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Week of August 30, 2002

Week of August 30, 2002

The U.S. and China This Week

DOMESTIC: China strengthens missile controls

A new set of regulations, issued by Beijing, aims to control the export of missile technology. These regulations include a licensing system, which exporters will be forced to participate in if they which to export missiles or missile-related technology. The new regulations also mandate that the State Council and the Central Military Commission approve all exports affecting national security and state interests. The regulations were signed into law last week by Premier Zhu Rongji, and announced early this week. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the new regulations demonstrate China's firm stand "against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems."

The announcement came as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage arrived in China. Recently, the U.S. has expressed mounting concern over the transfer of weapons to certain Middle East countries such as Iran. The White House welcomed the Chinese announcement, but noted that the new regulations are not as strong as they had hoped. In Beijing, Amritage said he did not expect any forthcoming concessions in response to China's new regulations. He did, however, mention that the US put the East Turkestan Islamic Movement on its terrorist list. This move was noted with satisfaction by Beijing.


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DOMESTIC: 16th Party Congress delayed

The 16th Party Congress, originally scheduled to be held in mid-October, will now take place beginning November 8th. Xinhua reported the date but gave no explanation for the change. The delay has intensified speculations about the coming leadership transition.
One result of the delay is that Jiang Zemin's visit to President Bush's ranch in Crawford will now occur prior to the Party Congress. Thus Jiang will still be in retention of his Party leadership position while in Texas. However, officials in Beijing said the meeting with President Bush would not be reason enough to delay the Congress. A party official, speaking anonymously about the delay, said "I think the reason has to be wrangling over personnel arrangements, especially the Standing Committee."

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INTERNATIONAL: China voices opposition to military action in Iraq

With Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri in Beijing this week, China has indicated that it is against the use of force in Iraq. Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, meeting with Sabri on Tuesday, said that questions about Iraq should be addressed through diplomatic means from within the UN. Tang also asked Sabri to cooperate with UN weapons inspections.

Given China's position on the Security Council and its good ties with the Arab world, America had hoped for Chinese cooperation in a possible war against Iraq. However, diplomatic analysts suggested that Beijing might be more willing to grant that support if the US were to make concessions on Taiwan.


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DOMESTIC: China's top AIDS activist disappears

One of China's most prominent AIDS activists has gone missing. The activist, Wan Yanhai, is a former Chinese health official whom human rights groups and relatives believe has been detained by police. Wan took up the cause of gay rights and AIDS during the 90s and has been instrumental in drawing attention to China's AIDS epidemic. He played a key role in exposing the connection between blood transfusions and HIV/AIDS in the central province of Henan. He ran a private AIDS center but had to close it.. He is currently involved in running a website about H.I.V. and creating small support groups for patients. Wan's wife, Su Zhaosheng, has not heard from her husband since last week, and friends who have gone to the Public Security Bureau to demand Wan's release have been unsuccessful. "I am very worried about him. This has never happened before," Su said. "My main concern is to know where he is." Wan's disappearance comes at a critical time for Beijing, which is about to submit a request to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for millions of dollars in aid for the fight against AIDS.

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

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