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Week of December 7, 2000

Week of December 7, 2001

The U.S. and China This Week



CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS: DPP Wins Plurality in Taiwanese Legislature

SUMMARY (12/2; 12/4; 12/6) - Taiwan's pro-independence Democratic People's Party (DPP) won a plurality of seats in the legislature in the December 1 elections, thus supplanting the Nationalist Party formed by General Chiang Kai-shek that ruled the island for four decades before Taiwan became a democracy. The DPP took 87 of the legislature's 225 seats, while the Nationalists fell from 110 seats to 68. The DPP won 37 percent of the popular vote to the Nationalists' 31 percent. The People First Party, which supports reunification with China, saw its seats in the legislature rise from 20 to 46.

After the election Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian of the DPP again offered to hold talks with Beijing on the future of the island, which Beijing regards as a renegade province. He called on Beijing to "accept the choice of the Taiwanese people and seize this window of opportunity." Mainland Affairs Council head Tsai Ing-wen said that while Chen would keep a promise not to declare independence, he would not accept Beijing's demand that he acknowledge that there is but one China and Beijing is the sole legal government of China before entering into political talks.

Mainland China appeared unfazed by the strong showing of the DPP. "The election results will not influence China's policies toward Taiwan," Zhang Mingqing, spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, commented to reporters in Beijing. "The basic direction of the Chinese motherland's policies toward Taiwan has not changed." Zhang argued, "Most Taiwanese people want relations [with China] to be stable and developing, and they especially want warmer economic and trade relations." He encouraged more Taiwanese firms to move to China "and take up the first opportunities in the world's largest market." The Chinese state-run China Daily said the election would not "drastically worsen" relations between the mainland and Taiwan.

Aides to President Chen said the strong showing of the DPP in the elections has made Chen believe he can afford to maintain his stance toward China and wait. But they also said he was not averse to talking with the mainland about what "one China" means. The DPP will need to gain support in the legislature from parties that support agreeing that Taiwan is part of China but disagreeing with Beijing over what that means. In the campaign, Chen seemed to reject that formula. He said accepting Beijing's "one-China" principle would destroy the island.

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said of Chen after the elections, "I hold him in contempt. His mouth cannot speak the truth, and everything he says is a lie."
The DPP is expected to form a coalition with the Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU), a new party led by former president Lee Teng-hui that won 13 seats. The TSU is even more adamant in supporting Taiwanese independence than the DPP.

"President Chen comes out of this election in a very good position," said Emile Sheng, a political scientist at Taipei's Soochow University. "There are a lot of options available to him. In effect, he already controls enough seats, so there's no way the Nationalists can block major legislation."
The election results were stunning in that Taiwan is in the midst of the deepest recession it has ever had. GDP fell at an annual rate of four percent last quarter and since Chen was elected president in March 2000, the stock market has fallen by over 50%.

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: China, U.S. Discuss Anti-Terror Cooperation

SUMMARY (12/6) - After holding talks in Beijing with the State Department's senior anti-terrorism official, China said it would consider allowing the United States send an FBI agent to head up a law-enforcement liaison office in China's capital. Washington had asked for the office more than a year ago, a U.S. Embassy spokesman said. In the wake of the terrorist attacks against the United States on September 11, the request has become more urgent. The office would deal with various issues, including terrorism.

"We are optimistic that that request will be approved," said Francis X. Taylor, a former Air Force general. He praised China for helping the United States dismantle Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network. Taylor's meeting with senior Chinese foreign affairs and military officials was his third such encounter with Chinese officials. Taylor maintained that the Chinese and U.S. governments have agreed they will hold periodic meetings of anti-terrorism officials.

"On counterterrorism, our relationship has been solid - a partnership of shared interest ... toward eliminating this evil," Taylor said at a news conference.
The two sides did have some differences of opinion on terrorism. Taylor acknowledged that Chinese Muslims had fought for al-Qaida in Afghanistan, but he emphasized that Washington didn't agree with China's stance that Muslim separatists in its northwest constitute part of a global terror threat.

"We discussed the fact that ... the legitimate economic and social issues that confront people in northwestern China are not necessarily counterterrorist issues, and should be resolved politically," he said.

According to Taylor, he only briefly discussed weapons proliferation. China is reputed to have sold missile and nuclear weapons technology to Pakistan. Pakistan backed the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, which was a refuge for bin Laden.

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INTERNATIONAL: Spy Fears Deportation to China

SUMMARY (12/3) - A former double or even triple agent is begging American authorities not to deport him to China despite the fact that he was convicted of spying for China and served almost a decade in U.S. federal prison. Bin Wu, who came to live in America from China in 1990, was convicted in 1992 of shipping night vision scopes to China in violation of an American embargo on military sales to that nation. Some defense lawyers claim the equipment was to be sold by China to Iraq. Wu says China forced him into becoming a spy for it after they discovered he was a pro-democracy activist. However, Wu claims he supplied America valuable information about China's intelligence operations in the United States.

Wu was arrested by U.S. customs officials in 1992 after coming to live in America in 1990. He finished his sentence in July. "I beg for the I.N.S.'s mercy," Wu maintained in a statement. Wu, who is being held in a federal prison by immigration officials, will face the ruling of a judge in an immigration court in Oakdale, Louisiana. The immigration courts are part of the Justice Department, not the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Hundreds of individuals have been detained in the effort against terrorism and will face similar proceedings. Critics say the judges are not equipped to handle such complex matters.

Wu is a former philosophy professor. After coming to America he received payments from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and China. An immigration spokesman said he is eligible for deportation because of his felony conviction. His felony conviction also means he can not receive asylum; therefore, he has argued he should be allowed to stay in the United States because of a United Nations convention that prohibits torture and other "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment. Wu claims the Chinese will torture and execute him. "They will kill one to warn a hundred," he maintained in a statement to the court.

Contrary opinions on Wu's fate in China have been expressed. James R. Lilley, a former ambassador to China and a former CIA officer, said China "probably wouldn't touch the guy." But James H. Zimmerman, a China specialist for Amnesty International, said China's bad human rights situation should cause alarm. Amnesty International claims 27,000 people have been sentenced to death in China in the 1990's and the condemned have included suspected spies.

Hiroshi Motomura, an immigration law expert at the University of Colorado, said due to the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States immigration judges will be more likely to send people back to their native countries despite risk of torture.

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