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Week of March 3, 2000

Week of March 3, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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US-CHINA RELATIONS: US Pacific Commander Arrives in Beijing

SUMMARY: Admiral Dennis Blair, Commander of the US force in the Pacific, began a five-day visit to China on Sunday to meet with top officials of the People’s Liberation Army. He spent Monday and Tuesday in Beijing and continued on to Nanjing on Wednesday to tour a military facility. This meeting between US and Chinese military leaders is a follow up to PLA Deputy Chief of the General Staff Lt.-Gen. Xiong Guangkai’s visit to the US last month. The main objectives of the trip were to discuss the issue of Taiwan and to restore military ties that were severed in May 1999, when US warplanes in bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade in the midst of the war in Kosovo.

Admiral Blair’s trip comes at an uncertain time, only one week after China released a white paper threatening to attack Taiwan if it stalled indefinitely on reunification with the mainland. However, as meetings between Admiral Blair and Chinese officials were scheduled well in advance, they continued as planned, despite the current tensions between China and Taiwan.

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POLITICS: National People’s Congress Convenes

SUMMARY: The annual two-week meeting of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s main legislative body, will begin on March 4 in Beijing. The NPC, which consists of China’s top politicians and leaders, will hold what is considered to be China’s most public political event of the year. The session, which is traditionally used by top leaders to make speeches on key issues facing China, is expected to focus on cross-strait relations with Taiwan as it approaches its second presidential elections on March 18.

Analysts expect that China will use this opportunity to maintain rhetorical pressure on Taiwan for the purpose of discouraging formal declarations of independence and reinforcing China’s serious intent to create a more concrete time frame for reunification. However, nothing new is expected to be developed on China’s approach to dealing with Taiwan that has not already been addressed in the recent government white paper, which warns Taiwan that it will take the island by force if dialogue is avoided. The NPC is regarded a loudspeaker for leadership propaganda and a rubber stamp for central government initiatives, but it has never voted against the government during its fifty years of existence.

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HUMAN RIGHTS: China Attacks U.S. on Human Rights Record

SUMMARY: Early this week the U.S. State Department released its annual world human rights record and blasted China for its suppression of religious activity, including the arrests of the Falungong spiritual movement, and its pressure tactics against "separatists", which include Tibetan Buddhists and Muslim Uighurs. The 110-page section also sited China’s jailing of dissidents, torture and repression and stated China’s record "deteriorated markedly" in 1999.

Zhu Bangzao, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, responded to the report by saying, "China is strongly displeased with and firmly opposed to the United State’s action of distorting other countries?human rights situation." Besides accusing Washington of warping facts, China took the opportunity to accuse the U.S. of its own human rights abuses, which include school gun violence, race relations, police brutally and historical events like the use of agent orange in Vietnam, massacring Korean refugees in 1950, and the jailing of Japanese-Americans during World War Two.

"The American government needs to keep an eye on its own human rights problems, mind its own business, and stop interfering in the internal affairs of other countries by utilizing the human rights question," the State Council said

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

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