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• Chinese Officials Defect in Australia, Seek Asylum
• Chinese Health Ministry Taking Progressive Measures to Combat HIV/AIDS
• Chinese Government Clamps Down on Web Users
• President Bush Hosts Chinese Congressional Delegation in the White House
• China Anticipates North Korea’s Return to Six-Party Talks





Chinese Officials Defect in Australia, Seek Asylum

6-08: Two Chinese officials, Chen Yonglin, 37, a political affairs consul at China's consulate in Sydney, and Hao Fengjun, 32, an intelligence analyst, have defected from their posts and are seeking political asylum in Australia.

Both men have left their positions charging that they could not stand for the Chinese government’s treatment of minorities and dissidents, such as the oppression of the Falun Gong and democracy activists. Mr Chen has said China has around 1,000 spies in Australia and fears he will be persecuted if he returns to China after his four-year posting in Australia. Mr. Hao, labeling himself as the “spy master,” echoed Mr. Chen’s claims alleging China's persecution of minority groups and has handed intelligence evidence over to the Australian Department of Immigration.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry has responded by denying the validity of either defector’s claims and arguing for their immediate return to China.



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Chinese Health Ministry Taking Progressive Measures to Combat HIV/AIDS

6-07: China's Health Ministry has begun distribution of free condoms and needle exchanges, methods which would have been considered taboo by the government only a few years ago.

The policy urges local governments to target high-risk groups in one of the boldest nationwide campaigns yet against the disease. The guidelines assert that prostitutes should be encouraged to require customers to use condoms, seek reproductive health services, and be treated for venereal disease. People infected with sexually transmitted diseases are to be given free condoms. They also call for disease prevention education to be carried out at places where gay men gather, as well as at job sites and other areas where migrant workers live.

The government only recently became open about its AIDS epidemic after years of denying it was a problem. China reports 840,000 people currently infected with HIV, and 80,000 with AIDS. But health experts warn that China could have ten million infected by the end of the decade unless the government takes rigorous measures.

In partnership with the US, China has also launched a series of media campaigns, including a new national anti-drug campaign in May. Randall Tobias, the U.S. global AIDS coordinator, praised the Ministry’s aggressive new approach last Tuesday. The US is aiding China to combat HIV/AIDS with $35 million from 2004-2008.



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Chinese Government Clamps Down on Web Users

6-08: Chinese authorities have ordered all China-based Web sites and blogs to register or be closed down. Bloggers and private web sites must now register his or her owner’s complete identity or face heavy fines.

The government has long required all web sites to register and take responsibility for Internet content, but it had previously lacked the capability to effectively police blogs, online diaries, and small, private dissident web sites. But, now, the government has new Net Crawler technology that will monitor the sites and search each Web address for its registration number, reporting back to the government if the site shows up as unregistered.

The internet’s organizational power became obvious this spring during the anti-Japanese demonstrations, in which organizers relied heavily on private web pages and cell phone messaging to mobilize protesters. In the space of a few weeks, as many as 40 million signatures were collected online to demand that Japan be barred from obtaining a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

And while the Chinese authorities may have tacitly approved of the anti-Japanese demonstrations, there has been growing concern among China's leaders about the destabilizing potential of the Internet. The tone has been set by President Hu Jintao himself, who, quoting Mao, has warned against insurrection, saying, "A spark from heaven can light up an entire plain."



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President Bush Hosts Chinese Congressional Delegation in the White House

6-09: According to the Taiwanese Chinese-language press The World Journal on June 7, President Bush hosted a delegation from the Chinese National People’s Congress, including Sheng Huaren, Vice-Chairman of the Congress.

During the White House meeting, the President reaffirmed the US commitment to the One-China Policy and the three communiqués that represent the foundation of the policy. This meeting likely marks the first time that the president has hosted Chinese legislators in the White House and demonstrates the increasing importance of the US’s relationship with China.

The delegation is part of a US-China annual Congressional exchange, sponsored by Senators Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii).

On June 9th, the delegation also met with Vice-President Dick Cheney and Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert.



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China Anticipates North Korea’s Return to Six-Party Talks

6-07: According to the World Journal, Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya announced that he expects North Korea may return to the Six-Party talks very “soon.”

North Korea has informed the US that it anticipates resuming the talks, but has not indicated when. Ambassador Wang clarified that the resumption of dialogue could occur before the end of June; however, the Ambassador added a caveat to his remarks, noting that while all should be hopeful in the process, over optimism could also prove disappointing.

North Korea halted the Six-Party Talks after Bush Administration publicly labeled Kim Jong Il a tyrant.



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