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Week of February 15, 2002

Week of February 15, 2002

The U.S. and China This Week

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DOMESTIC: Group Claims Leaked Documents Detail China's Crackdown on Religion

SUMMARY: (2/13) - The New York-based Committee for Investigation on Persecution of Religion in China claims to have obtained eight documents detailing the Chinese government's crackdown on religious groups. Robin Muro, a China scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said the documents appeared authentic and could rank as being among the most important internal Chinese documents relating to religious persecution viewed by the West. "These documents are from all around the country, all consistent, all quite draconian, and all expressing implacable hostility toward these groups and determination to eradicate them," Muro said.

The Committee published the papers as part of a 141-page report on religious persecution in China. The group claims to have identified 23,000 individuals arrested since 1983 for illegal religious activities and to have taken statements from 5,000 individuals who were victims of torture and persecution in 22 provinces and 200 cities. China allows its citizens to worship only in state-sanctioned sects. The documents purport to outline China's plan to demolish 14 Christian or Buddhist organizations labeled as cults since 1995. The Committee's executive director, Bob Fu, said China's government is hinting at easing restrictions on religion while actually trying to crush religious groups. Li Shixiong, president of the Committee, said Chinese Christians obtained half of the documents from provincial police officials. The rest came from a former Ministry of State Security official who has now gone into hiding, Li said.

In one of the documents, Sun Jianxin, vice director of public security in Anhui province, said "Hostile organizations" at home and abroad were infiltrating foundations, academic delegations, and media. He said the West, led by the United States, was intent on Westernizing and weakening China. He also reported that despite discussions of the Vatican recognizing China, he was ordering his security forces to crack down on underground Catholic worshipers. He strongly backed the crackdown on Falun Gong.

Various documents describe using secret agents to infiltrate groups and forcing members of targeted groups to become informers after secretly arresting them. There is also an order to establish "mobile reconnaissance teams" throughout China to conduct electronic surveillance on individuals suspected of underground worship.

"Secret forces are the heart and soul in covert struggles and the crucial magic weapon in our battle against and victory over the enemy," Sun reportedly said, counseling security forces to focus on Falun Gong, underground Catholics, private businessmen with complicated political backgrounds, professors at universities and students. In one document, President Jiang Zemin is quoted as telling police to be wary of the sect Eastern Lightning and to "deal with it according to law…."


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DOMESTIC: Chinese Officials Rebut Human Rights Criticisms

SUMMARY: (2/11) - Two Chinese leaders have assailed human rights criticisms of China in recent days. Li Peng, head of China's parliament, the National People's Congress, said in a January 30 statement reported by the official Xinhua news agency that Beijing was "firmly opposed" to the notion of "interfering in other countries' internal affairs by using the human rights issue." Li's comments were made in congratulatory remarks to the China Society for Human Rights Studies for coming out with a new magazine. While China still has work to do in protecting personal freedoms, Li said, it was against "the neo-interventionist fallacy about `human rights transcending over sovereignty' ... and firmly opposed to pursuing hegemony and power politics under the guise of human rights."

Li maintained it was impossible for all countries to maintain one standard for human rights and that different cultures assign different meanings to human rights. He was backed by director general of the State Council Information Office Zhao Qizheng. In an interview February 10 with the new human rights magazine, Zhao lambasted the "United States and some other Western countries" for proposing "anti-China" resolutions at the United Nations Human Rights Commission. He lauded China's great progress in "subsistence and development," which he said were the nation's current priorities.

According to Li, the new magazine is intended to be a "window through whichpeople in China could have dialogues and exchanges with foreign academic circles."
In January, Beijing set up an English-language human rights website, giving its view of the status of human rights in China.


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DOMESTIC: Foreign Direct Investment in China Rises

SUMMARY:   (2/12) - China's actual foreign direct investment (FDI) jumped 33.54% year-on-year in January to $2.966 billion, according to the official Xinhua news agency. Contracted foreign investment, which often signals future trends, shot up 47.97% year-on-year in January to $7.187 billion, Xinhua reported. According to the Foreign Trade Ministry, China's actual FDI went up an annual 14.9% in 2001 to $46.85 billion.

Meanwhile, the official People's Daily Overseas Edition said Taiwanese invested $3.14 billion in the mainland in 2001, up 32.82% from 2000. Taiwanese have now invested over $70 billion in the mainland; the People's Daily quoted Vice Foreign Trade Minister An Min as saying accumulated Taiwanese investment is currently $29.32 billion. The newspaper reported two-way trade between the mainland and Taiwan to have grown an annual 5.92% in 2001 to $32.34 billion. Mainland China exported $5 billion of goods to Taiwan, while Taiwan exported $27.34 billion of goods to the mainland. Taiwan was the mainland's fifth largest trading partner.


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TAIWAN: U.S. Expects Early Sale of Warships to Taiwan

SUMMARY: (2/14) - The United States will complete a sale of Kidd-class destroyers to Taiwan by early next year and imminently will present Taiwan options for acquiring eight diesel-powered submarines, according to Pentagon officials. The Chinese government, which views Taiwan as a part of China that must be reintegrated with the mainland, has in the past told American officials that it can sell advanced weapons to states such as Pakistan, Iran, Syria and Libya if the United States sells advanced weapons to Taiwan.

The four Kidds were built by Pascagoula, Mississippi-based Ingalls Shipbuilding, which is now owned by the Northrop Grumman Corporation. They are sometimes called the "Ayatollah class" in jest because they were built for the late shah of Iran but kept by the United States after the shah from power fell in the Iranian Revolution. The destroyers' cost could amount to more than $2 billion depending on how they are armed, experts said. "We expect to transfer the ships early next year, assuming the supporting equipment and training packages are worked out," said David Des Roches, a spokesman for the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which manages arms sales to governments. Eric McVadon, America's defense and naval attaché in China from 1990 to 1992 who is now a consultant on East Asia security, says he believes the Taiwanese government will go ahead and buy the ships even though economic problems have made their being procured controversial in Taiwan.

The United States has not made diesel submarines since the 1950s, when the Navy decided to rely on all nuclear-powered submarines. Germany and the Netherlands, two of the world's major diesel sub exporters, will not make them for Taiwan out of fear of Beijing's reaction. As of last November, however, the Pentagon had received 14 design proposals for the diesel submarines from seven firms, including major U.S. shipbuilders Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics. The Defense Department is planning to send a Navy-led group of individuals to Taiwan perhaps as soon as next month to discuss the design and build options, said Pentagon spokesman Lieutenant Commander Jeff Davis.


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

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