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
  26.7-1.8.2014, No. 535  
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Table of contents

DPRK and South Korea

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Foreign Policy

Cooperation with China brings new opportunity to Latin America (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping's recent trip to Latin America, the second in 13 months, demonstrated the important role Latin America plays in China's overall diplomacy and brought new opportunity to the bilateral ties. During Xi's trip on July 15-23, he attended the sixth summit of BRICS nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa - and a conference with Latin American and Caribbean leaders. He also paid state visits to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said her meeting with Xi, nearly three hours long, had yielded "exciting" results, stressing that bilateral trade between China and Brazil surpassed 90 billion U.S. dollars in 2013. China, Brazil and Peru will cooperate to construct a railway running from the Peruvian Pacific coast to the Brazilian Atlantic coast. The transcontinental railway will play an important role in promoting Brazil's economic growth and lifting regional development, Rousseff said, pledging to "work together with China and Peru to build this project into a satisfactory one." Against the backdrop of the global economic downturn, enhancing economic exchanges between China and Brazil is extremely important, Rousseff said, adding that the two economies are developing in a stable, bright and strategic fashion through Chinese investment in Brazil and deepening cooperation in a wide range of areas. She said the increasing diversified investment from China will bring Brazil and other Latin American countries a promising future. Francisco Mauro Brasil de Holanda, director of the East Asia Department in the Brazilian Foreign Ministry, said the great amount of Chinese investment has turned from areas of mining, soybean and oil in the beginning to high technology, car manufacturing and heavy equipment. The most anticipated cooperation with China is in infrastructure, especially railways and ports, Mauro said. China owns a mature technological system in infrastructure construction and has achieved great accomplishments in the area, which is exactly what Latin American countries including Brazil long for, he added. Murilo Ferreira, CEO of Brazil's Vale, the world's largest producer and exporter of iron ore, is optimistic about the China-Brazil cooperative relations in the new era. At the Annual Meeting of China-Brazil Entrepreneurs Committee in July, Ferreira said China is a long-term strategic partner, whose economic development has provided Brazilian mining exports with great opportunity. Severino Cabral, director of the Brazilian Institute for China and Asia-Pacific Studies, said Xi's trip was beneficial for Latin America's politics, diplomacy and economy in 2014. The consensus reached between Chinese and Latin American leaders will help coordinate concerned parties to build a democratic, multipolar new political and economic order in the world, Cabral said. It will also help solve thorny issues in security and economic development that developing countries have encountered since the beginning of this century, he said. ^ top ^

China, Laos pledge to boost bilateral ties (Xinhua)
Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Lao counterpart Choummaly Saygnasone here on Monday and the two pledged to boost the relationship between the two ruling parties as well as the bilateral ties "no matter how the international situation changes." During the talks at the Great Hall of the People, Xi lauded the China-Laos all-round strategic partnership featuring a high degree of mutual trust, mutual assistance and reciprocity. "Currently, both China and Laos face the arduous tasks of reform, development and stability, and there have been many changes in the international and regional situations," said Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee. Xi said the Chinese side stands ready to maintain high-level interactions with Laos, communicate with the Lao side on major issues effectively, and increase party-to-party exchanges to improve the ruling parties' ability of governance. Choummaly is also general secretary of the Central Committee of the Lao People's Revolutionary Party (LPRP). Xi said the two countries should link their development strategies and boost cooperation on agriculture, energy, hydroelectricity and infrastructure. He also called for closer cooperation on law enforcement, management of border areas, terrorism and transnational crime as well as cultural, educational, youth-to-youth and sub-national exchanges. China is willing to maintain close communication and coordination with the Lao side in international and regional affairs to advance the relationship between China and ASEAN in a healthy way and promote peace, stability and development, Xi said. Choummaly said Laos and China share common interests and cherish their friendship. He expressed his appreciation for China's support and assistance, saying that the Lao side will learn from China's experience of party governance and national development. Briefing Xi on Laos' internal situation, Choummaly said he is happy to have seen the deepening partnership between the two countries and the increasing exchanges between the two parties. The cooperation with China has strongly helped the development of Laos, said the Lao leader. The LPRP will continue increasing exchanges with the CPC and looks forward to more Chinese assistance in Laos' push to develop its railways, agriculture and internet. After the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of a series of cooperative deals between the two governments. ^ top ^

China calls for enhanced peacekeeping cooperation between UN, regional organizations (Xinhua)
A Chinese envoy on Monday called for enhanced peacekeeping cooperation and coordination between the United Nations and regional organizations so as to maximize their respective advantages. Liu Jieyi, China's permanent representative to the United Nations, made the remarks here at the Security Council's open debate on regional partnership and its evolution in UN peacekeeping, which focused on the world organization's relevant cooperation with African regional groups. Over the recent years, the United Nations and regional and subregional organizations such as the African Union (AU) have increasingly strengthen their cooperation in peacekeeping and have yielded good and recognizable results in peacekeeping operations in Darfur of Sudan, Somalia, Mali, Central African Republic and South Sudan, Liu told the 15-nation body. "The United Nations needs to further strengthen cooperation with regional organizations such as the AU in strategic planning, deployment, communication and coordination of peacekeeping operations, so as to effectively support African regional organizations in their efforts to maintain regional peace and security," he said. Meanwhile, the Chinese envoy noted, the United Nations and regional organizations such as the AU should be guided by the UN Charter in strengthening their cooperation in peacekeeping operations. The coordination should also be enhanced to fully display their respective advantages and to bring out synergy, he added. Many of the African issues are very complicated and require comprehensive solutions. In this regard, regional organizations such as the AU have unique geographical, historical and cultural advantages in dispute mediation and peacekeeping operations, said the ambassador. "The United Nations and regional organizations such as the AU should explore to build flexible, practical and diversified communication and cooperation mechanisms on the basis of equal treatment and mutual respect, so as to strengthen their cooperation in strategic planning, deployment, logistical management and support in peacekeeping," he said. "In this way, the effectiveness and efficiency of peacekeeping operations can be raised." Liu urged the UN and the international community to actively respond to the legitimate demands of such regional organizations as the AU and provide greater assistance to African regional and subregional organizations in personnel training, institution- building, logistical assistance and financial support, so as to strengthen their capacity-building in peacekeeping. At the same time, "we should summarize our experiences and lessons learned, and appropriately respond to the challenges encountered in the transition of peacekeeping operations from regional organizations to the United Nations," Liu added. ^ top ^

Canada blames Chinese hackers for attack on National Research Council (SCMP)
Canada yesterday took the unusual step of singling out Chinese hackers for attacking a key computer network and lodged a protest with Beijing, raising tensions at a time when Ottawa wants to boost oil sales to China. Officials said "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor" had recently broken into the National Research Council. The council, the government's leading research body, works with major firms such as aircraft and train maker Bombardier. Canada has reported hacking incidents before but this was the first time it had singled out China. China is often cited as a suspect in various hacking attacks on companies in the United States and other nations. Beijing routinely dismisses such allegations. Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird had "a full and frank exchange of views" about the case with Foreign Minister Wang Yi during a meeting in Beijing yesterday, said an official. "The government takes this issue very seriously and we are addressing it at the highest levels in both Beijing and Ottawa," said Baird spokesman Adam Hodge. Corinne Charette, Canada's chief government information officer, said that although NRC computers did not operate within the overall government system, they had been isolated as a precautionary measure. "We have no evidence that data compromises occurred on the broader government of Canada network," she said. Separately, the NRC said it was working to set up a new secure network, which could take as long as a year to build. Canada's right-leaning Conservative government has had an uneven relationship with Beijing since taking power in 2006. Citing human rights concerns, Prime Minister Stephen Harper initially kept his distance from China. Under pressure from businesses in Canada, he reached out gradually to Beijing. Harper made an official visit in 2012 and promised to do all he could to increase oil exports, citing the need to find new markets. The United States currently buys virtually all Canada's crude. The attack on the NRC system was not the first hacking attempt in Canada linked to China. In September 2012, Canada said it was aware that hackers had breached security at a domestic manufacturer of software used by big energy companies. Ottawa declined to comment on a report by a cybersecurity news site indicating a Chinese group was responsible. ^ top ^

Chinese VP vows to strengthen ties with Canada (Xinhua)
Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao said here Wednesday China is ready to strengthen practical cooperation with Canada. Li made the remark as he met with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird in the Great Hall of the People. Li said the two countries should realize mutual benefits. Baird said Canada is ready to expand mutually beneficial cooperation with China in areas of energy, resources, finance, insurance and agriculture. Li said in recent years, China and Canada have maintained a sound relationship. He said China had always adopted a strategic and long-term view on its relations with Canada. He expressed readiness to further deepen strategic trust with Canada by respecting and taking care of each other's interests and concerns. Li also said China is ready to lift the strategic partnership with Canada to a new level. Baird said the Canadian government places great importance on developing relations with China. Baird is on a visit to China, Mongolia and Japan from July 23-30. During his trip to Beijing, China invited Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to attend a leaders meeting of APEC economies to be held in Beijing in autumn. ^ top ^

Vietnam, China to witness stronger military ties: official (Xinhua)
The relations between the armies of China and Vietnam will continue to witness new developments, a senior Vietnamese defense official said Wednesday in Hanoi. The friendly military ties between the two countries will be important pillars for the relationship between the two parties and the two nations, which accords with the expectation and interests of the people of the two countries, said Le Huu Duc, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Defense. Duc made the remarks at a reception held by the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam on Wednesday to mark the upcoming 87th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Duc hailed the continuous development of China's PLA in the past 87 years, as well as the PLA's participation in both domestic disaster relief assistance and international humanitarian activities, as well as UN peace-keeping operations. Over the past 60 years since the two countries officially established diplomatic relations, the bilateral ties withstood the test of time. The more hardship that the two countries have gone through, the more respect should be paid to the efforts on peace, stability, cooperation and mutual development, said Duc. Speaking at the reception, Zhen Zhongxing, military attache of the Chinese Embassy in Vietnam, said China will adhere to the principles of "amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness" and deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation with neighboring countries. China will also continue to pursue a national defense policy which is purely defensive in nature, as well as oppose all forms of hegemonism and power politics. "In the new period, China's PLA is willing to strengthen friendly cooperation with other countries' armies and enhance mutual trust to contribute to maintaining world peace and promoting common development," Zhen added. Zhen said China highly appreciates the efforts of the Vietnamese government and army in searching for the missing Malaysian jetliner MH370, and China is willing to expand and deepen the exchange and cooperation between the two armies in related fields. Zhen expressed belief that the two countries are able to deal with differences and existing issues through dialogues and negotiations with a spirit of mutual understanding, thus continue to contribute to maintaining the traditional friendship and comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries. ^ top ^

FM denounces US religious freedom report (Global Times)
The Chinese foreign ministry Wednesday slammed a religious freedom report by the US State Department. "The Chinese government protects Chinese citizens' freedom of religious belief in accordance with the law, and Chinese citizens are fully entitled to such freedom provided under the law," said foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang on Wednesday. The US State Department Tuesday released the 2013 International Religious Freedom Report, which includes China on a list of countries of particular concern. Qin said that the US side has completely disregarded the facts, and distorts and attacks China's policies on religion. "We are strongly opposed to that and have made solemn representations to them," Qin said. "We urge the US side to discard its political prejudices and stop interfering in China's internal affairs under the pretext of religion," he noted. ^ top ^

China, Australia, US plan trilateral military exercise (Xinhua)
China, Australia and the United States will conduct their first trilateral military exercise in October, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Defense said on Thursday. "Exercise Kowari" of the three armies will take place in Australia, Geng Yansheng told a regular press briefing. Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, visited Australia from July 16 to 19, and reached consensus with the Australian side on developing military relations, according to Geng. The two sides formally announced the military exercise during this visit, said Geng. The general toured Australian naval and army facilities.The three sides will now jointly prepare for the exercise, Geng said. ^ top ^

China rebuts Canada's cyber attack accusation (Xinhua)
Canada's accusation that China hacked into its computer systems at the National Research Council has been met with strong opposition. "It is irresponsible for the Canadian side to make groundless accusations against China when there is no credible evidence," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang in a statement on Thursday. "We are strongly opposed to that," he said. His comments came in response to a question regarding a statement released by the Treasury Board of the Canadian government saying a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor had managed to hack into the computer systems at Canada's National Research Council. "The Chinese government consistently opposes criminal activities of all forms aimed at sabotaging the Internet and computer networks, and has been firmly cracking down on such activities," Qin said. "We urge the Canadian side to correct its mistakes, stop making baseless accusations and remove the negative impacts incurred by its statement," said the spokesman. ^ top ^

'Military drill isn't targeting any nation' (China Daily)
China rejected any suggestion on Thursday that its ongoing military exercises, believed to be some of the most extensive off its eastern seaboard, sent a message to any country.These exercises are a routine arrangement in the annual training plan, and the outside world should not speculate or read too much into it, Ministry of National Defense spokesman Geng Yansheng said at a regular news briefing on Thursday. "If someone feels uneasy or that they are being targeted, it's absolutely their own problem," he said. Geng was responding to mounting attention in and outside China to the ongoing drills, which are larger in scope and duration than in years past. They have disrupted domestic civil air traffic and drawn speculation from some of China's neighbors' about Beijing's intentions. On Tuesday, China began a five-day drill off its southeast coastal areas in the East China Sea. Meanwhile, ongoing drills off Beibu Bay near Vietnam and in the Bohai Strait and the Yellow Sea are scheduled to end on Friday. Geng said these drills are for testing combat capability and improving real-combat training levels and military preparation for various security challenges. However, Japan's Asahi Shimbun said on Sunday the drills were partly aimed at "containing Japan", and the United States and Japan are likely to be the "imaginary enemy". The Japanese newspaper Mainichi Shimbun said the drill was made "in coordination with commemorations regarding the Sino-Japanese War", which aim at publicizing the concept of "building a stronger army". Jiang Xinfeng, an expert on Japanese studies at the Academy of Military Science of the People's Liberation Army, said the larger scale is reasonable due to insufficient progress with China's military modernization and combat capability over the past decades. "The current situation is subtle and tense, but some countries don't have to feel targeted as China is holding exercises in waters near its shores," said Jiang. "Japan, on the contrary, has held landing drills that obviously simulated defending and recapturing islands." Zhang Junshe, deputy director of Naval Military Studies Research Institute, said that while the scale of the drills is bigger than in the past, it is a coincidence the annual exercises are being held at the same time, and the scale and number are still dwarfed by those by Japan and the United States. In another development, Geng confirmed on Thursday that China, Australia and the US will conduct their first trilateral military exercise "Exercise Kowari" in Australia in October. Zhang said the trilateral one is likely to focus on non-traditional security and humanitarian relief. "This is a good beginning for the three countries, and it is also good for the region's peace and stability," he said. ^ top ^

Chinese FM meets Russian, Kyrgyz, Uzbek counterparts on ties (Xinhua)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met separately with his Russian, Kyrgyz and Uzbek counterparts Thursday on the sidelines of a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers' meeting. Wang and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pledged to constantly push forward the comprehensive strategic partnership of coordination between their countries. The two sides agreed to implement the consensus reached by Chinese and Russian presidents during their meeting in May in the Chinese city of Shanghai. The foreign ministers called on China and Russia to maintain close strategic communication and coordination and promote cooperation in such areas as politics, economy and trade, energy and culture. The two countries should strengthen cooperation within the framework of the SCO to build the organization into a community of shared interests and destiny, they said. Both being permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and Russia should keep close communication on the issue of Afghanistan, the Iranian and Korean Peninsula nuclear issues, and the Ukraine crisis, among other regional and international affairs, they added. At a meeting with Kyrgyz Foreign Minister Erlan Abdyldaev, Wang said China-Kyrgyzstan relations reached an unprecedented height in May when Chinese President Xi Jinping and visiting Kyrgyz President Almazbek Atambaev reached a series of consensus on developing the strategic partnership between their countries. The two foreign ministers agreed that China and Kyrgyzstan should expand bilateral trade, strengthen and deepen cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, and security, and jointly push forward the construction of the Silk Road Economic Belt. While meeting with his Uzbek counterpart, Abdulaziz Kamilov, Wang said the China-Uzbekistan strategic partnership has been developing rapidly, and the two countries have promoted political mutual trust, strategic coordination and practical cooperation in an all-round way. China and Uzbekistan have become good friends with high-level strategic mutual trust, and bilateral relations enjoy vast prospect for development, Wang added. The Chinese and Uzbek foreign ministers agreed to greatly expand practical cooperation between their countries, including in the construction of Line D of China-Central Asia gas pipelines. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Chinese ministry orders transparency in college student enrollment (Xinhua)
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has urged more transparency in college student enrollment in its affiliated universities. Universities are ordered to release more information about enrollment policies, students' credentials, enrollment results, and complaint channels, according to a circular issued by the ministry. China's annual college entrance exam, held on June 7 and 8, attracted about 9.4 million participants this year. Enrollment is currently under way, and new college students are expected to enter colleges in September. A scandal involving a corrupt admission official that was exposed this spring cast doubt on transparency and fairness in college admissions. Cai Rongsheng, former head of admissions at Beijing's Renmin University of China, was arrested in May on charges of receiving huge bribes. He was accused of taking over 10 million yuan (1.62 million U.S. dollars) to "help" students during enrollment. In the circular, the ministry banned universities from favoritism, fraud and unlawful charges, among other irregularities. The ministry also vowed to severely punish people involved in malpractice. There are seven universities affiliated with the ministry: Beihang University, Beijing Institute of Technology, Harbin Institute of Technology, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Harbin Engineering University, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and Nanjing University of Science and Technology. ^ top ^

Zhou Yongkang investigated for serious disciplinary violation (Xinhua)
The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) has decided to place Zhou Yongkang under investigation for suspected "serious disciplinary violation." The investigation will be conducted by the CPC Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. The decision was made in accordance with the CPC Constitution and the the CPC discipline inspection authority's case investigation regulation. ^ top ^

CPC to hold key session on rule of law (Global Times)
The Communist Party of China (CPC) will hold the Fourth Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee in October, to discuss key issues concerning the rule of law, it was announced on Tuesday. The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee will discuss "governing the country according to law" on every front, it was announced after the Tuesday meeting, presided over by the CPC Central Committee's general secretary, Xi Jinping. The meeting also discussed the economic situation of the first half of this year, and agreed that macroeconomic policies will focus on moving ahead at a stable pace. It was agreed that the rule of law is a must if the country will attain economic growth, clean government, cultural prosperity, social justice and sound environment, and realize the strategic objective of peaceful development. A statement after the meeting said that the rule of law is an intrinsic requirement of socialism with Chinese characteristics and crucial to modern governance. Governing according to law holds the key to the CPC's leadership, the people's well-being, deepening reform and long-term stability. The statement emphasized that governing according to law has become more significant in the Party's agenda and the nation, due to new circumstances. China remains in the preliminary stage of socialism, and as it enters a critical phase in realizing a moderately prosperous society, and as reform sails into uncharted waters, the CPC is confronted with unprecedented challenges, risks and conflicts, above all, the balancing of reform, development and stability. The CPC should pool social resources, balance social interests, readjust social relations and streamline social activities, so that society will thrive, according to the statement. The government will seek to deal with outstanding economic problems with specific moderate measures, and promote economic development through comprehensive reforms, the meeting agreed. The country's economy ran within reasonable ranges, and the major parameters met the annual targets, though uncertainties and challenges remain, it said. ^ top ^

Travellers turn to trains as military drills delay flights (SCMP)
At Shanghai's Hongqiao transport hub, the airport terminal yesterday appeared to be deserted, in stark contrast to the railway station next to it, where thousands of passengers crowded ticket offices and restaurants. Together with another airport in Pudong, at least 71 flights from the two Shanghai airports were cancelled as the People's Liberation Army began an exercise on the southeast coast. "It is certainly a bad choice to travel by air these days," said Lu Liang, a businessman who often travels around the country. "Military exercise are the last words we want to hear now because it could mean a long delay." On Monday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China forewarned Shanghai airports that capacity would be cut by 75 per cent yesterday afternoon. Eight airports across Shandong and Jiangsu provinces were closed for landings, while nine in Jiangxi, Fujian and Zhejiang provinces were only cleared for a limited number of take-offs for northbound flights. Amid continuing disruption from military drills and from what authorities said was bad weather, more travellers turned to high-speed trains. By 6pm yesterday all tickets for trains from Beijing to Shanghai before 10am today had sold out. Tickets for some of the trains going the other way from Shanghai to Beijing were also sold out. All train tickets between Guangzhou and Shanghai for today and tomorrow were sold out. Tickets for most train rides between Shenzhen and Shanghai for today were gone too. "People are getting smarter now following a series of serious air travel disruptions," said Gao Ping, an employee of Hongqiao airport. "They went to the railway stations to avoid a long wait." The Hong Kong Airport Authority said that of 70 flights between Hong Kong and Shanghai yesterday, 20 were delayed and 12 were cancelled by 5pm. Seventeen flights to or from Pudong were delayed and 12 cancelled. Three flights to or from Hongqiao were delayed, but there were no cancellations there. Last night the mainland's aviation authority said air traffic had returned to normal. The military controls much of the country's air space - some estimate as little as 20 per cent is held for civil flights. Industry officials say that means longer flight times, less efficient routes and unaccountable delays. ^ top ^

Xi Jinping strengthens his grip with Zhou Yongkang takedown... but what next? (SCMP)
With the launch of the formal investigation into former Politburo Standing Committee member Zhou Yongkang, President Xi Jinping has consolidated power in a way that eluded his predecessors. Xi would have needed a strong consensus among retired and sitting party elites before moving forward with the probe, which marks the first time a Standing Committee member or ex-member has been investigated for "serious violation of disciplines" since the opening up ear of the late 1970s. Although the case sends a message the party will not hold anyone above the law, other past and current members of the committee were unlikely to become a focus of Xi's anti-graft campaign, analysts said. The president remains limited by the principle of collective leadership, which arose under Deng Xiaoping as a way to end the political chaos of the Cultural Revolution. But a single case, especially one so high-profile, is enough for Xi, who is the general secretary of the party, to reinforce his message party stars can no longer use their power bases and state-owned firms to accumulate massive wealth - all with impunity. "The crux of the matter is that it shows how far Xi has consolidated his position as the leader of China," said Professor Steve Tsang, director of the China Policy Institute at the University of Nottingham in England. "Not quite a strongman like Deng Xiaoping, but certainly more than Hu or Jiang managed to achieve," he said, referring to former presidents Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin. "This puts Xi in a more powerful position than any leader since Deng." Xi would have needed a majority from the party elite before moving, and securing that backing might have delayed the announcement, Tsang said. The South China Morning Post reported last August that retired and current leaders had agreed to the investigation at their annual seaside resort gathering in Beidaihe. But the delay in launching the official investigation suggests the complexity of the internal bargaining despite the downfall of one of Zhou's key allies, Bo Xilai, the former party boss of Chongqing. Analysts said the timing of the announcement indicated party elites had reached consensus on major policy issues before the Beidaihe meeting. "The announcement suggested leaders have finally agreed on major policy issues to be finalised at the summer summit at Beidaihe," said Zhang Ming, a professor of political science at Renmin University. The summit is used to discuss the agenda of upcoming fourth plenary session of the 18th Central Committee, which is said to focus on comprehensive law reforms to stamp out corruption and abuse of power. Analysts also pointed out that before the formal investigation was announced, the party had dismantled Zhou's power base, which spanned the oil industry, Sichuan province, the Ministry of Public Security and the legal affairs establishment. Zhou was head of the China National Petroleum Corporation, then Sichuan party boss, and minister of public security before he was promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee and put in charge of the police, courts and prosecutors. The party's anti-graft agency has detained a dozen senior ministerial-level officials with close ties to Zhou. Analysts said the crackdown paved the way for Xi to revamp what he saw as the most corrupt sectors within the system - the state sector and security establishments. "It shows that politics has really changed in Beijing," said Dr Kerry Brown, a professor of Chinese politics at the University of Sydney. Brown said Xi might have felt the party's legitimacy was being eroded by members who treated official postings as an opportunity to get rich through their connections with state-owned companies. "I suppose rules always stand until the time when they are broken, and so just because there was this tradition of Politburo Standing Committee members never being prosecuted, that doesn't mean anything now," Brown said. Everything shows Xi regards using the party to make money for clans and networks with disdain. He seems to be operating with a higher political objective, so Zhou is very expendable on this reckoning … [as are the] retired, the networks already decimated by purges so far, and connected to a state sector dying from its own greed," Brown said. The question remains whether the Zhou investigation is a turning point in government accountability or intended merely as a warning to corrupt cadres." Only twice before has the Politburo Standing Committee targeted one of their own. In 1968, former president Liu Shaoqi was removed as deputy party chairman in a power struggle with Mao Zedong. Liu was replaced by Marshal Lin Biao, whom Mao stripped of power in 1971. Both Liu and Lin were ousted for political purposes, while Zhou is being investigated for serious violation of party disciplines. But for the 40 intervening years, the Standing Committee existed largely above the law. "If using the same criteria, other officials as senior as Zhou should be put under investigation," said Dr Xigen Li, an associate professor at the department of media and communication at City University of Hong Kong. Brown said Xi might feel it was precisely outsiders like Zhou with no family links to the history of the party who have corrupted and twisted its original mission and needed to be expelled. Overseas media have reported relatives of other party elites had amassed huge wealth. Last year, The New York Times said the family of then-premier Wen Jiabao controlled assets worth at least US$2.7 billion. Tsang said although Xi had built up immense political capital, he "very much doubted Xi is also targeting other leaders like Wen and Jiang at the moment". "If there is any real indication of that as a possibility, Wen would have worked closely with Jiang to block the detention of Zhou," Tsang said. "I do not expect other retired PSC members to be put in the same situation as Zhou." If that happened, Xi would be asserting himself as a strongman, violating the principle of collective leadership established in the post-Deng era. "Xi is asserting himself but he is not a strongman," Tsang said. Zhou's case sent a powerful message to rank and file members, as well as higher-up officials, that their positions and connections did not equal protection, said Dr Yuan Jingdong, a political scientist at University of Sydney. "This can also serve to divert or mitigate pent-up societal anger due to the growing gap between the rich and powerful, and the misfortunate and unfairly treated groups," Yuan said. "But to fundamentally redress the problems requires more than putting out fires; it requires introducing effective systems based on the rule of law, and a mechanism to monitor power." ^ top ^

Vice governor of China's Hainan province removed from post (Xinhua)
Tan Li, vice governor of south China's island province of Hainan, was removed from his post Wednesday, according to local government. The standing committee of the provincial people's congress voted for Tan's deposition. The Central Commission for Discipline Inspection of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the CPC's anti-graft body, announced on July 8 that Tan was under investigation for suspected "serious law and discipline violations." Tan served for 27 years in southwest China's Sichuan Province before leaving for Hainan in 2009. He was Party chief of Mianyang City of Sichuan from 2004 to 2009. His case follows that of another disgraced vice governor of Hainan, Ji Wenlin, who was expelled from the CPC in early July for taking advantage of his posts to seek benefits for others, demanding and receiving a huge amount in bribes, and committing adultery. ^ top ^

China scraps urban-rural distinction in 'hukou' household registration system (SCMP)
The decades-old distinction between urban and rural dwellers in the mainland's widely hated hukou, or household registration system, is to end, but observers doubt it will bring an immediate narrowing of the gap between city and countryside. From now on, citizens will be classified simply as "residents" rather than as "agricultural" or "non-agricultural" workers. But the social entitlements they receive will still be determined by where they are registered, and in rural areas these will remain far lower than in cities for years to come. Since its establishment in the 1950s, the system has kept farmers from enjoying the same social, economic and political rights as urban dwellers. Around 100 million migrant workers are expected to have their hukou transferred to cities by 2020, according to an estimate by the Ministry of Public Security and National Bureau of Statistics. However, while rural migrants will be encouraged to settle in smaller towns and cities, the biggest cities, where a local hukou guarantees the best social benefits, will impose more restrictions to curb population growth, a State Council document announcing the change said. Huang Ming, deputy public security minister, told a news conference yesterday: "Megacities like Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou have seen the number of migrants grow by 400,000 to 500,000 a year in the past decade. The pressure is too high." Xu Xiaoqing, director of the rural economy research department at the State Council's Development Research Centre, said the move was just a start. "The removal of the distinction in the hukou only makes a difference on paper. The real difference will be made when the gap in terms of social benefits is filled," he said. "There's still a long way to go before there is an equalised social security net among different regions. The fundamental solution is to unify social security [nationwide]." For example, in Zhejiang, one of the areas where the rural-urban gap is considered the smallest, a retired government employee in a city can have a state pension of over 5,000 yuan (HK$6,300) a month, but a farmer often has less than 1,000 yuan. Professor Kam Wing Chan of the University of Washington said the wide variations in the quality of locally administered social welfare and social services had made "the elimination of the rural and urban hukou classifications insignificant". The Beijing News noted that President Xi Jinping, while governor of Fujian province 13 years ago, had urged the scrapping of the hukou system in his doctoral thesis. ^ top ^

Beijing court hears gay man traumatised by clinic's electro-shock 'conversion therapy' (SCMP)
A Beijing court began hearing a landmark case on “gay conversion” treatment on Thursday, as an activist in a nurse's uniform knelt over a patient, wielding a giant needle, outside. “Homosexuality doesn't need to be cured!” chanted about a dozen supporters. “Haidian Court, oppose conversion therapy!” Homosexuality was declassified as a mental disorder in China in 2001 but widespread intolerance toward gays and lesbians remains, and activists hailed the unprecedented case as a significant step forward. The plaintiff, who is gay and has given his name only as Xiao Zhen, says the Xinyu Piaoxiang clinic in Chongqing traumatised him when he was electro-shocked after being told to have sexual thoughts involving men. He is also taking action against China's top internet search engine, Baidu, for running advertisements by the facility. Those who come out to friends and family in China often face significant pressure to undergo sexuality “treatment” or marry a partner of the opposite sex. “It's the first case about anti-conversion therapy in China,” said Xiao Tie, 28, executive director of the Beijing LGBT Centre, which is backing the legal action. “In China, most people who undergo 'conversion therapy' do so because they are pressured by their family. Parents, once they realise their child is gay, urge him or her to go to a psychiatric hospital or undergo treatment,” she said. Most people who claim that they have been successfully “converted” by the therapy only say so in order to stop the distressing treatments, she added. Conversion therapy has more than a century of history around the world, but has fallen out of favour with medical authorities. Nonetheless the lucrative industry persists in countries from Singapore to Britain and the United States – where reports of electro-shock use have added to momentum for a ban. Zhang Rui, 21, who is in charge of the Beijing LGBT Centre's psychological counselling programme, said advocates hope the case will help change Chinese public perceptions of gays as suffering from mental illness. “We're here to tell even more people that conversion therapy is not scientific,” she said. “Homosexuality can't be cured.'” ^ top ^

Journalist Hu Shuli and environment lawyer win 'Asia's Nobel', the Ramon Magsaysay Award (SCMP)
An environmental lawyer and an investigative journalist whose work led to the sacking of corrupt officials are among this year's winners of the Ramon Magsaysay Awards, often regarded as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize. Hu Shuli was recognised for her work as editor-in-chief of the Beijing-based Caixin Media group that exposed corporate fraud and government corruption, including the sale-for-adoption of children in Hunan province, the awards foundation in the Philippines announced yesterday. Hu's "unrelenting commitment to truthful, relevant and unassailable journalism" had defied China's restrictive media environment, the foundation said. Wang Canfa is the other winner from China. He founded the Centre for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims, which provides training in environmental law and has offered free advice to thousands of people. "I'm very glad to receive the award, but it is not a reflection of how successful or powerful I am," Wang told the South China Morning Post. "The award shows the international community's high expectations for China to tackle its pollution problems and its support for us to use legal weapons to solve the environmental crisis. "China has been pursuing the path, using legal means to protect the environment, for more than 30 years. We've published many laws, but the country is still facing a lot of problems in actual implementation." Among other winners were Indonesian anthropologist Saur Marlina Manurung, who created a "jungle school" for children in rainforest communities. Filipino teacher Randy Halasan was also honoured for serving the Matigsalug indigenous tribe. The awards are named after a former president of the Philippines who died in a plane crash in 1957. ^ top ^



Shanghai vows harsh punishment after major food scandal (Xinhua)
Shanghai's top official on Sunday pledged "severe punishment" for anyone involved in a food safety scandal that has spread from the Chinese financial hub to Hong Kong and Japan. Han Zheng, Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Shanghai Municipal Committee, told a meeting convened to deal with the scandal which has prompted public scare that any company violating the law in the city would be severely punished in accordance with the law. The move came a few days after a local TV station reported that Shanghai Husi Food Co., Ltd, a meat supplier owned by U.S.-based OSI Group, mixed fresh and expired meat. The scandal has dragged in global food brands including McDonald's Corp, KFC-parent Yum Brands Inc. and Starbucks Corp. Five people have been detained over the scandal where regulators in Shanghai said Husi forged production dates on its beef products and sold them after their expiry. As part of his pledge, Han said that journalists and whistleblowers, which have played an important role in exposing the scandal, should be protected. "Media's watchdog role in this case should be viewed as a positive energy," he said. Han promised that investigation into the incident should be accurate and the results should be disclosed to the public in a timely manner. The official urged the supervisory body of the government to remain wary and carry out their duty in a proactive fashion. "(You should) take notes from what had happened to prevent similar cases from happening again," Han said. In a statement posted on its website on Saturday, OSI Group said it would "withdraw all products manufactured by Shanghai Husi from the marketplace." The group also said it was conducting a thorough internal investigation into any possible failures on the part of current and former senior management. As the scandal flares up, companies involved have made quick response. McDonald's China said that it would buy meat from another subsidiary of OSI Group to replace its original supplier, while McDonald's Japan decided to halt chicken import from China. Shanghai's determination to punish the wrongdoers in the scandal has been welcomed in China, where food safety remains a big concern for consumers. But some voice their dissatisfaction over the role of the supervisory body in the scandal. "The head of Shanghai's food watchdog should resign since the supervision did not work at all in the scandal," said microblogging user Longmianzimian. ^ top ^



Uygur extremists 'training in Middle East', envoy says (China Daily)
Muslim extremists from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region have gone to the Middle East for training and some may have crossed into Iraq to take part in the upsurge of violence there, China's special envoy for the Middle East, Wu Sike, said on Monday. China has repeatedly expressed concern about the upsurge in violence in Iraq and the march of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has seized much of the north of the country as Baghdad's forces there collapsed. ISIL, alternately translated as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has proclaimed the establishment of a caliphate on land it has captured in Syria and Iraq. Wu, who has recently returned from the region, said China is extremely worried about the role of extremist groups in the fighting in Syria and Iraq. "Several hot spot issues in the Middle East have provided living space for terrorist groups. In particular, the crisis in Syria has turned this country into a training ground for extremists from many countries," he said. These extremists come from Islamic countries, Europe, North America and China. After being immersed in extremist ideas, when they return home they will pose a severe challenge and security risk to those countries," added Wu, who has 40 years of diplomatic experience in the Middle East. While many analysts question whether these groups could accumulate the abilities that China is worried about, some people from China's Uygur ethnic group have made their way to Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent years. Wu did not give a figure for how many Chinese citizens may be in the Middle East either fighting or being trained, saying that he understood from foreign media reports that the number is about 100. Mostly they are East Turkestan elements," Wu said. They won't necessarily all return (to China). Some will remain to participate in the conflict, perhaps crossing into Iraq," he said, without elaborating. US intelligence agencies estimate that about 7,000 of the 23,000 violent extremists operating in Syria are foreign fighters, mostly from Europe. In June, China's Guangming Daily reported the involvement of ethnic Uygur terrorists in the ongoing Syrian civil war. All the terrorists, about 100, are members of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement - a terrorist organization that pursues the secession of Xinjiang from China, the newspaper quoted a report by Israel's Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center as saying. Foreign terrorists have accumulated firsthand battleground experience in the Syrian civil war and will implement what they have learned into waging terrorist attacks or organizing terror groups in their home countries, and that will pose grave menace to these countries, the Israeli report said. Wu said China would do all it could to help Middle Eastern countries fight terror as this was also in China's best interests. "China is a victim of extremist, terrorist activities, and our support for fighting terrorism in this region is beneficial to us, too. As a result, China and those countries are in a closely knit community of shared interests." Wu said that despite the violence, he was confident in Iraq's future and China's involvement in its energy sector. "In the long run, China has confidence in the political reconciliation and economic development of Iraq, so we have confidence in the future of this (energy) cooperation," he said. ^ top ^

Dozens of axe-wielding attackers shot dead by police during attacks in Xinjiang (SCMP)
Dozens of people, ethnic Han and Uygur, were killed or injured in at least one terror attack in the restive Xinjiang region early on Monday, state media reported late last night. Xinhua said that a group of assailants, wielding knives and axes, attacked the government office and police station in Elixku township in Kashgar's Yarkand, or Shache, county. Some attacked residents in neighbouring Huangdi township, the report said. Police said they shot dead dozens of the attackers, describing the incident as an "organised and premeditated" act of terror. At least six vehicles were torched and another 25 sabotaged. The attack follows a series of violent incidents in Xinjiang and elsewhere in recent months. Beijing has blamed extremists seeking independence for the region, while exiled Uygur groups and human rights activists say government curbs on the ethnic group's language, religion and culture have inflamed tensions. The report did not give an exact number of casualties from Monday's incident. Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uygur Congress, an exile group, said in an e-mail that more than 20 Uygurs were shot dead by armed authorities while 10 were injured, Agence France-Presse reported. A total of 13 security personnel were killed or injured, he said, citing what he described as a local source, and about 67 people were arrested. Internet access in at least two counties in the Kashgar area was cut after the attack, local residents told the South China Morning Post. Local sources confirmed to the Post that there had been an incident in Shache. A local media source said a bus to Kashgar was taken over by "terrorists" on Monday afternoon to distract police and keep them busy while attacks took place elsewhere, citing an internal government report. The source did not say whether anyone was injured. A resident in nearby Makit county said he learned that an attack took place on the highway from Shache to Kashgar at around 5pm and that "dozens" were said to be injured or wounded. A Shache hotel worker said: "There were attacks in the villages outside Shache, but we were asked not to discuss it … Internet access has been cut off, both for our mobile phones and at home." Shache and Makit are under Kashgar's administration, and the area has been hit by several violent incidents in recent years. Last month, police shot dead 13 people who attacked a police station in Yecheng county, also near Kashgar. ^ top ^

Pro-government Kashgar imam assasinated by 'religious extremists' (SCMP)
A high-profile pro-Beijing imam in Xinjiang has been assassinated by three men who were "influenced by radical religious beliefs", police say. The death of Jume Tahir, chief imam at a major mosque in Kashgar, comes amid an upsurge of violence in the northwestern region, where a large minority of the population are Turkic-speaking Uygur Muslims. The 74-year-old Uygur, a former National People's Congress deputy, was killed just before 7am on Wednesday after leading prayers at the old town's Id Kah Mosque, Xinhua cited police as saying. A tourist reported seeing a body in a pool of blood outside the mosque around that time. Xinhua quoted police as saying the suspects - Turghun Tursun, Memetjan Remutillan and Nurmemet Abidilimit - had been "influenced by radical religious beliefs [and] intended on raising their profile by committing the killing". Police tracked down and tried to arrest the trio, but they resisted, attacking officers with knives and axes, Xinhua said. Two of the men were shot dead and the third arrested. Tahir was vice-president of the Islamic Association of China. Neither the association nor the Kashgar Islamic Association could be reached for comment. Xinhua described Tahir as a patriot who frequently appeared in the state media praising the government's efforts to stabilise the region and condemning those who rose up against it. "We must stay calm and rational and cling to social harmony and stability instead of falling into traps set by exiled separatists," he said in 2009 after riots in Urumqi killed almost 200 people. His death came two days after armed assailants attacked police and government offices in Yarkand county, or Shache, near Kashgar, triggering clashes that Xinhua said killed "dozens". Exiled Uygur groups and human rights activists say government curbs on the minority's language, religion and culture inflame tensions. Beijing blames the violence on extremists seeking independence for the region. ^ top ^



Over 930,000 people signs for Anti-Occupy Central (Xinhua)
The organizer of Anti-Occupy Central petition received more than 930,000 signature as of last Sunday, said a source close to the petition organizer on Monday. Members of the public, dubbed as the "silent majority," came to petition stations across the city to voice their strong wish for the universal suffrage of the Hong Kong chief executive in 2017 and opposition against the proposed Occupy Central. Local resident Mr. Leung said occupying Central affects not only Hong Kong's finance and trade, but more directly its tourism. Small businesses in Central would suffer heavy losses, he added. Some are concerned about the traffic. Ms. Law from Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong Island, said that Central, the city's major financial and business area, has long been troubled by traffic congestion, and she was worried that the situation would be worsened if Occupy Central happens. Jordan Chan, well-known singer and film actor, posted a message on his microblog, saying his family has been in Hong Kong for more than three centuries and asking those who would stop at nothing to make things worse in the territory to leave. Starting from June, many in the business community stood up and spoke loud about the possible damage caused by Occupy Central. Audit firms of Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young and KPMG, commonly known as the Big Four, issued a joint statement in local newspapers, expressing opposition against the proposed Occupy Central, and their grave concern over its far-reaching negative impacts on Hong Kong's legal system, social order and economy. They also called for consultation and dialogue to solve disputes. An advertisement put in the local newspapers by the five major commerce chambers pointed out some of major negative impacts on Hong Kong, including disruption of retail businesses, delay or cancellation of package tours to Hong Kong, possible social unrest and reduced foreign capital inflow into the territory. A survey conducted by the Hong Kong Bank Employees Association showed that more than 60 percent of the respondents believed the protracted move of Occupy Central would paralyze the territory's financial center, disrupt the operation of banks or even cause layoffs. Some financial research institute even put the direct losses at 5 billion HK dollars (about 645 million U.S. dollars) if the campaign lasts for three days. Hong Kong Chief Executive C Y Leung had publicly expressed his stand that he would join the signing of the petition to show his support. Some of the senior officials also signed the petition, including Secretary for Homg Affairs Tsang Tak-sing,Secretary for Food and Health Ko Wing-man and Secretary for Education Eddie Ng. ^ top ^

Limiting mainland visitors counters Hong Kong's open doors policy (SCMP)
Few places in the world are so confident and so well positioned for the future as to be able to seriously consider deliberately damaging nearly 5 per cent of the economy. Yet, that is what we face when we contemplate openly discriminating against certain tourists, specifically those coming here on the individual visit scheme. The government has said it is considering public views on whether to lower traveller numbers amid concerns that the rapid influx of mainland visitors has exceeded the city's handling capacity. It isn't in our nature to deny people access to our markets, and certainly it would be dangerous if others decided we were not welcome in theirs. The Hong Kong "brand" as a free port is special, and we should be enhancing rather than devaluing it. Turning away visitors sends the wrong message, particularly to the international community. We should work to increase the draw of our real tourist attractions, so as to encourage more people to stay an extra day. It is worth noting that the number of mainland visitors to Hong Kong during the Dragon Boat Festival in early June dropped 2.5 per cent, the first decline in five years and a reversal of the recent trend of 20 per cent rises. In four out of the first five months of this year, retail sales fell. This is the first prolonged slump in this sector in five years. This time, however, the fault is partly our own. Once visitors turn away, it will take a long time to attract them back again. Therefore, any change in the individual visit scheme should be treated with the utmost caution. Tourism is one of our pillar industries, supported by a dedicated tourism board. Closing our market to one particular segment is a form of trade protectionism, as well as discrimination. If we deliberately degrade our tourism sector, what will replace it? If we no longer want these jobs, what kind of jobs do we want, and how much are we going to invest to create them? Do we really want to punish our most important trade and investment partner? We are in danger of losing these customers to neighbours such as South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia where substantial investment is being made in tourism facilities, new visitor markets are being welcomed with open arms and large-scale marketing campaigns to attract tourists from the mainland are part of a broad strategy. Southern Weekly recently ran a poll that found one-third of mainlanders surveyed did not want to visit Hong Kong and about 70 per cent had no plan to visit within a year. Of those who did not want to come, 25 per cent were afraid of discrimination. Do we really want to implement restrictions that may be interpreted as a sign that Hong Kong harbours resentment against mainlanders? I think not. The tens of millions of day trippers are here to buy products they can trust, at prices they like. For those simply seeking to avoid paying mainland taxes, the right solution is greater diligence on the part of mainland customs authorities. Similar arrangements should be in place for mail orders and courier items. These arrangements, however, would have to be pursued by mainland authorities. Alternatively, shopping centres specifically catering to short-term visitors might be located closer to the border crossings, much as Lo Wu Commercial City caters to Hong Kong shoppers. But, things are not as clear cut as they might seem at first. Visitors are not only tourists who congregate in shopping areas. Many visitors are business people who also shop whilst they are in Hong Kong. We need to balance the needs of tourists and residents, against the contribution of retail and tourism. For instance, in response to the rapid rise in individual visit scheme tourists, the retail market has invested in drug stores, fashion shops and jewellery stores to meet the demand for medicine, personal care products, baby formula products, cosmetics, clothing and jewellery. The competing demand for these products as well as the loss of other types of stores may have caused inconvenience to the daily lives of some Hong Kong residents. But we should distinguish between mainland tourists and day-trippers, as the reasons for their visits and the impacts they have on local residents are quite different. The crowds on public transport and at boundary crossings, shortages and inflated prices of milk powder and other popular products, together with other social issues rooted in cultural differences and misunderstandings, have resulted in the adverse sentiments against mainland visitors. The government should form a task force comprising representatives from the tourism industry, retailers, hoteliers, property developers, major-attraction operators and the MTR to devise strategies to promote and reinforce the traditional tourist-friendly attitude among our front-line service staff. As with so many kinds of discrimination, we need to educate the general public so as to ultimately reverse this harmful negative sentiment. Before we make a major mistake, possibly killing off the most important counter-cyclical sector of our economy, we need to think very carefully. The government's role is to promote and protect market access, not restrict it. As with all major policy decisions, the government should first conduct an in-depth economic impact assessment. Stakeholders need to be consulted, including those who feel they are harmed by tourism. Only then can we make an informed decision free of ugly, dangerous discrimination. ^ top ^



Cross-Strait economic talks scheduled for Aug. 5 (Xinhua)
The sixth regular meeting of the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Committee (ECC) will be held on Aug. 5 in Beijing, the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) announced Monday. Zheng Lizhong, convener of the ECC on the mainland and executive vice president of ARATS, and Gao Yan, ECC chief representative and vice commerce minister, will head the mainland delegation to attend the meeting, ARATS said in a press release. The decision was made according to the 11th provision in the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a wide-ranging cross-Strait economic pact signed in 2010. At the meeting, ECC members from the two sides will review the implementation of the ECFA, exchange views on strengthening cross-Strait economic cooperation, and make arrangements for future work, according to the press release. The last regular meeting was held in December last year in Taipei, Taiwan. ^ top ^

Taiwan finishes identifying victims of crashed flight (Xinhua)
The bodies of 48 victims of Taiwan's crashed TransAsia flight GE 222 have all been identified, according to the the island's aviation safety council on Sunday. TransAsia will pay funeral subsidy worth 800,000 new Taiwan dollars (26,640 U.S. dollars) to each family of victims, and 27 families have been compensated. An announcement by Taiwan's civil aeronautics authority said that the accident may have been caused by compound reasons including weather condition, machinery fault and human factor. The civil aeronautics authority and TransAsia will provide all gathered information to the aviation safety council to help the investigation, the announcement said. The flight, which took off from Kaohsiung on Wednesday evening, crashed into residential buildings in Xixi Village of Penghu, Taiwan's western island, after a failed emergency landing at Magong Airport. The flight was carrying 54 passengers and four crew members. ^ top ^

TransAsia black box info deciphered (Xinhua)
Taiwan has finished downloading and decoding the data from the two black boxes of TransAsia flight GE 222, said the island's aviation council on Monday. The council will release the information of one of the black boxes as soon as the data is confirmed, said Wang Hsing-chung, head of the council. Recordings of conversations in the plane's cockpit cannot be made public for legal reasons, and the council is considering publishing a summary of transcripts of the conversation. An initial formal report on the accident will be presented to the International Civil Aviation Organization in 28 days. Data and figures will be delivered in three to four months followed by a complete report in one year, said Wang. Flight GE 222, which took off from Kaohsiung on Wednesday evening, crashed into residential buildings in Xixi Village of Penghu, Taiwan's western island, after a failed emergency landing at Magong Airport, causing 48 deaths. The flight was carrying 54 passengers and four crew. ^ top ^

Streets of inferno as suspected gas explosions kill 24, injure 271 in Taiwan's Kaohsiung (SCMP)
At least 24 people were killed and 271 others injured when several underground gas explosions ripped through Taiwan's second-largest city overnight, hurling concrete through the air and blasting long trenches in the streets, authorities said Friday. The series of explosions about midnight Thursday and early Friday struck a district where several petrochemical plans operate pipelines alongside the sewer system in Kaohsiung, a southwestern port with 2.8 million people. The fires were believed caused by a leak of propane, a petrochemical material not intended for public use, but the source of the gas was not immediately clear, officials said. Video from the TVBS broadcaster showed residents searching for victims in shattered storefronts and rescuers pulling injured people from the rubble of a road and placing them on stretchers while passersby helped other victims on a sidewalk. Broadcaster ETTV showed rows of large fires sending smoke into the night sky. Four firefighters were among the 24 dead and 271 people were injured, the National Fire Agency said. The firefighters had been at the scene investigating reports of a gas leak when the explosions occurred, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported. At least five blasts shook the city, Taiwan's Premier Jiang Yi-huah said. Chang Jia-juch, the director of the Central Disaster Emergency Operation Center, said the leaking gas was most likely to be propane, meaning that the resulting fires could not be extinguished by water. He said emergency workers would have to wait until the gas is burnt away. The source of the leak was unknown. Chang said, however, that propane was not for public use, and that it was a petrochemical material. Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu said several petrochemical companies have pipelines built along the sewage system in Chian-Chen district, which has both factories and residential buildings. “Our priority is to save people now. We ask citizens living along the pipelines to evacuate,” Chen told TVBS television. Power was cut off in the area, making it difficult for firefighters to search for others who might be buried in rubble. CNA said the local fire department received reports from residents of gas leakage at about 8:46 p.m. and that explosions started around midnight. Closed-circuit television showed an explosion rippling through the floor of a motorcycle parking area, hurling concrete and other debris through the air. Mobile phone video captured the sound of an explosion as flames leapt at least 9 metres into the air. One of the explosions left a large trench running down the centre of a road, edged with piles of concrete slabs torn apart by the force of the blast. A damaged motorcycle lay in the crater, and TVBS showed cars flipped over. The force of the initial blast also felled trees lining the street. Thursday night's inferno came just a week after a TransAsia Airways plane crash in Taiwan left 48 people dead. The plane carrying 54 passengers and four crew on a domestic flight plunged into houses in Magong in offshore Penghu islands in stormy weather after a typhoon pounded Taiwan. Two French nationals were among the dead. In 2012, a man started a fire in a nursing home he lived in southern Tainan city that killed 13 people and injured 60 others. In 2011, four people were killed and 38 others injured when a truckload of firecrackers exploded in northern Taiwan.The blast, which destroyed a dozen houses, occurred as the truck driver was unloading the firecrackers near a paper shop in New Taipei City. ^ top ^



Supervision shouldn't pose "hurdles" to small firms: Premier (Xinhua)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has urged government organs to reduce administrative procedures for small firms, stressing supervision should not be a hurdle to small businesses.
Li said the government should give a hand to small firms and supervision should not be like "hurdles in a race that lie in the way one after another." He made the comments during a symposium with owners of small and micro-sized enterprises, according to a statement released Sunday on the website of the Chinese central government. Supervisors should relax unnecessary controls, fulfill their regulatory duties and support companies in need, Li said. The government should also pay more attention to fiscal support and financial services to newly registered small firms, he added. China has rolled out an array of favorable measures for small firms to help them weather the economic slowdown, including tax breaks, reduced administrative fees and relaxed market access. Policy makers have also hoped that small firms will invigorate China's ongoing reform efforts. Some 1.27 million firms were registered in the March-June period, up by 66.85 percent from a year ago, after a new business registration system with lower thresholds took effect on March 1. ^ top ^

China's trade in services up 15 pct in first half (Xinhua)
China's trade in services expanded 15.3 percent year on year in the first half of this year to 285 billion U.S. dollars, data from the Ministry of Commerce showed on Monday. Exports of services rose 18.2 percent to 113 billion U.S. dollars while imports grew 13.6 percent to 172 billion U.S. dollars during the period. The service trade deficit in the first half stood at 58.4 billion U.S. dollars, up 5.6 percent year on year. The ministry said that the deficit mainly stemmed from tourism, transport, patent royalties and licensed fees, and insurance. Meanwhile, service trade keeps gaining an increasing share of general trade and its growth outpaced that of goods trade by 14.1 percentage points in the first half. As of the end of June, service trade accounted for 12.3 percent of China's total trade, up 1.4 percentage points compared to the same period last year. Exports of financial services, movies and videos, computer and information services and consulting were areas that saw the fastest growth. ^ top ^

OSI group to fund food safety (China Daily)
US-based OSI Group, owner of the Shanghai food company accused of selling expired meat, announced on Monday that it would invest 10 million yuan ($1.62 million) for a three-year food safety education campaign in China and establish an Asia Quality Control Center to regain market confidence. Shanghai Husi Food, a food supplier for a number of global brands such as McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut and Starbucks, was accused by a television station last week of using expired meat as well as forging production dates to extend shelf time. The case soon spread from the Chinese mainland to Hong Kong and Japan, and also provoked wide public anger. David G. McDonald, president and chief operating officer of OSI Group, said the company is conducting an internal investigation, and that preliminary investigations have found issues that he said are absolutely inconsistent with internal product requirements and policies. "We will fully cooperate with Shanghai FDA for the investigation," he said. The group ceased operations of the Shanghai Husi plant for internal and external investigations, and extended their internal reviews to ensure that compliance met their global standards. But the group didn't talk about compensation for consumers in China. "We have put our focus on the investigation. We want to find out the reason behind the misconduct, and made by whom and for what motives," he said, adding that they will take swift and decisive action against those responsible. The group also announced a number of changes in the organizational and management structure of OSI China. The operations in China will become a part of the OSI International umbrella, directly embedded into the corporate organization, rather than operating as a separate, decentralized entity. This new organization will be called OSI International China, according to David G. McDonald. OSI International China will be managed by global management in accordance with global standards of quality management, which includes experienced individuals from around the world, he said. "We know that we have let down our customers, the government, and the public of China," said Sheldon Lavin, chairman and chief executive officer of OSI Group, as he apologized at a news conference held in Shanghai on Monday. "We understand that we need to rebuild and again earn respect, trust, reputation and forgiveness," he said. The company reiterated its commitment in China and said it will set up an Asia Quality Control Center in Shanghai. The center will be staffed by a team of international and local teams, providing quality assurance for all OSI sites across the country and support for other Chinese food companies. Meanwhile, it will launch a three-year food safety campaign in China with a 10 million yuan investment to boost staff training and promote awareness of food safety issues among the Chinese public. "It is the cornerstone of our business and for our customers. We understand that we still have a lot of work to do to reclaim the respect and trust of our customers, the government and consumers," McDonald said. The Shanghai food safety watchdog is still investigating the case, and it said on Monday that it will increase supervision of food safety and also encourage food company employees to report any misconduct. ^ top ^

Baidu developing 'self-driving' car (China Daily)
Chinese search engine leader Baidu Inc, widely known as the Google of China, is following in the Western Internet giant's footsteps by working on its own version of a self-driving car. The Beijing-based company confirmed it has already initiated the project. But compared with Google's innovation, which requires no driver at all, Baidu's car will be "highly autonomous", serving mainly as an aid to drivers. Yu Kai, deputy director of Baidu's Institute of Deep Learning, said in a recent interview that Baidu's car is "semi-self-driving". Compared with Google's prototype, which has no steering wheel or pedals, Baidu's car is more like a "horse" that would guide itself unless the driver wanted to take over. According to Yu, the car under development will be equipped with radar, camera and sensors, as well as a navigation system. The car can automatically drive itself as soon as a destination is entered into the navigation system. The sensors will upload traffic conditions, and using big data technology, the car will make its own decisions about such things as direction and driving speed. A prototype is expected next year. Xin Haiguang, an independent Chinese Internet expert, said that the project is in line with Baidu's strengths in big data and human-computer interaction. "Baidu is a search company. It has strong advantages in gathering and processing data. Search engines basically offer answers to people after data analysis. The car is practically doing the same thing by making driving decisions after analyzing traffic conditions." The development of a self-driving car is not the first project Baidu has copied from Google. Media reports last year showed it also is working on a project called Baidu Eye, which is similar to Google Glass. In March, Baidu hired Andrew Ng, founder of the "Google Brain," to run its artificial intelligence labs. "Companies like Baidu, Google and Facebook all generate revenue through advertising. Therefore, it is natural for Baidu to be pursuing a similar strategy to Google's, because the more information you have about people, the more that you can earn in advertising revenue from them," said Neil Flynn, head equity analyst at Shanghai-based, a leading financial analysis firm of US-listed Chinese companies. "If you had a self-driving car, Google would, for example, recognize that you tend to go to a pizza restaurant every Tuesday at 7 pm, and could therefore advertise local pizzerias to you every Tuesday at 6:30 pm. By having products that users can use in every aspect of their lives, Google can understand each of its users in depth and develop an optimal advertising strategy for each individual," he said. Google has greatly diversified businesses, from self-driving cars to home appliances and Android mobile operating systems. "As diverse as these are, they will all be fundamentally used by Google to collect data about its users," Flynn said. Baidu seems to be moving in a similar direction, fueled by heavy investment in research and development. Its recently released second quarter financial report showed that its R & D expenditure surged nearly 85 percent year-on-year to 1.737 billion yuan ($280 million) between April and June. ^ top ^

China stresses targeted policies to balance economy, risks (Xinhua)
Chinese authorities will continue to rely on targeted macro policies to support growth in the latter half of the year as downside risks still exist in various quarters. In a meeting of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee on Tuesday, authorities stressed the need to maintain policy continuity, with more emphasis on targeted steps to balance short-term growth and long-term development. "China's development has to sustain a certain speed, or else many problems will be difficult to solve," said a statement released after the meeting. The message is that the government will strengthen existing targeted support to ensure economic growth stays within a proper range, analysts said. After a shaky start this year, Chinese policymakers have pinned hopes on quickening fiscal spending and selectively easing monetary policies to support faltering growth. In the first six months, total national fiscal spending expanded 15.8 percent from a year ago to 6.92 trillion yuan ($1.12 trillion). For June alone, the figure surged 26.1 percent to 1.65 trillion yuan. Spending on key projects in housing security, transportation, urban and rural development, and grain and oil reserves reached as high as 20 percent or more, according to the Ministry of Finance. "China's fiscal spending in the latter half of the year will maintain momentum, which means more funds will be channelled to the real economy," said Bai Jingming, vice director of the Research Institute for Fiscal Science under the Ministry of Finance. Along with the proactive fiscal policy, more focus has been put on optimizing credit structure against the backdrop of prudent monetary policy and reasonable credit growth. The People's Bank of China (PBoC) announced last month that it will cut the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) by 0.5 percentage points for banks engaged in proportionate lending to the farming sector or small and micro-sized enterprises. On April 22, an RRR reduction was introduced for county-level rural commercial banks and rural credit cooperative unions. Helped in part by these efforts, China's economic growth showed recovery signs in the second quarter, accelerating to 7.5 percent from the 7.4 percent expansion in first quarter. To further ease financing costs in the real economy, a State Council meeting last week outlined ten specific measures, including more support to small businesses through relending, cutting redundant procedures, and cleaning up unnecessary charges to give companies in targeted sectors easier access to money. With these measures steadily implemented, China's economy is expected to firm up in the latter half of 2014. In light of the stronger-than-expected recovery, banking giant HSBC has upgraded its forecast for China's year-on-year GDP growth to 7.5 percent from 7.4 percent. ^ top ^

Pearl River Delta SMEs show poorH1 figures (China Daily)
Trade conditions for small and mediumsized exporters in the Pearl River Delta, one of the country's major manufacturing and trade hubs, were poor in the first half of the year due to lower seasonal demand, an industrial report said. The Trade Climate Index, which reflects exporters' confidence in trade, stood at 99.06 in June, lower than the satisfaction threshold, indicating an unstable trend for exporters in the Delta region, according to a report released on Tuesday by trade service provider Shenzhen Onetouch Business Service Co, a subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, and based on a survey of 500 small and mediumsized companies. "The grim performance was mainly due to lower seasonal demand from overseas buyers in May and June," said Xiao Feng, deputy general manager of Shenzhen Onetouch. The index climbed to 105.57 in March after the LunarNewYear but started a downward trend in April, according to the report. Meanwhile, the price of export commodities also declined significantly, with the price index reaching only 64.75 in June. "The decline in prices indicated that valueadded products were still in short demand from overseas buyers," Xiao told China Daily. HeGuodong, generalmanager of Shenzhen Xingjisheng Electronics Co, said the company had felt mounting pressure to make business profits as prices declined. He attributed the lower price to a fierce but disorderly industrial competition for Chinese products. "For example, the price of similar products ranged from $2 to $200. Buyers would prefer to purchase products with a lower price," he said. "Given such a situation, hightech products, which are value added, do not necessarily mean a high price, making it hard for producers tomake profits." However, Xiao predicted that trade in the region would pick up, with an upswing in the second half of the year, usually a peak period due to demand of Christmas related products. "The government should introducemore trade service for exporters as they are facing increased pressure to make profits due to lower price and rising production costs," Xiao said. Guangdong's trade was down 16.7 percent yearonyear to 2.89 trillion yuan ($468.26 billion) in the first six months, accounting for 23.4 percent of the country's total, according to the provincial customs. Specifically, Guangdong's export value in the first half of the year was 1.7 trillion yuan, down 14 percent from a year earlier. ^ top ^

IMF recommends lower 2015 GDP growth target for China (SCMP)
While China's economy would likely grow at “around 7.5 per cent” this year, the International Monetary Fund said, a target growth rate of between 6.5 per cent and 7 per cent for 2015 “would be consistent with the goal of transitioning to a safer and more sustainable growth path”. That was the view of most of the IMF's directors, but a few others considered a lower target might be “more appropriate”, the agency said in a statement on Thursday after its executive board concluded its annual Article IV consultation with China. China remained heavily reliant on capital spending and credit, which has sustained rapid growth, but “declining efficiency of investment, a significant buildup of debt, income inequality and environmental costs are threatening growth prospects”, the IMF said. Growth in gross domestic product rebounded to 7.5 per cent in the second quarter after easing to 7.4 per cent, an 18-month low, in the first. China's leaders have targeted growth of about 7.5 per cent for this year. The government has adopted mini-stimulus measures, such as heavy investment in infrastructure, to ensure the target is met. However, economists said having such a high target has hindered Beijing's efforts to launch structural reforms, for fear that the changes might weigh on growth in the near term. The IMF urged China to launch key reforms, including freeing up bank deposit interest rates, creating a level playing field for the private and public sectors and revamping the fiscal and social security systems. China's yuan remains “moderately undervalued”, the IMF said, suggesting that authorities should avoid “sustained, large and asymmetric intervention”. Meanwhile, in the real estate sector, which has been “a significant engine” of the economy, the IMF said China is facing the challenge of allowing a necessary correction while preventing an excessively sharp slowdown. Under Article IV of the IMF's Articles of Agreement, the agency holds bilateral discussions with its members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country and prepares a report, which is discussed by the IMF's executive board. ^ top ^

Thai railway deals offer 'huge room' for Beijing (China Daily)
Railway construction in Thailand will present China with many opportunities to work with the Southeastern Asian country in the rail sector, an industry insider says. "There will be huge room for cooperation," said Yang Yong, an official in charge of relations with Southeastern Asian countries at China Railway Corp. Yang said Chinese companies have already been extensively involved in helping Thailand to modernize its rail system, and new lines are on the way. Feasibility research for the 680-km Bangkok to Chiang Mai and 450-km Bangkok to Nong Khai lines, which have long been proposed by Thai rail planners, was carried out by Chinese engineers, Yang said. On Wednesday, the Thai military junta approved the two railway projects linking southern China and Thailand. These are aimed at promoting regional economic growth and integration between China and Southeast Asia. Under a 2.4 trillion baht ($75 billion) infrastructure plan covering 2015 to 2022, about 741.4 billion baht will be invested in a 737-km route from Nong Khai province in northeastern Thailand to Map Ta Phut in the country's eastern Rayong province. The plan also covers a 655-km line from Chiang Khong in the northern province of Chiang Rai to Ban Phachi in the central province of Ayutthaya. Soithip Traisuth, Thailand's permanent secretary for transport, told the Bangkok Post the two routes will operate at a maximum speed of 160 km/h, less than the 200 km/h planned previously. "This is to allow a possible shift to higher speeds after more investment in the future," Soithip was quoted as saying. A study will also be carried out to explore ways to bring construction costs of the dual-track rail system down from about 500-600 million baht per km to around 350 to 400 million, Soithip added. Wang Mengshu, a tunnel and railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said the reason for lower speeds on the new lines could be that they are not as long as high-speed lines in China and there will be many stops. The Bangkok Post said the routes are in line with a proposal by China, which wants to link its southern regions to Southeast Asia through Thailand. Soithip said that infrastructure development projects, including the two rail lines, are intended to improve connections within Thailand's transport network that include gateways to border trade, key cities, seaports, airports and cargo rail transport centers. Thailand's military junta expects the rail system to play a significant role in increasing trade with neighboring nations. China is considering building a 3,000-km high-speed line from Yunnan province, which would pass through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia to Singapore. This would boost China's GDP and that of the related countries by $375 billion, Zhao Xiaogang, former chairman of China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co, a leading Chinese industrial manufacturer and exporter, told China Daily last month. ^ top ^

Li offers vision of revival for Northeast (China Daily)
Premier Li Keqiang made proposals on Thursday to remove barriers to the development of the pioneer of the nation's industrialization in the 1950s to the 1970s, a broad area of Northeast China that covers Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces and an eastern section of Inner Mongolia autonomous region. Part of Li's plan involves the further opening of the region to neighboring countries. "Currently, we have to concentrate our energy on implementing several major tasks that serve multiple ends and make every effort to unlock the puzzle to the development of the northeast," Li said at a meeting of the State Council (cabinet) that was held to discuss the issue. The central government decided in 2003 to revive industrial bases there. The area amounts to roughly one-seventh of China's total territory. Li said the strategy has brought evident benefits in the past decade, but the economy in that part of China "is facing new challenges". He added: "The economic growth rate there has kept falling since last year, and operations in some sectors are difficult." He noted that some deep-rooted contradictions are emerging. Some 30 provincial-level regions have reported GDP figures for the first half. And 23 of them saw economic growth pick up in the second quarter, while two provinces were level and five provinces reported a slowdown. Liaoning and Jilin were among the five provinces with slowing growth. Heilongjiang has yet to report its figures. Growth rates in Liaoning and Jilin in the first half hit 7.2 percent and 6.8 percent, respectively, both below the national rate of 7.4 percent. Li's prescription for the development of the northeast includes streamlining administration to stimulate the market. He also proposed major infrastructure projects such as upgrading the massive railway network. The region has one of the densest railway networks in the nation, but much of it was built decades ago. Other suggestions include more agricultural modernization in the richest soil in China and updating the region's advantage in equipment manufacturing. Li was the Party chief of Liaoning province from 2004 to 2007. Northeast China has attracted great attention from Beijing this year. President Xi Jinping and Li made several inspection trips there, and Xi offered proposals in July to speed up the area's revitalization. Chiefs of the four provincial governments among other high-level officials attended Thursday's meeting. Gao Guoli, deputy director of the Research Institute of Territorial Development and Regional Economics under the National Development and Reform Commission, said most companies in the area are State-owned enterprises. They respond "rather slowly" to the market compared with private companies in coastal areas. ^ top ^


DPRK and South Korea
DPRK fires 4 short-range projectiles (Xinhua)
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) fired four short-range projectiles, which were estimated to be launched from 300-milimeter multiple-rocket launchers, an official at South Korea's Defense Ministry said Wednesday. The official told Xinhua via telephone that the DPRK fired two short-range projectiles at 7:30 a.m. and 7:40 am each from Mount Myohyang in DPRK's Pyongan Province into the easterly direction. The official said the launches seemed to fail as the projectiles flew for only several seconds. Pyongyang launched two more short-range projectiles, which flew around 210 km and 130 km each, at 5:50 p.m. and 6 p.m. respectively from the same region into the easterly direction. The projectile with a range of 210 km was believed to land in eastern waters, and the other was estimated to fall in the DPRK's territory. The South Korean military reportedly said those projectiles may be fired from the 300-millimeter multiple-rocket launchers termed by South Korea as KN-09 with a range of 150-160 km. It was the first time that those projectiles from the KN-09 flew more than 200 km. The test-firing was believed to have increased the range of the KN-09. It was DPRK's 16th launch of missiles or artillery shells this year. The DPRK fired a short-range ballistic missile, believed to be Scud, into the eastern waters on July 26, according to South Korean military. The DPRK has launched more than 100 short- and medium-range projectiles, including Scud and Rodong missiles, artillery shells and FROG rockets, since Feb. 21. The two Koreas exchanged artillery fires in the disputed western sea waters on May 22, two months after trading hundreds of artillery shells in late March. ^ top ^



The Bank of Mongolia increases its policy rate (Info Mongolia)
According to the resolution of the Board of Director's meeting on July 30th, the Central Bank of Mongolia has announced to raise its policy interest rate by 1.5 percentage point up to 12 percent. The Bank of Mongolia focuses to stabilize the sharp increase on currency and inflation rates in order to stabilize the current economic downturn by strengthening its policy rate. During the press conference, the Governor of Central Bank N.Zoljargal explained that the Bank of Mongolia strengthens its policy rate to take corrective measures on the decreasing volume of exchange reserves and foreign direct investment inflow in terms of ensuring medium and long term economic stability, reducing the counterbalance losses, mitigating the economic pressure due to the inflation rate by preventing from further possible risks on Mongolian macro economy. ^ top ^

MH17: Mongolian students transferred from eastern Ukraine (UB Post)
Ukraine's Ministry of Education and Science will transfer both local and international students studying in Donetsk to other cities, citing “the current situation” as reasons for their transfer. Unuudur reports that students, several from Mongolia, will continue their studies elsewhere in the country for an unspecified time. The decision comes during the university break, ensuring that most students remain safely outside of the city. Unuudur talked to General Consulate of Mongolia in Kiev Kh.Boldkhuyag, and he said, “Around ten Mongolians study mining at Donetsk National Technical University and one studies at Donbas National Academy of Civil Engineering and Architecture, which are located in eastern Ukraine. Right now, only one Mongolian final-year student is in Donetsk. The rest are here in Mongolia during their summer vacation.” Of the 150 Mongolian students currently studying in the Ukraine, those who are studying in Donetsk and Donbass will be transferred from universities in the east of Ukraine when they return from Mongolia. One Mongolian student remains in Donetsk right now but is expected to be removed from the conflict area in coming days. The consulate added that all the students who study in Donetsk and Donbas will be transferred to universities in other cities according to their majors, and he called on the Mongolian students studying in these two cities to contact him as soon as possible. ^ top ^


Mrs. Lauranne Peman
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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