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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Tue, Oct 21, 1997 edition
Political prisoners, Taiwan, and Tibet:
the issues move to center stage as Jiang gets closer to American soil

Also in this edition . . .

1: China releases one political prisoner, as it discusses the possibilities for more with US
2: experts see Taiwan as pivotal & explosive issue in Sino-US relations
3: Foreign Minister predicts US will keep commitment to Taiwan
4: Hollywood movie grabs #2 spot, and actors prepare for role in 'stateless dinner
5: Jiang is saying nothing new, Sheu says
6: Chou quits to save face for New Party
7: severe weather takes economic toll in Taiwan
8: pop singer in coma after car crash in Taipei
9: after CBC lets market set NT-US$ ratio, Taiwan's currency depreciates
10: government announces measures to encourage investors
11: Tung and Blair have 'useful' talk in London
12: Hong Kong to participate in Commonwealth
13: in wake of arrests Macau will step-up marine patrols
14: Hong Kong Government press reports
15: Beijing-Kowloon line benefits local economies


Political prisoners: China releases one, as it discusses the possibilities for more with US
( China Discusses Possibility of Releasing Prominent Dissident ) Wanting to deflect criticism during Jiang's visit next week, China has released Shen Liangqing, described by the South China Morning Post as a prominent dissident living in Anhui Province. Shen was freed on probation yesterday with clear warnings not to speak with foreign journalists. Meanwhile, the New York Times is reporting of Sino-US negotiations in Shanghai on Monday to arrange for the release of political prisoners before Jiang arrives.

(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.)

Taiwan: experts see Taiwan as pivotal & explosive issue in Sino-US relations
( Taiwan is Wild Card in Sino-U.S. Ties ) David Lampton, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations, thinks the "Taiwan problem really is a landmine, bombshell . . . buried in the relationship" between the US and China. Washington and many in Congress came to the conclusion that the U.S.-China relationship is not just about trade and it's not just about human rights, it's about war and peace," Reuters quotes him.

Tao Wenzhao, deputy director of the Institute of American Studies under the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, agrees completely with this assessment, reports Reuters. Tao advised the PRC on Taiwan affairs. "We can sacrifice modernization. We can sacrifice Sino-U.S. ties, but we cannot sacrifice Taiwan," Tao said. "We can make concessions on trade issues... But there are can be no concessions on Taiwan," he said.

Lampton says that the situation could escalate to war, and there is no framework in place to constrain the two sides. To mainland China's leaders They believe that there is something worse than war in the Taiwan Strait, and that is letting Taiwan go," Lampton is quoted in the article.

( China urges US to follow principles on Taiwan ) In today's China Daily. . . "CHINESE officials are urging the United States to strictly follow the spirit and principles of the three Sino-US communiques regarding Taiwan. The Taiwan issue has always been the most sensitive, fundamental one between the two nations, Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said yesterday. Development of Sino-US relations will depend on, to a great extent, the US' attitude towards, and actions regarding, the Taiwan issue, Shen said during a routine news briefing."

Summit: Foreign Minister predicts US will keep commitment to Taiwan
New Foreign Minister Jason Hu was sworn in Monday, and predicted that next week's summit between leaders of the US and mainland China would not lead to a sellout of Taiwan.

Hu told the reporters that the summit will not produce any breakthroughs in the Clinton administration's policy, and the United States will keep its basic commitment not to harm Taiwan's interests. Taipei has reshuffled its diplomatic profile ahead of the summit, calling Hu back from Washington and replacing him with Stephen Chen, a former deputy secretary-general of President Lee Teng-hui's office.

On Monday Hu pledged to pursue the diplomatic offensive on all fronts. "We can't let mainland China gain the power to deny us our continued survival and development. . . . We won't buckle under their oppression," he said.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)

Tibet: Hollywood movie grabs #2 spot, and actors prepare for role in 'stateless dinner'
( Tibet Films Flicker Over Chinese-U.S. Summit ) Inside China has a Reuters dispatch on the just-released "Seven Years in Tibet," which is based on the memoirs of Heinrich Harrer, former teacher of the Dalai Lama in the 1940s. The article notes that the movie has drawn a large number of viewers, ranking 2nd in box office receipts for the week. While it does its part in drawing awareness of China's heavy-handedness in Tibet, Hollywood actors are set to join in a 'stateless dinner;' designed to coincide with Jiang Zemin's White House visit. Richard Geere, Harrison Ford and others will attend. Also coming from Hollywood studios are a couple films, one of which has Richard Geere playing an American incarcerated in a Chinese prison.

Meanwhile . . . ( Tibet Policy Has Administration Caught Between China and Congress ) The New York Times reports on how the Clinton administration, which promised Congress three months ago it would appoint a special coordinator for Tibetan affairs in the State Department, finds itself in the pincers on the Tibet issue.

    The appointment is bringing protests from Beijing, which regards the planned office as interference with its internal affairs, while members of Congress are accusing the State Department of dithering. The administration, caught in the middle, is scrambling to avoid a confrontation just as President Jiang Zemin arrives for a week-long tour of America, starting on Sunday.

The coordinator would oversee such issues as human rights abuses and religious persecution in the Chinese Autonomous Region.

(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.)

Nuclear issues: ( Officials Confident U.S. Will Ease Nuclear Export Curb ) An unnamed source in an unsigned Reuters dispatch is confident the US will ease restrictions on nuclear technology transfers during the summit, reports Inside China.

White House: ( Clinton to Speak on U.S.-China Relations ) President Clinton will give a speech on Sino-US relations this Friday, ahead of Jiang's Wednesday arrival at the White House. "It will place that important relationship in the context of our relations around the world and specifically in the Asian-Pacific region," White House Press Secretary Mike McCurry said yesterday.


Cross strait relations: Jiang is saying nothing new, Sheu says
(Sources: Central New Agency and the China Post) Sheu Ke-sheng, vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), described mainland China's President Jiang Zemin's proposal for political negotiations across the Taiwan Strait as "nothing new."

Jiang Zemin made his latest proposal on Sunday when he met with reporters from the US-based Time magazine in Shanghai. He said that negotiations must proceed under the principle of "one China," for the purpose of officially ending the state of hostility across the Taiwan Strait.

Sheu said Jiang's call is no different from statements made in his political report delivered at the 15th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party last month. He emphasized that the suspended "Koo-Wang talks" and other established dialogue channels should be resumed immediately without preconditions from either side in order to address matters of protocol as well as political issues.

Campaign coverage: Chou quits to save face for New Party
Angela Chou Chuan, a co-founder of the opposition New Party, resigned her membership yesterday. She said she had decided to quit the party she helped form four years ago to spare it the bad publicity of expelling her. The New Party is Taiwan's second-largest opposition party, founded by a group of seven former Kuomintang politicians on a platform of opposing corruption in politics and President Lee Teng-hui's leadership of the country.

Chou had faced expulsion for choosing to run in next month's election for Taipei County chief against her party's chosen candidate, Yang Tai-shun. Her resignation marks the second time in recent months that power struggles within the party have resulted in the loss of a prominent member. Legislator Ju Gau-jeng was expelled from the party this summer after criticizing the party leadership and engaging in a food fight with Chou.

Party officials said her resignation would foster party unity by removing a flash-point of conflict. However, some party members had apparently thrown their support behind Chou, a former television anchorwoman, in the belief that she would garner more support in the island's largest county. Now Chou will have to launch a campaign as an independent.

Agriculture: severe weather takes economic toll
( Sources: Central News Agency and the China Post ) Torrential rains and typhoons which swept Taiwan during the June-September period have caused NT$4.38 billion worth of damage to the local agricultural sector, the cabinet-level Council of Agriculture (COA) said on Monday. Of that total, some NT$2.1 billion-worth of damage was the result of three days of heavy rain which started on June 4, according to the COA.

COA statistics show that watermelons and vegetables in Tainan and Kaohsiung counties were hardest-hit by the June 4 flooding and further torrential rain on Aug. 7, while Taitung County's tomato crop was ravaged by typhoon Winnie on Aug. 18 and the forestry and fishery sectors and soil conservation facilities sustained heavy damage island wide from typhoon Amber less than two weeks later.

As of Sept. 4, more than NT$330 million in cash aid and relief funds had already been released to help farmers resume their operations and compensate their losses, the COA added.

Chang Yu-sheng: pop singer in coma after car crash in Taipei
Chang Yu-sheng, a famous pop singer and producer, was severely injured yesterday after his car crashed into a road divider at a speed suspected to be in excess of 150 kilometers per hour in the Taipei suburb of Tamsui, police said.

Chang showed almost no signs of life as he was rushed to the Tamshui branch of the Mackay Memorial Hospital. His imported Saab convertible was almost totally crushed by the impact of the crash. Doctors at the hospital said Chang's heartbeat was restored after emergency shock treatment, but he was still in a deep coma due to severe head injuries. Doctors were not optimistic about his chances of survival, saying Chang might be brain dead even if he survived the ordeal.

Police said the cause of the accident had yet to be discovered but they suspected Chang might have been under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident, since an alcohol test on Chang by the hospital turned up positive.

See also


Foreign exchange: after CBC lets market set NT-US$ ratio, Taiwan's currency depreciates
After the Central Bank of China (CBC) had tried to stabilize the US$/NT$ around 28.500-28.700 for almost two months through heavy intervention, the US dollar soared Friday when the CBC allowed the local foreign exchange market to move according to market forces, closing at 29.500. It went up again on Saturday to 29.760, ended the morning session today at 29.884, and then hit 30.4510 at the end.

Considering the strength of the US dollar against major currencies and recent steep depreciations of a number of Southeast Asian units, a US dollar/NT dollar rate of around 30 would make sense, according to what appears to be a broad consensus in Taiwan's financial community.

Analysts said the they will probably see the US dollar/NT dollar rate at 30 over the short term, but if the NT dollar depreciates rapidly beyond that, the CBC is bound to enter the foreign exchange market again. They added that Taiwan has a reserve arsenal--including a strong current account surplus, standing at US$1.05 billion in April-June, and CBC foreign exchange reserves of US$87.79 billion at the end of August--which it could mobilize to prevent a nosedive in the NT dollar, rendering a protracted decline unjustified.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)

Stock market: government announces measures to encourage investors
Finance Minister Paul Chiu last night announced four major measures designed to prop up sagging share prices. The announcement came after Taiwan's own version of "Black Monday" on the local bourse, with the main index plummeting 301.67 points amid a panic selling spree of electronics stocks to finish the day at an eight-month low of 7,316.78.

Chiu made the announcement during an emergency news conference held at 10:00 p.m. yesterday. During the conference, Chiu announced sharply boosting the short sales ratio to 90 percent and the margin trading ratio to 50 percent. Boosting the two ratios would significantly ease the financial burden on investors and encourage them to make investments, analysts said.

Chiu also announced the scrapping of a regulation that had only allowed short sales or margin trading for shares of listed firms recording a minimum profit of three percent over the most recent fiscal year.

The Securities and Futures Commission would also accelerate screening of applications for issuance of mutual funds for stock investment, Chiu said.

The crash was triggered by sharp declines in the Hong Kong stock market and other stock exchanges in Southeast Asian countries, and volatile fluctuations of the New Taiwan-US dollar exchange rates.

Market analysts said that unless the government introduces market stabilization funds to prop share prices, the local bourse can hardly survive the crash of shareholders' confidence and strong selling pressure.

See also

(Chinese BIG 5 encoding) (Note: Access to China Times articles are limited to subscribers. As the paper's system is currently configured, to access an article listed here you must first go to the front-page at and from there locate the article)


United kingdom: Tung and Blair have 'useful' talk in London
( Tung and Blair in 'useful' meeting ) Tung Chi-hwa met with Britain's Prime minister Tony Blair. They met for 50-minutes in for what was described as a friendly and cordial discussion on beginning a new chapter in UK-HK relations. While details from the discussion are sparse, Mr Blair raised his concern over next May's elections which will inaugurate the new voting system in the territory.

Tung Chi-hwa: ( Military buildup defended by Tung ) Tung Chi-hwa is in Brussels and spoke before a group of European businessmen. He defended China's military expansion as a declaration of independence for the country, reports the South China Morning Post. Tung also said that security and stability in Asia and the world were vital to China's economic growth.

The Commonwealth: Hong Kong to participate in Commonwealth
( Some Commonwealth Links to Remain ) A question long on my mind was the Hong Kong SAR's relationship with the Commonwealth. Today it is reported by Reuters that Tung Chi-hwa has agreed in consultation with Commonwealth Secretary General Emeka Anyaoku that professional and non-governmental organizations would be permitted to work with their counterparts in the Commonwealth. The organization is comprised of former British colonies, including India, South Africa and Singapore.

See also ( The Commonwealth Secretariat )

( Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 1997 - CHOGM 97 )

Macau: in wake of arrests Macau will step-up marine patrols
( Macau to tighten patrols after gun-running arrests ) After two men were arrested in Phnom Penh for gun-running, Macau's Secretary of Security, Manuel Antonio Geraldes, said the territory would step-up its marine patrols. The two men are believed to have come from the Portuguese colony, running weapons from China to the troubled Southeast Asian state.


These are excerpts from Monday's Hong Kong government briefing")}

AIDS ( Daily Information Bulletin ) Today 200 secondary school principals or their representatives attended an AIDS seminar hosted by the Hong government, as reported in the government's news bulletin. "Jointly organised by the Education Department and the Committee on Education and Publicity on AIDS of the Hong Kong Advisory Council on AIDS, the seminar aims to familiarise participants with the epidemiology of HIV infection."

Language education: ( Daily Information Bulletin ) "The Standing Committee on Language Education and Research (SCOLAR) has made recommendation for funding for five applications involving a total amount of $3.6 million after completion of the first round vetting of the applications to the Language Fund," the Hong Kong government announced today. . . .

Employment: ( Daily Information Bulletin ) According to the Hong Kong government, "The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for the period June - August 1997 was 2.4%, while the underemployment rate was 1.2%, according to the latest labour force statistics released today (Monday) by the Census and Statistics Department. . . ."

    "Comparing the latest three-month period July - September 1997 with the period June - August 1997, notable declines in the unemployment rate were seen in the manufacturing and the transport sectors. The unemployment situation in the other major sectors was stable. As to the underemployment rate, there was also a notable decline in the transport sector, and even more so in the construction sector. The underemployment situation in the other major sectors was steady."

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( Daily Information Bulletin ) "Local town planners must take a broader perspective in finding ways to achieve Hong Kong's sustainable development in a wider context of regional development, member of the Provisional Legislative Council, Mr Edward Ho Sing-tin, said today (Monday)," reports the Hong Kong government.


Railways: Beijing-Kowloon line benefits local economies
( Beijing-Kowloon railway propels local economies ) An interesting note in today's China Daily details positive effects on local economies running along the newly establish 2,381-kilometre Kowloon-Beijing rail line.. The paper also notes that "Coal in Shanxi Province, which used to be transported to eastern China using the Beijing-Shanghai and Beijing-Guangzhou lines, now moves to its destination using the Beijing-Kowloon line." Jiangxi province has reportedly benefited the most from the line' presence:

  • "In Guangzhou region of the province alone, 10 farm product bases and 13 industrial zones have been set up along the 260-kilometre section."

  • "The bases include a 16,670-hectare vegetable-producing base, a 45,333-hectare fruit-producing base and a 66,000-hectare rice-producing base. . . "

  • "The average increase in the gross domestic product in areas along the railway was 11.6 per cent last year, compared with the national average of 8.7 per cent, according to statistics from the State Council Development Research Centre. "

Society: ( Farmers protest over new site for tombs ) A group of 200 farmers from Nanhai village, Guangzhou Province have petitioned the local government to stop its plans for moving some 20,000 tombs from nearby hills to a new grave site, reports the South China Morning Post.

    Authorities last year ordered the removal of 20,000 tombs from local hills, saying the graves destroyed the area, which was designated as a national beauty spot, the official said.

The government apparently wants to plant trees on the 40 hectares.

Ethnicity: ( Taiwan's Political Parties ) Inside China has put up a short note on China' ethnic minorities. amounting to little more than a list of the 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in the country, the paper's effort does not elucidate the complexities of 'ethnicity' in China, where ethnic identities are fluid and broader in scope than the way 'ethnic' is usually used. Apart from 56 registered groups, hundreds more have applied for addition to the official rosters.

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