Der wöchentliche Presserückblick der Schweizer Botschaft in der VR China
The Weekly Press Review of the Swiss Embassy in the People's Republic of China
La revue de presse hebdomadaire de l'Ambassade de Suisse en RP de Chine
  29.11-3.12.2010, No. 348  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

China, India start border talks (Global Times)
The 14th round of talks between Chinese and Indian special representatives on border issues started Monday in Beijing. Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo was joined at the meeting by Indian National Security Adviser Shiv Shankar Menon, who is on a three-day visit to Beijing. China and India share about 2,000 kilometers of border. In 2005, the two sides signed a political guideline to resolve these issues during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India, the Xinhua News Agency reported, adding that the last boundary talk was held in New Delhi in 2009. This year's talks will focus on finding a framework for a final settlement of disputed areas in the western and eastern sections of the border, India's Hindustan Times reported Monday. […] Wen met Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month on the sidelines of a regional meeting in Hanoi, where the two leaders said they look forward to early resolution of the boarder issues. […] "One of the major topics during this year's talks will be recent tensions near the border, such as the increase of Indian troops," Zhao Gancheng, director of South Asia studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told the Global Times. "The two sides may also work on some feasible proposals that could be further discussed during Wen's visit to India next month." BBC News reported last week that India had formed two new army divisions, comprising more than 36,000 men, and sent them to China's southern Tibet area, named Arunachal Pradesh by India. In October 2009, China expressed its "strong dissatisfaction" over Singh's visit to "Arunachal Pradesh" where he addressed an election rally, Xinhua reported. "The 1993 agreement on managing peace in border areas and the 1995 agreement on building trust between the two militaries have helped keep stability in the region for nearly two decades," Zhao said. "However, the atmosphere for talks was damaged recently by Indian activities near the border and by remarks made by senior Indian offi-cials who played up the China threat. These moves definitely harmed the chances of resolving the border issues," he added. ^ top ^

China urges constructive moves to push forward Mideast peace talks (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday urged Israel and Palestine to stay on the path of peace talks and take constructive moves to advance their stalled peace talks. Wen made the appeal in a message to the Conference in Commemoration of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, which was held Monday at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Offering warm congratulations for the event on behalf of the Chinese government, Wen stressed that the Palestinian issue is at the core of the Middle East issue. The Chinese government has all along firmly supported the Palestinian people's just cause of restoring their legitimate national rights, and the efforts to continuously push the Middle East peace process forward, Wen said. […] He expressed the hope that on the basis of related UN resolutions and the "land-for-peace" principle, an independent Palestinian State with full sovereignty will be established and the peaceful coexistence of Israel and the Palestinian State will be achieved. An early settlement of the Palestinian issue is the expectation shared by all Middle East countries and peoples and the international community, Wen said. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China will as always support the United Nations in playing a vital role on the Middle East issue, he said. He added that China, along with the international community, will continue to make unremitting efforts to seek a just solution to the Palestinian issue and promote peace, stability and development in the Middle East. […] Each year, the assembly's Committee on the Exercise of Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People holds a special meeting in observance of the Day of Solidarity. ^ top ^

Talks delay amid Nobel tensions (SCMP)
Norway said China indefinitely postponed bilateral trade talks in what experts said was an escalation of tension ahead of the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honouring rights activist Liu Xiaobo. The Norwegian Nobel Committee angered Beijing by awarding the prize to Liu, who is serving an 11-year jail term on subversion charges for his role in advocating democratic reform and an end to the Communist Party's power monopoly. Beijing has snubbed Norwegian ministers and pressured envoys to boycott the December 10 award ceremony, set to focus the world's media spotlight on human rights on the mainland. Norway, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, and China have for the past two years been negotiating a trade deal that could serve as a blueprint for the European Union's potential trade agreement with China. […] Beijing blames the Norwegian government for the Nobel decision, even though Oslo says that the Nobel committee is independent. Further raising pressure, a group representing Norwegian residents of Chinese origin said it was organising a demonstration against the tribute to Liu. The Norway-China Association expects about 100 people to protest outside Oslo City Hall during the award ceremony. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets former Pakistani PM (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan met with former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Beijing Tuesday. Wang praised Shaukat Aziz for his efforts to boost China-Pakistan relations. China and Pakistan have strongly complementary economies, Wang said, adding that the two sides have much potential to enhance cooperation. Wang said both sides hope to further cooperate in investment, finance, trade and economics to realize mutual benefit and win-win situations. Shaukat Aziz, who is visiting China from Nov. 25 to Dec. 1 at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, said he hopes to promote friendly exchange between the two nations. ^ top ^

China calls on Israel to immediately end all settlement activity in occupied territory (Global Times)
China on Tuesday called on Israel to immediately stop all settlement activity in the occupied Palestinian territory in order to revive the peace talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis. The statement came as Wang Min, the Chinese deputy permanent representative to the United Nations, was taking the floor at a two-day meeting of the UN General Assembly to mark the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. "We urge Israel to immediately stop all settlement activity and the construction of the separation wall in all the occupied Palestinian territory, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem," Wang said. The relevant Israeli settlement activity in the occupied territory has put the direct peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis into a dilemma, he noted. […] At present, the humanitarian situation in the occupied territory, particularly in the Gaza Strip, remains grave, and a large part of the Palestinian residents there are still under very poor living conditions, Wang said. "This is not conducive to the regional stability, nor conducive to creating the favorable conditions for the resumption of the peace talks between Palestine and Israel." China has always firmly supported the Palestinian people in their right cause for the restoration of legitimate national rights, and always advocated that Palestinians and Israelis resolve their differences through dialogue on the basis of relevant UN resolutions, the principle of "land for peace," the Arab Peace Initiative and the roadmap for the Middle East peace in order to achieve the two-State solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict -- a secure Israel to live in peace with an independent Palestine state, he said. ^ top ^

China-Japan-ROK free trade talks 'set for 2012' (People's Daily Online)
Free trade agreement (FTA) talks among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) could start in 2012 as the countries try to reduce reliance on the United States and the European Union, Yi Xiaozhun, vice-minister of commerce, told China Daily. US economic woes and the European debt crisis are boosting integration efforts and adding momentum to negotiations for an FTA among the three countries. "I expect the negotiations to start in 2012, when a joint study by the three nations will be concluded," Yi said on the sidelines of a meeting of the FTA Joint Study Committee in Weihai, a coastal city in Shandong province. China and the ROK are expected to start FTA talks next year, according to earlier media reports. Yi Xiaozhun, vice-minister of commerce, says an FTA among China, Japan and the ROK will benefi t all. "The FTAs... among the three nations will contribute to the integration of East Asian economies," Yi said. The three countries make up about 22 percent of the global population, and their combined economies account for 19 percent of the world total and their foreign reserves 47 percent. […] China has so far signed eight FTAs and is in discussions on five more, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The first two committee meetings were held in Japan in May and the ROK in September. […] As chill economic winds buffet the US and Europe, Chinese exporters have fallen victim to protectionism. In the past two years, the US launched an unprecedented number of investigations into Chinese exports, and during the past 10 months cases the EU has initiated against China were worth more than five times those in the whole of 2009, according to the Ministry of Commerce. […] Although all sides called for a conclusion of the nine-year Doha Round talks, aimed at lowering global trade barriers, prospects for Doha are uncertain, which has led to growing Asian interest in possible free trade agreements. Japan has signed an FTA with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and is close to one with India, while the ROK has signed an FTA with the EU and is still in negotiation with the US. ^ top ^

FM: China ties with Norway affected by Nobel (People's Daily Online)
China said Thursday its relations with Norway had been affected by the Oslo-based Nobel Committee's decision to grant this year's Nobel Peace Prize to convicted Chinese criminal Liu Xiaobo. "I think it is difficult to maintain China-Norway relations as well as they were in the past, because the Nobel Committee conferred the Nobel Peace Prize on a convicted Chinese criminal, and the Norwegian government publicly expressed its support for such a decision," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu. […] Jiang said the Nobel Committee's decision is tantamount to overt support for criminal activities in China, which is "flagrant defiance" and "gross interference" in China's judicial system. She urged the international community not to hold double standards with regard to the rule of law, since many other countries including the United States and Britain also have similar laws against subversion. "The issue of Liu Xiaobo is not a matter of free speech and human rights. It is a matter of respecting other countries' judicial rights and how to view China's development path and social system," she added. Liu, a Chinese citizen, was sentenced to 11 years in jail on December 25, 2009, after a Beijing court convicted him of violating Chinese law and engaging in activities designed to overthrow the government. ^ top ^

China, Russia pledge to strengthen legislative ties (Xinhua)
China and Russia pledged Thursday to strengthen ties between their legislative bodies. Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of China, the country's top legislature, met with Vice Chairman of the Russian Duma Ivan Melnikov in Beijing. Wu reviewed China-Russia relations, saying the bilateral strategic partnership of coordination has grown in recent years. As the international situation undergoes profound and complicated changes, Wu said a stronger China-Russia strategic partnership of coordination will ensure an international strategic balance and stability that will boost world peace and development. Wu said China hopes to work with Russia to deepen political trust and cooperation while expanding people-to-people exchange and upgrading strategic coordination. On legislative ties, Wu said cooperation between the NPC and the Duma has been fruitful and has played an irreplaceable role in boosting bilateral relations. Wu proposed the two legislative bodies make concerted efforts to improve China-Russia exchange mechanisms. Melnikov agreed with Wu, saying the Russian Duma takes its ties with the NPC seriously. Melnikov said the Russian Duma will take practical measures to upgrade bilateral cooperation in trade, economy, science, technology and culture. During his six-day visit to China, Melnikov will also travel to south China's Hainan Province. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier stresses ocean resources development, protection (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang Thursday called for more efforts to tap ocean resources and protect the ocean's environment. In the past five years, China has made remarkable progress in oceanic work, especially in developing an ocean economy, protecting seawater environment and safeguarding orders on the seawater, he said while meeting with outstanding organizations and individuals selected from the national ocean systems. However, the public's demand on seawater products and services has been increasing and the tasks are arduous to protect the ocean's ecology and ensure sustainable development, he said. He urged more efforts be made to implement the scientific outlook on development and accelerate the transformation of economic development patterns in planning the development of the oceans, protecting seawater ecology and improving anti-disaster capacities. ^ top ^

China urges more diplomatic efforts to solve Iranian nuclear issue (Xinhua)
A senior Chinese diplomat on Thursday urged relevant parties to step up diplomatic efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. "The Iranian nuclear issue is complicated and sensitive, therefore dialogues and negotiation is the only right way to solve the issue, " said Hu Xiaodi, China's permanent representative and ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations in Vienna. Hu welcomed the forthcoming meeting between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany scheduled for next week in Geneva. The resumption of the talks would offer a new opportunity to promote the process of a diplomatic solution, Hu told a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Hu noted that, as a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran enjoyed the right of peaceful use of nuclear energy and at the same time carried corresponding international obligations. "We expect Iran to fully implement relevant resolutions of the Board and the Security Council and strengthen cooperation with the agency, so as to foster the confidence of the international community in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program,“ he added. Hu also urged the IAEA to play a constructive role in implementing safeguards in Iran and promoting a proper solution to the Iranian nuclear issue. ^ top ^

Hopes for limited deal at latest talks on climate change (SCMP)
Prospects for a limited deal at the latest climate talks appeared to brighten with the US and China narrowing differences on a key element: how to monitor greenhouse gas emissions. However, other issues that go to the heart of a new global warming treaty - long-term commitments for cutting emissions - proved stubbornly unmoving, and out of reach for any resolution during the annual two-week conference. Nonetheless, analysts said an understanding on measuring emissions would be an important step that could help break the long-standing deadlock on reducing pollutants that scientists say have caused global temperatures to steadily rise over recent decades. […] The ultimate objective of the talks is a treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, which required 37 nations and the European Union to cut emissions by 5 per cent by 2012. The US rejected the accord, partly because it made no demands on rapidly developing countries like China and India. This week, Japan said it was not interested in negotiating an extension of the Kyoto targets, arguing it was pointless unless the largest polluters also accepted binding targets. China and Brazil led developing nations in saying Japan's refusal may halt work on a global accord to combat warming. "The Kyoto Protocol is the very basis of the framework to address climate change through international co-operation," China's chief negotiator, Su Wei, said. "If the pillar is collapsed, you can guess the consequences." […] Su said the differences with the US over MRV "are not that huge. In general, both countries would like to promote the process" and emerge from Cancun with a deal. He said China had put in place a rigorous system for measuring and assessing its carbon emissions and had no objection if other countries examined its reports. Previously, China said only some of its actions would be open to international scrutiny. US negotiator Jonathan Pershing said this week that the United States and China had "spent a lot of energy in the past month working on those issues where we disagree and trying to resolve them. My sense is we have made progress". ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China sacrifices economic growth to reduce emissions (People's Daily Online)
The U.N. Climate Change Conference was held in Cancun, Mexico on Nov. 29. As an active participant in the meeting, China has made great efforts to promote energy conservation this year even at the cost of slowing economy growth. In October, some of the energy intensive and high-emission enterprises in Guangxi, Hebei and other places received notice from local governments to stop operation. This is one of the important measures taken by government to reach the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) emission reduction targets. This is part of the early warning program of energy conservation. Premier Wen Jiabao said on Sept. 13 in Tianjin while attending the fourth annual Summer Davos that in order to achieve emission reduction targets, "we have developed indicators to reduce high energy-consumption enterprises in the second half, including the elimination of small thermal power plants, small iron and steel plants, cement plants and other high energy-consuming enterprises. We are willing to achieve this goal at the cost of reducing GDP growth rate. " […] Because 2010 is the last year to achieve the 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010) emission reduction targets, governments at all levels are intensifying their efforts. In many areas local governments even stopped the supply of power to energy intensive and high-emission enterprises, or other emergency measures such as shut-down maintenance for those enterprises. […]. During the past five years, the central government invested about 200 billion yuan in energy-saving projects, driving a total investment of about 2 trillion yuan in the whole country for energy saving. […] Li said the new policies effectively promote China's economic development mode and structural adjustment, and slows the shortage of resources and ease environmental damage pressure. In addition, for the development of a low-carbon, circular and green economy, China issued 10 industrial restructuring and revitalization plans, and recently released strategic decisions to accelerate the development of new industries. China plans to use the next 20 years to improve the overall innovation capability and level of industrial development of seven new strategic emerging industries, such as energy-saving environmental protection, information technology and others, in order to reach the world advanced level. Xie said that in the next five years, China will drastically reduce energy consumption intensity, carbon dioxide emissions intensity and emissions of major pollutants as important binding targets and continue to strengthen energy conservation work and accelerate the construction of resource-saving environment-friendly society. ^ top ^

Catholic clergy face crucial choice (SCMP)
For most Catholics, the Christmas season is a time of festivity. But for some clergy on the mainland it could mark the end of what has been years of thawing relations between their church and the Vatican. The clerics will have to decide whether to attend a national congress of Catholics - an event opposed by the Vatican on the grounds that it will breach Catholic doctrine - to be held in Beijing as early as this week. The dispute comes against the background of the state-backed church's ordination of Joseph Guo Jincai as bishop of the Chengde diocese in Hebei earlier this month, which also contradicted the wishes of the Holy See. […] The recent ordination of Guo by eight mainland bishops prompted the Vatican to issue a statement condemning it as "illicit", as they had no papal mandate. The Holy See threatened excommunication for all the bishops involved and accused Beijing of damaging bilateral relations. Observers saw the strongly worded statement as a deterrent to those mainland bishops recognised by the Pope against attempts to maintain good relations with the authorities by co-operating with them. Hardliners on the Vatican side, including outspoken former Hong Kong bishop Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, have long suggested that taking a stance against Beijing's pressure at all costs is better than straying from Catholic doctrine. One reason the Vatican opposes the holding of the congress is that instead of bishops being the ultimate custodians of church affairs, officials of the patriotic association and the government always take the lead. During the months before Guo's ordination, both sides warmed to a compromise in which the association and the bishops' conference would have separate meetings - partially addressing the Vatican's concerns. […] But Beijing's move to ordain Guo was seen by the Vatican as a deliberately provocative move, and it has seriously damaged the mutual goodwill built up in previous rounds of dialogue. Beijing and the Vatican do not have diplomatic relations. Last month, a high-level Vatican commission on China affairs, of which Zen is a member, affirmed its stance that no bishop should attend the congress, although it has made no visible move to reiterate it to individual bishops on the mainland. This apparent lack of action was seen by some Beijing officials as a softening from the commission's hardline statement issued after its plenary session in March, when the Vatican warned that any bishops attending the congress would affect their communion with the Pope. Last month, Liu's supporters started to mobilise the clergy and leaders of lay believers in several provinces, forming delegations to attend the congress. The turnout will be taken by the Vatican and Beijing as a key reference point for their future policies towards each other, as it will serve as a barometer of where the loyalties of the 60-odd mainland bishops lie. ^ top ^

Senior CPC official urges deepened judicial system reform (Global Times)
A senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has called for more efforts to deepen judicial reform in the coming year to better ensure social justice. "The year 2011 is the first year for the country's 12th five-year-program period, and is also a key year for us to improve judicial systems and working systems," Zhou Yongkang, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and secretary of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Central Committee, said Tuesday during a meeting. While urging thorough implementation of various policies of reform put forward this year, Zhou encouraged more opinions and ideas on reform issues for the next year. During the meeting, opinions put forward by the Supreme People's Court were heard regarding the legal procedures for reviewing death sentences, the security system for judicial professionals and the judgment and supervision of people's courts. The meeting also reviewed opinions on procuratorial agencies' legal supervision on civil and administrative lawsuits. ^ top ^

Beijing acts to contain the spread of Aids (SCMP)
The central government has pledged to implement a series of steps to contain the spread of Aids, ranging from providing would-be mothers with free HIV tests to tighter control over blood products. The State Council said after a meeting yesterday that the prevention and control of Aids were vital to public health, the development of the economy and society, Chinese prosperity […] Ahead of World Aids Day tomorrow, the government has promised to provide potential mothers with free tests for HIV-Aids and syphilis. It also vowed to improve the management of blood products to ensure the safety of blood transfusions, a statement released after the State Council meeting said. HIV-tainted blood products have constituted one of the main origins of mainland Aids cases, especially in the central province of Henan. […] Yesterday's statement said the government would also widen its monitoring network to spot as many HIV-positive people as possible, while continuing to promote the application of rapid HIV-infection detection methods at the grass-roots level. […] In the hope of curbing the spread of HIV, drug addicts who are known to be virus carriers would be subjected to forced rehabilitation, community correction and medical treatment, the meeting was told. The statement also said campaigns would be launched to raise public awareness of HIV-Aids, especially among middle school and university students, while authorities would spare no effort in stepping up crackdowns on drug trafficking and prostitution. The government will add more HIV-Aids medicines to basic medical insurance to ease the financial burden on HIV-Aids patients, while also boosting the use of traditional Chinese medicine in the treatment of HIV-Aids, it said. The central government will also roll out more compulsory programmes specifically for populations considered at high risk of the disease, including prostitutes and their patrons, and drug-addicts. According to another Xinhua report yesterday, sexual transmission has overtaken drug use as the major cause of the spread of HIV in Yunnan, the southwestern province neighbouring the "Golden Triangle" drug production and trading centre, a region stretching across the mountainous borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos. ^ top ^

China hits five-year plan target for emissions reduction: official (People's Daily Online)
China's chief negotiator to the UN climate change talks in Cancun has said that since 2006 the country has emitted 10 percent less pollution than the previous five years. Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission, made the remarks before leading the 70-strong Chinese government delegation to Mexico for the talks. China had hit its emissions reduction goal a month ahead of schedule and would finish the overall energy target on time, Xie said at a conference held in Beijing on Monday and Tuesday. China's 11th Five-Year Program (2006-2010) on national economic and social development set a target to reduce the total pollutant emissions by 10 percent and energy consumption per 10,000 yuan of gross domestic product (GDP) by 20 percent. China reduced energy consumption by the equivalent of 490 million tonnes of standard coal and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.13 billion tonnes in the four years from 2006 to 2009, but he gave no total figure for how much energy was consumed or for emissions. To achieve the goals, China has conducted a nationwide campaign to eliminate energy-consuming and polluting facilities in industries such as electricity generating, steel making and coal-related production. […] The achievement would influence the restructuring China's economy and promote a more sustainable development pattern as well as deal with global climate change, Xie said. The government was working on energy-saving goals for the country's 12th Five-Year Program (2011-2015) and would make them an important binding target, he said. ^ top ^

China prosecutes 4,328 people for violating IPR (People's Daily Online)
Chinese prosecutors indicted 4,328 people in 2,144 cases of intellectual property rights (IPR) violation and the production and sale of counterfeit or shoddy goods in the first 10 months of 2010, the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) said Wednesday. The SPP also ratified the arrest of 4,104 people in connection with 2,185 such cases during the period, according to SPP data released at a meeting in Beijing on a campaign to crack down on IPR violation. Hu Zejun, acting SPP Deputy Procurator-General, said at the meeting that procuratorates across the country must "seriously crack down" on IPR violations and the crime of producing and selling counterfeit or shoddy goods in the half-year campaign that started in October. The campaign will target IPR violation in the media, publishing, entertainment, high-tech and agriculture industries, Hu said. At the same time, the campaign will focus on cracking down on the IPR violations of books and software, he said. He called for more supervision of civil servants to prevent them from being "protection umbrellas" for such crimes. ^ top ^

Micro blogs 'the next big thing' (China Daily)
Micro blogs are set to become the next battlefield in China's online advertising market as the practice becomes more popular among Chinese citizens. Micro-blogging was still at a nascent stage in China last year, but user numbers are expected to exceed 100 million next year as it is quickly becoming the new marketing tool for multinational companies, such as Nokia, Dell and Lenovo, to promote their brands and products, industry sources say. […] Yang says that because Chinese users are more accepting of this new form of communication compared with Internet users in other countries, the Finnish cell phone maker will increase its investment in marketing Chinese micro blog services in the following years. […] However, the number of micro-blogging users had already surpassed 75 million last month. The Beijing-based research firm forecast that the number of China's micro-bloggers will reach 145 million by the end of next year. "The increasing number of mobile Internet users will make micro-blogging more common among the Chinese," said Yu Ming, an analyst for IT analysis company Dratio. "With the number of Chinese users of the service continuing to grow, advertisements through micro blogs will become a necessity" as more companies start to realize the commercial value of micro-blogging services, Yu said. ^ top ^

Top economist barred from leaving country (SCMP)
Prominent economist Mao Yushi was barred from leaving China, for the first time in many years, apparently because the authorities fear he might attend the ceremony next week in Oslo to mark the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed dissident Liu Xiaobo. Ai Weiwei, an outspoken artist, said he was also prevented from leaving the country just 30 minutes before boarding a plane to South Korea yesterday. Mao signed Charter 08, a human rights manifesto co-authored by Liu, and voiced his support for Liu, condemning the mainland authorities after they jailed Liu for 11 years for "inciting subversion of state power". Mao said he planned to leave for Singapore on Wednesday morning to attend an international conference on co-operation in the Himalayan River Basin countries, but he was stopped by immigration officers at Beijing Capital International Airport (SEHK: 0694). […] The 81-year-old said he was not planning to go to Oslo but a police official in Beijing's Xicheng district, where he lives, told him to expect to be barred from leaving the country. Ai said he cleared customs and was waiting for his plane at the Beijing airport when two border control policemen came over and told him he could not leave. […] He said he believed the restriction was linked to the Nobel ceremony but he had no plans to go to Oslo. […] Mao said he was told by property tycoon Wang Shi, the chairman of China Vanke, that Wang was also barred from leaving the country recently. However, a spokesman for Wang denied that was the case. ^ top ^

Catholic seminarians mount rare protest (SCMP)
Dozens of students at a Catholic seminary in Hebei province staged a rare protest yesterday outside a government office against the appointment of a non-Catholic government official to the school's leadership. The show of defiance raised eyebrows, as the seminary is operated by the government-backed church. It added to the mounting tension before a key national congress in Beijing on Tuesday, when the mainland church will select its new leaders. The Vatican opposes the congress, saying it breaches Catholic doctrine about bishops' autonomy.

Sino-Vatican relations were already strained after Beijing's unilateral ordination of a bishop in Hebei last month. Brandishing slogans and wearing their white uniforms, about 100 seminarians studying for the priesthood at the Catholic Theological and Philosophical Seminary of Hebei in Shijiazhuang staged a silent protest outside the offices of the Hebei Ethnic and Religious Affairs Bureau from early yesterday morning. They demanded that the government remove the seminary's newly appointed deputy rector. […] Bureau officials said they were negotiating with the protesters but refused to give further details. […] Church insiders said the government had promised earlier to remove Tang in light of the strong protests by members of the seminary. But the possible resolution was thwarted after Beijing's ordination of Joseph Guo Jincai as bishop of the Chengde diocese last month. Some of the eight bishops who took part in what the Vatican called an "illicit" ordination ceremony are directors of the seminary. […] Yesterday's open protest by Catholic seminarians against the authorities was the first since January 2000, when more than 150 seminarians at the National Seminary in Beijing refused to attend a ceremony in which five bishops were ordained by the government without papal approval. Many of those who took part in that boycott were dismissed from the seminary. ^ top ^



41 students injured in Xinjiang school stampede (People's Daily Online)
At least 41 young students were injured, seven seriously, in a stampede on Monday at a primary school in Aksu city, the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, local health authorities said. Zhang Yuping, director of the local medical emergency center, told China Daily that more than 170 students from the Aksu No 5 Primary School were rushed to hospital after the incident. No deaths were reported, but local health authorities sent medical teams who specialize in head injuries, chest trauma and intensive care procedures to Aksu, Xinhua News Agency reported. A staff member with the school's moral education office, who did not want to be named, said the students were going downstairs to the playground for after-class exercises when some lost their footing, triggering the noontime stampede. Students were squeezed against the handrails, and some were forced by momentum to trod on others who had fallen on the stairs between the first and second floor of the main teaching building, he said. The steps on the stairs were about 1.5 meters wide, he added. […] Zhang said the medical emergency center sent five ambulances that made 12 round trips to take the injured to hospital after the center received the first call for help at 12:09 pm. […] The injured students are being treated at Aksu's No 1 People's Hospital. Authorities have launched an investigation and ordered safety inspections to be carried out on schools. ^ top ^



KMT may cool slightly towards mainland (SCMP)
The Kuomintang victory in Saturday's mayoral polls in Taiwan does not guarantee an easy ride for President Ma Ying-jeou in his re-election bid two years from now. But, analysts say, it will encourage the ruling KMT, led by Ma, to continue its engagement policy with the mainland, though perhaps slow it a bit. In the weekend polls to elect mayors of five special municipalities, the KMT barely held onto three areas it controlled - Taipei and Taichung cities and Taipei county, which will now be renamed Xinbei city. […] The result was a big warning to the KMT, which had an easy win over the DPP in the 2008 presidential election, in which Ma won 1.1 million votes more than the DPP's Frank Hsieh Chang-ting in the five municipalities. Even KMT secretary-general King Pu-tsung sounded worried. "The sliding vote share signals that the party needs to be on high alert from now on," he said. Some KMT legislators said mayoral elections were different from presidential elections in that the former focused on local administrative issues and the latter on national ones. But Liu Bi-rong, political science professor at Soochow University, said: "No one can deny that the KMT is losing its support, and this will make Ma's re-election bid difficult." […] Referring to the widening wealth gap, he said: "Although the KMT has bragged a lot about the economic achievements, including those earned through co-operation with the mainland, such achievements cannot be felt by the ordinary public." The wealth created by economic co-operation has been mostly enjoyed by the wealthy. "Economic exchanges between the two sides will continue steadily," Liu said. "But as to political dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, I don't think it will take place ahead of the 2012 presidential elections." Ma has opted for engagement with the mainland since he took office in 2008. […] The KMT also won 130 seats, the rest shared by smaller parties and independent candidates. ^ top ^

Chinese Mainland vows to deepen cross-Strait ties after mayoral elections (Xinhua)
The Chinese mainland will continue working with Taiwan to expand and deepen cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation, a spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said Sunday. Commenting on mayoral elections in the island's five cities, which concluded Saturday, spokeswoman Fan Liqing said the mainland had "paid close attention" to the results. The mainland would steadily promote cross-Strait relations and improve the living standards of people on both sides, she said. "We hope Taiwan society is stable and people live and work in peace," she said. Fan said that over the past two years, improved cross-Strait relations had brought tangible benefits to people on both sides, and the peaceful development of relations had become common ground. Of the five mayoral elections, the ruling Kuomintang won three while the opposition Democratic Progressive Party won two. ^ top ^

Chen begins jail sentence but keeps his influence on pro-independence camp (SCMP)
Disgraced former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian yesterday began serving a 19-year sentence for corruption, but analysts said he would continue to have an influence on the island's pro-independence camp. Chen, 60, who became the first former leader of the island to be jailed, was convicted last month of corruption while president from 2000 to 2008. Yesterday, he was taken from the detention centre, where he had been kept since December 2008, to the Taipei Penitentiary. Chen, known as prisoner number 1020, was first sentenced to life imprisonment by the District Court in September last year, but the High Court reduced the sentence to 20 years in prison in June. […] Chen's office yesterday also announced the formation of a group to promote the "core values" of the previously established One China, One Taiwan State alliance and to seek domestic and foreign support for its case that the former leader's conviction was politically motivated. […] "The One China, One Taiwan State alliance, which represents hardline pro-independence values, will continue to win support from members hoping to safeguard Taiwan's sovereignty," Shih said, and would have an impact on next year's legislative elections. Already, some radical DPP members have called for the resignation of the party's moderate chairwoman, Dr Tsai Ing-wen, who they believe has moved the party away from its staunch pro-independence stand in favour of pleasing middle-of-the-road voters. ^ top ^



China puts 8.5 million tonnes of grain reserve on market this week (Global Times)
China's top economic planner said on Friday that the country released 8.5 million tonnes of state-reserved grain and cooking oil from November 23 to 26 to ensure market supply meets the demand and to stabilize prices. A total of 25.5 million tonnes of state-stockpiled grain and cooking oil had been released on the market since the end of October, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) said in a statement on its website. These stockpiles included 5.4 million tonnes of corn, 13.5 million tonnes of wheat, 6.3 million tonnes of rice and 300,000 tonnes of rapeseed oil, the NDRC said. […] The Chinese government has also been trying to boost agricultural production, increase supplies of farm produce and energy and crack down on speculation. It also said it would enforce price control when it was necessary. Also, the People's Bank of China, the central bank, raised benchmark interest rates and hiked the reserve requirement ratio for banks twice in a month. ^ top ^

China's November CPI to reach 4.7 pct, bank report says (People's Daily Online)
China's consumer price index (CPI), the main gauge of inflation, is likely to accelerate from October's 4.4 percent to reach 4.7 percent in November, a report issued by the Bank of Communications said Tuesday. The increase has mainly been fueled by rising food prices, which have begun to decline since the mid-November as the government adopted a number of anti-inflation measures, the report said. It is predicted that December's CPI figure would slow from November, and the nation's CPI in 2010 would stand at 3.2 percent, exceeding the annual target of 3 percent. Additionally, upward pressure is still expected on commodities prices in the first quarter of next year, as the Spring Festival holidays are expected to boost demand and chilly weather might harm the production and transportation of agricultural products, the report said. The report predicted that the momentum of price hikes would be effectively curbed after the second quarter of 2011, as a result of multiple government measures to stabilize prices. The Chinese government has enacted a series of measures to combat price hikes, ranging from boosting agricultural production, clamping down on farm produce speculation and tightening hefty liquidity. ^ top ^

Measures 'ease food price surge' (China Daily)
The trend of surging food prices, which account for more than one third of the consumer inflation basket, softened in late November after authorities took measures to curb inflation.

But some analysts warned that the respite is only temporary and high inflation will remain if the government relies on just administrative measures and does not significantly raise interest rates. The government introduced a series of measures, including subsidies, ensuring supplies and punishing hoarders, to control rising prices in November. From Nov 22 to 28, average wholesale prices of 18 kinds of vegetables declined 5.9 percent week-on-week, compared to a 2.6 percent drop for the previous week, according to data released by the Ministry of Commerce on Wednesday. […]The State Council, China's Cabinet, on Nov 20 ordered local governments to take steps to rein in surging food prices. Local authorities were encouraged to boost production to ensure supplies were adequate, while checking irrational demand and punishing illegal activities that pushed prices up. Other measures included reducing the cost of agricultural products and providing temporary subsidies. […] China's CPI surged 4.4 percent in October from a year earlier, reaching a 25-month high, stoking inflation fears. The central bank has raised the reserve requirement, or proportion of money banks must keep as reserves, twice, each by 50 basis points within nine days in November to soak up excess liquidity and check inflation, after an interest rate hike by 25 points for the first time in three years. ^ top ^

China's growing diamond market catches more international eyes (Global Times)
China's import volume of polished diamonds is now the world's second largest, according to the report from the People's Daily Online Wednesday, citing information from the China Diamond Conference in Shanghai. From January to September, 2010, the volume of US, Chinese mainland and Japan were of $3.1 billion, $0.9 billion and $0.51 billion respectively, according to the report, The international diamond industry is generally optimistic about China's diamond market, deeming that the next 10 years will be a golden development period for the country's diamond industry. China has been in a fast growing phase and is playing a more important role in the growth of global diamond market, said an official from Rio Tinto, according to the report. Rio Tinto, according to reports from the Xinhua News Agency, has built a strategic partnership with Chow Tai Fook to jointly develop the sector in China. "The emerging consumers of middle and higher classes in China will be the preferred group," said Rio Tinto. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

China proposes emergency consultations on Korean Peninsula tensions (Xinhua)
China on Sunday proposed emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks next month as tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula. "The Chinese side, after careful deliberation, proposes emergency consultations among the heads of delegation to the Six-Party Talks in early December in Beijing to exchange views on major issues of concern to the parties at present," said Wu Dawei, Chinese special representative for the Korean Peninsula affairs. It is China's latest move with regard to tensions on the peninsula, following the exchange of artillery fire Tuesday between the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). […] China has repeatedly called for calm and restraint, urging the resumption of the stalled Six-Party Talks among China, the DPRK, the United States, the ROK, Russia and Japan. Wu told a press conference the consultations would aim to properly address the situation on the Korean Peninsula and were in accordance with the Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks issued on Sept. 19, 2005. The statement reaffirmed the goal of verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. "A series of complicated factors have recently emerged on the Korean Peninsula. The international community, particularly members of the Six-Party Talks, is deeply concerned," said Wu. It was necessary for the heads of delegations "to exchange views on these major issues and make due contributions to maintaining peace and stability on the peninsula and easing tensions in northeast Asia," he said. Wu said the proposed consultations did not mean the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, but he hoped they could "help create conditions" for the resumption of the talks. The talks, launched in 2003, stalled when the DPRK quit in April 2009. Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo met with President Lee Myung-bak on Sunday in Seoul. Stressing the situation on the peninsula was worrisome, the two sides agreed the parties concerned should make joint efforts to engage in serious contact and dialogue to ease tensions and safeguard overall peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia. ^ top ^

DPRK calls U.S.-ROK naval drill a new provocation (People's Daily Online)
The ongoing joint naval drill of the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK) is a fresh provocation to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula, a leading newspaper of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) said on Monday. The four-day exercises, launched on Sunday in the waters west of the peninsula, are a "criminal move" that may bring the situation in the region to "an explosion," the Rodong Sinmun warned in a commentary. Although the DPRK and the international community hope to ease up the tensions on the Korean Peninsula and keep peace there, the United States and the ROK rudely challenged the wish and tried to ignite the war by pouring oil on the flames, it said. The DPRK, which won't be frightened by the naval drill involving a U.S. aircraft carrier, has made all preparations to deal with all kinds of provocation, the commentary said. The DPRK wishes peace, but never fears war, it added. Tensions persist on the Korean Peninsula after the DPRK and the ROK exchanged artillery fire on Nov. 23, leaving four South Koreans dead and more than a dozen others injured. ^ top ^

China, DPRK pledge to cement legislative ties (Xinhua)
China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) Wednesday pledged to cement legislative ties. The pledge came out of talks in Beijing between Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of China Wu Bangguo and Chairman of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly (SPA) Choe Tae Bok. In his opening remarks, Wu said the meeting was his third with Choe this year. The first meeting took place when DPRK leader Kim Jong Il visited China in May. Choe was then a part of Kim's entourage. […] Saying China and DPRK are good neighbors, Wu noted that China-DPRK relations have withstood the tests of changes in the international arena. China-DPRK relations have witnessed significant progress this year, Wu said, citing DPRK leader Kim Jong Il's two visits to China during which Chinese President Hu and Kim reached a number of important agreements. Wu said it is the unswerving principle of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government to cement and develop friendly ties with the DPRK. China hopes to work with the DPRK to carry out the consensus of their leaders while maintaining high-level exchanges and stepping up strategic consultation, Wu said. Choe hailed China's remarkable achievements of the reform and opening-up and China's modernization drive, expressing hope the Chinese people will make further progress in building socialism with Chinese characteristics. […] Choe began a five-day visit to China Tuesday. After spending time in Beijing, he will travel to northeast China's Jilin Province. ^ top ^

China expects Washington trilateral meeting to ease tensions on Korean Peninsula (Xinhua)
China on Thursday said it expected a trilateral meeting in Washington next week to ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula, promote dialogue rather than inflame the situation. "As the situation on the Korean Peninsula is highly complicated and sensitive, we expect the meeting to ease tensions and promote dialogue, rather than heighten tensions and intensify confrontation," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said in a statement Thursday night. Jiang made the statement, referring to a meeting among the foreign ministers of the United States, Japan and Republic of Korea, which is scheduled for next Monday in Washington. ^ top ^

Russia ready to join emergency talks on Korean Peninsula situation (People's Daily Online)
Russia said Thursday that it was ready to join the emergency six-party consultations on the situation in the Korean Peninsula. "Unfortunately, our concern about the events on the Korean Peninsula has not been lifted. That's why we will take part in the consultations when they are organized," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexei Sazonov. "Participants in the format are holding diplomatic consultations to coordinate the possibility of such negotiations and their time and date," he added. Wu Dawei, China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs, proposed last Sunday to host an emergency meeting in Beijing among the six states involved. The six-party talks include China, Russia, the United States, Japan, South Korea and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). South Korea and the United States on Wednesday concluded a four-day joint naval drill in waters west of the divided peninsula after the exchange of artillery fire last week between South Korea and the DPRK. ^ top ^



State Budget for 2011 Approved (Montsame)
At its Thursday plenary session, parliament discussed a draft amendment to the law on mineral resources and draft law on the state budget of Mongolia for 2011.
At the beginning of the session, MPs got acquainted with proposals and conclusions, drawn up by parliamentary Standing Committee on economy for the final reading of a draft law on amending the Law on mineral resource. Since there were no questions or clarification, the draft was passed by 79.1 percent of the total number of MPs. The same day, parliament held a second reading of the draft of the united budget for the year 2011. According to the expected execution of this budget, a growth of 7.5 percent is expected, but because of possible complications of the meteorological conditions a sharp decline is likely to take place in the agricultural sector. In manufacturing and service industries, a growth will go beyond 10 percent. According to preliminary estimates of international organizations, a rate of copper on the world market is to be relatively stable that will positively affect the economic sector of our country and lead to economic growth. Thus, according to preliminary estimates outlined in the draft budget, the GDP in 2011 will be 7 836.4 milliard tugrug, real GDP 4 128 milliard tugrug or real economic growth - 8.5 per cent in 2012, it will be 7.8 percent and 20.8 percent in 2013. Here, the inflation rates from 2011 to 2013 are going to hold back within 8-9 percent.

After the second reading, parliament made some changes to the draft of the state budget for 2011, also to the draft Budget, the budget of the Fund for Human Development for the next year. So, according to the changes, the total amount of income of the budget for 2011 will be 3 milliard 304.6, or 42.2 percent of WFP, the total cost--4 084.1 mln tugrug, or 52.1% of GDP, the total deficit - 779.5 mln tugrug or 9.9 percent of GDP. Changes in indicators of increased deficit by 1.3 percent. In connection with the discussion of State budget for next year, parliament held a first reading of the Great State Hural Resolution on the discussion of certain measures on the issue. Extending the third and fourth reading of the above drafts parliament voted on each provision of these drafts. Thus, MPs voted 87.5-97.5 percent for their adoption at a plenary session on Thursday. ^ top ^

Mongolia May Send More Troops to Afghan (UB Post)
President of Mongolia Elbegdorj Tsakhia addressed at the general session of NATO Summit of Heads of State and Government on Afghanistan, which took place in Lisbon, Portugal on November 20, 2010. Mandated by the United Nations, NATO is leading peacekeeping operations and restoration works in Afghanistan. To coordinate the operations and works, the nations contributing to the United Nations mandated, NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) organize summit annually. Mongolia has been sending troops to Afghanistan since 2003. Mongolia officially became the 45th contributing nation to ISAF by agreeing with NATO on legal and other issues in relation to sending troops in March 2010. There are 140 thousand troops in Afghanistan on duty. Most of the troops are from the United States and other countries sent over 40 thousand troops. In the general session of the summit President of Mongolia Elbegdorj, who is also Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Mongolia, stated that “Mongolia will contribute further to stabilize Afghan situation which has become one of the core of Eurasian regional security and organized crimes such as drug trafficking.” “Mongolia can be a development example for Afghanistan,” noted. The President of Mongolia informed noted that there are over 200 Mongolian troops are in Afghanistan and they have been fulfilling their duties to assist the people of Afghanistan with honor. He announced that Mongolia is going to study the possibilities to increase its troops in Afghanistan by sending army engineers, border patrol experts, rescue specialists specialized in calamity rescue, and organizing trainings by the experts and specialists in Afghanistan and the participants of the summit and the Secretary Generals of the United Nations and NATO received the news with gratitude. ^ top ^

The 2010 Census Results to be Announced in July 2011 (UB Post)
The 2010 Population and housing census was conducted successfully between November 11 and 17 2010 according to the Population and housing census law of Mongolia and the Parliament resolution no. 88 issued in 2009. The resident population of Mongolia, staff of diplomatic corps and international organizations present in Mongolia and their family members, citizens residing abroad for more than six months, and foreigners and stateless persons living in the country for long period have been counted. The online counting of Mongolian citizens working and studying abroad was carried out from October 10 to November 21 2010. Some 30000 people took part in the counting process of which about 14000 represented the census bureau at all levels, heads, members and employees of temporary bureaus and the rest of 16000 were enumerators and examiners who visited households to collect data. The questionnaire forms have been translated into Russian, Chinese, English, Spanish and Korean languages respectively to enable counting of foreign residents who reside in Mongolia for long period with help of 120 interpreters. As of November 19, 2010, 714`784 households and 2`650`673 individuals filled in the census questionnaire forms. These numbers do not include the data in respect of Mongolian citizens counted online or by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Mongolia, military personnel, suspects, prisoners and convicts counted through the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs and the Ministry of Defense of Mongolia. ^ top ^

License issue may have serious repercussions (
The Mongolian government dropped a bombshell on the international mining industry by suspending 254 gold mining licenses last week. The Ministry of Minerals and Energy revoked the licenses citing “environmental concerns”, and hinted that others licenses may also follow. The government is providing compensation to investors affected. The licenses are being revoked under a 2009 law which protects Mongolia's forests and river basins. Mongolians consider the ground sacred and are reluctant to dig, fearing it may upset the balance of nature. Living close to nature also, as many Mongolians do, means they have an in-built awareness of the environment and are highly sensitive to damaging or polluting the land. Proposed golf courses for example, a lucrative form of investment in nearby China, are banned in Mongolia due to concerns over the use of fertilizers and weed killers. The license issue may have serious repercussions if it spreads beyond gold. Several international mining companies have recently established operations in Mongolia and have gone on to IPOs in Hong Kong and Canada. The government says it will release a full list of companies affected. Analysts warn of the dangers of investing too much in emerging countries such as Mongolia due to the dangers of government U-turns over investment policies. This is not the first time the government has banned mining companies. Following a deal in which a five-year, 100 percent tax break was agreed with one of the large international mining companies for the extraction of coal, the Mongolian government was not amused when a project expected to last for 20 years and produce tax revenues for 15 of them was fully completed in less than five years, leaving the government with an empty mine and no income. International mining companies have not always behaved well in Mongolia, and this, coupled with an emerging regulatory environment, has lead to stresses. ^ top ^

Government steps to regulate “ninja” mining (
The Government meeting yesterday instructed the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy to devise ways to implement the order to regulate artisanal or “ninja” mining of small mines. The enforcement of the regulations will be the responsibility of the State Professional Monitoring Agency and Governors of aimags and districts. The order, covering 11 chapters and 36 provisions, is designed to restrict the scope of ninja activities, with a total ban on mining in water areas, and of ores containing radioactive elements, and of oil and natural gas. It calls for such miners to form cooperatives and to work under legal agreements covering areas and means of mining ores, especially gold, and their subsequent processing and sale. A cooperative will get five hectares at most. It must have at least five members, none of whom can be included in another cooperative. Any agreement can be cancelled, even after it had been duly signed, if inspection reveals any damage to nature. Members of a cooperative failing to conduct proper post-mining reclamation will not be allowed to join a new cooperative. ^ top ^


Gabrielle Tschopp
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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