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Week of March 15, 2002

Week of March 15, 2002

The U.S. and China This Week


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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: China "Deeply Shocked" By U.S. Nuclear Documents

SUMMARY: (3/11; 3/13) - China has demanded an explanation from the United States about a draft presidential directive and the Defense Department review that it is based on. The classified Nuclear Posture Review found that the United States should have contingency plans for use of nuclear weapons against China and six other nations. The review was given to Congress in early January, and an unclassified version was given to other individuals, including journalists. Part of the classified material was leaked to the Los Angeles Times, which published it March 9; the New York Times ran part of the classified document the next day.

Chinese state television quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi March 11 as emphasizing that China and the United States have an agreement not to target each other with nuclear weapons. "Like many other countries, China is deeply shocked with the content of this report," Sun stated. He added that China is peaceful and is no threat to other countries. Sun said China believes all nuclear weapons should be destroyed, that all nuclear powers should pledge no first use of nuclear weapons, and that nuclear powers should pledge not to threaten non-nuclear countries with nuclear weapons or utilize nuclear weapons against them.

In the Defense Department study, more likely "immediate" contingencies for use of nuclear weapons were contrasted with less likely "potential" contingencies. A conflict with China over Taiwan was placed in the former category. Wars with North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Libya and Syria were also placed in that category. In contrast, a war with Russia was placed in the latter category.

Zhu Qiangguo, a researcher at the China Defense Science and Technology Information Center, wrote in the China Daily that the United States is seeking "absolute military superiority." He linked the issues of the proposed new nuclear doctrine and missile defense, stating, "Once the United States gets rid of the fear of nuclear reprisal from countries with a few nuclear weapons, the possible use of U.S. nuclear weapons in real combat will be further augmented." Zhu also charged the United States is preparing for new nuclear tests.

Hong Kong's Chinese-language daily, Ming Pao, editorialized March 11 condemned America for "increasing the uncertainty of world peace."


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U.S. DOMESTIC: Bush Officials Say Nuclear Documents Are Routine

SUMMARY: (3/10; 3/11; 3/12; 3/13) - Bush Administration officials have defended the controversial draft presidential directive on nuclear strategy and the 56-page Pentagon Nuclear Posture Review it is based on. A classified version of the review was quoted by the New York Times March 10th and by the Los Angeles Times March 9th. The review contained contingency plans to use nuclear weapons against the following nations: China, Russia, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and Syria. Secretary of State Colin Powell discussed the Pentagon review on CBS' "Face the Nation" on the morning of March 10th. "We should not get carried away with some sense that the United States is planning to use nuclear weapons in some contingency that is coming in the near future," he said. "It is not the case."

Vice President Dick Cheney, in London March 11th, said the report was required by Congress to give it an idea of "the overall state of our capabilities and [it] gives some idea of the directions we'd like to move in the future." But, Cheney said, the idea that has been put forth in the press that "we are preparing preemptive nuclear strikes ... I'd say that's a bit over the top."

National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on NBC's "Meet the Press" March 10th that no one should be surprised that the United States is very concerned about weapons of mass destruction. "The only way to deter such a use is to be clear that it would be met with a devastating response," she said. "That is the basis of this report." But the Los Angeles Times reported the Pentagon laid out the following three contingencies for using nuclear weapons: "against targets able to withstand nonnuclear attack; in retaliation for attack with nuclear, biological or chemical weapons;" or "in the event of surprising military developments."

The Los Angeles Times maintained the report said the Pentagon should be prepared to use nuclear weapons in the event of an Arab-Israeli war, a conflict between China and Taiwan, an attack on South Korea by North Korea, or an attack by Iraq on a neighboring country or Israel.

Meanwhile, various nations have responded to the Pentagon study and the directive. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said China was not satisfied by the explanations offered by Rice and Powell. "We are now waiting for the U.S. side to offer up more formal and clear explanations," Sun said. The Tehran Times, which is close to hard-liners in Iran, accused the United States of seeking "hegemony and domination." Russian Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, a former top Defense Department official who is aligned with conservatives in the military, called on Russian politicians to cease having "illusions that Washington wishes Moscow well." Vyacheslav Nikonov, president of the Politka foundation that analyzes political developments, also criticized the United States. He said, "Bush's directive is a very negative signal, which I think will be perceived accordingly by the Russian leadership."

U.S. allies, for their part, have given a muted response. The British Foreign Office and the Italian defense minister said the report was nothing more than normal strategizing.


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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: Falun Gong, Chinese Government Battle in U.S

SUMMARY:  Falun Gong members have brought cases against Chinese officials in U.S. courts under the Torture Victims Protection Act and the Alien Tort Claims Act of 1789. The latter legislation was intended to prosecute pirates for acts committed outside U.S. territory. So far, four Chinese officials have been issued court papers. Zhao Zhifei, head of public security in Hubei province, was given a summons last July 17 by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Plaintiff Pang Liang claims his brother and mother were killed for their religious convictions. According to his lawyer, Peng disappeared after being arrested in China last August. Zhao chose not to contest the charges, so the plaintiff won, but the court issued no damages.

Zhou Yongkang, the top Communist Party official in Sichuan province, was issued a court summons last August 27 for the alleged torture of a female elementary school teacher. The teacher disappeared last June and is thought by her family to be dead; the plaintiff is the sister of the alleged victim. On February 7, cases were filed against Beijing's mayor, Liu Qi, and Xia Deren, deputy governor of Liaoning province. Liu was given his papers on the way to lead China's delegation to the Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has lobbied local American governments to rescind proclamations supporting Falun Gong and to cancel commemorations of the group. Various jurisdictions have complied. And China is using its clout in Chinatowns across the United States to prevent Falun Gong from marching in parades or being part of other organized activities.


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DOMESTIC: Laid-Off Chinese Oil Workers Demand More Compensation

SUMMARY:  Tens of thousands of laid-off Chinese oil workers have been protesting peacefully over a diminishment of severance benefits from the Daqing oil field in Heilongjiang province, local officials reported March 13. The protests have gone on since March 1, a Daqing official said. Witnesses say at least 10,000 people have gathered each day of the protest, and Han Dongfang, who runs a labor rights group in Hong Kong, said up to 50,000 individuals have shown up. According to witnesses, some protesters have called for the right to organize unions outside the Communist Party.

Daqing Petroleum Administration Bureau, which operates the oil field, laid the workers off in 1999. Daqing is one of China's biggest state-owned firms, employing 300,000 people. A local office worker nearby said the workers told her they were protesting a slashing of benefits promised by the company when they were laid off. Those payments included heating subsidies of around $360 to help the workers make it through the region's harsh winters, the woman reported. She also said protesters claim at the time the benefits were slashed, officials received bonuses of $110,000.

A company official would not confirm any of the information about the protests. The official said the protests were due to a misunderstanding that would be resolved soon.


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The U.S. and China This Week
The U.S. and China This Week

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