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Week of November 3, 2000

Week of November 2, 2001

The U.S. and China This Week



INTERNATIONAL: China Will Allow U.N. to Conduct Investigation into Torture

SUMMARY - China will allow the United Nations to investigate whether Chinese authorities routinely use torture, European Union diplomats reported. The announcement was made after an  E.U. human rights delegation met with Chinese officials October 25. The E.U. delegates said the Chinese maintained the U.N. special rapporteur on torture could make a fact-finding visit to China by the end of the year; no special conditions or ground rules were reportedly put forth. It was unclear whether China meant the U.N. would be able to make unrestricted visits to China’s large network of prisons and labor camps.

Two years ago, China made an offer for the U.N. to investigate torture, but it was turned down because the Chinese would not allow unmonitored talks with prisoners and unannounced inspections of police stations and detention centers. The U.N.’s representative on torture, Nigel Rodley, will step down next month. He was known for demanding private visits with prisoners, and it could be that China hopes his successor will take a different attitude. The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not answer immediately a request for comment.

China also told the E.U. that it was considering allowing a U.N. investigation into religious intolerance. “I think it’s a breakthrough,?said Rita De Bruyne, a senior diplomat from Belgium, which currently holds the E.U.’s rotating presidency. De Bruyne said up until now, China had always refused the E.U.’s request to let the special rapporteur on torture into the country. China also reportedly gave the E.U. information about 35 of 47 political prisoners who the E.U. asked about, a significantly better response than in previous years. European diplomats maintained they hope China is intent on improving human rights by working more closely with the U.N.

However, De Bruyne said the E.U. made no progress with China on Falun Gong, treatment of ethnic minorities, and the frequent recourse to the death penalty.


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INTERNATIONAL: China’s Vice President Tours Europe for the First Time

SUMMARY - Chinese Vice President Hu Jintao has been traveling to European countries this week to meet with heads of state, discuss international terrorism, and to step out onto the world stage.

Chosen by Deng Xiaoping to be President Jiang Zemin’s successor, little else is known about Hu outside of China.  So far Hu has avoided being associated with any faction and his position on economic and political policies are also unclear.

A five-nation European tour to Russia, Britain, Spain and Germany, all of which he has never visited before, is meant to be Hu’s diplomatic debut.  Many people, both friend and foe, are watching his every move during his trip for future scrutiny.

For his meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair, Hu was led into Downing Street through a side entrance to avoid the group of demonstrators protesting his human rights records in Tibet.  As a Communist Party Chief in Tibet, Hu adopted a hard-line and was responsible for crushing the 1988 and 1989 pro-independence Tibetan protests.

Vice President Hu is the first Chinese leader to visit the West since the September 11 terrorist attacks.  During his talks with leaders, issues such as fighting terrorism and the allied military response have dominated his discussions.

Hu is scheduled to replace President Jiang in 2003.  At 59, Hu is young enough that he could rule China for 15 years.

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INTERNATIONAL:  Philippine’s President Visits China

SUMMARY - Philippine President Gloria Arroyo visited China for three days in order to discuss international crime and a raise the issue of a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. Arroyo, who arrived in Beijing on Monday after visiting Hong Kong, met with President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongji and legislative chairman Li Peng.

During a previous press conference, Arroyo said her agenda would include trade and investments, cultural exchanges and the common goal of the two countries to fight transnational crimes.  Ultimately, the Philippines and China signed three landmark agreements on extraditing fugitives and fights drugs and other crimes.

Also discussed was the recent kidnapping involving Chinese engineers working in the southern Philippines.  Last week, one Chinese hostage held for months by Muslim gunmen was released after separatists finally negotiated for his freedom.

However, the tricky Spratly Islands issue was largely glossed over.  “Both China and the Philippines have agreed that this one irritant should not be the main characteristic of our relationship with each other,?Arroyo said about the South China Sea islands.

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CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS: Taiwan President Says He Intends to Improve China Ties

SUMMARY - Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian has said in an interview with Associated Press Television News that he intends to improve cross-Taiwan Strait relations. In the interview on October 26, Chen said as Taiwan’s president he has ?#034;the duty and obligation to bring peace to the Taiwan Strait as well as promote and complete
the normalization of cross-strait relations."

While he spoke in support of the anti-terrorism message emanating from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, he expressed deep regret that Taiwan was not included in the forum, which he blamed on Chinese interference. He rebuked China for not following protocol by sending an official to bring a formal invitation to Taiwan’s representative to the conference. Chen was originally planning to attend the summit himself, but then chose Vice President Li Yuan-zu as his delegate. Taiwan’s delegation left Beijing because the Chinese government refused to allow Li to represent the island, arguing that APEC protocol called for Taiwan to send an economic official.

Chen praised U.S. President George Bush for reminding Beijing in Shanghai it should not use anti-terrorism as an excuse to oppress minorities. He also said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice have emphasized that the United States will not sacrifice Taiwan’s interests in order to cooperate with Beijing against international terrorism.

Chen said if given the opportunity to visit the mainland, he would like to discuss “the universal values of democracy, freedom and human rights?with Chinese President Jiang Zemin. He also said China and Taiwan should “promote cross-strait relations on the principles of democracy, equality and peace." He said he would continue to ease controls on trade and investment with the mainland.

Chen maintained that he expects his Democratic Progressive Party to win 13-14 counties and cities of the 23 magistrate and city mayor positions up for election December 1. He also said the DPP might replace the Kuomintang as the biggest party in the 225-seat Legislative Yuan after elections are held at the end of the year.

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