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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Thu, Oct 2, 1997 edition
National Day ushers forth new laws for theaters
Meanwhile, in Hong Kong three youths are arrested for desecrating national flags

Also in this edition . . .

1: criticisms of 'rightist' reforms
2: Taiwan declines US missiles
3: US Chamber delegation returns home to Taipei
4: so, who is Chiang Ching-kuo?
5: Taiwan stock market report
6: club owners and staff storm govt. buildings
7: Thai military goes shopping?


Entertainment: restrictions on foreign investment and truthful ads mark regulations put in effect on National Day
( Rules tighten officials' grip on showbusiness ) New regulations put into effect on national Day forbid theatrical troupes and theatres from being managed or wholly-owned by foreigners, reports the South China Morning Post. According to Xinhua, the regulations will permit foreign investment in capital projects, such as for construction and renovation of buildings. But management must stay in the hands of mainland Chinese. "Xinhua said the regulations would not only improve management of commercial performances, but ensure they adhered to the principle of serving the people and socialism. The regulations also state that advertisements must be truthful," the paper writes.

Hong Kong: flag desecration law nabs three
( Hong Kong Standard Front Page ) Three youths were arrested yesterday on Lantau island for taking down flag poles flying the national flag, reports the Hong Kong Standard. "The youths made history by becoming the first people in Hong Kong to be arrested under the stringent National Flag and National Emblem Ordinance."

The paper notes the law was passed by the Provisional Legislature before the July 1 handover and defines punishments for those who would "desecrate the national flag or a national emblem by publicly or wilfully burning, mutilating, scrawling, defiling or trampling on it." According to the arrested teenagers, they removed the flags because they wanted the poles for fishing. But the chair of the National Day Celebrations Committee in Mui Wo, Lam Kut-sing, said the boys were " used by some people in the village for political reasons," the paper quotes him. Local residents include some who are sympathetic to Taiwan, and a number of the 500 flags put on display in the area have been thrown into the sea or have had their poles broken, reports the paper.

In related news, the paper reports that three ex-patriots, apparently drunk and on their merry way, took down some flag poles to fence with each other. When approached by a local man who requested they not take down the flags, ``They threatened me with the poles and I ran off towards the ferry pier where I saw two police constables,'' the paper reports. The police are hunting for the men.


Politics: document criticizes direction of reforms
( Hardliners' paper attacks 'new socialism' ) A document attacking the reforms inaugurated at the 15th Party congress has been circulating in the ranks. It calls for resumed vigilance against rightist, or bourgeois-liberal, influences. The South China Morning Post reports, while the document will likely have little effect on the course of reforms, the author(s) do characterize the reforms vis-a-vis state-owned enterprises as a mere policy of " 'privatisation plus laissez faire', and they would lead to the collapse of the nation's socialist pillars," the paper writes. The paper also reports,

    Political analysts in Beijing said the paper was put together by followers of conservative patriarch Deng Liqun, such as Yang Deming, a senior economist attached to the State Planning Commission.

Z. Y. Fu: businessman donates millions to Columbia
( Businessman gives $201m to university ) A businessman has donated US$26 million to Columbia University in New York. The money will endow a number of chairs in the engineering school, where the man's brother teaches. The South China Morning Post reports, the man is "Shanghai-born Z. Y. Fu, who made his wealth from the Sansiao Trading Corporation he founded in Tokyo." Mr Fu had become familiar with the university a number of years ago when he attended to brush up on his English. The paper reports, Mr Fu had a lot of fun there and has quietly donated US$5 million to establish 24 fellowships for ethnic Chinese students.


United States: Taiwan says 'thanks, but no thank you' to House missiles
( China Post and other sources ) The U.S. Congress on Tuesday urged the Clinton administration to supply Taiwan with the latest theater anti-ballistic missile system, if the government in Taipei asked for it. "We want Beijing to get the message: you mess around and we'll put some missiles in your backyard," said Rep. Donald Manzullo.

However, on behalf of the ROC government, Defense Minister Chiang Chung-ling yesterday thanked the U.S. Congress for offering to include Taiwan in the development of the Theater Missile Defense (TMD) Program. He suggested that the ROC would not immediately join the program.

Chiang said that the ROC needs to see how the TMD program will develop and to evaluate possible program expenditures before it will make a decision on whether or not to accept the U.S. offer. He continued to say that Taiwan was thankful to the U.S. for its friendliness toward the island and that Taiwan appreciated the strong support from the U.S. Congress concerning Taiwan's defense.

Chiang made the remarks in response to questions from lawmakers regarding the U.S. House of Representatives' passing of a bill to include Taiwan in the TMD program being developed by the U.S. Foreign Minister John Chang also voiced his opinion on this issue: "Taiwan welcomes any kind of international thoughts, words, or measures, which might contribute to the peace and security of the Asia-Pacific region."

See also China Times and China Times

Trade: US Chamber of Commerce returns from Washington 'door knocking' trip
( China Post, Central New Agency, and other sources) The U.S. government still holds tremendous support for Taiwan and for Taiwan's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), according to the head of the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) who just returned from Washington after an annual 'door knocking' trip. "The U.S. government---I think there is no exception between legislative or executive branches---retains tremendous support for Taiwan," said Jeffrey Williams, president of AmCham, while briefing the press yesterday about the AmCham delegation's recent discussions with officials in Washington.

"Taiwan has done a pretty good job putting together proposals [regarding its bid for WTO entry], so that there is a good chance for Taiwan to finish first," he said. He added that AmCham's position on the issue is that Taiwan should push ahead and enter the world trade body as soon as possible and that some trade issues between the U.S. and Taiwan can be resolved after Taiwan becomes a member of WTO.

Foreign relations: Lee to welcome new friend, President of Chad
( Central News Agency ) After receiving an invitation from President Lee Teng-hui, President of the Republic of Chad Idriss Deby will visit Taiwan from Oct. 15 to 19, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Wednesday.

The Republic of Chad resumed its diplomatic relations with the Republic of China on Aug. 12 after a 25-year hiatus. Deby, who won Chad's first post-independence presidential election in July 1996 and formed a government in May 1997, will visit Taiwan for the first time.

President Lee will welcome President Deby with a military ceremony at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in downtown Taipei. Lee and Deby will then hold talks on issues of mutual concern. Deby is planning to call on the Economics Ministry and the cabinet-level Council of Agriculture. He will also meet with local business leaders and visit the World Trade Center in order to better understand the economic and cultural development of Taiwan, the paper reports.

APEC: What would happen if China hosted it in 2001?
( Central News Agency ) When asked by Legislator Yen Chin-fu of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party about what Taiwan would do if Beijing sponsored the 2001 APEC meeting and required that Taiwan participate in the meeting as a local economic entity of the People's Republic of China, P.K. Chiang, chairman of the Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD), on Wednesday said Taiwan should be treated the same as the 17 other members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Chiang went on to say that it is still too early to speculate on who will host the 2001 APEC meeting.


Chiang Ching-kuo: so, whose son was he?
( Ex-leader 'not Chiang Kai-shek's son' ) According to a professor at National Chung Hsing University, ex-President Chiang Ching-kuo was not the biological son of KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek. The revelations comes after the September 23 death of Chiang Kai-shek's last living son, General Wego Chiang. According to Professor Fan Kuang-lin, General Weigo had made the revelation in a taped interview. General Weigo himself was adopted. Chiang Ching-kuo ruled until his death in 1988 and was noted for a number of actions which eased Taiwan into its current political system.

Stock market: ( Stock Market Capitalization Sees Record Growth This Year ) According to China Economic News Service, "Total market capitalization on Taiwan's stock market (excluding the over-the-counter market) expanded by NT$324.7 billion, or 19.54%, during the first seven months of this year. . . " The story has charts and more detailed information.

Air crash: Air Force investigates jet crashes near Hualien
( Central News Agency ) After examining the evidence found at the crash site, the Air Force yesterday said the crash of the two F-5 series jet fighters in Hualien County, eastern Taiwan, on Tuesday might have resulted primarily from human error, including misjudgments of the flight altitude and the overshooting of a designated turning point, reports the news organization. The Air Force already ruled out the possibility that one of the ill-fated planes might have sideswiped the other before the accident.

Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Hsu Chia-chung said the investigation so far showed that the two planes, one single-seat F-5E and one twin-seat F-5F, had not flown at a required altitude of 1,500 feet (450 meters) as they approached the Chiashan air base in Hualien County. Hsu made the remarks as he attended a National Defense Committee meeting in the legislature. The planes crashed into the side of a hill called Hotienshan at a height of between 500 and 600 feet (150 and 180 meters), Hsu said. All three airmen were killed in the crash.

See also China Times

Taipei: government plays hard-ball with sex trade, gets earful from angry workers
( 2,000 in sex clubs closure protest ) In the "Sun, 21 Sep, 1997 edition" we reported on Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian's crack-down on local hostess clubs, often used as fronts for the more lucrative sex trade and reportedly run by organized crime 'gangs.' Yesterday some 2,000 owners and employees from Taipei's hostess clubs stormed through security at a local government building. "They were demanding an investigation into the municipal Government's crackdown on the city's sex trade. The demonstrators accused Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian of arbitrarily cutting off their water and power supplies without following proper legal procedures," reports the South China Morning Post.

Protesting against the government's actions, they called for Mayor Chen's impeachment. Legalized prostitution has existed in Taipei for many decades, the paper notes, until last week when the government abruptly decided to ban the profession.

Medicine: government regulates antibiotics in move to stymie resistant strains
( China Post, The Liberty Times, Central News Agency ) The Department of Health announced that under a new law which took effect on Tuesday people can on longer purchase antibiotics without a doctor's prescription, reports the China Post. Violators will receive fines ranging from NT$30,000 to NT$150,000. Pharmacies which display the medicine could face the same penalty. However, according to the regulations, drugstores run by licensed pharmacists can still sell the medicine as long as they are presented with a physician's prescription each time the medicine is sold.

Antibiotics are among the most widely used drugs in Taiwan, but widespread misuse and overuse of antibiotics leads to more and more drug-resistant strains of bacteria. A health department official, Chang Ying-chun pointed out that the ban on what had previously been an over-the-counter drug will definitely change the public's perception towards taking medicine. However, the Taipei Pharmacists Association argued that the new rule will damage the livelihood of most law-abiding pharmacies, many of which have filled only a handful of prescriptions since last March.

Public health: government official links cigarette smoking and betel nut chewing to drug abuse
( Central News Agency ) The Department of Health said at least 5,000 people are arrested every month in Taiwan for taking illegal drugs.

Because half of those arrested are repeat offenders, Li Chih-heng, head of the DOH's Narcotics Bureau, pointed out that current anti-drug efforts have not been able to cut down the number of drug users in Taiwan.

The DOH estimates that Taiwan has over 200,000 residents who take illegal drugs, or about one percent of the island's population. Li made the remarks at an anti-drug conference in Taipei. He said smoking cigarettes and chewing betel nuts often comes before illegal drug use. "An key step to keep away from drugs is to say no to smoking," Li said.


Thailand: Thai military off to China for arms
( Bangkok Post Oct 3, 1997 - China seen benefiting from PM's policy ) Supreme Commander Mongkol Ampornpisit of the Thai military flew to mainland China yesterday, accompanied by other senior military officers. According to the Bangkok Post, the mission of these top commanders is to strengthen military ties and to procure weapons. The paper reports that Prime Minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who also serves as the government's Defence Minister, has told the military council to hold off on weapon purchases unless they are deemed necessary; in which case the military should procure them "through lease or on a hire-purchase basis," the paper writes. This policy will likely benefit China, which has offered to sell weapons on favourable terms, often permitting payments to be spread over 10 years. The Thai navy is considering buying a 20,000 ton tanker from China, the paper notes. Thailand's economy and political system have been in turmoil since the present economic crisis, also gripping other states in South East Asia, has exposed serious problems in its course of development.

Prime Minister Chavalit travelled to China earlier this spring and readers might find the reports on his trip to be good background to today's report. See the . . . Mon, Mar 31, 1997 , Tue, Apr 1, 1997 edition, and Thu, Apr 3, 1997 edition on Sino-Thai relations under Mr Chavalit's government.

Tibet: progressive Beijing Review calls Dalai Lama a disciple of Nazi teacher'
( Dalai Lama a 'Nazi dupe who succumbed to Hitler' ) with the imminent release of Columbia Picture's movie on Tibet and Tibetan independence, an editorial in the Beijing Review has taken a swipe at the Dalai Lama's former teacher, a German named Heinrich Harrer on whose biography the movie is based. According to the South China Morning Post Mr Harrer, 85, admits "to serving as an SS sports trainer and shaking Hitler's hand at a 1938 rally after the German weekly Stern disclosed the Austrian's Nazi affiliations last May." In its editorial the magazine notes the savagery and suffering caused by Nazis, asking if Hollywood should "sing songs in praise of Nazis?"

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China Informed

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