China Informed: a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong

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Fri, Mar 7, 1997
Bomb Blasts Bus in Beijing

also: HK govt. explains budget; importance of Sino-US ties; PLA looks for life insurance; China's Korean dilemma; and more . . .

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Ethnic problems: a bomb blew up a city bus in Beijing's Xidan district and has left at least two people dead and six injured, reports the South China Morning Post. Little other information is available, but the bombing comes not long after three shook Urumqi last week. Muslim nationalistic separatists have claimed responsibility for those bombings.

The New York Times also has a story entitled 10 Hurt in Explosion on Beijing Bus. The Times reports that little information is forthcoming on the bombing or investigation in progress. But there appears to be some public sentiment blaming "Xinjiang's people." Ethnic nationalism is a growing force in that region of China. The recent bombing in Urumqi appears to have unsettled the government, reports the Times, "because it showed a certain level of organized resistance, always the highest concern for Communist Party authorities here." Today's bombing comes less than two weeks after Deng's funeral and in the middle of a session of the National People's Congress. Rioting, bombings and assassinations in Xinjiang seem to be rising in frequency, writes the paper. Though "reliable information is rare, the area has been particularly tense since last spring, when rioting in a town called Aksu led to thousands of arrests," the paper reports.

Despite this speculation, however, we know of no evidence linking the Beijing bombing with Muslim separatists. At this point it is but an 'educated' guess.

(See below and on the Recent News page for important information and perspectives on Ethnic problems in China)

(Note: the New York Times on-line edition is free, but requires that users register a name and password, and therefore first-time users should first introduce themselves on the Times registration page.)

Hong Kong: Governor Chris Patten, Chief Executive-designate Tung Chee-hwa, and Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen defended the territory's proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year, reports the South China Morning Post. The three spoke at the International Monetary Fund's "Conference on Financial Integration in Asia and the Role of Hong Kong" and responded to allegations that the Hong Kong government had bowed to pressure from Beijing to limit spending on welfare. The paper does not state who made these allegations.

Governor Patten said, spending was in line with the growth of the territories GDP, and prudent government administration allowed it to increase spending in social programs without increasing "the Government's take from GDP," as the paper puts it. In light of yesterday's report on the proposed budget (See below under Hong Kong), we also learn from Patten's remarks, "over the past five years spending in real terms had grown 32 per cent on education; 60 per cent on the environment; 48 per cent on health services; 34 per cent on housing; and 88 per cent on social welfare," reports the paper.

Upholding the importance of pegging spending to the overall growth in GDP, Tung Chee-hwa also said the future government would have to provide "adequate housing, a satisfactory way of life, cultural stimulation and personal freedom," reports the paper.

United States: Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen says that China and the U.S. have common interests and their relationship is improving. "The foreign minister said China's policy toward the United States was to reduce troubles, increase trust and avoid confrontation," reports CNN.

Taiwan: mainland China has warned Taiwan not to'fan separatist sentiment' during an upcoming visit of the Dalai Lama, reports Inside China. Beijing accused Taiwan of straying off the road leading to unification. Beijing also has shut down the semi-official cross-straits liaison group between the two nations, siting Taiwan's refusal "to mention 'one China'" which has "caused significant difficulty for the talks across the two sides," Chinese Foreign minister Qian Qichen said.

(See below under the heading Taiwan for more information about Taiwan's changing policy)

Military: mainland China is investigating ways to provide its 3 million soldiers with life insurance.

Korea: China will resolve the problem surrounding the defection of Hwang Jang-yop, North Korea's most influential ideological theoretician, in accordance with international law and common practice. China has also called for calm between the two Korea's as the problem is resolved.

Business: Asia Inc has a China Business Roundup. This week's edition briefs us on: listing of inland firms on the stock market, Intel chips in China, Sino-Portuguese relations, automobile manufacturing as a pillar industry, cooperative medicine for Shanghai farmers, Sino-US aircraft spare parts manufacturing center, and Chinese medicine at HK Baptist University. . .

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China Informed

a news service focused on China, Taiwan and Hong Kong
©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day