China to clear out students, refugees before Olympics

Beijing  -  China plans to order all foreign students to leave the country before the Olympic Games in August, strictly regulate the issuing of business and tourist visas, and deport refugees, sources said on Thursday.

"Even if you have to continue your studies in September, you need to leave Beijing in July and August," a spokeswoman for Beijing University told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

The university is one of China's most prestigious colleges and enrolls hundreds of foreign students annually on Chinese-language and other courses.

The spokeswoman said the two-month gap applies to all universities in Beijing and was ordered by "higher authorities" because of the Olympics.

Business groups criticize China for visa restrictions

Beijing  - Business groups are criticizing China for limiting the visas it issues to foreigners in Hong Kong, saying the new rules were severely affecting business people.

Joerg Wuttke, president of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China, on Thursday called the restrictions enacted ahead of August's Olympic Games "truly annoying" and charged that the new visa rules were unclear and have never been published.

"Once again, there is no transparency," he said.

The European Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong warned of negative repercussions for business and on a wider scale.

China summons CNN bosses over commentator's "goons, thugs" remarks

ChinaBeijing  - China's Foreign Ministry summoned CNN executives to lodge a protest as it seeks an apology from the US news network for statements made by a commentator.

CNN said Jack Cafferty was referring to China's leadership and not China's people on April 9 when he said, "I think they're basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they've been for the last 50 years."

Tibet debate spurs patriotism among "humiliated" Chinese

Beijing  -  French retailer Carrefour and US broadcaster CNN are both well-known in China but in the past month the two global names have been blackened by patriotic Chinese mounting campaigns against them.

Western support for Tibetans, media coverage, and protests during the Olympic torch relay have spurred an outpouring of popular and government anger against US and European media, rights groups and politicians.

Mobile telephone and online messages distributed this week urge Chinese citizens to boycott of all Carrefour stores between May 8 and May 24.

China's soaring food prices keep inflation above 8 per cent

Beijing  -  China's monthly consumer price inflation remained above 8 per cent in March, driven by soaring food prices, the government said on Wednesday.

The consumer price index gained 8.3 per cent year-on-year last month, following an 11-year high of 8.7 per cent in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Food prices soared 21.0 per cent, accounting for most of the consumer price inflation, while property prices and rents rose 6.6 per cent, the bureau said.

The new figures pushed inflation to 8.0 per cent for the first quarter of 2008, casting doubt over the government's ability to meet its target of holding annual inflation at 4.8 per cent.

China's soaring food prices keep inflation above 8 per cent

EconomyBeijing - China's monthly consumer price inflation remained above 8 per cent in March, driven by soaring food prices, the government said on Wednesday.

The consumer price index gained 8.3 per cent year-on-year last month, following an 11-year high of 8.7 per cent in February, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

Food prices soared 21.0 per cent, accounting for most of the consumer price inflation, while property prices and rents rose 6.6 per cent, the bureau said.

Tibetans protest outside Chinese Embassy in Delhi

TibetanNew Delhi, Apr 16: Exiled Tibetans gathered outside the Chinese Embassy here on Wednesday to protest against China hours before the arrival of the Olympic torch from Islamabad.

About 60 Tibetan Youth Congress activists were detained by Delhi Police as they tried to storm the embassy.

A huge security cordon and barricades have been put up around the Chinese embassy.

On Tuesday, around 30 Tibetans took out their own "torch relay” from the Central Secretariat to the India Gate.

Thai foreign minister backs China on Tibet, Olympics

Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon PattamaBeijing  - Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama on Tuesday offered his support for China's position on Tibet and its holding of the 2008 Olympics, state media said.

Noppadon told Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi that Tibet was China's "internal affair" and that Thailand opposed linking it to the Beijing Olympics, the official Xinhua news agency said.

The Thai minister said he was confident that the Beijing Games would be a "complete success" and reaffirmed Thailand's adherence to the "one China" policy, entailing no diplomatic recognition of Taiwan.

China strongly opposes US Senate's Tibet resolution

US SenateNew Delhi, Apr. 15: China has expressed indignation over and opposition to a resolution on Tibet adopted by the US Senate.

The resolution, proposed by a few senators in disregard of China's strong protests, "persistently favoured the Dalai clique and interfered with China's internal affairs," the official Xinhua news agency quoted Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu as saying in a statement.

"China is strongly indignant and resolutely opposed to the resolution," she said.

Australian Government rules out Chinese security for Olympic torch

Olympic TorchMelbourne, Apr. 15: The Australian Government has made it quite clear that it will not allow Chinese security personnel to escort the Olympic torch during its relay in Australia at the end of the month.

Countering Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper’s claims that Chinese paramilitary forces will protect the Olympic torch in Canberra, the federal police and government described it as a wrong assumption.

Chinese car firms diversify in battle for "green" market

Beijing  - Chinese car firms are diversifying into hybrids, electric, hydrogen and gas powered vehicles, as well as improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions, as they battle for shares of the emerging market for "greener" models.

"All the research that foreign companies are doing on 'eco' cars, we are also doing," Du Fangci, deputy head of the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"For example, hybrid, fuel-cell, multiple fuel, alternative fuels; we are doing all of this and we have been doing the research for more than five years," Du said.

Most joint-venture and Chinese firms are researching hybrids and other new technologies.

Holidaymakers face a moral dilemma when travelling to China

ChinaHanover - This year's summer Olympics in Beijing should boost tourism in China as it will attract worldwide attention while showing vibrant images of China's diverse culture - at least theoretically.

But the world is already focusing its attention on China and its record on human rights in Tibet.

Some people who have booked a trip to China are reconsidering whether it's morally right to visit the country.

To go or not to go? That's a question that Christian Thies, deputy director of the Research Institute for Philosophy in Hanover, finds difficult to answer.

Beijing orders dust, pollution control measures for Olympics

The city government will ban all excavations and concrete pouring at construction sites from July 20 until September 20, Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing Environmental Protection Bureau, told reporters.

It will shut down inefficient coal boilers, stop work at quarries, cement and concrete plants around Beijing, and has ordered 19 heavy-polluting firms in the city to cut emissions by an extra 30 per cent in the three-month period, Du said.

Beijing also plans to control traffic from July, with measures to bar many public vehicles and limit the number of private cars on the road expected to remove about one-third of the city's 3.3 million vehicles.

Du said detailed traffic control measures will be announced later.

China, Brazil help to drive VW sales to record high

Berlin  - The booming car markets of China and Brazil helped to push German auto maker Volkswagen AG's sales to an all-time high during the first quarter of 2008 raising the prospects of a new record sales year for the group.

Europe's biggest carmaker said it delivered 1.58 million autos worldwide during the first three months of the year, which represented a rise of 7 per cent over the same period last year.

Releasing the data, VW described the first quarter as the most successful in the company's history.

The first-quarter increase followed a surge of about 33 per cent in sales to China and almost a 25 per cent jump in Brazil. (dpa)

Merkel spokesman rebuffs Chinese pressure on Dalai Lama

Berlin  - A spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel rebuffed Monday pressure from China for the German leader not to meet again with the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

"She alone decides if she has a meeting, when she meets and whom she meets," deputy government spokesman Thomas Steg said, but added there was no date for any future meeting.

"No fresh appointment is planned and no appointment has been given," he said.

A German newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, had quoted Merkel on Sunday as saying she would meet again with the Dalai Lama, but not next month as she will be absent in Latin America when he visits Germany. He visited her Berlin office last September.

Irish minister stands by his Tibet remarks

Ireland's Environment Minister John GormleyDublin - Ireland's Environment Minister John Gormley stands over comments on Tibet he made at his party conference which provoked the Chinese ambassador to Ireland to walk out of the conference, reports said Monday.

On Saturday Green Party leader Gormley in his keynote speech to his party's annual convention accused China of abusing human rights in Tibet and called on Beijing to hold talks with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader.

Fears on interest rates, global economy send China stocks tumbling

Stock MarketBeijing - Stocks on the Chinese mainland plummeted Monday after central bank chief Zhou Xiaochuan said there was room for more interest rate increases to rein in inflation.

Also influencing the plunge were falls on Wall Street and other Asian stock markets as well as fears of continuing global repercussions from the US mortgage crisis after the finance heads of the Group of Seven leading world economies predicted a further global economic slowdown at a weekend meeting in Washington.

The CSI 300 Index, which tracks yuan-denominated A shares listed on the mainland's two exchanges, fell 247.4 points, or
6.54 per cent, to 3,536.33.

Beijing restaurants exempted from smoking ban

RestaurantNew Delhi, Apr. 14: Restaurants, bars and Internet cafes in Chinese capital Beijing have been exempted from a proposed smoking ban in response to concerns expressed by business owners.

The venues will only be asked to separate smoking and non-smoking areas from May 1 as part of the new regulation.

The China Daily quoted Zhang Peili, an official with the municipal government’s legislative affairs office who is supervising the promulgation of the rule, as saying that the changes were approved last week.

Dalai Lama says his aides are talking to China: NYT

New York, Apr. 14: Dalai LamaTibetan spiritual leader --The Dalai Lama -- said on Sunday that his aides are in touch with the Chinese Government over the protests in Tibet.

“Just a few days these are going on,” the Dalai Lama, was quoted by the New York Times, as saying. But he said he was unclear what the talks might yield, as he was not directly involved.

Western leaders have encouraged China to resume discussions with the Dalai Lama in the wake of the unrest in Tibet, which began on March 10.

As recently as Saturday, President Hu Jintao echoed the views of other Chinese leaders who have accused the Dalai Lama of encouraging violence.

Musharraf slams West’s attempts to undermine Beijing Olympics over Tibet, HR issues

Beijing, Apr 14: Pakistan President Pervez MusharrafPakistan President Pervez Musharraf has reportedly condemned attempts from the West to undermine the Beijing Olympics by talking of boycotting the Games opening, and opposed the West's ‘superimposition’ of democratic values and human rights on China.

He described China, a long time ally of Pakistan, as a typical example of development and progress

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