News & Reports 2010-01-07

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Broadcasting Time: 07:00-08:00, GMT+08:00, 2010-01-07

Hello and Welcome to News and Reports on China Radio International.

In This Edition

China says that nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula and in Iran should be solved peacefully through political and diplomatic means.

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has accepted Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii's resignation.

China plans to build its tropical island of Hainan into the top international tourist destination.

And dozens of young couples tie the knot in a special way in the city of Harbin in China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang.

Hot Issue Reports

China Insists on Diplomacy for Nuclear Issues

China's permanent representative to the United Nations, Zhang Yesui, says that nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula and in Iran should be solved peacefully through political and diplomatic means.

At a press conference at UN headquarters in New York, he says the international community should continue using diplomatic efforts, not sanctions, to deal with the nuclear issue in Iran.

"I think more time and patience are needed in the diplomatic negotiations on the nuclear issue of Iran. There is still room for us to solve the problem through diplomatic means. Diplomatic negotiations are the best way to solve the problem and are in the interests of the international community as well. It's not the right time to use sanctions as diplomatic efforts are being made."

As for the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, Zhang Yesui adds that he hopes the six-party talks can be resumed as quickly as possible.

"As for the nuclear issue of DPRK, I would like to emphasize that improvements were made recently as the U.S and the DPRK conducted dialogue. All parties concerned should take advantages of the development and take active measures to resume the six-party talks as quickly as possible. "

Zhang added that China will continue to play an active role in achieving denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula and insisting on solving the nuclear issue through dialogue and negotiations.

China and Kenya to Further Strategic Partnership & Cooperation

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and his Kenyan counterpart Moses Wetangula have agreed to further the strategic partnership and bilateral cooperation between the two countries. Yang Jiechi also reiterates China's position in supporting Africa's development and Sino-African cooperation.

Japanese Finance Minister Resigns

Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama has accepted Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii's resignation and replaced him with Deputy Prime Minister Naoto Kan.

"He submitted the medical test results and letter of resignation this afternoon, and since it was about his health concern, I could not help accepting his resignation."

77-year-old Fujii was admitted to hospital for tests last week and later said he was worn out by wrangling over finalising Japan's budget.

One of the few experienced members of the Democratic Party-led government, Fujii has often served as the voice of fiscal restraint. He was the main proponent of sticking to a cap of around 480 billion US Dollars on new bond issuance in the budget for the year starting April 1.

Fujii's departure adds to the challenges piling up for the government as it wrestles with deflation, a fragile economy and huge public debt.

His sussecor Kan will give up his portfolio as national strategy minister, who oversees the budget process and sets priorities for fiscal policy. Administrative Reform Minister Yoshito Sengoku will double as national strategy minister.

UN Chief Calls for New UN-led Civilian Effort to Help Build Afghanistan

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has cautioned against an "irreversible" deterioration in security and politics in Afghanistan and called for a new UN-led civilian effort to help build the war-torn nation.

Speaking to an open Security Council meeting on Afghanistan, Ban said that Afghanistan is "at a critical juncture" after a series of "controversial experiences and missed opportunities".

He appealed to both the Afghan Government and to the international community "to make the best possible use of the next few months."

"The international community has reaffirmed its resolve to complete the task of erasing the terrorist threat. The sharpened strategies demonstrate a clear understanding that continued pursuit of the same policies will not lead to success. But if these strategies are to be implemented in an efficient and timely manner, the new Afghan Government must fulfill its far-reaching pledges."

The UN chief welcomed the new approach by United States President Barack Obama of seeking a balance between military and civilian efforts in the battle against the Taliban and other insurgents.

He also noted that a high-level international conference on Afghanistan in London later this month will offer an opportunity for fresh impetus in order to provide greater stability and support to the security and developmental needs of the country.

Turkmenistan Launches New Pipeline to Iran

Turkmenistan, Central Asia's largest gas producer, has launched a new pipeline that will double its gas sales to Iran.

The pipeline was inaugurated by Turkmen President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov and visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the Dovletabad gas field, where the 31-kilometre link originates.

Ahmadinejad said the inauguration of the new pipeline is of significant importance.

"This gas pipeline will increase the volume of Turkmenistan's exported gas to Iran by up to 20 billion cubic metres annually. This number is very important."

Up until now, Turkmenistan has operated a smaller pipeline to Iran with a capacity of 8 billion cubic metres a year.

Iran uses Turkmen gas, also shipped in liquefied form by tankers over the Caspian, to supply its northern provinces and free up more of its own gas for exports.
Light News

China Plans to Develop Hainan into Top International Tourism Destination

China plans to build its tropical island of Hainan into the top international tourist destination, in an effort to push forward its economic growth.

The plan is another milestone of Hainan Province, as the only tropical island province in China will be built into a platform for international economic cooperation and cultural exchanges.

Wedding in Harbin's Ice and Snow

On Wednesday, 28 couples are tying the knot in a special way in the city of Harbin in China's northernmost province of Heilongjiang. Their outdoor group wedding ceremony amid the ice and snow is also a cultural activity of the 26th Harbin Ice and Snow Festival.

Informers Rewarded in Reporting Porn Sites

In accordance with regulations made by the government to further crackdown on on-line porn, some informers in Beijing, Hubei, Shanxi and Sichuan who reported porn sites to the National Office of Eliminating Pornography and Illegal Publications were offered rewards.

Huang Xiaoxin who is in charge of National Office says:

"People who reported valid information to us quickly will get 1000 to 10 thousand yuan in reward money."

Since its hotline was set up in early December, the reporting center has received over 60 thousand reports from the public. Huang Xiaoxin says the engagement of the public has greatly helped crack down on porn sites and cellphone porn.

"80 percent of the reports are on porn sites and cellphone porn and 20 percent on obscene information. 90 percent of them prove to be valid. We handed the information to the relevant departments and most of the reported sites are closed down. "

Huang says that the National Office of Eliminating Pornography and Illegal Publications will offer reward to more informers and it welcomes the public to report the information on-line.

China's New-Energy Vehicles Burgeoning

China's new-energy vehicles developed fast in 2009, and it is expected to continue to speed up its industrialization this year.

Zhen Zijian is the Vice Director of China's new-energy car project.

"This is the biggest scale and the most concrete policy in the world. It promotes the investment from society by national financial fund. We can predict that this year will see large amount of investment injected into new-energy vehicles."

China's Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Science and Technology has issued a circular.

It said that the government would provide over 1 billion Yuan of national financial funds and 200 million in research funds for the development of new-energy vehicles.

Statistics showed that the investment in China's new-energy vehicles has exceeded 4 billion Yuan.

At present, the new-energy cars had been used in 13 cities throughout China, with the sales volume of 5,600 in 2009. And the number is expected to reach a new high this year.

Australian Boat Collided With Japanese Whaler

A conservation group's boat has had its bow sheared off and was taking on water after it collided with a Japanese whaling ship in the frigid waters of Antarctica.

After the collision, the boat from The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society had three meters of its bow knocked off. The boat's six crew members were safely rescued.

Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett highlighted the safety at sea and urged both sides to show restraint.

"The government is very concerned at this collision and has said on a number of occasions, and I repeat today, we condemn any dangerous or violent activity that takes place in the Southern Oceans, and we call on all parties to exercise absolute restraint because safety at sea is the number one priority."

The clash was serious in the past several years, during which the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society sent vessels into far southern waters to try to harass the Japanese fleet into ceasing its annual whale hunt.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is a small but environmentalist group, which specialises in "direct action" to halt marine environmental destruction.

Its activists have harassed the Japanese fleet over the past six hunting seasons, including ramming a whaling vessel, and have saved the lives of hundreds of whales.

An international moratorium on commercial whaling was imposed in 1986 but Japan kills hundreds each year using a loophole that allows "lethal research" on the precious animals.
Media Digest

China Youth Daily: Explain the Simulated Property Tax Collection Plan

Domestic media reports that the tax authorities are planning to expand property tax simulation from pilot cities to the whole country.

Experts believe the move will prompt the country's property taxation practice.

Under the current tax system, property used for commercial purposes is subject to certain taxes, but residential property is exempt. The simulated property tax collection is an assessment of the expected property taxation policies.

A commentary in the China Youth Daily says the pilot programs influence not only property owners but also those who rent houses. It says the public has concerns about how the property tax will influence them, but they have no access to the detailed practices of property tax simulation.

It says before relevant laws are made, all citizens have the right to know as early as possible on what terms their properties will be taxed. And that if the tax authorities want to expand the collection nationwide, they should first come up with a detailed report to inform the public of pilot programs.

The author emphasizes that only if there is transparency about the simulated property tax collection, can tax payers' interests be protected.

China Daily: Hasty Policies Expose Planning Flaws

Last month the State Standardization Administration classified all electric bikes weighing more than 40 kilograms or capable of speeds faster than 20 kilometer per hour as electric motorbikes, stirring widespread fears that more than 2,000 e-bike factories would have to close and millions of e-bike users would need to get licenses and insurance.

The department claimed the regulation was reasonable and feasible and would go into effect on January 1, 2010.

However, weeks after the announcement, the administration decided to suspend the regulation, saying electric bicycles are a new industry and more time is needed to make policies for its healthy development.

An editorial in the China Daily says the suspension of these new standards is not just an embarrassment to the State Standardization Administration, it also shows how problematic the decision-making process is in some government departments. Policymakers may know the facts but they don't check the feasibility of their plans, and then insist arbitrary policies be carried out.

The editorial says this e-bike situation is the result of a lack of consideration for the impact the new standards would have on electric bicycle users and manufacturers. More importantly, it's due to a lack of respect for public opinion and for reasonable and scientific decision-making processes.

It points out that before a decision is made, relevant departments should solicit public opinion and conduct an extensive feasibility study. Policies from a government department cannot be played around with. The editorial says someone should be held accountable for the situation, or at the very least, the State Standardization Administration should offer the public an apology.