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Week of October 13, 2000

Week of October 13, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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DOMESTIC: China Holds Biggest Communist Party of the Year

The Central Committee held a three-day closed door annual plenary session this week, passing a five year economic plan aimed to help China better deal with the challenges of entering into WTO.

The plenum communiqué, “The Proposal of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party Formulating the 10th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development? focused on continuing current reforms to improve social welfare and to improve management in ailing state firms.  However, what was not discussed was rampant corruption, unrest in the countryside, and high unemployment.

Both liberal and conservative scholars have commented on a growing crisis in China due to the party’s delay in making itself and the government more law-abiding and open to public participation.  However, they also believe that not many leaders are willing to initiate bold policy changes, especially when party members and their families benefit most from the organization’s current unrestrained power.

Furthermore, according to Li Fan, a former researcher for a Cabinet agency, the sudden downfall of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has alarmed Chinese leaders and strengthened their resolve not to make any major changes to the system.

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On Tuesday, President Clinton signed the Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) bill, guaranteeing China low tariff access to U.S. markets, without an annual vote on the renewal of its trade relations.

The bill has taken years to pass due to opposing views in the US Congress, but many believe it is a positive step forward for improving relations between the two nations.  A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation told AFP: “PNTR between China and the U.S. will bring huge benefits to both sides an is in the interests of the peoples of both nations.?

However, some Chinese trade official are unhappy with certain conditions in the bill which call on the U.S. government to set up a commission to monitor human rights in China and investigate forced prison labor.

Furthermore, some U.S. officials have questioned China’s willingness to uphold its bilateral trade agreements it has made with 36 WTO nations.  U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky traveled to Beijing in order to discuss key trade issues pertaining to these WTO matters.

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According to the Russian Federal Security Service (formerly the KGB), Vladimir Shchurov, a Russian laboratory chief at the Vladivostok Institute of Oceanology, was recently charged with exporting sensitive hi-tech defense equipment to the Chinese.  He was arrested a year ago when crossing the Russia-Chinese border with underwater listening devices which could be used for military use.  In recent years, many Russians have been charged exporting sensitive "state secrets" to other countries.

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INTERNATIONAL:  Chinese Writer Wins Nobel Prize in Literature

Exiled dissident Gao Xingjian, 60, won the Nobel Prize in literature this Thursday.  It is the first time a Chinese author has ever won this award.

The Swedish Academy explained that in Gao’s “literature is born anew from the struggle of the individual to survive the history of the masses.?amp;nbsp; A citation also stated that “[Gao] is a perspicacious skeptic who makes no claim to be able to explain the world.  He asserts that he has found freedom in writing.?

Gao fled from China in 1988 for France after the government declared him “persona non grata?and banned his work.  Moreover, the state-run media in China did not announce his Nobel prize in the official Xinhua new agency or on state television.

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

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