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

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Mon, Mar 10, 1997
Hong Kong Textbooks to Change

also: officials deny link between Beijing & Xinjiang bombs; international trade with China; questions of Chinese influence in US elections; Taiwan plane hijacked to Xiamen; info on Sichuan; and more . . .

Please read the statement of purpose.

Hong Kong: mainland China has announced that textbooks which do not conform to the Basic Law and 'one China, two systems' principle will be re-written or replaced, reports Inside China. The paper quotes Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen: "The contents of some textbooks currently used in Hong Kong do not accord with history or reality, are not suited to the changes after 1997, contradict the spirit of 'one country, two systems' and the Basic Law, and must be revised."

No explanation on what exactly it means to contradict the Basic Law or the 'one China, two systems' principle was given, reports the paper.

Ethnic problems: according to Inside China, PRC officials deny any link between the Xinjiang and Beijing bombings. Officials do not provide clear reasons why they have ruled out a link. The story also quotes Modan Mukhlisi, spokesman for the Uighur separatist United National Revolutionary Front of East Turkestan, who says it is possible a Uighur group could have been involved but does not say definitively either way.

Could the bomber(s) still be in Beijing?

Trade: the March 4 New York Times article The Giant Follows Asia's Growth Path explores the issues surrounding international trade with China. In addition to elaborating on the difficulties and ambiguities in computing many trade figures, writer Seth Faison focuses on the tangible benefits trade is having on Chinese society, as people now are able to earn incomes never before possible. New ideas, questions and problems are created by these benefits. Faison makes an interesting point about the US trade deficit with China: as the deficit rises, deficits with other Asian nations are falling, and the reason is basic economics. Manufacturing firms once located in Taiwan and elsewhere have moved to the mainland where lower wages and expenses provide a competitive advantage. To some degree trade deficits are being balanced, as one goes up and others go down. Faison also notes that many of the products manufactured in China for export to the US have not been manufactured in this country for many years.

Readers are encouraged to read the entire article.

(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.)

United States: in what is still mainly a U.S.-domestic issue, the allegations that mainland China tried to influence congressional campaigns in the last election, if true, makes one wonder what the Chinese mean by their policy of "non-interference" in other nation's internal affairs. But although the issue might be a political nightmare for President Clinton, the U.S. might have an opportunity here to debunk China's position, a questionable one anyway in light of "assistance" and "support" given to nations such as Burma. China's military, economic and political support there is undeniable and important to the Rangoon regime for fighting the Karens and other groups in armed opposition to the Rangoon generals.

Then again, how many elections has the U.S. influenced and how many groups have we armed?

Hong Kong: the ambiguities of Hong Kong 'citizenship' are highlighted by Indonesia's expulsion of some 60,000 Hong Kong workers holding Certificates of Identity (CI) cards. 1.3 million Hong Kong people "who have become Hong Kong permanent residents but who have no claim to a national passport issued by any country" carry this form of identification, writes the paper. But foreign countries consider bearers of these cards as 'stateless' people, writes the paper. The workers will be forced to leave by June and may return when they have received new travel documents. The Indonesian government said that without guidance from China on the issue it cannot permit the workers to remain past the expiration of the CI cards, which are issued by the Crown Colony and will be invalid after June 30. Although the forthcoming Special Administrative Region government will issue new passports to replace these cards, this will not occur until the change in sovereignty in July.

Korea: China and South Korea are expected to decide on the terms and arrangements for allowing North Korean defector Hwang Jang-yop to depart Beijing for South Korea.

Taiwan: a journalist from Hualien, a city on the eastern side of Taiwan, doused himself with gasoline and demanded the plane on which he was a passenger fly him to mainland China. The article does not say where the man procured the gasoline, but the plane did land in Xiamen in Fujian Province, where police arrested him. The plane and passengers returned to Taiwan safely, reports the paper.

Sichuan: more information on Sichuan province may be obtained from the Sichuan China Business page, which offers investment information, a clearing house for various Sichuan products and trading firms. Also notable is an appeal from a child struck with leukemia.

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China Informed

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