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Week of November 23, 1999

Week of November 23, 1999

The U.S. and China This Week



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POLITICS: China Launches Successful Space Flight

SUMMARY:

Early on the morning of November 21, the Chinese space programís unmanned Shenzhou module completed 14 orbits of the planet before its reentry and recovery. This successful first launch of a passenger-capable space module used the new version of Chinaís Long march rocket and clears the way for Chinaís first manned spacecraft. Chinese media claim the launch has definite military significance with respect to the United States?possible development of an anti-missile defense system, although some Western analysts contest the extent of its significance. The success of the launch does have clear implications for Chinaís international prestige, as it brings the Chinese space program one step closer to joining the United States and Russia in the circle of countries with manned space flight capacities.


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TRADE: China Pursues WTO Progress

SUMMARY:

Chinese trade officials, attempting to complete Chinaís remaining 23 bilateral agreements needed for WTO accession, were pursuing a deal with Canadian counterparts early this week in Beijing. Both sides hoped to complete the pact prior to the Wednesday visit of Mr. Shi Guangsheng, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation, to Canada. China would like to complete as many trade discussions as possible before the November 30 WTO meeting in Seattle dealing with trade liberalization.


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POLITICS: U.S. Nuclear Spy Probe Expanded

SUMMARY:

In the midst of an overall thaw in bilateral U.S.-Chinese relations after the signing of the WTO agreement, the contentious U.S. probe of alleged Chinese nuclear spying has been expanded to include possible leaks at weapons assembly facilities. Although new evidence has linked a Chinese intelligence document to sites which assemble the W-88 warhead, the initial target of the probe, Mr. Wen Ho Lee, a former staff member at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, has not been cleared. China denies all charges.


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STATE AND SOCIETY: Falungong Members, Tax Protestors Charged in Chinese Courts

SUMMARY:

Twelve Falungong members, a sect focusing on meditation and moral values, have been sentenced to labor camps for practicing the groupís exercises in public, according to the Hong-Kong based Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China. Five other members have been charged.

The Center also reported that Chinese officials have charged 23 farmers for crimes stemming from their involvement in a local tax protest in Henan province last August.



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

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