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Week of November 3, 2000

Week of August 24, 2001

The U.S. and China This Week

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DOMESTIC: 45 Falun Gong Members Jailed; Adherent Sentenced to Death

SUMMARY: (8/20; 8/22) - A total of 45 Falun Gong members were jailed within a few day period, according to the Beijing Daily. Zhang Hongli was given a sentence of 13 years for renting a safe house used by Falun Gong members, making banners, and printing leaflets for the group. Two other individuals, Shao Qiang and Qiu Xiuxin, were given 10-year sentences for producing banners and organizing members to fly them in Tiananmen Square. The Beijing Daily referred to those sentenced as “diehards.?#060;/font>

The official New China News Agency quoted senior judge Gao Jinghong as indicating that Falun Gong members who turn on their comrades would receive lenient treatment, but “organizers, plotters, helpers and instigators?would receive harsh punishment.

Meanwhile, the Liuzhou District Intermediate People’s Court in the southwestern region of Guangxi sentenced Lan Yunchang of Rongan county to death for murder, the official Xinhua news agency reported. Lan was convicted of using an axe to kill fellow villager Wei Shaoming because Wei would not give him arsenic so he could commit suicide. The murder occurred April 16, and Lan turned himself in the following day. Lan was given a two-year reprieve; such death sentences often are commuted to life in prison if the convict behaves well in prison. Xinhua referred to Lan as a “diehard? Falun Gong adherent.

On August 17, eight Falun Gong members initiated a hunger strike outside the Chinese embassy in Washington, D.C. in solidarity with 130 comrades who went on hunger strike three weeks ago in the northeastern Chinese province of Liaoning.

Also on August 17, four people accused of organizing the January 23 self-immolations in Tiananmen Square were convicted of murder. A woman and her 12-year-old daughter died in that incident. One defendant was sentenced to life in prison, while the others got sentences of up to 15 years.

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: China Permits Carrier Group to Stop in Hong Kong

SUMMARY:  (8/20) - A U.S. aircraft carrier group stopped in Hong Kong August 20, the most significant U.S. military group to visit China since the controversy over the airplane collision in early April. However, according to the Xinhua news agency, Beijing recently declined an offer to host a U.S. long-range reconnaissance plane.

The U.S.S. Constellation, a frigate, two destroyers, a nuclear submarine and another ship stopped northwest of Hong Kong island for a six-day visit. The carrier group and another carrier group led by the U.S.S. Vinson held military exercises in the South China Sea August 17. While some defense analysts drew significance from the fact that the exercises were held at the same time as Chinese military exercises in the Taiwan Strait, Rear Admiral Terrance Etnyre said it was simply a good time to hold exercises because the carrier groups were in the same area. The Constellation was returning from Singapore, while the Vinson was going to the Middle East.

According to the U.S. consulate in Hong Kong, the Chinese denied a visit to a P-3C Orion plane, similar to the EP-3E spy plane that collided with a Chinese fighter jet April 1. China denied entry to a U.S. minesweeper in May but subsequently allowed two other minesweepers to stop in China in late July.

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DOMESTIC: Monk Reportedly Taken From Buddhist Center

SUMMARY: (8/21) - A frail 68-year-old monk was reportedly taken away from his isolated mountain center, the Serthar religious academy in Larung valley in western Sichuan province, by Chinese authorities. The stated reason was that he needed medical treatment, according to the London-based Tibet Information Network. Khenpo Jigme Phuntsog is reputed to be the reincarnation of the tutor of the 13th Dalai Lama, who preceded the current Dalai Lama. Phuntsog had been forced to stay in his residence since June, when the Chinese government began a campaign to make as many as 5,000 monks and nuns vacate the academy. TIN maintained that Phuntsog originally resisted efforts to take him away.

TIN reported new witnesses as claiming that as many as half the 3,000 nuns at the academy have been forced to vacate it, some of them after being required to denounce the Dalai Lama. Some monks and nuns have said they will commit suicide before leaving the academy, according to TIN.

The United Front Work Department, a Communist Party organization, is overseeing the crackdown on Serthar, according to various sources. Between 6,000 and 7,000 monks and nuns reside at Serthar. The goal of the UFWD is reportedly to lessen the number to 1,000 monks and 400 nuns by October. An official with the Sichuan Religious Affairs Bureau said in June that the campaign to lessen the numbers of monks and nuns at the academy was undertaken “because of concerns about social stability and at the order of central authorities.?#060;/font>

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 U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: U.S., China Hold One-Day Talk On Missile Control

SUMMARY: (8/23) - The U.S. and China held one-day discussions on missile control August 23, after which neither country would talk about the outcome. In November, China signed an agreement with the U.S. in which it pledged it would not help any other nation develop ballistic missiles that could carry nuclear weapons. China also said it would implement export controls on missiles and missile-related technology. The U.S. in return indicated it might resume talks on topics such as launching satellites from China, a practice that garners China significant profits. After the agreement, the U.S. discarded the threat of sanctions against Chinese companies thought to be selling missiles and missile technology to Pakistan and Iran.

This month the Washington Times quoted intelligence individuals as saying that a Chinese state enterprise recently shipped 12 bunches of missile components to Pakistan. China called the report “baseless.?China’s foreign ministry did not mention technology exports in its statement about the negotiations with the U.S., apparently indicating the matter should not block greater cooperation between the U.S. and China. China urged a swift return to launching U.S. satellites from China.

The U.S. side in the talks featured Assistant Secretary of State Vann Van Diepen. The talks were arranged by Secretary of State Colin Powell in his recent visit to China. China temporarily postponed the negotiations after the April 1 plane collision between the American intelligence plane and the Chinese fighter jet over the South China Sea. The August 23 meeting was also supposed to deal with the issue of Chinese companies shipping fiber optic materials to Iraq, which appear to have broken U.N. Security Council resolutions.

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DOMESTIC: China Admits Serious AIDS Problem

SUMMARY: (8/23) - China admitted August 23 that it has a “very serious?AIDS problem, with HIV cases having increased by 2/3 in one year. Vice Minister of Health Yin Dakui said, “Like many other countries in the world, China is also faced with a very serious epidemic of HIV/AIDS.?Reported HIV infections in China went up 67.4% year-on-year to 3,541 cases in the first six months of 2001. Earlier this year, state media reported certain villages in the northern province of Henan had HIV infection rates of 65 percent. Dr. Sun Xinhua, director of Division II Department of Disease Control, said the government thinks the AIDS problem is confined to Henan but is not sure. He said there would be surveys of villages.

According to health ministry experts, China could have more than 600,000 people who are HIV positive. The official cumulative number of HIV infected individuals that China reports is 26,058. The U.N. says China will have 10 million or more HIV positive individuals by 2010 if it does not take firm action. Of China’s reported total, 69.8% are from intravenous drug use, 6.9% are from heterosexual contact, and 21% are from unknown causes, according to the Xinhua news agency.

China is going to examine whether mobile blood banks like the kind that infected villagers in Henan infected people in other areas. A particularly dangerous practice of extracting plasma and then returning mixed blood to donors in order to prevent anemia is said to have ended around 1996. But 996 HIV infections are said to have been caused by blood plasma donations between 1998 and June 2001.

This month, China announced 100 million yuan ($12 million) would go to combat the spread of AIDS; many think this is too small. Vice Minister of Health Yin said, “The leaders and the general public there do not fully realize the hidden dangers of a large scale epidemic of HIV/AIDS as well as the harm it may bring about to the local social development and general public in those places.?#060;/font>

Cheng Feng, project manager of China-U.K. HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project, said while the Beijing government has a good AIDS policy, some local governments “have a very low commitment,?and some are even trying to hide their AIDS problem.

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