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

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Sat, Mar 15, 1997
Another Bomb in Xinjiang

also: exploring 'Chinese' influence in US politics; HK people worried about corruption; info on Shanghai; stories of old China and Kung-fu novels; and more . . .

Please read the statement of purpose.

Ethnic problems: a bomb exploded in an arms factory in Xinjiang on Thursday. Mukhiddin Mukhlisi, spokesman for the United National Revolutionary Front of East Turkestan, said Uighur separatists in Xinjiang planted it. It is not known how much damage was achieved.

United States: New York Times writer David Sanger explores how The 'Asian Money' Machine Stirs Old Fears in America. Another Times article examines the issue of Chinese money in American poltics by examining the lobbying efforts of Taiwan's government. The paper writes, Taiwan has an intricate network of supporters and lobbyists working on its behalf, it spends millions of dollars a year doing so, and Taiwan considers these efforts as vital to its national security.

The March 13 episode of the PBS News Hour discussed the issue with two members of Congress and Kenneth Lieberthal, a well-known China political science professor at the University of Michigan. Lieberethal suggested that the Chinese efforts to lobby Congress, if true, might have reflected a desire by the mainland government to "make the debate in the United States better informed from their perspective about the issues they face, what their interests are, and what they would like to see happen with the United States." He said, China does not understand the "firestorm" heating up in the American press over the issue and thinks it is essentially "anti-Chinese" in origin. Admitting he was not privy to information that congressional investigators have, Lieberthal said, "I've followed these accusations closely, and there is a kind of abstract quality to them to this point."

China does not understand the U.S. poltical system very well, Lieberthal said. Unlike in China, the U.S. system is very transparent, and there's too much information for the Chinese government to understand, he said. How much do we understand of the Chinese system?

Hong Kong: "Poll Finds People Confident But Fearing Corruption" is an Inside China story reporting on a recent survey in which Hong Kong people expressed their concerns about the upcoming change in sovereignty. Although 65 percent said they were optimistic about the handover, but they feared a rise in corruption and a faltering economy. Only 40 percent said they were optimistic for the long-term political situation; 23 percent said they lacked confidence, reports the paper.

Shanghai: Graham Earnshaw's Shanghai pages have information about the city, including local restaurants and music spots as well as a basic Shanghainese lexicon.

Earnshaw has put together a 'Tales of Old China' page in which he retells a couple travel narratives from the nineteenth century. "The best way to get a feel for what things were like in the Old, Old China, is to read the memoirs of people who were there," he explains. First, there is the memoir of Evariste Regis Huc:

    "His linguistic skills were first-rate, and his contempt for the Chinese knew almost no bounds, just like his travel itinerary, especially when discussing their ungratefulness at not welcoming the Roman Catholic faith en masse with open arms," Earnshaw writes.

And there's the retelling of Laurence Oliphant's Old China. Earnshaw explains:

    "Compared to the turgid prose of many of his peers, Oliphant's travel writings are very entertaining. His book on the Elgin mission to China and Japan is a lively account of British gunboat diplomacy at its most brazen, and is a good example of the breath-taking arrogance, and contempt for the 'natives' which Europeans almost invariably affected in such parts of the world at that time."

Fans of Louis Cha's Chinese kung fu novel, The Book and Sword will find a translation written by Earnshaw here.

    "The Book and Sword was the first novel Cha wrote. The story has a panoramic sweep which takes as its base a few unbeatable themes - secret societies, king fu masters, the sensational rumour so dear to Chinese hearts that the great Manchu emperor Qian Long was in fact a Chinese and not Manchu. It mixes in the exotic flavours of central Asia, a lost city in the desert guarded by wolf packs and the Fragrant Princess. This lady is an embellishment of an historical figure, although whether she actually smelled of flowers, we will never know," says Earnshaw.

Taiwan: France has begun delivering 60 mirage fighter jets procured by the island nation in 1992 , reports Inside China.

Generally speaking I had few complaints with Chinese medicine when I lived there, but dentists are bad enough with novocaine anywhere in the world, and dentists in China (JPEG image 400x600 pixels) were places I avoided, although there were certainly better places than this one. The picture is part of the 'About Shanghai' page on a German-based site.

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China Informed

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