Week of December 22, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

Next Summary

INTERNATIONAL: China and Vietnam to Sign Agreement on Gulf of Tonkin

SUMMARY: China and Vietnam are expected to sign an agreement on the demarcation of sea borders in the Gulf of
Tonkin during Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong’s visit to Beijing before the new year.  This follows an agreement
last December by both countries vowing to resolve the long-standing gulf dispute by the end of this year.  Since 1993
the two sides have been holding talks to come up with an arrangement to put to rest the territorial dispute. The
agreement to be signed will promote bilateral cooperation on fishing in the gulf and nuclear power.

The Gulf of Tonkin issue is only a small part of a larger regional problem surrounding claims made by China and many
Southeast Asian nations on sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea.  Even after the agreement is signed, the
two countries will likely remain at odds over other mutually claimed islands in the Paracel and Spratly islands.

Previous Summary || Next Summary

INTERNATIONAL: China Seeks WTO Entry in Early 2001

SUMMARY:  Last year at this time, China had anticipated ending its 14 year quest to enter the World Trade
Organization by the end of 2000.  While that goal has not been achieved, China’s chief WTO negotiator expects formal
entry into the world trade body in the early part of next year.  China continues to be involved in a long series of
negotiations with WTO officials over the terms and conditions of entry.  The next round is set to begin on January 10.
Once these talks are complete, WTO member countries must review all documents associated with China’s entry, and
some will still need to get final approval from their parliaments or governments before the formal announcement of
China’s accession.

Previous Summary || Next Summary

           INTERNATIONAL: Japan Announces China Bound ODA Cut

SUMMARY: The Japanese Ambassador to Beijing announced this past week that development aid to China next year
would be cut by about 30 percent due to fiscal constraints associated with the recovery of Japan’s ailing economy.  A
Japanese government advisory panel report on this subject also noted China’s growing financial, military, and trading

In response to this development, China’s assistant trade minister Long Yongtu expressed appreciation to Japan for two
decades of overseas development aid (ODA) assistance, which has totaled 24 billion dollars since 1979.  He also stated
that China had a growing need for financial aid, especially in the agriculture sector and efforts to protect the
environment, to provide stability in China.

Previous Summary || Next Summary

DOMESTIC: China Aims to Limit Population to 1.6 Billion

SUMMARY: Earlier this week, China released a policy white paper that detailed plans to continue China’s one-child
policy in the hopes of capping the population to 1.6 billion by the year 2050.

Zhang Weiqing, director of the State Family Planning Commission noted that maintaining China’s huge population was
extremely important in order to raise the nation’s living standards and prevent poverty.  “It would be unthinkable for a
state which accounts for on fifth of the world’s population not to have this family planning program…China would
forever stay in poverty and the poverty of China will be a disaster for the world,?Zhang said.

Zhang admitted the two-decade-old policy has been peppered with problems and abuses.  These include infanticide of
baby girls by couples seeking a male heir and coercive family planning workers who have forced abortions on women
and wrecked the homes of those who violated the policy.

However, the white paper noted more incentives, rather than punishment, will be offered to couples to have only one
child, including bonuses, stronger social security system and retirement funds.  Wide spread education will also play a
significant role in helping people realize the financial benefits to a smaller family.

Without the one-child policy, the document also said, China’s population today would have 300 million more people.
Currently, the populations stands at about 1.26 billion and is expected to reach 1.33 billion by 2005, 1.4 billion by 2010
and finally peak to 1.6 billion by 2050.

Previous Summary || Next Summary

DOMESTIC:  Chinese Muslims Mourn Death of Six during Demonstration

SUMMARY: Chinese authorities have been attempting to down play the shooting death of six Muslims by police during
a demonstration last week.  However, the Muslim Hui community, angered over the brutal treatment, has demanded
officials address their concerns and deliver justice.

Ethnic and religious tensions between Han Chinese and Hui Muslims began September, in Yangxin, after a vendor put
up a religiously insulting sign offering “Islamic pork?  Violence was triggered when Muslims removed the sign, leaving
the vendor and another Han Chinese dead.  Since then, a feud between Muslims and the Han Chinese community has
occurred over the past three months.

Last week Tuesday, around 2000 Muslims from Mengcun county in Hebei province traveled to neighboring Shangdong
province to support fellow Muslims in Yangxin.  According to witnesses, Shangdong’s paramilitary police set up three
roadblocks in anticipation of the group’s arrival.  After letting the Muslims through the first roadblock, the police
opened fire when they reached the second one, killing six people and wounding more than 40.

As Muslim communities around Mengcun county conducted funerals for the dead, security was tightened, while officials
urged angry demonstrators not to over react about the incident. Ethnic tensions and violence remains one of the
Chinese government’s sensitive domestic challenges.

Previous Summary || Next Summary

SOCIETY: Growing Popularity of Christmas and Christianity Pose Problem for Chinese Government

SUMMARY: Over the past several years, Christmas has become an increasingly popular holiday for Chinese, especially
among the younger generations.  While the commercial aspects of the holiday are appealing, the religious aspects are a

The Chinese government is increasingly weary of the growing appeal for religion and the loss in faith in the Chinese
government and communist party.  The major crackdowns on the Falun Gong, underground Protestants, and other
groups over the past year reflect the increasing official concern.  While the Chinese government justifies these
crackdowns on the basis that they are protecting people from superstitious and harmful cults, the real reason is thought
to be the growing fear of mobilized organization which operates in defiance of official policies and preferences.

In the past five years, the popularity of Christmas has seen a boom, with churches renting hotels to accommodate
numbers of curious people who want to participate in the religious celebrations.  However, for most Chinese Christmas
seems to be a time just to have some fun, more for personal enjoyment with friends rather than the family holiday it is in
the West.

Previous Summary || Next Summary


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

USCPF Homepage


Last updated: 12 January 2001

     316 Pennsylvania Avenue SE, Suite 201-202 • Washington DC 20003 • phone: 202.547.8615 • fax: 202.547.8853