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
  9-13.5.2011, No. 370  
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Foreign Policy

Asean leaders vow to seek end to South China Sea row (SCMP)
Southeast Asian leaders have agreed to work towards ending a nine-year disagreement with China that has blocked completion of guidelines for an accord to prevent armed conflicts over disputed islands [...]. The main maritime dispute is over the potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands, claimed in whole or in part by China and four Asean members - Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei and Vietnam. The smaller nations, together with the United States, worry that Beijing may use its military might to seize the area outright or assume de facto control with naval patrols. That could threaten one of the world's busiest commercial sea lanes [...]. Those guidelines would allow all the claimant nations to pursue joint development projects to ease tensions in the South China Sea region. The annual meeting of leaders of the 10-member regional grouping was supposed to focus on steps needed to create an integrated regional economic zone by 2015. But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, the host, said in his opening statement that little could be accomplished without peace and stability among member countries [...]. The region is trying to develop its US$1.8 trillion economy partly by improving transport links with key trading partner China. ^ top ^

Improving human rights is in China's interest, US says (SCMP)
The United States told China it was hurting itself through its sweeping crackdown on dissent and nudged for economic reforms as the two Pacific powers held top-level talks that culminate on Tuesday. In a two-day annual dialogue that opened on Monday, the United States and China openly aired differences but much of the tone was conciliatory, [...]. Vice President Joe Biden, however, made no secret of concerns on human rights [...]. “We have vigorous disagreement in the area of human rights,” Biden said, with top mainland officials at his side. “No relationship that's real can be built on a false foundation. Where we disagree, it's important to state it. “Protecting fundamental rights and freedoms, such as those enshrined in China's international commitments as well as in China's own constitution, is the best way to promote long-term stability and prosperity of any society,” he said. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both raised similar concerns in separate, closed-door meetings with China's delegates, US officials said. Clinton said rights concerns in the mainland had an impact on stability in Asia and also on US domestic politics [......]. “We know over the long arch of history that societies that work toward respecting human rights are going to be more prosperous, stable and successful,” she said. “That has certainly been proven time and time again, but most particularly in the last months,” she said, alluding to the wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the Arab world. But State Councilor Dai Bingguo, [...], said that his country was making progress on human rights. Dai encouraged more Americans to visit the mainland to see “the friendship of the Chinese people”. “You may also learn first-hand the enormous progress China has made in various fields, including in human rights, and get to know what the real China is,” he said [...]. The United States and China held talks last month in Beijing on human rights that led to no visible easing in authorities' clampdown on dissent [...]. Despite the disagreements on human rights, US leaders took pains to stress that they had no interest in containing a rapidly growing China. “A healthy competition, in our view, is good for both of us,” Biden said [...]. ^ top ^

China urges EU to lift arms embargo, recognize market economy status (People's Daily Online)
China on Tuesday urged the European Union (EU) to lift its arms embargo on China and recognize China's market economy status at an early date to pave the way for the further development of bilateral ties. "We think the two issues involve political discrimination against China," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu during a regular news briefing [...]. Jiang said the EU's arms embargo, which was implemented nearly two decades ago, does not fall in line with the deepening China-EU comprehensive and strategic partnership. She said that more than 80 countries have recognized China's market economy status, as China's market economy system has made great improvements through 30 years of reforming and opening-up [...]. China is now the EU's second-largest trading partner and second largest export market, according to Jiang [...]. Van Rompuy will pay a five-day visit to China starting from Sunday [...]. ^ top ^

China-US dialogue reaps benefits (China Daily)
China and the United States announced a range of agreements on Tuesday aimed at expanding strategic and economic cooperation after two days of high-level meetings [...]. Following Chhina's repeated requests, the US "commits to accord China fair treatment in reform of its export control regime, and relax control of high-tech exports to China", said Vice-Premier Wang Qishan, [...]. China has repeatedly urrged the US to lift the ban on high-tech exports, which experts believe is the major source of China's trade surplus with the US. China has also expressed concerns over recognition of its market economy status. The US and the European Union have launched trade remedy cases against Chinese exports, taking advantage of the fact that China has yet to be recognized as a market economy [...]. Meanwhile, Chiina has promised to modify government rules to make it easier for US companies to compete for government contracts [...]]. China will also provide better protection for US companies against the piracy of computer software and other copyrighted materials. Zhu Guangyao, vice-finance minister, said protection of intellectual property rights (IPR) is in China's own interests, and a prerequisite for China to build an innovative society. "The two nations share common interests in IPR protection," Zhu said following the joint news briefing [...]. "We are seeing very promissing shifts in the direction of Chinese economic policy," Geithner said in his address to the media, highlighting the fact that the yuan has risen by more than 5 percent against the dollar since June. [...]. Zhu said "China and the US agree to the general direction of China's currency reform, but the two countries diverge on the pace of the reforms [...]. Both countries pledged to take additiional measures to promote free trade and investment, to help spur economic growth, create jobs and promote innovation and prosperity. Wang especially noted the consensus on expanding cooperation in infrastructure programs as well as in clean energy, the green economy, and innovation [...]. Zhu Guangyao said the most important thing now is to translate words into action [...]. ^ top ^

Human rights rebuke clouds achievements at annual dialogue (SCMP)
Sharp criticism of China's human rights record by the United States overshadowed the results achieved at the annual strategic and economic dialogue aimed at resolving disputes over trade and foreign policy [...]. US Secretary of Staate Hillary Rodham Clinton told a closing press conference that the US had voiced its concerns on a range of sensitive issues, including human rights. [...] Clinton said China's human rights record was "deplorable" and that history was not on the side of governments that resisted democracy [...]. She said a popular demand for democracy eventually would unseat China's rulers, just as it had undermined several governments in the Arab world [...]. Att the press conference, she said US officials had made the point that America "supports the aspirations" for more freedom and opportunity. Yuan Peng, director of the Institute of American Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the criticisms were made in part because the US believed China had overreacted to calls for a "jasmine revolution" by cracking down on dissent, but that the US presidential election next year and the fact that the US was "running out of strategies" for handling China were more important factors [...]. "There is nothing else the US can use when dealing with China." Yuan said US President Barack Obama had been busy with the financial crisis in 2009, and restoring the US economy and fighting terrorism last year. However, with the election looming, the Obama administration now needed to show Americans that it cared about human rights. Victor Sit Fung-shuen, director of the Advanced Institute for Contemporary China Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University, said he believed the death of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden early this month had made the US more self-confident and tougher in disseminating its values [...]. US Vice-President Joe Biden also raised the issue of human rights during the opening session of the dialogue, and the White House said Obama had discussed human rights concerns during his meeting with leaders of the Chinese delegation. Hong Lei, a spokesman for the Chinese delegation, said State Councillor Dai Bingguo had responded to Obama's comments by saying China had made great progress in protecting human rights over the past 25 years [...]. Yuann said Sino-US ties would not be hampered and the achievements made during the talks should not be understated, even though there were divisions on human rights [...]. Nicholas Bequelin, a senior researcher with New York-based Human Rights Watch, said it was a sign of progress that the rights issue had not caused a meltdown in Washington [...]. ^ top ^

Ashton to host strategic dialogue with China in Budapest (Xinhua)
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will discuss international and bilateral issues of common concern with Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo at the strategic talks due to be held in Budapest on Thursday. "Ashton plans to consolidate further the EU's increasingly important foreign and security policy relationship with China during her discussions with State Councilor Dai [...] ranking foreign policy official," said an EEU press release. "This dialogue reflects the high importance that the EU and I personally attach to the EU-China strategic partnership," said Ashton ahead of the meeting. "The EU-China Strategic Dialogue has enabled us to address in a systematic and real way, key global issues that are of importance for both the EU and China," she said [...]. "Already today our partnership goees beyond bilateral relations and our goal is to work together on issues of global interest and concern," she said. The meeting in Budapest is an important staging post in preparations for the next EU-China summit later this year. Discussions will focus on international developments […] and various bilateral issues including global economy and climate change. Dai and Ashton co-chaired the first round of the dialogue in southwest China's Guizhou Province last year. ^ top ^

China eyes new-type military relations with U.S: Defense Ministry (Xinhua)
China expects to promote the establishment of a new-type of military relations with the United States through a senior military official's visit to the U.S. from May 15 to 22 [...]. The new-typee of China-U.S. military relations would feature mutual respect and reciprocal beneficial cooperation, said Qian, adding China hopes to work with the U.S. to ensure the complete success of the Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Chen Bingde's official visit to the U.S.[...]. Chen will addresss China's position on three major obstacles hindering China-U.S. military relations during his visit, said Qian. The three obstacles, namely U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, frequent reconnaissance by U.S. naval ships and aircraft in the waters and airspace of China's exclusive economic zones, and the restrictions imposed by some U.S. domestic laws on exchanges and technical cooperation between the Chinese and U.S. armed forces, have been hindering the healthy development of bilateral military relations, said Qian [...]. &quuot;China hopes the U.S. will respect China's reasonable concern on the three issues and adopt feasible measures to resolve them," he said. With regards to developing bilateral military ties, China has its bottom line, which is featuring mutual respect, mutual trust, equality and reciprocity, said Qian [...]. Chen's trip also includes visitss to command centers, troops and institutes of the U.S. armed forces, said Qian, adding the high-profile reception arrangements showed the importance paid by U.S. officials to Chen's trip [...]. The visit will further deepen mutual unnderstanding, mutual trust and cooperation between the two armed forces and play an important role in promoting a sound and steady development of bilateral military relations, Qian noted [...]. China attaches great importance to develloping military ties with the U.S. and has made unremitting efforts in promoting bilateral military exchanges, he said [...]. ^ top ^

China calls on EU to remove political obstacles in bilateral relations (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying on Thursday called on the European Union to remove major political obstacles in bilateral relations by lifting its arms embargo on China and recognize China's market economy status. [...], Fu said that the change of EU's stand to lift its arms embargo on China and to recognize China's market economy status at an early date will be a question of political judgement, and "a question of promoting mutual trust." "If we can get rid of the obstacles, we'll be able to march forward rapidly," she said, referring to the long-standing EU's arm embargo on China and its reluctance to recognize China's market economy status. When asked about major obstacles for the disputes between China and the EU, David O'Sullivan, Chief operating Officer of the European External Action Service, [...] declined to discuss the issue in detail, saying "We have exchanged view on this issue very frequently." On the recognition of China's market economy status, the high- ranking EU official said that the EU has "very strict criteria" about the recognition. "It's, in fact, a rather technical issue....Globally we can only recognize the market economy status when certain criteria are met." [...]. ^ top ^

Top general to tell US: stop Taipei arms sales (SCMP)
People's Liberation Army chief of the general staff General Chen Bingde will tell his US counterparts to stop selling arms to Taiwan and end surveillance activities off China's shores during his visit to the US next week, a defence official said yesterday. Chen, who arrives Sunday for the week-long trip, will hold talks with senior US officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman o Admiral Mike Mullen, Defence Secretary Dr Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the president's national security adviser, Tom Donilon. […]. National Defence Foreign Affairs Office director Qian Lihua was quoted by Xinhua on Wednesday as saying that US arms sales to Taiwan were the foremost obstacle to developing military ties between Beijing and Washington. Military links between the two countries stopped after the Pentagon's US$6.4 billion arms deal with Taiwan in January last year and only resumed following President Hu Jintao's US visit in January. "If the US continues to sell weapons to Taiwan, we will definitely respond to the action," Qian said. Meanwhile, Taiwan's president, Ma Ying-jeou, said yesterday the US should sell the island F-16 C/D fighters and diesel-powered submarines to help it maintain a credible defence and provide leverage in negotiations with the mainland [...]. Chen's US visit, the first in seven years by the PLA's chief of the general staff […]. The Defence Ministry said that military surveillance operations by the US undermined China's security and were a potential source of real conflicts between the two countries. The US will also be pressed to abolish "discriminatory" laws which limit bilateral military exchanges and technology exports to China [...]. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Latitude Wen enjoys signals party's evolution (SCMP)
Since the crackdown on the pro-democracy movement in 1989, any discussion of Western-style political reform has been taboo [...]. But the fact that Premier Wen Jiabao can maintain his status despite his recent calls in public for political reform [...] underscores the significant changes that have taken place in the Chinese political system since 1989. Wen's boldness has coincided with a stepped-up crackdown on political dissent and a tightening of the authorities' grip on the media following [...]. Yet he appears to be safe from political retribution. Unlike outspoken leaders such as Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang, who were purged for their liberal remarks, Wen has continued to air his frustrations publicly with little impact on his political career, although many believe he can only do so because he will be retiring in early 2013. Wen ignited the debate with a series of speeches in which he said political reform was a do-or-die issue for the party [...]. Some analysts say Wen's remarks echo increasingly louder voices within and outside the ruling party calling for political reform, with many lower officials and academics in government think tanks joining the chorus. Others say Wen is a dissenting voice within the top leadership, because many other members of the Politburo and its Standing Committee have argued the opposite on countless occasions. Professor Zhang Ming, a political scientist at Renmin University, said the fact that Wen's recent remarks were censored on the mainland suggested he was out of step with other senior leaders. President Hu Jintao has repeatedly ruled out Western-style democracy on the mainland and has made it clear he does not envision a fundamental overhaul of one-party rule. Other top leaders [...] have made similar remarks. Wen ranks third on the nine-member Politburo Standing Committee. Wen's explicit praise of universal values, while welcomed by the public, has earned him criticism from various sections of the ruling party. Analysts say the premier's critics fall into three categories. The first are anti-reform conservatives, who reject anything that threatens socialism and communist rule. Then there are the extreme nationalists or self-proclaimed patriots who reject anything resembling Western values. Finally, there are those in the power elite who fear losing their privileges if Wen's words are ever translated into action. Pro-reform critics, on the other hand, accuse Wen of paying mere lip service to universal values in an effort to improve the leadership's image. Zhang and other analysts say the fact that Wen can continue to speak out without getting into trouble suggests subtle changes in in the secretive world of Chinese court politics, where dissenting views have never been tolerated, let alone aired publicly [...]. Many of the issues raised in 1989 remain alive today, while the communist aristocracy has grown steadily [...]. With less than two years to go before another power transition without an unquestionable authority, the behind-the-scenes manoeuvring for power at all levels of the party has prompted some analysts to draw a contrast with years past, when paramount party leaders would decide everything and had the power to enforce their will [...]. ^ top ^

Christians detained as crackdown continues (SCMP)
As the crackdown on mainland Christians continued for a fifth week, more than a dozen members of one of the most influential unofficial churches were detained yesterday as they tried to hold an outdoor service in defiance of government orders [...]. Yesterday, at least 15 church members were taken away near a proposed place of worship at a public plaza in the capital's commercial Zhongguancun area amid a heavy police presence, said church leaders. Three had been released by yesterday evening [......]. The church earlier posted an online order of service for congregation members to use in small groups in case they failed to hold a full service. Many congregation members, especially those who had been detained on previous Sundays, were confined to their homes over the weekend, they said. The six leaders of the church, some of whom have been prevented from leaving home since the eve of the first attempted outdoor service, remained under house arrest [...]. Religious affairs scholars say police appear to be following a strategy of placing more followers under house arrest so that they cannot worship outdoors. Some Christians who had been previously detained have said they were able to sing hymns and pray while in custody, although they were also pressured by police to sign statements promising not to worship outdoors again. A staff member at the Malianwa police station in the Haidian district confirmed yesterday that a female church member was being held there. He said the "suspect" was being interrogated but could not give a reason for her detention, saying they were only following orders. Religious affairs academics say harsher crackdowns in the past have not led to the demise of the church but instead made Christians more determined to spread their faith [...]. ^ top ^

Rural residents get same voting power as urbanites (China Daily)
China's rural residents are enjoying the same voting rights as urban dwellers for the first time in ongoing elections for lawmakers at the county and township levels. The new round of elections was launched when a two-day training session on elections started in Beijing on Friday. During the elections, which are held every five years, more than 2 million lawmakers at the county and township levels are elected in more than 2,000 counties and 30,000 townships, according to China's top legislature, the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee. The latest elections are the first since the adoption of the new Electoral Law in March 2010. The law requires "both rural and urban areas have the same ratio of deputies to the represented population in elections for people's congress deputies". The amendment to the electoral law was regarded as part of China's efforts to narrow the urban-rural gap by ensuring both segments of society have the same voting rights. Statistics show that more than 900 million people will vote for lawmakers at the county level and more than 600 million will vote at the township level [...]. In addition, the number of lawmakers from ethnic minorities should also be representative. Organizers should also safeguard the electoral rights of the country's 200 million migrant workers, either by giving them the chance to register and vote in their hometowns or the cities they have migrated to. The top legislature has also called for a reduction in the number of Communist Party members and government officials who are elected lawmakers. The changes will make China's elections for lawmakers more balanced and better ensure rural peoples' rights, said Han Dayuan, a Constitution law professor from Renmin University of China [...]. ^ top ^

Beijing bars writer Liao Yiwu from attending Sydney festival (SCMP)
Beijing has barred dissident writer Liao Yiwu from travelling to Australia for a festival for "security reasons" and advised him against publishing his works abroad, organisers said yesterday [...]. Festival organisers said officials had denied Liao permission to leave the country to attend the festival, just as it had stopped him from travelling to the United States for a literary festival earlier this year. The author of The Corpse Walker, [...], was also warned against publishing his works overseas, they said [...]. It is not the first time the writer, who is also known as Lao Wei has been denied the right to leave China. Last year the poet, novelist and reporter was allowed to travel to Germany for a literary festival but only after officials had prevented 14 previous attempts to leave China. Rights groups claim Liao has been arrested several times for his criticism of China's government. His poetry includes the epic Massacre, written after the 1989 killing of pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square, and his books have been translated into English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish. Beijing has launched its biggest crackdown on dissent in years amid a wave of pro-democracy uprisings in the Middle East. ^ top ^

Not a pretty picture (SCMP)
How the government of one-fifth of humanity punishes its own people continues to attract worldwide attention [...]. Yet, although much is known about published laws and some individual cases, surprisingly little reliable data exists about the functioning of the system as a whole. This week's publication of Criminal Justice in China: An Empirical Inquiry represents a giant step forward in expanding our understanding of how the mainland's formal criminal process works. This volume, the product of years of painstaking research by Professor Mike McConville, [...], dwarfs anything previously available in scale, scope and comprehensiveness. The picture that emerges is one of a Communist Party-led, police-dominated criminal justice system in which prosecutors and especially judges play generally passive and restricted roles. In this respect, China is very different from not only Anglo-American jurisdictions, but also its democratic East Asian neighbours [...], where prosecutors, [...], now actively supervise and restrain the police. In all democratic countries, courts as well as prosecutors are sympathetic to the challenges facing police, but usually act with at least some independent political authority to provide checks on police powers. In China [...], the police are king, in law as well as practice. It is important, of course, to improve the protection offered to suspected offenders by China's criminal procedure legislation, which is due for another round of revision before the end of the year, [...]. For example, the revised law should clearly guarantee defence lawyers' ability to genuinely assist detained suspects undergoing interrogation. It should also effectively require witnesses to testify in court trials, so that they can be cross-examined. Yet, as McConville notes, whatever the reforms introduced, China's Criminal Procedure Law always seems to contain enough ambiguities, loopholes and exceptions to enable the police to retain unfettered powers, [...]. Moreover, the system affords no effective ways for lawyers to challenge self-serving, plainly illegitimate police interpretations and misapplications of the law. Even more fundamentally, McConville emphasises the extent to which contemporary Chinese culture buttresses police distortions of those universal legal norms that do manage to get embedded in the country's legislation. In practice, those protections are undermined by antagonistic values, attitudes and customs that derive not only from today's Leninist "people's democratic dictatorship" but also from the impact of traditional Chinese society. Lack of sympathy for the rights of criminal suspects and lack of respect for those who defend them run very deep in China, as does the primacy of guanxi (human relationships) over rules [...]. The police have many options for depriving people of their personal freedom without even the cursory review of other agencies [...].. Most disturbingly, the police and other officials increasingly are imposing entirely extra-legal detention of varying durations on a broad range of people. Many would-be petitioners have been illegally consigned to unofficial, unidentified "black jails". Without a shred of legal authorisation, police "disappear" human rights activists and their lawyers, often subjecting them to physical and psychological abuses [...]. When it comes to detention, only the party discipline inspection committees enjoy priority over the police. They regularly impose the dreaded shuanggui, a euphemism for the often lengthy, incommunicado confinement that party members suffer while undergoing investigation for corruption [...]. ^ top ^

Despite discontent, officials hail rebuilding of Sichuan (SCMP)
Mainland officials have declared their rebuilding efforts in earthquake-ravaged Sichuan and two other provinces a "decisive victory" ahead of the third anniversary, amid simmering discontent over many unanswered questions. The triumphant assertion was first made by Premier Wen Jiabao during a visit to Sichuan on Monday [...]. With an injection of more than 1.02 trillion yuan (HK$1.22 trillion), Wen said the quake zone in Sichuan, Gansu and Shaanxi had been transformed, and the goals set three years ago had largely been met. Central and local government officials also wasted no time bragging about their accomplishments in completing nearly 95 per cent of the reconstruction [...]. Analysts said the apparent success, mostly focused on rebuilding infrastructure, came as little surprise given Beijing's generous input of manpower and resources and its determination to use the rebuilding process to showcase the country's power. But it has yet to present a convincing case to declare overall victory for the rebuilding effort, which analysts said went beyond repairing and rebuilding damaged infrastructure. "We have seen yet again the advantage of China's highly centralised political system and unbridled government power," Beijing-based political analyst Professor Hu Xingdou said. "But there is definitely a long way to go before we can boost the local economy, [...]." Sichuan deputy governor Wei Hong also admitted that developing the local economy remained a challenge for authorities despite temporary success [...]. Despite local officials' heavy-handed crackdown on anyone daring to voice grievances in the lead-up to the third anniversary of the quake, parents remain defiant, blaming poorly constructed school buildings for the high number of student casualties [...]. At least three activists, Tang Zuoren, Huang Qi and Liu Xianbin, have been jailed on subversion charges for their investigation of the so-called tofu buildings [...]. ^ top ^

Mainland courts rely on confessions, study finds (SCMP)
A landmark study of the mainland's legal system by an independent, Hong Kong-based researcher has found that its courts rely on unusually high confession rate of 95 per cent to convict defendants. According to the 15-year study by Professor Mike McConville, dean of Chinese University's law faculty, mainland courts' almost exclusive reliance on confessions for convictions has resulted in long detention periods, abusive police interrogation and rushed trials [...]. While criticism of its legal system can be regularly heard outside the mainland, McConville's work is the first independent study based on comprehensive empirical research [...]. He found that prosecution witnesses were produced in only 19 out of 227 trials and that in all but one only a single witness was produced. He also found that trials were often carried out in a rushed manner, with two-thirds of the hearings at grass-roots courts and one-third of those in intermediate courts taking less than an hour, excluding sentencing and delivery of the verdict. This he attributed in part to the unusually high confession rate [...]. While defendants were afraid to complain about police torture for fear of losing leniency in sentencing, a few did make allegations to the courts. But all of them were ignored. His findings paint a different picture to that presented by mainland officials. Last year, for example, the top official on political and legal affairs, Zhou Yongkang, said judicial reform was progressing solidly, effectively and in an orderly manner [...]. ^ top ^

Judges and prosecutors feel hindered by system (SCMP)
Mainland judges and prosecutors say they have been hindered from exercising criminal justice and acting impartially by administrative interference, a new book reveals. Hong Kong-based Professor Mike McConville interviewed 88 judges and 96 prosecutors, all anonymous, and reached one conclusion - they all took a passive role in a system primarily driven by the police [...]. "Judges and prosecutors join hands with the police to make a case against suspects," McConville said [...]. Judges interviewed by McConville admitted showing bias towards the prosecution, rather than presuming a suspect's innocence. "All cases are investigated by the investigative organ and examined and prosecuted by the people's procuratorate. And both of these are state organs. Judges naturally presume the defendant is guilty," one judge said. He was referring to the prominent role of the police in the mainland's criminal system. Two state committees, the adjudicative committee and the political-legal committee [...] play no part in the trial process but can direct verdict and sentence. McConville's research also found that police concentrated on building a case against the suspect, instead of gathering evidence [...]. McConville found that the role of defence lawyers was minimal [...]. Veteran defence lawyer Mo Shaoping said the law gave police sweeping power. Police on the mainland do not need approval from courts to conduct covert investigations or tap telephones, unlike in many other jurisdictions, and can hold suspects for up to 37 days without court approval [...]. The Criminal Procedure Law is scheduled for its first major round of amendments since 1996 later this year, and experts have high hopes that the amendments will address some of these problems. Mo said he understood the amendments would include clauses that protected a suspect's right to silence, and also give equal weight to protecting human rights and fighting crime. A Beijing-based law professor involved in drafting the amendments, who preferred not to be named, said the amendments would formally recognise the exclusion of illegally obtained evidence and guarantee that lawyers could be present during the investigation stage, without being monitored. ^ top ^

Religious freedom plea goes to Beijing (SCMP)
Leaders of 20 unofficial churches and Christian groups across the mainland have made an unprecedented appeal to lawmakers calling for their right to worship freely to be upheld. It is the first time the burgeoning unregistered churches in the cities have joined together in issuing such a bold petition letter for religious freedom. Many of the signatories are prominent figures in house church circles. The unusual move was a response to an ongoing crackdown on Beijing's Shouwang Church, [...]. The petition, sent by courier on Wednesday to the National People's Congress, was signed by urban house church leaders in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu in Sichuan, Xi'an in Shaanxi and Wenzhou in Zhejiang. Church leaders said they feared it could spark a new round of action against them, and religious affairs experts agree. "Because we have observed the recent state-church crisis unfolding in our capital and we can't see any sign of it being resolved, we're lodging this petition to you," said the letter, which has been posted on the internet. The petition, addressed to the Standing Committee of the NPC and its chairman, Wu Bangguo, called for an investigation into the Beijing municipal government's recent handling of Shouwang Church, which they said had created a crisis in the relationship between the central government and the unregistered churches. The petition also called for a new law to safeguard religious freedom and a review of the current religious affairs rules, which require all religious bodies to register with the authorities [...]. The government yesterday insisted there had been no threat to religious freedom in the country. "The Chinese government safeguards the right of Chinese citizens to religious freedom and freedom of faith in accordance with the law," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said at a regular press conference. Some of the house churches whose leaders signed the petition were themselves targets of crackdowns in the past two years [...]. Another pastor who signed the petition said he knew there were risks involved in joining the plea, but believed it was a positive move to urge the government to resolve issues through legal means [...]. ^ top ^

More land opened up for affordable housing (China Daily)
The supply of land for subsidized housing is increasing dramatically in 2011, the nation's land watchdog said. An estimated area of 77,400 hectares is planned for government-subsidized housing projects, nearly 140 percent more than last year, Liao Yonglin, director of the land use and administration department at the Ministry of Land and Resources, said on Thursday. The land supply for housing across the country is expected to reach 218,000 hectares in 2011, about 73 percent more than in 2010, with land for affordable housing projects taking up about 35 percent of the total supply, he added. The central government pledged earlier this year to build 10 million units of government-subsidized houses in 2011 and 36 million units in total by 2015, as the country tightens the runaway property market [...]. An accountability system was also launched to supervise the construction progress for affordable housing projects and how the land is used. Owning a home has been a faraway dream for many people born in the 1980s, because of the soaring prices [...]. Although a series of strict measures such as price caps, home purchase bans and tightening monetary policy have been taken, China's property developers are still high in enthusiasm with investment in real estate from January to April, exceeding 1.3 trillion yuan ($200 billion), a year-on-year increase of more than 34 percent [...]. Despite increasing home prices, Yan Jinming, a land management professor at the Renmin University of China, told China Daily on Thursday the real estate market is cooling as land supply increases and money flow tightens. "The construction of affordable housing projects will indirectly influence the commercial housing market, because the home buyers will buy affordable homes instead," Yan said, adding that within several months the property market will gradually stabilize. ^ top ^

Authorities crack down on illegal kiln (China Daily)
Local police rescued 14 workers, including three minors and a retarded person, after shutting down an illegal brick kiln in the city of Huizhou in Guangdong province. The youngest of the workers was 15 years old and the oldest was 41. Most of them left Huizhou and returned home after local police, working with other departments, had destroyed the secret brick kiln early this week, according to Guangzhou Daily [...]. Under the supervision of authorities, the manager of the brick kiln was made to pay his workers the money they had earned on the job, [...]. Local residents said the underground brick kiln had been operating in Lilin township in Huizhou's Zhongkai district for 7 to 8 years before it was busted. The investigation came about after family members of the victims began complaining about the conditions at the kiln to local officials [...]. Wang Yaxing, 17, one of the workers, said he tried to commit suicide by cutting his wrist twice after he had begun working in the illegal brick kiln. When he was rescued, Wang, [...]], had been working in the brick kiln for two weeks. "Many workers had to work more than 15 hours a day in the kiln," Wang told local media. "I once wanted to escape, but they (the brick kiln's bosses) used bricks and wooden rods to beat me." [...] The workers, who often had to stay on the job until midnight, would receive only 5 yuan for three months of toil, Li said. In addition to being fooled into taking the job by illegal recruiters, the workers at the brick kiln had been directly kidnapped from the streets, Li said. Huizhou officials said [...] it was difficult to shut down because it lay in the city's remote mountainous area. Authorities said there might be more than a dozen such kilns in Huizhou, a city bordering the Shenzhen special economic zone. Authorities have promised to start a special campaign to crack down on illegal brick kilns throughout the city. ^ top ^

Tears and flowers mark Sichuan anniversary (SCMP)
Tears, chrysanthemums and solemn music marked yesterday's third anniversary of the Sichuan earthquake, which killed more than 87,000 people. Official spokesmen hailed the success of rebuilding, while an outspoken newspaper said the public should ask why so many died [...]. About 50,000 people returned on Tuesday to the administrative centre of Beichuan county, where more than 20,000 people died, to mourn the dead. A police officer estimated that the number of visitors on Wednesday exceeded 100,000. At Beichuan Middle School, where more than 1,300 pupils and teachers died, about 1,000 parents mourned yesterday under intense police scrutiny. Mu Yongxian, who lost her 17-year-old daughter in the school's collapse, said police only allowed parents inside the school. "There are at least 200 policemen, in uniform and plain clothes," Mu said. "They barred reporters from entering and we were not even allowed to take photos" [...]. Nationwide, state media highlighted China's reconstruction achievements and hailed the three years of rebuilding as a major victory, but an outspoken newspaper in Guangdong published a bold editorial calling for those who died in the disaster to be remembered and paying tribute to those who lost their freedom while trying to discover who was responsible for the deaths. In an editorial headlined "Remembering them as we are borne by the river of time", a line from late patriotic poet Ai Qing, father of detained activist Ai Weiwei, The Southern Metropolis News made an oblique reference to the efforts of activists and Ai Weiwei to conduct independent investigations into the collapse of school buildings in the quake [...]. ^ top ^

Former deputy mayor sentenced to death in E China (People's Daily Online)
A former deputy mayor of Hangzhou, a famed tourism destination in east China, was sentenced to death for corruption on Thursday, said a court in Zhejiang Province. Xu Maiyong, 52, was convicted of bribery, embezzlement, and abuse of power Thursday at the Intermediate People's Court of Ningbo City, Zhejiang. The former deputy mayor of the provincial capital was also stripped of his political rights for life and all of his personal property was confiscated, according to the ruling. The court found that between 1995 and 2009, Xu abused his official positions to interfere in project contracting and to help companies and people obtain land, promotions and privileged tax breaks. In exchange, he received over 145 million yuan (about 22.2 million U.S. dollars). Xu also embezzled state-owned assets totaling more than 53 million yuan, said the court. Xu did not say if he would appeal. ^ top ^

Risk map shows parts of nation in most danger (China Daily)
Eastern China is the most vulnerable part of the country - both economically and geologically - to the threat of natural disasters, according to a new national risk map. "Because most eastern areas, especially the coastal regions, are fast-developing areas with large populations, the damage from a natural disaster would be heavy," said Shi Peijun, deputy director of the National Committee of Disaster Relief [...]. "The risk map will help decision-makers draw up solid plans for disaster relief and prevention," Shi told China Daily on Wednesday. The Yangtze River's downstream areas and its delta, the area around the Huaihe River, the North China Plain and the Beijing-Tianjin-Tangshan region are among the most at-risk areas. Also included on the list of high-risk areas are the Liaohe River, Sichuan Basin, the Fen and Wei river valleys and areas near Dongting and Boyang lakes [...]. Around 13 types of natural disaster were considered in the drawing of the map, including snowstorms, floods, drought and forest fire [...]. "The risk of natural disasters is rising in China and we may be entering a period with frequent extreme weather events and geological disasters," Shi said, adding that it is time for China to prepare for such potential dangers. He said work should be carried out urgently to mitigate the risks and called on authorities in eastern areas to prepare for the threat of an earthquake. Senior officials from related departments agreed and said measures will be taken [...]. A geological disaster emergency management office will be set up to tackle any geological disasters [...]. ^ top ^



Capital tightening hukou system to limit migrants (SCMP)
The Beijing municipal authorities have tightened up the widely criticised household registration, or hukou, system to curb the influx of migrants to the capital, according to a mainland media report. Holding a certificate of residency entitles residents and other holders to participate in many social and welfare programmes at that location. But this year, a ceiling of 6,000 hukou slots has been set for graduates from Beijing universities who are from somewhere else, the 21st Century Business Herald reported yesterday. This year's quota was only one-third of last year's, the newspaper said. Only 1,000 new hukou slots have been given to Haidian district for new non-local graduates [...]. The 16 other jurisdictions [...] have to share the remaining 5,000 slots [...]. The lowered ceiling could mean non-local graduates may not stay in the capital if holding hukou meant much to them. Beijing is tightening its entrance requirements for both university graduates and migrants. According to Ma Xiaohong, associate professor at Beijing Administrative College, the city saw an average increase of 140,000 new hukou holders per year from 2006 to last year, the Herald reported. But until 2020, the annual average would have to be lowered to about 100,000 if the authorities stuck to the targeted population. Despite the criticism of its discriminatory nature, the hukou system is increasingly used to control population growth, tame housing prices and restrict the number of cars in large cities. According to last year's census, migrants make up over one-third of Beijing's population. But thanks also to these young workers, the proportion of the city's population aged 60 and older is only 12.5 per cent, even lower than the national average of 13.26 per cent [...]. ^ top ^



More Shanghai 'millionaires' (Global Times)
One in every 175 people in Shanghai is a "millionaire" with at least 10 million yuan ($1.5 million), according to on Thursday's Hurun Shanghai Wealth Report 2011, the first report to profile the city's richest class. Shanghai has 132,000 individuals with personal wealth of more than 10 million yuan [...]. The Shanghai figure accounts for 13.8 percent of the national total and is second only to Beijing, where 170,000 millionaires are based. The number of Shanghai-based millionaires is growing by 8.2 percent a year [...].. "Rising property prices and a fast-growing GDP have been the key drivers for the growth in the number of these millionaire luxury consumers, creating a situation where one in every 175 people in Shanghai is a millionaire," said Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman of Hurun Report, a China-based luxury business magazine. Shanghai's GDP increased by 9.9 percent last year, according to government statistics. Luxury property prices in Shanghai rose 21 percent year-on-year, according to a report from Knight Frank, a global property management company. The overall number of long-term residents in Shanghai has reached 23 million, according to statistics released by Shanghai Municipal Statistics Bureau earlier this month. Some 55 percent of Shanghai's millionaires derived their wealth from their own private businesses. About 20 percent are property speculators who have made fortunes from rapidly rising prices. About 15 percent are stock market gurus and these are also the youngest millionaires, with an average age of 38. The remaining 10 percent are high-earning salaried executives. About 30 percent of the millionaires are women [...]. ^ top ^



Talks ruled out with new Tibetan PM-in-exile (SCMP)
A senior Communist Party official involved in negotiations with Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has ruled out any possibility of talks with the new prime minister of the Tibetan community's government-in-exile. Zhu Weiqun, a vice-minister of the party's United Front Work Department, said any talks should be restricted to the political status of the Dalai Lama and be conducted between Beijing and the Dalai Lama's personal emissaries. He also warned that Beijing could launch a military crackdown if there were any further violent upheavals in the Himalayan region. Zhu, who has been involved in talks since 2002, made the remarks in an interview with China Tibet magazine on the eve of the 60th anniversary of Communist rule in Tibet. "We have two basic points in regard to the negotiation," he said. "The first is that the identity of the other party should only be the personal representatives of the Dalai Lama... the second is the subject is limited to the Dalai Lama's personal future, or at most it would also include [the future of] a few of his personal aides." In a related development, the newly elected head of the Tibetan government-in-exile said his administration was ready to negotiate with Beijing "anytime, anywhere" [...]. The Foreign Ministry said two weeks ago that it would not deal with the Tibetan government-in-exile, but Zhu's remarks were the first time that Beijing had laid out conditions for talks [...]. Zhu said the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was the mastermind of all violence in Tibet and all anti-Chinese evils in the past six decades. "[The Dalai Lama] is the chief of a political clique which seeks Tibetan independence and separatism, the royal tool of international anti-China forces, the main source of social unrest in Tibet, and the biggest obstacle to the establishment of a normal order for Buddhism's missionary work," Zhu said. The Dalai Lama says he seeks "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet, not independence. ^ top ^



Middle class feels the pinch on wages (SCMP)
Hong Kong's rich got richer over the past five years and even the poor made more. But for people in the middle, it was not so good. Middle-income earners - shut out of the private housing market by sky-high prices but earning too much to qualify for government assistance - were squeezed even harder, government statistics show. Their incomes rose the least of the three groups between 2006 and last year, as the wealth gap became the widest in 20 years [...]. While the highest and the lowest earners both had increases of more than a sixth, incomes in the middle rose a little more than half that, the government figures show. People in the middle are miserable and frustrated, said Professor Paul Yip Siu-fai, of the University of Hong Kong's department of social work and social administration and a member of the government's Central Policy Unit [...]. Yip said the latest figures, [...], further showed the city was at risk of turning into a so-called M-shaped society, with swelling numbers of rich and poor people and a diminishing middle class. Average earnings of the bottom 10 per cent of employees rose 15.56 per cent between 2006 and last year, from HK$4,500 to HK$5,200 a month. Even after inflation, there was still a steady annual growth of 2 per cent, except in 2009 amid the global financial downturn. The top 10 per cent brought home 15.48 per cent more in five years, from HK$57,500 to HK$66,400 a month. Those in the middle gained just 7.84 per cent in the five years, from HK$10,200 to HK$11,000 a month. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Gini coefficient [...] rose from 0.518 in 1996 to 0.525 in 2001, and stood at 0.533 in 2006, the most recent year for which data is available [...]. Figures for family incomes, a different measure than for individuals, also show a widening income gap. The median household income of the top-earning 10 per cent of the population last year was HK$77,000 a month [...]. The poorest 10 per cent of families became even poorer, living on HK$3,000 a month, HK$100 less than in 2006 [...]. The top household incomes averaged 25.7 times the lowest last year [...]. Yip attributed the "M-shape" problem to the government's employment policy and accused the city's biggest employer of taking the lead in outsourcing its jobs to contractors, who paid low wages and pulled down the average employment earnings [...]. ^ top ^



Chinese vice president calls for efforts to maintain Macao's prosperity (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has called on the Macao Chamber of Commerce to contribute more to the economic development and stability of the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) [...]. He said the central government laid out a chapter about Hong Kong and Macao in the 12th Five-Year Plan, a blueprint for China's national economic and social development in the next five years. The chapter set a new goal for Macao's social and economic development: to turn Macao into a global tourism and leisure center while simultaneously diversifying its economic mix. The plan clarified the status and role of Hong Kong and Macao in terms of overall national development and gave more detailed explanations about supporting policies and measures for the development of the two regions, Xi said [...]. He also urged the chamber to seize opportunities and play to Macao's advantages so as to contribute to the country's sound and fast development as well as Macao's prosperity and stability. Additionally, Xi expressed hopes for the chamber to help train more young talents and offer better services to its members. ^ top ^



Seventh cross-Strait forum concludes, 19 joint proposals adopted (Xinhua)
The seventh Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum closed Sunday in Chengdu, capital of southwest China's Sichuan Province, with the adoption of 19 proposals for the promotion of cross-Strait cooperation in various fields. Participants from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan urged authorities of from both sides to seize the opportunities brought about by the mainland's 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) and Taiwan's "golden decade" blueprint (2011-2020) to further improve economic cooperation and seek common development and prosperity. They urged the two sides to actively implement the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) and its early harvest program, which took effect last September and this January, respectively, and make substantial progress in related follow-up discussions to gradually realize normalization and liberalization of cross-Strait economic ties. Participants suggested the mainland and Taiwan improve cooperation and exchanges in nuclear power safety, share related information, increase cooperation between professional institutes, and have in-depth exchanges on nuclear power emergency management and security technology, according to a document released after the forum concluded. Additionally, participants called on the two sides to further push forward cooperation in such sectors as culture, finance, agriculture, investment, education and youth exchanges [...]. The mainland's Taiwan affairs chief, Wang Yi, said at the ceremony that the proposals adopted at the forum would help people from both sides, especially those at the grassroots level, benefit from the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties. Wang, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said the forum played a guiding role in pushing forward the relations between the mainland and Taiwan. The two sides should keep policies stable and safeguard the general situation of the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties, he said [...].. The forum and the adopted joint proposal had a great focus on the people's lives on both sides of the Strait, and the most remarkable example is the inclusion of nuclear power safety cooperation issues in the forum topics and the proposals, said Sheng Jiuyuan, a research fellow with the mainland-based Shanghai Pudong Institute for the Taiwan Economy. With joint proposals to actively implement the ECFA, along with other measures to protect investors' rights, business owners from Taiwan will feel more reassured when they come to the mainland market, said Xu Zhisheng, a business owner from Taiwan who is now running a company in Shanghai. About 450 representatives and experts from both sides attended the two-day forum. ^ top ^



China's April CPI to stay above 5 pct: survey (Global Times)
China's consumer price index (CPI), a main gauge of inflation, may stay at a high level and rise 5.15 percent year on year in April, according to a survey released Monday [...]. The pace might be slower than March's 5.4 percent, a 32-month high, but still higher than the first quarter CPI growth of five percent, said the forecast, which was calculated according to estimations of research institutions and economists. The survey estimated that the April producer price index (PPI), [...], would rise 7.2 percent from one year earlier, down from 7.3 percent in March. Tang Jianwei, a senior economist with the Bank of Communications, said despite declines in food prices last month, rising non-food product prices and strong carryover effects will push the April CPI above five percent [...]. The CITIC Securities estimated that decreasing food prices would bring the April CPI slightly down by 0.2 percent month on month. The National Bureau of Statistics is schedule to release major economic data for April on Wednesday. The Chinese government has made curbing inflation its priority of this year's economic work and set the annual inflation control target at four percent for 2011. ^ top ^

Inflation 'set to increase further' (China Daily)
Inflation may rise further after it hit 5.3 percent year-on-year in April, economists said, but policymakers should not increase interest rates, at least in the short term, if they want to avoid a "hard-landing" [...]. "The decline indicates that the government's previous measures to tame inflation have taken effect," Sheng Laiyun, spokesman for the NBS, said at a news conference. However, soaring raw material prices and excessive liquidity in global markets may continue to increase inflationary pressure in the short term, Sheng said. Despite recent drastic fluctuations, oil prices remained above $100 a barrel, adding to inflation fears in emerging market economies, which are heavy oil consumers. Meanwhile, China's housing prices, including rent, water and gas, jumped 6.1 percent from a year earlier in April, the largest contributor to the non-food price growth of 2.7 percent year-on-year, according to the NBS [...]. The stubbornly high CPI may force the central bank to continue its tight monetary policy, including controlling money supply and raising interest rates, a move expected by many investors, said Chang Jian, a Hong Kong-based economist with Barclays Capital. But analysts said that raising interest rates will hurt the corporate sector [...]. According to NBS statistics released on Tuesday, industrial output increased by 13.4 percent year-on-year in April, [...]. "The decline shows that the previous tightening has taken effect and policies should get more flexible in the coming months to avoid a hard-landing," said Dong Xian'an, chief economist at Peking First Advisory, [...]. Inflationary pressure has eased, he said, despite the high CPI figure. The annualized month-on-month CPI growth, which better reflects the current inflationary situation, was about 10 percent in November, but has dropped to below 4 percent in April, he said [...]. Chang of Barclays Capital also said he believed the government needs to avoid excessive tightening, which could lead to a hard-landing [...]. Food prices in April, which account for about 30 percent of the CPI basket, went up year-on-year by 11.5 percent, roughly the same as in March. Vegetable prices slumped by 11.2 percent month-on-month, due to sufficient supply, according to the statistics bureau [...]. ^ top ^

Reserve requirement ratios raised to record high by PBOC (China Daily)
China has raised the reserve requirement ratios (RRR) for banks for the fifth time this year to restrain price rises. The move, which came on Thursday evening, underscores the risk that tightening measures will cause a slowdown in the world's second-biggest economy.Reserve ratios will increase by 0.5 percentage point from May 18, the People's Bank of China, the central bank, said on its website. That will boost RRR levels for the nation's biggest lenders to a record 21 percent. The central bank moved after reports on Wednesday showed inflation and lending exceeded economists' estimates in April, with consumer prices rising more than 5 percent for a second month. Premier Wen Jiabao aims to tame inflation while sustaining growth amid signs the economy is cooling after an expansion that peaked at 11.9 percent last year. "Controlling inflation will definitely entail a slowdown in growth and the authorities understand that," said Wang Qing, chief China economist at Morgan Stanley [...]. Besides raising interest rates and reserve requirements, and guiding banks to limit credit growth, the yuan broke 6.5 a dollar for the first time since 1993 on April 29. A stronger yuan helps to reduce import costs [...]. The reserve requirement move locks up about 370 billion yuan ($57 billion), according to Barclays Capital. It may have been triggered by the extra cash entering the financial system from maturing central bank bills, according to Royal Bank of Scotland Plc [...]. ^ top ^

Alert system set to report dangerous imported goods (China Daily)
China will set up its own alert system to report dangerous consumer products imported into its market, a visiting Chinese official said on Thursday. Zhi Shuping, Minister of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), told a press conference that China needs to ensure safety of imported consumer products while enhancing quality of domestically manufactured goods. According to the minister, China imported products valued at $1394.8 billion during 2010, registering an increase of 38.7 percent over the previous year. With the significant increase in imported goods, China needs to take measures to protect the interests of its consumers, Zhi said. He also expressed hope to deepen existing cooperation with the European Union (EU) on monitoring safety of consumer products. The EU introduced the rapid alert system for non-food dangerous products (RAPEX) in 2004. RAPEX-China application was established in 2006. Under the system, the European Commission submits information to AQSIQ about dangerous products of Chinese origin reported on the EU market. And China provides quarterly and yearly reports to the European Commission about the follow-up actions taken concerning the reported dangerous products. ^ top ^



Foreign Minister meets Japanese Ambassador (Montsame)
The Minister of Foreign Affairs G.Zandanshatar received Tuesday Kidokoro Takuo, the ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of Japan to Mongolia in respect of a request of Japan's side. The Minister has underlined a vital importance of a bilateral agreement on developing the strategic partnership relations and issuing a joint statement in forwarding the ties, and noted that the two countries have a great opportunity to deepen the strategic partnership cooperation in all sectors. The ambassador has pointed out the government of Japan is contributing to accelerating of the development of Mongolia and is keeping its position to render assistance and support to Mongolia. He has said Japan's government will continue implementing many economic projects and programs in frames of the official assistance for development. The sides have highlighted an important role of economic partnership agreement in widening the bilateral trade and economic cooperation, and expressed a satisfaction with an intensive course of a preparation for establishing the agreement. They also have denied an article on erecting nuclear waste storage in Mongolia which has been published in Japan's "Mainichi" newspaper, and then confirmed that there are no plans on the matter. ^ top ^

Health Ministry: live births decrease (Montsame)
According to Ministry of Health, 21,534 mothers delivered 21,681 live births in the first four months of 2011 showing a decrease 726 or 3.3 per cent, and reflecting a decline by 664 or 3.0 per cent against the previous year. In the first four months of this year, at national level infant mortality decreased 107 or 21.2 per cent to 398, and child mortality aged 1-5 decreased by 49 or 35.5 per cent to 89. ^ top ^

Move to grant voting rights to Mongolians abroad (
The Civil Will-Green Party (CW-GP) and an Tsahim Urtuu Kholboo NGO, yesterday signed an agreement of cooperation to grant voting rights to Mongolians abroad. Secretary General G.Gankhuu and D.Sainbayar signed the agreement for the CW-GP and the NGO respectively.There are 120,000 mongolians outside the country who cannot vote in elections. The agreement calls upon the CW-GP to propose the necessary legislation in Parliament, while the NGO will help create popular support for the move. ^ top ^

Mining companies given notice of termination of licenses (UB Post)
According to the information received from the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia, there are 5234 mining licenses which are valid in Mongolia. Over 100 companies are about to receive notice of the revocation or suspension of its exploration or mining licenses for failing to comply with the Mongolian law. According to the law passed on the 9th of July, 2009 regarding prohibition of mineral prospecting, exploration and mining in water basins and forest areas in the territory of Mongolia, licenses issued around water basins and forests may be cancelled. Due diligence on mining companies will include investigation of the fulfillment of all its legal obligations in relationship to its licenses, including geological, environmental plans and reports, annual environmental reports, land rights, safety measures, warranties and pledges. This investigation is crucial since an investor can have its license revoked for many reasons such as: non-payment on time and in full of annual license fees, failure to protect the environment, failure to maintain safety measures, transfer of the license to another legal entity. Due to the action the companies are demanded to send competency reports to the Mineral Resources Authority of Mongolia. If they don't send the materials in time (May, 11th), their licenses will be annulled. Also they were warned that there is a possibility of terminating the special licenses of over 100 companies who had not paid the bill on time according to the law and who had not made their competency reports. ^ top ^

Mongolia joins the celebration of World War II Victory Day (UB Post)
Russia and other former Soviet republics marked the 66th anniversary of World War II victory over Nazi Germany on May 9th. On this occasion, D.Battulga, Head, Office of the President of Mongolia, L.Bold, Defense Minister, V.V.Samoilenko, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation to Mongolia paid respect and laid a wreath at the Memorial of Tank, featuring a Soviet tank from a brigade paid for by the Mongolian people. In addition, representatives from the Government, Defense Ministry, Mongolian Armed Forces and the Embassy of the Russian Federation to Mongolia paid their respects at the Monument dedicated to Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov, who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation and the conquering of Germany's capital, Berlin. During the event, a Guard of Honor was given and Mongolian Army band played the anthems of both the countries. ^ top ^


Jean Binder
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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