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

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Wed, Mar 19, 1997
Cracks in the Core of PRC Leadership ?

also: Xinjiang says no to relocation plan; PRC wants to sell missiles to mid-east; local politics 'significant'; archaeological dig unearths gods; and more . . .

Please read the statement of purpose.

Party politics: there's a report from Inside China that Jiang Zemin has barred Zhao Ziyang, the chosen successor to Deng Xiaoping before being sacked after the Tiananmen disaster, from entering the capital. Considered a reformer and liberal, Zhao apparently stands favourably in the eyes of the people throughout the country. He has not been seen publicly since his removal from power and has spent most of his time under house arrest in Beijing. When Deng died Zhao was in Hangzhou, reports the paper, and permission to reenter the capital and to attend the funeral rites was denied. Zhao has since then returned to Sichuan, "his old political power base", reports the paper.

Apparently documents have been circulated in Beijing challenging the power of Jiang Zemin, and speculation is that Zhao has something to do with it, although he denies it. The source quoted by the paper also says there are signs of factional infighting at the top levels of the Communist Party.

Party politics: defense minister Chi Haotian called on the PLA to rally behind Jiang Zemin and the Party, reports the South China Morning Post. Chi made the appeal by equating support for Jiang as a show of one's patriotism. Chi also said that the PLA must modernize its weapons systems. "We must remember the hard-learned lesson that backwardness means defeat and transform our patriotic zeal into aspiration for more advanced technology and knowledge," the paper quotes him.

Environment: 80 barrels of sodium cynaide have been recovered after the truck carrying a total of 200 barrels overturned in Wuzhou, a city in Guangxi province. The "cylinders rolled into the Gui River, the upper stream of the West River, which flows into the Pearl River system near Foshan," reports the South China Morning Post, and posed a potential threat to millions of people living in the area. The paper reports, mainland emergency services were mobilized to provide fresh drinking water and to contain the damage. The barrels have been recovered intact and tests in the area show no heightened levels of the deadly substance.

Asia Week has an editorial concerning how Asia should handle toxic waste.

Xinjiang: a plan to resettle 100,000 people displaced by the Three Gorges dam project on the Yangzi river to Xinjiang has been opposed by the provincial Communist Party Chief Wang Lequan, reports the South China Morning Post. The paper quotes one source who said that if Wang agreed to such a plan, "Xinjiang's ethnic minorities would be incensed," reports the paper.

In other news, the paper quotes a leader of an exiled Uighur group who said that two Uygur religious students arrested for their part in rioting that rocked Yining last month will be executed tomorrow.

Weapons: an executive with a mainland China missile company said that her company wants to participate in arms sales to Gulf states in the Middle East. "We think there is a market for us in all of the Gulf states. We are not in talks with other countries in the area but we plan more visits to the Gulf," the South China Morning Post quotes Chai Zhongzhong, assistant to the president of missile builder, China National Precision Machinery Import and Export Corporation.

Chai said her company "wants to sell more missiles to Iran," including anti-aircraft and sea defense missiles, the paper reports. Talks have been ongoing for some time but have failed to produce a deal. China defense industry hopes to use "Abu Dhabi arms show, which has lured 750 companies from 53 countries, to promote their military hardware".

Local politics: Robert Pastor, an elections expert with the Atlanta-based Carter Centre, has said that the development of wide-spread village-level elections "is a serious and positive and significant development in China," reports the South China Morning Post. The elections effect some 900 million people in China, permitting villagers to elect local leaders who oversee various projects, reports the paper.

Cambodia: a new air-travel accord between Phnom Penh and Taibei has angered the PRC, and the mainland's ambassador warned, "We will definitely take action if things take a wrong turn, because Taiwan is an inalienable part of China"---whatever that might mean. The Phnom Penh Post reports, in order to uphold the "one China" policy it has affirmed to Beijing the Cambodian government probably will not permit its national carrier Royal Air Cambodge (RAC) to fly the route. The airline began service with Guangzhou in November of last year, and it was suggested that the mainland would single out the company in any retaliatory measures.

Archaeology: Carvings of Gods Found in China is a brief story by the Washington Post. We'll have more information on related topics in forthcoming issues.

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China Informed

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