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Week of November 30, 2001

Week of November 23, 2001

The U.S. and China This Week


INTERNATIONAL: Foreign Falun Gong Adherents Arrested in Tiananmen Square

SUMMARY (11/21; 11/22; 11/23) - Thirty-five foreigners, including six Americans, were arrested in Tiananmen Square for demonstrating in support of Falun Gong November 20. They were subsequently deported from China. Some members of the group, which also included Europeans and Australians, unfurled a banner with the Falun Gong slogan: “truth, benevolence, forbearance.?Others sat in the lotus position, eyes closed, praying. In the United States, Falun Gong members released a statement on behalf of those arrested which said they were appealing “on behalf of tens of thousands of innocent people who suffer imprisonment, torture or even death at the hands of their own government in China.?The statement added that the protesters wanted the leadership of China to end its crackdown on Falun Gong. A few Western reporters were told in advance of the demonstration, and witnesses asserted it appeared the Chinese government may have known about it as well.

Police forced the protesters into vans, dragging several of them on the ground, and roughly hoisting others. One protester escaped the police briefly and ran toward pedestrians shouting “Falun Gong is good? in Chinese. At least one protester was hit in the back by a police officer several times and kicked and battered before the van he was in pulled away. But the police used less force than they have in stopping demonstrations by domestic Falun Gong members, despite the fact that some passersby urged the police to hit the protesters.

Sweden protested what it deemed the harsh physical handling of the 35 detainees, and said Swedish diplomats were not allowed to meet soon enough with those who were Swedish. But Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said China had dealt with the Falun Gong members with “humanity and fairness,?and said China briefed the governments of the nationals involved the next day and asked diplomats to instruct their nationals to respect Chinese law.

In the past few weeks, Falun Gong spokesmen in New York have alleged several fatalities of Falun Gong members from police torture in China. Rights groups claim as many as 300 Falun Gong members may have died while in custody in China. Falun Gong maintains that the teachings of their New York-based leader Li Hongzhi lead to health, good citizenship and even supernatural abilities. China claims Falun Gong is an “evil cult?and that more than 1,000 Falun Gong adherents have died from suicide or refusal of needed medical help.

Meanwhile, permanent U.S. resident Teng Chunyan has renounced Falun Gong membership, according to the official New China News Agency. She was quoted as saying that the conditions in her labor camp were decent and that she had not been abused. In May 2000, she was given a three-year sentence for aiding foreign reporters who were investigating the crackdown on Falun Gong.

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: China Again Asserts Opposition to Submarines Sale

SUMMARY (11/21) - China again asserted its opposition to the U.S. sale of submarines to Taiwan after a Taiwanese newspaper reported U.S. manufacturers may be vying to supply the vessels. “We firmly oppose the American sale of arms, especially submarines, to Taiwan," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told reporters. She also said, “We have urged the American side to recognize the serious consequences of selling arms to Taiwan." China considers Taiwan a renegade province. The Taipei-based China Times reported seven U.S. firms were set to bid for the right to build eight diesel submarines. Beijing does not want Taiwan to acquire a modern fleet of submarines which could resist a Chinese blockade.

Unnamed U.S. officials said Northrup Grumman Corp. and General Dynamics were two firms set to bid; the bidding is thought to be scheduled for January. The officials declined to name the other firms. Earlier this month, another Taiwanese newspaper reported U.S. military officials as maintaining that the Pentagon supported the submarines sale.

The United States does not build diesel submarines anymore; all of its subs are nuclear. Jane’s Defense Weekly maintained this week that U.S. firms were looking for blueprints for diesel submarines from other nations. Holland and Germany make such submarines but have said they will not enter into this deal for fear of upsetting China. Last month, Taiwanese legislators said the island will begin receiving the diesel submarines from the United States in 2010 as part of its military build-up in response to Chinese pressure.

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DOMESTIC: Taiwan Will Allow Chinese Tourists to Visit

SUMMARY (11/23) - In a further thawing of mainland-Taiwan relations, Taiwan’s top mainland policymaker has announced that Taiwan will allow mainlanders living or studying overseas to visit the island. The new policy, approved by the Executive Yuan, or cabinet, will go into effect next year.

"It is a crucial step towards normalizing ties between the two sides of the Strait," Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the cabinet's Mainland Affairs Council, said to reporters. She added that Taiwan would be prepared for further liberalizing measures depending on China’s reaction. According to a Taiwanese government statement, 1,000 visitors a day will be allowed. Presently, mainlanders can only come to Taiwan to report news, visit relatives or participate in cultural and educational exchanges. All applications are handled on a case-by-case basis.
Johnson Tseng, chairman of the Taipei Association of Travel Agents, said Chinese tourists would bring in T$100 billion (US$2.9 billion) annually to the island. "It'll be a boon to the whole tourism industry during this period of recession," he said. Taiwan’s economy is in the midst of what is expected to be its first full-year contraction. Tseng said the liberalization was restricted to Chinese currently overseas so "Visitors jumping ship and repatriation problems can be avoided." Beijing considers Taiwan a renegade province, and there are currently no political talks ongoing to resolve the Taiwan issue.


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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: Chinese Premier Says U.S. Doesn’t Favor Reunification

SUMMARY (11/23) ?Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji was reported to have told a Japanese economic delegation visiting Beijing November 23 that the United States is not really interested in the reunification of the mainland and Taiwan. The Chinese language New York newspaper the World Journal reported Zhu maintained the United States is giving the wrong message to Taiwan: that it will protect the island no matter what transpires. This gives Taiwan the impression there is no need to negotiate reunification, Zhu said. Zhu implied that the actions of the United States mean it is being insincere when it says it maintains a one-China policy.

This is the first time that a leading Chinese official has accused the United States of not supporting Chinese reunification and is an important indication of the attitude of the Chinese government.


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