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
  28.3-1.4.2011, No. 364  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea


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Foreign Policy

Syrian FM, China's special envoy to Mideast discuss peace issues (Xinhua)
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al- Moallem on Sunday met here with visiting China's special envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike, during which the two exchanged views on bilateral relations, the Middle East peace process and regional issues. Wu Sike said China is deeply concerned with the impact of the current regional developments on the Middle East peace process, and that the international community should not overlook the peace process including the issue of Syria's Golan Heights due to the new changes. For his part, al-Moallem expressed Syria's appreciation of China's long-time support for Syria and other Arab countries in regaining their legitimate rights. He also expressed Syria's willingness to achieve peace through negotiations, saying if Israel returns the Golan Heights it seized in 1976, Syria is willing to talk with Israel on other issues. ^ top ^

China offers humanitarian aid of 500,000 USD to quake-hit Myanmar (Xinhua)
China had decided to offer emergency humanitarian aid of 500,000 U.S. dollars in cash to quake-stricken Myanmar, the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Saturday. The aid was extended to help Myanmar's disaster relief efforts and post-quake reconstruction, the MOC said in a statement on its website. Chen Deming, Minister of the MOC, expressed condolences to Myanmar in a letter to his counterpart of Myanmar, Minister of National Planning and Economic Development U Soe Tha. Chen also said in the letter that China was willing to provide Myanmar with any necessary help. ^ top ^

Africans welcome China's growing economic power (People's Daily Online)
The prospect of growing Chinese economic clout is welcomed in all African countries, in contrast to other parts of the world where attitudes are either negative or divided, a poll showed on Sunday. Asked how they view the possibility of an economically far stronger China, around four in five Nigerians and Kenyans said they looked forward to such an outcome, according to the survey of more than 28,000 people in 27 countries commissioned by the BBC World Service. "All African countries view China's increasing economic power positively," the survey report said. Sub-Saharan Africa was also home to the very few countries worldwide where most people would be happy about China boosting its military might. Globally, half of all respondents favoured the prospect of a wealthier China and only a third believed it would be unwelcome. The split was little changed from the previous poll in 2005. Overall, people expected China will be a more important economic partner to their respective countries than the United States or the European Union in 10 years. Interviews were conducted between December and February. ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier meets former British PM Blair (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan met here on Monday with former British prime minister Tony Blair. They exchanged views on issues regarding global economic situation, energy and environmental protection. Blair is visiting China as guest of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs. Earlier on Monday he attended the launch ceremony of a environmental protection program in Beijing, entitled "China Redesign". The three-year program, launched by the Climate Group, aims to help Chinese cities develop and implement low-carbon growth strategies and meet the emission reduction objectives of China's 12th Five Year Plan. Blair is one of the initiators of the Climate Group. ^ top ^

China calls for immediate end to violence, armed confrontation in Cote d'Ivoire (Xinhua)
China on Wednesday called on all parties concerned in Cote d'Ivoire to immediately end violence and armed confrontation in the West African country and resolve their differences through dialogue and consultations. The statement came as Li Baodong, the Chinese permanent representative to the United Nations, was speaking at an open Security Council meeting after the 15-nation UN body unanimously adopted a resolution to impose sanctions against Cote d'Ivoire's Laurent Gbagbo, who had refused to hand over power to the internationally recognized president. In the new resolution, the Security Council "demands an immediate end to the violence against civilians" in Cote d'Ivoire, and "decides to adopt targeted sanctions" against Gbagbo and his inner circle. Li voiced China's grave concerns at the continued worsening of the security situation in Cote d'Ivoire. "We call on all the Ivorian parties to immediately cease the violence and armed confrontation and seek to settle their differences through dialogue and consultations," Li said. […] Also in his speech at the Security Council, Li called on all the parties concerned in the West African country "to provide active and comprehensive cooperation" to such efforts. "China's position regarding the International Criminal Court (ICC) remains unchanged," he said. "China always maintains that the UN peacekeeping operations should strictly abide by the principle of neutrality," Li said. " We hope that the UN Operations in Cote d'Ivoire will fulfil its mandate in a strict and comprehensive manner, help the efforts for peaceful settlement to the crisis in Cote d'Ivoire and avoid becoming a party in the conflict.". ^ top ^

Chinese vice premier calls for stronger financial, economic cooperation with Germany (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang met with German Federal Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schaeuble in Beijing Wednesday, calling on both sides to cement financial and economic ties and expand cooperation in energy and "green" economics. Hailing the sound growth of bilateral relations, Li told Schaeuble that China hopes to boost its strategic partnership with Germany in the spirit of mutual respect and equality. The two countries' economies are highly compatible, Li said, calling on both countries to enhance traditional trade and investment and seek out new areas of economic development and cooperation. Li said he hopes both sides will strengthen their coordination and join hands to promote the reform of the global financial system. Li also requested joint efforts from both countries to increase the voice and representation of emerging economies and developing nations. Speaking positively of bilateral ties, Schaeuble said his country hopes to boost trade links with China during the implementation of China's 12th Five-Year Plan. He expressed gratitude for China's support during the European sovereign debt crisis. The European Union will firmly defend the euro and guard its financial stability, he added. ^ top ^

Chinese president to chair BRICS summit, address Boao Forum (Xinhua)
Chinese President Hu Jintao will chair the BRICS Leaders' Meeting and address the Boao Forum for Asia, both slated for mid-April in the southern island province of Hainan, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu announced here Thursday. China will host the BRICS summit on April 14 in Sanya city of Hainan,to be attended by Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and South African President Jacob Zuma, Jiang said.BRICS is a group acronym that refers to Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, which are considered to be at the same stage of economic development. The BRICS leaders will have in-depth exchanges of views on the international situation, economic, financial and development issues and outline their future cooperation, Jiang said. Hu will also attend the opening ceremony and deliver a key-note speech for the annual conference of the Boao Forum for Asia on April 15 in Boao, Hainan, the spokeswoman said. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, South African President Jacob Zuma, ROK Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik,Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mikola Azarov and New Zealand Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Bill English have been invited to the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum, she said. Established in 2001, the Boao forum is committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries closer to their development goals. ^ top ^

China works to build military confidence with other countries (Xinhua)
China is working to develop "equal, mutually beneficial and effective" mechanisms for military confidence-building, according to a white paper on the country's national defense issued here Thursday. The white paper, issued by the Information Office of the State Council,included a chapter specifically about military confidence-building for the first time. Hou Xiaohe, an expert with the University of National Defense, told Xinhua that this is a reflection of China's new concept of national security and a requirement for its path to peaceful development. According the white paper, in recent years, China has held extensive strategic consultations and dialogues with relevant countries regarding security and defense, aiming to enhance mutual understanding and trust as well as to strengthen communication and coordination. To date, China has established mechanisms for defense and security consultation and dialogues with 22 countries, including the United States and Russia. According to the report, the Chinese and Russian militaries have held 13 rounds of talks since establishing a strategic consultation mechanism in 1997. The defense ministries of China and the United States also established a mechanism of defense consultation in 1997 and have held 11 Defense Consultative Talks (DCT) and six Defense Policy Coordination Talks. Sino-U.S. military confidence is the key to mutual trust between the two countries, Hou said. "The core of Sino-U.S. military confidence is that the two countries will regard each other as constructive partners instead of enemies or threats," he said. China is working to build an amicable relationship and partnership with its neighbors, the white paper says. It has signed confidence-building treaties along areas bordering neighboring countries, including India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Bhutan. "These measures will help prevent risky military actions and maintain peace and stability along the border," Hou said. The country also actively participates in dialogue and cooperation regarding international maritime security as well as security dialogue and mechanisms in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the white paper. However, experts also noted that China differs from Western countries, especially the United States, regarding the military confidence. There are obstacles standing between China and the United States in the process of developing military confidence, said Xie Feng, a senior military expert. The first and largest obstacle is the military connections between the United States and Taiwan, he said. The United States is continuing its military surveillance and survey operations against China, which undermines China's security, he said. Additionally, some U.S. domestic laws also impose restrictions on exchanges and technical cooperation between the Chinese and U.S. armed forces, he said. "The two countries should work together to reduce differences and improve mutual trust through dialogues, while addressing each other's core interests, under the principles of mutual respect, trust, equality and mutual benefit," he said. ^ top ^

G20 finance chiefs want yuan in IMF's basket of top currencies (SCMP)
The Group of 20 industrialised and emerging nations has broadly agreed to include the yuan in a basket of currencies that some say might potentially offer an alternative to the US dollar as a global reserve, French finance minister Christine Lagarde said yesterday. Speaking after the group's advisory meeting in Nanjing, Lagarde said that although no timetable had been set, the yuan's convertibility was one of three criteria it would need to meet for inclusion in the International Monetary Fund's Special Drawing Rights (SDRs). European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet also said currency convertibility was a ticket to SDR inclusion. "A number of conditions are probably necessary for the yuan or any new currency to enter into the basket. And these conditions, I think, would be full convertibility and free-floating," Trichet said. However, his comment was countered by a deputy governor of the People's Bank of China, Yi Gang, who said there was no link between yuan convertibility and its inclusion in the basket that forms SDRs. […] Before the seminar, Beijing had attempted to rule out discussion of its controversial exchange rate mechanism, despite continuing criticism from a number of its trading partners that the yuan is undervalued. Vice-Premier Wang Qishan described the seminar as a "gathering of the wise", but stressed it was an "unofficial and academic gathering", in a possible hint Beijing was reluctant to be bound to any agreements made. Wang said the global financial crisis had focused thoughts on the need to reform the international monetary system, which he said was necessary to "prevent drastic fluctuations" of global trade and commodities prices. "Excessive global liquidity, intensifying fluctuation in international finance markets and commodities market, the still severe European sovereign debt crisis, and the turbulent situation in the Middle East and northern Africa, the catastrophic earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear leak in Japan are all aggravating the instability of the world economic recovery," Wang said. The basket of SDRs is limited to the US dollar, the British pound, the Japanese yen and the euro. The fund is used by the IMF to supplement member countries' official reserves, with its value determined daily in US dollars based on a weighted amount of the four currencies. Some economists have floated the idea that SDRs might one day replace the US dollar as the world's de facto reserve currency but Lagarde categorically rejected that suggestion yesterday.[…]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Culture a key priority in five-year plan (SCMP)
Top leaders want to turn culture into a "pillar industry" for the mainland by 2015. As they see it, the world needs to know about Chinese culture, a development which will help boost the country's attractiveness, and capacity to use "soft power" to increase its influence on the global stage. Critics, however, fear the campaign will end up being a "Great Leap Forward in culture", saying the spending is wastefully extravagant and will not bring the desired result. The stated economic goals of the 12th five-year plan for 2011-15, approved at the National People's Congress session on March 14, include a massive expansion of the media, publishing, movie, animation, television series and performance sectors for export. A pillar industry is loosely defined as one that contributes five per cent or more of the mainland's annual gross domestic product, a share which is predicted to be worth at least 2 trillion yuan (HK$2.37 trillion) in 2015. The government plans to invest 171 billion yuan this year in the culture, sports and media sectors, according to the Ministry of Finance. Culture was not only "the spirit and soul of the nation", but also a powerful force for the development of the country, according to a document containing suggestions for the five-year plan, approved at the Communist Party congress in October. Authorities have come to realise the key role culture plays in developing the economy and boosting China's image abroad. In the aftermath of the financial downturn in 2009, authorities identified the culture industry as a possible driver for adjusting the mainland's economic development in an effort to balance the pursuit of GDP growth with improving quality of life for ordinary citizens and protecting the environment. The State Council approved the "Plan to Adjust and Reinvigorate the Culture Industry" in September 2009, making it a national strategic industry. Beijing sees developing so-called soft power, under which the nation is able to influence world affairs through persuasion and shared interest, as a crucial foil to its growing economic and military might, described as "hard power" China's status as the world's second-biggest economy means its hard power is already on the increase. […]. ^ top ^

Chinese president urges CPC members to excel in promoting social harmony (Xinhua)
Chinese President Hu Jintao has urged all members of local units of the Communist Party of China (CPC) to strive for excellence in promoting scientific development, social harmony and serving the people. Hu, who is also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, made the remarks in a recent directive from the CPC's ongoing national campaign of contending for excellence to encourage party members to improve their work. "It is necessary to go deep down and get immersed with the reality for CPC local units and all its members in carrying out the campaign to contend for excellence," said Hu, who is also a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau. Hu was echoed by Wu Bangguo, Wen Jiabao, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, He Guoqiang and Zhou Yongkang, the eight other members of the Standing Committee of the CPC Central Committee's Political Bureau. They demanded the campaign be properly conducted among CPC's local units with full respect to party members' duties, so as to form a favorable atmosphere in which hard workers are encouraged and portrayed as role models. At a Thursday meeting concerning the campaign, Li Yuanchao, head of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee, said that CPC local units should carry out the important instructions given by the top leadership with Hu at the core and mobilize all CPC members to contend for excellence in advancing China's scientific development, ensuring social harmony and in doing their best to serve the Chinese people. Li said the campaign should guarantee a good beginning for achieving China's goals of social and economic development as specified in the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015), thus serving as a "gift" for the 90th anniversary of the founding of the CPC on July 1. ^ top ^

Chinese Premier renews call for fight against corruption (Global Times)
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Friday renewed his call to combat corruption, saying he believes corruption could destabilize social stability if it is not properly handled. At a meeting of the State Council, China's cabinet, Wen mapped out a series of priorities in China's anti-graft efforts for 2011, as the government strives to prevent officials from committing misconduct, such as abuse of power and dereliction of duty. Officials, along with their families and aides, are not allowed to interfere in or manipulate tenders and bid activities, according to Wen. They are required to report their assets and the employment of their family members. Officials will also be held accountable if they accept bribes, either in cash, securities, or payment cards, he said. Further, leaders from state-owned enterprises are not allowed to seek illicit gains through operating relevant businesses or trade, Wen noted. China has made progress in addressing the complaints of citizens and reducing administrative costs over the past year. However, it still faces an extremely complicated situation in its development, according to Wen. He pointed out that some long-term and short-term problems are intertwined within the country's economic and social development, adding that some social contradictions have become relatively prominent. The problems, together with corruption, may threaten the country's development and stability if not properly handled, according to Wen. Friday's call was a renewed push for anti-graft efforts by the Premier, who pledged in an on-line chat with the public in late February that the investigation and prosecution into allegations of abuse of authority, dereliction of duty and involvement in corruption by principal officials would be a "primary task" in 2011. During Friday's meeting, Wen also promised to better safeguard the legitimate interest of people and cut extravagant spending by government officials. Unlawful and forced land expropriations and house demolitions are strictly banned, he said, adding that the administrative system needs to be reformed to dilute the power of some government departments. Wen said that the agencies have become too powerful. Wen also ordered the improvement of the efficiency of government departments and the enhancement of supervision of principal officials. To reduce administrative expenses, the government will decrease overseas business trips and reform the system for government service cars, Wen said. The government would also reduce extravagance in official business trips and receptions and cut the number of meetings and documents, Wen said, as he urged government administrations to make spending more transparent through publishing budgets. Vice Premier Li Keqiang and Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Commission for Discipline Inspection head He Guoqiang were present at the meeting. ^ top ^

Activists charged and ousted as noose on dissent tightens (SCMP)
The crackdown on mainland activists appears to be intensifying with the formal arrest of an outspoken writer, and the ousting of a prominent opinion writer and an editor at two publications. Sichuan writer and blogger Ran Yunfei's wife said she received police notification yesterday of her husband's formal arrest on the charge of "inciting subversion of state power". "My husband is an intellectual and a writer, that's the person I know," Wang Wei said by phone, declining to elaborate. Ran, 46, was taken away by police on February 20, as protests across the Middle East prompted online calls urging Chinese people to stage their own "jasmine revolution" in mainland cities on that day. He was officially detained on February 24. On the mainland, formal arrests usually indicate that prosecutors are preparing to press charges and often lead to convictions. Ran, a government critic, had criticised the authorities for prosecuting those who blamed corrupt officials for the deaths of thousands of children in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake: fellow activists Tan Zuoren was jailed for five years for "inciting subversion of state power" in February last year, and Liu Xianbin was given 10 years on Friday on the same charge. […] After a spate of anonymous online calls for the so-called jasmine revolution during the past month, a dozen human rights lawyers - including Teng Biao, Jiang Tianyong and Tang Jingling - and activists vanished and are believed to be in police custody. Another 24 activists were detained on criminal charges - around half of them state security charges - and at least 150 had been subjected to various forms of detention, Chinese Human Rights Defenders said. The tightening of the government's grip is felt elsewhere. Xiao Shu, an outspoken veteran columnist for Southern Weekly, was pressured into taking a two-year sabbatical after his employer ordered him to stop writing, a former colleague said. Phone calls to Southern Weekly chief editors rang unanswered yesterday. […]. ^ top ^

China set to power on with massive nuclear plants (People's Daily Online)
As the world discusses the safety of nuclear power, China appears to be keeping its faith in the sector, despite announcing a wave of emergency safety reviews in the wake of the crisis at Japan's Fukushima plant. Nuclear safety standards will be reinforced, but China's plan for nuclear power remains unchanged, Xie Zhenhua, deputy director of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), said Wednesday during a visit to Canberra.

[…] This month, the government suspended the approval of all nuclear power plant projects, pending the completion of a nationwide inspection of all atomic reactors and construction sites. Authorities had been ambitious about the potential of nuclear power and drafted plans to reduce China's dependence on fossil fuels. The NDRC announced in January that annual nuclear power capacity is expected to stand at 40 GW by 2020, accounting for up to 6 percent of the nation's electricity supply, the State Power Information Network reported. A total of $150 billion is set to be invested within this decade, the National Energy Administration announced in 2009. China currently has 13 nuclear power stations in operation, but these make up only 2 percent of the country's electricity needs. The construction of another 27 plants is underway. However, the tightened rules were not received gratefully by inland provinces, whose economic rise have led to an energy glut. According to a report released in late 2010, 31 out of 43 sites seen as suitable to host a nuclear plant are located in inland regions, according to State Grid Corporation of China. The intention to move plants inland has come under scrutiny since the incident in Japan, with critics questioning whether regions with few water sources are truly suitable for this purpose. […]. ^ top ^

China to adopt new system over food safety (Xinhua)
China vows to strengthen its regulation of food quality to eliminate concerns over food safety and to adopt a system to assess the efficiency of the quality supervision and inspections undertaken by local governments. At a press conference in Beijing on Tuesday, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine and the China Association for Quality announced that they consider the adoption of such an assessment system to be their primary task in 2011. The announcement said the country will also establish a means this year of reporting the results of quality analyses in a timely manner. Speaking at a national conference in January, Zhi Shuping, director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, became the first to propose the creation of a system to be used to assess the attempts of local governments and officials to ensure food safety and quality. Zhi praised eight provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, including Beijing, for the enthusiasm they displayed in undertaking such work. Zhi said Zhejiang and Shandong provinces and the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region have adopted a similar assessment system. Despite such progress, media have reported that fewer than half of the 2,862 county quality inspections centers in China - about 1,100 in total - are capable of carrying out food-safety tests. That means the new assessment system may not work well in areas that lack much of the equipment needed to conduct quality tests. […] The latest food-safety scandal came two weeks ago, when China Central Television reported that Jiyuan Shuanghui Food Co Ltd, an affiliate of the country's largest meat processor Shuanghui Group, had purchased pigs fed with clenbuterol, an illegal additive used to produce leaner pork. The report said tarnished meat was able to enter the market in part because local quarantine officials allowed pig farmers to choose which pork samples they would submit for testing. Sang Liwei, a food safety lawyer in Beijing and a representative of the Global Food Safety Forum, a non-government organization, praised the punishments meted out to the responsible officials and said such actions effectively remind officials of their duties. Wen Decheng, a professor specializing in food safety in Shandong University, said the tarnished meat scandal showed that Shuanghui had neglected its responsibilities to the public. "If the company cannot guarantee the quality of products in its supply chain, that implies the company didn't develop properly and that a blind expansion has made the company prone to risks," said Wen. ^ top ^

2,000 battle police in Yunnan (SCMP)
Police in the southwestern province of Yunnan – backed by an armoured vehicle – were reportedly sent in to quell more than 2,000 protesters who paralysed traffic with their compensation demands over farmland and houses they had sacrificed to make way for a new power station. Some 1,500 armed police officers were mobilised in Suijiang county on Tuesday afternoon, the Hong Kongbased Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said. Up to 30 protesters and 20 policemen were wounded in the clashes, it said. The rights watchdog said protesters hurled bricks at riot police who tried to detain them. In a rare practice, the report said, an armoured vehicle was sent to the scene. The demonstrators retreated afterwards. The report was confirmed by at least two local residents yesterday. Lu Guangfu, who said he witnessed the protest, said 2,000 to 3,000 local farmers gathered at a bridge on Friday and blocked the road at noon the next day. […] The Xiangjiaba facility is located at the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in Yunnan. The rights centre said about 40,000 Suijiang residents were forced to move out, together with another 60,000 from Yunnan's Pingshan county and Sichuan. […] Both men blamed corrupt local officials for the bleak future they say they face, along with tens of thousands of their fellow farmers who were affected. Lu said the protesters did not stop their rally until more than 1,000 policemen showed up with an armoured vehicle and started to dispel them on Tuesday. A news portal affiliated with the provincial propaganda department confirmed the protest began last Friday and involved over 2,000 people. About 300 people remained on the scene on Tuesday, it said. The Suijiang government said 17 policemen and five government workers were hurt in the clashes. ''Following forceful measures... the roads were unblocked and normal order was restored to the county,'' the government said. ^ top ^

China's defense spending's share moderately shrinks in overall fiscal expenditure (Xinhua)
The share of China's annual defense expenditure in its GDP has remained relatively steady, while that in overall state financial expenditure has been moderately decreasing, said a white paper on the country's national defense issued on Thursday. With the development of national economy and society, the increase of China's defense expenditure has been kept at a reasonable and appropriate level, says the white paper issued by the Information Office of the State Council. According to the report, China's GDP was about 31.4 trillion yuan (4.79 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2008 and about 34.1 trillion yuan in 2009. State financial expenditure was about 6.26 trillion yuan in 2008 and 7.63 trillion yuan in 2009, up 25.7 percent and 21.9 percent respectively over the previous year. China's defense expenditure was 417.876 billion yuan in 2008 and 495.11 billion yuan in 2009, an year-on-year increase of 17.5 percent and 18.5 percent respectively. China adheres to the principle of coordinated development of national defense and economy, appropriately determines the size of defense expenditure in line with the demands of national defense and economic development, and manages and uses its defense funds in accordance with the law, the report says. In the past two years, the increase in China's defense expenditure has primarily been used to improve living and working conditions for the troops, accomplish diversified military tasks, and push forward the Revolution in Military Affairs with Chinese characteristics, the report says. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) has adjusted servicemen's salaries and allowances, increased funding for education and training, and improved conditions of border and coastal defense forces and units in remote areas and harsh environments. It has increased investment in improving MOOTW capabilities, in disaster relief operations, and in escort operations in the Gulf of Aden and waters off Somalia. In view of rising prices and maintenance costs, it has moderately increased the funds for high-tech weaponry and equipment and their supporting facilities, according to the report. China's defense expenditure mainly comprises expenses for personnel, training and maintenance, and equipment, with each accounting for roughly one third of the total, the report says. ^ top ^

New environmental (Global Times)
The country announced its energy saving and environment protection targets for the year, the nation's top economic planning body said Tuesday. The target may give a boost to the country's clean-energy industries especially wind and solar power, as China reassesses its nuclear energy development plan following Japan's nuclear crisis, analysts said Wednesday. The government hopes to reduce energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) by 3.5 percent, lowering emissions of major pollutants by 1.5 percent, and reducing water use per industrial value-added by 7 percent in 2011, the National Development and Reform Commission said in a statement published on its official website Tuesday. These targets are part of China's plan to cut energy consumption and carbon emissions per unit of GDP by 18 percent over the next five years. China, as the world's largest primary energy consumer, pledged in its 12th Five-Year Plan to cut energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16 percent while slashing carbon emissions by 17 percent in the five years through 2015. That will help China meet its pledge of reducing carbon intensity by 40 to 45 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. […] China has 34,485 wind turbines up and running with installed capacity reaching 44,733.29 megawatts by last year, a report by the Chinese Wind Energy Association showed. ^ top ^



China's rural migrants excluded from receiving full urbanization benefits, official says (Xinhua)
China's massive population of rural migrants has been excluded from receiving the full benefits -- from health care to education -- of China's rapid urbanization drive, despite their remarkable contribution to this drive, a senior agricultural official said. Chen Xiwen, vice director of the Leading Group on Rural Work of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, told a development forum in Shanghai that although an army of people has moved from the countryside to work and live in cities in recent years, they are not treated as city dwellers. Nearly half of China's population -- 630 million -- lived in urban areas in 2010, according to official statistics. The number of urban residents has grown by approximately 37 percent over the past ten years. Experts said the calculation includes 285 million rural migrants who do not have an urban "hukou", or household registration. They have little access to education, social welfare and other rights and benefits that come with the registration. Many migrant workers have to return to the countryside to retire, raise children or treat illnesses as their limited pensions are not enough to cover the high cost of living in cities. The current two-tier "hukou" system was first introduced by the government in the 1950s to restrict population flow. The system has been revised since then, but experts have called for further changes in order to end discrimination against rural migrants living in cities. Chen said the development of infrastructure in Chinese cities has far outpaced the development of benefits for urban dwellers, and it has become a pressing issue for the government. The government will "make up the missed lessons" of full urbanization, he said. Yang Weimin, an official with the National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planning commission, said at the forum that the government is considering granting urban household registration to rural migrants who have a stable income and have been living in cities for a certain number of years. Yang said the government will also find ways to extend social welfare to those who do not qualify for the time being. ^ top ^



Guangdong tightens rules on foreigners (China Daily)
Guangdong province has tightened up rules governing foreigners living and working there as part of efforts to crack down on illegal immigration. A provincial regulation, which takes effect on May 1, encourages people to report malpractice involving foreigners, such as illegal entry, overstaying, working without permits or conducting business without a license. The regulation, approved by the provincial government on Jan 21, was posted on the local government website recently and is the first of its kind concerning management of foreigners on the mainland. The six-chapter, 67-article regulation stipulates that no one is allowed to provide accommodation for foreigners who have overstayed or are without a valid passport. Property owners violating the rule will be fined three times the amount of the monthly rent they charge. The regulation came as the booming province has attracted a growing number of foreigners seeking employment and trade opportunities. More than 63,000 permanent foreign residents are registered in Guangdong and more than 4 million foreigners visit the province annually. But the province has witnessed a growing number of illegal immigrants working or doing business. To tackle the problem, the regulation stipulates that an employer of a foreigner without a valid work or residence permit will be fined of up to 3,000 yuan ($450). Any firm or individual who provides accommodation or bank accounts to foreigners without valid travel documents, or whose visas have expired, will be fined up to 10,000 yuan. […] According to the Guangzhou Intermediate People's Court, one third of fraud cases between 2002 and 2008 involved foreigners. Many companies in Guangdong have been found illegally using workers from Africa, the Middle East, Vietnam and Myanmar for cheap labor. ^ top ^



Attempts to jeopardize Tibet's stability, development are doomed to failure: official (People's Daily Online)
It was not easy for Tibet to have come this far in its development and any attempts that jeopardize Tibet's hard-gained stability and progress are doomed to failure, Padma Choling, chairman of the Tibet autonomous regional government, said Sunday. China will mark the third Serfs Emancipation Day on Monday. On the same day 52 years ago, one million serfs, accounting for 95 percent of then Tibet's population, were freed and began to be treated as human beings, instead of as "animals who can speak," a term used to describe the population under serfdom. On March 28, 1959, China's central government announced it would dissolve the aristocratic local government of Tibet and replace it with a preparatory committee for establishing the Tibet Autonomous Region. That meant the end of serfdom and the abolition of the hierarchal social system characterized by theocracy, with the Dalai Lama as the core of the leadership. The move came after the central government foiled an armed rebellion staged by the Dalai Lama and his supporters, most of whom were slave owners attempting to maintain serfdom. […] Also, life expectancy in Tibet nearly doubled, from 35.5 years before the emancipation to the current 67 years, he said. Tibet was one of the first regions to establish free 9-year compulsory education, covering both urban and rural areas, which slashed the illiteracy rate among young and middle-aged Tibetans, said the chairman. He reiterated that any attempts to split Tibet from China or to restore the hierarchal social system characterized by theocracy are doomed to failure. A signed article to be published in Monday's People's Daily also hailed the establishment of the Serfs Emancipation Day and the central government's efforts to support Tibet's development and to improve local people's well-being. A total of 16 billion yuan from the central budget was earmarked for the investment in Tibet in 2010, up 46 percent year on year, boosting the infrastructure such as airports, highways and railways in the region, said the article. In 2010, all Tibetans above the age of 60, or some 235,200 people, received basic pensions amounting to 76.3 million yuan, said the article. "In the first year of the 12th Five-year Plan period, development and stability will be our two key tasks and we will strive to achieve leap-frog development and long-term stability to make concrete progress in building a well-off society," said Padma Choling. "We are confident to overcome all kinds of difficulties and move forward in building a united, democratic, prosperous, civilized and harmonious Tibet," he said. ^ top ^

Dalai Lama's announcement of "retirement" a farce, living buddha says (Xinhua)
The Dalai Lama's announcement of his plan to step down as the political head of the "exiled Tibetan government" is "a self-directed and played out farce", said Shingtsa Tenzinchodrak, a living buddha of Tibetan Buddhism, on Monday. The Dalai Lama's announcement on March 10, in which he said that he would resign his political role, makes it very clear that he is not just a religious leader but also a politician who disrupts the Buddhist orders, said Tenzinchodrak, who is also vice chairman of the Standing Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region's People's Congress. Tenzinchodrak made the comment at a seminar that commemorated the 52nd anniversary of the emancipation of about one million Tibetan serfs, or more than 90 percent of the region's population back then. […] "The Dalai Lama wanted to use his 'retirement' rhetoric to attract more listeners and to fan the efforts for splitting Tibet from the motherland," said Tenzinchodrak. […] The 14th Dalai Lama fled to India and created the self-declared "Tibetan government-in-exile" after the central government foiled an armed rebellion he and his supporters staged in 1959. […]. On March 28, 1959, China's central government announced that it would dissolve the aristocratic local government of Tibet and replace it with a preparatory committee for establishing the Tibet Autonomous Region. That meant the end of serfdom and the abolition of the hierarchal social system that was characterized by theocracy. The Dalai Lama was at the core of that social order. The move came after the central government foiled an armed rebellion staged by the Dalai Lama and his supporters, most of whom were slave owners attempting to maintain the region's serfdom. "All ethnic groups will commemorate that day forever," said Padma Choling, chairman of the regional government, since the Tibetans were freed from the cruel and dark rule of feudal serfdom, which forever changed the human rights situation in Tibet. Tenzinchodrak, now 61, became the 14th living buddha of Shingtsa Temple in Tibet's Nagarze County in 1955. He was elected vice chairman of the region's People's Congress Standing Committee in 2008. ^ top ^

China's Cabinet approves Qinghai-Tibet Plateau environmental protection plan (Xinhua)
A meeting of the State Council, China's Cabinet, approved a plan on Wednesday for preserving and protecting west China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau over the next two decades. The meeting, presided over by Premier Wen Jiabao, concluded that the regions covered by the plateau are "key to the country's ecological safety". These regions include the Tibet and Xinjiang Uygur autonomous regions, as well as the provinces of Qinghai, Sichuan, Yunnan and Gansu. Strengthening environmental protection in these regions is important for "maintaining border stability, ethnic unity and the building of a well-off society," according to a statement from the meeting. […] However, the statement noted that "due to a vulnerable environment and unscientific economic structure, the ecological security of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau faces severe challenges." Therefore, efforts should be made to restructure local industry, manage pollution levels and resolve ecological problems closely related to public health, the statement said. […] The region should be divided according to different functions, such as animal husbandry and ecological preservation, the statement said. Efforts should also be made to enhance biodiversity in the region, as well as preserve grasslands, wetlands and forests, especially near the origin site of China's three major rivers - the Yangtze River, the Yellow River and the Lantsang River, the statement said. Reversing desertification, water loss and soil erosion in the region should help enhance the quality of the land and prevent geological disasters, according to the statement. The statement also called for improving drinking water quality in both rural and urban areas, enhancing treatment of the region's water and air pollution, properly handling solid waste and strictly controlling soil management. The statement said that an early warning mechanism for climate change and environmental monitoring should be created and enforcement of relevant laws should be strengthened. ^ top ^



Xinjiang beauty spot pipeline fear (SCMP)
Environmental groups are demanding a public inquiry into a plan to build a China-Russia natural gas pipeline across the Kanas Lake area, an area in Xinjiang renowned for its spectacular scenery and rare wildlife and fauna. Concern has been growing since a report published last Monday by China Business News said that a panel of experts set up by the Ministry of Forestry had given the go-ahead for the pipeline, which would be about 2,000 kilometres long. Wang Yongchen, a Beijing-based environmentalist, called on the authorities to release a public statement spelling out their intentions and the construction plans. "Such a key national programme should not be a decision taken by a few officials only," she said, "especially those officials who think economic interests rate above everything else." […] Spokesmen from China National Petroleum Corporation, the largest oil producer in China, and the Ministry of Forestry declined to comment yesterday, saying the relevant officials were unavailable to offer further details. Chi Chongqing, the Communist Party secretary of Xinjiang's Tourism Bureau, defended the pipeline on Friday, saying the project would have minimal environmental impact, according to Yesterday, Chen Sidong, spokesman for the Tourism Bureau, said it had limited input in the decision but had sent China National Petroleum Corporation and the ministry advice on how to protect Kanas Lake, such as running the pipeline underground or avoiding important areas for wildlife and fauna. The area is nestled in the deep forests and mountains of Altay prefecture, on the northern border with Russia. CNPC (SEHK: 0135) has been in talks with Moscow for years to build a gas pipeline stretching across Russia as the mainland seeks more energy for its fast-growing economy. In 2006, CNPC and Gazprom, the largest oil and natural-gas producer in Russia, signed an agreement that China could build two pipelines, including the west line that must pass through the Kanas Lake area. The planned 4,000-kilometre pipeline, of which almost half would be within Russian territory, is designed to be able to transport 30 billion cubic metres of gas a year. Some 20 billion cubic metres of that are expected to go to China and the rest to South Korea. According to mainland media, the project is targeted for completion by 2018. ^ top ^

NW China official sentenced to life for taking bribes (Global Times)
A county-level Communist Party of China (CPC) official in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region was given a life sentence for accepting millions of yuan in bribes, officials at a local court said Wednesday. The Urumqi Intermediate People's Court announced the verdict on Tuesday in which Liu Kasheng, former CPC party secretary of Bachu County, and his wife Qiu Xiaomei, were found guilty taking advantage of his position by demanding and accepting bribes. The couple were convicted of accepting 5.68 million yuan ($861,000) and a portable computer worth 18,600 yuan ($2,818) during Liu's tenures as CPC party secretary in both Yecheng and Bachu Counties from 2002 to 2010. Liu was also found guilty of acting independently in receiving more than 1 million yuan ($164,000) from five people. The court ruling stripped Liu of his political rights for life and confiscated all his property. His wife, Qiu, received a 15 year jail sentence. The bribes the duo had accepted were also confiscated, according to the court ruling. The two defendants appealed the first-instance verdict at the court. ^ top ^



Minimum wage to be HK$28/hour (Global Times)
Hong Kong's Labor Department released minimum wage reference guidelines Monday to assist employers and employee, which state a statutory minimum wage will come into force on May 1, and the initial rate is HK$28 per hour. The department consulted the city's Legislative Council's Manpower Panel, the Labor Advisory Board and 300 organizations before compiling the guidelines. Given the great variety of modes of employment, the guidelines do not cover all situations exhaustively. Instead, relatively common examples are included to cover different situations and the low-paying sectors to help employers and employees understand the ordinance and its application. ^ top ^

HK enacts Iran sanctions law after 9 months (SCMP)
After nine months of delay Hong Kong has quietly enacted regulations that implement last year's United Nations sanctions against Iran. The city's action comes amid increasing scrutiny from the West over China's dealings with Iran. The new regulations went into effect late on Friday afternoon. They update Hong Kong's existing sanctions against Iran "to implement decisions" of the Security Council's fourth round of sanctions, which were passed with the support of China on June 9 last year. Soon after passage of the UN resolution, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing instructed the Hong Kong government to implement the resolution fully, according to a memo submitted to Legco last week. The administration said it took nine months to implement Beijing's directive because the UN resolution "covers a number of new prohibitions and strengthened measures that are not commonly found in previous UNSC decisions." In January, the United States blacklisted 20 shipping companies in Hong Kong for operating as fronts for the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, which was censured by the UN in 2008 for aiding Iran's nuclear and military programmes. A South China Morning Post (SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) investigation found that the companies were created at the IRISL's request, in an effort to mask the identity of its fleet in the wake of UN censure and unilateral sanctions. It is not clear whether the new legislation will have an impact on IRISL's operations in Hong Kong. Last week, Colombian UN ambassador Nestor Osorio, who chairs the Security Council's Iran sanctions committee, told the council that the committee was investigating new attempts by Iran to import banned goods from China and North Korea. A shipment of phosphor bronze, a commodity banned by the sanctions, was seized in South Korea from a Chinese company, a Security Council diplomat told Reuters. Malaysia has also announced an investigation into whether equipment found in two containers headed for Tehran from China could be used to make nuclear weapons. Beijing has faced increasing scrutiny in the West over its relationship with Iran. Earlier this month, a bipartisan slate of US senators pressed the Obama administration over its policy on Sino-Iran relations. […] At last week's Security Council meeting, Chinese ambassador Li Baodong said Iran was entitled to peaceful use of nuclear energy, and emphasised that negotiation and dialogue was the best approach. ^ top ^



PBOC tightens liquidity (Global Times)
The People's Bank of China (PBOC) further tightened excessive liquidity stemming from Chinese banks this week through regular open market operations that ended Thursday. In its open market operations yesterday, the PBOC auctioned 47 billion yuan ($7.16 billion) of three-month bills and sold another 30 billion yuan ($4.57 billion) of repurchase agreements. Also on Tuesday, the PBOC issued 50 billion yuan ($7.62 billion) one-year bills and sold 28-day repurchase agreements worth 85 billion yuan ($2.95 billion). ^ top ^

Govt to fine tune macro policies (Global Times)
The People's Bank of China said Monday that the country would work to boost effective liquidity management and keep financing at a reasonable level. China will also make monetary policies more targeted, flexible and effective, and employ multiple monetary tools, the bank's monetary policy committee statement said. ^ top ^

Industrial profits rise (Global Times)
Profits of China's industrial enterprises rose 34.3 percent year on year to 645.5 billion yuan ($97.8 billion) in the first two months this year, the National Bureau of Statistics said on Sunday. The main business sales revenue of the industrial enterprises of scale – referring to enterprises with annual primary business sales revenue exceeding 20 million yuan each, instead of the previously used threshold of 5 million yuan each – climbed by 31 percent from the previous year to 10.7 trillion yuan in the January-February period, the National Bureau of Statistics reported. ^ top ^

Price control still priority of monetary policy (People's Daily Online)
China's central bank committed again to prioritizing price control in its policy considerations. The monetary policy committee of the People's Bank of China held its quarterly meeting for 2011 in Beijing recently, pledging to closely follow the situation and impact of the international and domestic economic and financial development. The meeting reiterated the central bank's commitments on maintaining prudent monetary policy and improving the specificity, flexibility and effectiveness of the monetary policy. The central bank has vowed to exploit more diversified tools to develop a better structured policy framework to leverage liquidity more effectively by keeping the aggregate social financing scale and money supply at a more reasonable level. Commercial banks will be encouraged to give more credit support to key areas and weak sectors and at the same time be restrained from favoring industries with high energy and pollution intensity or overcapacity. Direct financing should have a bigger role to play. The system of forming the yuan exchange rate should be improved to keep the basic stability of the yuan exchange rate at an equilibrium level. The central bank believes that the monetary policy is working effectively. However, it also warns that the country is still facing a complicated economic and financial reality. With the global economy in slow, fragile recovery, China's economy is keeping a steady and rapid growth with imminent problems yet to be addressed. ^ top ^

Cross-border yuan trade settlement may expand nationwide (People's Daily Online)
China is making more aggressive steps to make its currency more international. The Securities Daily reported on Tuesday that a wider use of the yuan in foreign trade is being planned and could be announced as soon as April. "All the 11 provinces and cities that are not on the list of the trial project of cross-border yuan trade settlement will be included in this proposed expansion. In addition, the capital account could also be liberalized further," a bank source told Securities Daily. In fact, the expansion of the project has been set as one of the major tasks on the agenda of the People's Bank of China for 2011. Eight overseas financial institutions are given access to China's inter-bank bond market recently. Analysts say that initiative will facilitate the business of cross-border yuan trade settlement. According to the central bank's latest report on the international financial market in 2010, banks made more than 500 billion yuan of cross-border RMB trade settlement in 2010, accounting for 2 percent of China's total foreign trade value that year and about 48 times the amount in 2009. China launched the pilot project of yuan cross-border trade settlement in five cities in April 2009, namely Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Zhuhai and Dongguan, and then extended it to 20 provinces and cities in July of the same year. At the same time, the overseas areas that are included in the projects expanded from China's Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR and the ASEAN countries to all its trading partners. By the end of December 2010, 67,724 enterprises had made trade deals with yuan settlement, compared with only 365 in 2009. By February 2011, 724.9 billion yuan of trade had been settled in RMB, which was 201 times as the amount of 2009. As the major holder and dealer of RMB account, Chinese banks are playing the leading role in the RMB clearance business. By 2010, more than half of the cross-border yuan trade settlement was handled by Bank of China, followed by the 25 percent by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, 15 percent by China Construction Bank (CCB) and the 8 percent by Agricultural Bank of China (ABC). Currently, cross-border yuan trade settlement is conducted either by the overseas branches of Bank of China, which is the exclusive yuan clearance bank in Hong Kong and Macao authorized by the central bank, or via overseas banks' RMB clearance accounts set up in correspondent banks on the Chinese mainland. Competition for the business is increasing with foreign banks also keen on making their presence felt on this market. International banks, like HSBC and Bank of America, have already dominated the business in the neighboring markets like Japan. Standard Chartered are stepping up the promotion of its role in this business in South Eastern Asia. And Hang Seng Bank's cross-border RMB trade settlement deals surged 12 times than that prior to the expansion of the trail project to more than 35 billion yuan by the end of 2010. ^ top ^

China, EU to cooperate on intellectual property rights (Global Times)
China and the European Union will work together to strengthen the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR) and the existing IP protection system in China between April and September, according to an official announcement Wednesday. After last weekend's apologies, it is reported that Baidu Inc, the popular Internet portal, Wednesday has deleted 99 percent of alleged non-copyright approved work, an attempt to end the escalating dispute between the company and nearly 50 authors. To better protect IPR in China, the Ministry of Commerce of China and the European Union delegation on September 29, 2007 launched a four-year-long partnership project called IPR2. The whole project will cost $22.93 million, of which the Europeans offered $15.29 million and the Chinese $7.64 million. The funds will mainly be used to offer training courses, seminars, workshops, symposiums and study tours for relevant Chinese authorities. […] China in 2006 had 11.32 million people employed in these areas, which was 1.48 percent of the total employed population, according to statistics from the EU delegation. "China's IPR standards have already reached the international level," Philippe Kern, managing director of KEA European Affairs told the Global Times. ^ top ^

Oil giants win approvals (Global Times)
China's National Development and Reform Commission has approved three overseas oil and gas acquisitions by state oil firms Sinopec Group and CNOOC. The commission said Wednesday in reports on its website that it had approved Sinopec Group's $7.1 billion deal to buy 40 percent of Spanish Repsol's deepwater oil assets in Brazil. The commision said it had also given the green light to CNOOC's acquisition of partial exploration rights in five Australian coal investments owned by Exoma Energy Ltd. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea

Two Koreas in talks on volcano threat (Globaltimes)
North and South Korea held talks Tuesday about a potential volcanic threat from Mount Changbai, striking an all-too rare note of cooperation after months of confrontation. The meeting was held at the South Korean town of Munsan and followed both countries being on high alert about natural disasters, after the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan and crippled an atomic power plant there. The North's chief delegate Yoon Yong-geun expressed his concern at radioactive leakage from the Fukushima plant, after his 13-member team crossed the border early Tuesday. […] After day-long talks, the two sides agreed that joint research was needed into any potential hazards emanating from Mount Changbai on the border between North Korea and China, said Professor Ryu In-chang of South Korea's Kyungbook National University. The North offered the South's experts access to the peak, Ryu told reporters. Pyongyang's official news agency said the two sides would meet again early next month. Following the Japanese disaster, Pyongyang's earthquake bureau had tabled a proposal joint research into possible activity at the volcano. Mount Changbai is mentioned in the South's national anthem, while North Korea says its current leader Kim Jong-il was born there. Although dormant since its last eruption in 1903, experts say the 2,740-meter peak may have an active core, citing topographical signs and satellite images. The South's National Institute of Environmental Research said in a recent report that an eruption risked lowering temperatures by two degrees for two months in Northeast Asia, which would devastate local agriculture. Geologist Yoon Sung-hyo of Pusan National University told Yonhap last week that a massive release of sulphuric gas was detected from the mountain in November. ^ top ^



Koreas seeks more participation in energy and infrastructure projects (UB Post)
Prime Minister of Mongolia S.Batbold was received by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak at the presidential office in Seoul and discussed ways to promote bilateral relations. Batbold said that relations between the two nations have developed across the board, with bilateral trade amounts skyrocketing sharply to 80-million dollars and human resource exchanges being brisk since diplomatic relations were established. He added that Mongolia's underground resources and South Korea's cutting-edge technology are mutually complementary and have potential for development. He also said that he welcomed South Korean companies' interests in building a railway and in mining resources in Mongolia. On his part, S.Korean President said he will support Mongolian premier's suggestions to develop bilateral cooperation. Lee especially asked the Mongolian government to expand support for South Korean firms seeking to participate in the country's energy and infrastructure development projects. He said he is planning to visit Mongolia this year as the president. ^ top ^

Direct foreign investments go up (Montsame)
Direct foreign investments have been increasing in the last six years by over MNT 100 billion every year. A survey proves it carried out by the Foreign Investment and Foreign Trade Agency of Mongolia (FIFTA). As experts say, this increase has been observed since the law on investments was enriched by several clauses that ensure investment capital guarantee and business environment stabilization. As of today, Mongolia has investment cooperation with some 40 countries. In 2010, direct foreign investments reached MNT 800 billion. ^ top ^

Civil Will-Green Party gives report (Montsame)
The Civil Will-Green Party called Wednesday a news conference to speak about a structural reform. As we reported before, the party will be chaired by D. Enkhbat MP, a leader of the former Green Party. A leader of the former Civil Will Party S.Oyun MP has been elected as first vice chairperson of the Civil Will-Green Party, and E.Zorigt--as the vice chairman. The party's authorities have said the newly emerged "Civil Will-Green Party" will have six policy committees, for example, a committee on economics will be headed by M.Khurelsukh, on justice--by E.Batbayar. In addition, the monitoring council will comprise nine members headed by A.Enkh-Amgalan. As of present, the party's authorities intend to register the new party at the State Supreme Court. ^ top ^

Deputy premier conveys donation (Montsame)
A Deputy Premier M. Enkhbold passed Wednesday to Japan's ambassador to Mongolia Mr. Kidokoro Takuo a MNT two billion and 167 million donation. It has been collected by officials of the state organizations, Ministries and agencies, and ordinary people. One million dollars has been given as well as a non-refundable aid from the government. The Deputy Premier has said Mongolia had already sent to Japan 2,500 blankets and 12 rescuers from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). They successfully worked there and returned home. The ambassador Mr. Takuo has expressed a gratitude to Mongolia for running the donation campaign and has noted that the money were given even by the elders and children of care centers. Mr. Takuo has said Japan intends to express an official gratitude to the NEMA's rescuers late March. ^ top ^

Every citizen to receive 536 shares of Tavantolgoi (News.Mn)
Prime Minister S.Batbold and First Deputy Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag told media after today's special meeting of the Government that all citizens of Mongolia born before March 31, 2011 will receive 536 ordinary shares of the Tavantolgoi deposit. This is based on Mongolia's population being 2 million and 796,000. The Bond and Payment Center of the Mongolian Stock Exchange will note this in the Human Development Fund pass book of every citizen in Ulaanbaatar, while in local settlements the noting will be the responsibility of the Labor and Welfare Service Office. ^ top ^


Hélène Seiler
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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