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
  8-12.2.2016, No. 609  
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Across China: Swiss inventor breathes life into China's startup boom (Xinhua)
Air pollution in Beijing and neighboring regions is not only fueling air purifier sales, but driving people to seek more information about air quality. "Laser Egg", a device about the size of an orange, measures indoor air quality and was sold out overnight during Beijing' s red smog alert in December. For its Swiss inventor Liam Bates, 27, the original decision to make such a device was only to solve a personal need. In 2014, when his new wife Jessica came to China, her asthma recurred. After affirming that the air pollution was the cause, Bates began his quest to find a solution. He tested more than 20 kinds of air purifiers he borrowed from friends, but could not decide which was most effective, so made up his mind to make one himself. He started Origins Technology in early 2014 and released an air purifier later that year, which was only the first step toward the Laser Egg and unexpectedly cutting into a niche market that few before him had noticed. "Many people told me that with the help of Laser Egg, they learned how bad their indoor air quality was and how they had spent several thousand yuan on an air purifier but failed to make full use of it by only turning it to the lowest level," he said. The egg links to a website and uploads air quality which can be checked by other users. Bates plans to collect data from thousands of online eggs to show people which bars, restaurants and shops have the best air quality and which should be avoided. The popularity of Laser Egg comes from new-found air quality awareness, said Bates, citing a large number of air quality monitoring apps and the role of social media. "If you have the urge to post a picture about air quality when you see a grey sky outside, people who follow you on Weibo or WeChat will pay more attention to the air around them," said Bates. Describing Laser Egg as the first affordable air quality monitor, the device has been tweaked to suit China's environment. "The only device that can compete with Laser Egg is Dylos, but with a price tag of more than 450 U.S. dollars, it costs more than a 499 yuan (76 U.S. dollars) Laser Egg," said Bates. Though many of his foreign friends have moved to Shenzhen to avoid the smog, but Bates said he has not yet entertained the idea. "It is true that air in Beijing is not like that in Switzerland, but compared with other places such as India, I have never seen a city with a bigger commitment to tackle air pollution than Beijing. Perhaps that's why we should be confident about Beijing's future," he said. His company now has dozens of employees, Bates has given up his job as a TV host, but his ambition is not just to see people staying at home on smoggy days. "We have a lot of plan, and our ultimate goal is to solve the problem outside," he said. ^ top ^


Foreign Policy

Liberia praises China for military equipment donations (Global Times)
Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on Wednesday lauded the Chinese government for donating equipment in supporting the rebuilding of a new Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). In a statement made available to Xinhua in Monrovia, the Liberian leader said the donation, valued at 3 million US dollars, has come at the right time when most of the equipment used by the army have now broken down. She promised that the donated equipment would be used for the purposes intended. The military equipment includes 20 heavy-duty trucks, two graders, 10,000 sets of uniforms, and 40 military tents. "We are here to participate in the demonstration of true partnership; a partnership that comes to you at a time when you are really in need," the president said. On his part, the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia, Zhang Yue, said the presentation was the second batch of substantive military assistance from China to Liberia, during the tour of his duty near Monrovia, the capital of Liberia. He stressed that in the past decade, China has been active in assisting the Liberian government and its people in their endeavors to rebuilding the country. "We take Liberia's priorities as our assistance priorities and aim at bringing tangible benefit to the Liberian people," he added. While voicing his appreciation of economic achievements made by the Liberian government led by President Sirleaf and the accelerated infrastructure construction, Zhang stressed the donation was another evidence to show China's sincere and strong support for Liberia in its efforts in peacekeeping and social stability maintenance during the course of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) drawdown and Liberia's post- Ebola recovery. ^ top ^

German envoy urges China to speed up talks on deal protecting business data security (SCMP)
Germany has called on China to speed up negotiations on a cybersecurity deal covering businesses as the two countries make a joint push towards a high-tech manufacturing future. An understanding on how commercial data security would be handled was crucial if the two sides were to cooperate, said German ambassador to China Michael Clauss. One possible solution would be to establish a commercial database in the European nation to quell business concerns that the information would not be open to abuse, Clauss said. But the momentum has stalled since German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited China in October last year, and the two countries agreed to discuss the cybersecurity deal. Negotiations were suppose to wrap up by this summer. “So far, we have made little progress,” Clauss said. “We asked the Chinese side to urgently designate a lead negotiator, so that we can start negotiations as soon as possible.” Both countries have launched campaigns to bring industry firmly into the smart technology era – in Germany, it's known as “Industry 4.0” campaign, while on the mainland it's known as “Made in China 2025”. “Tangible progress on data security will be key for China-German cooperation on'Industry 4.0',” Clauss said. “This will obviously influence German companies' readiness to bring top level technology for digital manufacturing to China.” “Cooperation on Industry 4.0 will inevitably induce huge data flows. If data security cannot be improved substantially, German high-tech companies will be less willing to invest in China. It has the potential to become an obstacle to our bilateral cooperation on digital innovation and research”. His remarks reflected broader concerns of foreign companies operating on the mainland after Beijing introduced a new law covering national security, cybersecurity and counterterrorism. Foreign companies are also worried they might have to set up servers locally and submit encryption codes. It was reported last October that IBM opened its source code, a crucial trade secret, to China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, in a bid to cement its market position. “What we would like to discuss with China is how we can make sure that industrial data is and remains safe. What we have proposed and what we are working on in Germany is a separate industrial data net, ie, a separate industrial data space just for company data,” Clauss said. China set up the central leading group for internet security and informatisation, led by President Xi Jinping, in 2014. The US director of national intelligence James Clapper told Congress this week that China was one of the countries posing the most serious threat to American information systems. International aid agencies have also become alarmed over Beijing's recent crackdown on non-governmental organisations. Clauss also said the German government wanted to further discuss Beijing's draft law as it might affect bilateral cooperation in a wide range of fields. […] The NPC released the second draft in April last year for public feedback. The deadline expired on June 4, but the finalised version hasn't been released due to debate inside and outside government. “The law has not been adopted yet, but we have already seen the first negative impacts in anticipation of the law. Some German NGOs are facing difficulties as some of their Chinese partners choose to wait until the law is officially introduced before making commitments,” Clauss said. “Some NGOs have even been unable to fill their vacancies for months already because the relevant ministries refuse to handle such hitherto routine tasks until the law is passed”. China saw a grim start to this year with disappointing economic data and lingering depreciation pressure of the Chinese currency, which fueled concerns of stronger headwinds ahead. But Clauss ruled out the possibility of a hard landing in China and said the actual economic situation was much better than the mood. “The reason for the concerns and even panic overseas was in large part a lack of clear communication by Chinese state actors, the result of mixed and inconsistent signals,” he said. “We see different actors at work. It is not clear to us who is fully in charge of macroeconomic policy.” Western observers and Chinese economists have criticised the slower-than-expected progress with the reform plan unveiled in late 2013. They are concerned that the anti-graft campaign has frightened government officials at all levels and undermined the reform push. […] ^ top ^

China's trade with Maritime Silk Road countries rises 18 pct annually (Xinhua)
China's trade with countries along the Maritime Silk Road grew by an average of 18.2 percent annually over the past decade, accounting for 20 percent of the country's total foreign trade volume from the 14.6 percent ten years ago. During the same time frame, Chinese companies' direct investment in these countries increased from 240 million U.S. dollars to 9.27 billion U.S. dollars, representing annual growth of 44 percent, according to figures from the State Oceanic Administration (SOA). SOA director Wang Hong said an action plan will advance the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road initiative this year, and set up a China-ASEAN maritime cooperation center and a platform to boost maritime cooperation in East Asia. The 21st Century Maritime Silk Road was a part of the Belt and Road Initiative, proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013 with an aim of reviving the ancient trade routes and strengthening regional inter-communication. It is designed to go from China's coast to Europe through the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean in one route, and from China's coast through the South China Sea to the South Pacific in the other. ^ top ^

40 per cent of world's economy signs up to TPP trade pact that Obama says'allows US, not China to write the rules of the road' (SCMP)
Twelve countries that make up 40 per cent of the global economy have officially signed up to the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, one of the largest ever regional trade deals – and one that some critics believe is aimed at countering China's influence. Trade ministers from the 12 countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – signed the pact in Auckland yesterday. The agreement aims to remove tariffs and trade barriers within the Pacific Rim. “TPP allows America – and not countries like China – to write the rules of the road in the 21st century,” US President Barack Obama said after the signing. China's Ministry of Commerce said it was studying and evaluating the document and would “proactively participate in and push forward regional free trade arrangements that are highly transparent, open and inclusive”. Ma Jun, chief economist of the People's Bank of China estimated in an article on Shanghai Securities News that the difference to China between joining the TPP and being kept out was about 2.2 per cent of GDP. US trade representative Michael Froman said at the signing ceremony that the agreement was “never directed against” any specific country and that it was “important to have a constructive economic relationship” with China. Despite the denial, some Chinese officials and economists believe the TPP is an arrangement to deliberately counter China's fast growing influence in the region. Former deputy trade minister Wei Jianguo told the South China Morning Post that the TPP would have a big impact on Chinese exports, in particular those'rules of origin' that stipulate products eligible for free trade must use raw materials from TPP members. “To deal with the challenge China is negotiating many other FTA deals including the [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership], [Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacificic] and the ones along the One Belt, One Road route such as with the Gulf Council groups,” said Wei. The TPP agreement will need to be approved by each member state's domestic legislation in the next two years before it becomes legally binding. Ratification may prove far from easy, notably in the US, where opposition to a deal that could cause job losses could prove too strong in an election year. But many analysts believe the pact will go through, and have urged China to seek TPP membership as early as possible. “The US trade rules always become global rules eventually. Better to join it earlier than later,” said Lu Zhengwei, chief economist of Industrial Bank. He said some terms in Sino-US trade talks were already similar to those of the TPP. However, Wei pointed out that China had never been invited to TPP talks. The TPP's high standards for labour rights protection and provisions against state-owned enterprises would be two major hurdles for China, said Chu Yin, a researcher at the Centre for China and Globalisation. The TPP requires an independent trade union, which could be a concern for Beijing. And the SOEs' dominance in the Chinese economy means the TPP restrictions are hard for it to accept. “In the next five or ten years, it is very unlikely China would agree on such things,” said Chu. ^ top ^

China supports anti-terror cooperation among SCO members (Global Times)
Chinese Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun stressed China's support for anti-terrorism cooperation among member states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as he met with the new head of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure on Friday. Guo congratulated Yevgeniy Sysoyev on his new post, director of the structure's executive committee, and said the body has played an big role in coordinating SCO members' cooperation in security and law enforcement. "China will support the SCO Anti-Terrorist Structure to enhance international anti-terrorism cooperation and maintain regional security and stability," he said. Sysoyev said he appreciated China's support and would push SCO members to cooperate more against terrorism. ^ top ^


Domestic Policy

Class ideology: China's education chiefs order schools to roll out patriotic campaign on new media (SCMP)
The mainland's Ministry of Education has ordered an across-the-board patriotic campaign via new media as part of its bigger push to tighten its grip over ideological education. State-run Xinhua reported on Tuesday that the ministry had ordered schools of all levels to launch in-depth “patriotic education with new media such as Weibo and WeChat”. Citing a ministry notice dated January, the report said schools of all grades and categories were told to overhaul patriotic education and extend it to extracurricular activities, covering pupils' online and offline lives. Schools were also asked to merge patriotism into university, secondary and primary school exams and courses for ethics, Chinese language, history, geography, physical education and the arts. Tertiary institutions would also need to link patriotic education to professional education to ensure talent was nurtured from all dimensions. This is not the first time education authorities have made ideology a campus priority. Last year, provincial-level government officials were asked to give university lectures to step up political education of students. Universities were also told in January 2015 to increase the teaching of Marxism and Chinese socialism to students, with Education Minister Yuan Guiren urging the institutions to exert tighter control over the use of imported textbooks “that spread Western values”. The push came after President Xi Jinping said in 2014 that students and teachers at colleges needed greater “ideological guidance”. The State Council released a plan last year calling for the nation to become “a world power of higher education” by 2050. However, experts have warned that ideological control would hinder progress of creating world-class universities. To create institutions that can compete with the best, teachers and administrators must have independence to structure the learning environment, they argue. ^ top ^

Strike Two: Communist Youth League 'aristocracy' under fire again (SCMP)
High-flying former and serving Communist Youth League officials have again come under attack, with a party mouthpiece describing them on Tuesday as a group of ambitious aristocrats without the calibre to lead the country. Capitalnews, a WeChat account operated by Beijing Daily, the official newspaper of the party's Beijing municipal committee, warned cadres with youth league backgrounds that they would face “rough weather” after several scandals compounded the leadership's resentment over their “self-serving” attitude. It is the second time in less than a week that the league, once the cradle for promising young cadres and future political high-fliers, has come in for public criticism. Releasing the results of a two-month inspection of the league late on Thursday, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection accused many officials with league backgrounds as being overly bureaucratic and self-serving. Capitalnews referred to several one-time youth league officials who fell from grace over corruption. They included former Guangzhou party boss Wan Qingliang, former Inner Mongolian vice-chairman Pan Yiyang, former Nanning party secretary Yu Yuanhui, and Zhang Lebin, former deputy director of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. “Wan Qingliang's case of bribe-taking wasn't rare among youth league officials,” the Capitalnews article said. “Lots of youth league cadres appeared to be ambitious and aimed for higher positions.” The league, a power base for former president Hu Jintao, has been regarded as a springboard for top state leaders and ministry-level officials for the past decade. Premier Li Keqiang, Vice-President Li Yuanchao, and Guangdong party boss Hu Chunhua all rose through the youth league's ranks and went on to higher office. But the fall of Ling Jihua, Hu Jintao's former top aide, in late 2014 was a watershed moment as the leadership under President Xi Jinping stepped up anti-corruption efforts to clean up the party. The open attack on officials who cut their teeth in the league comes as power struggles and political jockeying intensify in the run-up to next year's 19th party congress. Hu Chunhua, who is also a member of the Politburo, is seen as a top candidate for the next generation of leaders from 2022. League officials were also accused of forming factions to secure key positions within the party and the government. Xi has launched a massive campaign against factions since the toppling of cadres such as Ling and former security tsar Zhou Yongkang. Political commentator Zhang Lifan told the South China Morning Post earlier that some officials thought a league background was a fast track to promotion. Capitalnews said there were exceptions among the league's ranks but cadres with a league background should work at the grass roots for longer to prove themselves. ^ top ^

Tianjin blasts: Investigators urge punishment for five top officials (SCMP)
In a rare move, Chinese authorities are expected to punish five ministerial-level officials for a massive blast at a Tianjin warehouse in August that claimed 165 lives, with the release on Friday of the official report into the explosion. Eight people are still missing and another 798 were injured in the disaster. The explosion also damaged 304 buildings, 12,428 cars, and 7,533 containers, resulting in 6.87 billion yuan (HK$8.14 billion) in losses, the report by the country's top industry safety watchdog said. The August 12 blast in Binhai New District ignited fierce criticism over the storage of hazardous chemicals in a warehouse less than 1km from the closest residential building. Many blamed lax regulations for the huge loss of lives and property. The blast was triggered when nitrocellulose stored at the warehouse belonging to Ruihai International Logistics overheated and self-ignited, the report said. Local Communist Party committees and government departments did not strictly enforce the law or effectively monitor the storage of chemicals at the warehouse, the report said. It suggested that five ministerial officials be given administrative punishments ranging from warnings to demotions. The officials include a deputy transport minister, a deputy director of the national customs agency, two deputy mayors of Tianjin and Binhai's party boss. Twenty-five officials, with agencies ranging from safety regulators, to customs and urban planning departments, had been detained or arrested, it said. Another two dozen from the logistics company and safety assessment agencies would face criminal charges. In previous major safety incidents, few ministerial officials were punished or indicted. Administrative punishments were handed to 11 cadres after poor safety preparations led to the deaths of 36 people in the Shanghai New Year's Eve stampede in 2014. Another fire at a residential building in Shanghai in 2010, which killed 58 people, resulted in charges against 26 people, none of whom were regulators. The report into that incident concluded the fire was caused by a construction company's violation of safety rules, despite widespread public opinion that regulators should also be blamed. The Tianjin transport commission approved the storage of hazardous chemicals before Ruihai passed safety and environment assessments, the report said. Several safety assessors, colluded with the company, cooking up safety reports and “deliberately concealed safety problems”, it said. The explosion polluted the air, water and soil, the report said, contradicting to the official line shortly after the disaster. Within 13 days, airborne pollutants from the blast had exceeded emission standards as far as 5km from the explosion site. Some pollutants were five times higher than maximum limits. The level of pollutants returned to normal as late as early September, almost one month after the blast, it said. The pollutants include highly toxic hydrogen cyanide. ^ top ^

Remarks at the 2016 Spring Festival Reception by Premier Li Keqiang (China Daily)
Fellow Comrades, Dear Friends, The Chinese New Year of the Monkey is just around the corner. On this joyous occasion of family reunion and nationwide celebration, I wish to extend, on behalf of the CPC Central Committee and the State Council, festive greetings to people of all ethnic groups in China, and to our compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao, compatriots in Taiwan, as well as overseas Chinese nationals. I also wish to express sincere greetings to those who remain in their work posts during the holiday season. The Spring Festival that heralds the Chinese New Year is the most important and most celebrated traditional festival in China. Wherever they are, people go back home at this time of the year. They get together with their families, visit their elderly and start wishing for a prosperous new year. The Spring Festival is a time to celebrate one's love for the family and the nation. The tradition that has lasted for thousands of years has indeed drawn a spiritual bond among every Chinese in the world. Over the past year, under the strong leadership of the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, China's reform and development has braved the storms and maintained medium-to-high growth despite the sluggish world economy. We have continued to press ahead with structural reforms and the innovation-driven development strategy. Structural adjustment has produced fruitful outcomes and mass entrepreneurship and innovation has become the prevailing trend. New drivers of growth have been fast accumulating, with tens of thousands of newly registered firms emerging every day and a total of more than 13 million jobs created the whole year round. The Party and the government have paid more attention to the improvement of people's lives. Household income has increased in sync with the GDP and fresh progress has been made in various social undertakings. Fairness and justice have increasingly taken hold and people have got paid with greater returns for their hard work. The past year has also seen times when our hearts were drawn closer together through responding to serious natural disasters and public security contingencies. Those events reminded us that the security of the people should always remain our top priority. In the early hours this morning, Gaoxiong of Taiwan was hit by a powerful magnitude 6.7 earthquake. I hereby extend deep sympathies to our compatriots in Taiwan. The Year of the Monkey promises vigor and vitality. Standing at a new starting point in history, people of all ethnic groups in China are working in unison to build a society of initial prosperity in all respects and achieve the great renewal of the Chinese nation. We will follow the four-pronged comprehensive strategy and the philosophy of achieving innovative, coordinated, green, open and inclusive development in everything we do, in an endeavor to write a new chapter of national development in China. We will give top priority to development with a greater sense of urgency. We will bring into full play the incentives of all sectors, rise up to challenges with full confidence and work tenaciously with an unyielding spirit, so as to unsure that the 13th Five-Year Plan set off to a good start this year. While expanding aggregate demand as appropriate, we will press ahead with structural reforms, particularly reforms on the supply side, in order to remove hindrances to development. We will take initiatives to unleash the creativity and ingenuity of the hundreds of millions of people, and foster new growth drivers while reviving traditional ones. By doing so, we will lay a solid foundation for steady and sustained development of the Chinese economy. We will address practical and prominent issues bearing on the immediate interests of the people to the best of our ability. Through fighting poverty, we will bring to poor families care and warmth from the Party, the government and the society. More opportunities will be created that allow ordinary people to build fortune and realize life's potential with their wisdom and hard work. And good moral principles and social conduct will be advocated in society. All this will serve to deliver to the people a happier life with more secure jobs, greater confidence in the future and a stronger sense of satisfaction. Comrades and Friends, We believe that hard work pays back and with great efforts comes national revival. To fulfill the grand vision of the Chinese nation requires concerted efforts of the entire Chinese people. Let us rally closely around the CPC Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping as the General Secretary, and strive forward with one heart and mind and a strong resolve to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in an all-round way, make China a modernized socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, harmonious and culturally advanced and realize the Chinese Dream of the great renewal of the Chinese nation. I wish all of you a happy Spring Festival and good health in the New Year! I also wish people of all ethnic groups in China and their family happiness and good fortune in the year ahead. ^ top ^



No casualties from Xinjiang 5.0-magnitude quake (Xinhua)
No casualties were caused by a 5.0-magnitude earthquake that struck a county in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region Thursday night, local authorities said. The tremor jolted Xinyuan County at 9:10 p.m. Beijing Time. The epicenter, 59 kilometers away from the county seat, is under a sheep breeding farm, the local government said. Currently no casualties or property damage have been reported. "I heard a huge noise sounding like a truck was passing by my house. Glasses and lamps began trembling but soon stopped before I could realize," Xinyuan resident Xue Yan told Xinhua. Local firefighting department has rallied teams and is ready for dispatch. The railway authorities are inspecting lines and facilities. ^ top ^



About-turn? DAB veteran Tam Yiu-chung tipped to become next president of Hong Kong's Legislative Council (SCMP)
A veteran pro-Beijing lawmaker who had been planning to retire looks set to seek re-election in September and even become the next Legco president. Tam Yiu-chung, a former chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, has emerged as the best choice – or the least unacceptable to pan-democrats – to succeed the outgoing Jasper Tsang Yok-sing. Since the handover, the key position has been taken up by lawmakers generally regarded as moderates in the pro-establishment camp, acceptable to most pan-democratic groups. Tsang is also an ex-chairman of the DAB, considered Beijing's most-trusted political party in the city. He will retire and focus his energy on a think tank he set up. The name of Tam, who first entered the legislature in 1985, was floated by Christopher Cheung Wah-fung, a Business and Professionals Alliance lawmaker, when he met the media at a Lunar New Year gathering. Asked about a possible successor to Tsang, Cheung first spoke about fellow BPA lawmaker Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, who as the Legislative Council's house committee chairman assumed Tsang's presidency seat whenever he was unavailable. Praising Leung as someone who “dared confront pan-democrats”, Cheung added: “But I might offend Mr Tam by saying so.” Tsang said just four months ago he would retire along with other DAB veterans including Tam, Ip Kwok-him and Chan Kam-lam. The DAB's 41-year-old leader, Starry Lee Wai-king, told the South China Morning Post that Tam, 66, would be a good choice as Legco president. “Mr Tam is capable and has worked well in coordinating cross-party work,” she said. “If Tam is willing, I believe he will win the support of all pro-establishment groups.” Tam could not be reached for comment yesterday. On the pro-democratic side, Civic Party's Alan Leong Kah-kit said he had heard a rumour linking Tam with the presidency about six months ago. “This is not news to me,” Leong said. “Rumour had it that Tam had wanted to retire but the central government wanted him to be the next president.” “By elimination, there is no better choice,” Leong added. Tam joined the colonial legislature in 1985 as a labour sector lawmaker. He was a member of the Executive Council from 1997 to 2002. He said it was the worst setback in his political career when he and most other pro-establishment lawmakers walked out of the chamber during the voting of last year's political reform bill, resulting in the Beijing-backed proposal being voted down. ^ top ^

Chinese central government supports HKSAR in safeguarding social security: FM spokesperson (Xinhua)
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said Thursday night the central government firmly supports the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and the police in safeguarding social security and punishing illegal and criminal activities in accordance with the law. Spokesman Hong Lei made the remarks in response to the riot erupted in Mong Kok of Hong Kong on Tuesday. Hong said in a statement that a riot plotted mainly by a local radical separatist organization rocked Mong Kok, Hong Kong on the early morning of Feb. 9. Some mobs barricaded the street, set fires, damaged police cars, pelted police officers with bricks, and assaulted police officers who were knocked down to the ground, causing injury to 89 police officers and several journalists, he said in the statement. The violence quickly subsided as the Hong Kong police took effective measures in a professional manner with restraint and in accordance with the law, Hong said. "The Hong Kong society has universally expressed strong condemnation of the violence and voiced full support to the police," he said. "Hong Kong is a law-based society. The Chinese central government believes and firmly supports the Hong Kong SAR government and the police in safeguarding social security, protecting Hong Kong residents and their property, and punishing illegal and criminal activities in accordance with the law, so as to maintain the overall stability of the Hong Kong society," said the spokesperson. ^ top ^

Mong Kok riot: 38 charged and to appear in court as Hong Kong asks how New Year's night turned to violence (SCMP)
Thirty-eight people in connection with Monday night's Mong Kok mob have been charged for participating in the riot and will appear in court today. Among the 64 arrests made so far, the police charged 38 men and 3 women aged 15 to 70 with one count of riot yesterday. Meanwhile, 16 people between the ages of 14 to 33 were released on bail pending further investigation, while another 10 were still detained for further enquiries. According to the police, rioting is a serious offence that carries a maximum sentence of 10 years' imprisonment. Three more people were arrested on Wednesday in connection with the Mong Kok riot – among them a theology student who is due to stand trial next week for an alleged assault during the 2014 Occupy Central protests. Totalling 64 arrests in the wake of clashes between protesters and police on Monday night, the city began to ask how a protest defending street hawkers escalated to some of the worst street violence Hong Kong had ever seen. Security minister-turned-politician Regina Ip Lau Suk-yee urged the government to tackle the “deep-rooted” problems facing the city. A prominent political party leader called for the introduction of water cannon as a crowd dispersal tool, and more questions surfaced about how the police reacted to the situation and why they didn't see it coming. The highest profile and most controversial arrest was that of Derek Lam Shun-hin, who was in Mong Kok when a crackdown on illegal hawkers by hygiene officials was said to have triggered violence. Scholarism claimed Lam could be charged with “taking part in a riot”, which was reportedly used last time against rioting drug addiction centre inmates in 2000. Police, meanwhile, also faced criticism for being ill-prepared to cope with the mayhem. By late yesterday afternoon, a total of 64 people had been arrested in connection with the Monday riot. They included 55 men and nine women, aged from 14 to 70. It was understood that 15 students were arrested, three of whom were from the University of Hong Kong. Meanwhile, 14 of those arrested were affiliated with eight different political groups, with Hong Kong Indigenous leading the pack at five members arrested. The localist group, Hong Kong Indigenous, whose members were in Mong Kok to “protect” unlicensed hawkers, claimed that about 20 of its members had been arrested, including a Legislative Council by-election candidate. According to a legal source in contact with 30 arrestees, most of them were below 30 years old. Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying has vowed to track down the perpetrators of the riot and bring them to justice. After Lam's arrest, the police arrested another man, 54, in Sham Shui Po in connection with the riot, and seized from his home, among other things, about five portable two-way radios. A third man, 21, was also arrested in Sheung Shui for alleged involvement with the riot. Violence erupted overnight as a group of activists from Hong Kong Indigenous confronted police and hygiene officers to “protect” illegal street hawkers in Mong Kok. At one point, masked activists threw bricks and bottles at police, while police used batons and pepper spray and fired two warning shots into the air. Television news footage also showed rioters setting fire to litter bins and throwing bottles and rubbish at police. It was the worst unrest in Hong Kong since the Occupy Central protests of 2014. Activists claimed they went to support the street hawkers to defend what they believe is an integral part of Hong Kong culture. The last time riot charges were brought was after a riot at the Hei Ling Chau drug treatment centre in 2000. Disputes between Vietnamese and local inmates degenerated into violence on the night of June 4. Meanwhile, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah yesterday condemned the rioters and said: “We should all stand up and tell them we do not accept what they have done.” “[Genuine] localists won't do such things. [Genuine] localists would love Hong Kong and treasure the core values of Hong Kong. They would not do anything that would harm the city,” Tsang said. But Democratic Party lawmaker James To Kun-sun said going around arresting people would not solve anything. Former security minister Ip, now a legislator for the New People's Party and an Executive Council member, echoed To's views but added: “Some of them do not see a way out with their employment, housing and education issues. It is easy for them to go astray and resort to violence … We need to think of ways to address these deep-rooted problems in our society.” Meanwhile, various groups turned up at police stations across the city yesterday to show their support for the police officers injured in the rioting. ^ top ^

Hong Kong's top officials accelerate drive to secure elusive funding for controversial rail link to mainland China (SCMP)
Two of Hong Kong's top officials today marked Lunar New Year's Eve by issuing fresh warnings against further delaying the high-speed rail link. Responding to critics, Chief Secretary Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor ridiculed suggestions that the West Kowloon terminus, currently 75 per cent complete, could be converted into an underground shopping mall to help stem the railway's massive budget overrun. Lam dismissed the “irresponsible” idea as an “Arabian Nights” fantasy. Hong Kong's No. 2 official appealed to pan-democratic lawmakers to end their filibuster currently blocking the HK$19.6 billion in additional funds that the government is seeking for the 26-km express rail link to the mainland. The government is facing serious difficulty in securing the extra money since lawmakers originally backed the HK$65 billion request in 2010. Echoing warnings of delays, Financial Secretary John Tsang Chun-wah reiterated that jobs were at risk and urged lawmakers to get on with approving the money. MTR Corporation chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang last month estimated 7,000 jobs in the construction industry were at risk if lawmakers sank the project by blocking funding. Tsang, meanwhile, warned that Hong Kong's economy would struggle to grow 2.5 per cent this year, amid a gloomy business outlook for the Lunar New Year. On a radio show Tsang said a slowdown in the global economy would affect growth prospects. To combat the weakness, he said, his priority was to boost domestic consumption and continue with the government's agenda of developing infrastructure projects. Writing in his blog, Tsang also wished Hongkongers “good health” in the Year of the Monkey. Also in her radio interview, the chief secretary said the rule of law in Hong Kong had not been shaken by concerns about five missing booksellers who have been confirmed to be on the mainland now. ^ top ^



67 dead, 57 missing 6 days after Taiwan quake (Xinhua)
The death toll from the earthquake that struck southern Taiwan's Tainan city early Saturday had climbed to 67 by 9:48 p.m. Thursday, with 57 people still missing. The 16-storey Wei Guan building fell down toward a road on its east side seconds after the earthquake, according to an official update on the casualties. A total of 238 people were rescued out of the building, but 57 were still missing nearly six days after the quake. The quake, which the China Earthquake Administration said had a magnitude of 6.7, hit southern Taiwan at 3:57 a.m. Saturday, just two days ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year. Rescuers started searching efforts soon after the quake and are still working hard to dismantle the building and search for the missing, but more than three days has passed since the previous survivor was rescued. ^ top ^

Young girl rescued two days after Taiwan quake; toll could exceed 100 (SCMP)
Rescuers pulled out an eight-year-old girl alive from the rubble of a Taiwan apartment block on Monday more than 60 hours after it was toppled by an earthquake, as the mayor of the southern city of Tainan warned the death toll could exceed 100. The official death toll from the quake rose to at least 38, with more than 100 people missing. The girl, named as Lin Su-Chin, was conscious and had been taken to hospital, Taiwan television stations said, adding there were possibly two other people still alive in the wrecked building. Mayor William Lai Ching-Te told reporters he briefly exchanged words with Lin. “She is awake, but looks dehydrated, lost some temperature but she's awake and her blood pressure is OK,” he said. “I asked her if there's anything wrong with her body. She shook her head.” Shortly afterward, rescue workers also pulled out a 28-year-old Vietnamese woman, identified as Chen Mei-jih, who had been trapped on what was the building's fifth floor. The quake struck at about 4 a.m. on Saturday (2000 GMT Friday) at the beginning of the Lunar New Year holiday, with almost all the dead found in Tainan's toppled Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building. Rescue efforts are focused on the wreckage of the 17-storey building, where more than 100 people are listed as missing and are suspected to be buried deep under the rubble. Earlier, Wang Ting-yu, a legislator who represents the area, told reporters that a woman, identified as Tsao Wei-ling, was found alive lying under her dead husband. Their two-year-old son, who was also killed, was found lying nearby. Another survivor, a man named Li Tsung-tian, was pulled out later, with Taiwan television stations showing live images of the rescues. Several hours later, Li's girlfriend was found dead in the rubble. Tsao and Li were both being treated in hospital. Family members of the missing flooded into the information center in search of their loved ones or to wait anxiously. Tensions rose as some relatives, losing patience, demanded to speak to rescue workers directly to get the latest information. A couple sitting in a small room where officials release information said they had heard no news about their son and his family, including their young grandsons. Mayor Lai earlier said during a visit to a funeral home that rescue efforts had entered what he called the “third stage”. “There are more fatalities than those pulled out (alive), and the number of fatalities will probably exceed 100,” Lai told reporters. Rescuers continued to scramble over the twisted wreckage of the building as numbed family members stood around, waiting for news of missing relatives. Taiwan's government said in a statement 36 of the 38 dead were from the Wei-guan building, which was built in 1994. The spectacular fall of the high-rise raised questions about whether its construction had been shoddy. The government says it will investigate whether the developer cut corners. Reuters witnesses at the scene of the collapse saw large rectangular, commercial cans of cooking-oil packed inside wall cavities exposed by the damage, apparently having been used as building material. The extended Lunar New Year holiday officially started Monday, but celebrations were subdued and both President Ma Ying-jeou and President-elect Tsai Ing-wen canceled the traditional handing out of envelopes of cash in their hometowns. Tsai Ing-wen, who won election last month, said there needed to be a “general sorting out” of old buildings to make sure they were able to cope with disasters like earthquakes. “There needs to be a continued strengthening of their ability to deal with disasters,” she said. Outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou, speaking to reporters at a Tainan hospital, said the government needed to be a better job in ensuring building quality. “In the near future, regarding building management, we will have some further improvements. We will definitely do this work well,” Ma said. Across Taiwan Strait, President Xi Jinping also conveyed condolences to the victims, state news agency Xinhua reported late on Sunday, and repeated Beijing's offer to provide help. Beijing views self-ruled Taiwan as a wayward province, to be bought under its control by force if necessary, after Kuomintang lost the civil war in 1949 and retreated to Taiwan. ^ top ^

Xi grieves over Taiwan quake, vows aid (Xinhua)
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, on Sunday conveyed condolences to the victims in the strong earthquake that struck southern Taiwan on early Saturday. The 6.7-magnitude quake hit Kaohsiung at 3:57 a.m. Beijing Time on Saturday at a depth of 15 kilometers, killing at least 26. "We're deeply concerned about the disaster situation. We express deepest sympathies to Taiwan compatriots affected by the quake and convey condolences to victims," Xi said in a statement. "Compatriots across the Taiwan Strait are one family whose blood is thicker than water, and we would like to provide assistance in all aspects," Xi added. ^ top ^



China's financial giants hammered in discipline review (SCMP)
China's top policy financial institutions, which are expected to shoulder an even more prominent role in Beijing's economic diplomacy, received harsh criticism from top anti-graft agency inspectors after a two-month disciplinary review. Analysts said that while the public reports might only reveal part of the corruption besetting the institutions, Beijing appeared determined to introduce anti-graft reforms in the sector as it expanded its footprint in global finance. Among the 21 financial regulators and institutions that came under review, China Development Bank, the country's biggest policy bank, and China Investment Corporation, the mainland's sovereign wealth fund, are among the major fund contributors to the Silk Road Fund – a main vehicle for China to promote its “One Belt, One Road” strategy. “There were graft risks and moral hazards in credit, procurement and project construction,” the Communist Party's Central Commission for Discipline Inspection said about the CDB. “The problem of extravagance is prominent. Office space surpassed the standards excessively and it built luxurious hotels in multiple places with many remaining idle.” In the reports, the CIC was criticised for playing golf with public money while overseas travel using the taxpayers' dime continued “despite repeated prohibition”. “There were wrongdoings in policymaking and severe problems in the tunnelling of interests,” the agency said, adding that CIC's marketing fees “went out of control” and problems of discipline “occurred frequently”. Zhuang Deshui, deputy director of Peking University's Clean Government Centre, told the South China Morning Post the reports did not address the basic problems underlying the financial system, such as the flow of funds for credit projects, Zhuang said. However, the anti-graft campaign would help to improve the image of China as it geared up for a greater role in international financing “China is at the initial stage of outbound investment and it is normal to encounter various risks as it lacks sophisticated rules,” said Chu Yin, a researcher with the Centre for China and Globalisation. Chu said the corruption sweep wouldn't affect outbound investment because the focus of the campaign was domestic. “The set-up of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank with the introduction of foreign countries in and outside Asia was aimed at open and transparent operations, which will dispel outsiders' suspicions over the credibility of China's dominance in the bank,” Chu said. A Beijing-based economist, who declined to be identified, also questioned whether the policy bank could get a return on infrastructure investment. Some of its credit flows, especially for overseas projects, were hard to track, he said. The far-reaching anti-corruption campaign launched by President Xi Jinping and his close ally Wang Qishan swept into the financial system after the stock market crashes last summer. Wu Yuliang, deputy secretary of the CCDI, told a press conference last month that corruption was set to lead to “back-room operations” in financial sectors and the campaign to monitor activities would continue. ^ top ^



Why does China react so strongly over the South Korea-based anti-missile system? (SCMP)
Beijing has issued a rare strong rebuke to Seoul over its decision this week to restart talks with the United States over deploying a defence system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. Ostensibly, the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD) developed by the US is meant to neutralise missile threats from North Korea. But given China's open condemnation of Pyongyang's nuclear antics, Beijing's strong reaction to the deployment of THAAD may look out of place. Chinese military observers said Beijing's response reflected concerns the system would view the PLA's operations over the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea in greater detail and eventually further unite South Korea, Japan and the US in a defence alliance. With radars that can reach up to 4,000km away, a THAAD system based in South Korea would severely compromise China's controversial air defence zone. They also warned that the system could prompt China and Russia to stockpile ballistic missiles and deploy more nuclear-powered submarines as counterbalances. South Korea was spurred to restart the formal talks after North Korea conducted a rocket launch on Sunday, ramping up tensions in the region and underscoring the security threat posed by Seoul's unpredictable neighbour. China's Foreign Ministry has voiced grave concerns about the revived talks, saying the system would not help maintain regional peace or stability, nor lead to a proper resolution of the situation. Foreign Vice-Minister Liu Zhenmin (劉振民) summoned Seoul's envoy to China, Kim Jang-soo, and state media chimed in, insisting THAAD would “do more harm than good”. Observers said China's reaction to Seoul was as strong as its rebuke to Pyongyang over its launch. Retired colonel Yue Gang said one of Beijing's top concerns was the system would further cement the military alliance among South Korea, the US and Japan. “After THAAD is in place in South Korea, the next step is to link up with the missile defence system in Japan. This will see South Korea gradually forming a military alliance with US and Japan, much like a mini-Nato. China is desperately trying to avoid this because the military threat then would be much more than just a ballistic missile defence system,” Yue said. “Now it's not whether South Korea will deploy THAAD, but rather how it will speed up the deployment's progress.” Yue said the purpose of the system was to alter the strategic security balance in East Asia, weakening China's military advantage. “From then on, it won't be a level battlefield, but a slaughter ground for the US,” Yue said. During a conflict, China and Russia would be forced to attack the system with ballistic missiles or even nuclear weapons. “South Korea would then have to pay the price for hosting a lethal security threat in its own homeland.” Xu Guangyu (徐光裕), a senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said THAAD was intended to target China and Russia, compromising the strategic security balance in East Asia rather than countering the threat posed by North Korea. “The X-band mobile radar that comes with the THAAD system has a range of 3,000km to 4,000km and so could cover China and Russia. This would mean all weapon drills on land and air would be exposed, and the frequency and quantity of flights as well as locations of military airports would be known,” Xu said. Shanghai-based military analyst Ni Lexiong said the system's powerful surveillance equipment could monitor PLA activity in the South China and East China seas, but there was another motive for the talks. “The move is designed to make China step up sanctions against North Korea to force it to give up its nuclear weapons programme,” Ni said. ^ top ^

Fears over S Korea-based anti-missile system fuel strong rebuke from Beijing (SCMP)
Beijing has issued a rare strong rebuke to Seoul over its decision this week to restart talks with the United States over deploying a defence system designed to shoot down ballistic missiles. Chinese military observers said Beijing's response reflected concern that the US' Terminal High Altitude Area Defence System (THAAD) would expose China's military activity in greater detail and eventually unite South Korea, Japan and the US in a military alliance. They also warned the system could prompt China and Russia to stockpile ballistic missiles and deploy more nuclear-powered submarines to bypass the system. South Korea was spurred to restart formal talks over the defence system after North Korea conducted a rocket launch on Sunday. The launch ramped up tensions in the region and underscored the security threat posed by Seoul's unpredictable neighbour. Since then, the Foreign Ministry has voiced grave concern about the revived talks, saying the deployment would not help maintain regional peace and stability nor lead to a proper resolution of the situation. Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin also summoned Seoul's envoy to China, Kim Jang-soo, and state media chimed in, insisting THAAD would “do more harm than good”. Observers said China's reaction to Seoul was as strong as its rebuke to Pyongyang over its launch. Retired colonel Yue Gang said one of Beijing's top concerns was that THAAD would gradually lead to an alliance between South Korea, the US and Japan. “After THAAD is in place in South Korea, the next step is to link up with the missile defence system in Japan. This will see South Korea gradually forming a military alliance with US and Japan, much like a mini-Nato. China is desperately trying to avoid this because the military threat then would be much more than just a ballistic missile defence system,” Yue said. “Now it's not whether South Korea will deploy THAAD, but rather how it will speed up the deployment's progress.” Yue said THAAD's purpose was to alter the strategic security balance in East Asia, weakening China's military advantage. “From then on, it won't be a level battlefield, but a slaughter ground for the US,” Yue said. “During a conflict, China and Russia would be forced to destroy THAAD with ballistic missiles or even nuclear weapons. South Korea would then have to pay the price for hosting a lethal security threat in its own homeland.” Xu Guangyu, senior researcher at the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said THAAD's main purpose was to target China and Russia, compromising the strategic security balance in East Asia rather than countering the threat posed by North Korea. “The X-band mobile radar that comes with the THAAD system has a range of 3,000 to 4,000km and so could cover China and Russia. This would mean all weapon drills on land and air would be exposed, and the frequency and quantity of flights as well as locations of military airports would be known,” Xu said. Shanghai-based military analyst Ni Lexiong said THAAD's powerful surveillance equipment could monitor China's military activity in the South China and East China seas, but there was another motive for the talks. “The move is designed to make China step up sanctions against North Korea to force it to give up its nuclear weapons programme,” Ni said. ^ top ^

China tells North Korea not to raise tensions after Pyongyang announces plans for rocket launch (SCMP)
China has told North Korea it does not want to see anything happen that could further raise tensions, China's foreign minister was quoted as saying on Friday, after Pyongyang announced plans to launch a satellite soon. North Korea has said it has a sovereign right to pursue a space programme, although the United States and other governments suspect such rocket launches are actually missile tests and have called for Pyongyang to abandon the launch plans. The North was believed to be making preparations for a test launch of a long-range rocket, US officials have said, after activity at its test site was observed by satellite. Pyongyang told UN agencies on Tuesday it planned to launch a satellite between February 8 and 25. Tension had already risen in East Asia last month after North Korea's fourth nuclear test, this time of what it said was a hydrogen bomb. Foreign Minister Wang Yi said it was natural that Beijing had sent its special envoy for the nuclear issue, Wu Dawei, to North Korea in what he described as “a serious situation”. He said China needed contacts “with all parties”, mentioning the United States, South Korea and Russia. “At the same time, we also need to have necessary contacts with the North Korea side, to listen to their opinions,” Wang told Hong Kong's Phoenix Television in London after Wu had returned from North Korea. “Of course, an important point is to express China's clear position to North Korea. We don't want to see anything happen that could cause further tensions,” he said. “We hope all sides, including North Korea, can meet each other halfway and should work hard together to push the North Korean nuclear issue onto the track of a negotiated resolution.” China is isolated North Korea's most important diplomatic and economic supporter, but Beijing has been angered by Pyongyang's nuclear programme and signed up to numerous rounds of stringent United Nations sanctions. US Secretary of State John Kerry and Wang agreed last week on the need for a significant new UN Security Council resolution against the North, but there were few signs of progress on agreeing on the details. ^ top ^



Mongolia regrets at launching of ballistic rocket by North Korea (Montsame)
Mongolia deeply regrets that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea launched a ballistic rocket this February 6 in breach of resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. It was informed by a spokesman's statement of the Mongolian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. This action would lead to negative impacts on the efforts of the international community to maintain international peace and security. Mongolia reaffirms its firm position for the maintenance of peace and security in North-East Asia and for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the statement says. ^ top ^

Working group for ASEP9 meets (Montsame)
A working group Monday met to discuss operations and preparation for the 9th Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP9) Meeting that will run this April 21-22 in Ulaanbaatar. The meeting brought together B.Boldbaatar, the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Office and chair of the working group for the ASEP9 meeting; Ts.Narantungalag, head of the External Relations Section of the Parliamentary Office and the group's secretary; and others such as representatives of the Cabinet Secretariat for Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Protocol Service, Department of State Special Guard, National Emergency Management Agency, General Police Department, General Agency for Specialized Inspection, Authority of Citizenship and Migration, and other bodies. Other meetings will be held in Mongolia within the 11th ASEM Summit in Ulaanbaatar, for instance, the ASEM Senior Officials' Meeting (SOM) May 12-13, the 12th ASEM Finance Ministers' Meeting, and the workshop on Asia-Europe Food Safety and Farmers-- in June. ^ top ^

Intergov'tal agreement ratified on dry ports (Montsame)
Plenary meeting of the parliamentary session on Friday discussed and then passed a bill on ratifying the Intergovernmental Agreement on Dry Ports (IADP). As the law was adopted, the dry ports can be set up at the border checkpoints of Altanbulag, Sainshand, Ulaanbaatar, Zamyn-Uud and Choibalsan. These border checkpoints are connected to the Asian motorway network and Trans-Asian railway network. With votes of a majority, a bill was passed on ratifying an intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the transportation sector. In addition, a draft law on exemption of VAT was endorsed. ^ top ^

Public referendum law adopted (Montsame)
The State Great Khural (parliament) adopted the new wording of the Law on Public Referendum on February 5. The new wording had been presented to the Speaker Z.Enkhbold on January 14. The referendum has been proposed by MPs with a purpose of making changes to the Constitution of Mongolia. They were proposing organizing the public referendum last November 26, the anniversary of adoption of the first democratic Constitution. With the adoption of this law's version, public referendums can be organized on two or more issues by ways reflected in the law approaches and also in online form. ^ top ^

Leaders of two political parties choose to unite (Montsame)
Democratic Party (DP), the ruling political party, and Civil Will Green Party (CWGP) signed a Memorandum of Understanding on their merging, at the Great Chingis Khaan Chamber of the State House. The Chairman of DP Z.Enkhbold and the chairwoman of CWGP S.Oyun signed the document. The Speaker and DP chairman said,“Our party proposed the CWGP to unite. As a result of prompt action by the two working groups, we are signing an official document today. The two parties have been maintaining similar concepts and positions for many years”. “I, personally, respect the initiative of unity of two democracy parties, as it will be a contribution to promoting of the country's democratic ways, national integrity and interests”, said S.Oyun. In accordance with the Law on Political Parties, the two forces must organize extended meetings of members and get an approval for this resolution from certain decision-making stages within the parties. ^ top ^

Nat'l Organizing Commission for ASEM summit to intensify preparation (Montsame)
The 14th meeting of the National Organizing Commission for the 11th ASEM Summit, led by PM Ch.Saikhanbileg, took place on February 5. Nine events will be organized in the margin of the summit, starting with the Ninth Asia-Europe Parliamentary Partnership (ASEP9) meeting this April 21-22. Ch.Saikhanbileg gave directions to organize registration of delegates and other preparation in "as efficient as possible manner based on our potentials". He also shared his opinion on the draft documents to be approved at the conclusion of ASEP9. As the date approaches for ASEM Summit, the commission decided to hold meetings every Wednesday. ^ top ^


Mrs. Mirjam Eggli
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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