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Week of August 25

Week of August 25, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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CROSS-STRAIT: Typhoon Bilis slams into Taiwan and Southern China

SUMMARY:On Tuesday night at 10:30pm,Typhoon Bilis slammed into Taiwan with winds gusting up to 185 miles per hour. This "super typhoon", also known as a level five category hurricane, covered the entire island causing severe damage to crops and property.

It has been estimated that the typhoon is responsible for the death of at least 11 people, while 79 people were injured; 14 seriously. Several of the victims who died were buried in a mudslide caused by the torrential rain.

After cutting through the island of Taiwan, Bilis regained some strength in the Taiwan Strait before hitting southeastern China. According to the Xinhua news agency, though no casualties where reported, high winds still uprooted thousands of trees and the rain caused a landslide that destroyed a railway and damaged over 1,000 homes along the coast.

Most local transportation, like rail and ferry services and airports, where closed as the storm swept inland and is expectd to weaken.

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DOMESTIC: 3 US Citizens Detained with other Underground Protestant Church Parishioners

SUMMARY:In another round of religious-based arrests, the Chinese police have detained 130 members of the underground Protestant church called Fangcheng Church, including three Taiwan-born US citizens.

The three American "missionaries" are identified as Henry Chu, Patricia Lan and Sandee Lin, all from California. But on Friday a US Embassy official announced that the three had been released, however, the embassy has still not been able to contact them.

In a long fought battle to register and control religious groups and churches, the Chinese authorities have again stepped up measures to deter those religions they deem to be a cult. And since millions of Chinese Protestants do not recognize China’s official church, they are accused of breaking the law and given stiff prison terms.

Though the crackdown on illegal religious gatherings seems recent, due to the much publicized Falunggong and Zhanggong arrests, the authorities, however, began in the mid-1980’s, when several religious leaders where executed.

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DOMESTIC: Earthquake Shakes Southwest China

SUMMARY:An earthquake earlier this week in southwest China, with a magnitude-5.1, injured 406 people and left 169,000 homeless in Wuding county, Yunnan province., an official newspaper said Friday.

The China Daily described damage as widespread. It said 56 schools, 16 reservoirs, 56 bridges and a power station were destroyed and that 169,242 people lost their homes.

Eight of the injured were seriously hurt, it said. A woman in a nearby county also was killed when she fell, the newspaper said. Also it said the homeless have been resettled and have received a first portion of aid. Authorities allotted $36,000 to fund relief work, the newspaper said. (Sources: Reuters | AP )

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

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