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Week of September 1, 2000

Week of September 1, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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INTERNATIONAL: Tibet and Dalai Lama in the news

SUMMARY: U.S. Ambassador to China, Joseph Prueher, made his first ever visit to Lhasa, Tibet in order to meet with Legqog, the head of Tibetís regional government. The Xinhua news gave little details to the content of the meeting, but did say the six-person delegation would stay in Tibet for four days.

Ambassador Prueherís visit comes during a time when Chinese authorities have stepped up their clamp down on religious activities in the region. Monitoring groups and pro-Tibet activists have reported house-to-house searches for religious articles, including pictures of the exiled Dalai Lama, threats of work dismissal and student expulsion if they participated in traditional pilgrimages to sacred sites, and increased propaganda to educated children in atheism.

Furthermore, China apparently used pressure to exclude the Dalai Lama from the four-day Millennium World Peace Summit in New York, which has brought together 1000 religious and spiritual leaders to collectively disavow the misuse of religion for political purposes and to pray for peace. Chinese authorities sent a religious delegation from the mainland representing the faiths of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Taoism.

Bawa Jain, Secretary General of the Summit, said, "Their (Chinaís) position from the beginning is that [the Dalai Lama] is not a religious leader, that he is a political leader and we have to work within the framework of the (UNís) political structure. While the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan added that the UN "is really a house for the member states and their sensitivities matter. This is an issue that the organizers of the meeting have know all along."

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DOMESTIC: Chinese Police Clash with Violent Farmers

SUMMARY: Farmers angered over excessive taxes, which devour around two-thirds of their incomes, clashed with police in what would be a week long riot, involving 20,000 farmers, around Fengcheng in Jiangxi Province.

It started in the township of Yuandu when 2,000 farmers ransacked their township government and also attacked the homes of government and party leaders. The disorder then spread to neighboring areas, where eventually some 20,000 farmers became involved in rioting and attacks on local government offices.

According to the Hong Kong-based Information Center, overwhelmed local police forces then received assistance from around 2,000 armed police reinforcements who where dispatched to suppress the riots and maintain order. Dozens of protester were arrested, while around 100 people were injured in the clashes with police.

In the past year, according to leaked information to the center, 100,000 protests or demonstrations erupted nationwide caused by rising anger at corruption and painful economic reforms.

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INTERNATIONAL: Japan-China Hold Talks in Beijing

SUMMARY: Earlier this week, Japanese Foreign Minster Yohei Kono visited China to halt the deterioration of relations between the two nations. However, the talks were marred by allegations of spying since Chinese naval vessels have repeatedly strayed inside Japanís 200-mile exclusion zone around Japanís northern islands.

In response to these naval intrusions, the Japanese ruling Liberal Democratic Party delayed its decision to supply a $161 million loan to China for building a railroad and airport expansion.

Strained relations between the two countries have somewhat improved since the end of the WWII. However, Japan has increasingly been concerned over Chinaís military modernization program, while China is still pressing Japan for a proper apology for the war and have strongly objected to the proposed development of the Theater Missile Defense.

Tang Jiaxuan, Konoís Chinese counterpart, hoped for "a friendly, open relationship in which we can frankly discuss all matter between us."

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US-CHINA RELATIONS: Mistreatment of Asians in Portland Airport

SUMMARY: INS officials in Portland were blasted again for their high rate of detaining people, usually Asians, on suspicion of being illegal immigrants.

Criticism erupted again this week after a 36 year old business woman, Guo Liming, was detained, stripped searched, and sent two nights in jail for having a frayed passport, and consequently fitting the profile of an illegal immigrant. Her fiancťe and travelling companion were not told where she was or what happened to her until they hired a lawyer to get answers. Later she was released after experts determined her passport was valid.

Oregon Senators Ron Wyden (D) and Gordon Smith (R) joined Senator Slade Gorton (R-Wash.) in urging INS Commissioner Doris Meissner to remove the INS Portland Director David Bebee. "The public, the region, and the international business community have lost confidence in his leadership," Wyden and Smith said in letter to Meissner.

Delta Air lines Inc., who serves between Japan and Portland, made it clear they would stop it's service if the problem continued. Also, travel agents and businesses in Japan have told travelers to avoid entering the US through Portland, which has been dubbed "De-Portland".

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

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