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
  26-30.7.2010, No. 330  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

Is US ready to recognize China as world power? (People's Daily Online)
The U.S. government has repeatedly made it clear that it would welcome China's entrance into the world arena as a power. However, a series of issues since the beginning of this year, particularly Washington's stance on the U.S.-South Korean joint military exercises and the South China Sea issue, have made the world think: Is the United States ready to recognize China as a power on the world stage? […] If Washington cannot find a way to recognize and accept China's peaceful rise onto the world stage, bilateral ties will be like a roller coaster full of ups and downs. However, no one would like to see the negative effects rocky relations would bring to China, the United States and possibly to the world as a whole. […] The Obama administration released positive signals in its relations with China, which have been interpreted as the United States showing its intention to change the traditional strategy of engagement and containment. […] Issues such as arms sales to Taiwan, Google censorship, RMB exchange rates as well as finger-pointing about economic responsibility show Washington still seems confused and inpatient about relations with China. The relationship between China and the United States is the most important and complicated bilateral relationship in the world this century. The development of Sino-U.S. relations will affect world peace and stability, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. Ian Bremmer, an American political scientist specializing in U.S. foreign policy, said, "America and China will have more than ever to gain from closer political and commercial ties, and must take steps to avoid a Cold War, or worse." In that circumstance, the United States needs both wisdom and determination to recognize and accept China, a country that is totally different from its own, as a power on the world stage. ^ top ^

Show of force in PLA South China Sea drill (SCMP)
Crack warships from the PLA's three naval fleets jointly exercised in the disputed South China Sea in a move that was hailed by the state media as unprecedented. The drills by the People's Liberation Army Navy in strategic waters on Monday come at a sensitive time; the United States and South Korea are conducting their own joint military drills off the Korean Peninsula. The US further angered Beijing last week by declaring that the resolution of disputes in the South China Sea is in the US' "national interest". The Ministry of Defence and state media did not mention the purpose of Monday's exercises. […] Gary Li, a PLA analyst at the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies, said the televised display of so many missile tests was highly unusual. "It looks like [China] was clearly sending a message," he said. "I have never seen a senior Central Military Commission member actually participating in naval exercises, along with so many high-level officers,” […] he said. The news was only reported yesterday by China Central Television and the Ministry of Defence on its website. PLA Chief of General Staff Chen Bingde and naval commander Wu Shengli - both members of the Central Military Commission - supervised the exercises. […] Xu Guangyu, a senior researcher of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said the three fleets regularly carry out [separate] exercises to mark the PLA's founding anniversary. "But of course, this time there is a strategic necessity to bring all three together for such a big joint mission," he said. […] "We must pay close attention to changes in [regional] situations and the development of our mission; prepare ourselves for military struggle," Chen was quoted by the state media as saying. […] Analysts are divided on the exact motive for the latest exercise but agreed that it was a show of defiance against US dominance in Asia. […] "It is a very strong message... showing they can project force across a wide range of platforms in a very comprehensive and adaptable way," he said. […] China's rapid growing military clout has raised concerns in the region, particularly among nations that have unsolved territorial disputes with Beijing. A senior Vietnamese military official warned on Wednesday against an arms race in the South China Sea, noting a growing naval presence from a range of nations, including China. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese DM stresses China-Japan people-to-people friendship (Global Times)
Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie on Thursday stressed the importance of people-to-people friendship between China and Japan. Liang made the remarks in a meeting with a delegation of Japanese veterans who once fought along with Chinese soldiers during China's War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the War of Liberation. Liang expressed his thanks for the Japanese veterans for their contribution to China's national liberation as well as their efforts for friendship between the two countries. China-Japan relations have made unprecedented development since the normalization of bilateral ties 38 years ago, said Liang, urging the two countries to learn from history and open a new path for future friendly cooperation. The development of China-Japan friendship must depend on the peoples of the two countries, said Liang, adding that the two countries should jointly pursue peaceful coexistence, generation-to-generation friendship, reciprocal cooperation and common development. Members of the Japanese delegation described their participation in the wars as precious experience, saying they would continue to push forward Japan-China friendship. The 36-member delegation arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for a 10-day visit to China as guest of the China Association for International Friendly Contact, a non-governmental organization in China. ^ top ^

War of words heats up with US over South China Sea disputes (SCMP)
Anger over Washington's renewed expression of a "national interest" in territorial disputes in the South China Sea is gathering momentum in Beijing, with the military's mouthpiece and army think tanks joining the chorus of opposition yesterday. In a signed commentary, the People's Liberation Army Daily - an organ of the Central Military Commission - warned that Washington's involvement in regional territorial disputes was ill-intended. Under the headline "Be alert to outside forces' involvement in issues of the South China Sea", the commentary urged Asian nations to be aware of traditional superpower tactics designed to maintain dominance in a disputed region. Superpowers often adopted the strategy of "divide and rule", stirring up tensions, disputes and even conflicts before stepping in as a "mediator" or a "judge" in a bid to maximise their own interests, it said, citing British colonialism in the 19th century. "Outside forces' involvement will only complicate the South China Sea issue and add difficulty to its solution," it said. The commentary, written by a Xinhua journalist, was published by the army paper and posted on the official website of the Ministry of National Defence yesterday. […] In the South China Sea, China and Vietnam each claim the Spratly and Paracel archipelagos in their entirety, while the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the Spratlys. Claims by Taipei mirror Beijing's. Potentially rich in oil and gas, both island groups straddle vital sea lanes linking Asia to Europe, the Middle East and Africa. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese FM stresses mutual trust in Sino-EU relations (Global Times)
Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Sunday mutual trust, support and enhanced cooperation is needed in the development of Sino-EU relations. Yang made the remark during talks with his Austrian counterpart Michael Spindelegger, during which they exchanged views on Sino- European relations. […] China and Europe are major players in promoting world peace and development, Yang noted. Yang pointed out China and Europe are currently each in their own vital phase of development. With the international situation going through profound changes and ever-growing global challenges of various sorts, China and Europe need mutual trust, support and strengthened cooperation, Yang added. He said China attaches great importance to the development of comprehensive strategic partnership with EU and is willing to make joint efforts with EU in three aspects in order to improve the partnership. Firstly, keep up high-level visits and communications, strengthening mutual political trust. Secondly, strengthen parliamentary, party and people-to-people communications, consolidating public opinion and social foundations in the development of Sino-Eu relations. Thirdly, comprehensively push forward pragmatic cooperation, especially in areas of trade, high and new technology, green economy, standing together against trade protectionism, so as to achieve mutually beneficial and win-win situation. Yang also noted that the 13th meeting between Chinese and EU leaders, planned by both sides, and due to be held in October, is an important opportunity to define future Sino-EU relations. China would like to strengthen communication with EU, so the meeting could achieve positive results. Spindelegger said Austria was willing to play an active part in enhancing the development of Sino-EU relations. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China rejects Western standards on human rights, Vice FM says (Xinhua)
China is gradually learning and absorbing ideas on human rights that can grow on its soil, and remains opposed to attempts by the West to impose its standards on China, says Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying. In a recent interview with the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Fu said it seems "controversial and illogical" that Western countries acknowledge China's economic success and contributions to efforts against the global financial crisis, while "definitely" turning a blind eye to China's political progress. It seems as if the West wants to say that China has achieved all these without the leadership of the government and the Communist Party, maybe in total anarchy, Fu said. […] "I really don't hear much mentioning of China' s human rights progress," she said. Yet, those political extremists seem to be presenting the whole picture of China's human rights for European countries, she said. Fu believes that to know the real China, it's not enough to "single out things you are interested in, or only listen to people who talk your talk." The most important is to look at the benefits of the majority of the people, she said. "If you think your model is the best, and you use them as the ultimate measure of China, you'll find China does not fit," she said, "If the West insists on judging China by its Western standards, expecting China to become a Western-style country, it will always stay misguided." "Yet, look around at countries that have adopted your system, how successful they are? Which one is doing as well as you are? Have they approached your GDP?" she said, "Maybe it (the Western system) works somewhere, but not necessarily everywhere." China, with all its success, deserves respect and calm review about itself, Fu said. China is not rejecting any idea of human rights, Fu said. China is learning gradually and absorbing ideas that can be planted and grown and prosper on China's soil. However, China rejects the ideas imposed on it, the vice minister said. As for western countries' reports on China, Fu said some of those were tinged with jealousy. […]. ^ top ^

Nation's 10-year education plan unveiled (People's Daily Online)
[…] "The strategic goals to be attained by 2020 are to basically modernize education; shape a learning society; and turn China into a country rich in human resources," says the document, which comprises 22 chapters and 27,000 words. It says that preschool education should be basically universal by 2020, and the nine-year compulsory education policy should be consolidated. The enrolment rate for senior middle school should be 90 percent of those of school age, while the enrolment rate for higher education should be 40 percent of high school graduates. It also sets the goal of eliminating illiteracy among young and middle-aged people by the end of the decade. The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the State Council have issued a notice requiring local Party committees and governments to carefully implement the national education outline. The outline vows to spare no efforts to "run every school well and bring quality education to every student. No child shall be allowed to drop out due to family financial difficulties." […] The outline says issues about providing equal compulsory education opportunities for children of migrant workers in cities shall be addressed. It also says that by 2020, the quality of compulsory education shall be balanced in all regions, ensuring school-aged children and adolescents have equal access to quality compulsory education. In a bid to lessen assignment burdens on primary and secondary school students, the outline requires the establishment of an assignment burden monitoring and reporting mechanism. ^ top ^

Chemical explosion kills 10, hurts 120 (SCMP)
At least 10 people were killed and around 120 injured yesterday by a powerful blast at an abandoned chemical factory in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Xinhua reported. The explosion happened at 10.15am at the Nanjing No 4 Plastics Factory in the northern part of the city near a densely populated area. […] Most buildings within a 100-metre radius, especially one-storey houses, were almost flattened by the blast, according to China National Radio. […] Several buses passing through the area were hit by the blast, leaving many passengers injured, according to witnesses and Xinhua. […] Thousands of residents living close to the factory were evacuated. An initial investigation said the blast had been caused by a gas leak from an underground pipeline that went through the plant, according to a Nanjing government press release issued early yesterday afternoon. Although authorities kept quiet about the cause of the blast, state radio said the leak was probably caused by dozens of workers who were demolishing old buildings in the deserted factory when the blast hit. CCTV provided another version. Quoting investigators, it said the pipeline, carrying the highly explosive and inflammable propylene, had leaked and was actually ignited by a private car. […] Many residents were angry with the authorities, saying the blast could have been avoided. "We had a serious leak just a few weeks ago that caused panic. We were told the problem had been fixed, but apparently they lied," said a resident who refused to be named. Their accusation was confirmed by the Nanjing-based Jinling Evening News, which reported on a propylene leakage in late May. A chemical expert was quoted by the newspaper as saying back then that an explosion caused by propylene leaks would be catastrophic. Air pollution caused by such an explosion would be harmful to people's health, he added. ^ top ^

Toxic chemical leak in northeast sparks panic (SCMP)
Panic swept the city of Jilin in the northeast yesterday after toxic chemicals leaked into the Songhua River from a chemical factory warehouse toppled by floodwaters. Residents scrambled for bottled water as supplies to parts of the city of 4.3 million people were cut off. More than 1,000 barrels, containing at least 160 tonnes of liquid chlorotrimethylsilane, were washed down the flood-swollen river. The Jilin provincial government said chlorotrimethylsilane was highly toxic and could burn the skin and irritate the lungs. When mixed with water the chemical reacts violently to produce hydrochloric acid, which in concentrated form can burn the lungs, skin and eyes. A witness said he had seen countless smoking blue barrels floating on the river. "The river flow was fast, but it still took about three hours to see all the barrels pass by," he said. "All the onlookers on the river bank gagged at the strong, pungent smell. I still have a headache even though I left the scene four hours ago." The incident will revive memories of a massive leak of benzene into the Songhua five years ago which forced the suspension of water supplies to millions downstream and caused friction with Russia since the river flows into the Heilong, or Amur, river that marks the countries' border. Local media outlets were ordered not to report yesterday's leak until Xinhua released the official version of events, and Jilin city publicity office spokesman Zhang Ke denied last night that the river's water had been contaminated. "Our water supply was only cut off in part of our city," Zhang said. "It was not caused by any water contamination, but by maintenance work and a regular check-up after the flooding reports." Xinhua said the barrels were washed out of the warehouse at the Xin Ya Qiang Chemical Plant, in the city's Yongji county, when it was destroyed by floods. It said emergency workers were trying to recover the containers, and had so far picked up 350. Environmental protection authorities were closely monitoring water quality, it said. […]. ^ top ^

Sichuan landslide leaves 21 missing (SCMP)
[…] Rescuers searched for 21 people missing after a landslide in Hanyuan county in Sichuan province yesterday, Xinhua news agency reported. Rocks and mud buried 58 homes, and about 4,000 villagers were evacuated. […] Floods this year had killed at least 823 people, left 437 missing and caused tens of billions of yuan in damage, the State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters said. Two dozen major rivers had risen beyond their warning levels, with workers scrambling to sandbag the banks along the Yellow, Jialing, Han, Huai and Yangtze rivers to prevent further flooding, the report said. Water levels along the middle reaches of the Huai River were 1.5 metres above its warning level in the provinces of Anhui and Henan. Three-quarters of mainland provinces had been plagued by flooding, and 25 rivers had seen record-high water levels, the flood prevention agency said. The overall damage totalled 154.1 billion yuan (HK$176.3 billion). Flooding this year had overwhelmed reservoirs, swamped towns and cities, and caused landslides that smothered communities and toppled 680,000 houses, Xinhua said. […]. ^ top ^

Crimes that carry death penalty to be cut (SCMP)
Beijing aims to cut back the number of crimes that carry the death penalty, and may also end executions of convicted criminals over 70 years old, the official China Daily reported. A draft revision of the country's Criminal Law, which would limit use of capital punishment, will be submitted to the standing committee of Beijing's rubber-stamp parliament in late August, the paper reported at the weekend, citing a source from the legislature. The change would be the first reduction in the number of crimes carrying the death penalty since the law was enacted in 1979, the Southern Weekend paper said in an earlier report on the potential change. Rights groups regularly criticise China for its high execution rate, secrecy about its use of the punishment, and range of crimes which carry the death penalty. Amnesty International said in a report issued in March that it estimates thousands of people were executed last year, more than the rest of the world combined. Capital punishment currently applies to 68 offences, of which 44 are not violent, the newspaper said. […] The lack of applicable guidelines means there is unfair variation in sentencing, the paper quoted a constitutional studies expert at Shanghai's Jiaotong University as saying. "Someone could be sentenced to death for an amount that is far less than in a case where the suspect is sentenced to life in prison," Tong Zhiwei said. […] The rules also call for courts to offer reprieves where allowed by law. When Chinese courts mete out death sentences with a reprieve, they are usually commuted later to life in jail. These account for around 10 per cent of all death sentences handed down, the China Daily said. But execution for white collar crimes is unlikely to end. "It is not practical to abolish execution for all 44, as corruption is widely seen in China and brings severe social impact", said Liu Renwen, a researcher at the institute of law under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. "A limit should be set," he told the paper. […]. ^ top ^

More heavy rain forecast for flood-hit areas (SCMP)
Weather authorities have warned of more heavy rain in some of the areas worst hit by floods that have so far left at least 1,100 people dead or missing. […] Premier Wen Jiabao warned on Saturday that the situation was at a "crucial stage", adding there could be worse to come as he toured the flood-hit central province of Hubei, wading knee-deep in Yangtze floodwaters. […] In one town of Sichuan, for example, rain fell continually for 10 hours, triggering floods that swamped all single-storey houses. Roads leading into the town were cut off, as were power supplies and communications. […] Water levels in the Three Gorges Dam dropped more than 15cm overnight and were about 16.8 metres from maximum capacity of 175 metres as of 8am yesterday, said an official at Hubei's flood prevention headquarters. The mainland has for years promoted the Three Gorges Dam as the best way to end centuries of floods in the Yangtze basin and has dismissed complaints about the environmental impact of the US$23 billion reservoir that displaced more than 1.4 million people. Wen said the dam had played an important role in flood prevention along the Yangtze. […]. ^ top ^



Guangdong puts in a bid to host World Expo in 2020 (SCMP)
[…] Speaking at the World Expo on Tuesday in Shanghai, Chen Wenjie, head of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, Guangdong sub-council, told reporters they had tendered an official application to the provincial government to host the World Exposition, the Guangzhou Daily reported. […] He said it had also expressed interest to Jean-Pierre Lafon, president of the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). "Guangdong is a vibrant and fast-developing province, and I believe Guangdong is fully capable of organising the World Expo," the newspaper quoted Lafon as saying. The New Express reported that Guangdong had been waiting for an official endorsement from the provincial government so that it could proceed. Subject to the evaluation of the BIE, the entire process from applying to hosting an expo could take up to 10 years. The paper also reported that Guangdong might have to wait until 2025, as a host country needed to wait 15 years for its next turn to host. Local scholars are fully backing Guangdong's bid. Dr Peng Peng, a researcher at the Guangzhou Academy of Social Sciences, said the province was more than qualified to host the event. "My guess is that the expo might be centrally based in Guangzhou and co-organised by a few neighbouring cities. Being the richest province in China, Guangdong should be able to attract keen international participation," Peng said. ^ top ^

Guangdong reshuffle (SCMP)
Guangdong appointed a veteran Guangdong-native official as its new deputy governor yesterday as part of the biggest provincial leadership reshuffle in a decade. Liu Kun, the top party official in the provincial government's finance department, was appointed one of the province's eight deputy governors by the Standing Committee of the Guangdong People's Congress. Former deputy governor Wan Qingliang, 46, was appointed Guangzhou's new mayor on April 16 after former mayor Zhang Guangning, 57, was promoted to become the provincial capital's party secretary on April 9. On the same day, Wang Rong, the 52-year-old acting mayor of Shenzhen who is also a former mayor of Suzhou, was named Shenzhen's party head. Liu, 54, has worked his way up the party hierarchy in Guangdong. He worked at the provincial general office between 1982 and 2001 and had been the party chief at the finance department since 2002. ^ top ^



Tibet reports strong half year GDP, trade growth (Global Times)
China's Tibet Autonomous Region reported rapidly growing economy and trade during the first half of 2010, regional authorities said Monday. With local GDP growing by 11.2 percent year on year to reach 20.32 billion yuan (about $3 billion), Tibet's economy has been restored to the level before March 2008 when unrest disrupted social and economic development, said Padma Choling, chairman of the regional government. Tibet had fiscal revenues of 1.718 billion yuan in the first six months of the year, up 36.16 percent from the same period last year. Its income from taxes also increased by 53 percent year on year to 2.1 billion yuan. The region's department of commerce reported an increase in trade of more than 60 percent in the first half of 2010. The trade volume of Tibet in the first six months reached $330.96 million, up 60.41 percent from the same period last year, with a surplus of $238.06 million, according to a statement by the department. Manufactured goods including traditional medicines accounted for 89 percent of the region' s exports, while primary goods accounted for 11 percent. Mechanical and electronical products such as excavators accounted for 90 percent of imports into Tibet, the department said. ^ top ^

Beijing chokes flow of Tibetan exiles (SCMP)
The Tibetan community in exile headed by the Dalai Lama is a constant irritant for China, but Beijing has hit upon a way to weaken the movement: starve it of new arrivals. […] "Up until March 2008, we used to have about 2,500 to 3,000 people arriving here per year," Mingyur Youdon, the deputy director of the reception centre in McLeodganj, the uppermost part of Dharamshala, said. "Since February 2008, we've received only about 1,000." Her building is the sorting centre for new arrivals where they are offered beds, food, financial help, information on schooling if necessary, and, most importantly for some, an audience with the Dalai Lama. […] In March 2008, the date when arrivals in Dharamshala began falling, the capital of Tibet was convulsed by a wave of violent protests against Chinese rule that left an unknown number of people dead and injured. […] After the violence, […] Beijing increased border controls and has also leaned heavily on Nepal, the tiny republic wedged between Tibet and India, to arrest anyone fleeing the region. […] "The most important reason for the restrictions is to prevent information going out to the outside world regarding the oppression going on in Tibet," a spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile, Thubten Samphel, said. In the male dormitory of the reception centre, where only a quarter of the 70 beds are full, a group of monks and other recent escapees mill around, wary to speak to a reporter for fear of reprisals back home. Those willing to talk explain how the price to be guided over the border has tripled: before March 2008, it cost 5,000 yuan (HK$5,720) to 6,000 yuan but the increased risk has pushed it to 15,000 yuan and more. […] On the other side of McLeodganj in a steep valley sits the sprawling Tibetan school, where about 2,000 children of all ages study on a campus where basketball is taught alongside traditional Tibetan opera. Despite the evidence of American sport here, the curriculum is designed to instil a sense of nationhood in young Tibetans, with emphasis placed on their long cultural history and unique language. […] School director, Phuntsok Namgyal, estimates that only 250 children have enrolled in the school in the past 18 months, an ominous sign for a movement determined to protect Tibetan culture and fight for Tibetan independence or autonomy under Chinese rule. The pioneers who came in 1959 and built the community are well past retirement age and, like the Dalai Lama, will one day be gone. "It's a serious concern for all of us," he says. ^ top ^



3 Uygurs sent to jail (SCMP)
A mainland court has jailed the webmasters of three Uygur-language internet sites who were detained following deadly ethnic unrest in Xinjiang last year, Radio Free Asia (RFA) said yesterday. The men, members of Xinjiang's mainly Muslim Uygur ethnic minority, were jailed for terms ranging from three to 10 years on charges of "endangering national security", RFA said, quoting the brother of one of them. Uygur journalist Gheyret Niyaz was sentenced last week to 15 years in jail on similar charges. RFA identified the three men sentenced as Dilshat Perhat and Nureli and Nijat Azat, citing Perhat's brother Dilmurat Perhat, who lives in Britain. He said his brother had received five years in prison, while Nureli and Nijat Azat received three years and 10 years, respectively. The trio were sentenced during closed trials last week in Xinjiang's capital Urumqi, the report said. ^ top ^

The vanishing slums of Urumqi (Global Times)
[…] The slum in the Tianshan district of Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, is home to about 34,000 people, mostly Uyghur. It is on the official map of shantytowns that will be razed under the city government's plan to relocate more than 200,000 people. […] Amina Dawuti, 37, a Uyghur woman, has been living here with her husband and two sons for 10 years, along with nine relatives, in a 600-square-meter dwelling that has no gas, running water or heating. […] "Honestly, moving into a decent house is a good idea, yet we are negotiating for a better price," she told the Global Times. […] The city government has allocated 300 billion yuan ($ 44 billion) to relocate 200,000 people from 234 slums across the city within five years. The plan calls for demolishing 60,000 houses, 30 percent of which are ethnic minority homes. A total of 6,148 households have been relocated during the first six months, according to Urumqi's slum transformation office. Relocation projects have always been a headache for local authorities. But in Urumqi, the headache is even stronger. Xie Min, deputy director of the slum transformation office, is frowning at foreign media reports of the government razing Uyghur homes. In a typical foreign report, Radio Free Asia says that the "Chinese government is clearing away a Uyghur neighborhood of the city in the name of urban regeneration." "The real aim is to take away a place where Uyghurs can live," the report continues. Xie shakes his head in exasperation. In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, Xie admitted that most of the rioters of July 5 last year were living in slums or shanty downs in Heijiashan, a place he described as "a hotbed of poverty and crime." However, he said the relocation project is an urban construction problem, not an ethnic problem. "The relocation is harder in Urumqi than in other cities because this is a multi-ethnic city with a huge floating population," Xie said. The dilapidated brick hovels in central Urumqi have been in existence for several decades. The oldest house dates back to the 1930s. All the brick bungalows are vulnerable to earthquakes, according to the Xinhua News Agency. […]. ^ top ^



China leads emerging markets in investment opportunities (People's Daily Online)
China's investment opportunity index ranks first among 27 emerging economies, according to a report released by Grant Thornton LLP, a well-known accounting firm. The report said that the index took important indicators, such as economic scale, wealth, participation in global trade, development potential and the level of human development, into consideration. China received a total of 454 points based on these indicators, more than double those granted to second place India's 222 points. India, Russia and Brazil rank second, third and fifth, respectively, according to the report, titled the "2010 Opportunity Index of Emerging Markets." "As China has a huge consumer market with an increasingly open economy, there are a lot of investment opportunities in China. Although China is an emerging market and Chinese enterprises are restricted by factors such as high financing costs and labor force, Chinese enterprises are optimistic toward the future, which shows the investment potential of its market," said Xia Zhidong, vice president and partner of Grant Thornton. ^ top ^

Central gov't aims to tackle overcapacity in steel industry (People's Daily Online)
China should combine its goal of fixing the problem of overcapacity in the steel industry with efforts to restructure industries, improve energy conservation and reduce emissions, said Yao Jingyuan, chief economist at the country's National Bureau of Statistics, during a recent interview with People's Daily. The State Council announced in June 2010 that accelerating industrial restructuring, enhancing energy conservation and reducing emissions are effective ways to transform the steel industry's development pattern. Doing so will improve product quality and industrial efficiency and achieve sustainable development. Yao said that the steel industry has the greatest potential for energy conservation and emissions reduction. In order to promote the comprehensive, coordinated, sustainable and healthy development of the steel industry, an integrated approach should be taken to enhance energy conservation and emissions reduction as well as to speed up structural adjustment. China has been the world's largest producer of crude steel for more than 10 years, but its steel industry still faces the problem of overcapacity. China had the capacity to produce 660 million tons of crude steel a year by the end of 2008, about 100 million tons more than it actually needed. […] Yao pointed out that in order to promote the comprehensive, coordinated, sustainable and healthy development of the steel industry, the central government should make full use of the increased money supply caused by excessive borrowing. The government must also take economic, technical, legal and necessary administrative measures; give greater prominence to energy conservation and emissions reduction; and accelerate industrial restructuring. Furthermore, some deep-seated problems, such as indiscriminate repetition in construction, overcapacity, the chaotic iron ore trading system and increasing pressures of environmental protection, remain to be solved. ^ top ^

Free trade agreement boosts China-ASEAN investment (Global Times)
[…] The establishment of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area (CAFTA) since January 1 has greatly contributed to the fast growth of trade and investment within the area, said Gao Hucheng, vice minister of Commerce at a press conference Monday. The bilateral trade reached $136.5 billion in the first half of the year, up 55 percent year-on-year, and 11 percentage points higher than China's overall trade increase in the same period, Gao said. In the first six months of the month, China imported $71.9 billion goods from ASEAN, up 64 percent year-on-year. Its export to ASEAN valued at $64.6 billion, up 45 percent. ASEAN has become the fourth largest trade partner of China after the European Union, the US, and Japan. ASEAN investment in China amounted to $3.1 billion in the first half of the year, while Chinese firms' non-financial investment to ASEAN reached $1.2 billion, up 125.7 percent over the same period of last year, Gao noted. The major concern of some ASEAN members is that Chinese goods such as textiles, footwear, and steel will have negative impact on their local products, said Zhang Wei, vice chairman of China Council for the Promotion of International Trade. Sharing supply chains and enlarging share in the international markets rather than competing against each other is important for both China and ASEAN, said Xu Ningning, secretary-general of the China- ASEAN Business Council Chinese Secretariat. As end of June, bilateral investment totaled $69.4 billion. ASEAN to China investment reached nearly $60 billion. "ASEAN surpassed China in investment because it's relatively easier for ASEAN members to invest in one integrated market than Chinese firms to invest in 10 different markets," said Xu. ^ top ^

Trade issues to be ironed out at China-EU leaders' meeting (Xinhua)
The frequent clashes over trade between China and the European Union, including anti-dumping laws and trade imbalances, are expected to be addressed at the China-EU leaders' meeting in October, according to a senior Commerce Ministry official. "In addition to discussing the current Europe sovereign debt crisis, leaders from both sides may have useful consultations on China-EU trade and its future direction," said Sun Yongfu, director of the Department of European Affairs with the Ministry of Commerce. Sun was speaking at the China-EU Seminar on Trade and Development, held at the Belgium-EU Pavilion in the Expo Garden at the weekend. Sun said friction between China and EU is likely to increase with growing trade. "But such issues can be solved through friendly discussion and cooperation on both sides, as both advocate free and open trade," he said. The EU has a history of imposing anti-dumping restrictions on Chinese imports, which are likely to become more of an issue now that China has become the EU's biggest trading partner. According to the Ministry of Commerce, the EU currently has more than 50 anti-dumping measures in effect against China. The large trade imbalance between the EU and China has also become more apparent over the past few years. China has sought to deal with its rapidly growing trade surplus by expanding imports from the EU, especially since the beginning of the global financial crisis. Since then, China has sent six trade and investment delegations to Europe, which signed agreements worth $23 billion. The measures have proven a success and the China-EU trade gap is narrowing. […]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

N.Korea, UNC to resume dialogue (Global Times)
[…] "Representatives of the Korean People's Army and the UNC Military Armistice Commission will hold a colonel-level meeting in Panmunjom Saturday at 10 am," the UNC said in a statement Thursday, according to the Seoul-based Yonhap News Agency. It is a "positive phenomenon" that both sides can keep a channel for talk amid tensions, said Lü Chao, director of the Center of South Korea studies at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences. But he doesn't expect any fruit from the talks, as no signs of a concession have been seen from either side. […] North Korea urged the US and South Korea to "remove the source of war," saying the "deliberate and premeditated maneuvers" are part of the two allies' efforts to "provoke a second Korean war at any cost," Pyongyang's state-owned Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said Wednesday. […] "As North Korea is conceiving a serious threat to its national security, it may conduct a third nuclear test, and small exchanges of fire are even possible along the border," analyst Lü told the Global Times. "However, the tension will not escalate to a large-scale conflict, because both Koreas are aware that neither could benefit from war," he added. Also Thursday, North Korea signed a new accord on economic and technical cooperation with China, the KCNA reported, without disclosing details. The accord was signed in Pyongyang between the North's Foreign Trade Minister Ri Ryong-nam and Chinese ambassador to Pyongyang Liu Hongcai. The new accord came after a Chinese delegation led by Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Hu Zhengyue visited Pyongyang. Hu met Kim Yong-il Thursday, director of the international department of the Workers' Party's central committee, KCNA said. ^ top ^

DPRK leader commemorates end of Korean War anniversary (Global Times)
Kim Jong Il, top leader of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), delivered a speech commemorating the 57th anniversary of the end of the Korean War, the official Rodong Sinmun newspaper reported Wednesday. He gave the speech while attending a concert given by the State Merited Chorus. He said the historic victory in the Korean War "proved in reality that no force on earth can bar the Korean people from advancing toward independence, sovereignty and socialism." Kim expressed his satisfaction with the performance and thanked all organizers and performers. The Premier of the DPRK Cabinet Choe Yong Rim, the Korean People's Army's Vice Marshal Kim Yong Chun and Vice Chairman of the National Defense Commission Choe Thae Bok also attended the concert. A series of activities such as national meetings, dance parties and concerts were held in the DPRK to commemorate the anniversary. The Korean War broke out on June 25, 1950, and the armistice agreement was signed at Panmunjom on July 27, 1953. ^ top ^

US-South Korea drill continues to deliver deterrent message to North (SCMP)
United States and South Korean naval ships fired artillery and dropped anti-submarine bombs off South Korea's east coast yesterday, the third day of high-profile military manoeuvres intended to warn nuclear-armed North Korea against aggression. […] "The message is in the eye of the beholder," said US Navy Rear Admiral Daniel Cloyd. "But we would hope that they would take this and messages in the future as a message of resolve. We hope this will give them pause." So far, there was no sign North Korea was preparing the military response it had threatened before the drills, military officials said. Commander Ray Hesser, head of an anti-submarine helicopter squadron on the USS George Washington aircraft carrier, said North Korean submarines are largely restricted to shallow, coastal waters. […] "This is an impure attempt to stifle (North Korea) by means of armed force," North Korean army officer Hong Sung-chol told APTN. "If the US imperialists ignite war again, our army and people will totally uproot the source of the war under the leadership of our brilliant commander, General Kim Jong-il." The US repeatedly has said it has no intention of attacking the North, but sought to show with the military drills that its solidarity with South Korea remains as strong as ever. […] "It's been a success," Commander Paul Hogue, commanding officer of the US destroyer Curtis Wilbur. "It's a show of force, a deterrent." The Cheonan disaster was devastating but has galvanised the South Korean navy, Captain Kim Seong-joon said aboard the USS Curtis Wilbur. "Our navy was sad at first, then angry. I think we need this exercise," he said. ^ top ^

DPRK vows to bolster nuclear deterrence (Global Times)
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is to further bolster its nuclear deterrence to cope with increasing nuclear threat of the United States, a senior military official said Monday. Strengthening the nuclear power is "a legitimate sovereign right of the DPRK and a mode of merciless counteraction" of Korean People's Army (KPA), the official news agency KCNA quoted KPA Vice Marshal Kim Yong Chun as saying. Kim, also vice-chairman of the DPRK National Defence Commission and minister of the People's Armed Forces, made the remarks in a report delivered at a national meeting held at the Pyongyang Indoor Stadium marking the 57th anniversary of the victory in the Korean War. He warned that if the United States and South Korea finally ignite a new war despite repeated warnings of the DPRK, it would "mobilize the tremendous military potential including its nuclear deterrence." It will clearly show "what a real war will look like and completely eradicate the root cause of war," added Kim. Seoul and Pyongyang remain technically at war following the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an Armistice Agreement instead of a formal peace treaty. […]. ^ top ^

DPRK says prepared for both dialogue and war (Global Times)
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said Saturday that the country is prepared for dialogue and for war in face of joint US and South Korean war games, the official news agency KCNA reported. Washington's recent declaration of holding large-scale military exercises with South Korea and imposing new sanctions against the DPRK indicates that it has not discarded its Cold War way of thinking and has pursued confrontation, a Foreign Ministry spokesman told the KCNA. The United States has rejected talks with the DPRK -- bilateral or six-party talks, reneging on its commitments before the international community, he said. "The US provocations amount to trespassing on the off-limits fixed by the DPRK and it, therefore, feels no need to remain bounded to the off-limits drawn by the United States," said the spokesman. "The DPRK will bolster its nuclear deterrent in a more diversified manner and take strong physical measures as it had already clarified, now that the US opted for military provocations, sanctions and pressure, defying the demand of the international community including the UN Security Council," he said. The United States will be held wholly accountable for all ensuing consequences, the spokesman warned. […]. ^ top ^



Legal Battle between State General Prosecutor and IAAC (UB Post)
A legal “battle” between the State General Prosecutor and Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) has been a centerpiece of Mongolian media last week. The State General Prosecutor D.Dorligjav has requested, a third time in a row, the Speaker of Parliament D.Demberel to dismissal of chief commissars of the anti-corruption agency in a bid to continue criminal investigation whether he breached law while investigating higher ranking public officials. Earlier, IAAC Head Ch.Sangaragchaa was reportedly blamed for a wiretapping scandal that involves several parliamentarians and his lower ranking officers. Last week, the agency's investigative department head E.Amarbat was demoted after he was reportedly investigated for more than two weeks as some of the media reported. Dorligjav requested, in his letter classified as “top secret”, the top legislative body to cooperate in the fight against corruption because the Parliament has repeatedly refused to discuss the “serious” issue and closed the session without touching it within legal period of 14 days. Now the issue is likely to be postponed until the Parliament's autumn session resumes, to take time “to destroy” evidences and proof documents as some of the local media speculated, or an irregular session be called. The prosecutor described his act as it is highly necessary to suspend impunity of those officers, who are “purposefully” making obstacles in his investigation. But the parliament is seeing the request “politically” motivated. Dorligjav, a former chairman of the office of the President Ts.Elbegdorj, who is familiar for his campaign “beheading” corruption monsters, assumed the office of State General Prosecutor last May. ^ top ^

Anod Bank goes into liquidation (
Anod Bank is to go into liquidation. The Mongolbank directors' board decided this on Thursday. The information was given at a press conference by Mongolbank vice president D.Zoljargal, Head of Monetary Policy and Research Dept. D.Bolbaatar and the Central Bank's representative at Anod Bank, S.Enkhbat. Enkhbat underlined that it was not an announcement of bankruptcy, which is something that only a court can do. The State Investigation Authority is inspecting 40 organizations that took loans from Anod and claims to recover loans worth MNT 40 billion are being filed in courts. No account holder in the bank has lost any money. Director of Mongol Gazar Ts.Myanganbayar is being investigated for not repaying MNT10 billion to Anod and MNT60 billion to Zoos Bank that has also been wound up. ^ top ^

Foreign Minister participates in ARF's ministerial meeting (Montsame)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia G.Zandanshtar took part in the 17th Ministerial meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) ran July 22-23 in Hanoi city, Vietnam. The Foreign Ministers expressed concern over the present time's political complicated condition in the Korean peninsula, and appreciated a statement issued by the UN Security Council in conjunction with sinking of the Cheonan warship of the South Korean Navy. Furthermore, the attendees underlined an upcoming free and just parliamentary election of Myanmar is important for the sustainable development of the country. A document on activity plan of realizing the ARF's meeting was approved at the end of the meeting. The Foreign Minister of Mongolia G.Zandanshatar expressed his opinions and positions of Mongolia on present political situation in the Asia-Pacific and Northeast Asian regions. He emphasized a role of the UN in matters on global and regional peace and security, and attracted attentions of the regional countries to ensure the Mongolia's nuclear-weapon free status at international level. ^ top ^

Hillary Clinton: I will visit Mongolia (Montsame)
The Foreign Minister of Mongolia G.Zandanshatar met with Mrs. Hillary Clinton, the U.S Secretary of State, during the Foreign Ministerial meeting of the ASEAN Forum held July 22-23, in Hanoi, Vietnam. The Foreign Minister of Mongolia has affirmed that Mongolia aspires to implement a visit of the President Ts.Elbegdorj to the USA, and invited Mrs. Clinton to pay Mongolia a visit in 2011--the year of celebrating the 100th anniversary of Mongolia's national freedom movement and the 90th anniversary of the People's Revolution. Mr. Zandanshatar emphasized that the visit of Mrs. Clinton would have a vital importance in widening the Mongolia-USA cooperation and the regional collaboration. In response, Mrs. Clinton thankfully received the invitation and promised to visit Mongolia. She congratulated Mongolia for the 20th anniversary of the Mongolia's democracy and for leading the League of Democratic Nations (LDN) from 2011, and said that the USA will render support to Mongolia in operating the League's activities. ^ top ^

Mongolia and Russia step up economic plans (Mongol Messenger)
The 14th intergovernmental meeting of the Mongolian-Russian commission on trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation took place in Ulaanbaatar. The members of the commission decided to speed up revisions of the 1949 government agreement on setting up the Ulaanbaatar Railways shareholding society and resolve question at the end of this year. It was also agreed to render long-term preferential discount on Mongolian transport goods passing through Russian territory, reform UB Railways and the Shareholding Society's structure, and increase its capital fund by US$ 250 million. The sides agreed to accelerate the agreement for setting up the joint venture “Dornod Uranium”, expand the Erdenet joint venture and the activities of Mongolrostsevmet company, enhance efficiency, reduce export tax and railway tariffs on oil products imported by Mongolia, increase amount of mear and meat products and live animals exported from Mongolia to Russia, and cooperate in breeding healthy livestock in Mongolia. It was also decided to increase the number of Mongolian students, scientists, research workers to be trained with government allowances in Russia next year. The sides agreed to improve the structure of the commission and make activities more productive. ^ top ^


Corentin Buela
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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