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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Mon, Oct 13, 1997 edition
Lien Chan cuts trip short
Beijing's pressure stops VP before Spain

Also in this edition . . .

1: Chief executive talks up territory's autonomy
2: unrest in Zigong reportedly broken by police
3: Gary Locke: Washington Governor finds roots
4: one-child policy to be relaxed
5: PLA hopes for end to embargo, wants to buy American helicopters and parts
6: smuggling of edible oils
7: Tibetan Unicode devised
8: multipolar world encompasses 'culture'
9: Lee doesn't want defence minister to resign
10: people think DPP certain to control majority of counties
11: Premier endorses local candidates
12: Washington and Taipei will talk about WTO entry for island
13: plans for exposition in 2003 announced
14: after gun battles kill officers, government assigns new vests


Lien Chan: Beijing's pressure cuts VP's trip short
Vice President Lien Chan was forced to cancel a scheduled visit to Spain. Lien, who had been on a two-day visit to Austria, instead departed Vienna for Amsterdam where he boarded a China Airlines flight bound for Taipei last night Taiwan time.

Lien told reporters in Amsterdam he still hoped to visit Spain someday. He said he understood how much pressure the Spanish government must have been under from Beijing.

The United Daily News quoted foreign ministry sources as saying that Beijing's embassy in Madrid had been pressuring the Spanish government since it was revealed last week that Lien was to visit. Beijing also threatened to stop several economic and trade cooperative projects with Madrid, the sources added.

Annual trade between mainland China and Spain reached US$4 billion, in comparison with US$900 million between Taiwan and Spain. In addition, 44 Spanish companies have set up joint ventures in mainland China, the paper noted.

See also:,,,, and, as well as Spain Blocks Visit by Vice President from Inside China.

(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)

Autonomy: Chief executive talks up territory's autonomy
( Tung Says Hong Kong Sets Own Course, No Beijing Problems ) Tung Chee-hwa said he rarely consults with Beijing on matters of policy, emphasizing the degree of autonomy in the territory, reports Inside China. He was speaking to reporters in his office in Central. 'Autonomy' seams to be the operative word in describing the territory's relationship with Beijing, and his remarks suggest that 'authonomy' operates in both directions in that the Chief Executive stated he had no intention of passing on such things as petitions, submitted by those concerned about human rights and political rights, to Beijing.

He also defended his government's actions on Friday when police tore down Republic of China flags, put up in observance of Taiwan's Double Ten holiday.

    "What we did with the flags (was) . . . based on a number of things: that there is only one country and secondly it was based on whatever we do here we must do based on legal structure. "For me this is very clear. Maybe not for you because you are not Chinese. You don't feel this as I do about China being one again.

Tung noted that Hong Kong law prohibited advocating two countries, but he also said he did not want Hong Kong to be placed in the middle of the on-going dispute between Taibei and Beijing.

Tung will travel to the United Kingdom later this month for talks with Prime minister Tony Blair. Describing the trip as a way to explain to the British leader "what is going on in Hong Kong," he said the talks would fall outside the domain of China's foreign policy and will therefore not include the Chinese ambassador. This was one example used by Tung to demonstrate the territory's autonomy.

( Tung to Woo Japan Amid Tourism Row ) The press conference comes before Tung's trip to Japan on Wednesday. The purpose of the trip is to build contacts between him and the Japanese government. While there are no pressing issues for discussion, at least one issue will be raised, reports Reuters: it would seem, Hong Kong hotels are gouging Japanese tourists for up to three times the regular price of a room. 2.5 million Japanese visit the territory every year.

We also learn some interesting facts from the article:

    "Japan is its third largest trade partner after China and the United States. Hong Kong is Japan's sixth largest trade partner. Trade in 1996 stood at $38.4 billion, with Japan's exports amounting to $26.7 billion and its imports $11.7 billion. Japan is the largest foreign investor state in Hong Kong manufacturing, with $2.4 billion of investment in this sector in 1995, 38.7 percent of all direct foreign investment. The cumulative total of Japan's direct investment here as at the end of 1995 was $11.2 billion, third largest after China and Britain."

Tung is seen as someone who can help cultivate Sino-Japanese economic relations.

See also: Anxiety aroused by Taiwan flags: Tung, a South China Morning Post article.

Labour: unrest in Zigong reportedly broken by police
( Police End Protest Over Wages, Benefits ) We get another story about labour unrest in Southwestern China. This time in Zigong, Sichuan workers from a local radio factory took to the streets over wages and benefits in arrears. Chinese authorities confirm the protest occurred on Friday but state that no violent means were used to break it up. This contravenes a human-rights group's report at the basis of the Reuters dispatch. "Government authorities assembled 50 fully armed police and more than 200 officers, who stormed into the protesters and used methods of force . . . to break up the demonstrators," the groups' report stated. According to Public Security officials in Zigong, only traffic police were dispatched to keep order. "There was absolutely no violence."

( Party chiefs reassure low-income workers ) The South China Morning Post reports on how officials have been dispatched to the provinces to address grievances of workers and peasants. Chief Legislator Qiao Shi was among those dispatched to Hubei.


Tung Chee-hwa: ( October 17 - MAPPING THE WAY AHEAD ) Asia Week has a wrap-up on Tung's first policy speech after 100 days in office. The magazine notes Tung's agenda to achieve a harmonious society pushed forward and enriched by economic development, stable society and caring citizens. All of this of course rests on his ability to execute the plan, and the magazine notes how Tung is revealing his skills in managing the intricacies of the civil service bureaucracy.

In the realm of its relations with Beijing, Hong Kong and Beijing have worked out a "mutually beneficial synergy in dealing with the rest of the world." The magazine points to Tung's recent trip to Washington, characterizing it as an effective "mine sweeping operation" in effectively clearing the water of the Hong Kong issue during the run-up to the Clinton-Jiang summit.

( October 17 - Tung's Report Card ) Asia Week has asked three key Hong Kong politicians for their assessment of Chief Executive Tung as he passed his 100 day birthday last week.

( October 17 - A BURNING ISSUE ) The magazine also highlights the major changes to the political system.

( October 17 - Singapore Lessons? ) Singapore might be the model after which Tung is patterning his policies. But what are "Asian values" and how do they differ from "Chinese values"? (And, to take it one step further, what are 'Chinese' values?)

Mandarin: ( Schools launch language push ) 2,800 teachers will be enlisted for training in Putonghua in preparation for curricula changes, reports the South China Morning Post. "The programme, commissioned by the Education Department, is a response to a pledge in former Governor Chris Patten's 1995 Policy Address to introduce a new Putonghua curriculum at primary and secondary levels in 1998," the paper writes.


Gary Locke: ( Chinese Village Swells With Pride as Washington Governor Seeks His Roots ) Washington Governor Gary Locke trekked home to his roots, with family in tow, and payed his respects to the place of 170 people from where his father immigrated emigrated. The New York Times has the story.

Population: ( Relaxed one-child policy may reduce age imbalance ) The government will be more flexible in administering its one-child policy in order to correct a age imbalance created by over two decades of the policy. According to the South China Morning Post, single children who marry one another will be permitted to have two children, and it is hoped this will increase the ratio of young Chinese to older one. The proportion of senior Chinese to young ones has steadily climbed over the years.

Military: PLA hopes for end to embargo, wants to buy American helicopters and parts
( Military pushes for end to sales embargo ) Aviation Expo/China 97 just ended in Beijing and the word is that the PLA is hoping for a breakthrough during the Jiang-Clinton summit. According to the South China Morning Post, the PLA has its sights on a number of American helicopters and spare parts and is hoping for an end to the US sales embargo on these items. The embargo was set after the 1989 Tiananmen massacre and can be lifted if President Clinton deemed it in the interests of 'national security.'

Smuggling: ( Call for action over edible oil smuggling ) Smugglers are 'importing' tons of edible oils, reports the South China Morning Post, and manufacturers are asking the government to clamp down on them.

Tibetan: ( Information highway open to Tibetans ) Software developers have devised a Unicode representation of the Tibetan language, reports the South China Morning Post. According to the Xinhua report cited in the article, "The code includes all the characters of modern Tibetan and 168 characters of ancient Tibetan frequently use. Tibetan is also the first language of minority Chinese that has been encoded according to international standards." The article notes, the code will run on Windows 95 / NT and DOS based systems. But readers should understand that Unicode is an open standard adopted by Macintosh and Unix systems, too.

Culture: Conference: Cultural diversity essential is a short note by the China Daily.


Military: Lee doesn't want defence minister to resign
President Lee Teng-hui yesterday urged Defense Minister Chiang Chung-ling to stay at his post. Chiang had planned to resign over a spate of military mishaps in recent weeks. Lee's request for Chiang to cancel his resignation plans suggested the government would not approve the minister's resignation bid.

Sources said it was not the right time to replace Chiang with someone else, since Chiang's term is set to expire in less than a year. It would also be hard to find a suitable replacement at this juncture.

High-level government officials began persuading Chiang to stay at his post Saturday night after Chiang handed in his resignation letter to the Executive Yuan earlier that day. Chiang went to see President Lee yesterday morning. He declined to confirm whether Lee had persuaded him to cancel his resignation plans as he walked out after a brief meeting with the president. Asked by the media whether he would go to work this morning, Chiang said he would not answer the question until the time was right.

In a letter addressed to Premier Vincent Siew yesterday the defence minister said he is feeling deeply sorry for the recent spate of incidents in the military and has thus decided to resign from all government positions. Chiang told the China Times Express on Sunday he sincerely hopes that Premier Siew will approve his resignation. He had said he would not return to his office when the three-day National Day holiday ends.

Chiang, who assumed his current post in December 1994, said the crash of an Air Force C-130 transport plane at Taipei's Sungshan Airport on Friday, Double Ten Day, and the crash of two F-5 fighters in Hualien a week ago were two unconnected cases. "I hope my resignation will help stop criticism being directed at the military," China News quoted Chiang yesterday. He added that criticism from legislators and members of the general public will only serve to undermine the morale of all servicemen.

Chiang said the country's armed forces have intensified personnel training and accelerated the renovation of its arsenal in recent years. He emphasized that Taiwan's servicemen have never slowed or suspended their combat readiness, despite some accidents in the military.

Observers said yesterday Chiang's resignation has handed a "hot potato" to President Lee Teng-hui because it would not be easy for him to find a suitable successor. Though the government has tried to have a civilian serve as defense minister, previous experiments were not successful. The two civilians who managed to serve as defense minister--Chen Li-an and Sun Chen--did not leave outstanding records. At the moment there is also no senior military officer with the reputation and seniority to succeed Chiang.

See also:,,, and, as well as Defense Minister Offers to Resign Over Crash in Inside China.

(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)

Air force: general tours on safety inspection after spate of crashes
After the crash of a C-130 military transport plane at Taipei's Sunshan Airport, Air Force Commander-in-Chief Gen. Huang Hsien-jung visited major military air bases yesterday to chair seminars on flight safety measures and to boost the morale of Air Force staff.

An Air Force news release said Huang has asked Air Force staff to make a comprehensive review of operations, training and logistic support in order to ensure flight safety. Huang also encouraged Air Force personnel to redouble their efforts to complete assignments and prevent the recurrence of any flight accidents in the future, according to the press release.

Huang, the first native Taiwanese to assume the top Air Force post, was forced to miss his youngest son's wedding ceremony because of his busy schedule. He traveled to the Pingtung air base in southern Taiwan on Saturday morning to comfort officers and enlisted men stationed there as the five officers who died in the C-130 crash had been stationed at that base. Later in the day Huang visited Chiayi and Hsinchu air bases.

Poll: people think DPP certain to control majority of counties
According to a poll released yesterday by the China Times, most people believe that the major opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party, will win a majority of seats in the year-end election for county chiefs and mayors.

Thirty-one percent of respondents said they thought the DPP would end up in control of more than half of Taiwan's 22 counties and large cities, not including Taipei and Kaohsiung. Only 28 percent were willing to make the same prediction for the ruling Kuomintang.

If the DPP does gain the majority, it would find itself in a awkward relationship with the central government, which is ruled by the KMT, the China Post reported. The DPP currently controls under half of county governments. A shift at the local level in favour of the DPP could also significantly boost the party's ability to mobilize supporters for the next presidential election in the year 2000, the China Post reported.

Elections: Premier endorses local candidates
Premier Vincent Siew started campaigning in full force on Friday for KMT candidates standing in the November 29 election for city and county chief.

At nine in the morning Siew showed up with his Cabinet entourage in Miaoli county to show his support for Ko Chih-huei. Siew inaugurated Ko's campaign headquarters and used the Hakka language to the cheers of the assembled crowd. He said that if Ko were elected, there would be a high probability that the Central Government's project to build a National Health Research Institute will be constructed in Miaoli. The institute is part of an overall project for the development of bio-technology in the island.

Following the Miaoli visit Siew went to Hsinchu county to attend KMT candidate Cheng Yung-chin's pep rally. Siew said Cheng reminds him of himself, an honest and direct person, and he hoped the public would choose Cheng as their county chief. Finally, Siew stopped in Hsinchu city to attend candidate Lin Chih-cheng's campaign inauguration.

See also:

(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)

WTO: Washington and Taipei will talk about WTO entry for island
A new round of talks on the terms of Taiwan's bid to enter the World Trade Organization (WTO) will be held on Wednesday in Taipei.

Chen Ruey-long, director general of the Board of Trade (BOFT) and David Burn, the U.S. Trade Representative Office's director for Asian-Pacific affairs, will head their respective delegations during the week-long negotiations.

Topics to be raised will include the ROC's system of government procurements and tariff reductions, as well as the opening of local agricultural, insurance, stock brokerage, telecommunications and service markets, sources with the Economic Affairs Ministry said Sunday.

The last round of the talks in January ended in a deadlock after the U.S. side backtracked on an earlier consensus by demanding that Taiwan allow imports of additional farm products. In addition, the U.S. made use of the outbreak of mouth- and-foot disease on local hog farms in March to urge Taiwan to import pork and related products.

Taiwan has completed talks with 21 of the 26 WTO member states which have asked for bilateral negotiations on Taiwan's trade regime as preconditions for consenting to its admission into the world trade regulatory body.

See also:

(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)

High Tech: plans for exposition in 2003 announced
Taiwan hopes to hold a world high-tech exposition in 2003, the year when the high-speed rail system is expected to become operational and two years after the island's high-tech architecture will be completed, according to Minister Yang Shih-chien, the China Post reported.

Yang has been empowered by former Premier Lien Chan to take charge of the development of the island's high-tech industries. He made the remarks after winding up a meeting recently with Vice Premier John Chang, Vice Economic Affairs Minister Yin Chi-ming, Vice Transportation and Communications Minister Chang Chia-chu and Institute for Information Industry chief Kuo Yun.

During the meeting Yang raised the proposal to sponsor the world high-tech exposition, and the proposal was accepted by Vice Premier John Chang.

Yang said a proposal for the government to hold a world exposition of information technology products in 2000 was unnecessary, for the city is slated already to host the bi-annual science and technology exhibition in that year. It will be held in the US in 1998.

Yang continued that Taiwan's high-tech infrastructure will be completed in 2001, when the island's high-speed rail system will become operational. Meanwhile, Taiwan is predicted to enter an era of a high industrialization, with more than 3 million people having access to Internet services and the ratio of research expenses to gross national product reaching 2.5 percent.

Crime: after gun battles kill officers, government assigns new vests
The national Police Administration (NPA) has provided 12,000 new bullet-proof vests to Taiwan's police force, reported China News. The vests were assigned to officers following a series of gun battles between police and armed criminals that have resulted in the death of several policemen.

"Police described the new vests as being more flexible and more adjustable than the old ones, as well as being lighter, having been cut to 2.5 kilograms from the original 3.25 kilograms. The old-style vests were notorious for their poor elasticity and clumsiness, making it difficult for the officer to use the radio or even draw a gun," the paper reports.

However, since there are currently more than 47,000 policemen on regular patrol, 35,000 of them will have to continue wearing the old vests for the time until more of the new style vests are made available, the paper writes.

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China Informed

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