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Week of October 13, 1999

Week of October 13, 1999

The U.S. and China This Week

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SOCIETY: Falun Gong Persecution Ends in Death of Woman

SUMMARY:

A 42 year old farmer, Zhao Jinhua, was detained by police for practicing Falun Gong. During the end of her 2 weeks of detention, she died in a police station in Zhangxing, Shandong province. According to a Falun Gong reporter, she was tortured with electric clubs and electrified with rotary telephones for refusing to denounce her beliefs. Her skin was reported to be broken all over her body. Her brother said that the postmortem examination stated that she died from blunt trama and had blood on much of her body. She was immediately cremated after her death and her family was told not to discuss her death.


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TIBET: Dalai Lama Speaks about Future of Tibet

SUMMARY:

During a speech at a Jewish center in LA, the Dalai Lama presented Tibet Light of Truth Awards to 3 people who have worked to promote understanding about Tibetans throughout the world. The 3 recipients were: Danielle Mitterrand, Mr. Fienstein, and a former British envoy to Tibet. The Dalai Lama spoke about the possibility of China relaxing its strict hold over Tibet. He feels that the Chinese government will realize that the situation is counterproductive and then things will change. He expressed his view that dominating Tibet through military strength was not a successful strategy to win over the Tibetan people. Appearing hopeful about the future, the Dalai Lama stated that justice always wins.

The actual outcome of the China Tibet issue is rather uncertain. China has created a strong hold over the region through its military presence, capital inflows and innovations in social structure and education. However, Tibetans have been repressed and restricted in their activities throughout the Chinese rule, and many still feel a deep allegiance with the Dalai Lama.


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MAINLAND POLITICS: Two States Theory Under Attack Again

SUMMARY:

On Saturday, Lee Teng-hui again proposed that relations between Taiwan and the Mainland should be conducted on a special "state to state" basis. This statement implies that Taiwan is independent from China rather than the renegade province that the Mainland claims it to be. President Jiang Zemin responded with vehement disagreement saying "the essence of the ‘two states statement?is to separate the island of Taiwan from the Motherland." He did again reiterate his vow to seek peaceful means to reunite the island with the Mainland. Jiang blamed Lee’s 2 state proposal for straining cross-strait relations, undermining social stability, and said it was "doomed to be unpopular." On an economic note, President Jiang promised to protect Taiwanese investments in the Mainland regardless of what occurs in cross-strait relations. Thus, Lee’s state to state policy has once again created a stir on the Mainland.

The delicate issue of Taiwan is one of territorial unity and sovereignty to the PRC. Both sides say that they are committed to eventual reunification. Beijing has said it would allow Taiwan to have a "one country, two systems" relationship akin to the relationship between Hong Kong and the Mainland. Taiwan appears to be holding out for Beijing to have a multi-party democracy similar to Taiwan’s own governing system. If China were to assume state to state relations, it would tip the balance of sovereignty and possibly endanger its position as the "motherland." In accepting Lee’s special relationship, China would in essence backtrack on the past 50 years of work to reunite with Taiwan. Presently, Taiwan is not recognized as a sovereign state in the world community, but if China gave it state privileges, China would be in effect forfeiting its claims to Taiwan. Thus, Lee Teng-hui’s proposal of state to state relations carries ramifications that the PRC finds unacceptable.


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WORLD POLITICS: Pakistan Coup Leaves Many Uncertain

SUMMARY:

Late Tuesday night, a military coup occurred in Pakistan, removing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from power and installing General Musharraf in his place. This event comes on the heels of the Prime Minister’s immediate dismissal of General Musharraf under the guise of early retirement. This dismissal surprised the military and happened while the General was in Sri Lanka. There is speculation that tensions between the Prime Minister and the General developed over the Prime Minister’s order to withdraw militants from Indian territory in the Kargil region, which ended Pakistan’s border dispute with India. This withdrawal was negotiated by Mr. Sharif and President Bill Clinton, but was unsupported by the army chief, who is suspected of playing a strong role in the invasion of Kargil. In response to this dismissal, the army in Islamabad and Lahore made their move. They took over the television station and government officials home. Thus, there appears to have been problems between the military and civilian government that culminated in this coup d’etat.

The international community is carefully watching events unfold and deeply concerned over this coup. The Foreign Minister of China said that China is "very concerned" over this military coup. He stated that "Pakistan is China’s friendly neighbor and we are very concerned about changes there." Being a major source of nuclear and military technology for Pakistan, China is closely monitoring the situation. India, Pakistan’s border foe, fears instability in Pakistan could threaten its own security. India’s Prime Minister Vajpayee said that India is "monitoring the situation and keeping ourselves fully informed." These two nuclear capable countries have had many disputes over territory, especially in Kashmir, which explains the very real danger India may feel as a result of this coup. Speaking as a representative of the U.S. State Department, James Rubin said, "If there has been a coup we would seek the earliest possible restoration of democracy in Pakistan and clearly we would not be in position to carry on business as usual with the Pakistani authorities as our laws indicate." According to the British Foreign Secretary, Britain "will strongly condemn any unconstitutional action." Unfortunately, the constitutionality of the future government is questionable because the constitution itself is a convoluted document making it uncertain whether this coup violates the constitution. The Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary said, " What is regretful is that this would again derail the program for economic development in Pakistan." One of the main international concerns is over the nuclear capabilities of Pakistan and whether they will be used in the future by this new government. As such, the world is watching Pakistan and waiting to see what unfolds, while expressing their concern over this coup and its possible international ramifications.

General Musharraf said that he "acted to save the country from ruin and would very shortly lay out his policies." On the surface, it appears that he acted to save his job and to overthrow his adversary, but there is evidence of very high inflation and definite economic problems in Pakistan. Ironically, this coup has jeopardized Pakistan’s loans from the IMF and other lenders, affecting billions of dollars worth of international loans. Thus, even if the General were attempting to save the country he has in actuality placed it in economic danger.


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INTERNATIONAL TRADE: A Future Visit to China for US Treasury Secretary

SUMMARY:

On October 25, U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers is planning to making a scheduled visit to China to discuss trade, law enforcement and economic development with Chinese officials. These talks are being held as a part of the China-U.S. Joint Economic Committee. The main economic issue between China and the U.S. is China’s WTO entry. The U.S. refuses to support China’s WTO entry unless China increases the U.S.’s access to its lucrative markets. China wants to be admitted to WTO as a developing country, which means the rules of trade will be less stringent for them. Neither side has made much progress in getting the other to accept its conditions. An important part of WTO accession is also the enforcement of copyright and intellectual property right laws, which China has made more of a priority in the past few years. Perhaps these late October talks will be more productive than the ones that took place in DC earlier this fall, but time is running out on the Noember dealine for Congress?approval.


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POLITICS: Li Peng Pushes NPC role in Supervising Government

SUMMARY:

Parliamentary leader, Li Peng has been invoking the constitution in his call for the NPC (National People’s Congress) to play a greater role in fighting government corruption. According to Chairman Li, the constitution gives the NPC "the right to supervise the Government, courts and procurates." By supervising these areas, Chairman Li hopes to cut down on malpractice and corruption within these government bodies. Concurrently, Li is supporting a new NPC regulation which would prevent illegal activities by judges and prosecutors. Chairman Li’s call for more power over government authorities may be a step towards fighting corruption within the government or increasing his power and prestige within the party. No matter what his motives, he appears to be fighting corruption in certain levels of government, which is a major problem in China.



The U.S. and China This Week
The U.S. and China This Week

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