Sunday, October 19, 2008

Gov't to provide sustainable living environment for HK, says official

The Hong Kong SAR government will continue its endeavors to provide a quality and sustainable living environment for the people of Hong Kong, the Secretary for Development of Hong Kong Carrie Lam said Saturday.

Lam was speaking at the plenary session of an international symposium organized by the Skyscraper Museum in New York City, said a press release of the Hong Kong Information Service Department.

She said that Hong Kong's high density development had accommodated the city's population increase at one million per decade in the latter half of the 20th century and propelled its economic growth, while preserving the countryside for public enjoyment.

However, Lam admitted that in recent years, both the civil society and members of the public had voiced concerns about the height and bulk of buildings and their environmental and visual impact, and expressed strong aspirations for preserving heritage buildings, ceasing harbor reclamation, creating quality open space and preserving community networks and local characteristics in urban regeneration.

In response to these aspirations and to pursue a sustainable development in Hong Kong, the Government was committed to finding the right balance between economic benefits and benefits to culture, the society and the environment.

During the speech, Lam outlined in her presentation the various initiatives in reviewing development density, promulgating clear development control parameters in statutory plans, preserving and revitalizing heritage buildings, undertaking area-based revitalization projects, promoting green buildings.

Lam said that to achieve the vision of Hong Kong as Asia's world city, the Government would focus on three broad areas in working out the future blueprint of Hong Kong, namely improving a quality living environment, enhancing economic competitiveness, and strengthening links with the Chinese mainland.

Lam arrived in New York City on October 16 for a 3-day official visit.

Source: Xinhua

Training of high quality, loyal police stressed

Senior Communist Party of China official Zhou Yongkang on Saturday called for more efforts on providing the country with a high-quality police force through improved education and training.

The member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee made the remark here at a forum marking the 60th anniversary of the Chinese People's Public Security University.

He spoke highly of the achievements the institution had made and urged those involved to turn it into a "cradle" of loyal guardians of the Party and the people and the "frontier" of promoting the development of public security theory.

The public security organs must "stick to the path of strengthening the police capability through science and education" and strive to build a force of high quality.

Zhou also asked the university to enhance exchanges and cooperation with their international counterparts and constantly innovate in their teachings.

The university, under the Ministry of Public Security, has so far trained more than 170,000 police.

Source: Xinhua

Top China political advisor proposes more attention on grain security

Jia Qinglin, chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, addresses the conclusion of the third meeting of the CPPCC National Committee's Standing Committee in Beijing, on Otc. 18, 2008.
China should pay more attention to its grain security in rural reform, said Jia Qinglin, the country's top political advisor, here on Saturday.

It should be a top priority to maintain grain production when the country develops modern agriculture, said Jia, chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, when the third meeting of the CPPCC National Committee's Standing Committee concluded here.

"China should stick to the most strict system to protect farming land."

During the four-day meeting, senior political advisors reviewed the decision on rural development and reform made at the third Plenary Session of the 17th Communist Party of China Central Committee.

They exchanged views and presented valuable ideas on rural reform, said a statement issued after the meeting.

"We should realize new situations and problems China faces in rural economic and social development, as well as urgency and responsibility to push forward rural reform," Jia said.

The CPPCC would work on proposals on system building, agriculture and public service development in rural areas.

He also asked political advisors to watch and study the global financial turmoil's impact on the domestic economy and contribute their talent to the administration.

Source: Xinhua

Czech's Lower House president denounces "Tibetan flag incident"

President of Czech's Chamber of Deputies Miloslav Vlcek has denounced the action by a few Green Party deputies of unfurling a Tibetan flag in front of the visiting Chinese parliamentary delegation last month.

During an interview with Xinhua on Thursday, Vlcek said the unwarranted action by a few individuals represented neither the parliament nor the government, much less the general Czech public. Their action had undermined relations between the two countries, and had been criticized by most parliamentarians and the Czech people.

On Sept. 25, a few Green Party deputies unwrapped a Tibetan flag in a gesture to support the so-called Tibetan independence while a Chinese delegation from the Ethnic Affairs Committee under the National People's Congress, China's parliament, was visiting Czech's Lower House. The delegation immediately left the Lower House in protest.

Czech and China have always enjoyed a long history of friendship, said Vlcek. Their bilateral relations, however, were affected by changes of ruling parties in Czech in recent years, he noted.

As president of the Lower House and leader of the left-wing Social Democratic party, Vlcek said he has always been an active advocate for friendship and cooperation between Czech and China. He said he hoped this incident wouldn't harm the overall development of bilateral relations, Vlcek said.

He also presented to Xinhua a presidential statement of the Czech's Lower House, in which he said the Lower House would take measures to prevent the recurrence of similar incident.

Source: Xinhua

China's first ambassador to Niue presents credential to Niue PM

Zhang Limin, China's first ambassador to the South Pacific island nation of Niue, presented the credential to Niue Prime Minister Toke Talagi in the capital of Alofi on Friday local time, according to news reached here on Saturday.

Niue's cabinet ministers, government officials and members of parliament attended the ceremony.

Talagi welcomed Zhang, who also serves as the Chinese ambassador to New Zealand and the Cook Islands. Talagi said China is the first country which established formal diplomatic ties with Niue, and it was also the first time for Niue to hold a ceremony on receiving credential from a foreign ambassador.

He said Niue attached importance to developing ties with China and thanked China's assistance in expanding Niue's airport and housing rebuilding project.

The Chinese ambassador conveyed Chinese President Hu Jintao's regards and said bilateral ties have witnessed sound development since they established diplomatic ties in December 2007.

Zhang, who is based in Wellington, New Zealand, said China and Niue supported each other in regional and international affairs, with increasing friendship between the two peoples.

Source: Xinhua

China, Africa see closer cooperation since Beijing Summit

China and Africa had witnessed closer cooperation in various field since the Beijing Summit in 2006, a Chinese Foreign Ministry official said in an interview with Xinhua.

Xu Jinghu, director-general of the ministry's Department of African Affairs, said progress had been made in carrying out the eight measures for China-Africa practical cooperation, announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation .

The eight measures included China's pledge to double its assistance to Africa by 2009, provide 3 billion U.S. dollars of preferential loans and 2 billion dollars of preferential buyer's credits, as well as establish a development fund of 5 billion dollars to encourage Chinese firms to invest in Africa. Debt cancellation was another major measure.

During the two years after the Beijing summit, "China has increased its aid to African countries, and made great accomplishment in debt relief and tariff exemption for African countries", Xu said.

She said the China-Africa Development Fund was launched in June 2007 and projects helped by China had been advancing steadily in Africa, including the Africa Union Headquarters Center project, the largest built with Chinese assistance. Construction of the AU headquarters was started in May 2007.

Up to August of this year, China had trained 8,627 African personnel, sent 100 Chinese agriculture experts and 113 young volunteers to work there, Xu said.

Centers for malaria control and prevention, advanced agricultural techniques centers and rural schools were under construction in Africa with the help of China, Xu added.

China-Africa trade has been growing. The volume totaled 73.3 billion dollars in 2007, an increase of 32.2 percent over that of 2006.

With respect to educational cooperation, Xu said the Chinese government granted almost 2,700 scholarships for African student last year, 700 more than the figure of 2006.

"Cooperation in culture, sports, finance, science and technology, civil aviation and tourism has enhanced the development of China-Africa new type of strategic partnership," she added.

The FOCAC was jointly proposed and established by China and more than 40 African countries in 2000.

The Beijing summit of the FOCAC was held in 2006, marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the People's Republic of China and African countries. The summit called for the establishment a "new type of strategic partnership" between China and Africa.

Source: Xinhua

Official: China's new foreign media rules reflect determination to remain open

China's new rules on foreign media reflected the country's determination to carry on the policy of opening up to the outside world, a senior information official said here Saturday, hours after the issuing of the new rules.

Wang Chen said this in a ceremony for the establishment of "Israel Epstein Research Center" of Qinghua University.

Wang pointed out that the new rules draw on the experience of providing service and managerial assistance for foreign correspondents during Beijing Olympics, and they will make foreign correspondents reporting activities in China more convenient.

"Chinese government welcomes foreign media and reporters, and we hope more stories about the country will be told to the world. We will spare no effort to provide help and service to them," he said," meanwhile, we hope foreign media and reporters could abide by Chinese laws and professional morals, to report unbiasedly and justly, so to promote understanding and cooperation between China and the rest of the world."

According to the new rules, foreign reporters wishing to interview organizations or individuals in China no longer need to be received and accompanied by the Chinese organizations.

An item in the old version was also cancelled, which asked foreign reporters to get approval from the local government's foreign affairs department when they wanted to do reporting in the regions open to them.

Seymour Topping, a famous journalist from the United States and the former administrator of the Pulitzer Prizes, told Xinhua that the removal of the restrictions on foreign correspondents may mark an important progress of China,

China should learn to tolerate the judgement of the outside world, be it positive or negative. That will show a more confident China, he said.

Huang Youyi, deputy director-general and editor-in-chief of China International Publishing Group, said:" Sadly some foreign media reported inaccurately about China. But I believe with more foreign reporters coming, the proportion of accurate reports will increase."

"How great it is!" Wang Yu, who lives in Haidian District of Beijing smiled when she heard about the new rules," the foreign reporters will see that the world is a family, and Chinese people do have speech freedom."

A backpacker named Wang Shaofei from Hainan Province in the south of China said:" if any foreign reporters come to me, I will tell them the new development and changes of my hometown. Maybe I could know more about the cultures abroad, too."

Source: Xinhua