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Thu, Mar 20, 1997

PRC delegation AWOL in Japan; consolidations in PRC's auto industry; Gingrich to Taiwan; strait relations; update on cyanide and water; and more . . .

Please read the statement of purpose.

The background texture file is gone. . . . enjoy.

Japan: "Farm Officials Now Suspected Illegal Immigrants" is an Inside China article reporting on an 'absent without leave' farm delegation in Japan from Heilongjiang province. "Police said the delegation's host, the Yamagata Institute for Japan-China Friendship, received a statement from Heilongjiang provincial officials apologizing for the fact that the Chinese apparently disappeared to seek jobs in Japan", writes the paper.

The paper writes, many illegal Chinese immigrants have come to Japan, many from Fujian province, aided by the Japanese mafia. The government has proposed raising penalties for such activities, and last month cracked down on suspected smugglers.

Vietnam: Hanoi continues to press its claim against China and its sovereignty over what it terms its exclusive economic zone.

Party politics: here's another article about Zhao Ziyang. Dated February 24, the article discusses why Zhao Ziyang was not allowed to attend. Deng's funeral. New York Times correspondent Patrick Tyler writes,

    It is not that Zhao is more popular than the current leaders. But the novelty of his appearance -- sharing the halls of power with leaders, some of whom hold their current positions at his expense -- would be a memorable sight. Perhaps too memorable for the edgy Politburo.

"Hu's Ouster: Deng's Role? Did He Drop Protege or Was He Forced?" is a 1987 New York Times article about the ouster of Hu Yaobang, the then head of the Communist Party, leading reformist, and successor to Deng.

(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.)

Economy: we get insight into the industrial policies of the PRC with a China Daily article announcing the merger of Changchun-based China First Automobile Corp. with "the country's most famous tobacco company and a major light vehicle manufacturer." The resulting group, FAW Hongta Yunnan Automotive Manufacturing Co., will enter into the south-east automobile market and compete with major Chinese manufacturers there. The Yunnan Hongta Group, maker of the famous upscale brand of 'Hongta' cigarettes, dominates China's market with profits amounting to US$2 billion, reports the paper. Hongta will hold a 30 percent per cent interest in the new company, and Yunnan Light Vehicle (Group) Corp. will hold 19 percent, reports the paper.

The inclusion of a tobacco company in the merger, writes the paper, "surprised" the State Planning Commission and the State Economic & Trade Commission. The paper makes the points:

  • "The Yunnan Hongta Group stake suggests the reshuffling has been more dictated by the enterprises themselves than simply following governmental demand."

  • Although the State commission pledges not to interfere in the merger and reshuffling of the industry "which should be the business of the enterprises," it and a couple other official bodies will "help accelerate the process."

  • Particularly interesting is the statement: "The merger marks a drastic nationwide restructuring process as 120 local auto makers form three to four internationally competitive groups by the turn of this century, said Lu Fuyuan, Vice-Minister of Machinery Industry." When it is all done the resulting industry may show a "regional balance" in that "maybe one group be dominant in the north and another in the south."

United States: Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will visit Taiwan as part of his Asian tour. I wonder what the PRC thinks of this---Gingrich will also be going to Beijing.

Hong Kong: governor Patten has issued a statement welcoming Canada's decision to grant Hong Kong passport holders visa-free access. He hopes other states will do the same. "I would also hope that states where visa free access is not available will continue to treat holders of Hong Kong issued passports favourably, in recognition of the good reputation of Hong Kong travellers and Hong Kong passports," Patten said.

Taiwan strait: the mainland and Taiwan are playing diplomatic games over the last hijacking involving a Taiwan airliner forced to land in Xiamen in Fujian Province (See Taiwan on the Mon, Mar 10 issue for more information). Taiwan has demanded the mainland return the hijacker, and in return the mainland has asked that hijackers from the mainland presently in Taiwan be returned. "We hope that the Taiwan side will take prompt measures to repatriate hijackers in a bid to join hands in cracking down on hijacking," the China Daily quotes an official of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (Arats)

Students: here's an article I missed on February 24 concerning the government's efforts to head off any potential student-lead organizing or protesting in the days immediately after Deng's death. Students appear more interested in playing video games and devising ways to make money. New York Times reporter Seth Faison quotes one student, " "Whenever I try talking to my classmates about issues of national interest, they tell me to mind my own business and study. . . . "It's not that everyone is so happy. But even a small action would be blocked immediately, so we all know there is no point in trying."

Deng Xiaoping: flying from Urumqi to Tianjin, New York Times China correspondent Patrick Tyler had conversations with passengers and crew on the day Deng died. He observed that there was a generation gap between older Chinese who quoted Communist aphorisms about the man and younger ones who had questions and concerns. It's an interesting and well written piece. (Note that this piece appeared in a past issue, but 'technical difficulties' have prevented me from providing an address until now)

Water: leading officials in China have called for public awareness of impending global water shortages and urged better conservation methods. The paper notes that China precipitation is unevenly distributed, with the north receiving little rain, while the south (ie south of the Yangzi) receives much rain. (See Development on the Sun, Mar 9 issue and the Wed, Mar 5 issue for more information on mainland China's water problems and government efforts to address this problem)

The article kicks off tomorrow's observance of "World Day for Water", something Shanghai to do with seminars and banners publicizing the 'water' issue to its some 13 million inhabitants, reports the China Daily. "The city's 13 million inhabitants need drinking water and factories require huge amounts of water. Shanghai consumes 13 billion cubic metres of tap water a year. Back in 1990, it needed only 10.7 billion cubic metres."

Environment: Mishap no harm to river: we have an update from the China Daily on yesterday's story concerning the accident in Guangxi which sent 200 barrels of sodium cyanide into the Gui River in Wuzhou. The paper reports, "Round-the-clock environmental surveillance" has shown that no contamination has taken place. The paper says, "After an 18-hour salvage operation, three drums were still missing on Wednesday. Of the more than 190 drums brought ashore, 101 remained intact, said the Yangcheng Evening News."

Economy: the China Daily reports that China's industrial, commercial tax revenue increased in February overall by "16.5 per cent to reach 40.52 billion yuan ($4.88 billion)". The article gives other figures and information and notes that revenue increased in 13 regions and fell in five (Shanxi, Heilongjiang, Hunan, Genus and Ningxia).

Research: the China Daily will be publishing its "organization charts of the PRC government" and interested people may purchase them for US$35.00 A similar chart for the Shanghai municipailty is also available and is US$10.00 less than the national one.

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China Informed

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