)
Grim economic conditions forced more than 670,000 of the mainland's small firms out of business, and real unemployment was more than double the official rate last year, according to leading economic analysts. Economists also warned that widespread unemployment caused by the financial crisis could cause social unrest and that the government's 4 trillion-yuan (HK$4.56 trillion) stimulus plan to ensure enough jobs for excess workers might not boost employment as much as expected, Xinhua reported yesterday. According to the China Economic Weekly, State Council adviser Chen Quansheng said the closure of the 670,000 small firms had cost the country 6.7 million jobs and the total number of layoffs for the year exceeded the official tally of 8.3 million. He warned that the real jobless rate was worse than the official data because only registered individuals were included in the tally. […]. ^ top ^

China to double natural gas output by 2015 (China Daily)
Beijing - China aims to more than double its annual natural gas output to 160 billion cu m by 2015, and produce about 6 billion tons of oil in the next 30 years, or 200 million tons a year. China wants to increase its annual production of coal, too, to more than 3.3 billion tons, said Hu Cunzhi, chief planner of the Ministry of Land and Resources, at a press conference yesterday. That represents an increase of about 30 percent and 7 percent for coal and oil from 2007. […] China's energy consumption increased by an average annual rate of 5.4 percent between 1979 and 2007, fuelling an average yearly economic growth of 9.8 percent. […] Scientific analysis has shown that China has a potential oil reserve of 90 billion tons, a third of which can be explored effectively, he said. […]. ^ top ^



Marubeni to extract uranium in Mongolia (Montsame)
As the "Nikkei" Japanese newspaper reports, the "Marubeni" corporation has become the first among Japanese companies to win the right to exploit uranium deposit in Mongolia. This issue will be officially approved this year. Uranium extraction will start in 2012. […] The extraction and exploration license is owned by the Canadian "Khan Resources" company, so a part of it will go to the Marubeni. Resources of these areas are estimated at 62 thousand tons that are sufficient for seven-year use by Japanese atomic power plants. […]. ^ top ^

Mongol bank president submits resignation (UB Post)
Mongolia's national currency, the togrog, depreciated by over 40 percent against the US dollar on Tuesday evening, after reports emerged that the government would accept the President of Mongol Bank's request to resign. […] Mongol Bank President A.Batsukh submitted his resignation letter to Speaker of Parliament D.Demberel at the end of last month. He described his reason for resigning as a “lack of support by Parliament”. Daily newspapers reported that high-profile politicians pressured Batsukh to resign from his post. Mongolia's financial outlook was downgraded last month by international credit rating agencies from stable to negative, after their review of the nation's financial and banking sectors. […]. ^ top ^


Philipp Orga
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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