4/21/2009

Running Rings Around the E.U.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/22/opinion/22iht-edfox.html

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Op-Ed Contributor

By JOHN FOX and FRANÇOIS GODEMENT

Published: April 21, 2009

LONDON — China’s performance at the recent G-20 summit meeting once again showed its skill at running diplomatic rings around Europe. Its audacious eve-of-summit call for a new global reserve currency to replace the dollar, the plaudits it won for a modest contribution to the International Monetary Fund, and President Hu Jintao’s occupancy of the center-stage in the leaders’ photo-call — added up to a great public relations triumph.

But while China edges toward the top-table, Europe’s leaders remain disunited and unsure of how to deal with the rising giant.

As European capitals prepare for the E.U.-China summit next month — rescheduled from last autumn after China canceled the meeting in retaliation for President Nicolas Sarkozy’s visit with the Dalai Lama — they must realize that the current E.U. strategy of “engagement” at any price leaves Beijing in control.

The E.U.’s heroic ambition for the last 20 years has been to act as a catalyst for change in China — as if it is still a developing country that can be molded. As a result, China now treats the E.U. with diplomatic contempt. It sees the relationship as a game of chess, with 27 opponents crowding the other side of the board and squabbling about which piece to move. As the Chinese academic Pan Wei puts it, the “E.U. is weak, politically divided and militarily non-influential. Economically, it’s a giant, but we no longer fear it because we know that the E.U. needs China more than China needs the E.U.”

Time and again, France, Germany and Britain have lobbied to become China’s partner of choice in Europe — even though Beijing only grants preferred status temporarily to the most pliant bidder. Despite the punishments meted out to Mr. Sarkozy and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany for meeting the Dalai Lama, Europe’s heavyweight leaders have capitalized on one another’s misfortune.

This jockeying for position is not working. Britain, despite its militant advocacy for open European markets for Chinese goods, has failed to persuade China to open up its financial-services sector. France, despite its commercial diplomacy, has seen its trade deficit with China explode. And even Germany, which has benefited the most from strong manufacturing exports, finds its trade deficit growing as Chinese exports move up the value chain.

European companies continue to face far more barriers than Chinese companies face in the E.U. And China has long proved unwilling to join Western efforts on pressing problems like the repressive regime in Burma. Beijing does occasionally modify its position in ways that suit the West — like its belated support for a U.N. peacekeeping force in Sudan and ending arms sales to Zimbabwe. But more often than not, these changes reflect direct Chinese interests rather than a desire to please the West.

The global economic crisis may yet persuade Beijing to cooperate for the sake of financial stability. But it might also offer cash-rich China an opportunity to improve its position while doing little to participate in international rescue plans.

The E.U. has no choice but to engage China as a global partner and to accept its historic rise. But it should drive hard bargains. Awarding China market economy status (which would put to rest China’s fear of a European trend toward protectionism) should be traded for genuine concessions by China on its own one-sided barriers to trade and investment. Access to European firms and technologies should also be reciprocated with a new opening by China.

Beijing must respond to European concern about issues like nuclear proliferation. Were China to contribute to successful sanctions on Iran, for example, the Europeans might lift their arms embargo.

Though the E.U.’s leverage on China’s human rights situation is limited, E.U. leaders must not deny one another support in order to curry favor with Beijing. They would be well advised to remind China that there is no restriction of their right to meet political and religious figures — including the Dalai Lama.

Any attempt to strengthen the European position must start with an acknowledgment that no member state is big enough to sway China on its own. But collectively, Europe is China’s biggest trade partner. Whenever China has shifted its position as a result of European pressure, as it has on the possibility of U.N. sanctions against nuclear proliferation, this followed a coordinated Western effort, strongly backed by the E.U. as a whole.

President Obama’s inauguration has signaled a new chapter in U.S.-China relations. To avoid being sidelined, the E.U. will have to offer more than a cacophonous chorus of competing voices.

John Fox is a former British diplomat who served in Beijing. François Godement is a senior French foreign policy analyst. Both men are senior fellows at the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Will Obama meet with China's nemesis, Dalai Lama?

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gPX1hfvgN0UVga9X1o5aTj-ALb2wD97MN1RG0

By FOSTER KLUG – 8 hours ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — A closely watched visit is set to take place in October, when a frail, 74-year-old Buddhist monk seeks an audience with President Barack Obama.

Obama must make a delicate calculation as he considers a meeting with the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet's Buddhists, seen by his supporters as a symbol of peace but vilified by China as a "wolf in monk's robes" who seeks to split Tibet from the rest of China.

Whatever Obama decides about the visit will spark anger.

Meeting with the Dalai Lama, as every president since George H.W. Bush has done, would infuriate China, whose help the United States sees as crucial to global economic recovery efforts and dealing with nuclear standoffs in North Korea and Iran.

Activists would seize on a White House visit for the Nobel Peace laureate as a powerful message to Tibetans and others struggling for human rights around the world.

The Obama administration, in the months ahead, will weigh its desire to secure crucial Chinese cooperation on global crises with its worries that China is abusing the rights of Tibetans.

The Dalai Lama is celebrated in much of the world as a figure of moral authority. In response to China's claims that he seeks Tibetan independence, the Dalai Lama has said repeatedly that he wants only "real autonomy" for Tibet.

The Dalai Lama's supporters expect Obama will continue the long-standing U.S. presidential tradition of meeting with the monk.

Obama's administration, however, has faced criticism that a growing emphasis on U.S-Chinese economic and diplomatic cooperation has fueled reluctance to confront the Chinese on sensitive human rights and trade issues.

Last Wednesday, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner would not cite China as a country that manipulates its currency to gain unfair trade advantages, despite American claims that the undervalued Chinese currency is the biggest cause for the huge trade deficit the United States runs with China.

In February, the Obama administration delighted China when Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said during her trip to Beijing that the United States would not let its human rights concerns interfere with cooperation with Beijing.

Dennis Wilder, who served as President George W. Bush's senior Asia adviser, said some of Obama's economic advisers, eager to get more Chinese cooperation on the financial meltdown, might be tempted to "lower the profile" of a Dalai Lama meeting.

Both Bush's father and President Bill Clinton met unofficially with the Dalai Lama, each "dropping in" as the monk visited with a senior adviser.

The second President Bush met with the Dalai Lama in the private residences of the White House, avoiding the more public Oval Office. But he broke with tradition when, in an elaborate public ceremony, he presented the Dalai Lama with the U.S. Congress' highest civilian honor in 2007, calling the monk a "universal symbol of peace and tolerance."

China was outraged and said the United States had "gravely undermined" relations.

Indeed, China's reaction is unambiguous when foreign leaders meet with the Dalai Lama. China canceled a major summit with the European Union when French President Nicolas Sarkozy met last year with the Dalai Lama.

China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said last month that shunning the Dalai Lama should be considered one of the "basic principles of international relations."

As October approaches, U.S. officials will take a close look at the state of relations with China. Based on those ties, the administration will then decide whether Obama can risk continuing the tradition of meeting with the Dalai Lama and, if so, what sort of meeting to grant the monk.

China will oppose any contact between Obama and the Dalai Lama. But Douglas Paal, a former senior Asia adviser for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said, "How badly they react to a meeting depends on what the overall state relations are in."

Copyright © 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

欧盟发现中国不安全商品数量创新纪录

欧盟08年发现不安全商品数量创新纪录

http://cn.reuters.com/article/CNIntlBizNews/idCNChina-4280420090421

2009年 4月 21日 星期二 08:51 BJT

路透布鲁塞尔4月20日电---欧盟委员会周一发布的一份报告称,欧盟2008年发现的不安全商品数量创新高,其中超过一半不合格的玩具和电子产品等商品均来自中国。

2008年,根据“欧盟非食品类消费品快速预警系统”(RAPEX),去年欧盟27国发现的会对消费者构成严重健康和安全危险的商品数量上升了16%。

委员会在年度报告中称:“关于不合格产品的通报从2007的1,605件上升到2008年的1,866件。”

欧盟消费者事务专员梅格丽娜・库列娃(Meglena Kuneva)在记者招待会上表示,决不能在经济衰退时期忽视产品安全问题。

她说:“无论如何,我们都不能让目前的经济和金融危机降低了我们的警惕度。”

“相反,在经济危机期间,当产品价格成为消费者支出中的重要影响因素时,我们需要加大努力,保持高度警觉。”

包括香港产品在内的中国产品占被通报商品的59%,2007年这一数值为52%,2006年为49%。

库列娃表示,中国仅调查了被通报产品的一半,但这已经比两年前有了极大改善。

她说:“尽管依然不尽如人意,但比之前要好得多。”(完)

编译:靳怡雯 发稿:金红梅

EU sees China unsafe products hitting record high

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iIkUsaQNoxfrKeaoPz4tGbnx9bMg

20 hours ago

BRUSSELS (AFP) — The European Commission is not satisfied with China's record on dealing with consumer product safety, a commissioner said Monday, unveiling record high levels of dangerous goods.

The comment came as the EU's executive arm released new figures on dangerous goods, showing that a record number were found throughout the European Union last year, with more than half coming from China, in particular hazardous toys.

The commission's rapid alert system for non-food goods, RAPEX, said a total of 1,866 unsafe products were brought to its attention in 2008, a 16 percent increase on the previous year.

Products from China accounted for 59 percent of the goods reported, substantially up from 52 percent in 2007 and 49 percent in 2006.

In only half of the Chinese cases which came to light, preventive or restrictive measures were carried out to deal with the problem.

One of the biggest problems was identifying the responsible Chinese companies involved.

"This is not good enough as we stated in 2007," said EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Maglena Kuneva, though admitting that the level of action was much better than in previous years.

"It is an improvement (but) no I am not satisfied, and I am working with Chinese authorities " to remedy the problems, she told reporters in Brussels.

"We shouldn't take this as a signal to close our markets. We need good, non-dangerous products from China, but not at the expense of safety," she stressed.

Toys made up almost a third of the dangerous products recalled worldwide.

The flood of Chinese-made toys has been a growing concern in recent years, with US giant Mattel recalling more than 21 million such items in 2007 alone.

The next largest sectors for recalls were electrical appliances, which made up 11 percent of the total cases, motor vehicles (10 percent) and clothing (nine percent).

After China, the European Union as a bloc was the next largest culprit being responsible for one in five reported hazardous consumer products.

Industrial powerhouse Germany alone accounted for five percent of the world total of products deemed to present a risk of physical or chemical injury, choking, electric shock, fire and other hazards.

Last November the European Union and China signed a deal to improve consumer safety amid the continuing health fears over Chinese products imported into Europe.

Under the agreement China is obliged to inform the European Union about what it is doing to track down dangerous goods. It also allows for officials from the two sides to carry out coordinated checks on producers to ensure safety standards are being met.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved. More »


欧盟委员会通报危险消费品数量正逐年增加

http://finance.ifeng.com/roll/20090421/563512.shtml

2009年04月21日

经济参考报

本报讯欧盟委员会20日发布的欧盟非食用消费品快速通报系统(RAPEX)年度报告显示,2008年欧盟市场下架的危险消费品数量较2007年增加16%,通报数由2007年的1605例增加到去年的1866例。2008年,玩具和儿童护理产品(如:脚踏车、学步车、婴儿床和奶嘴)、电器产品和玩具车是通报次数最多的产品。

欧盟负责消费者保护事务的委员梅格莱娜·库内娃说:“RAPEX报告显示,随着商业机构和国家相关部门更严格地履行责任,监管能力年复一年提高,欧盟消费者正处于比以往任何时候都要好的保护之下,远离危险产品的侵害。RAPEX的数据也证明我们决定与中国和美国强化合作是正确的。2009年最大的挑战是确保产品安全(问题)不因金融危机而搁置,各公司能够继续履行对消费者的职责,以及各成员国划分出足够的资源来执行这一机制。”

欧盟委员会表示,自2004年以来,通过RAPEX通报的产品总量逐年增加;被通报数量在近五年中翻了两番,即从2004年的468例上升到2008年的1866例;2008年通报总量比2007年增长了16%。这是因为各国政府更为有效地控制产品安全,各企业加强了责任意识,不断增强与第三国合作,以及在欧盟委员会协调下连接各成员国的网络发挥了积极作用。

据悉,欧盟所有成员国均加入了RAPEX,在这一体系下检测及通报危险产品,并确保收到信息后采取适当应对措施。其中,有12个成员国在实施中进一步强化了检测措施。按照通报次数排名,居前几位的国家分别是德国(205次)、西班牙(163次)、斯洛伐克(140次)、希腊(132次)和匈牙利(129次)。

2008年,仅玩具(498次)、电器(169次)和机动车辆(160次)就占了所有通报的存在严重风险产品的53%,该结果与2007年持平。不过,2008年纺织品(包括成衣)通报140次,在最频繁通报产品中排名第四。

年度报告还显示,通过RAPEX通报的对消费者健康和安全会造成严重危害的产品中,中国产品数量从2007年的52%增加到2008年的59%。中国相关机构已根据于2006年9月建立的RAPEX-CHINA系统所提供的RAPEX信息对中国市场采取了应对措施。

记者了解到,欧盟委员会定期向中国国家质量监督检验检疫总局提供撤出欧盟市场及通过RAPEX通报的中国危险品的RAPEX资料,以便质检总局采取措施,从而有效防范危险品及类似产品再次流入欧盟。

自RAPEX-CHINA系统建立以来,中国国家质检总局已对669项RAPEX通报展开调查,并对其中352个案件(占总数的53%)采取了积极的预防性或限制性措施。

晚清碎影——英国摄影家看19世纪中国



BBC NEWS

In pictures: 19th Century China

2009-4-19

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/8007041.stm

BBC中文网汉译:http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/newsid_8000000/newsid_8007500/8007513.stm

约翰·汤姆森(John Thomson),1837-1921,苏格兰摄影师。他是第二次鸦片战争以后以旅游者身份来华摄影人中最著名的一个。1862年他开始了亚洲摄影活动的多产十年,其声誉主要来自1870年至1872年在中国大陆拍摄的系列作品,其足迹遍布中国沿海、港口、城市,包括香港、澳门、台湾等地,拍摄了大量反映中国社会各阶层的照片,并在1873年出版了刊有200多幅照片的著名专集《中国及其国民的影像》。

http://www.china.com.cn/aboutchina/zhuanti/lbjjy/2008-11/07/content_16727247.htm



“晚清碎影”英国摄影家看中国

http://www.bbc.co.uk/china/lifeintheuk/story/2009/04/090408_thomson.shtml

2009年4月08日

BBC 中国网 玉川


苏格兰摄影师约翰·汤姆逊与两名清兵

最近一个春雨濛濛的早晨,我在伦敦采访了一位久居英国的华裔文化界人士姚詠蓓女士。她正要飞往北京,带去一个首次在中国举办的摄影展 – “晚清碎影 – 约翰•汤姆逊眼中的中国”。
视角独特的摄影展

“晚清碎影”,这个展览的题目就使我产生极大的好奇心。这个摄影展将展出苏格兰著名摄影家约翰•汤姆逊(John Thomson, 1837–1921)19世纪前往中国拍摄的150幅珍贵的历史照片,这些照片生动而真实地再现了摄影家眼中的中国晚清社会的历史瞬间。

摄影术在1839年才正式发明,伴随鸦片战争的炮火,摄影也被西方人带入中国。虽然约翰•汤姆逊不是最早到中国摄影的西方人,但是他却是第一个对中国早期摄影术进行了珍贵纪录的摄影家,是第一个在拍摄中国人时孜孜追求摄影审美的艺术家和沟通大师,也是第一个在旅行和摄影过程中对中国人民表示友好和同情的西方摄影家。

“晚清碎影”展览的策展人姚詠蓓女士为了把这个极具历史意义的展览带到中国,花费了好几年时间。在访谈中,我先请姚女士介绍一下约翰•汤姆逊其人。


姚詠蓓女士是这次展览的策展人

(姚詠蓓访谈摘录)

姚詠蓓:约翰·汤姆逊1837年生于爱丁堡,是个专业摄影家,也喜欢旅行。19世纪前往中国的西方人大多是为生意,有公办,或者是传教士,但汤姆逊却不一样,他纯粹是对这个遥远而古老的国家感兴趣而前往中国。

1868年,他以香港为基地,带着沉重的摄影设备四次前往中国。那时候的摄影跟今天的数码摄影可是有天壤之别。当时连胶卷都没有,每一张照片都保存在涂上药水的玻璃底片上。拍摄时间也比较长,同时要现场把影像洗印在玻璃底片上。可想而知,他要带多少摄影和洗印设备。

他最重要的中国之旅始于1870年,为时两年。在这两年中,他从广东进入福建,然后游历华东和华北,到达北京,此后又南下长江流域,行程长达5,000多英里。沿途拍摄了大量风景、人物、建筑、家居生活和街景等极具历史价值的照片。最重要的是,他拍摄的对象和视角非常广泛,不仅是那些皇亲贵族和宫殿楼阁,而且有很多市井生活写照。他的图片描绘了一幅真实、丰富而多彩的晚清中国社会画面。另外非常令人感兴趣的是,汤姆逊拍摄了很多中国妇女肖像,细腻地反映了19世纪中国妇女的形象。


在汤姆逊的作品中可以看到不少晚清妇女肖像

玉川:反映中国清朝时期的西方摄影作品也不少,汤姆逊的摄影作品有什么独特之处呢?

姚詠蓓:的确,我看过不少西方摄影家19世纪的中国摄影作品。我感到,鸦片战争之后,大多数有关中国的西方摄影作品都是比较负面的。展示的大多是比较落后和丑陋的画面,令人感受不到什么人情味和美感。而汤姆逊的摄影作品就不一样。

我们可以通过这个展览上的摄影作品看到,他给人们留下的中国晚清社会画卷,有力地捕捉了当时中国那种鲜为人知的美和活力。他的作品中既有壮丽的风景和建筑,又有普通百姓的日常生活照。

我相信,汤姆逊一定是一个优秀的沟通大师。19世纪时绝大多数中国人并没有见过外国人,也没有见识过摄影机。很多人甚至认为,摄影机会把人的“灵魂”带走,令人恐惧。但是在汤姆逊镜头里的男女老幼,看上去都那么安详自然。可以想象,他一定很善良,态度也很友好,才能说服他的拍摄对象自愿地让他拍摄。

玉川:我知道这个展览是您执着追求和努力的结果,那您最初是怎么接触到汤姆逊的晚清中国摄影作品的呢?对这个展览的激情从何而来呢?

姚詠蓓:说起来一晃几年了。五年前,我在英国维尔康姆图书馆(Wellcome Library)第一次看到了汤姆逊的一些中国晚清摄影作品,感到非常新鲜,并久久不能忘怀。之后我进一步寻找有关这位苏格兰摄影家的生平和经历的资料。得知1921年在汤姆逊去世后,他的后人把汤姆逊所有的摄影玻璃底片都卖给了维尔康姆图书馆。将近90年来,这些珍贵的玻璃底片一直保存在维尔康姆图书馆。

后来一个偶然的机会,我碰上了维尔康姆图书馆的一位负责人。他告诉我,汤姆逊的这些有关中国的摄影作品从来没有在中国展出过,他们希望有一天能把其中一些优秀的摄影作品带到中国展出。就这一句话,几年来我就一直琢磨如何把这些难得的历史照片带到中国展出。后来,我暂时离开了我在文化交流机构“亚洲之家”(Asia House)的工作,投入所有的精力,策划和组织这个展览。我特别得到北京中华世纪坛艺术博物馆王丽梅馆长的大力支持,终于使这个展览得以在北京展出。


在汤姆逊摄影作品中反映了晚清普通百姓的生活画面

4月16号在北京中华世纪坛艺术博物馆展出一个月之后,还要到福建博物馆、广州博物馆和东莞展览中心展出。最后,在年底将回到英国利物浦博物馆筹办展出,庆祝2010年中国农历新年。

玉川:那么在这个展览上,你感到哪些作品最有意思呢?

姚詠蓓:我想,最有意思的是汤姆逊的人物写照,和晚清日常生活照。我个人还特别喜欢妇女照片。你可以看到,当时北方妇女的服装头饰跟福建、广东地区的妇女服饰几乎完全不一样。虽然这些事在历史书中也有记载,但是通过当时的真实照片反映出来,实在是非常精彩,栩栩如生。

另外,他的摄影作品中显示了很多壮观的古老建筑,我希望能给当今的设计和城建人员一些启发,能使他们认识到,这些古建筑的魅力和珍贵。如果能达到这样的目的,我会感到非常欣慰,也不枉我这几年的心血。