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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Wed, Oct 1, 1997 edition
National Day in Beijing and Hong Kong
people's spirits are high with nationalistic pride, papers report

Also in this edition . . .

1: Taiwan's coverage of National Day
2: more info on defence conversion in China
3: Taiwan considers labor scheme
4: Japanese veteran talks about role in warfare experiments
5: Qianlong-era engravings to be auctioned


National day: with nationalistic pride Chinese celebrate their nation
( Flushed With Success, China Hails National Day ) Inside China reports on National Day celebrations in China and Hong kong. The paper notes that the mood seemed especially jubilant, owing to the return of Hong Kong and the success of last month's Party Congress. Quoting from the People's Daily, the paper notes an editorial glowing with praise for the 'new look' and direction for the party. "Adrift in uncharted waters of capitalism, Mao's party of peasant revolution was given a compass of sorts by a congress last month that set out a bold course for industrial restructuring," writes Inside China.

( Flag-raising viewed by Tiananmen thousands ) In Tiananmen thousands packed the square early this morning in anticipation of the 6:06 am raising of the country's flag. Some camped out the night before to watch 'the solemn event,' writes the South China Morning Post. Throughout the day people filed through to observe the flowers and to be out on a national holiday. Some couples were married there. And in movie theatres across the country new patriotic teasers will be shown.

( Call for nation to back state reforms ) Characterizing the past year as one of grief and jubilation, the Chinese media called for people to fall in behind the party and the direction it is heading. . .

Meanwhile . . . In Hong kong celebrations are on-going as the territory marks the first National Day under China's sovereignty. Various events have been scheduled, and the government has festooned street lamps and buildings with flags and lights. The PLA has opened its garrisons to locals, and the paper notes that it is part of the army's way of building confidence and dispelling doubts about a force which had been so lethal in Tiananmen in 1989.

The paper also writes, "On Wednesday night, the world's busiest port will be lit up by a 23-minute fireworks show. Some 19,000 fireworks costing HK$3.8 million ($514,000) will be fired into the night sky. "

Were any readers there who can provide their impressions?

National day: The South China Morning Post is running a feature entitled "How They See It" which gauges the significance of National Day to Hong Konger's from various backgrounds:

Taiwan: National Day coverage in Taiwan
( Central News Agency, Agence France-Presse, China Post ) Various news organizations reported on the National Day celebrations. The China Post, for example, reported,

    "Mainland Chinese Premier Li Peng marked the 48th anniversary of Communist rule Tuesday by renewing Beijing's call for reunification with Taiwan while warning about growing worker unrest. In his National Day address at the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square, Li underlined the massive economic changes the party has brought to mainland China by warning of protests over redundancies from the struggling state sector."

The paper also notes, a resolution to the Taiwan question was on the top of Mr Li's agenda. "He called on Taipei to respect 'overall national interests and begin at an early date political negotiations with us under the one China principle'," the paper writes.

In a separate article the paper reports on Premier Vincent Siew's response to Mr Li. Mr Siew called on Beijing "to restore their quasi-official dialogue as the first step toward normalizing cross-strait communication." Relations have been broken since President Li Tung-hui's trip to the United States in 1995. Mr Siew urged Beijing not to attach preconditions to the resumption of talks and "to put aside the dispute over the sovereignty issue," the paper reports.

"Both sides of the Taiwan Strait should restore the institutional Koo-Wang talks or the negotiations between the (Taipei-based) Straits Exchange Foundation and (Beijing-based) Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait immediately without setting any preconditions," Siew said.

See also . . . China Times and China Times (subscription) (Chinese BIG 5)


Defence: ( Defence sector -- not just weapons ) An editorial in today's China Daily adds to our discussion yesterday about China's defense conversion and revamping of factories located in the country's hinterland. The paper writes, "Thanks to a massive effort to turn swords into ploughshares that started in the early 1980s, the Chinese people are now able to enjoy all the material benefits brought by converting the defence industry into civilian production. "

The paper explains further:

    "A number of defence factories moved out of their hiding places right into centre of economic activities, such as coastal cities. Though facing difficulties brought by the transition of a planned to a market economy, the defence industry had three things they could count on in their efforts to produce civilian goods: high technology, ample labour and good reputation."

    "These factors have turned out to be crucial in their "swords-to-ploughshares" conversion. Weapon producers in Southwest China, for example, now mainly produce motor vehicles and auto parts. They sold 12 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) worth of such products last year, 95 per cent of their total sales."

Many defence companies are producing cars and motorcycles, the paper writes, and some have great ambitions.

Beverages: ( Taste for the grape grows ) Grape wine has replaced whisky as the imported liquor of choice in China, reports the China Daily. "Of the total, imports of grape wine accounted for 4.41 million litres, with a value of $3.27 million, replacing whiskey to become the No 1 beverage on China's list of imported alcoholic drinks, according to the figures." Incidentally, the BBC reported last week that coffee growers will spend $2 million this year to create demand among China's young, urban population for the sophisticated and cosmopolitan taste of coffee.


Papua New Guinea: (China Post) The paper reports on the sacking of Papua New Guinea's Finance Minister, Roy Yaki , who defied the one-China policy by travelling to Taiwan after attending the World Bank meeting in Hong kong last week. The trip was not authorized by the Prime Ministers Bill Sjkate's government who told reporters that "Yaki had damaged Papua New Guinea's bilateral relations with mainland China by making the visit, which he used to hold unauthorized discussions on the sale of flag carrier Air Niugini," the paper reports.

United Nations: The Central News Agency reports today that the governments of Saint Christopher and Nevis, and Burkina Faso have voiced their support for the Republic of China's bid to rejoin the United Nations.

Foreign labor: Various news sources, including the Liberty Times, China Post, United News, and the Central News Agency, report today on the government's efforts to institute compulsory savings requirements on foreign laborers to dissuade them from absconding from the country.

As reported in the China Post, Hsu Chieh-kwei, chairman of the Council of Labor Affairs (CLA) has consulted with his counterparts in Thailand and the Philippines during a recent APEC ministers' meeting in Seoul. Mr Hsu advised them on Taipei's plan to " force Filipino and Thai laborers to save part of their earnings in Taiwan as part of a scheme to dissuade them from running away.," reports the paper. The paper notes that the measure would require legislative approval and, if enacted, would be "the first of its kind in the world if put into force."


Japan: vet tells court of Japanese biological and germ warfare experiments in China
( Japanese Ex-Soldier Tells Court of WWII Atrocities Against Chinese ) "A former Japanese military police officer on Wednesday became the first Japanese to admit in civil court that he committed atrocities against Chinese during World War II," reports Inside China. Mr Yutaka Mio, 83, testified in Tokyo District Part as a witness in a civil trial brought on by Chinese families of the victims. Mr Yutaka described his reproducibilities and actions, detailing how his unit would provide subjects for Japan's biological and germ warfare experiments, reports the paper.

    Acting on secret orders from Emperor Hirohito, the Japanese army set up germ warfare units code-named 731 and 100, which conducted experiments and tested biological agents on live prisoners of war. None survived the experiments.

Mr Yutaka called for the Japan to apologize for its involvement in the operations.

The paper notes that some of those involved or heading the project went on to fill leading positions in business and government after the war. The United States granted a number immunity " in exchange for all of the data on their experiments," the paper writes.

United States: ( House Panel Takes Slap at Clinton Over China ) Yesterday we reported on a House of Representative's committee action, which would require Voice of America and Radio Free Asia to step up broadcasts to China. Attached to the bill were provisions for monitoring human rights problems in China. Today we get more information on the bill from the New York Times. The paper reports, the committee is recommending changes which will conflict with the administrations's China policy and might strain relations in these few weeks before the Clinton-Jiang summit in Washington.

The paper writes: "The bill would deny visas to military or civilian officials guilty of religious or political oppression, as well as to members of eight religious organizations that cooperate with the Chinese government. But it would not affect Jiang or other Cabinet-level Chinese officials, and it would allow Clinton to clear the way for any official to visit the United States by declaring that the visit was in the national interest."

The bill was approved 22-18 by the Committee on International Relations. The committee ." . . also urged the administration to provide Taiwan with better missile defenses if Taiwan requests them," writes the Times. The deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asia, Susan Shirk, warned that China would see the recommendation as a hostile one and would complicate the preparations for this month's summit.

Japan: "New developments in dialogue" is a translation of "an edited address delivered by Japanese Prime Minister Hashimoto at the National School of Administration in Beijing on September 5". Mr Hashimoto speaks of four kinds of 'dialogue' which China and Japan should nurture:

  • The first is "dialogue and cooperation between neighbouring countries in close geographical proximity".

  • Secondly, promoting "dialogue and cooperation between countries with deep historicalities" is important in the Japan-China relationship.

  • Third is "dialogue and cooperation between countries with common cultural aspects".

  • The fourth form of dialogue and cooperation I would like to discuss is "dialogue and cooperation between countries with responsibilities to their region and to the world".

Cambodia: ( Cambodian Leader Threatens to Deny U.N. Role in Elections ) The New York Times reports, Prime Minister Hun Sen of Cambodia said on Tuesday that if the United Nations did not allow his government to fill its UN seat, he would question whether the UN has any role to play in elections scheduled for May. The UN has recently urged Hun Sen to conduct free and open elections.

Additional sources of information on Cambodia include:

  • The Cambodian Genocide Program details and researched the genocide.

  • Beauty and Darkness: Cambodia in Modern History ". . . is designed to provide information on the recent history of Cambodia, particularly the Khmer Rouge period. This includes not only materials pertaining to Cambodia, but information relating to Cambodian refugees and immigrants abroad, as well. Specific topics are listed below." There are some oral history projects, also.

  • Cambodian Information Center Homepage: "This page is dedicated to Cambodia. Inside there are many links to Cambodian information as well as homepages of Khmer and friends around the World. This server is still in the process of being built, any comments good or bad about what you think would be greatly appreciated. . . . " Academic papers on various topics are also there.

(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.)


Treasure: ( Rare imperial engravings on sale ) A set of imperial engraving depicting Qing dynasty conquests of 'Western Mongols' will be auctioned on Saturday in Singapore, reports the South China Morning Post. Looted by French troops when the Summer Palace was burned in Beijing in 1860, the treasures ended up in the possession of an Englishman, the paper reports, and are expected to fetch 150,000 pounds. The engravings were originally requisitioned from the French in the eighteenth century, and the Qianlong Emperor affixed his seal to them.

It might be worth noting that the Qianlong Emperor oversaw a number of military campaigns throughout the empire. Along the northern frontiers successful campaigns pacified the region. In the southwest, however, wars waged against Burma, then nominally a 'vassal' state, were less successful as Chinese armies were decimated in pitched battles on unfamiliar terrain.

Treasure II: ( SCMP Internet Edition ) Meanwhile 18 Buddhist statues from the Ming dynasty will be returned after a Taiwanese businessman, described as a pious Buddhist, had smuggled them from a temple in China's Shanxi province, reports the South China Morning Post. The paper notes, initial approval for their return has been given by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council. Under Taiwan's law, relics cannot be transfer to anyone who is not a citizen of the ROC.


Trees: ( Country's forest coverage to rise ) approximately 4.2 million hectares of land has been reforested, the China Daily reports. "This means that 94.7 per cent of 1997's afforestation goal has been fulfilled," the paper reports. The paper details the areas where the program has succeeded. Interestingly the paper reports on how "shareholdings" have also been introduced "to promote afforestation. More than 4,200 shareholding entities planted trees on 400,000 hectares of barren mountains this year, accounting for more than 10 per cent of the total area planted."

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China Informed

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