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Week of November 3, 2000

Week of November 3, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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DOMESTIC:  China Attempts a Census Count

China has deployed six million census takers in order to complete its fifth national census by November 15.

However, the process of counting people has encountered much difficulty. Many people simply do not trust the government, and are unwilling to give out personal information, especially those families who have broken China’s strict “one child?policy and migrant workers who have no registration permits.

“During the census we will guarantee full secrecy,?said Zhang Weimin, deputy director of the State Council’s Census Bureau.  “After the census forms are inputted they will be burnt so there will be no question of the police being able to gather and use our information,?he told journalists.

The government has set the country’s population target at below 1.3 billion by the end of this year.  However, independent studies based on grain consumption patterns have already put the population has high as 1.5 billion.

Though most of the census takers are teachers, accountants, and low-level government officials, the general population still remains mistrustful and some census officials have been threatened.

Results of the census will be available in February 2001.

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DOMESTIC: NPC Fail to Ratify UN Pact

After a nine-day session, the National People’s Congress Standing Committee (NPC) has failed to ratify a UN covenant on economic, social and cultural rights despite growing pressure both domestically and internationally to do so.

“China still needs some time to further study whether every article of the covenant is in harmony with China’s real situation and relevant laws and regulations,?Standing Committee vice-chairman Xu Jialu said.

NPC sources said that the covenant, which guarantees unprecedented trade union freedoms, was not yet fully compatible with national legislation, and reservations were expected to be entered on the provision of rights to join or set up trade unions.

China signed the covenant on economic, social and cultural rights in September 1997, and the UN pact on civil political rights in 1998.  The two texts are meant to provide a legal framework for the UN Charter of Human Rights, adopted in 1948.

The standing committee will meet one more time this year in December, thus giving Jiang’s promise to French President Chirac that the economic rights pact would be ratified by the end of 2000, one last chance.

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DOMESTIC:  Navigation Satellite Launched

China launched its first domestically engineered satellite into orbit on Tuesday.  According to Xinhua news, the satellite is the first of many for a system that will provide weather, round-the-clock navigation information for highways, railways and shipping. The news paper, however, did not report how many other satellites China will launch in order for the network to be operational.

China has been concerned of becoming too dependent of foreign technology as it builds up its economy and military, thus a five-year plan to boost the country’s high-tech sector was recently approved by the Communist Party.

The party’s People Daily newspaper reported that the by the end of the five-year plan, in 2005, Chinese technology should reach the level attained by developed countries in the mid-1990’s, and that China should create some leading-edge technologies.

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

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