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
  1-12.2.2011, No. 357  
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Foreign Policy

Egypt's chilling echoes of June 4 for Beijing (SCMP)
The similarities are too obvious to be ignored - the images of tanks and thousands of protesters battling police on Egyptian streets serve as a vivid reminder of the pro-democracy demonstrations in Beijing's Tiananmen Square in 1989 that were crushed in a bloody crackdown. Beijing has apparently taken note, with media coverage of the uprising against President Hosni Mubarak, one of China's closest global partners, heavily censored and online discussions blocked. One cannot help but wonder what message the so-called Jasmine Revolution, which has swept across Tunisia and Egypt and is now spreading east fast, sends for China. [...] Many mainland and overseas analysts agree that any spill-over effect for China is likely to be limited, given its robust economic growth. [...] Professor Roderick MacFarquhar, a China specialist at Harvard University, said: "The Chinese government is sensitive about any authoritarian government being overthrown, communist or non-communist, because it is a bad example for its own people. The government is aware that it has all those problems and that these mirror Egypt's." Aziz Nafa, an Algerian economist who has studied Sino-Arab relations, said China was comparable with Egypt and Tunisia in terms of political systems. "Tunisia had a total suppression of individual and collective liberties of the people and Mubarak closed all doors to democracy in Egypt," he said, adding that China was largely a politically closed society. [...] Both the Chinese and Egyptian regimes have maintained monopolies on political power, repressive control over their people in exchange for social stability and have been plagued by rampant corruption and injustice. But Beijing appears to have excelled economically - and that might make all the difference, analysts say. [...] "China's stability and the legitimacy of communist rule have largely been built upon its rapid economic growth, which has won tacit approval from the public despite surging disputes and tensions over illicit land seizure, a yawning wealth gap and the lack of checks and balances," he said. [...] "If the economy slows down or even crashes, China is very likely to see turmoil again with widespread discontent with the government," he said. Yuan Weishi, a historian at Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, also warned of the dire consequences of ignoring calls for political reform. [...] Dr Kerry Brown, a senior fellow with London-based international policy think-tank Chatham House, pointed out several other key differences between China and Egypt and Tunisia, apart from the economic factor. There were heavier religious influences in Arab countries, he said, and public anger targeting specific leaders - Mubarak in Egypt and Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisia's toppled president - rather than political parties. "But I think it shows just how oddly insecure the Communist Party is, despite its huge economic success in the last few years, and how it sees potential problems almost everywhere, even when the parallels are far less apparent than people might think," he said. ^ top ^

Singapore, China witness strong bilateral trade growth: Singapore Minister (People's Daily)
Bilateral economic relations between Singapore and China are strong, and as the world continues to recover from the global economic crisis, the bilateral trade has risen more than 25 percent to 95.3 billion Singapore dollars ( about 74.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2010, Singapore minister for trade and industry Lim Hng Kiang said here on Saturday. China is currently Singapore's third largest trading partner, second largest source of tourist arrivals and top investment destination. Delivering a speech at a Chinese New Year reception, Lim said: "looking ahead, we expect both the China-Singapore Free Trade Agreement and the ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement to continue to spur even stronger economic cooperation in this region." […] "Many Singapore firms are well aware of China's immense potential as the world's largest consumer market. Over the years, many have made inroads into the Chinese market. Our early investments were mainly in the coastal cities, such as those in Jiangsu, Shandong and Guangdong. Since then, other Western and Central China regions have emerged as new growth areas and Singapore is strengthening our economic engagement in these regions too," he said. […] "As China's development gathers pace, new opportunities will continue to emerge. I look forward to seeing more Singapore companies tap on organizations such as SingCham and SBF (Singapore Business Federation) to venture further into the Chinese markets," he said. ^ top ^

Japanese PM says ready to rebuild ties with China (Global Times)
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan said Sunday that Japan is ready to reconstruct relations with China in cultural, economic, political and other areas, the Jiji Press reported. "This year marks the 100th anniversary of China's Revolution of 1911, and next year will be the 40th anniversary of the normalization of Sino-Japanese relations," said Kan at the first session of the "China-issue" advisory committee, organized by the Japanese government and attended by personages from economic, cultural and academic circles. "On this special occasion," Kan said, "Japan is ready to rebuild relations with China in various areas such as culture, economic and politics." According to local media reports, participants at the meeting put forward suggestions such as "China is a promising market in the economic area, and ties with China are thus of great importance" and "people-to-people exchanges need to be promoted in areas of culture, sports and arts." The committee is scheduled to submit the final advisory report to the government in mid-April. ^ top ^

Minister to hold talks with Mugabe (SCMP)
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi begins a visit to Zimbabwe tomorrow to buttress ties with the southern African nation, which has been battered by Western isolation. Yang's two-day visit will "further consolidate bonds and friendships between our two peoples", the Chinese embassy in Harare said. He is expected to meet Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and senior officials, but details of the talks have not been revealed. "We are confident that after Minister Yang's visit, Sino-Zimbabwean relations will be uplifted to a higher level," Ambassador Xin Shunkang said when announcing the visit. The trip comes weeks after Zimbabwe's investment promotion minister, Tapiwa Mashakada, announced plans by the China Development Bank to fund investments worth US$10 billion in Zimbabwe's mining, agriculture and infrastructure sectors. Zimbabwe and China have political ties dating back before Zimbabwe's independence, when Beijing provided arms and training to guerillas fighting British colonial rule. China has also been pivotal in protecting Zimbabwe at the United Nations. In 2008, it vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking sanctions against Harare. Chinese construction companies are involved in major projects in Zimbabwe, including the construction of the country's main sports stadium and several government buildings. In 2010, China exported US$159 million worth of goods to Zimbabwe, the national statistics agency says. Faced with the crippling Western sanctions, Mugabe adopted a "look east" policy that saw his country receiving loans from a number of Eastern nations. Political commentator Christopher Mutsvangwa said Yang's impending visit was an affirmation of burgeoning ties. "The political bond is now taking an economic dimension as China is looking at business opportunities in Zimbabwe," Mutsvangwa, a former ambassador to China, said. ^ top ^

S. Korea's top nuclear envoy might visit China for UEP talks (Global Times)
South Korea's chief negotiator to the six-party nuclear talks might head to China later this week to discuss the claimed uranium enrichment program of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), local reports said Monday. South Korea's foreign ministry is currently in contact with the Chinese counterpart for the potential meeting between Wi Sung-lac and Wu Dawei, China's top envoy to the long-stalled talks over ending the DPRK's nuclear program, according to Yonhap News Agency. The news comes prior to the forthcoming meeting of a U.N. Security Council committee tasked with overseeing sanctions on the DPRK. The foreign ministry here said the meeting, slated for Feb. 23, is part of the committee's regular activity. South Korea has been seeking to refer the case of Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program to the U.N. Security Council, claiming the newly acknowledged program runs counter to its international obligations. ^ top ^

Interview: Chinese FM's visit seen as endorsement of China-Zimbabwe relations (People's Daily)
The two-day visit to Zimbabwe by Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi starting Thursday is an endorsement of relations between the Southern African country and China, local figures told Xinhua. Former Zimbabwean ambassador to China Chris Mutsvangwa said in an interview on Tuesday that Yang's visit will also boost economic relations between the two countries. "The visit of a foreign minister is a big banner announcement to say that relations between Zimbabwe and China are reaching for a new level," he said. "This is a visit which will mark a new diplomatic high watermark in Zimbabwe's international relations because to get the visit of an important and emerging super-power like China with such economic clout is a big vote of confidence on the part of Zimbabweans who have been pummeled by sanctions" imposed by the West. Yang, who will make the visit at the invitation of Zimbabwean Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, is scheduled to meet President Robert Mugabe and other senior government officials. Mutsvangwa said the Chinese veto at the United Nations in 2008 was "a landmark diplomatic decision where it basically saved Zimbabwe from punitive sanctions instigated by an irate and sulky former colonial power." […] China, together with Russia, vetoed the British initiative for full-scale UN sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU) should be given a chance to resolve the country's political problems. A SADC-driven initiative led to a Government of National Unity (GNU) following the signing of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) between Mugabe and then rivals Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. "There is clearly a lot of scope for cooperation between Zimbabwe and China so that Zimbabwe can quicken its modernization pace taking advantage of the stellar achievements of the Chinese in the above areas," Mutsvangwa said. […]. ^ top ^

China, UAE vow to strengthen relations (Xinhua)
China is willing to deepen friendship, broaden cooperation, and enhance coordination with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in international and regional affairs, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Thursday. During a meeting with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Yang said China and the UAE have witnessed in recent years rapid development in their bilateral ties, with closer high-level contacts, increasingly strengthened mutual political trust, fruitful cooperation in such areas as trade and economy, and broadened cultural exchanges. China has praised the UAE's support in Xinjiang-related and human rights issues, he added. For his part, Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE-China relations are currently at an important period of in-depth development and faced with good opportunities. The UAE attaches great importance to its relations with China and hopes to cement the traditional friendship between the two countries and develop pragmatic cooperation in various fields, he added. Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE expects that China will continue to play a positive role in international and regional affairs. Earlier in the day, Yang also met with his UAE counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Both sides reached broad consensus after exchanging views on bilateral ties and regional issues of common concern. The Chinese foreign minister arrived in the UAE capital of Abu Dhabi late Wednesday for an official visit to the Gulf nation. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Several new regulations to take effect in China (People's Daily Online)
A governmental decree which prohibits landlords from dividing apartment rooms into smaller booths for rent will take effect Tuesday. The decree, entitled the Regulations on Leasing of Commercial Housing, stipulates that the average living area of rented housing per person shall not be less than the minimum living area per person set by local governments. [...] The decree is one of several governmental regulations which will take effect on Tuesday. The revised invoice regulations and new regulations on reporting of securities and futures news, price monopoly, and sealing up of property papers by government audit departments will also come into effect. The new regulations on reporting of securities and futures news, jointly issued by the General Administration of Press and Publication and the China Securities Regulatory Commission, stipulate that reporters should be prudent in reporting news that might affect investors' prospects and market stability. ^ top ^

Top court looks at improving petition system (SCMP)
In a move apparently intended to improve the country's petition system, local courts will be assessed on their ability to satisfy grievances and prevent public petitioners from seeking redress at higher levels, the Supreme People's Court said yesterday. The resolution rate for petition cases would be taken into account when evaluating local courts' annual performance starting this year. The Supreme Court organised training for 12,521 chief justices and judges across the country last year. But it found that many petitioners were not satisfied by either the verdicts or their enforcement at the local level, and took their grievances to Beijing or other big cities in search of redress, Xinhua reported. The initiative is part of the top court's efforts to curb repeat petitioners. China's centuries-old petition system has recently become a national focus after Premier Wen Jiabao's recent high-profile meeting with petitioners. The court urged the judiciary at all levels to settle their cases properly and prevent petitioners from coming to Beijing, to ensure social stability. Mainland media have reported many cases of petitioners repeatedly forced to seek redress of grievances with higher authorities, after regional governments or courts failed to mediate and get settlements. […] The Supreme Court would devise a system to evaluate how likely a dissatisfied petitioner would be to take action after a verdict, a court spokesman said. Judges would be notified and criticised if dissatisfied litigants sought redress with petitions. "[The new system] requires all judges to raise their awareness of how to prevent further petitions, make great efforts to settle disputes and solve social conflicts by mediation, in order to prevent petitions at their source," Xinhua quoted the spokesman as saying. The Supreme Court also urged regional courts to set deadlines for individual cases, to keep impatient litigants from petitioning while their case was before the courts. The Supreme Court received more than 35,700 petition cases last year and nearly 70 per cent were filed via the internet, Xinhua said. The mainland's judiciary has often been caught in corruption scandals, in which judges colluded with interested parties and handed down partial verdicts. Many of the thousands of suspects arrested in Chongqing's year-long "anti-triad tornado" are from the municipality's judiciary system. Many partial verdicts that end in petitions are believed to be linked to corruption in the mainland judiciary. The Supreme Court said three new regulations to stop judges from colluding with relatives and acquaintances - and to avoid any other conflicts of interest - would be implemented from early this year. Last month, Wen led a group of about 10 State Council ministers hearing complaints from rural farmers and migrant workers who had come to Beijing. The petitioners were decrying illegal land requisitions, unpaid wages and insufficient social welfare protection. ^ top ^

China has 4.6 million trademarks (People's Daily)
China registered 4.6 million trademarks at the end of 2010, with the number of trademark applications exceeding 1 million last year, according to the State Administration for Industry and Commerce. Despite the huge number, only one out of eight economic entities in China had a trademark and there are not many famous brands, according to the administration. Meanwhile, trademark infringement cases took place often as a lot of enterprises were not fully aware of trademark protection, according to official sources. ^ top ^

Property market to stall as new regulations bite (People's Daily)
Around 20 percent of registered residents in Beijing will not be able to buy a new apartment this year after the new round of policy tightening kicks in. That could lead to a 20 to 30 percent fall in property sales and stall price growth, according to industry experts. The Chinese capital, which experienced the biggest surge in property prices (42 percent) nationwide last year, is expected to roll out its new detailed property regulations around mid-February, in line with the central government's requirements. The State Council launched a new round of measures on Jan 26 to rein in property prices. Besides raising the minimum down payment for second-home buyers to 60 percent from the current 50 percent, it also further tightened rules restricting home purchases. People who own one apartment are allowed to buy another, but those with two apartments will not be permitted further purchases, according to the State Council's statement. The new measures are expected to further cool speculation in the housing market after property prices in 70 major cities posted their fourth straight month-on-month rise. According to a survey by the central bank in the fourth quarter of last year, 72.4 percent of Beijing residents have their own apartments, with 18.3 percent of them, or 800,000 families, owning several. […] With the new round of measures coming into force, property prices in key cities will stop growing and those in suburban areas will decline. More than 60 percent of potential buyers may adopt a wait-and-see attitude, the report said. […] "However, due to ample liquidity in the market, the property price is not expected to fall right now," said Wang. Property prices registered their smallest year-on-year gain in December, after peaking at 12.8 percent in April. Despite the slowing annual growth rate, property prices in 70 surveyed cities posted their fourth straight month-on-month rise, with the gain in December standing at 0.3 percent, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. ^ top ^

Energy sector to get lion's share of R&D spending (SCMP)
The energy sector will get the bulk of the mainland's science and technology investment, according to a draft of the Ministry of Science and Technology's five-year plan for 2011-2015.
[…] Minister Dr Wan Gang has already inverted the hourglass of the plan by including more than a dozen research and development (R&D) deals with US partners that will require a total investment of more than US$10 billion. Most of the money will go to clean-energy sectors such as nuclear, wind and solar power. […] But Wan's interest in clean energy should not be overemphasised, […] Wan promised the fossil fuel sector two-thirds of the R&D investment in energy for the next five years, whatever that allocation turns out to be. He said deep-sea and deep-earth exploration for fossil fuels and mineral resources would rival the clean-energy sector and see the biggest growth of R&D funds. In the clean-energy sector, although wind and solar power has received most support from environmentalists and media attention, the nuclear energy industry will quietly get more of the R&D budget. […] "Though nuclear power is not entirely clean at this stage, it has the technical and practical potential to fully replace oil and coal in China. We need and deserve the biggest investment for R&D." […] To sustain economic growth and the energy and material demand of a 1.3 billion population and growing, China would need considerably more fossil fuels and natural resources. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese spend most income on basic necessities (People's Daily)
More than 77 percent of Chinese residents surveyed said most of their income went to food, housing and clothing last year, with only a small amount left for travel and health care. The survey, released by Beijing-based Xiao Kang Magazine yesterday, revealed most of nearly 1,000 respondents had spent more money on basics than other services last year, in the face of rising food and housing prices. Residents were polled in 15 cities, including Shanghai and Beijing. The respondents' expenditures on travel accounted for less than 19 percent of the total on average last year, with only about 8 percent on health care. This consumer expenditure pattern was partly driven by soaring living costs, as nearly 95 percent of those surveyed said prices were high or too high. Nearly 30 percent of respondents said consumer prices are "extremely high," the survey showed. Rocketing home prices put more pressure on residents to make ends meet. About 96 percent of people in the survey said house prices are "too high." Surging prices have impacted on expenditure plans for this year among those surveyed. More money will go toward saving and investment rather than spending. Only 16 percent said they will spend more this year, with more than half of them saying they will opt for more investment. Nearly 34 percent of those surveyed said they will deposit more money in banks. ^ top ^



Tibet denies Lama spies for China (SCMP)
The Tibetan government-in-exile denied on Tuesday that one of its most senior spiritual leaders was a Chinese spy after a large amount of cash was discovered in a raid by Indian police. Police raided a monastery of the Karmapa Lama in northern India last Friday and said they discovered “a big quantity of cash” in foreign currencies. Media have reported officials seized US$1.6 million of cash in various currencies, including the Chinese yuan during the raid. The Lama, known as Ugyen Thinley Dorje, is generally seen as a political successor to Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama. Dorje's office said in a statement that the money was donations from supporters. Government officials in Beijing have denied that he is a Chinese spy, Chinese newspapers reported. “We do not believe that the Karmapa Lama has anything to do with the People's Republic of China. We have faith in him and are confident the truth will come out,” Dolma Gyari, deputy speaker of the Tibetan government-in-exile told reporters. “Let us not jump to conclusions.” In contrast to the Dalai Lama, whom China criticises as fomenting violent revolt, the Karmapa Lama, who fled from China in 2000, is recognised by Beijing. The Times of India quoted an unnamed intelligence sources as saying over the weekend that the Lama was under suspicion of being planted by Beijing, sending waves of indignation through the Tibetan community in India. The controversy has dominated the media for days in India where suspicion lingers over China's meddling in India's affairs. The two countries went to war in 1962 and share a disputed border. China is now India's largest trade partner but the Sino-Indian trade relationship is overlaid with political and strategic rifts. ^ top ^



People feel much 'safer' in Xinjiang (People's Daily)
The safety feeling of local citizen in the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region reached up to around 83 percent in 2010, accounting for a 20 percentage points' growth year-on-year, according to the Xinjiang Public Security Bureau on Feb. 9. According to the bureau, in 2010, criminal and public security cases in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous decreased 2.1 percent and 8.8 percent Region, respectively. People's sense of security and satisfaction continued to grow. In 2010, 91.76 percent of people were satisfied with the work of the public security, of which, the police station and the traffic police force won 82.88 percent and 79.08 percent degree of, representing 4.1 and 6.2 year-on-year percentage points' growth, respectively. It was reported the public security organs of all levels in Xinjiang tightly carried out four key tasks, including "strike-hard against terrorism, resolve social conflicts, innovate social management methods and enforce the law fairly and honestly, " and a package of special actions to strictly guard against and crack down on all kinds of serious criminal activities, which contributed to strengthen the stability comprehensively. ^ top ^



Major general arrested in Taiwan is accused of spying for Beijing (SCMP)
Taiwan has arrested a major general for allegedly leaking top military secrets to the mainland, including a super-sensitive warfare planning communications network built with the help of the United States. In a late-night news conference yesterday, the Taiwanese defence ministry said Major General Lo Hsieh-che, head of the army's electronic communications and information department, had been placed under custody by the military prosecutor's office. "After investigation, the military prosecutor's office suspected he was absorbed by the mainland intelligence agency while he was stationed abroad between 2002 and 2005," said ministry spokesman Yu Sy-tue. Lo, 51, who had been stationed as a military officer in the US, is the highest ranking officer arrested for allegedly spying for Beijing. Military officials said the security authorities searched Lo's office and house on January 27 and found classified documents related to the latest military electronic warfare and strategies. The most sensitive document was the "Po Sheng Operation", a multibillion New Taiwanese dollar island-wide electronic warfare communications network set up with the help of the United States for more than a decade. Through the network, the top military Hengshan commanding base is able to direct the army, navy and air force in joint war operations and hook up with the US Pacific Command. The leak has triggered grave concern from the US, according to cable news channel ETTV. Military officials said the system was built section by section by different contractors to avoid the entire system being exposed. Meanwhile, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou asked all government agencies to stop using the name China instead of "the mainland" or "mainland China" in order to "revert to the stipulation of the constitution". ^ top ^

Ma calls for use of term 'mainland' (Global Times)
A Chinese mainland expert said Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou made a positive move toward creating cross-Straits political trust after asking Taiwan officials to refrain from referring to the mainland as "China" either verbally or in government documents. Ma Ying-jeou wants to change the common practice in Taiwan of referring to the mainland as "China" in favor of the term "the mainland" or just "the other side," the Taipei-based "Central News Agency" reported Monday. […] Lo Chi-keung, a spokesman for the Taiwan leader, said that Ma's proposal is supported by Taiwan's "constitution," which states that referring to the other side of the Straits as "the mainland" is legally appropriate. "Taiwan's change of wording for the Chinese mainland is a positive move toward mutual political trust across the Taiwan Straits," Leng Bo, a professor at the Beijing-based Institute of Taiwan Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times Tuesday. […] Ma also said that a legal foundation and political discussions were both necessary to talk about cross- Straits relations and that this legal basis should not change during a rotation of power, the Taipei-based China Times reported Tuesday. "Ma's new proposition will help the Taiwan public build a correct understanding of the cross-Straits relationship and is also a reflection of the 1992 Consensus, which sticks to the 'one-China' principle," said Leng. […] The majority of mainstream Western media agencies still refer to the Chinese mainland as China when dealing with questions concerning both sides of the Taiwan Straits. "Any nation that has a formal diplomatic relationship with the People's Republic of China should stick to the one- China policy and be very careful about wording when mentioning both sides of the Taiwan Straits," Leng told the Global Times. ^ top ^



Chinese president stresses living standards in economic development (People's Daily Online)
Chinese President Hu Jintao said Sunday more attention should be paid to raising people's living standards while striving for economic growth. [...] Hu urged the parties and social groups to pursue the people-first principle and help the government to better serve the people. "We should always make the improvement of people's lives an important starting point in promoting development in a scientific way and enhancing social harmony," Hu said. He said the government would focus on the transformation of its economic development pattern, and try to achieve its economic targets this year, which is also the start of the 12th five-year period (2011-2015). Hu hoped the non-Communist parties and individuals would concentrate on promoting scientific development and put forward practical suggestions for achieving comprehensive, coordinated and sustainable development. [...] Hu expressed appreciation for the contributions of non-Communist parties and individuals to social and economic development last year. "We must rely on all Chinese people, including non-Communist parties, societies, ethnic groups and people from all walks of life and in different strata to achieve this year's goals for economic and social development," said Hu. [...] Non-Communist party leaders at the gathering gave opinions on issues such as multi-party cooperation, rural social security system, water conservation, strategic emerging industries, education and cultural exchanges across the Taiwan Straits. The meeting was chaired by Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference. Vice President Xi Jinping and Vice Premier Li Keqiang were present at the gathering. ^ top ^

Lending to China's rural areas up 31.5% last year (Global Times)
Loans in China's rural areas amounted to 9.8 trillion yuan by the end of last year, up 31.5 percent from a year earlier, said a report released Monday by the People's Bank of China. The hike in rural lending was 11.9 percentage points higher than that of all lending by financial institutions, said the report. Among the loans to rural areas, 2.6 trillion yuan was held by rural residents, up 29.4 percent from the same period of 2009. This increase was 8.3 percentage points lower than total loans to urban residents, largely due to urban residents spending more on buying homes in a rising housing market. ^ top ^

China reports robust trade growth with emerging markets in 2010 (Xinhua)
China reported robust trade growth with emerging markets last year, Ministry of Commerce (MOC) figures show. China's trade with member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) increased 37.5 percent year on year in 2010. It's trade with Brazil climbed 47.5 percent year on year. Chinese trade with Russia expanded 43.1 percent year on year while that with South Africa grew 59.5 percent. Trade with India increased 42.4 percent year on year. China has become the top trade partner and export destination for Japan, the Republic of Korea, ASEAN, Australia and South Africa. China is the second largest trade partner and export destination for the European Union. It is the second largest business partner and the third largest export destination for the United States. The European Union, the United States and Japan remained China's top trade partners in 2010. China's trade with the European Union increased 31.8 percent last year. With the United States it increased 29.2 percent and with Japan it increased 30.2 percent. China's imports and exports totaled 2.97 trillion U.S. dollars in 2010, up 34.7 percent year on year. ^ top ^

China's private sector employs 160m people (People's Daily)
China's private sector now provides more than 160 million jobs, according to the State Administration for Industry & Commerce. The country registered about 40 million private businesses amidst robust growth during the 11th Five-Year period (2006-2010). Further, the private sector has employed about 7.87 million workers laid off from state-owned or collective enterprises in the past five years. Individually-operated businesses top 34.07 million, involving 1.27 trillion yuan ($193.01 billion) of registered capital and 69.82 million employees. Of note, private enterprises topped 8.19 million with 17.73 trillion yuan of registered capital and 91.83 million employees, according to the administration. ^ top ^

China tops world in gold output in 2010 (People's Daily)
China, which became the world's largest gold producer since in 2007, retained its position again in 2010 by mining 340.88 tonnes, up 8.57 percent year on year, the China Gold Association said Sunday. Increases in gold output will help China hedge against financial risks and inflation, as well as maintain economic security, the association said. The number of domestic gold producers shrank to around 700 at the end of 2010, from 1,200 in 2002, through mergers and acquisitions. At present, China's top ten producers account for 49.19 percent of the total gold output. Production is concentrated in five provinces, including Shandong, Henan, Jiangxi, Yunnan, and Fujian, which account for 59.82 percent of total output. Violent movements in asset prices caused by the financial crisis boosted Chinese investors' demands for gold as a safe haven. The yearly average gold price jumped 25.6 percent from one year earlier to 1,224.53 U.S. dollars per ounce. ^ top ^

Growth of Chinese SME loans outpaces credit to large firms: central bank (Global Times)
Lending to China's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) rose faster than loans to large enterprises last year, according to the People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank. Outstanding loans to small enterprises by banks and financial institutions jumped 29.3 percent year on year to 7.55 trillion yuan (1.15 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2010, while loans to medium-sized enterprises stood at 10.13 trillion yuan, up 17.8 percent, said the PBOC. Outstanding loans to large enterprises rose 13.3 percent to 13.42 trillion yuan, highlighting the government's efforts to optimize the loan structure, the PBOC said. About 99 percent of Chinese enterprises are SMEs which contribute 60 percent of the country's gross domestic product. Financing has long been difficult for Chinese SMEs as banks prefer to lend to big companies, particularly reputable state-owned enterprises. The government has moved to help SMEs get finance by differentiating the reserve requirement ratio for the Rural Credit Cooperative, the major lender to SMEs, and encouraging innovation in SME bond issuance. In July last year, the PBOC asked financial institutions to establish independent criteria for approving loans to SMEs and to improve efficiency in processing SME loan applications. The PBOC said SME loan growth would continue to accelerate this year. ^ top ^

China's central bank raises benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points (People's Daily)
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), the central bank, announced Tuesday it would raise benchmark one-year borrowing and lending rates by 25 basis points beginning Wednesday. […] The rate hikes come amid increasing pressure on the Chinese government to control inflation. […] This is the first rise in China's one-year benchmark interest rates this year and signals a renewed effort to cool prices and tighten liquidity. Analysts said the timing of the hike, immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday, would send a strong signal to the market that the PBOC was paying more attention to inflation. […] China's CPI, a main gauge of inflation, rose 4.6 percent in December year on year, slightly lower than November's 5.1 percent, which was a 28-month high. For the whole of last year, the CPI was up 3.3 percent and exceeded the government's target to keep it below 3 percent. […] Many economists expect the January CPI figure to stand above 5 percent, while new loans in January would be around 1 trillion yuan. The National Bureau of Statistics is to release the January CPI figure about Feb. 15, when the central bank will also issue the new loan figures for January. The PBOC announced on Jan. 30 that keeping overall price levels under control would be its top priority in 2011 by adopting a "prudent" monetary policy. […] After the PBOC's latest hike in bank reserve requirement ratios by 50 basis points on Jan. 14, China's major banks will have to set aside a record high of 19 percent of their reserve and small- and medium-sized banks will have to keep 15.5 percent of their deposits as reserves. The Chinese economy posted a better-than-expected growth of 10.3 percent in 2010, up from 9.2 percent in 2009, adding to the country's pressure to prevent overheating and control prices. According to PBOC data, Chinese banks granted 7.95 trillion yuan (1.2 trillion U.S. dollars) of yuan-denominated new loans last year, with China's broad money supply (M2), which covers cash in circulation and all deposits, jumped 19.7 percent year on year to 72.58 trillion yuan at the end of 2010. Since Oct. 19, 2010, the PBOC has raised the benchmark interest rate three times and increased the bank reserve requirement ratio four times in less than four months. […]. ^ top ^

Private enterprise exports skyrocket (People's Daily)
Private Chinese enterprises exported goods worth $481.3 billion in 2010, a jump of 223 percent compared with 2005, said a report by the All-China Federation of Industry & Commerce (ACFIC). The year-on-year increase on average has been 26 percent over the past five years, the association, which governs the nation's more than 40 million private and individual businesses, was quoted by Xinhua News Agency as saying on Tuesday. "China's private sector has become a major player in foreign-trade market. Since the global financial crisis, those enterprises have taken full advantage of the country's stimulus policies and made much headway in tapping the international market," said the ACFIC in the report. […] However, private industry will come under greater pressures in the next five years as inflation increases, labor cost rises, and trade protection measures from foreign countries increase, said Huang. Moreover, "financing difficulty will still be a crucial problem," he said. […] "Without the stable and healthy development of the private sector, China has no possibility of substantially achieving economic restructuring," said Huang. […]. ^ top ^

China's liquidity control may target all social financing (People's Daily)
The People's Bank of China, the country's central bank, has come up with a new concept which may indicate changes in its monetary policy. A faster pace of the appreciation of China's currency yuan, along with more interest rate hikes, could play a more important role than ever in taming rising inflation. Instead of setting a specific target for the credit scale as it did previously, PBoC urged to pay more attention to the so-called “social financing aggregate”. According to the remarks by Hu Xiaolian, deputy governor of PBoC and Highlights of China's Monetary Policy in Q4 2010 issued by PBoC, that notion is expected to reflect the increasing diversification of the financing resources on the market, particularly the growing importance of direct financing. The central bank believes that figures of social financing aggregate could provide more accurate information on liquidity than bank loans. According to a report by China Securities Journal on Thursday, social financing aggregate includes both credits on the balance sheet of commercial banks, but also off-balance-sheet financing business and financing resources beyond banks, such as the stock market and bond market. […] Li believes that direct financing beyond bank loans would weigh more in China's financing system in the future, which would further challenge the dominance of bank loans. Promotion of market-based interest rate pricing and more financial innovation has already been put on the agenda of the 12th Five-year Plan, the country's development strategy for 2011 – 2015. More progress of direct financing is predictable as a result, said Li. However, she also warned that more importance attached to off-balance-sheet financing does not mean any relaxing of credit controls. Although regulators have not given any target for credit scale for 2011, any control over social financing aggregate could not be effective if credit grants by banks are not restrained effectively. In 2010, China's yuan-denominated loanes exceeded the 7.5 trillion yuan target, reaching 7.95 trillion yuan. ^ top ^



Ex-President becomes new party head (UB Post)
Enkhbayar Nambar, the former president and prime minister of Mongolia, has been elected chairman of a new political party created on Friday. At the end of a two-day conference, the new party was formed and was called “Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party,” a name the ruling Mongolian People's Party gave up in November. The conference also chose the party chairman from three candidates nominated by conference participants. Enkhbayar won with 687 out of 913 votes. “I was never for the name change of the party and therefore, leadership of the Mongolian People's Party is attacking me,” Enkhbayar said, “I will fight for justice as the party chairman.” Now it is not clear whether the court will register the new party as “Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party.”. ^ top ^

State Head meets top in the world businessmen and political figures (Montsame)
The President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj has held meetings with the world's top businessmen, richest people, and political figures during the World Economic Forum (WEF). They are George Soros, an American businessman and philanthropist; Thomas Loren Friedman, a writer and journalist of the New York Times newspaper; Bill Gates, a founder and chairman of the Microsoft Corporation; Richard Quest, a columnist of the CNN channel; and Bill Clinton, a former president of the USA. The Mongolian President shared views with these people on topics of the annual meeting--economic stability, environmentally-friendly development and partnership between state and private sector as well as development policy of Mongolia. The dignitaries have supported the President's proposal on creating a model contract for mining sector, and then appreciated readiness of drawing up the contract's draft. They have also congratulated Mongolia for its growing active participation in the WEF. ^ top ^

Prime Minister is to lead National Council (Montsame)
Since Mongolia will lead the League of Democracies in 2011-2013, the national council to organize its activity and provide directions will be headed by the Prime Minister of Mongolia S.Batbold. This decision was made by the cabinet meeting February 9. After having received the chairmanship from Republic of Lithuania July 2011, Mongolia will strengthen the League's activity in the region, stabilize the new democracy, and form deeper the democratic values. The League of Democracies is the intergovernmental organization that aims to ensure united position of countries in spreading and firming the democracy institution. ^ top ^

US firm signs JV wih Mongolian company for rare earth exports (
California-based Green Technology Solutions, Inc. has entered into a joint venture agreement with Rare Earth Exporters of Mongolia (REE). “By acquiring mining claims and operations in Mongolia, we believe we can help solve the global supply crisis while instituting cleaner mining technology to minimize environmental contamination,” the company has said.

Rare earths are critical to the construction of a wide range of electronic products from iPads to electric car motors and are a crucial component in the weapons manufacturing industry. Currently, China controls nearly 95 percent of rare-earth minerals production globally, giving it a near monopoly over the precious elements' distribution. The vast majority of China's rare earths are mined in the country's Inner Mongolia region, which lies along the southern border of the nation of Mongolia. […] President and CEO John Shearer said the company formed the joint venture with REE in order to capitalize on these market dynamics. “Stable supplies of rare earths are vital to the security and economy of the U.S., Japan and South Korea,” Shearer said. […] The joint venture plans to convey Mongolian mining products overland to railway for transport to the seaport of Vladivostok, Russia, in order to avoid shipping through China. Destination ports for these mining products are set to include the U.S., Japan and South Korea. ^ top ^


Chantal Ernst
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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