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
  24.8-28.8.2009, No. 283  
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Table of contents

H1N1 flu

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

China tells US to slow then stop surveillance (SCMP)
China called on the US to reduce and eventually halt air force and naval surveillance close to its shores, after a series of disputes this year. The request was made during a special session on maritime safety between the two countries' militaries on Wednesday and yesterday, Xinhua said, citing the Ministry of National Defence. Five times this year, Chinese vessels had confronted US surveillance ships in Asian waters, the US Department of Defence said in May. China said they had intruded on its territory. There has since been a sixth incident. "China believes the constant US military air and sea surveillance and survey operations in China's exclusive economic zone had led to military confrontations between the two sides," the ministry said. "The way to resolve China-US maritime incidents is for the US to change its surveillance-and-survey-operations policies against China, decrease and eventually stop." Susan Stevenson, spokeswoman at the US embassy in Beijing - confirmed the request. "Our position has not changed," Ms Stevenson said, citing a statement by US undersecretary of defence Michele Flournoy during a June visit to China that the US "exercises its freedom of navigation while putting emphasis on taking care to avoid any unwanted incidents". ^ top ^

Myanmar people flooding in China due to war (Xinhua)
Kunming - Myanmar residents are flooding in neighboring Yunnan Province in southwest China Thursday amid a domestic war, the provincial government said. The number of Myanmar people fleeding from Kokang area of Shan state in northeastern Myanmar to the bordering Chinese city of Lincang is still increasing by press time, according to sources from the foreign affairs office of the provincial government of Yunnan. Yunnan is helping them to settle down in designated areas with supply of life necessities and medical care as humanitarian assistance, in an effort to safeguard bilateral friendly relations and maintain stability in the border areas, the source said. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets with Slovenian leaders (Xinhua)
Ljubljana - Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu continued his official visit in Ljubljana on Thursday, meeting with Slovenian President Danilo Tuerk, Parliamentary Speaker Pavel Gantar and Foreign Minister Samuel Zbogar. During their meeting, Hui and Tuerk discussed Slovenia's potential as an important transit country in Europe for China, due to the former Yugoslav republic's geographical advantages and convenient transport routes, the president's office said in a statement. […] During his meeting with Gantar, Hui agreed that an important role in Sino-Slovenian relations is played by parliamentary cooperation, adding that China wants to share with Slovenia each other's experience in the area of governance and legislation.[…] The Chinese vice premier also met with Slovenian Foreign Minister Zbogar, who hosted a working lunch at the Brdo estate in northern suburban Ljubljana. Their discussion focused on climate change, as Hui is directly responsible for China's policy in this area. […]. ^ top ^

Japan and China ties rated high (China Daily)
An overwhelming majority of Chinese and Japanese people believe relations between their countries are "important", or even "more important than relations with the United States", according to a survey released yesterday. Almost six in 10 Japanese interviewed for the survey, which was jointly sponsored by China Daily and Genron NPO, said relations with Beijing were as important as those with Washington. Another quarter of interviewees said ties with China were even more important than those with the United States. […] Answers from both ordinary Japanese and intellectuals were basically consistent when it came to evaluating relations with Beijing. On the Chinese side, almost half of the intellectuals believed ties with Tokyo were more important than those with Washington. That number was higher than the quarter of ordinary urban citizens who felt the same way. Feng Zhaokui, former deputy head of the Institute of Japan Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said people in both countries rated ties between them highly for financial reasons. […] The latest survey shows Chinese and Japanese view each other slightly more positively than they did last year, though more than half of each nation still dislikes the other. […]. ^ top ^

China to extend anti-dumping measures on catechol from EU (Xinhua)
Beijing - China will continue to levy anti-dumping duties over the next five years on catechol, a chemical used for medicines and paints, from the European Union, said the Ministry of Commerce Tuesday. […] The ministry recommenced anti-dumping investigations against the product at the request of domestic catechol manufacturers, when the earlier decree expired on Aug. 26, 2008. Catechol dumping from the EU would damage China's catechol industry once the anti-dumping duties were canceled, the ministry said in a decision issued on Tuesday after the investigation. The rate of duties were not mentioned. ^ top ^

U.S. state of California plans energy-saving cooperation with Chinese provinces (Xinhua)
Mexico City - The U.S. state of California is planning to cooperate with some Chinese provinces in energy saving projects, a senior state government official said here on Monday. "We have been working with the United Nations Development Program to identify provinces in China which have similar industries to California," said Linda S. Adams, an official with California's Environment Protection Agency (CEPA), at a conference organized by the Mexican Environment Ministry. "We are working on energy saving protocols with those provinces." The three candidates on the Chinese side were the provinces of Jiangsu, Guangdong and Shandong, she noted. Both California and China have powerful steel and cement industries, which could benefit from the energy saving initiatives, said the official, adding that a detailed announcement on such cooperation will be made at a Sept. 30-Oct. 2 conference in Los Angeles. […]. ^ top ^

China, Singapore hold 6th joint council meeting for bilateral co-op (Xinhua)
Singapore - The 6th China-Singapore Joint Council Meeting for Bilateral Cooperation, co-chaired by visiting Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan and Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Wong Kan Seng, was held here on Monday. During the meeting, Wang Qishan spoke highly of the China-Singapore relations. He said that both countries have maintained frequent interflow of high-level visits, cooperations between the two countries have advanced in all-round way with good results. Against the backdrop of the international financial crisis, it is of great significance that China and Singapore actively explore new ways and areas of cooperation. […] Earlier Monday, Wang Qishan and Wong Kan Seng also co-chaired the 11th China-Singapore Joint Steering Council Meeting for the Suzhou Industrial Park and the 2nd China-Singapore Joint Steering Council Meeting for the Tianjin Eco-City. They also witnessed the signing of Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) related to educational cooperation and science and technology, and a Protocol to the tax treaty between the two countries. […]. ^ top ^

ADB assists China in financial planning for agriculture sector (Xinhua)
Manila - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is assisting China in reviewing government spending in the agriculture sector to further improve productivity and ensure food security. "The grant will enhance the ability of concerned government agencies in adopting effective public expenditure policies and plans for increasing agricultural production," said Tun Lin, natural resources economist of ADB's East Asia Department said in a news release on Friday. ADB will provide a 1-million-U.S. dollar grant from its Technical Assistance funding program and Climate Change Fund, while the balance of 120,000 U.S. dollars will come from Chinese government. The comprehensive review will test the central and local governments' agriculture spending in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and interagency coordination. Decision makers will then be provided with key policy recommendations and necessary resources to strengthen the agricultural sector. […]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Role of armed police clarified (SCMP)
The mainland's legislature yesterday adopted the first law on the country's armed police force, which reaffirms the central government's control over it and clarifies its duties. […] "The passing of the PAP Law will not only provide a clearer legal basis and legal protection for the PAP when they carry out their safety missions, but will also provide legal guidance for the PAP to rein in their behaviour when carrying out their missions," National People's Congress Standing Committee law-drafting-office director Wang Shangxin said yesterday. Commander of PAP Wu Shuangzhan was quoted by Xinhua as saying yesterday that the PAP had been deployed more frequently in recent years on missions to restore social stability. As it had to handle more and more difficult situations, the law was urgently needed. The new legislation of the PAP, originally administered under the country's Defence Law, will divide its roles into eight main categories, from the protection of key personnel and strategic facilities to the handling of riots, violent crimes, terrorist attacks and other threats to society. The new law spells out limits on an armed police officer's power, including that they must not illegally detain or search a citizen, and must carry identification when on duty. But, ultimately, it reaffirms the joint and paramount jurisdiction of the State Council and the Communist Party's Central Military Commission over the PAP. […]. ^ top ^

Defence Ministry denies troop levels will be halved (SCMP)
The Defence Ministry yesterday denied a widely circulated report that it would cut 700,000 soldiers in the next three years, but military insiders believe the reasoning behind the proposal is sound and could reflect the future of the armed forces. A report claiming the People's Liberation Army would start another massive round of disarmament after the 60th anniversary of the People's Republic on October 1 had been appearing online and via text messages recently, the Hong Kong-based China News Agency reported. The report claimed that up to 700,000 soldiers in the land forces would be cut, while the navy and air force would be increased by 120,000 each. The restructuring would be finished by 2012. […] The source of the speculation was unknown, but an unusually high-profile denial by the Defence Ministry shows that it has caught the attention of the authorities. The ministry denied the speculations. "All the discussions and conclusions [about military reform] being spread on the internet and mobile phones is untruthful," a report posted on its official website said. […] Retired PLA general Xu Guangyu said that despite the denial, the Defence Ministry acknowledged the need for further reductions in troop numbers. […]. ^ top ^

Legislature takes urgent action in climate change fight (China Daily)
China's top legislature yesterday approved a resolution on climate change - which was originally not on its work plan for the year - speeding up the country's effort to fight global warming.
The move was taken ahead of next month's UN climate summit, which is expected to provide high-level political impetus to the negotiating process for an international climate treaty. […] It said the country should "strengthen energy-saving and emission reduction", and "strive to control greenhouse gas emissions", while including such efforts in national development plans. The resolution, not originally listed for legislators' deliberation this year, was proposed by NPC deputies earlier this year, said Pu Haiqing, a deputy director of NPC's environment and resource protection committee.
"Fighting climate change has become an urgent task, with the country facing an increased frequency of extreme weather and climate disasters," Pu said. The proactive attitude of the country's parliament shows China is "strengthening and speeding up" its domestic efforts in combating climate change, He Jiankun, deputy head of the State Council's expert panel on Climate change policies, told China Daily yesterday.[…]. ^ top ^

Officials attempt to suppress 'human flesh search engines' (SCMP)
Authorities in Shenzhen plan to put an end to "human flesh search engines", a controversial collaborative search method by netizens that has left officials red-faced on a number of occasions. Public security officials said internet service providers and websites would be required to censor chat rooms and forums more stringently, and individual internet users would be suspended if they took part in human flesh searches, the Southern Metropolis News reported. […] Authorities in Shenzhen said the clampdown was aimed at protecting privacy and preventing slander. However, the new approach was criticised by the leader of a police internet team. The officer, named Qiao Zhi, told the paper existing laws and regulations were already enough to protect privacy. "Lawmaking is not an all-powerful way to stop illegal conduct, and the existing regulations are enough to fight crime," said Mr Qiao, who suggested authorities should balance the rights of free speech and privacy. […] Shenzhen is not the first place to stop the searches - Jiangsu, Xuzhou and the Ningxia autonomous region have already tried. […]. ^ top ^

Donation system expected to meet transplant shortfall (SCMP)
The Ministry of Health and the Red Cross Society of China will set up an organ-donation system in 10 provinces and cities to meet an immense shortfall for transplants and curb the practice of using organs from executed prisoners. In a rare admission about the controversial practice, Vice-Minister of Health Huang Jiefu told a national conference this week that most organs for transplants were harvested from executed prisoners and that illegal sales of organs were rampant. About a million people needed kidney transplants and 300,000 needed liver transplants on the mainland, but only 1 per cent of them received transplants each year, Mr Huang was quoted by the mainland magazine, Caijing, as telling the conference. The shortfall has given rise to a big illicit trade in organs. Although live organ donations are restricted to relatives of patients under mainland laws, some companies forged identity documents and sold living organs from "bogus relatives" to the recipients. […] Under the new system being planned, a commission jointly formed by the ministry and the Red Cross will promote organ donations by the dead and distribute them to hospitals. […]. ^ top ^

National unity drive focuses on students (SCMP)
The central government, apparently rattled by the mass rioting in Xinjiang, is launching an education campaign to promote national unity among students. A directive has been issued by the Communist Party's propaganda department to make studies in ethnic harmony compulsory for high school students sitting the national college entrance exams. The department is working with the Ministry of Education and the National Ethnic Affairs Commission. The move is part of a broader education campaign by the three agencies, which begins in the autumn and will focus on ethnic harmony. […] Beijing has long refused to acknowledge tensions in ethnically diverse regions such as Xinjiang, so this campaign to raise ethnic awareness among young people is seen by some as a step in the right direction. […]. ^ top ^

Uygur academic who disappeared for over a month says he was freed without charge (SCMP)
An outspoken Uygur economist who disappeared for more than a month after being accused of stirring up the mainland's worst ethnic violence in decades said yesterday that authorities had freed him without charge. Ilham Tohti, widely considered to be among the more moderate Uygur rights advocates on the mainland, said he was put under house arrest two days after ethnic riots between Muslim Uygurs and the dominant Han Chinese erupted in Urumqi on July 5. Nearly 200 people were killed in the violence. Professor Tohti, 39, was first held at a hotel on the outskirts of Beijing and later in his apartment. He was freed on Saturday. Police questioned him for up to 20 hours at a time, but did not otherwise mistreat him, he said. […] Professor Tohti's Chinese language website was criticised by Xinjiang governor Nur Bekri for allegedly helping to orchestrate the violence and spread propaganda. Professor Tohti said he did nothing wrong and added that he planned to continue to speak out about problems in Xinjiang, particularly policies that had disadvantaged and marginalised native Uygurs. […]. ^ top ^

Hu in first visit to Xinjiang since deadly rioting (SCMP)
President Hu Jintao has visited Xinjiang for the first time since the deadly riots in Urumqi early last month and claimed victory against the "three forces" of separatism, terrorism and extremism. […] In a speech at a general meeting yesterday morning attended by senior cadres, military and police, Mr Hu said the key to future stability was ensuring the development of the region's economy and improving living standards. He urged efforts by all to ensure stability, which he said was the "most urgent task" facing the region. The visit dominated the main nightly Network News programme on China Central Television, with around 20 minutes of the 30-minute broadcast dedicated to it. […] Mr Hu said improving people's livelihoods should be the starting point of Xinjiang's economic development. The president emphasised that no matter what difficulties or interruptions they faced, officials should make development their top priority. "The separatists don't have the people's hearts and will surely fail," Mr Hu said. "The victory of this struggle fully showed the power of the party and the people. The splittist forces are doomed to fail and their sabotage activities will not shake the overall situation of the stable development of the reform in Xinjiang." […] The majority of the people Mr Hu was pictured talking to were Uygurs, which prompted complaints from some Han netizens. […] The riots continue to have an impact on the region, with mobile phone and internet services still out of action. A number of websites were blocked nationwide after the riot. The social networking site Facebook and micro-blogging service Twitter remain blocked. […]. ^ top ^

Draft rules hope to raise transparency in hospitals (SCMP)
Beijing will require hospitals to disclose information on pricing, treatment plans and procedures for filing complaints in an attempt to reduce patient complaints and improve transparency. The Ministry of Health issued a draft document earlier this week listing information-disclosure requirements for medical institutes. The document mandates that hospitals tell patients about the quantity and charges for medicines, implants, disposable medical supplies and services for each treatment plan. […] Such requirements may standardise the information, but most hospitals already had price lists and usually informed patients beforehand as deposits were required. More importantly, public awareness of service quality at each hospital is a key to reducing disputes. […]. ^ top ^

Activist in rare release on bail (SCMP)
Leading legal activist Xu Zhiyong was granted bail yesterday - a rare event for human rights campaigners on the mainland. But the fate of the legal aid group that he co-founded remained uncertain. Mr Xu was detained on July 29 and formally arrested on August 13 for failing to pay taxes for the Open Constitution Initiative, or Gongmeng. Zhou Ze, one of Mr Xu's lawyers, said the granting of bail could mean that the court was less likely to send his client to jail as long as he could pay his fines, which now stand at 1.3 million yuan (HK$1.47 million). Greeted by friends and supporters after his release in Beijing - Mr Xu, 36, said that in the future he would be compassionate to people with different opinions, including those responsible for social injustice, and he might take a more low-profile approach to handling sensitive issues. […] Unlike most of the dissidents detained or sentenced on subversion charges in the central government's recent campaign to clamp down on activism and dissenting voices, Mr Xu, 36, was accused of failing to pay tax for the Open Constitution Initiative. […] Teng Biao, another co-founder of Gongmeng, said the group was scraping together enough money for the fines, and donations were flooding in. But Mr Teng said Mr Xu could still face prosecution if the government decided to press ahead with the charges. […]. ^ top ^

Millions in misused rural funds returned (SCMP)
The National Audit Office says 753 million yuan (HK$854 million) in agricultural funds misused by 10 provincial-level governments has been returned to its proper use. The audit office said in a statement on its website that in the past year the 10 governments - Henan, Gansu, Shanxi, Heilongjiang, Jiangsu, Hunan, Fujian and Shaanxi provinces, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Chongqing municipality - had looked into the misuse of the funds two years ago. Of 58 million yuan in agricultural funds used by governments to purchase vehicles or build houses, 41 million yuan had been returned to designated agricultural investment targets by the end of May, it said. […] The central government has long ordered regional governments to spend rural-designated money exclusively within the sector, a policy designed to protect the country's ability to feed its 1.3 billion people. However, low-level governments had not executed the policy well, the audit office found. ^ top ^

Party sacks ex-Supreme Court VP over corruption (Xinhua)
Beijing - Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- A former Chinese supreme court vice president was stripped of his membership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) for corruption, the CPC disciplinary watchdog said Friday. Huang Songyou, former vice president of the Supreme People's Court, was also dismissed from all his official positions, said a statement from the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI). According to the investigations, Huang was found misusing his power to seek profits for concerned people in return for a "huge amount" of bribes, accepting money as presents illegally and living a "corrupt" life, the statement said. […]. ^ top ^



Beijing to reactivate Olympic security plan for anniversary (SCMP)
Beijing authorities announced yesterday that they will reactivate the blanket security plan used for last year's Olympics in the run-up to the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1. Two systems of checkpoints will be set up - one on roads surrounding and leading to Beijing to check all vehicles and passengers heading for the city. The other system will be set up on the city's main internal roads, according to Xinhua. Uniformed and plain-clothes police will also monitor sensitive areas such as financial centres, scenic tourist spots, entertainment venues and shopping arcades. […] Xinhua said the tightened security was also aimed at preventing and cracking down on crime. One of the chief concerns, however, appears to be the possibility of terrorist attacks after the deadly riots in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang, last month which killed nearly 200 people and injured more than 1,600 others. […]. ^ top ^



Province plans huge health cover scheme (SCMP)
Guangdong will invest 42 billion yuan (HK$47.65 billion) to provide medical insurance to most of its population, the province's development and reform commission says. In a draft document released for public consultation, the province said it aimed to provide medical insurance schemes to cover 95 per cent of its urban residents not covered by employers' schemes, and 98 per cent of rural residents. It said the schemes also would cover retired people from bankrupt state enterprises, university students, vocational school students, private-sector employees and rural migrants holding steady jobs in cities. Guangdong has been leading the way in many medical reforms because of its relatively strong financial position. Experiments to scrap the surcharge on medical fees by hospitals have been carried out in Shenzhen, Shaoguan and Zhanjiang. The provincial government said it hoped to expand the experiments to more areas this year. The aim is to stop hospitals from relying on surcharges to cover operating losses. […]. ^ top ^



Beijing opposes trip to Taiwan by Dalai Lama (SCMP)
Beijing says it will "resolutely oppose" a visit by the Dalai Lama to Taiwan "in whatever form and capacity" and accused the island's main opposition party of stirring up trouble by inviting him. But the central government's reaction was mild in comparison with similar episodes in the past. A spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said: "The Dalai Lama is not a pure religious figure. Under the pretext of religion, he has all along been engaged in separatist activities." Beijing's reaction came hours after Taiwan's president, Ma Ying-jeou, agreed yesterday to let the Tibetan spiritual leader visit the island to comfort typhoon survivors. Seven mayors and county chiefs from the Democratic Progressive Party issued the invitation to the Dalai Lama on Wednesday. […] While the impact of the visit on cross-strait ties is uncertain, the person likely to emerge the biggest winner is the woman who engineered the move - Chen Chu, pro-independence mayor of the southern city of Kaohsiung. The DPP's tactic put Mr Ma in a difficult position. His government has been under fire for its slow response to Typhoon Morakot, which hit Taiwan on August 8 and has claimed more than 650 lives. […] Taiwan's Presidential Office declined to say whether Mr Ma would meet the Dalai Lama during his visit. […]. ^ top ^

Taiwan confirms 376 dead, 254 missing from typhoon (SCMP)
Taiwan's government on Tuesday confirmed that 376 people were killed while 254 were missing after Typhoon Morakot struck two weeks ago, bringing the worst flooding in the island's history. The latest figures included 238 confirmed deaths from the worst-hit southern village of Hsiaolin, where 186 others still remained accounted for, the National Fire Agency said. The toll could rise higher as the agency also listed around 60 bodies and/or body parts yet to be identified. […]. ^ top ^

Mainlanders to help put up relief housing (SCMP)
Three mainland engineers had arrived to help put up relief housing in Taiwan two weeks after Typhoon Morakot ravaged the island, leaving hundreds of people dead or missing, officials said yesterday. […] "Their arrival is expected to help speed up the construction of the prefabricated houses," government official Lee Ming-hsing said. The Taipei-based China Times described the three as "quasi-rescue personnel" on the first mission of its kind in 60 years. […] Mr Lee said the technicians would help local workers speed up the assembly of 1,000 prefabricated houses pledged by the mainland. The first 300 units have been shipped. […]. ^ top ^



After seven years, HK$340m Potala renovation work ends (SCMP)
Renovation work that took seven years has been completed at the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, home to the Dalai Lamas until the present spiritual leader fled during an aborted uprising against Beijing rule 50 years ago. Beijing officials say the project is part of its plan to promote Tibetan culture and language in the region as it develops its economy, of which tourism is a key. […] More than 189,000 workers were involved in the restoration work, and the government also spent 94.7 million yuan repairing the Sagya Monastery, which houses classical Buddhist texts, Xinhua said. […] Xinhua quoted a former director of the Potala's administration office as saying the palace could now accommodate 1,000 visitors a day. The renovations are part of a 570 million yuan plan to promote tourism to Tibet, a mainstay of the region's economy, and include repairs to 22 sites. […]. ^ top ^



Key to reform China's financial system (China Daily)
Beijing - China has an underdeveloped banking system with relatively low-quality service, but the system might be blamed most for its lack of small- and medium-sized banks (SMBs) and regional capital markets. Even during the ongoing global financial crisis, the Chinese State-owned banks have recorded excellent performance. But their mighty power to make huge profits is due to their monopoly roles and lack of competition from the SMBs. […] If SMBs come into being, they will be more inclined to offer loans to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which will help ease the latter's long-time financial difficulties. […] Now it's urgent that China initiate a momentous structural adjustment to balance the economy. The government should not miss this precious opportunity to improve our banking system as it did in the 1990s. ^ top ^

China moves to address overcapacity in emerging sectors like wind power (Xinhua)
Beijing - China's State Council, the Cabinet, warned Wednesday of overcapacity in emerging sectors such as wind power, saying the country would move to "guide" development troubled by overcapacity and redundant projects. Overcapacity has persisted in the steel and cement sectors, while redundant projects have surfaced in the emerging sectors of wind power and polysilicon, said a statement issued after an executive meeting of the State Council, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. "Overcapacity and redundant projects remain prominent because of slow progress in industrial restructuring in some of these sectors," the statement said. "Guidance" would be particularly enhanced on the development of steel, cement, plate glass, coal chemical, poly silicon, and wind power sectors, it said. The guidance would include strict controls on market access, reinforced environmental supervision, and tougher controls over land use. Banks were ordered to lend money for these sectors in strict accordance with present industrial policies. […]. ^ top ^

Exports narrowly edge past Germany's for 1st time (China Daily)
China's rise as the world largest exporter, though significant, does not mean Chinese exports will be of as high a quality as Germany's goods, experts said. The Chinese government should seriously consider ways to improve the quality of goods for export and create more value-added products to strengthen its competitiveness, they said. For the first time, China took the lead as the world's export champion, surpassing Germany by a minimal amount in the first half of the year. A report released Tuesday by the World Trade Organization (WTO) shows that from January to June, China exported goods worth US$521.7 billion. Germany, which has been the world's biggest exporter since 2003, exported goods worth US$521.6 billion. Despite the fact that Chinese exports have declined for nine months, "China's economic power is still rising, and excluding the exchange rate factor, China is expected to surpass Japan as the second-largest economy this year," said Cai Haitao, inspector of the Department of Policy Research under the Ministry of Commerce.[…]. ^ top ^

No vacancies on horizon for 12 mln job seekers in China (China Daily)
Beijing - […] Yin Weimin, minister of human resources and social security, said China will be able to provide openings for about half of its 24 million job hunters, if it meets the growth target for 2009. "The shortfall between supply and demand (in employment) will become larger than last year due to the failure to create enough job opportunities," he said in a report carried in People's Daily. […] Yin noted that China had hoped the service industry would play a larger role in creating employment, but that has not happened. According to ministry statistics, 6.6 million people in urban areas found jobs between January and July, some 74 percent of the target of 9 million jobs during the period. […] The ministry hopes to keep the urban unemployment rate below 4.6 percent this year, which, while better than many other countries around the world, would still be the highest since 1980. Cui Chuanyi, a researcher with the Development Research Center of the State Council, told China Daily on Friday that the global economic downturn will bring more employment challenges in the second half of the year. "The employment market will face a bigger crush in the third quarter with the return flow of migrant workers," he said. "About 90 percent of unemployed migrant workers, who went back to their rural hometowns, could not find jobs and they will choose to return to the big cities again in the coming few months," he said. […]. ^ top ^


H1N1 flu

Flu fear spooks Taiwan, but HK sanguine (SCMP)
As many as 10,000 people could die from swine flu in Taiwan and one in three islanders could catch it during the winter peak flu season, two former senior health officials have warned - triggering a fall in the island's stock prices and calls for President Ma Ying-jeou to hold an urgent national security conference. In contrast, researchers in Hong Kong, where the number of infections topped 10,000 yesterday, estimated that at best, only around one sixth of one per cent of people - some 11,000 - would be ill with swine flu in January and February; they made no predictions about deaths. They based their findings on evidence from Australasia, where doctors have been surprised by how mild most infections have been - but also by how gravely ill some of those severely affected have been. With Hong Kong yet to obtain supplies of swine flu vaccine (the government estimates it needs two million shots alone for people at high risk), a study meanwhile showed that many members of one high-risk group - health workers - will shun swine flu jabs. […] The death predictions by the two ex-officials caused jitters in Taiwan, where the number of cases is close to 40,000 and five sufferers have died; another 47 are in serious condition. The forecast was cited as a major reason for a 1.32 per cent fall in Taiwan's stock index. […]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

Pyongyang invites Obama's envoys to talks after earlier snubs (SCMP)
North Korea has invited envoys of US President Barack Obama to visit the country for the first such talks under his presidency, the South Korean media has reported. According to reports yesterday from the official Yonhap news agency and in Seoul's JoongAng daily, North Korea offered the invitation to Stephen Bosworth, special envoy to North Korea, and Sung Kim, the US point man for six-nation nuclear talks that also include South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. JoongAng, citing an unidentified high-level diplomatic source in Washington, said that the US had already accepted the invitation and the meeting could take place next month. Yonhap said the invitation was still being considered by the Americans. […] Mr Bosworth's team would probably visit South Korea, China and Japan in early September and then head to Pyongyang, the paper quoted a source as saying. Such an itinerary would preserve Washington's principle that it is willing to hold bilateral talks with Pyongyang but only within the six-nation framework. […]. ^ top ^

Seoul, US, stand firm on nuclear demand (SCMP)
South Korea and the United States will not be swayed by North Korea's peace overtures until it shows willingness to give up its nuclear weapons, Seoul's foreign ministry said yesterday after visiting senior North Korean officials met President Lee Myung-bak in a conciliatory gesture after months of sabre-rattling. "Both countries have agreed that the South Korea-US response would remain unchanged unless there is a fundamental change to North Korea's attitude towards denuclearisation," ministry spokesman Moon Tae-young said. Seoul officials earlier held talks with the US special envoy on North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, and the US diplomat tasked with enforcing UN sanctions, Philip Goldberg. […] "Right now we are concentrating on implementation and full implementation of the [sanctions] resolution. So you can expect that we will continue with those efforts," Mr Goldberg said. […]. ^ top ^

Warm words a fitting farewell for Kim (SCMP)
The two Koreas held their first top-level talks in 18 months yesterday as the South laid to rest former president Kim Dae-jung, whose efforts to reconcile the divided peninsula won him the Nobel Peace Prize. North Korean envoys delivered a message from their leader Kim Jong-il when they met South Korea's president yesterday, raising hopes of an end to tensions that had sparked fears of military clashes. Although details of the verbal message were not disclosed, both sides expressed hopes for closer ties after more than a year of deep hostility from Pyongyang. […] The South's Yonhap news agency quoted a senior presidential Blue House official as saying the meeting was a new beginning but "it's too early to expect a thaw in inter-Korean relations". […]. ^ top ^



President Medvedev's two day visit to Mongolia (Mongol Messenger)
On August 25-26, the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev came to Mongolia on a State visit. During the Russian President's State visit, five documents were signed by the sides, including Declaration on strategic partnership between Mongolia and Russian Federation, Agreement on establishment Dornod Uranium company and Memorandum on cooperation between the railway agencies of the two countries. President Medvedev noted that the visit would raise bilateral relations and cooperation to new levels. ^ top ^

Way cleared for signing Oyutolgoi agreement (
The special session of Parliament did what it was widely expected to do, and also did it faster at the end. Around 8 on Tuesday evening Parliament approved the last of the four amendments the Government had proposed to facilitate an agreement with the investors in the Oyutolgoi project. […] As shares in Vancouver-based Ivanhoe leapt a whopping 24% in Toronto on receipt of the news, Rio and Ivanhoe both said they now expect to formally sign the agreement with the Government of Mongolia “in the near future”. Mongolian sources say the agreement must be signed within two weeks from August 25. […] At the moment, production is targeted for as early as 2013, with a five-year ramp up to full output, Rio said on Tuesday. The mine is expected to produce an average of 450 000 t/y of copper and 330 000 oz of gold, over a 35-year life. ^ top ^

"Darkhan-2" Joint military exercise begins (Montsame)
The "Darkhan-2" Mongolia-Russian Armed Forces' joint field exercise and training of peacekeeping operation began on Sunday in a military unit of the Armed Forces. In frames of the Development Program for the Armed Forces until 2015, the joint exercise is co-organized by the Armed Forces of the two countries with aims to improve technical readiness of military units of the Mongolia's Armed Forces for taking part in the UN peacekeeping operations and enhancing professional skills and practices of servicemen and officers. his year's exercise is being attended by more than 400 servicemen of Mongolia's side, and 84 units of arms and techniques and 232 engineering and technical servicemen with special battalions of repair from Russia's side. […] Furthermore, the Russia's side will make a USD 7 million worth investment dedicated to the renovation of Mongolia's army equipment. ^ top ^


Evelyne Freiermuth
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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