Week of November 3, 2000
Week of February 2, 2001
The U.S. and China This Week
DOMESTIC: China Softens Tibet Policy, Reports Say
SUMMARY: The Chinese government has removed a hard-line
official from Tibet as part of what Tibetan and Western
sources say is a softening of its cultural and
religious crackdown in the region. Regional Communist Party chief Chen
Kuiyun left September 26 after almost eight years in Tibet to head the
party in Henan province. Chen called Buddhism a “foreign culture?and characterized
Tibetan culture as an impediment to economic development.
In his final year in Tibet, Chen presided over
a severe crackdown on religious and cultural practices. Beginning last
summer, Lhasa students were forbidden to pray or attend ceremonies in temples.
Tibetan thangkas, a type of religious painting, were confiscated from homes,
as were religious artifacts and incense burners. Approximately 30 monks
were fired from the prestigious Jokhang monastery.
The replacement of Chen follows two meetings in
Beijing with government officials by the exiled Dalai Lama’s brother, Gyalo
Thondup, in August and October of last year. The Communist Party of Tibet
issued a statement after Chen’s departure maintaining that he made no mistakes
in his policies.
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INTERNATIONAL: Singapore’s Leader Defends Deng, Says
Tiananmen Papers Are Real
SUMMARY: Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew says
the Tiananmen Papers are real, and defends the Chinese
government for sending the army to crush student
protests in June 1989. Editors Andrew Nathan, Professor of Political
Science at Columbia University and Perry Link,
Professor of Chinese language and literature at Princeton University, say
the contents of the book The Tiananmen Papers
were smuggled out of China by an advocate of political reform. The
book contains top secret documents which include
minutes of meetings between top Chinese policy-makers. The
Chinese government says the documents are fake.
But Lee says the papers are “too detailed and
too extensive?to be fake. He said he knew at the time of the student
protests that different Chinese policy-makers
had different ideas about how to handle the situation. “And I knew that
Deng Xiaoping was right. I have not changed my
mind,?Lee said in statements carried by the Sunday Times of
Singapore. He also maintained that “When you
have that kind of wildfire, you either stump it out quickly or you are
burnt out yourself.?He said when the students
started to criticize the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party, “That
was it. You have to remember that this is China.
When you attack the emperor, that’s it.?#060;/font>
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DOMESTIC: Hong Kong Officials Refuse To Meet Nobel Laureate
SUMMARY: Chinese-born Nobel laureate Gao Xingjian opened a three-day tour
of Hong Kong on January 29, but top
officials refused to meet him. Gao left mainland China in 1987 after
being blacklisted by the government. He is now a
French citizen. Hong Kong leader Tung Chee-hwa declined an invitation
to go to a cocktail reception in Gao’s honor
hosted by the Ming Pao newspaper on January 31.
Gao traveled to Hong Kong to give speeches at Chinese University and
City University. He told a crowd at the former
institution that “Literature is above politics. It does not serve politics.
For the past century, politics has interfered with
literature.?Hong Kong’s director of home affairs, Lam Woonkwong, attended
Gao’s lecture at Chinese University.
Gao was originally going to be invited to a literature festival in Hong
Kong, but a Hong Kong government spokesperson
said the festival was being reorganized and Gao might no longer be
suitable for it. The spokesperson denied politics was
Gao was declared “persona non grata?by the Chinese government for his
work “Fugitives? which involved the
Tiananmen massacre. He renounced his Communist Party membership after
the June 1989 incident. All of his writings
are banned in China.
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DOMESTIC: China Shows Footage From Mass Suicide Attempt
SUMMARY: China’s government broadcast a 20-minute television program
about the mass suicide attempt in
Tiananmen Square last week apparently staged by Falun Gong followers.
One woman died and four other people were
injured in the January 23 incident, in which five people set themselves
on fire. One of the injured persons was the dead
woman’s 12-year-old girl. On the night of January 30, the government
aired police videos of the immolation
on the popular newsmagazine show “Focus.?
In the wake of the show, a Falun Gong spokesperson in New York said
“there is no proof?that the protesters were
genuinely Falun Gong followers. Right after the incident, Falun Gong
spokespeople had 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.
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. China claims the group is
an “evil cult? that it has caused 1600 unnecessary deaths through
convincing sick people to avoid medical care, that it
is an instrument of hostile foreign powers and that it causes its members
to lose their hold on reality.
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DOMESTIC: Corruption Scandals Continue To Plague
SUMMARY: Two recent cases of alleged corruption in China’s continuing crackdown
involve Communist Party
members. Zha Keming, former vice minister of power and vice general
manager of the State Power Corporation, was
arrested on suspicion of bribery. He is close to Chairman of the National
People’s Congress Li Peng. Li is a former
power minister and minister of water resources; both of those areas
are thought to be filled with corruption.
In Shenyang, Liu Yong, a local legislator, Party member and mob boss,
is charged with 42 counts of extortion,
blackmail, bribery, weapons possession and assault. The charges deal
with real estate and tobacco businesses.
Meanwhile, Shenyang vice mayor Ma Xiangdong has been arrested for bribery
and squandering 40 million yuan (4.8
million dollars) of public funds in Macau casinos. Chinese media has
reported 45 people were arrested in the Shenyang
case, while western sources put the figure at up to 300.
The Shenyang case may affect the standing of Li Changchun, party head
of southern Guangdong province and a close
ally of President Jiang Zemin. Li is a former mayor of Shenyang.
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DOMESTIC: Study Finds Tibet Children Malnourished
SUMMARY: A new study published in the February 1 issue of the New England
Journal of Medicine found that half of
Tibetan children up to seven years of age are afflicted with stunted
growth, potentially damaged intellectual
development and other ailments that accompany malnutrition. The study
of 2,078 Tibetan children picked from a cross
section of cities, villages and nomadic communities found stunted growth
was tied to malnutrition and was often
associated with bone disorders, depigmented hair, skin disorders and
other ailments. The study was performed by
researchers from the Public Health Institute in Santa Cruz, California,
the University of California at Berkeley and the
Tibet Medical Research Institute in Lhasa.
In the past, there has been speculation that many Tibetans have small
statures due to living at high altitude. But the
American and Tibetan researchers concluded that Tibetan children “have
clinical signs of malnutrition as well as high
morbidity and mortality.?The study found 56 percent of children 2-7
years of age to have moderate or severely stunted
growth compared to international norms.
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The U.S. and China This
Last updated: 12 January 2001