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Week of November 3, 2000

Week of January 26, 2001

The U.S. and China This Week


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DOMESTIC: China’s High Court Authorizes Executions For Leaking State Secrets

SUMMARY: China’s State Supreme People’s Court has issued sentencing guidelines for disseminating state secrets abroad which instruct judges to give the death penalty in certain cases, Chinese media reported January 22. The court’s action on January 21 occurred two weeks after publication of “The Tiananmen Papers?in the United States, which consists of alleged transcripts of Chinese policy-makers?discussions before, during and after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. A spokesman for the court said the guidelines have nothing to do with “The Tiananmen Papers.?#060;/font>
The court declared that judges may order executions for leaking secrets and intelligence that “gravely harms the country or people, or has particularly odious circumstances,?according to reports. For individuals convicted of giving out top-secret information, more than three items of classified information, or material causing “extremely grave harm to national security interests,?the court directed sentences of at least 10 years in prison and confiscation of property, reports said. Lesser sentences were assigned for distributing less sensitive materials. The court said cases involving the Internet as the means of leaking state secrets will be judged according to how badly such information harms the nation.
The court did not make clear the definitions of state secrets and intelligence. Certain information disseminated to the public in other countries is classified in China.


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INTERNATIONAL: China Will Ratify Rights Covenant, Annan Told

SUMMARY:  China will ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights within two and a
half months, Chinese leaders told visiting U.N. chief Kofi Annan, according to Annan’s spokeswoman Marie Okabe.
China signed the document in 1997. Okabe said Annan made less progress on the issue of the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights, which China signed in 1998, but Chinese officials told Annan that work continues on that
document,
 
Annan’s three-day visit, his fourth visit to China since becoming UN secretary-general, included a meeting January 22
with Chinese President Jiang Zemin. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, Jiang said China “is satisfied?with
Annan’s performance as UN head. Annan the previous day met with Foreign Minister Tang and Jiaxuan Vice Premier
Qian Qichen, according to state media.
 
Annan told reporters when he arrived in Beijing January 20 that he would raise human rights concerns made by UN High
Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson during two visits to China last year.
 
Annan’s visit came as China is hoping to win sponsorship of the 2008 Olympics. International Olympic Committee
inspectors will visit Beijing next month, and will choose the host city in July. Human rights concerns influenced the
1993 decision not to hold the 2000 Olympics in China. Annan’s visit also occurred two months before the annual
meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission in Geneva, which opens March 19.
 
Annan said he asked China to increase its role in international peacekeeping. “I think they have the capacity to do more
and we will encourage them to do that,?he said.


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           INTERNATIONAL: EU Addresses Human Rights in China

SUMMARY: The European Union has acknowledged improvement in human rights in some areas in China, but has
listed other areas in which it wants to see progress. The 15-member body called for China to respect the “fundamental
rights?of political dissidents and religious groups, including Falun Gong.

Meeting in Brussels, the EU’s Council of Ministers said there has been “initial progress?in China toward implementing
UN human rights covenants, reforming the penal code and reforming the code of civil procedure. It also referred to
China’s “readiness to move forward?in matters relating to detention, the legal system and criminal sanctions.
 
On the other hand, the Council cited a lack of progress in guaranteeing freedom of assembly, religion, expression and
association. It also cited lack of progress with regard to frequent use of the death penalty and condition of national
minorities such as the Tibetans. The ministers said that dialogue is the best way to address the situation, but that
continued dialogue depends on progress on the ground. Since 1997 the EU and China have participated in nine human
rights dialogue sessions.
 
Specific areas the EU cited for progress included: cooperation with “human rights mechanisms?such as the Office of
the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, restrictions on the application of the death penalty, respect for the
fundamental rights of prisoners (including dissidents and those arrested for being part of religious and other
movements), respect for the right of labor to organize, and respect for cultural and religious freedoms in Tibet and
Xinjiang province. The EU asked for the right of an independent delegation to visit the young Panchen Lama, the
second highest figure in Tibetan Buddhism.
 
The EU promised to monitor China’s human rights progress at regular intervals.


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DOMESTIC: Five Protesters Set Themselves On Fire In Tiananmen Square

 
SUMMARY: One woman died and her four comrades suffered severe burns January 23 after they set themselves on fire
in Tiananmen Square, protesting the Chinese government’s crackdown on Falun Gong. A CNN camera crew saw the
incident, in which the protesters assumed a “classic Falun Gong meditation pose.?The incident occurred right before
China’s biggest holiday, Spring Festival, or Chinese New Year. Falun Gong spokespeople in New York and Hong Kong
said they were skeptical that the individuals who set themselves on fire were really Falun Gong members because the
writings of Li Hongzhi, the group’s founder, forbid killing anyone, including oneself. Gail Rachlin, a New York-based
Falun Gong spokeswoman, said committing suicide is “totally against what we believe.?There are more than 10,000
Falun Gong members in Chinese labor camps and an unknown number in psychiatric hospitals, according to human
rights groups. The Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy claims 600 Falun Gong
followers are in jail, while 104 have died in police custody.

Last week several Chinese newspapers ran articles about Falun Gong members who had been released from labor camps
or had their sentences decreased after denouncing the group. According to the government news agency, the Chinese
people are concerned with “the cult’s harmful effect on families, the health of the Falun Gong practitioners themselves,
China’s social stability as well as its illegal profits.?In a report about the Tiananmen incident, the government news
agency claimed the individuals were “cult members?who had been “hoodwinked by the evil fallacies of Li Hongzhi.?
The government said that the four women and one man involved all came from Henan province.

Meanwhile, on January 24 two Falun Gong members slipped through massive security at Tiananmen Square, stood on
mounds of snow and shouted “Falun Dafa is good?while waving a red banner.
 
  


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The U.S. and China This Week
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