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
  23-27.8.2010, No. 334  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

Chinese, S Korean nuclear envoys meet on resuming six-party talks (Global Times)
China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs Wu Dawei Thursday met with South Korea's top nuclear envoy Wi Sung-lac for talks on restarting the long- stalled six-party discussions on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. At the beginning of the meeting, Wu, also China's top envoy to the six-party talks, said he will exchange views with his South Korean counterparts on the current affairs on the Korean Peninsula and the multilateral nuclear disarmament forum. Wu, arriving in Seoul earlier in the day, is on a three-day visit here, during which he is scheduled to meet with Vice Foreign Minister Shin Kak-soo and Kim Sung-Hwan, senior secretary to the President for Foreign Affairs and National Security. Wu visited the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Aug. 16-18. During the visit, Wu met with DPRK's Foreign Minister Pak Ui Chun, Vice Foreign Ministers Kim Kye-gwan and Kim Song Gi. Beijing plays host to the multilateral talks that also involve the two Koreas, the United States, Japan and Russia. The talks hit a snag since Pyongyang unilaterally pulled out in April 2009. ^ top ^

Philippine high-level delegation's trip to Beijing, Hong Kong postponed (Global Times)
The Philippine government's high-level delegation to Beijing and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to brief the Chinese side the hijack crisis was postponed and would be reset soon, senior government official said Thursday. Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, quoting the Department of Foreign Affairs as telling reporters that the Philippine government is "awaiting for the confirmation of the Chinese side on the arrangement that will ensure that the mission of the planned visit is achieved." […] Earlier, Philippine authorities said the high-level delegation composed of Vice-President Jejomar Binay, Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo and Lacierda were supposed to leave for Beijing on Thursday and then proceed to Hong Kong on Friday. The officials will personally deliver President Benigno Aquino III's messages when meeting with Chinese leaders in Beijing and Hong Kong. […] President Bengigno Aquino has said the Monday's hostage-taking drama was "ghastly" and admitted there were "many failures". Aquino and other officials have promised a full investigation. Interior Secretary Jessie Robredo, who is in charge of the national police, has acknowledged there were problems with how the crisis was handled, including inadequacies in preparation, equipment and training. […]. ^ top ^

Submarine plants flag on the ocean floor (SCMP)
A Chinese submarine planted a national flag deep on the floor of the South China Sea during a test dive last month to reinforce China's territorial claim, the boat's designer said yesterday. The State Oceanic Administration and Ministry of Science and Technology jointly announced yesterday that a Chinese scientific submarine with three civilian crew members had explored unknown terrain at a depth of more than 3,700 metres at the heart of the South China Sea. […] The official announcement did not pin down the location, but Professor Zhao Junhai, a key designer of the submarine, said it was southeast of Hainan Island, between China and the Philippines. […] China appears increasingly determined to exert its dominance over the resource-rich and strategically important waters, which are also claimed by a number of neighbours. The submarine's name reflects the trend. When the project was launched in 2002 the submarine was called Ocean Base One. Later it changed to Harmony to echo the leadership's "harmonious society" slogan. Now it is called Sea Dragon. […] Zhao said the submarine's main task was to conduct mineral surveys. […]. ^ top ^

China's top legislator vows to advance relations with France (Global Times)
China will work with France to expand bilateral cooperation and advance economic and trade links, said China's top legislator Wu Bangguo Wednesday. Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), made the remarks in a meeting in Beijing with a delegation of the France-China friendship group of French parliament. Wu said the promotion of ties between China and France, both influential nations, accorded with the fundamental interests of the two peoples and would help world peace and development. China valued relations with France, and would work to strengthen mutual political trust and promote bilateral economic cooperation with a view to keeping China-France ties at the forefront of ties between China and Western nations, Wu said. The NPC, China's legislative body, would expand exchanges and cooperation with the French parliament to help push forward state-to-state relations, he said. The French delegation, led by chairman of the friendship group Michel Herbillon and Senate Chairman Jean Besson, are visiting China at the invitation of the NPC. They said they would contribute to relations between the two parliaments and the two nations. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official, Uzbek PM vow to boost bilateral ties (Xinhua)
Tashkent -- Liu Yunshan, a member of the Political Bureau of the Coummunist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, and Uzbek Prime Minister Shavkat Mirziyayev on Wednesday vowed to boost bilateral ties. Liu, also a member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and head of Publicity Department of the CPC Central Committee, said China was willing to work together with Uzbekistan to boost bilateral cooperation, especially in media, publishing and culture. Liu said bilateral ties had strengthened in recent years and he thanked Uzbekistan for its support of the core interests of China. Mirziyayev said China had been a true and sincere friend to Uzbekistan and relations with China had been a diplomatic priority for his country. Mirziyayev reiterated Uzbek support for China's positions on the issues of Taiwan, Tibet and the fight against three evil forces of extremism, separatism and terrorism. Liu arrived in Uzbekistan on Monday for a goodwill visit. He met Dilorom Toshmuhamedova, speaker of the Legislative Chamber of the Supreme Assembly, and Abdullah Aripov, deputy prime minister, on Tuesday. ^ top ^

China, South Africa ink string of business deals (People's Daily Online)
China and South Africa has agreed to raise bilateral relations to the level of "comprehensive strategic partnership", boosting future opportunities for the two to extend mutual investment and trade scope and widen their cooperation avenues. Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting South African President Jacob Zuma inked on a statement Tuesday in Beijing, in addition to signing seven agreements between the two governments, covering mineral resources, energy, environmental protection and infrastructure. President Zuma has brought a large entourage of 13 government ministers and a 200-strong business delegation visiting China. On Tuesday, the two countries signed a total of 16 business deals, including a 240 million euro ($303.6 million) loan agreement between South Africa's third-largest mobile phone operator, Cell C, and China Development Bank. Another agreement was for South Africa's largest private health insurer Discovery to buy 20 percent of Ping An Health Insurance Co, a unit of Ping An Insurance Co of China Ltd, to jointly develop China's nascent health insurance market. And, President Hu told his guest that China is going to invest more in South Africa to promote energy links and improving financial capabilities of the two countries. China has become South Africa's biggest trade partner and a major investor. Zuma said that he would like to bilateral ties to expand to other fields including education, public health, telecom technology and infrastructure construction. Statistics showed that in the first half of this year, bilateral trade reached $10.8 billion, rising 56 percent year on year. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Xi tipped to gain military post at plenum (SCMP)
Vice-President Xi Jinping looks set to be promoted to a military position in the upcoming Communist Party plenum, in a significant step towards finalising the succession process for him to take over the nation's top leadership post. The fifth plenum of the party's 17th Central Committee, to be held in October, has been scheduled to approve the draft of the nation's 12th Five-Year Programme - the only item on the agenda according to the official announcement. However, the plenum will also confirm the long-anticipated promotion of Xi to become vice-chairman of the party's Central Military Commission, according to officials briefed on the matter. If confirmed, Xi will also automatically assume the same position in the government's CMC in the National People's Congress plenary session in March. Both are organs that oversee the People's Liberation Army. […] The confirmation will pave the way for Xi to succeed President Hu Jintao as chief of the ruling party in autumn 2012 and as president in the spring of 2013. Holding a military post was not a prerequisite for becoming head of the party and the state, but the promotion would help clarify uncertainty over leadership succession, analysts said. […] "In stark contrast, Xi's endorsement has much less legitimacy than that of Hu, who was appointed by the country's former paramount leader, Deng Xiaoping, as early as 1992, 10 years before Hu took the highest post." Xi was the dark horse who came from behind to beat Hu's top protege, Li Keqiang, in a high-profile succession competition in the 17th party congress in 2007. Li, party boss of the northeastern province of Liaoning, was also seen as a front runner to replace Hu in 2012. […] Many attribute Xi's rise to the fact that he is one of the few people accepted by all factions in the top echelons of power. Xi belongs to the powerful princeling group, whose members include Chongqing party secretary Bo Xilai and Vice-Premier Wang Qishan. He is also connected to Jiang, leader of the powerful "Shanghai Gang". Xi has generally kept a low profile since being installed as one of the top national leaders. But he also has been known for his occasional outspokenness, something that would be a marked change in style if he did succeed Hu. […]. ^ top ^

Imported foods blacklisted (Global Times)
China's top quality watchdog this week released the lists of substandard imported foods and cosmetics from April and May, blacklisting products by brands such as South Korea's Lotte and the US' General Mills, further damaging the already questionable image of some imported goods. Almost 300 batches of foreign foods and cosmetics imported from countries such as South Korea, the United States, New Zealand and Japan, covering a wide range of products such as dairy products, honey, chocolate, biscuits and jam, were blocked from entering China or destroyed because they failed to meet quality standards, according to the two lists released Monday and Wednesday by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). […] Thanks to rising incomes and an expanding urban middle class, China is now flooded with imported food. […] And some Chinese consumers have higher expectations on imported food. […] But a series of food scandals facing foreign brands has cast doubt over their reputations. A number of well-known companies, including Nestle and Kraft, were criticized for causing food safety scares in China. […]. ^ top ^

Shenzhen - after money comes politics (Global Times)
As Shenzhen observes the 30th anniversary of becoming the nation's first special economic zone today, expectation is high that this innovative city will also pave the path for political reform that will match its economic achievements. Experts say that Shenzhen is poised to set an example for the rest of the country to follow since economics is closely tied to politics. "The central government needs a place to experiment with such reform policies before expanding them nationwide, just like they did for eco-nomic reform 30 years ago," said Li Luoli, deputy secretary-general of China Development Institute, a Shenzhen-based think-tank that advises the government. "Issues like the income distribution system reform, corruption, democratic and law-based government construction are among the top issues of political reform," Li added. Premier Wen Jiabao, who was in Shenzhen during a study tour last weekend, said that without political changes, the nation risks losing its record economic achievements. Even for special economic zones like Shenzhen, political reform won't come easy since the central government has not issued clear guidelines or a specific timetable to follow. However, among government officials and academics, a consensus is building that China should promote political reform through a progressive method instead of forcing it on the country in just a short time. […] Li said some outstanding questions include how to balance the relationship between law-based governance and the leadership of the CPC as well as how to create a scientific system for the public and media to supervise government and the Party's power. […] Also, Shenzhen citizens tend to embrace reform since they helped build up a well-organized civil society over the last three decades. ^ top ^

China spends $357 mln on flood control, drought relief this year (Global Times)
The Chinese central government has spent 2.43 billion yuan (357 million US dollars) on flood control and drought relief as of Aug. 23 this year, and the country's flood-fighting efforts would continue, government officials said here Wednesday. In a breakdown, 1.22 billion yuan was spent on flood prevention, while material storage, drought relief and flood defense cost the government 100 million yuan, 315 million yuan and 793 million yuan, respectively, said Hu Jinglin, spokesman with the Ministry of Finance (MOF). China has suffered from repeated natural calamities due to extreme weather this year, with flooding and other rain-triggered disasters leaving more than 2,300 people dead and 1,200 missing nationwide by mid-August. To prevent further losses, the MOF and the Ministry of Water Resources has allocated 27.6 billion yuan from central finance to reinforce existing dams and reservoirs as of early August, said Jiao Yong, vice minister of water resources, at a press conference jointly held by the two ministries. Further, more than 10 billion yuan has been used for improving the flood control capacity of small and medium-sized rivers this year, Jiao said. Small and medium-sized rivers are the weak link in China's flood-fighting efforts, which caused more deaths and economic losses than floods in other areas in recent years, he said. China also plans on building a nationwide monitoring and flood-prevention system against mountain torrents in the next three years, according to Jiao. The system would cover 1,836 counties in China that are frequently hit by mountain torrents, and would include early warnings and disaster prevention alarms, he said. ^ top ^

Henan Airlines flight crashes in Yichun with 96 aboard, 42 bodies found (Global Times)
A passenger plane with 96 people onboard burst into flames upon crashing last night in Yichun, Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, and at least 42 bodies had been found at the scene, according to media reports and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC). As of 2 am today, 48 people had been rescued and sent to hospitals, with three of them seriously injured. The fire on the E-190 jet had also been put out, and rescuers were still frantically searching for survivors. Henan Airlines flight VD8387 took off at 8:51 pm from the provincial capital Harbin and crashed at 9:36 pm, 1.5 kilometers away from Yichun's Lindu airport, sources from the CAAC said. The plane was carrying 91 passengers and five crewmembers. Five of the passengers were children. Hua Jingwei, director of the Heilongjiang publicity department, said the plane crashed after it broke into two pieces when approaching the runway, and then burst into flames. Some passengers were thrown off from the plane, making the possibility of their survival slim, Hua said, adding that some victims' bodies could be seen at the scene. The local government dispatched more than 500 rescuers to the crash site. The reason for the crash remained unknown. […] Initial data show the plane had a capacity of 106 passengers, manufactured by the Brazilian aerospace conglomerate Embraer. […] China's last major civilian aircraft crash was in 2004, when a CRJ200 operated by China Eastern Airlines came down in a frozen lake in northern Inner Mongolia shortly after takeoff, killing more than 50 people. ^ top ^

Fewer crimes may get death penalty (SCMP)
The list of crimes punishable by the death penalty on the mainland will be cut by a fifth if amendments to the criminal code gain approval from the legislature. It is the first time since 1979 that the government has made such a proposal. […] The amendments would remove 13 of the 68 offences subject to the death sentence - mainly non-violent crimes where the death penalty has been rarely or never invoked. Such offences include smuggling, the forgery of value-added tax receipts, and stealing from ancient graves and fossil sites. Crimes such as faking VAT receipts were considered serious three decades ago, but are now common offences on the mainland. […] The proposed eighth amendment to the criminal code, passed in 1979, and the abolition of the death penalty for 13 crimes has attracted the most attention. Some of the most common criticisms of the mainland's use of the death penalty focus on the large numbers of crimes punishable by death, the many executions and the lack of transparency in the whole death-penalty system. The number of executions carried out each year is a state secret, but international human rights organisations such as the California-based Dui Hua Foundation estimate the figure to be about 5,000. Amnesty International says it surpasses the number of executions carried out in the rest of the world each year. Joshua Rosenzweig, senior manager of research at Dui Hua, welcomed the proposed amendment but said it was an "incremental step" and more a "symbolic move" than a measure that would actually lower the number of executions. […] Official figures show the number of death penalties has been reduced by at least 15 per cent since a Supreme People's Court rule introduced in 2007 required all death sentences to be subject to a final review by the top court. Rosenzweig said, however, that the operation of the review procedure was opaque. […] The central government says it will eventually abolish the death sentence altogether, but the time is not yet right. […] Xinhua said that more than 90 countries had completely scrapped death penalties, and more than 40 had not used the punishment for more than 10 years. "It appears that the crime rate did not soar in countries that abolished the death penalty," the report concluded, with Liu noting that it was a rare acknowledgement by the official media. […] The proposed amendments to the criminal code also include changes such as setting more specific rules for putting convicts on suspended death sentences on parole and making the death penalty inapplicable to anyone over 75 years old. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese Vice President calls for better Party building at grassroots level (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has called for more efforts to promote the building of Communist Party of China (CPC) organizations at grassroots level and in non-public-owned enterprises. Xi, also a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remarks during his inspection tour in Beijing on Monday. The Party organizations and the Party members should be given full play to promote the core business of the enterprises, Xi said. Xi also noted the working methods of Party building should be improved by both maintaining the fine tradition and continuing reforms and innovation to suit the current new situation of diversified social organizations, increasing migrant populations and widespread information networking. Xi urged the deepening of the reforms of the Party personnel system to improve the Party personnel management and optimize its human resources, and to promote the willingness, courage and competence among Party cadres. ^ top ^

Court 'taking easy way out' over wrongful conviction (Global Times)
A court in South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region has been accused of avoiding its responsibilities over a wrongful conviction that led to an innocent man serving nine years in prison. In 2001, the Hechi intermediate people's court sentenced 36-year-old Wang Zifa to death after convicting him of murdering a man he shared a room with. The higher court later suspended the death sentence. Wang was released early this month and told to wait for another trial after a man confessed to police that he committed the murder that Wang had been convicted of, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported. Qin Hanbao made the confession three years ago while serving a sentence for robbery at a prison in Guangxi, according to the report. The Hechi intermediate people's court last week approved a request by the city's prosecutors to withdraw the charge against Wang due to a lack of evidence. The police in Donglan county that originally arrested Wang had withdrawn the case for the same reason. "This means that Wang has been set free and his case no longer exists," said Wang's lawyer Huang Guosheng. Huang pointed out that ending a case this way violates the standard legal procedure, and by withdrawing the charges the court will be saved from facing its legal responsibilities. According to Huang, standard procedure dictates that the court proceed with the trial and declare Wang's innocence based on the evidence. "The court downplayed the wrongful conviction," Huang said. He said that by taking this action, the court could be saved from embarrassment. In addition, in the event Wang was found innocent, certain people involved in his case would have had to face certain consequences, but that would no longer be the case once the charge was withdrawn. "Both my family and I are still waiting for the court to declare my innocence. I can't accept it if I don't receive a verdict from the court," Wang told the Global Times Monday. Wang said that local officials told him that someone higher ranking officials are working on his compensation. ^ top ^

China mulls heavier penalties for forced labor (China Daily)
Those convicted of forcing others to labor may face penalties of up to seven years of imprisonment instead of only three years, as China's top legislature mulls cracking down on the crime. A draft amendment to the Criminal Law was submitted Monday to the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, for its first reading. The draft amendment states that those forcing others to labor through violence, coercion or the restriction of personal freedom be subject to, in addition to fines, a maximum seven years of imprisonment. China's current Criminal Law imposes a maximum three years imprisonment for the crime. Several forced labor scandals have come to the light in China in recent years. In May 2009, police in eastern Anhui province arrested 10 for allegedly beating and forcing 32 mentally-handicapped people to work in brick kilns in slave-like conditions. Another forced-labor scandal made headlines in 2007. Then, a brick-kiln boss in northern China's Shanxi province was found to have forced 1,340 people to labor, 367 of whom were mentally handicapped. Liu Mingxiang, deputy dean at the Renmin University of China's Law School, said: "It was severe abuse in those notorious 'black brick kilns.'" "The draft amendment designate the acts of the 'go-betweens' as criminal, too," Liu noted. "If the draft amendment becomes law, the frequency of forced labor in China will drop, as the law will not only penalize those who force people to labor but also those who facilitate such practices," he said. ^ top ^

Premier Wen calls for major political reform (Global Times)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao called for implementation of political reform measures during a weekend study tour in Shenzhen, the nation's first special economic zone (SEZ). Wen's remarks about political reform came 30 years after the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping first raised the issue during an important speech on August 18, 1980, which was regarded as "the programmatic document for China's political restructuring." "Without the political reform, China may lose what it has already achieved through economic restructuring and the targets of its modernization drive might not be reached," Wen said, pledging to address the problem of over-concentration of power and ineffective supervision. After three decades of reform and opening-up, China is expected to overtake Japan to become the world's second largest economy this year, but the country is facing mounting pressure during its social transition including frequent attacks on vulnerable groups, aggravating pollution, serious corruption, inequality of distribution and a widening income gap. Mounting social unrests in recent years have proved costly. In 2009, the government earmarked 514 billion yuan ($76 billion) to maintain stability, much more than the 480 billion yuan for national defense. Zhang Liangui, a professor at the Party School of the CPC Central Committee, noted that the root cause of growing social conflict is the slow pace of political reform that seriously lags behind unprecedented economic reform. The consequence is problematic social development along with serious bureaucracy that hinders productivity. ^ top ^

China opens first labor dispute service for foreign company staff (Global Times)
China's first labor dispute mediation service for staff working at foreign companies was launched on Friday. The Beijing dispute mediation commission hopes to offer a fast-track alternative to unions, arbitration and lawsuits. Whether or not to choose mediation is much more a personal decision, whereas arbitration, according to the Chinese law, is a necessary process before filing a labor dispute lawsuit. Founded by Beijing Foreign Enterprise Human Resources Service Company (FESCO) and the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Justice, the commission consists of about 30 members of FESCO's field directors and managers as well as lawyers and legal consultants from its legal department. FESCO-related foreign companies employ nearly 500,000 people in China, half of them in Beijing. "We have more than 10,000 clients and every year we deal with hundreds of labor disputes for foreign companies," said Wang Ruobing, a FESCO marketing department spokeswoman. For now FESCO had no plans for other commissions in other cities, Wang said. ^ top ^



1,900 new cars every day (SCMP)
The number of vehicles on the municipality's roads is increasing at 1,900 per day, and the transport system will be under extreme pressure in 2015, when the estimates say the number of vehicles will hit 7 million, China National Radio reports. The capital currently has more than 4 million vehicles on the road, and the increase of 515,000 cars last year was equal to the number in Hong Kong. Estimates say that if no measures are taken, when the number of cars reaches 6 million, the average traffic jam will exceed 5-1/2 hours. ^ top ^



Thousands expected for pan-party protest rally (SCMP)
Tens of thousands of marchers are expected to flood Hong Kong streets on Sunday in a demonstration organised by the main political parties to demand justice for those killed in the Manila hostage tragedy. The march from Victoria Park to the Legislative Council building will be the climax of an outpouring of collective grief and anger in the city at the Philippine government's handling of the tragedy, following a series of protests, petitions and remembrance activities. Organisers told police they expect 50,000 marchers but the turnout could be much higher. They said they did not expect the march to have a racial element but some have called for restraint because foreign domestic helpers and religious groups will hold their own day-long remembrance in nearby Chater Garden. Announcing the march at a rare joint press conference yesterday, parties across the political spectrum said they wanted to give the public an opportunity to pay their respects to the dead as well as to demand justice from the Philippine government. […] In addition, the legislature will meet for an emergency session on Wednesday to debate a motion condemning the Philippine government for its failure to save the hostages. Yesterday, the Hong Kong Journalists Association handed a petition to the Philippine consulate, expressing its anger and concern about comments made by Philippine President Benigno Aquino, who suggested the live media broadcast of the incident agitated the gunman. […]. ^ top ^

Emotions run high over hostage deaths (SCMP)
Flags flew at half mast in Hong Kong yesterday as anger and bewilderment spread over the handling of Monday's hostage crisis in Manila that left eight Hongkongers dead and seven injured. Local fury was fuelled by a press conference by Philippine President Benigno Aquino early yesterday in which he defended his government's handling of the crisis, amid widespread criticism of the police response. […] Protesters mobbed the Philippine consulate in Hong Kong, waving banners reading "Complete disregard for lives", "We are furious" and "Strongly condemn the Philippine government". As heart-rending tales of loss and terror emerged from survivors, others asked why Philippine police snipers had not attempted to end the siege earlier. Chief Executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen joined groups representing the city's Filipino community in calling for calm amid signs of a racist backlash. Some internet postings said people planned to fire Filipino maids in retaliation for the deaths. […] Philippine police defended their actions, saying officers had lacked proper equipment and had risked their lives in trying to bring the stand-off to an end. But they promised to review all events leading to the deaths. […] Police said snipers had not been used earlier in the day because they were confident the siege was going to end peacefully. […] Aquino, whom Tsang had tried to call on Monday, phoned the chief executive back yesterday afternoon. Demanding a full account of the incident, Tsang said: "I told him we had hoped he would put the safety of the hostages as the top priority. He replied that he understood it, and he felt very sorry for the result." Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi phoned his Philippine counterpart Alberto Romulo late on Monday night to demand a thorough investigation, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said early yesterday. The central government had earlier called for the safety of the hostages to be the first priority in any rescue attempt. […] Hong Thai Travel said families would receive HK$1.3 million in insurance for each of those killed, plus a bereavement payment of HK$20,000. […] President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice-President Xi Jinping conveyed their regards to the families of the dead and injured. ^ top ^



Taiwan to welcome mainland students (Global Times)
Taiwan legislature Thursday adopted amendments to three laws, one of which will now allow local colleges to take in students from the Chinese mainland. According to the amendments, Taiwan will allow mainland students to enroll at local colleges on the island and admit diplomas granted by the 41 best mainland universities including Peking University, Tsinghua University, Ren Min University of China and the Central Conservatory of Music. However, mainland students will not be permitted to apply for majors related to Taiwan's security nor take exams for civil service and professionals such as doctors and lawyers. In addition, they (students) will not be allowed to obtain part-time jobs on the island. […] The first batch of postgraduate students is expected to arrive in March 2011 and undergraduate students in the six months following. Due to a decline in birth rate, and the increasing number of colleges, Taiwan is facing now a shortage of college students. The number of mainland students would only account for 1 percent of the total number of freshmen in Taiwanese universities, the statement said, adding that the total number could be 2,000 in one academic year. […] Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said at a meeting Wednesday that allowing mainland youths to study in Taiwan and accepting mainland college diplomas would be a landmark for cross-Strait relations. Education exchanges will help young generations to know more about each other and lay the foundation for long-term peace across Taiwan Strait, he said. ^ top ^



US-China Real Estate Summit opens in Los Angeles (SCMP)
The 2010 US-China Real Estate Summit kicked off Thursday in San Gabriel, Los Angeles with the aim of building relations between top real estate players in the two countries. During the two-day summit, officials from all levels of both countries and experts in real estate-related areas will discuss U. S. economy stimulus, "green" low-carbon housing construction and ways to conduct real estate deals on both sides. Led by China's Real Estate Chamber of Commerce, more than 150 industry leaders from China are attending the summit, entitled "Real Estate Without Borders". […] Speaking at the opening session, US Congresswoman Judy Chu said great potentials remain to be tapped to promote cooperation between the United States and China in all fields, including the real estate. She said the two countries need to join hands in addressing the real estate problems facing them. These problems cannot be resolved by one side alone, she stressed. […]. ^ top ^

New rules on technology (SCMP)
The mainland has ordered its banks and other leading companies to limit use of foreign computer security technology, setting up a possible trade clash with the United States and Europe. Authorities are inspecting companies to enforce the restrictions and some have been told to replace foreign technology. "These are legitimate security concerns, but the Chinese are going way too far," said Steven Kho, a trade lawyer for law firm Akin Gump in Washington. "You cannot say from the outset, `All foreign products are a security risk'." The rules come as Beijing tries to protect its fledgling technology companies by favouring them in procurement, promoting mainland standards for mobile phones and prodding foreign competitors to disclose encryption technology. […]. ^ top ^

Shadow incomes soar without accountability (Global Times)
Under-the-table income in China has been estimated to have reached 5.4 trillion yuan ($794.16 billion) in 2008, ac-counting for about 15 percent of the country's gross domestic product, according to research conducted by the National Economic Research Institute of China Reform Foundation. "Shadow income" comes in two varieties: personal income that is neither clearly legal nor illegal, and also illegal kickbacks for which no concrete evidence can be found to prove criminality. The institute stated that the top 10 percent of China's households earn 139,000 yuan ($20,446.9) a year; more than triple the official figures. And the bottom 10 percent earn 5,350 yuan ($786.99) annually, 13 percent more than what is actually being reported. […]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

Kim and youngest son believed to be in China (SCMP)
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il was believed to be visiting key ally China yesterday, possibly with his youngest son and presumed successor, officials, media reports and Chinese residents said. The apparent trip, which was not confirmed by either Beijing or Pyongyang, dashed hopes of a meeting with former US president Jimmy Carter who is on a mission to North Korea to try to win the release of a jailed American. "Judging from circumstances, Chairman Kim might have left for China early Thursday morning," a senior South Korean official said on condition of anonymity. Residents of Jilin in northeastern China said a delegation had visited and left the city Thursday amid tight security. The trip, which would be Kim's second to China this year, comes amid increasing speculation about Kim's successor and efforts by Beijing to revive North Korean nuclear disarmament talks despite high tensions on the peninsula. Analysts in South Korea said Kim was seeking to obtain China's blessing for his successor, widely expected to be his youngest son Kim Jong-un, 27, and gain desperately needed economic assistance from its main source of aid. They also suggested that Kim's departure for China while Carter was in Pyongyang meant the North considered it too early to seek a breakthrough in tense relations with the United States. […]. ^ top ^

DPRK suffers serious flooding (Global Times)
Sinuiju City and Uiju County of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been hit by serious floods caused by heavy rain, according to the official news agency KCNA. More than 7,100 dwelling blocks for 7,750 families were destroyed, the KCNA said Thursday. An estimated 7,200 hectares of farmlands were flooded, while more than 300 production-related and public buildings, 400 meters of bridges, and many structures, vehicles, water pumps and electromotors were damaged. Many power transmission installations were also ruined. The DPRK government is working hard to resume and stabilize the lives of the flood victims, according to the report. The DPRK air force and navy have taken part in the disaster relief work in Sinuiju City, which suffered heavy rain on Aug. 21. ^ top ^

DPRK leader meets former US president Carter (Global Times)
Kim Yong Nam, president of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), met former US president Jimmy Carter here Wednesday, the official KCNA news agency reported. They had "a cordial talk," and Kim arranged a reception in honor for Carter, the KCNA said. Carter arrived here Wednesday afternoon aboard a chartered civilian jet. His trip is reportedly aimed at securing the release of an imprisoned US citizen. Carter was greeted by DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan at the Pyongyang international airport. […] US media has said Carter will visit Pyongyang to negotiate the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes, who was detained by the DPRK on Jan. 25 for illegal entry into the country. On April 6, Gomes, a 30-year-old former English teacher in South Korea, was sentenced to eight years' imprisonment and fined about 700,000 US dollars. Media reports said Carter might spend one night in Pyongyang and return with Gomes Thursday. The Obama administration Tuesday refused to comment on the visit, saying Washington had no plan to send an envoy to Pyongyang and would continue to evaluate Gomes' situation through Swedish diplomats there and negotiate his release with Pyongyang. Carter, a Nobel peace laureate, is said to be traveling as a private citizen, similar to that by former US President Bill Clinton last August when he secured the release of two female US journalists detained there for illegal entry. […]. ^ top ^



Mongolia hosts northeast Asia economic forum (Mongol Messenger)
On August 26-27, the 19th Northeast Asia Economic Forum takeS place at the State House in Mongolia. The Forum is organized by the Office of the President of Mongolia, the Government, Northeast Asia Association, Asian Pacific Institute and Northeast Asia Economic Forum of the USA. President Ts. Elbegdorj takes part in the inauguration ceremony along with the Prime Minister S. Batbold, high representatives of China, Russia, South Korea and Japan. The aim of the forum is to develop regional economic cooperation. The Northeast Asia Economic Forum, which was established in 1992 in Hawaii, USA, conducts research in social and economic development issues of the Northeast Asia region and organizes discussions. ^ top ^

Bold: Military cooperation indicates mutual trust (
Khaan Quest 2010, this year's annual international peacekeeping training exercise, was held in the Tavan Tolgoi training area on 8-20 August. Organized jointly by the US Pacific Military Command and the Peacekeeping Foundation of UN Mongolia, the aim of the training was to improve the skills of soldiers who participate in international peace keeping operations. This year's participants included 204 military personnel from Mongolia, and 125 from nine other countries including the USA, Germany, France, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Canada. Mr. Bold said, ‘It is indeed true that the performance of Mongolian troops has earned them a high reputation. Peacekeeping work in Chad and in Sierra Leone will end soon but I hope our soldiers will continue to be needed in larger numbers in Lebanon and Afghanistan'. ^ top ^

Mongolia-Korea consular consultative meeting held (Montsame)
The consular consultative meeting between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Mongolia and Republic of Korea ran Wednesday in the Mongolian Ministry. Negotiations have been held between D.Gankhuyag, a director of the Consular Department of the Foreign Ministry, and Peg Ju Heong, a director of S.Korean Ministry's Consular Department. The Mongolian side expressed its positions and put forward proposals on implementation of previously discussed issues, on realization of contracts and agreements on consular ties and on facilitating visiting terms of peoples of the two countries. The Korean side raised issues of protecting civil interests of the Koreans in Mongolia, providing the Mongolian citizens married with the Koreans with information, controlling over certificates of the Mongolian students studying in Korea, updating the agreement on using an airspace and of prolonging for the Koreans visa terms of Mongolia. The sides underlined that the Mongolia-Korea relations have been intensively developing pursuant to the principle of good neighborhood, friendship and cooperation partnership, and that mutual visits of peoples of the countries have been increasing. "Our cooperation in consular sector is widening with an effectiveness in protecting citizens' interests thanks to a regularity of consular consultative meetings," the two sides stressed. Mongolia proposed S.Korea to run some new activities in frames of the consular ties and improve visiting terms of peoples of the countries. ^ top ^

South Korea to help Mongolia achieve maritime transportation (
South Korea plans to help Mongolia build up maritime transportation capability in exchange for gaining access to the landlocked country"s abundant natural resources. The Ministry of Land, Transport and Maritime Affairs has said Seoul aims to train sailors, share commercial maritime management systems and allow Mongolian ships to use its port facilities. The move will be carried out alongside current efforts to enhance overall logistics networking in Northeast Asia that can create new business opportunities for local companies. South Korea possess the world"s fifth-largest commercial shipping fleet, while Mongolia is considered one of the top 10 producers of various natural resources such as coal, copper, molybdenum and uranium. "Under the scheme, Mongolian natural resources can be moved by rail and ship to South Korea where they will be shipped out to other countries," a ministry official said. He added this relationship could be a win-win arrangement since Mongolia can diversify where it sells its natural resources and create an indigenous maritime transportation industry that can lead to more jobs vital for sustained economic growth. For South Korea, closer cooperation with Mongolia can allow it to gain access to natural resources and win orders for vessels and ship-related financial services down the road. The ministry, in addition, said that Seoul also can assist Mongolia secure the use of foreign ports in China and Russia so it can better export its resources. ^ top ^

Parliament advisor gets 17 years jail (UB Post)
Ts.Jargalsaikhan, an advisor to the Foreign Relations and Cooperation Department of Parliament's Office, has been sentenced to 17 years in prison. The Chingeltei District Court charged Jargalsaikhan for passing on state confidential materials related to a Mongolian parliament speaker's visit to Russia, to China through his email. The Central Intelligence Agency of Mongolia investigated the case of Jargalsaikhan beginning from June 2010 and on July 07 transferred the case to the Metropolitan Prosecutor's Office, which submitted the case materials to the Chingeltei District Court on July 23. In the first place, there were three people involved in the case including Jargalsaikhan and two officers from the Neighbor States Department at the Foreign Ministry G.Baigalmaa and G.Suvdsuren. However, the intelligence agency found that only Jargalsaikhan is involved in the leakage of confidential materials. A well-known diplomat and a former ambassador to China D.Tsakhilgaan, who is the father of sentenced Jargalsaikhan, stated after the court decision that his son is not guilty and that his son has became the sacrifice of an organized crime gang. “We intend to appeal to the Metropolitan and Supreme Courts to prove the innocence of my son” said Tsakhilgaan in an interview to Unuudur Daily Newspaper. ^ top ^


Conradin Pfaff
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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