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Week of September 20, 2002

Week of October 11, 2002

The U.S. and China This Week

US-CHINA RELATIONS: US and China discuss improvement of military ties

US Navy Vice Admiral Paul Gaffney II was in China this week to discuss bilateral military ties with Beijing's Defense Minister Chi Haotian. Gaffney is the highest ranking American military official to visit China since the EP3 spy plane incident in April 2001. In a meeting between Gaffney and Chi on Wednesday, Chi said that China hopes to renew defense contracts and better military coordination with the US. Xinhua news agency quoted Chi as saying that military relations with the US would "further strengthen the communications and cooperation … and contribute to regional and world peace and stability." Gaffney, who is also president of the National Defense University in Washington, DC said he hoped that steps could be taken to "promote friendly cooperative relations between the two countries and the two armed forces." Military contacts between the two nations have been suspended since April of last year.

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DOMESTIC: Chinese court withdraws death sentence for Christian leader

In a rare reversal of verdict on a politically sensitive case, Christian leader Gong Shengliang,, initially convicted on cult charges and sentenced to death, will now face life imprisonment. The reversal came after the original verdict was thrown out by the Hubei Provincial High Court on September 22. The Court cited a lack of evidence in its decision, and ordered a new trial. For Gong's second trial, the cult charges were dropped, but the earlier charges of rape and battery were refilled. According to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, the Jingmen Intermediate Court found Gong guilty of these charges. Two other leaders were also sentenced to life for battery, while two others received fifteen year sentences on the same charges. The Center also reported that the defendants will appeal the verdicts.

Gong is the leader of a banned Christian sect, the South China Church, which was founded in 1991 and currently has a membership of around 50,000. Beijing labeled the church an "evil cult" as part of its ongoing campaign against the Falun Gong and other outlawed spiritual sects. Court and government officials have declined to comment on the case.

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DOMESTIC: Former high-ranking bank official sentenced to fifteen years

The New China News Agency reported on October 10th that Zhu Xiaohua, the highest-ranking financial official convicted so far in the crackdown on corruption, has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison. Mr. Zhu, is the former president of China's sixth largest bank, the Hong Kong based Everbright Bank, and prior served as governor of China's central bank, the People's Bank of China. A former protégé of Prime Minister Zhu Rongji, Mr. Zhu had his life sentence for bribery charges reduced after volunteering information investigators had no previous knowledge of. Chinese political analysts acknowledge that although Prime Minister Zhu Rongji has not been implicated, Mr. Zhu's sentencing further supports indications that the Prime Minister will step down at the 16th Party Congress in November and that the Chinese government would like to take an increasingly strong stance against corruption .

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

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