Issue No. 9
6 February, 2009
On January 17,Ambassador Song Zhe, Head of the Mission of the People's Republic of China to the European Communities gave a welcome speech at the Touching China Pubic Reception. To read the speech, please go to http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/ce/cebe/eng/stxw/t532633.htm
On January 20, Ambassador Song Zhe gave a welcome speech at the Chinese New Year Concert held by the Mission of China to the European Communities. To read the speech, please go to http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/ce/cebe/eng/stxw/t535630.htm
On January 29, Ambassador Song Zhe said Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to EU holds great significance for Sino-EU ties during a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency. To learn more, please go to http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-01/30/content_10735014.htm
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's "Trip of Confidence" to Europe
During his visit to the EU headquarters on January 30, Premier Wen held talks with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and met EU foreign and security policy chief Javier Solana. He also had a luncheon with EU leaders, including Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose country holds the current EU presidency. For more information, please go to http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx/t534843.htm and http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx/t534821.htm
The two sides announced that a China-EU summit will be held as soon as possible. China and the EU also signed nine agreements, covering health, customs, education, intellectual property rights, environment and civil aviation.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (C) poses with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (R) and Prime Minister of the Czech Republic Mirek Topolanek, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union presidency, following his talks with Barroso at EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, Jan. 30, 2009.
China and the European Union (EU) issued a joint declaration. For more details, please go to http://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx/t534820.htm
Besides the EU headquarters, Premier Wen Jiabao visited Switzerland, Germany, Spain and Britain.
In Spain, Premier Wen and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero witnessed the deal sealed between the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) and European aircraft maker Airbus to build a factory in northeast China to jointly produce composite material parts and components for the new wide-body A350 aircraft.
Premier Wen Jiaobao received interview by Lionel Barber, editor of the Financial Times on February 2. To learn more about it, please go to http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/795d2bca-f0fe-11dd-8790-0000779fd2ac.html?nclick_check=1
On January 20, a white paper entitled "China's National Defense in 2008" was released. For the first time the paper, which is the sixth national defense white paper the Chinese government has issued since 1998, makes public basic statistics on the changes in national defense expenditures over the past 30 years, publishes the number of border public security forces and introduces the size of the militia. In separate chapters, for the first time, it also describes the development of the Army, the Navy, the Air Force and the Second Artillery Force and introduces the specialties of the Navy Reserve, the Air Force Reserve and the Second Artillery Force Reserve. The white paper also outlines the structure and organization of the reserve forces, as well as the locations of headquarters of the naval fleets for the very first time. To read the white paper, please go to http://www.gov.cn/english/official/2009-01/20/content_1210227.htm
About 20 million of China's migrant workers have returned home after losing their jobs as the global financial crisis takes a toll on the economy. The figures were based on a survey by the Ministry of Agriculture in 150 villages in 15 provinces, carried out before the week-long Lunar New Year holiday which began on Jan. 25. Companies were asked to take on more social responsibilities and give rural migrant workers more favorable employment treatment. Flexible employment policies and more training chances were also encouraged.
The global financial crisis failed to dampen tourism in China during the weeklong lunar New Year holiday as lower travel costs persuaded people to spend. According to statistics released by the National Tourism Administration on February 1, the country recorded 109 million visits during the holiday, up 24.7 percent from the previous New Year period.
China's State Council, or the Cabinet, withdrew the administrative right over the release of financial and other news and information in China by foreign news agencies from Xinhua News Agency. The entitlement is now given to the State Council Information Office, according to a decree signed by Premier Wen Jiabao, which was announced on January 30. Xinhua News Agency, as China's state news agency, became a legally authorized institution to exercise unified administration over the release of news and information in China by foreign news agencies in 2004. The agency obtained the authorization of administrating economic information release in China by foreign agencies in 1996. The new decree went into effect immediately.
China has set up its third Antarctic research station, also the country's first on the continent's inland, marking a significant step in polar exploration. The station will be used to study glaciology, astronomy, topology, geophysics, atmospheric science and space physics in the Antarctic inland. Chinese President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory telegram to the team, saying that the construction of the station will help China further improve scientific research on the continent. He encouraged the scientists to make persistent efforts on their research, improve international cooperation, and strive to achieve more scientific results to make greater contributions to human research and the peaceful use of the South Pole.
The Ministry of Water Resources spent 953 million yuan (139.3 billion U.S. dollars), from 2000 to September 2008, to provide safe drinking water for 1.44 million farmers and herdsmen in southwestern China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The ministry said under the safe drinking water program, nearly 10,000 drinking water facilities were built in 73 cities and counties in the autonomous region. Approximately 8.86 million livestock had also benefited from the program and the penetration rate of running water supplies has been raised to 61 percent in Tibetan rural areas, up from 12 percent in 2000.
Sino-African trade reached a "historic" level of 106.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2008, China's Ministry of Commerce said on January 27. Bilateral trade was 10 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 but has since grown at an average year-on-year rate of more than 30 percent, the ministry said. China's cumulative investment in Africa from 2000 to 2008 was more than 5 billion U.S. dollars, according to the ministry.
China will remove all government control over fertilizer prices starting from January 25. Prices of domestically produced fertilizers and all fertilizer imports except potash fertilizers will be decided by the market, said the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC). The new pricing mechanism was aimed at "enabling the market to play a decisive role in allocating resources," "promote a sustained and healthy development of the fertilizer sector," and "protect the interests of farmers," the NDRC said in a statement posted on its website.
China's State Council passed a long awaited medical reform plan which promised to spend 850 billion yuan (123 billion U.S. dollars) by 2011 to provide universal medical service to the country's 1.3 billion population. According to the reform plan, authorities would take measures within three years to provide basic medical security to all Chinese in urban and rural areas, improve the quality of medical services, and make medical services more accessible and affordable for ordinary people. For more information, please go to http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-01/21/content_10698501.htm