Week of November 3, 2000
Week of March 9, 2001
The U.S. and China This Week
U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: China Lobbies U.S. On Aegis
SUMMARY: Later this month, the Chinese government
will be sending a diplomatic delegation headed by Vice Premier Qian Qichen
to lobby the U.S. government not to sell Taiwan the Aegis air defense and
battle management system. Qian’s visit will be the third mission aimed
at preventing the sale. In mid-February, three former Chinese ambassadors
to the United States and Canada visited Washington, while last week Zhou
Mingwei, deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of China’s State
Council, led a delegation.
Taiwan is attempting to buy four Aegis systems
at close to $800 million a piece. The Aegis’s radar coordinates ships,
planes and missiles over a large area and could aid Taiwan if it were the
target of a Chinese missile attack. Yan Xuetong, executive director of
the Institute of International Studies at Beijing’s Qinghua University,
said of the Aegis that “The political significance is very, very rich.
A sale would show us the Bush administration does not care about a strategic
relationship between China and the United States.?#060;/font>
According to Chu Shulong of the China Institute
of Contemporary International Relations, China would respond to the sale
of the Aegis to Taiwan by putting more missiles in southern China. China
would also conduct military exercises and would refuse cooperation with
America on nonproliferation, he said.
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan has warned
of “serious damage?if America sells Taiwan the Aegis system and
upgraded Patriot missiles. “It [America] should
rein in its wild horse right on the edge of the precipice,?he said, invoking
a Chinese saying.
China is apparently counting on influential persons
with ties to former president Bush to come through for it on the Aegis
system. In a meeting in January with high-level American security experts,
Liu Huaqiu, a prominent Communist Party official involved in international
relations, named Henry Kissinger and Brent Scowcroft as individuals China
could count on to influence the new Bush administration. A decision on
the Aegis sale is slated for April.
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DOMESTIC: Dissidents, Human Rights Group Urge Political
SUMMARY: A group of 18 dissidents, two other dissidents
and the New York-based group Human Rights in China
(HRIC) all sent letters urging political reform
to China’s National People’s Congress, which opened March 5.
The 18 dissidents, who included long-time activist
Leng Wanbao, asked the NPC to change the government’s position
on the Tiananmen Square massacre of 1989. They
argued that the crackdown inspired corruption because it sent the
message to the bureaucracy that the government
would side with it in conflict with pro-reform citizens. “Only reversing
the verdict on June 4th can bring about a breakthrough
in the reform of the political system and resolve the social
contradiction,?the dissidents?letter maintained.
The dissidents also called for the release of political prisoners,
including Wang Youcai, a founding member of the
banned China Democracy Party. And they called for repeal of the
“hukou system? which forces peasants to get
official permission to live in cities, on grounds it violates UN covenants
signed by Beijing.
The other two dissidents asked that the NPC increase
reforms, separate the Communist Party from government and
augment separation of powers within the government.
Meanwhile, HRIC called for reform of the criminal justice system,
in which it claimed arbitrary detention, lack
of due process and major miscarriages of justice are common.
The decision on what country will host the 2008 Olympics is scheduled
to be made in July. The Chinese government says it plans to spend $12 billion
over the next seven years to clean up Beijing.
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DOMESTIC: Premier Forecasts Continued Growth, Calls
for Cleaner Environment
SUMMARY: In his address to the National People’s
Congress March 5, Premier Zhu Rongji predicted economic growth
of around seven percent a year between 2001-2005. Over the past five
years, China’s economy has grown at a rate of
more than eight percent a year. Zhu also said the government wants
to see annual GDP of a little more than $1 trillion
doubled by 2010. In the near future, China will invest heavily in infrastructure
and attempt to aid consumption, Zhu
The government’s new five-year plan sets a goal of under five percent
for urban unemployment, which would require 40
million new jobs for newly unemployed urbanites and 40 million new
jobs for rural folk no longer needed in the farm
sector. In his speech, Zhu mentioned the need to address problems such
as increased unemployment and unpaid
pensions. He said China would keep its network of grain-buying bureaus
but would encourage private transactions.
Zhu also called for cleaning rivers and lakes and clearing air pollution.
He lambasted Falun Gong as a “cult which has
become a tool for domestic and overseas forces hostile to our socialist
government.?He said the government would
stop any attempt at separatism by Taiwan, and mentioned terrorists,
ethnic separatists and religious extremism as threats
to stability. “Serious corruption?was mentioned along with other problems
such as water and energy shortages and
retrograde technology and education.
Zhu stressed the need for China to join the World Trade Organization.
He said the government would allow foreigners
to purchase shares in local companies, grant farmers greater ownership
of land and generally retreat from the economy.
State industries will be encouraged to transform into corporations,
selling shares to the Chinese public or on foreign
China will also develop oil and gas reserves and construct a railroad
to Tibet, Zhu maintained.
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DOMESTIC: China To Boost Military Spending
SUMMARY: China will increase military spending this year by 17.7 percent,
said Finance Minister Xiang Huaicheng in a
speech to the National People’s Congress. The augmentation in real
terms will be the biggest in 20 years. Xiang said it
will mostly go to pay hikes for officers and enlisted men and to better
equip China for “the drastic changes in the
military situation around the world,?especially for combat involving
The defense increase reflects a concern in China that the nation is
falling behind the West in the arena of high
technology and that China must be prepared for conflict with the United
States if it wants to reunify with Taiwan.
According to analysts, the defense increase also reflects the government’s
knowledge of the need for better salaries and
training to be respected as a global force and the military’s need
for funds after having divested from most of its
James Mulvenon, a Chinese security specialist at the Rand Corporation,
said China was heavily influenced by the
weapons used in the wars against Iraq and Serbia. A Chinese government
white paper issued in October found America
to be China’s main global competitor, and said America is manifesting
a “new gunboat policy and neo-economic
colonialism.?People’s Liberation Army deputy chief of staff Lieutenant
General Xiong Guangkai recently wrote in
China Strategic Studies that “war, hegemony and power politics are
The total defense budget this year will be $17.195 billion, Xiang said.
Western sources say China’s actual military
outlays may be two to three times as large, and it is possible that
some of the announced increase is a transfer of funds
to announced spending. Last year, announced military spending in China
rose 12.7 percent. For the first time in over a
decade, China’s announced military spending is rising faster than announced
spending on science and technology, which
rose 14.5 percent this year.
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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: China Denies Breaking Iraq
SUMMARY: Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan announced March 6
that China did not violate sanctions against
Iraq by exporting and installing fiber-optic cables and other equipment
to help that nation’s air defenses. “Relevant
agencies in China have carried out some serious investigations,?Tang
said. “Chinese enterprises and corporations have
not assisted Iraq in building the project of fiber-optic cable for
air defense.?U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell had
asked Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi for an explanation regarding the
alleged fiber-optic cable sale.
One State Department official said Tang’s statements did not address
America’s complaint because the U.S. never
specifically said the fiber-optics material went to improve Iraq’s
air defenses. Even if the equipment did not aid Iraq’s air
defenses directly, the official maintained, exporting fiber-optic cables
would have violated the sanctions because they
were not approved by the U.N. Tang appeared to leave open the possibility
that a Chinese firm may have assisted Iraq
with non-military telecommunications. According to a State Department
official, individuals in the Chinese Foreign
Ministry have told U.S. Ambassador Joseph W. Prueher that China will
order its companies to stop any work that aids
Iraq’s telecommunications and will discipline those involved in such
A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Mary Ellen Countryman,
said the U.S. would “continue to work with
the Chinese government?on the issue of sanctions against Iraq. She
did not say whether the U.S. now views the
fiber-optic issue as finished.
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DOMESTIC: Explosion Kills 37 Children, 4 Teachers
SUMMARY: At least 37 children and four teachers were killed in an
explosion March 7 at a school in Fanglin village
elementary school in Jiangzi province. According to witnesses and media,
the children were being made to make
firecrackers without pay for teachers to sell. The explosion occurred
as third grade children were inserting fuses and
detonators into big firecrackers. Parents said the children had quotas
they had to meet before they could leave for the
day, and that local officials had ignored complaints about the situation.
The amount of money China spends on education is among the lowest in
Asia, at below 2.4 percent of gross domestic
product. In the past couple of decades, the government has encouraged
schools to operate businesses to help fund them.
The government has exempted campus businesses from taxes, leading some
companies to base their operations in
schools. A 1996 New China News Agency story maintained that between
1991 and 1995, businesses in primary schools
and high schools earned $37 billion.
A parent whose daughter died in the explosion, Zhang Fujiu, said local
officials would lie to those who complained and
say the children weren’t being forced to labor. “The leaders, they
wanted money and they drove the children to their
deaths,?he said. The U.N. Children’s Fund expressed “outrage?at the
incident, which it said highlights China’s
problems with child labor and lack of funds for education.
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DOMESTIC: Psychiatric Association: Homosexuality
Not Mental Illness
SUMMARY: China’s psychiatric association will no longer treat homosexuality
as a mental illness, the group’s vice
president announced. Chen Yanfang said that “Many homosexuals lead
perfectly normal lives.?A new psychiatric guide
will be out by May, according to Chen. It will replace a 1989 version
that calls homosexuality a “psychiatric disorder of
sexuality.?Chen reported that in a study published in 1999, only 6
of 51 homosexuals watched for a year had emotional
disorders. The new guide will say homosexuality may be a cause of depression
and other difficulties for people
uncomfortable with their sexual orientation, Chen maintained. He said
the psychiatric guide does not deal with legal and
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The U.S. and China This
Last updated: 15 March 2001