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
  17-21.1.2011, No. 355  
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DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

China, Senegal pledge to maintain good momentum in developing bilateral ties (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade have pledged to maintain the good momentum in the development of bilateral ties. During their meeting here on Friday, Hui said since the resumption of diplomatic ties between both countries five years ago, the friendly cooperation between China and Senegal has been showing good momentum, with both sides working together to push forward pragmatic cooperation in the economy and trade and Senegal becoming China's important cooperation partner in Africa. Hui said the national Grand Theater funded and constructed by China, the rehabilitation of regional stadiums and the building of hospitals in Senegal will become new symbols of the friendship between the two countries. […] He said China is willing to continue working together with Senegal to further strengthen friendly ties, tap potentials of pragmatic cooperation, expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges and push the bilateral ties to a new high. […] During their meeting, the two also exchanged views on the ties between China and Africa. Hui noted that the friendly cooperation between China and Africa is the important cornerstone of China's foreign policies. He said since the establishment of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum 10 years ago, the forum has been developing and improving, becoming a flag to guide the development of ties between China and Africa and a successful example for the cooperation between the world and Africa. Echoing the Chinese vice premier, the Senegalese president said his country is pleased that China is playing a bigger role the international arena. Wade said Senegal is willing to strengthen cooperation and coordination with China, among others, in building a just and fair governing order of the world. ^ top ^

China-ASEAN FTA adds new vitality into Sino-Philippine economic and trade cooperation: official (Xinhua)
China-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) has added new vitality into Sino-Philippine economic and trade cooperation, a Chinese official said. The CAFTA, the biggest among developing countries, has significantly promoted the economic and trade ties between China and ASEAN countries -- Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam since its implementation about one year ago, statistics showed. According to the figures released by the General Administration of Customs of China, from January to November in 2010, bilateral trade between China and ASEAN totaled 263.01 billion U.S. dollars, achieving an year-on-year increase of 40.6 percent. During the period, China exported commodities with a total value of 124.45 billion U.S. dollars to ASEAN, securing an increase of 33.6 percent, while ASEAN's export to China amounted to 138.56 billion U.S. dollars, increasing by 47.5 percent.

[…] Currently, China is the third largest trade partner of the Philippines, while the Philippines ranks the sixth among ASEAN countries in terms of trade ties with China, said Wu. […] Since the free trade zone was formally established on Jan. 1, 2010, China's average tariff on ASEAN commodities has plummeted from 9.8 percent to 0.1 percent, while Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand have slashed their average tariff on Chinese commodities from 12.8 percent to 0.6 percent. The other four ASEAN members -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam are expected to realize zero tariff on 90 percent of Chinese commodities by 2015. "China and ASEAN have by and large realized free trade, which will surely help level up the flowing efficiency of production factors such as fund, technology and talented people. In the past year, trade and investment growth sped up and economic integration deepened between China and the Philippines, benefiting companies and peoples of both countries," said Wu. According to an Asian Development Bank (ADB) study conducted early 2010, many responding Philippine companies said they deem the CAFTA as one of the most important trade agreements for the Philippines. However, the study discovered that only around 20 percent of Philippine companies were availing of free trade agreements' zero tariff benefits -- lower than the average 28 percent in East Asia. ^ top ^

Soft power diplomacy to drive China-Africa relations in 2011 (People's Daily Online)
Use of soft power diplomacy will continue to be a key driver of China's strengthened relations with Africa and likely to propel China to higher global economic and military influence it currently commands, analysts say. "China is a major global economic player and while it's not possible to know how far the use of soft power can propel it," said Dr Moses Kavanga, executive director of East Africa Institute of Political Studies. "In Africa, soft power has worked so well for China," Kavanga told Xinhua in an exclusive interview ahead of the Chinese leader' s visit to United States this week. […] Analysts said the soft power partly defined by respect of the diversity of Africa's people and their diplomacy is winning the Chinese more friends in Africa. "Kenyans are pleased with the way Chinese contractors are building our roads. Kenyans are accustomed to delays and poor workmanship but the Chinese are doing perfect job and are very timely," said Ndung'u Wainaina, executive director of the Kenya- based International Center for Policy and Conflict. Diplomats define soft power as the ability to obtain what one wants through co-option and attraction rather than use of coercion and payment. In his book, "The Rise of China's Soft Power", author Joseph S. Nye, who is also a Harvard University Distinguished Service Professor, said in a global information age, soft sources of power such as culture, political values, and diplomacy are part of what makes a great power. "Success depends not only on whose army wins, but also on whose story wins," he said in the book. China is careful to support African-led efforts to develop sound governance and sustainable development throughout the continent," the book added. ^ top ^

Hu embarks on epic trip to US (Global Times)
A day before departing for a state visit to Washington, Chinese President Hu Jintao shared his thoughts on Sino-US relations and regional issues Monday. "We both stand to gain from a sound Sino-US relationship, and to lose from confrontation," China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs quoted Hu as saying to the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, in a rare interview with Western media. The two countries should take a series of steps to enhance strategic mutual trust, abandon Cold War mentalities, respect each other's sovereignty and make constant efforts to expand their converging interests, Hu said. With an eye on the future, Hu also outlined new areas of expanded cooperation, including new energy sources, infrastructure development, aviation and space exploration. […] Regarding sensitive issues that could hinder Sino-US relations, Hu acknowledged their existence, but urged the two sides to properly manage them. […] Responding to whether the appreciation of the yuan could curb China's inflation, Hu responded that Beijing had adopted a package plan to curb inflation, including interest rate adjustment. Washington has lambasted the Chinese government for deliberately keeping its currency low to secure an unfair trade advantage. Rejecting the accusation, Beijing blames the US for causing the trade imbalance by restricting exports of high-tech products to China. US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner offered a new slant to defend Washington's stance last week, saying that keeping the yuan from appreciating would lead to increased inflation in China. […] Regarding the issue, Hu said, "We have adopted a managed floating exchange rate regime based on market supply and demand with reference to a basket of currencies. Changes in exchange rate are a result of multiple factors, and inflation can hardly be the main factor in determining the exchange rate policy." Responding to questions about making the yuan an international currency, Hu said this would be a fairly long process, but that concrete steps were being taken, such as the ongoing pilot programs for renminbi settlement of cross-border trade and investment transactions. Hu reiterated Beijing's stance on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, renewing his call for diplomatic efforts to solve tensions between the two Koreas. […] This year also marks the 40th anniversary of the famous "ping-pong diplomacy," the first step toward opening the door to Sino-US exchanges. In January 1979, then-Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping made a historic visit to the US, less than a month after the two sides established diplomatic ties. Separately, Hu will travel to Chicago on Thursday to meet with business representatives, with one major deal expected to be the sale of Boeing jets to China. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese president starts state visit to U.S (Xinhua)
Chinese President Hu Jintao landed in the U.S. capital of Washington Tuesday for a four-day state visit aimed at enhancing the positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship between China and the United States. "I look forward to having in-depth discussions with President (Barack) Obama on China-U.S. relations and major international and regional issues of shared interest," President Hu said in a statement released upon his arrival at the airport. He said the purpose of his visit is to enhance mutual trust, promote friendship, deepen cooperation and move forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century. [...] During the visit, his second to the United States as head of state of China, President Hu and his U.S. counterpart Obama will map out a blueprint together for China-U.S. cooperation for the new era, Chinese officials said. The two leaders are expected to have extensive and in-depth discussions on major topics of mutual interest when they meet for talks at the White House on Wednesday. Before their Wednesday talks, Obama will host a small private dinner in the Old Family Room at the White House for President Hu Tuesday evening, hours after the Chinese leader's arrival. [...] The Chinese leader will be welcomed at a formal ceremony given by Obama at the White House ahead of their talks. Obama will host Hu for an official state dinner on Wednesday night. According to Chinese officials, during his visit, President Hu will meet with people from various walks of life in the United States, and elaborate on the domestic and foreign policies of the Chinese government and on how to advance China-U.S. relations in the new era. The two sides are expected to sign a series of important cooperation documents and announce a host of new cooperation projects in economy and trade, energy, environmental protection, infrastructure development, science and technology and people-to-people exchanges. [...] However, the development of Sino-U.S. relations is not always smooth. Issues related to Taiwan, Tibet, RMB exchange rate and trade have become obstacles to the stable and healthy development of the bilateral ties in recent years. [...] All these issues and disagreements need to be "appropriately managed so as to maintain the sustained, sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations," Cui said. In Washington, President Hu will also meet some members of the U.S. Congress and business leaders. From Washington, the Chinese leader will travel to Chicago to continue his state visit. [...] Hu paid his first state visit to the United States in April 2006. ^ top ^

China, Russia to hold fifth strategic security negotiations (Xinhua)
China and Russia will hold their fifth round of strategic security talks in Russia next week, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said Tuesday. [...] During his visit, Dai will exchange views with senior Russian officials on important international and regional issues of common concern as well as strengthening China-Russia strategic coordination, Hong said. A focus is to make reality the consensus of deepening the strategic partnership of coordination reached by Chinese and Russian leaders, Hong said. "We believe that the fifth round of China-Russia strategic security negotiations will yield important results," Hong said. The mechanism of China-Russia strategic security talks was initiated by leaders of the two countries in 2005. It is an important channel for both parties to exchange views on international affairs and bilateral relations, Hong said. ^ top ^

China sees importance of trilateral cooperation with Japan, ROK (People's Daily Online)
Trilateral cooperation among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK) has become an important platform for expanding common interests and friendship, said a foreign ministry spokesman here Tuesday. China will work with Japan and the ROK to make good use of the platform as a way to safeguard regional peace and build a harmonious Asia, Hong Lei told a regular press conference. Hong made the remarks when asked to comment on the trilateral cooperation in 2010. Last Year, China, Japan and the ROK adopted the "Trilateral Cooperation Vision 2020," a document outlining the vision for developing relations among the three nations over the next decade. Pragmatic cooperation has been expanded rapidly in fields including trade, logistics, environmental protection and cultural exchanges, he said. The joint study on the China-Japan-ROK free trade area (FTA) by the government, industry and academia was progressing well, he said. The three nations have agreed to set up a trilateral cooperation secretariat in Incheon, west of Seoul, in 2011 and an ambassadorial-level ROK diplomat will first take the rotating lead role as secretary-general, Hong added. In response to a question on the date of the fifth foreign ministers' meeting of China, Japan and the ROK in Japan this year, Hong said the schedule of the meeting was still being considered by the three sides. ^ top ^

Hu, Obama set new tone for relations (People's Daily Online)
Presidents of China and the U.S. pledged to increase cooperation between the world's two major powers, as they both believe the countries have enormous stake in each other's success. Although differences remain between Washington and Beijing, President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama said that they ought to nurture better relations, for the benefit of a stable and secure world. Speaking at a welcome ceremony at the White House Wednesday, President Hu said it is China's hope to usher for a new chapter "in cooperation as partners" with the United States, as the two countries "share broad common interests and important common responsibilities." [...] President Hu told a news conference that China's development benefits all, including the United States. Chinese economists are already unhappy with U.S. Federal Reserve's excessive monetary easing policy, particularly the so-called "quantitative easing" policy, which has weakened U.S. dollar, leading to commodity price rises across-the-board and elevated inflation in the emerging economies, including China. On a cold Wednesday morning, President Obama welcomed President Hu to the White House with an elaborate color-guard ceremony that included a colonial fife and drum band and a 21-gun salute. The White House announced shortly after the welcome ceremony that the China's government had agreed to buy 200 airplanes from Boeing in a $19 billion deal, and multi-billion-dollar joint project to develop new energies. [...] President Hu used his remarks to call for the United States and China to "adopt a long-term perspective, seek common ground while reserving differences and work together to achieve sustained, sound and steady development of our relations." However, Obama sought to re-emphasize American views of human rights. "History shows that societies are more harmonious, nations are more successful and the world is more just, when the rights and responsibilities of all nations and all people are upheld, including the universal rights of every human being." [...] Obama began his remarks to reporters Wednesday by harking back to the visit of another Chinese leader, Mr. Deng Xiaoping, in the winter of 1979, when President Jimmy Carter was in the White House, and the two countries engaged in what Obama called "the historic normalization" of relations. "What Deng Xiaoping said long ago remains true today: There are still great possibilities for cooperation between our two countries," Obama said. "The 30 years since (Deng's visit) has been a time of growing exchanges and understanding," Obama said. "With this visit, we can lay the foundation for the next 30 years." Obama touted U.S.-China relations: "We have an enormous stake in each other's success.". ^ top ^

Activists urge Obama to raise human rights (SCMP)
US President Barack Obama came under increasing pressure on Tuesday to publicly speak out against Beijing's harsh treatment of political and religious dissidents during a state visit by President Hu Jintao. Dissidents representing China's minority Uygurs, Tibetans, imprisoned democracy advocates and opponents of forced abortion all urged Obama to address their concerns both publicly and privately during Hu's four-day state visit, which began on Tuesday night. Hundreds of Chinese and Tibetan protesters loudly demonstrated outside the White House. [...] Obama has had a mixed relationship with human rights advocates and other traditionally liberal groups that have been generally supportive of his agenda. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs defended the state dinner with Hu, saying Obama believed it was important to put himself in forums that would allow him to discuss issues like human rights directly with those making the decisions. Gibbs said Obama would raise "his direct concerns on the issues of human rights" when he met Hu. [...] Tibetan protesters marched up and down the pavement outside the White House under an icy rain as they brandished placards reading: "Tibet will be free" and called on Obama to raise the issue with Hu. Tibetan activists have planned three days of protests in Washington during Hu's visit. Clinton said last week that human rights were at "the heart" of US diplomacy, and stressed that China, a founding member of the United Nations, "has committed to respecting the rights of all its citizens". ^ top ^

Feel-good factor replaces mutual mistrust (SCMP)
With President Hu Jintao heading to Chicago today to round off his state visit to the United States, both he and his host, US President Barack Obama, have sought to couch the bilateral relationship in new terms, saying a "new era" is being ushered in. Whether the palpable good mood can propel the often-fragile relationship forward remains in question. But analysts say it at least looks like the "strategic mistrust" between the world's only superpower and its fastest growing power has been toned down. [...] Wednesday saw another US$45 billion in export deals signed between the two countries. Yesterday, before his departure for Chicago, Hu met House and Senate leaders separately and had a lunch with businessmen. Concerns that China manipulates its currency were not discussed during the meeting with the House, but they were by the Senate leaders. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said in a statement that participants at the meeting "raised our strong, ongoing concerns with reports of human rights violations in China, including the denial of religious freedom and the use of coercive abortion" as a result of China's one-child policy. They also addressed the need for China to better protect intellectual property and curtail the aggressive behaviour of North Korea, he said. Hu later met Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and top senators on the Foreign Relations Committee. A series of events on Wednesday - the summit, meetings with business leaders, and the joint press conference which Hu reportedly accepted with reluctance - saw the two presidents seek to project a new type of bilateral relationship that can transcend disputes over thorny issues such as America's bilateral trade imbalance and China's human rights record. [...] Hu - probably on his last state trip to the US and eager to cement his foreign policy legacy - kept calling for broader "co-operation as partners. He even launched into a rare explanation of China's human rights, acknowledging that "a lot still needs to be done" on this front. Obama - whose winning of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 presented him with a dilemma when faced with calls for him to raise the sensitive question of China's jailing of last year's winner, mainland democracy campaigner Liu Xiaobo - refrained from mentioning Liu's name in public. He did mention the Dalai Lama, another public enemy of Beijing, albeit in a passing reference. Obama described the yuan as "only one element of the entire economic relationship" and urged Americans to save more. He did, however, point out that the yuan "remains undervalued" and asked for a more level playing field for US companies in the Chinese market. A joint statement addressing a wide range of issues - from North Korea, to the yuan, Taiwan, military dialogue and mutual visits by the two countries' vice-presidents - sealed the tone of a day, which analysts described as co-operative. [...] Xi is the heir apparent to Hu at next year's party congress. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese president urges U.S. Congress to further facilitate bilateral ties (Xinhua)
Visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao on Thursday called upon the U.S. Congress to continue helping the two countries boost their relations. Pursuing a healthy and steady development of China-U.S. ties is China's established policy and strategic choice, Hu stressed in talks here with Speaker John Boehner of the House and Majority leader Harry Reid of the Senate. [...] A sound relationship between Beijing and Washington not only serves the fundamental interests of both peoples, but greatly contributes to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, the Chinese president said. With China and the United States differing in culture, social system and development level, it is normal for the two sides to have differences on some issues, he said. But what matters most is the common interests of the two countries, he stressed, saying that Beijing's position is that the two sides should seek common ground while reserving differences, so as to learn from each other and pursue common prosperity on the basis of mutual respect and equality. China is ready to work together with the U.S. side to enhance communication, mutual trust and cooperation, and work for a China-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit, he said. Emphasizing that China and the United States are two large economies and have great potential for economic and trade cooperation, he said as long as both sides apply an open, cooperative and win-win approach, the China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation will certainly make more achievements and bring more tangible benefits to both peoples. The Chinese president said parliamentary exchanges are an important part of China-U.S. relations, noting that an increasing number of U.S. lawmakers have been advocating and pushing for a stronger bilateral relationship. [...] Also present at the talks were a number of heavyweight lawmakers from both chambers, including Minority leader Nancy Pelosi of the House, Chairman John Kerry of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and top Republican John McCain of the Senate Armed Services Committee. ^ top ^

Beijing says citizens arrested in India are tourists, not spies (Global Times)
China said Thursday that three of its nationals arrested in India on suspicion of money laundering and spying on border security camps, were tourists having mistakenly crossed over the border from Nepal. "Related reports do not reflect reality. Recently, three Chinese tourists were on holiday near the Nepal-India border and mistakenly entered India and were detained by Indian police," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a press conference. [...] The arrests were made in Uttar Pradesh, an Indian state bordering Nepal, Indian police said Wednesday, adding that the accused, including a woman, said they were employees of Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei Technologies, according to AFP. "We arrested them for trespassing, as we found them on Indian soil without a valid Indian visa," Local police chief Sanjay Kakkar told Reuters, adding that the three were caught taking photographs of border guard installations. "We are suspecting their involvement in some money laundering activity, as they were carrying Indian PAN (tax document) cards in their names," Kakkar said. Huawei said the company was cooperating with local authorities to determine the facts. The Indian government has voiced its suspicions about Chinese telecom providers in the past. Just last year, security concerns fueled restrictions on imports of Chinese equipment, and the government blocked several deals between Indian firms and Chinese vendors, according to AFP. Chinese telecom companies have big business hopes in the Indian mobile market, the fastest-growing such market in the world, with nearly 600 million subscribers. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

China takes big steps in affordable housing to bring down real estate fever (Xinhua)
China is pinning hopes on its affordable housing programs to cool its red-hot property market in the latest round of campaigns against rising asset bubbles, after the government moved to crack down on market speculation during the past year. Experts held that to increase supplies of affordable housing is the key solution to guide the market toward healthy development and help stabilize prices. During a talk show hosted by China National Radio on Dec. 26, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said the government will press forward housing price control and increase the supply of affordable houses for low-income earners. His words came after the government had announced a plan to build 10 million more low-income housing units this year. […] However, both policy makers and market observers have pointed out that the good intentions of the central government's regulations and construction plans could fade if local governments, which rely largely on land transfers for their revenues, fail to have them properly implemented. Zhang also warned that local governments might not be as eager as the central administration about affordable housing projects. […] Local governments could be reluctant to implement them, as they are asked to both transfer the land at a low price and help finance these projects, which will definitely reduce their fiscal revenues, he explained.[…] In contrast, the Chinese central government provided 55.06 billion yuan to finance affordable housing construction in 2009, while local governments spent only 17.54 billion. […] Experts suggested that the central government should take the implementation of affordable housing plans into consideration when assessing local governments' performance, and further improve the legal system to enhance supervision over enforcement of housing projects. In response to the central government's urgings, China's local governments have begun to unveil plans on low-cost housing this year. In the country's economic hub of Shanghai, where home prices rose 37.24 percent year on year last November, the government announced plans to build 15 million square meters of affordable homes. The city government also promised that of all new homes to be built this year, 5 percent must be affordable. ^ top ^

Chinese Premier stresses stabilizing food prices, housing market in 1st quarter (Global Times)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Tuesday said the government will focus on reining in food prices and the housing market in an outline of the government's key work for the first quarter. He said at a plenary meeting of the State Council, or cabinet, that better monitoring of commodity prices and improved supply of major agricultural products, daily necessities, and production materials, was required. He ordered authorities to help farmers prepare for winter and spring ploughing, and help those affected by drought and icy weather. To ensure sound development of the real estate sector, Wen urged authorities to "increase supply of commercial residential building available at medium or low prices," curb property speculation, and enhance supervision. Another key task is to fix the supply and demand imbalances in the energy and transportation sectors, he said. Other tasks include ensuring work safety and maintaining social stability, ensuring payment of migrant workers' salaries and outstanding wages, and improving supervision of food safety. Those at the meeting discussed drafts of the government work report and 12th Five-Year Program Outline, which will be delivered for review at the fourth plenary session of the 11th National People's Congress (NPC), the national legislature, in March. [...]. While hailing social and economic achievements made in the country's 11th Five-Year Plan (2006-2010), Wen said there were still "prominent problems including imbalanced, uncoordinated or unsustainable development in China.". ^ top ^

Redundant employees protest over payout (SCMP)
Hundreds of redundant workers at a factory in Wuhan, Hubei, that made PLA uniforms before it went bankrupt thought that four years of waiting for their promised compensation was enough. So they took to the streets and blocked traffic on Monday. One witness said yesterday that the protest had lasted for some 3 1/2 hours before ending that night. Zhang Jian, who said he was a relative of a worker with the Wuhan 3541 Garment General Factory, said the central government had allocated nearly 400 million yuan (HK$472.5 million) to settle the compensation problems. The factory laid off up to 4,000 workers before shutting down in 2007. He said most of the workers bitterly hated the head of the office dealing with bankruptcy and compensation matters, and some went to the factory complex last week to prevent him from escaping. Zhang said the head of the office had promised the workers they would get paid and kept repeating the lie. [...] The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy reported that five people had been injured in the clashes. According to Zhang, the taking away of Sun and the beating of the elderly worker triggered a massive protest, which blocked one of the main traffic routes during the period between 7pm and 10.30pm. [...] Zhang added that most of the protesters each wanted to get back 30,000 yuan to 40,000 yuan of housing subsidy and the moving allowance, which the factory had promised to pay. Apart from the compensation money, he said, the workers also demanded a clear accounting of the factory. "As far as I have learned, no new promise has been given, nor has any worker been detained," he said. ^ top ^

China approves regulations to better protect homeowners (Xinhua)
An executive meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, Wednesday gave in-principle approval to a draft regulation on land acquisition and compensation which is expected to better protect homeowners. The meeting was presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao. The draft says compensation paid to homeowners should not be lower than the sum of the market price of the property, the cost of moving and temporary accommodation, and losses caused by suspension of business. Projects of house acquisition on state-owned land should be included in the annual economic and social development plans of relevant governments, the draft says. Governments should expand public participation in the approval of house acquisition plans, the draft says. [...] The draft regulation cancels the administrative enforcement of demolition. Disputed cases shall be determined by the people's courts, the draft says. After further modification, the draft will be submitted to the State Council for promulgation and implementation. [...] "The making of this regulation concerns the immediate interests of the public, the nation's industrialization and urbanization, and the overall modernization drive," the statement said. It said the regulation aims to address the contradictions between the interests of the public and the need for industrialization and urbanization. There have been many instances since China reformed the property market where homeowners and property developers have come into conflict over demolition plans and compensation payouts. In a forced-demolition case last October, thugs entered a house of a 54-year-old man in the Guzhai Village of Shanxi's capital Taiyuan, pulling him out and beating him to death. In another case last year, residents set themselves on fire to protest against plans to demolish their house. ^ top ^

Vice Premier calls for advancing China's health care reforms against all odds (Global Times)
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang Wednesday urged advancing the nation's health care reforms against all odds in 2011. Li, who heads the State council's leading group on health care reforms, made the remarks while presiding over the eighth plenum of the group. The meeting discussed work agendas in 2011, plans for piloting public hospital reforms, guidelines on training General Practitioners (GP) and other topics. [...] Also, Li stressed streamlining the centralized procurement and distribution of essential medicines so that the medicine system covered most government-sponsored grass-roots health institutions. China began implementing the essential medicine system in 2009 in a bid to reduce costs for patients. Essential medicines are heavily subsidized so hospitals can sell them at their cost. Further, Li urged training grass-roots medical personnel, and staff the nation's 50,000 grass-roots medical institutions with a certain number of GPs so patients would have easier access to medical services. In the public hospital reforms, Li said priority should be given to county-level hospitals that served 900 million people. Capacity building of county-level hospitals was pivotal to improve the affordability and accessibility of medical services. ^ top ^

China introduces regulation to better manage state compensation funds (Xinhua)
China on Thursday announced it had introduced a regulation to better manage state compensation funds. The regulation was signed by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Monday and immediately came into effect then. The regulation is aimed to ensure eligible claimants receive state compensation on time and in full. The regulation means governments at all levels must budget for state compensation payouts each year, and if the actual amount of state compensation payouts exceed what is budgeted for, additional funds must be used. The regulation also standardizes the procedure of applying for state compensation. State compensation refers to government pay outs to citizens for damages it has caused them through infringements of their rights. The State Compensation Law of China took effect since 1995. ^ top ^

China demolishes illegal buildings of 14.3 mln square meters in 2010 (Xinhua)
China's Ministry of Land and Resources announced Thursday illegal buildings totaling 14.31 million square meters in floor space were demolished in an effort to crackdown on illegal use of land by local governments and enterprises. In the crackdown, the ministry also took control of buildings totaling 34.15 million square meters in floor space, and retrieved 43,000 mu of land, 37 percent of which is farm land, said Li Jianqin, an official from the ministry who is charge of enforcing laws and regulations on land use. Li said violations of land-use laws and regulations were widespread, especially those by local governments. According to him, a total of 2,582 people involved in such violations were handed over to judicial and disciplinary authorities in 2010, with 239 people prosecuted for criminal offenses. ^ top ^

Housing viability key for financial stability, growth: Study (People's Daily Online)
Poorly managed housing markets played a key role in triggering financial crisis and might seriously cripple a global recovery, said a latest OECD reserach. [...] The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, based in Paris, says that easy credit over the past two decades amplified price volatility, with real housing price jumps of 90 percent or more in Australia, Belgium, Britain, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands and Spain. Deregulation and innovation in mortgage markets – coupled with inadequate supervisory regulation – contributed to a significant relaxation in lending standards, an increase in non-performing loans and the sub-prime crisis, which triggered the 2008 global financial meltdown. The report, a chapter in the OECD's forthcoming Going for Growth publication, suggests that future innovations in mortgage markets be coupled with tighter regulatory oversight and prudent policies from the governments. The report also recommends that governments increase new housing supplies to meet market demand, eliminate tax policies that favor housing sector over other industries and build more affordable social housing for the low-end income class of residents. ^ top ^



Beijing vows to beat looming problems to be a top-class city (SCMP)
Authorities vowed to tackle the mounting challenges that threaten the capital's sustainable development, with population growth, traffic and environmental woes high on Beijing's agenda in the next five years. Speaking at the opening of the annual municipal People's Congress yesterday, Mayor Guo Jinlong said the municipality's ambition to become a liveable world-class metropolis in the next decade would largely hinge on the government's ability to break constraints on energy and conservation. […] Population control gained unusual prominence in the report as well as his government's 12th five-year plan for 2011-15, which has been tabled for deliberation and approval at the week-long gathering. "Rapid population overgrowth posed severe challenges to the allocation of scarce resources, environmental capacity, public service and urban management," said the plan, which set out a comprehensive blueprint and specific goals for the city's overall development in the next five years. […] In a desperate bid to ease the pressure, Guo pledged to further tighten control of migrants moving into the municipality, adopt strict quota controls and set up a registration mechanism to monitor the migrant population, but he did not give a new ceiling for the population. According to the new plan, the municipality will attempt to move some of the functions of the overcrowded downtown area to the suburbs and planned satellite areas to encourage more people to leave the old city centre. But analysts cautioned it might take much longer to redistribute the population and ease congestion than authorities anticipated because both central and municipal governments had so far declined to talk about their own resettlement, which many believed was at the heart of the problems with traffic and other woes. […] According to the new five-year plan, authorities have recently decided to further expand the subway system from 561 kilometres previously planned for 2015 to 661 kilometres, making it one of the world's largest metro systems. The cost of developing each kilometre will be between 400 billion (HK$472 billion) and 500 billion yuan. […] The city rolled out a set of harsh measures last month to address the problem of its 4.8 million cars, including restricting purchases and increasing prices for car parking. Beijing will also have a second international airport by 2015, according to the plan, alleviating pressure on Beijing Capital International Airport (SEHK: 0694), which is already the world's second busiest. Red-hot property markets and runaway housing prices in the capital were another headache for the authorities, Guo admitted. […] But he vowed to curb housing prices this year by taking strict measures to regulate the property market, to ensure sufficient supply of land and investment for affordable houses, and to clamp down on speculative investment. The current bans on non-residents buying property would also be upheld this year. […]. ^ top ^

Beijing's mayor vows to end capital's traffic jams (People's Daily Online)
The mayor of the capital city has vowed to work hard to end chronic traffic gridlock in five years. Guo Jinlong, who took office as Beijing mayor in 2008, said traffic jams are a common problem for most big cities around the world. […] He said the overall target, which is to ensure the safety and normal use of the city's traffic system, will be realized through improving the traffic flow on the main roads in the downtown area and stopping congestion from worsening in core areas. While the daily number of passengers commuting by public transport has increased from 12 million in 2005 to 20 million, Guo said the government aims to raise the current ratio of people using public transport from the current 40 percent to 50 percent by 2015. […] Since 2005 the rail system in Beijing has increased by 222 kilometers to reach 336 km. The city will invest 500 billion yuan ($75.8 billion) in building new rail lines in the next five years and expects to have more than 1,000 km of rail lines by 2020. Meanwhile, the policy of keeping ticket prices low has encouraged citizens to take public transport. The optimization of 503 bus lines has solved transport problems for residents in 720 communities. In addition, the government will work to reduce vehicle emissions and improve the safety of the capital's transport system over the next five years, according to Guo. […]. ^ top ^



Gov't social spending in Xinjiang up by 26.8% in 2010 (Global Times)
The government in China's far western Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region increased social spending by 26.8 percent last year, renovating houses, creating jobs, and insuring more people in the health care scheme, a senior local official said Friday. Social spending - or 119.8 billion yuan (18.19 billion U.S. dollars) - accounted for 71 percent of total government spending in Xinjiang last year, said Nur Bekri, chairman of the autonomous region government, in his annual government report submitted to the local legislature. Also, about 97,000 affordable houses were built, and homes of 70,000 households were renovated in slum areas. The government also built homes for 191,000 nomadic families, according to the report. Further, the government ensured that at least one person in each of the region's 40,000 jobless families was employed during the past year, while helping 80 percent of the graduates from local universities and colleges secure jobs, the report said. Also, social insurance covered 13.7 million people by the end of 2010, the report added. Annual income of an average Xinjiang urban resident reached 13,500 yuan last year, up 10 percent, while the income of an average farmer rose 15.9 percent year-on-year to 4,500 yuan. But the figures were still a far cry from those in affluent provinces on the country's east coast. In Jiangsu Province, farmers each earned 8,980 yuan on average in 2010, according to the provincial government's report. The government of Xinjiang has also scaled up social spending to reduce poverty and boost development in Uygurs-dominated southern Xinjiang as a way to fundamentally maintain peace in the region. ^ top ^

Xinjiang's tax reform leads to improving living standards (Global Times)
Last year's reform of the resource tax law in Xinjiang resulted in over 1 billion yuan of extra revenue for the local government, which helped raise the living standards in the region, local officials said. Starting June 2010, taxes on oil and gas products in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region were levied on price rather than output. [...] Wan said most of the resource tax revenue had been used for creating jobs, raising retirees' pensions and minimum living allowances, and expanding the coverage of the rural pension. [...] Over 120 million yuan of the county's resource tax revenue had been used to renovate homes in slum areas, said Aynur Mehsat, head of the county government. Before the reform, the resource tax only accounted for 1.6 percent of the government's revenue, according to Zhang Chunxian, Party chief of the autonomous region. [...] But the region had failed to benefit from its resources partly due to policy problems, analysts have said. In 2009, Xinjiang's local government revenue stood at 38.88 billion yuan, about 15 percent of the government tax income of Shanghai. Last year, Xinjiang unveiled a package of reforms, including the tax reform, hoping to achieve "frog-leap development" in the region. ^ top ^



Ma angered by misfires as Taiwan tests missiles (SCMP)
Taiwan yesterday staged a major missile drill before President Hu Jintao boarded his flight for a high-profile visit to the United States. Almost a third of the 19 missiles fired missed their targets, raising concerns that the island needs to further strengthen its defensive capabilities. The misses, during unusually public live-fire tests in the presence of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, came days after Beijing unveiled its first stealth jet fighter. [...] The six missiles that failed to hit their targets included three Sparrows that exploded within 10 seconds of being fired, and Sky Sword II and Mica air-to-air missiles that plunged into the sea. "I am not satisfied with the results," Ma said after the drills. "Some missiles missed the targets and we need to review whether these mistakes came from mechanical or human errors." He said the military needed to get to the bottom of the misses and hold more drills to boost its capabilities. The high-profile staging of the drill in Jiupeng - the first since 2002, and in the presence of more than 60 journalists from 39 local and foreign media - came as the US prepared to host Hu and on the heels of the mainland's first known test flight of its radar-eluding J-20 stealth fighter. Ma flatly dismissed speculation the timing of the drills may have been deliberate. "There is absolutely no connection," Ma said, adding the drill was merely a "routine training exercise" and that "Taiwan was not pursuing an arms race with the mainland". [...] However, analysts said the staging of the drill sent signals to Beijing and Washington. [...]. ^ top ^

Chinese mainland official calls for steady, orderly and sound development of cross-Strait relations in 2011 (Xinhua)
The Chinese mainland's Taiwan affairs chief has called on both sides across the Taiwan Strait to develop cross-Strait relations in a steady, orderly and sound way in 2011. Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, made the remarks in his New Year message. Wang, also director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, called on both sides to consolidate the political basis. The most important part of the political basis is the opposition to "Taiwan independence" and adherence to the "1992 Consensus," he said. Both sides should continue to push forward the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, enhance mutual trust, eliminate interference and press ahead with positive interaction, he said. The Chinese mainland is willing to work with Taiwan to fulfil follow-up agendas of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), promote cultural and educational exchange and cooperation as well as expanding people-to-people exchange between the two sides. Wang, said 2010 was a "fruitful" year in terms of development of cross-Strait relations. Last year, the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations brought benefits to people on both sides and gained increasing support from them, he said. He said 2011 will be of special significance for people on both sides as it will mark the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, which overthrew the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) -- ending thousands of years of feudalism. ^ top ^



Yuan internationalization a big step for world monetary reform: China official (Global Times)
China should steadily promote the internationalization of its currency, the yuan, the head of China's social security fund said Saturday. The internationalization of the yuan is a significant step for advancing the reform of the international monetary system, Dai Xianglong, chairman of China's National Council for Social Security Funds, said when speaking at annual economic forum in Beijing. The current international monetary system has not adapted to the new patterns of global economic development, he said, adding that currency diversification is a realistic solution. Currency diversification means continuing the role of dollar, increasing the role of the euro and internationalizing other currencies, he said. The US dollar, serving as both the US currency and the most important international currency, will be used for US policy goals when the two roles contradict each other, spurring fluctuations in global financial markets, he said, adding that the dollar has a tendency to depreciate. He said the Chinese yuan is a stable currency, and so ensures the safety of other countries' assets. The Chinese currency also enhances world trade, protecting the interests of China's foreign trade and investment, he added. The internationalization of the yuan will take 15 to 20 years, he said, suggesting an expansion of the overseas circulation of the yuan and an acceleration in the opening-up of China's large commercial banks to speed up the process. He urged Chinese banks in foreign countries to offer funding in yuan. He also called for more efforts to reform the interest rate mechanism, to ease the process of the internationalization of the yuan. ^ top ^

China's land prices jump on quarter, pushing property prices higher (Global Times)
China's urban land prices saw increases in the fourth quarter last year as home prices surged month on month in December, a report showed. The China Land Surveying and Planning Institute, under China's Ministry of Land and Resources (MLR), said in a report Monday that average land prices reached 2,882 yuan per square meter in the final quarter in some key cities it monitored, up 2.53 percent compared to the previous quarter. On a year-on-year basis, the figure represented an increase of 8.62 percent, the report showed. Meanwhile, average land prices used for residential property development reached 4,245 yuan per square meter, up 3.67 percent quarter on quarter, and 11.02 percent year on year, the report showed.Rising land prices also pushed up property prices as the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday that December home prices in 70 major Chinese cities rose 0.3 percent month on month and 6.4 percent year on year. The report also showed average urban land prices in the Yangtze River Delta Region were the highest, at 4,403 yuan per square meter, followed by those in the Pearl River Delta Region, at 3,830 yuan per square meter. ($1 equals roughly 6.6 yuan). ^ top ^

Trade surplus set to decline below $100 billion in 2011 (People's Daily Online)
China's trade surplus will decline to less than $100 billion, and imports will grow at nearly twice the rate of exports in 2011, Wei Jianguo, secretary-general of the government think tank, the China Center for International Economic Exchanges (CCIEE), told China Daily in an exclusive interview. Wei urged the government to utilize imports as a major tool for economic restructuring in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015). "Imported products will help to boost domestic demand in China," he said. [...] Imports of consumer goods, such as wine, cosmetics, and jewelry, also need to be increased, he said. China's imports in 2010 increased by 38.7 percent year-on-year to $1.39 trillion, and the value of exports was about $1.58 trillion, resulting in a surplus of $183.1 billion, said Yao Jian, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce on Tuesday. The import value of raw materials, including crude oil, steel and iron ore, has grown by 42.1 percent, and the surging price of international commodities has produced a rise in the value of 38.1 percentage points, according to the Ministry of Commerce. The growth rate of imports and exports recovered at a rapid pace in 2010. Compared with 2008, there was a 10.3 percent increase for exports and 23.2 percent for imports. The trade surplus has declined by 38.6 percent since 2008, according to the Ministry of Commerce report. With concerns about the appreciation of the yuan and uncertainty over the government's foreign trade policy, many Chinese export companies rushed to deliver goods overseas, a move that has lifted export volumes since September, said Wei. The United States' easing monetary policy also boosted product orders during the Christmas holidays. [...] He predicted that exports to the US and European countries may decrease continually, while the emerging market countries will import more products from China. Many export-oriented processing companies in the provinces of Guangdong, Fujian, Zhejiang and Jiangsu will face increasing difficulties this year, because of soaring raw material prices and increased labor costs, Wei said. He suggested accelerating the development of technology-intensive trades in services, such as offshore software outsourcing and business-process outsourcing, which will reduce energy consumption and raise the employment rate for university graduates. [...]. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

China vows to play 'constructive role' in Korean Peninsular issues (Global Times)
China remains committed to playing "a constructive role" in Korean Peninsular issues, a senior Chinese diplomat said Sunday. "China will continue to work with all the parties concerned and the international community to ensure peace, stability and prosperity on the peninsula," Assistant Foreign Minister Hu Zhengyue said in an interview with Xinhua. Hu said China urges the early resumption of the six-party talks. "China encourages all sides to seize the opportunities, actively engage with each other and restart the process of dialogue as soon as possible," Hu said, adding that China believes that dialogue is the only effective and peaceful way to solve the problems concerning the peninsula. The six-party talks, which have been stalled for two years, are a multilateral dialogue mechanism advocated by the Chinese government to find a peaceful solution to the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. "Preserving peace and stability, achieving the peninsula's denuclearization and the normalization of relations among the relevant countries are in the fundamental interests of all parties concerned. China takes these as its starting point when addressing the peninsula's issues," Hu said. China pays close attention to the developments of the peninsula issues and welcomes recent progress, Hu said. According to local media reports, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) issued a statement on Jan. 5, proposing dialogue with the Republic of Korea (ROK) to eliminate misunderstanding and distrust and achieve peace and prosperity. ^ top ^

Beijing denies sending troops to Pyongyang (Global Times)
A Chinese government official Sunday dismissed a report by a South Korean newspaper that China was sending troops to North Korea. "China will not send a single soldier to other countries without the approval of the UN," an official at the Chinese Ministry of Defense told the Global Times on condition of anonymity, citing China's basic policy on troop deployment.

[…] In the report, the South Korean official added that the deployment of Chinese troops in North Korea was aimed at protecting China's investment in port facilities and Chinese nationals, rather than for political or military purposes. […] There are only several conditions under which Chinese troops will be stationed in other countries, according to the Chinese Defense Ministry's official. And that includes for peacekeeping missions and disaster rescue efforts approved by the UN. […] "Military relations between China and North Korea were believed to have been strengthened recently amid the Korean Peninsula tensions. The newspaper's story shows South Korea's vigilance on the development of such closer ties," said Cai Jian, vice director of the Center for Korean Studies at Fudan University.[…] "China has neither the plan nor the conditions to deploy troops in other countries," Zhang Zhaozhong, a military expert at the PLA National Defense University, told the Global Times.Zhang said that one major reason why South Korean media makes such reports is that there are some people who are not comfortable with the diplomatic efforts made by China in easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula, because it makes attempts to retaliate against North Korea much less likely. ^ top ^

DPRK proposes inter-Korean high-level military talks (Global Times)
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Thursday proposed holding high-level military talks with South Korea, Seoul's Ministry of National Defense said. The DPRK's Armed Forces Minister Kim Yong-chun put forward the proposal in a telephone message earlier Thursday, South Korean defense ministry official told Xinhua. The proposed high-level meeting is aimed to discuss "pending military issues" between the two sides, Kim said in the message sent to Seoul's Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin, according to the ministry. Seoul is positively considering to hold working-level contacts with the North to prepare for the proposed high-level military talks, a ministry official said. ^ top ^



IAAC, Mongolia Signs MoU with Int of the World Bank Group (
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Independent Authority against Corruption of Mongolia (IAAC) and the Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) of the World Bank Group (WBG) was signed by Mr. Sangaragchaa Commissioner General of IAAC, and Mr. Leonard F. McCarthy Vice president of INT, WBG. The World Bank Group's integrity mission is designed to detect investigate, sanction, and prevent wrongdoing in the World Bank Funded projects. The MoU creates a formal channel of exchange of information between IAAC, and INT WBG to provide one another with information of relevance for the detection, substantiation and prevention of fraud and corruption in connection with conduct which may constitute a serious crime under national legislation or a sanctionable offence under World Bank Group rules and policies. ^ top ^

Mongolia's Stock Exchange Turns 20 (Montsame)
Parliament Speaker D.Demberel attended Monday an opening of stock exchange trade on occasion of the 20th anniversary of Mongolia's Stock Exchange (MSE). He has congratulated all the MSE staff, professional organizations and specialists. At the MSE are working some 340 brokers and national specialists from 48 professional organizations, who have rights to run stock exchange trade and services. Since 1990, 474 joint stock companies have been registered at the MSE. They have traded 738.3 million shares with MNT 262.5 billion, and 3.1 million bonds with MNT 215.1 billion. With MNT 477.6 billion, 3,873 trades have been held as well. For the time being, the MSE has registered 448,717 domestic and foreign share holders, investors and entities. They have been granted dividends of MNT 109.6 billion. ^ top ^

Free Trade and Economic Zones to Establish Investment Council (
Investors' Council of Altanbulag free trade zone and Investors' Council of Zamiin-Uud free economic zone and National Trade and Industry Chamber will sign a cooperation memorandum. Free trade and economic zones should not only become a new structure for development of trade and economic cooperation activities, but also it must become the bridge connecting Mongolia with international markets. Officials underline that it is important to establish a favorable business environment with vast market capacity in the free zones where people can easily run their business. The cooperation memorandum intends to establish an Investment Council of free zones to develop cooperation between state and private sectors, advertize the free zones and create a favorable business environment. ^ top ^

Investments for Infrastructure to be supported (Montsame)
The cabinet on Wednesday backed in principle a draft agreement on financing a project on supporting mining infrastructure investments. It will be established between the government of Mongolia and the International Development Association (IDA). The proposal on the matter will be consulted with a parliamentary Standing committee. In frames of the project, a technical-economic justification will be worked out including technical justification for the biggest projects of mining infrastructure, analyzes of influence on finance, economics, society and environment, and legal environment. In addition, it has been planned to boost administrative skills for partnership contracts of the state and private sector. The project on supporting mining infrastructure investments consists of four sections--supporting infrastructure investments; strengthening skills and transferring knowledge; management of artesian water; and project administration. It is expected that the project will be implemented from June of 2011 to May 30, 2015. ^ top ^

Number of Street Children Down by 30% (
Project named “Music in children's development” has been implemented last year to socialize street children living on streets without their parents' control through music. Project has involved 45 children, registered by Child Care Center under Ulaanbaatar Police Department. The children lived on streets for 3-14 years. According to data from Ministry of Social Welfare and Labor, the number of street children has decreased by 30% thanks to projects that aim to provide healthy and secure living condition as well as give them education and opportunities to participate in social life. The project has granted jobs to some children's parents to make the children possible to live with their families. Furthermore, the Ministry is planning to build a center to protect and socialize such children. Officials view this would be the basis to erase the term “street children”. ^ 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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