Week of November 9, 2001
Week of November 9, 2001
The U.S. and China This Week
DOMESTIC: China’s Tibet Governor
Forecasts Tibet Development
SUMMARY (11/7) - The Chinese governor of Tibet, Guo
Jinlong, is forecasting major economic development of the Tibet region,
which he says will lead to social harmony. "Conditions for large numbers
of Tibetans are still quite backward," Guo said in an interview. "This
is all for the good of the people and to strengthen national unity." The
Communist Party secretary of Tibet said the Beijing government will double
its spending in Tibet from that spent over the past five years. The investment
and subsidies will make Tibet’s economy expand by more than 12 percent
a year over the next five years, Guo said, significantly eclipsing the
growth rate in the rest of China. He predicted incomes in Tibet will catch
up to the national average income level by 2012.
The Chinese government has been criticized for
not negotiating with the exiled Dalai Lama for autonomy for Tibet as well
as for enticing Han Chinese to settle in the region. The Dalai Lama, who
fled Tibet in 1959 after an uprising, is considered a separatist by the
Chinese government. Guo said "public support for the Dalai Lama has drastically
declined" and also that he is perceived by most Tibet residents as a "schemer,
a split-ist and an opportunist."
Guo also said 93% of Tibet’s population of 2.6
million people are ethnic Tibetans. Critics argue that figure does not
count many unregistered migrants in the cities and the large Chinese military
presence in Tibet.
Guo has been softer on religious issues than the
previous governor, but still maintains a ban on Party members practicing
Buddhism due to Communism’s adherence to atheism. While there is freedom
of religion and monasteries destroyed during the Cultural Revolution are
being rebuilt, the number of monks are limited and any thought to be aiding
the Dalai Lama are arrested. The Potala, the former residence of the Dalai
Lama, is a protected World Heritage Site and a major tourist attraction.
The direct payments to the government of Tibet
over the next five years, which will provide 90% of its regular budget,
will be used for education, infrastructure projects and training. Farmers
have also been exempted from taxes that are controversial in the rest of
China, and education is free in Tibet from primary school through high
school, unlike elsewhere in China.
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DOMESTIC: Taiwan Eases Mainland
SUMMARY (11/8) - The government of Taiwan has eased
the rules for its citizens on investing in mainland China. Experts expect
the November 7 action will hasten the commercial integration of Taiwan
and the mainland, while critics in Taiwan fear that it will lead to Taiwanese
dependence on the mainland. Already, Taiwanese have invested $60 billion
in mainland China. Now rules requiring them to use loopholes to invest
are gone, as is a $50 million limit on individual investments. In addition,
Taiwanese will get automatic approval for investments under $20 million
and will be able to wire money to and from Chinese banks directly.
The move came as Taiwan prepares for membership
along with China in the World Trade Organization, which is expected to
occur this weekend at a meeting in Qatar. Tsai Ingwen, chairwoman of the
Mainland Affairs Council, said the old “no haste, be patient?policy towards
investing in the mainland was outdated. The new slogan is “aggressive opening,
effective management.?The old policy, designed by former president Lee
Teng-hui, was meant to prevent China from accessing sophisticated technology.
But with Taiwan currently experiencing economic difficulties, a committee
consisting of executives, scholars and government officials recommended
removing the restrictions. President Chen Shui-bian clearly wants the new
policy to garner him support from business leaders and others who want
to see the economy boosted. The prohibition of manufacturing notebook
PC’s and semiconductors in China was not ended, but a task force will study
what technology should be permitted into China. The task force will also
deliberate on projects of more than $20 million.
Taiwan could benefit from the new policy through
increased profits sent back; companies will be required to report earnings.
Peter Kurz, the founder of Insight Pacific, an investment research firm
in Taipei, said, "Right now, capital flows are a one-way street from Taiwan
to China. Taiwan is trying to increase the flow back."
Wang Yung-ching, a Taiwanese businessman who
supported the changes, said, "There is only one road for Taiwan to walk,
and that's the road of liberalization."
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The U.S. and China This
Last updated: October 05, 2001