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Week of June 7, 2002

Week of June 7, 2002

The U.S. and China This Week

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DOMESTIC: China's Experiences First World Cup

China's national soccer team played its first World Cup game in Gwangju, South Korea on Tuesday and ended up losing to Group C rivals Costa Rica 0-2. Though the results were disappointing, the lead up to the game reached a patriotic pitch with work units giving staff time off, while many schools closed early. Beijing's Lianhuachi Park set up three large screen TVs and expected up to 10,000 eager fans to watch the live match.

China's soccer coach, Bora Milutnovic, a Serbian known in China simply as Milu, urged the millions of Chinese soccer fans to spur on his team, which were considered underdogs before the finals began. Around 15,000 Chinese did end up traveling to South Korea, making it the largest contingent of foreign fans.

A Chinese survey revealed that more than three-quarters of urban Chinese planned to watch the World Cup match. The overwhelming patriotic hype over China's debut prompted the team to post an open letter on the Internet that pleaded with the nation's millions of fans not to expect too much.

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DOMESTIC: Thirteenth Anniversary of June 4th Crackdown

Tens of thousands of people marked the 13th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre of pro-democracy protestors by attending a candlelight vigil in Hong Kong's Victoria Park. The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, which organizes the annual remembrance, expected around 45,000 people, though independent estimates placed the number in attendance to reach around 20,000. Although the turnout was down from the peak of 150,000 in 1990, Hong Kong still remains the only place that has continually marked the June 4th crackdown, which is believed to have killed hundreds, if not thousands, of demonstrators, mostly students.

In Beijing, concerns over possible disruptions and incidents were heightened due to China's first World Cup match that coincided with the politically sensitive June 4th anniversary. According to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, two democracy campaigners were detained as the Chinese government tightened up security in preparation for any trouble. The information center said democracy campaigners Hua Huiqi and Liu Fenggang were put under house arrest and their situation was unknown. Chinese police told relatives the detained would be released after about five days.

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DOMESTIC: China Wins Prestigious Environmental Awards

Two United Nations environmental awards were presented to the city of Shenzhen, in China's southern Guangong province and to Aohanqi county, in China's Inner Mongolia region. Both places were honored for their efforts in defending the environment during the 30th International World Environment Day event sponsored by the UN Environment Program (UNEP). The Global 500 Roll of Honor for Environmental Achievement award is considered one of the most prestigious international environmental honors and has been given to hundreds of individuals, cities, and organizations worldwide.

Shenzhen was singled out for its environmental awareness while the city rapidly develops. Forty-five percent of urban districts are covered in greenery and the city plans to spend and additional 7.2 million dollars in planting trees and adding other plants on barren land in the city.

Aohanqi county was recognized for its massive reforestation projects that have been undertaken since the early 1970's. Located in a dry, sandy region, the county has struggled to slow down the desertification in its suburbs. At present the forest coverage in Aohanqi has reached 43.5 percent, helping to reduce the loss of land due to shifting sand dunes.

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

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