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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Mon, Oct 6, 1997 edition
Three Gorges Dam project enters next stage
opening of diversionary canal leaves damming work to be done

Also in this edition . . .

1: China Daily now publishes edition in Hong Kong
2: Labour protestors march on Tung's office over scrapping of laws
3: Jiang to visit son's alma mater on trip to US
4: Trade minister calls for US to stop blocking China's admittance to WTO
5: Lien Chan off to Iceland: will cross-strait relations thaw?
6: Observers debate merits of Central Bank's defence of NT dollar
7: Move to form North East Asian Cooperation organization
8: Burma's military junta ready to talk?
9: Entertainment guide for Beijing shows


China Daily: official daily now publishes in and for Hong Kong
( Communist Party Launches Hong Kong Edition of China Daily ) Hoping to offer Hong Kong's residents a window into China, the official English-language China Daily has set up shop in the territory, publishing its first issue today. According to Editor-in-Chief Liu Dishong, "The Hong Kong edition seeks to offer its readers a unique insight into China's development," Reuters quotes him. "(It) will particularly meet the needs of those who want to command a fuller grasp of both China's fast-track development and Hong Kong's dynamism." The article notes that competition in Hong Kong being what it is, the paper faces a number of obstacles. There are now three English-language daily papers in Hong Kong. The Asia Times, a Bangkok-based paper, closed its doors on June 27.

see also: New newspaper aims for objectivity - with one eye on Beijing

Labor: Union marches on Tung's office, says it will appeal to international bodies for scrapping of laws
( Overseas protest on job laws ) Some 150 protestors marched on the Chief Executive's Office yesterday, reports the South China Morning Post. Criticizing the Executive Council's decision to scrap two labour laws on collective bargaining and anti-union discrimination, the protestors said they will take their case to international labour organizations. As Lee Cheuk-yan, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Union, explained "Should they condemn the Government, I think it will put pressure on the administration which keeps on saying it is abiding by international labour covenants," the paper quotes him.

Taiwan: waiving Taiwan flag, labour group will test SAR on Friday
( Taiwan flags to test legal system ) The Hong Kong and Kowloon Trades Union Council, a pro-Taiwan group, will fly the Taiwan flag at its Double Tenth Festival celebration in Mongkok on Friday, reports the South China Morning Post. Lee Kwok-keung of the union said the flags would not be flown on the street, nor would the group play the Taiwan national anthem as it has in past years. Calling the celebration a private occasion he predicted little interference form the SAR government, but admitted the group had drawn the line at playing the anthem. When asked whether the government would accuse it of advocating 'two China's' or 'One China One Taiwan,' he said: ''The fact is that there are two political entities here," reports the paper.

Hong Kong: business as usual in territory
( In Fine Form ; Life goes on as usual, only the symbols have changed ) Bruce Gilley reports in this week's Far Eastern Economic Review that China has deliberately taken a hands-off attitude to local affairs in Hong Kong, deferring to the territory's government on most issues. Giley says, two questions now stand: was this Beijing's policy to see it through the upcoming summit with Washington? And "will the territory continue to be allowed to operate normally after the current rubber-stamp legislature installed by Beijing is replaced by a clamorous elected body next May? "

Macau: ( Robbers escape with $1m in gold ) Three robbers ran off to China with 300 taels of gold after holding up Tai Seng Goldsmiths in the Portuguese colony.


Summit: Jiang to visit son's alma mater
A reader has passed along a press release from Drexel University in Pennsylvania. The press release is available on the university's website: English ( and Chinese (

    "Chinese President Jiang Zemin to Visit Drexel University"

    PHILADELPHIA -- Jiang Zemin, President of the People's Republic of China, will visit Drexel University during his stop in Philadelphia, University officials announced today. Currently scheduled for Thursday, October 30, President Jiang's visit to Drexel is an addition to a schedule that includes a tour of Independence Hall and a private visit with his former professor.

    "We are delighted that President Jiang has expressed his desire to come to Drexel," said Dr. Constantine Papadakis, President of the University. "While he is at Drexel, we expect to discuss the business and economic ties that link our region to the People's Republic of China and the ways in which that relationship can be advanced."

    The logistic details and specifics of the agenda for the President's visit to Drexel are yet to be determined. It is anticipated, however, that President Jiang will make brief remarks to representatives of the business and Drexel communities during his visit.

    Jiang has numerous ties to Drexel University. His eldest son, Mianheng, earned a doctoral degree in electrical engineering at Drexel, and Drexel Engineering Professor Emeritus Dr. Hun H. Sun is a former classmate of the classmate of the Chinese leader and remains a close personal friend.

    Drexel, Philadelphia's technology-based, co-operative education university is a leader in curricular innovation. The University's undergraduate engineering program has been designated a national model by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Trade: Trade minister says US should stop blocking China's admittance to WTO
( Beijing Urges Washington to Stop Blocking its World Trade Organization Bid ) Chinese Trade Minister Wu Yi has called for Washington to quit its 'quibbling' and cease blocking China's efforts to join the World Trade Organization. Anticipating the focus of upcoming summit talks, Ms Wu argues in an article circulated by Xinhua that China's markets are wide open to investment and that the trade gap was a 'historical inevitability' given in the shift in manufacturing and investment from South East Asia to China, reports Reuters.


Three Gorges: diversionary canal opened, marking next phase of dam project
( Three Gorges canal opens for shipping ) construction of the Three Gorges Dam project has entered the next phase with the opening yesterday of a diversionary canal at a section on the mid reaches of the Yangzi, northwest of Yichang. The canal, 3.5 kilometers long, will provide navigation to boat plying up and down the vitally important water way. The canal's opening sets the stage for the damming of the river, expected early next month. At that point construction will focus on forming the water reservoir and building fourteen generating stations. As the South China Morning Post reports,

    "Vessels can pass through if the flow volume on the river is less than 20,000 cubic metres per second. When the flow exceeds that amount, a temporary lock, expected to go into operation in May, will be used to help navigation."

    "Only when the flow exceeds 450,000 cubic metres per second, which rarely happens, will navigation through the Three Gorges site be banned."

The paper also provides a map of the canal area.

In related news: government plans power grid network for dam
( Yangtze Dam Seen Part of National Grid ) China plans to invest 60 billion yuan ($7.2 billion) on power grid to distribute electricity generated from the Three Gorges Dam project, reports Inside China.

  • "Of this, 12,000 megawatts will flow to central China, 4,200 megawatts to eastern China and 2,000 megawatts to the Yangtze River city of Chongqing . . . "

  • "In addition to the Three Gorges power plant, two smaller facilities are planned in the upper reaches of the Yangtze in Xiangjiaba and Xiluodu with installed capacity of 20,400 megawatts . . . "

  • "There are now 12 large grids in China, the newspaper said. Six cover the northeast, north, northwest, central, eastern and southern areas. Six cover the provinces of Shandong, Fujian, Hainan, Sichuan and Xinjiang, and the region of Tibet."

  • The Three Gorges plant will be integrated with the central and eastern grids.

Predictions: former senior cadre predicts choke points along Three Gorges project
( Slopes along river may collapse, warns cadre ) Echoing criticisms held by Chinese in various circles, a former senior cadre has identified various hazards associated with the dam project. Speaking with the South China Morning Post, the unnamed source warns that shipping has increased on the river in recent years, while safety has correspondingly diminished. He warns about the steep slopes along the river. "Large-scale landslides that forced closure of the Three Gorges shipping route happened twice during the Ming Dynasty," he said. He also said, the completion of the dam will slow the river and increase the likelihood for strangling sedimentation. And noting the large population living along the river's path, the government will find it impossible to keep the water from being polluted.


Lien Chan: Vice President heads to Iceland at time when Beijing and Taipei try to warm relations
(Various sources) Vice President Lien Chan left for Iceland last night. Cabinet sources said he would visit Spain and Singapore, and possibly one or two other countries. It was the second overseas trip for Lien this year, following his January voyage to Ireland and the Vatican and a jaunt to Ukraine last August.

Lien's trip could again arouse heated protests from Beijing. Mainland China has repeatedly warned foreign governments not to allow high-ranking Taiwan's officials to step foot on their territory, even what Taiwan has billed "private vacations."

Lien, who had originally been expected to board an EVA Air Flight for Bangkok at 7:10 p.m., instead showed up at the airport at around 9:30 p.m. and boarded a China Airlines flight for Amsterdam. "I can't give all of you a clear explanation right now, in line with past practice," Lien told reporters gathered outside his Taipei residence last night before leaving. "But I think within a few days from now, I can report to you at any time. The main thing is that it's a friendly visit, seeking to develop mutual understanding." Government officials and even Lien's wife remained tightlipped on the trip, citing fears Beijing could scuttle the trip if information about it leaked out too soon.

Members of Lien's entourage confirmed that he was heading for Iceland, the only Scandinavian country where Taipei does not has an official representative office. Cabinet sources said Lien was also likely to visit Spain and Singapore on his way home. According to sources quoted in the China Post, Lien would probably be back in Taiwan within 10 or 15 days. Earlier, Premier Vincent Siew confirmed Lien would travel to several countries with no diplomatic ties with Taipei. But Siew declined to say anything further before Lien leaves. Vice Premier John Chang told reporters it was inconvenient to reveal where Lien was going to visit.

Observers said Lien's trip was likely to irritate Beijing at a time when both sides of the Taiwan Strait have been urging each other to return to the negotiating table.

See also: and and

TAIP: off-shoot of DPP gears up for first standing in local elections
(Various sources) The first all-party congress of an independent political party was held yesterday as the Taiwan Independence Party (TAIP) prepared for the first time to field candidates in an election.

About 500 delegates attended the first congress. They waved flags and chanted slogans when Chairman Lee Chen-yuan introduced the party's candidates for the year-end elections for county chiefs and mayors. The TAIP has faced fundraising difficulties this year as it set up its new headquarter. It will find it a formidable battle to face the well-financed and well-entrenched ruling party and its chief rival, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), the island's oldest opposition group.

Because of the DPP's attempt to share power with the ruling Kuomintang, leading intellectuals in the party split away to form the TAIP last year. The TAIP insists it is the only political party in Taiwan to advocate Taiwan independence above all else. Lee Hung-hsi, a party official and National Taiwan University law professor, told delegates that only the TAIP could break up the monopoly of the DPP and the ruling KMT. The TAIP has accused the DPP of abandoning its support for an independent Taiwan by pursuing broad negotiations with the KMT. DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang has said his party's first priority is to take over the position of ruling party, which initially necessitates power-sharing.

TAIP candidates will run for mayor in Taichung and Chiayi, for county chief in Taichung County, and for an undisclosed number of county and city council seats around the island.

See also:, and

Security: Japan proposes joint security dialogue with US and China
(Various sources) The Nihon Keizai Shimbun said Sunday that Japan will propose a joint security dialogue with the United States and mainland China so as to stabilize the Asia-Pacific region.

As a first step, the dialogue will be launched by private scholars before being upgraded to government security talks. The dialogue aims to cover regional security and the three countries' defense projects. Participants will also discuss other issues, including environmental problems and drug smuggling.

Beijing opposes new Japan-U.S. defense cooperation guidelines which allows Japanese logistic support for any U.S. military operation in the region. Beijing was concerned about the expansion in Japan-U.S. military cooperation, warning that any interference over Taiwan would be completely unacceptable.

See also:

Currency: Central Bank props up NT dollar, as observers argue merits of action
(Various sources) The issue over whether the Central Bank of China should launch powerful intervention measures to prevent the New Taiwan dollar from undergoing sharp depreciation against the US dollar has been under much debate.

Over the past two months, the central bank has managed to keep the NT$-US$ parity rate at 28.6:1 through powerful intervention in the foreign exchange market to prevent the local currency from undertaking drastic devaluation as experienced by currencies of other Southeast Asian countries.

On Friday, the central bank dumped US$1.4 billion into the foreign exchange market to fend off an attack by speculators on the local currency, thereby maintaining the NT$-US$ exchange rate at 28.602. Some experts and scholars opposed the central bank's powerful intervention in the fluctuation of the NT$-US$ exchange rates. They said there was no need for the central bank to take actions to prop up the value of the local currency. They said given the sharp depreciation of currencies in Southeast Asian countries, the NT dollar has become a strong currency, seriously undermining Taiwan's export competitiveness.

However, some experts and scholars said it was not suitable for the central bank to keep a hands-off policy on the movement trend of the local currency for the moment. They said the hands-off policy would cause a drastic decline in the value of the local currency, and if that happens, it may take the central bank multiple efforts to stabilize the foreign exchange market.

Chiang Ching-kuo revelations about late leader stir people's emotions
(Various sources) Vice Premier and Foreign Minister John Chang on Sunday commented on recent reports that late President Chiang Ching-kuo was not the natural son of General Chiang Kai-shek. He said a learned man should be considerate to others. "What he said or what he did should not hurt the deceased or the living," said Chang, who along with his deceased twin brother Winston Chang, is an illegitimate son of Chiang Ching-kuo.

Professor Fan Kuang-lin of National Chung Hsing University had written in an article published by Business Weekly that an accident in his youth had left Chiang Kai-shek unable to have offspring. The professor also said that Chiang Ching-kuo was not the natural son of Chiang Kai-shek and his first wife Mao Fu-mei. The revelations have stirred up discussions in Taiwan.

However, in a press conference held Saturday by Chin Wei-chun, the publisher of the Business Weekly, it was disclosed that among the eight interview tapes made public by Fan, the part regarding Chiang Kai-shek's childhood accident was related by Fan himself, not Wego Chiang. Fan claims he had redubbed that portion of the interview, which Weigo had written down on paper, at Wego's request. But he insisted that Weigo had related the story to him personally.

General Weigo, the last surviving son of Chiang Kai-shek, died at age 81 on September 23.

(Note: the China Times is supported by paid-subscriptions. However, even if you have paid, you may not access an article directly from its URL; go to the front-page first at and from there access the article)


North East Asia: formation of S. Korea-Japan-China organization adds to 'regionalization'
( Bangkok Post Oct 5, 1997 - Promoting peace in the region ) The Sunday edition of the Bangkok Post carried piece by Eiichi Furukawa, director of the Japan Centre for International Strategies in Tokyo, who discusses the proposed North East Asian Cooperation (NEAC) organization between South Korea, Japan and China. Much of the impetus for the organization is coming from the Korean side.
    "The Korean argument is that regionalism is flourishing all over the world. There are the EU (European Union), Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), Nafta (North American Free Trade Agreement), among others. Unless it is a member of a regional grouping, a country does not have a voice in the international arena and cannot protect its interests properly. And if South Korea cannot join Nafta or Asean, the only solution is to participate in a group of northeast Asian countries."

The ostensible goal is for the maintenance of 'peace'. It is thought the organization will be founded in the short future. And if is this were to happen, " there would be a three-layer system in the Asia Pacific region. At the broadest based level, there is Apec. At the middle level, there will be EAEC. As the neighbouring regional groups, there will be Asean, Nafta, CER (Oceanian Closer Economic Relations) along with the prospective Neac."

Dalai Lama: ( Inside China Today -- Tibet ) Inside China has a Real Video interview of the Dalai Lama. Divided into five parts the interview covers a number of topics:

    Inside China Today was recently granted the opportunity to conduct an exclusive interview with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who was in Prague to attend the Forum 2000 conference. In this Internet first, the Dalai Lama talks with Inside China Today about his relations with the Chinese government, the Communist Party of China's 15th congress, the possible democratization of China and the rise of Buddhism around the world. His Holiness also delivers a special message to Internet users.

Burma: will SLORC find a new way to end political impasse with popular NLD?
( Myanmar ; A glimmer of hope? ) A short article in the Economist notes of possible changes in Burma, as floods are devastating crops and SLORC generals find's Asean embarrassed of them.

Thailand: ( Sino-Thai army ties promoted ) We have a follow-up on a recent report about a Thai military delegation to China. A terse statement from China Daily declares that friendly Sino-Thai ties are friendly. "Fu Quangyou, chief of General Staff of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), held talks with Mongkon Amporn-pisit, supreme commander of the Armed Forces of Thailand, yesterday in Beijing," the paper writes. "They agreed that both countries, as friendly and close neighbours, would further promote the friendly and co-operative ties between defence departments and armed forces of the two countries."

Japan: School of Steel is a Far Eastern Economic Review article: "Japanese metals giant NKK went to America to teach National Steel a few lessons, but ended up learning as much as its pupil. From America's industrial heartland, a case study in merging corporate cultures."


Entertainment: excerpts from China Daily
( Entertainment (Page: 6, Date: 10/04/97) ) If you are or will be in Beijing soon, here are some excerpts from the October 4 China Daily entertainment section:
  • Suicide solution --- "Cutting the Wrist" is being staged at Haidian Cinema-Theatre. The historic play tells a sad, romantic story of love between a Qidan -- ancient Chinese minority -- woman and her lover. The woman assumes the throne of Qidan Kingdom during wartime, but gives it up to follow her lover. She finally cuts her wrists. Though derived from ancient history, the play is said to still be relevant for today's urban youth. Set in the great grasslands, the drama is expected to bring a touch of wilderness to urban audiences.

    The cast includes students from the Central Academy of Drama and dancer Jin Xing plays the leading role. Time: 7:15 pm, October 5-10. Place: Haidian Cinema-Theatre, Haidianlu, Haidian District. Tel: 6255-8026

  • Tragic-comedy---"Get Lost" (Zhaobuzhao Bei), a tragic-comedy looking at the lives of Beijing's common people, has been in the capital for three months. It premiered in mid-June. Performed by the China Youth Art Theatre and the China Research Institute of Drama, Film and Television, the play describes the different lifestyles, feelings and concepts of two brothers, one a bricklayer and the other a painter. In humourous style, with strong local flavour, the play criticizes money-worshipping and appeals for true feelings in the current commercial environment.

    The play is directed by Du Peng. The cast includes Lin Liankun, Hou Yaohua, Zhang Ju, Lu Wen and Zhao Tingxiu, all well-known stage actors. Time: 7:15 pm, October 10-19. Place: The Cultural Palace of Nationalities, 49 Fuwai Dajie, Xicheng District. Tel: 6602-2530

  • Portraits--- new and stimulating exhibition of portraits by Beijing artist Zhang Yajie will be featured at Red Gate Gallery until October 8. The captured glimpse from a trance, the flash from a dark, but unguarded, moment, a nuance from a previous reality: These are the things comprising Zhang's work. The common person translated to canvas is the hallmark of his paintings, capturing the psychic mode of contemporary China. Time: 11am-6pm, daily until October 8 Place: Level 3, China World Hotel, China World Trade Centre, 1 Jianwai Dajie, Chaoyang District Tel: 6505-2266 ext 6821/5729

  • Relics show---Photos and artifacts unearthed from the Qing royal tombs are featured at the Yongshou Palace on the northwest side of the Palace Museum. It was customary for Chinese rulers to have their own family burial grounds where successive emperors and other members of the royal family were entombed. The largest of such cemetery is the Eastern Tombs of the Qing Dynasty, located at the foot of the mountain in Zunhua, Hebei Province. The entire cemetery of 48 square kilometres used to be enclosed by a wall and heavily guarded like another "Forbidden City." Buried here are five emperors, 15 empresses, 100 imperial concubines and one princess. The tombs were pillaged and severely damaged by warlords early this century. The exhibits were those sorted out by archaeologists. A very good guide is on site to tell interesting stories. Time: 8 am-5 pm, until October 20 Place: Palace Museum, 4 Jingshan Qianjie, Dongcheng District Tel: 6513-2255

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China Informed

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