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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Wed, Oct 22, 1997 edition
Tung in London
London pleased with developments in SAR

Also in this edition . . .

1: do people's attitudes 'change' when their plans go awry? Or is it just another aspect of what was motivating them all along?
2: government halts plans to relocate Guangdong tombs in wake of arson and protest
3: two spies acquitted for lack of evidence
4: last minutes details being worked-out by Washington and Beijing
5: editorial: moving the discourse to a new plateau of understanding
6: Taiwan's government denies show of wares related to upcoming summit
7: DPP admonishes member for remarks on cross-strait policies
8: Taiwan Area Games open
9: exports for September post single-month high
10: Taiwan wins right to host Mathematics Olympiad


United Kingdom: London pleased with developments in Hong Kong
( Britain happy with SAR's progress ) Derek Fachett, minister in charge of foreign and commonwealth affairs, said his government was pleased with the way the Hong Kong SAR was developing, three months after UK relinquished sovereignty over its colony. Mr Fachett said there are 3.5 million British passport holders in the territory. Hong Kong is also the largest Asian market for British goods, and Mr Fachett said these two facts underscore British interests in the territory's continuing success. Interestingly, Prime Minister Tony Blair's government has emphasized its eagerness to forge a 'new relationship' with Hong Kong, and undoubtedly this would be centered on trade and cultural exchanges. But we might also take the Prime minister's remarks as indicative of his general bearing on domestic and international matters: a 'new beginning' is exactly what his Labour Party is creating for itself. . .

London has obviously decided to address privately its concerns over the changes in the election franchise which has moved to one based mainly on functional constituencies. Today it was reported in the South China Morning Post that: "Baroness Dunn--Governor Chris Patten's top adviser when he instituted his electoral reforms--yesterday announced her support for cutting the franchise of functional constituencies from 2.7 million to 180,000 in next year's polls," writes the South China Morning Post.

See also ( Dunn changes tune on election franchise )

Meanwhile . . . ( Colonial priorities under fire ) In the Provisional Legislature reactions to Tung Chi-hwa's policy address have been mostly positive. Some have compared him to former Governor Chris Patten. According to Liberal Party chairman Allen Lee Peng-fei, Patten had concentrated on political matters at the expense of economic growth, placing the territory at a competitive disadvantage. And Lau Wong-fat, chairman of the Heung Yee Kuk, said: "The previous Sino-British political row initiated by the British side made the public tired. The Government wasted a lot of energy and civil servants were under great pressure. Now the row is over and Hong Kong can concentrate on turning a new page," the South China Morning Post quotes him.

( SCMP Internet Edition ) There were a few objections to Tung's policy address, but an amendment to criticise the shortcomings of the address was soundly defeated yesterday. "Members voted 40 to 5 against an amendment by Frederick Fung Kin-kee, chairman of the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood, tabled to the motion of thanks moved by House Committee chairman Dr Leong Che-hung," reports the South China Morning Post. Mr Fung took issue with the government's lack of initiative to combat poverty and to increase the monthly Comprehensive Social Security Assistance for the elderly. Mr Feng also said that increased quotas for foreign laborers would not safeguard local workers' rights, reports the paper.

See also We can't stop knocking Chris, an excuse for pushing the wrong button.

With confessions and reversals of thinking coming forth about Patten's strategy, I am reminded of something written on these pages in the Tue, Mar 4, 1997 edition when I stepped on top of a 'soapbox.'

Southeast Asia: do people's attitudes 'change' when their plans go awry? Or is it just another aspect of what was motivating them all along?
( Economic Pain Sharpens and 'Asian Miracle' Fades ) Is the Asian miracle over? Was it ever a miracle? These are the questions people are asking of themselves as Southeast Asia's economies continue to falter. The New York Times has a report, and the prospects are not encouraging. What is mostly unsettling is how the poverty will only sharpen and people, in the midst of economic malaise, will look for scapegoats. The 'Jews' --as Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir suggested were responsible for the problems at hand . . .

Meanwhile . . . ( Stock prices in free fall for third day ) In Hong Kong the Hang Seng index fell for the third consecutive day on investor fears that the government would eventually drop the HK dollar's peg to its US counterpart. "The Hang Seng Index, the main barometer of share prices, plunged 765.33 points, or 6.17 per cent, to end at a 13-month low of 11,637.77. The intense selling brought losses so far this week to 1,963 points - or more than 15 per cent," reports the South China Morning Post.

In London Tung Chi-hwa reaffirmed the government's commitment to the peg and said he was concerned by actions in recent days. Analysts say the massive dumping of shares is not over. . . .

( Bangkok Post Oct 22, 1997 - PM pulled back from the brink Chettha against state of emergency ) In Bangkok the crisis is hitting the hardest, exasperating political problems long overdue for a resolution. "A desperate attempt by the prime minister to silence the public clamour for his resignation by declaring a state of emergency was aborted late last night following strong opposition from Gen Chettha Thanajaro, the army commander," writes the Bangkok Post.

(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.)

Society: government halts plans to relocate tombs in wake of arson and protest
( Rioters put halt to grave-switch plan ) There's an update on yesterday's story about protests in Xiqiaoshan village, Guangdong Province. The government has delayed its plans to relocate thousands of ancestral tombs which it said were obstructing development efforts. The government had offered a nominal sum to villagers who would permit the relocation of their ancestral tombs to a new graveyard and offered to pay more for permission to cremate the remains. Villagers have burned an administrative building on the site of the tombs, and riot police arrived to quell the disturbances. Calm is reported in the area at this time. One question we might ask ourselves is how to view the government's intentions, although our information is incomplete and tentative at best? Earlier 'modernization' efforts in this century have seen similar government actions to extirpate 'superstition' and co-opt local functionaries for state-making initiatives. And we're not referring only to the post-1949 era, as this antedates the CCP by many decades. Whether or not this incident in Xiqiaoshan is an example is of course unclear; but we are putting the idea on the table for those who would be so bold to consider it. . . .

The South China Morning Post also has a map locating Xiqiaoshan southwest of Foshan.

Law: two spies acquitted for lack of evidence
It was the biggest spy trial to be held in Taiwan since passage of 1991 National Security Law. The trial yesterday ended in victory for two defendants after the Taiwan High Court ruled Wu Tao-ming and Chang Lu-chung were not guilty. They were released on NT$200,000 and NT$100,000 bail, respectively, pending a decision by the prosecution on whether or not to appeal the spying charges to the Supreme Court.

Wu, the former head of the Kuomintang's Macao branch office, and Chang, an ex-official at the KMT's Department of Mainland Affairs, had been accused of being double agents and passing classified military and government secrets to a mainland operative in Hong Kong.

In the court's verdicts the panel of three judges hearing the case cited a "lack of credible evidence" for the decision. It said Wu's confession, which he later retracted, was the only item of evidence working in the prosecution's favor. Other details of the alleged spy ring were not able to be verified or were doubtful, the verdict said.

Prosecutors said they would wait to read the details of the official verdict before deciding whether to appeal the case. After their release Wu and Chang told reporters that the justice system in Taiwan is still fair.

Observers said yesterday's ruling also underscored the legal separation between state organs and departments of the ruling party, which before the 1987 lifting of a ban on opposition parties had been practically interchangeable. In their ruling the judges said state and military intelligence organs would have been held liable if evidence had shown state secrets had been accessed by the two accused men.

The verdict said that government agencies should not provide classified information to "private" organizations, meaning the ruling party. The KMT itself told the court it had ceased all mainland intelligence-gathering operations in 1991, when such duties were fully transferred to government intelligence agencies.

See also


Beijing: last minutes details being worked-out by Washington and Beijing
( Final touches put to summit agenda ) US officials are in Beijing discussing issues central to next week's summit, reports the South China Morning Post. The paper writes,
    Discussions ranged from a long-delayed 1985 nuclear co-operation accord, a plan to appoint a special US official on Tibet and a hotline between President Bill Clinton and President Jiang Zemin.

    Other key agreements expected to be signed during the summit include a military maritime agreement, co-operation on law-enforcement and environmental protection.

Labour: ( Jobs for the girls run out ) State-owned enterprises are cutting back and women workers in Guangzhou will lose more of their jobs, reports the South China Morning Post.

    Figures for the first half of the year showed more than 86,000 people in the city, 2.4 per cent of the workforce, were out of a job. Of these, 59 per cent were women.

Editorial: moving the discourse to a new plateau of understanding
In an Editorial (20 Oct 1997) China Informed comments on the discourse through which China and its affairs are discussed in the US.


Military: government denies show of wares related to upcoming summit
According to foreign media reports, a scheduled demonstration of two newly-formed combat units at the end of this month was a formal military exercise and was related to the upcoming summit meeting between US President Bill Clinton and mainland Chinese President Jiang Zemin. However, the Ministry of National Defense denied these reports yesterday.

A spokesman for the ministry said the demonstration of the units at the end of this month was intended to introduce the basic structure of the future armed forces to the top government leadership. He said that it was not a military exercise, as some foreign media had reported, but a display of weapons and personnel. He added the event was by no means related to next week's summit meeting between Clinton and Jiang because it had long been planned as part of a series of similar demonstrations to be held over the coming year.

President Lee Teng-hui will review the two newly-formed combat units, including an armored infantry brigade and an airborne cavalry brigade, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the country's armed forces, the spokesman said. The demonstration will be held at two Army bases in Hsinchu and Taoyuan in northern Taiwan.

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)

Democratic Progressive Party: DPP admonishes member for remarks on cross-strait policies
Opposition Democratic Progressive Party Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang yesterday was harshly criticized by party politicians over his recent remarks on launching party-to-party talks with the Chinese Communist Party and opening direct cross-strait trade, transportation and communication links.

On Monday Hsu said Taiwan should take the initiative to negotiate with Beijing on opening direct trade, transportation and communication links across the Taiwan Strait. A group of five DPP lawmakers representing different factions--including Shen Fu-hsiung (Taipei South), Yen Chin-fu (Taipei South), Tsai Ming-hsien (Taichung), Lin Che-fu (At Large) and Li Ying-yuan (Taipei County) --told a news conference yesterday that Hsu should not have made the statement before a consensus was worked out on the issues within the party.

Shen said that any talks with Beijing must be conducted at the government-to-government level. He said the DPP could not enter into dialogue with the Chinese Community Party, which represents the Beijing government, when hostilities still exist between the sides. Yen said the DPP must not sacrifice national security for short-term interests, since Beijing has not dropped its military threat against Taiwan. Meanwhile, Tsai and Li said Hsu's remarks could not represent the DPP's stance on the issue.

After a meeting the party's Legislative Yuan caucus later requested that the party leadership clarify its mainland policy soon, fearing Hsu's confusing remarks might have a negative impact on the DPP's campaign in next month's elections. Economy

See also

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Sports: Taiwan Area Games open
The Taiwan Area Games officially opened last night with a grand opening ceremony in Chiayi County Stadium. More than 20,000 persons attended the ceremony at the recently completed stadium, presided over by games chairman and Taiwan Governor James Soong. Four hundred members of the Tsou aboriginal tribe from nearby Alishan led off the ceremonies with traditional dances and songs. The games torch was lit by track runner Fang En-hua and by wrestler Hou Chun-yi.

The Taiwan Area Games are the annual national sporting competition for the island. A total of 8,574 athletes representing 25 cities and counties are entered in 72 sports for 442 gold medals. The games run through Oct. 26.

See also

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Economy: exports for September post single-month high
Export orders received by Taiwan manufacturers amounted to US$10.89 billion in September, a single-month high, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) reported on Tuesday. The amount marked a 3.62 percent year-on-year rise, according to ministry tallies. September was also the seventh straight month that export orders broke the US$10 billion mark. Ministry officials said the record-setting amount of the export orders indicates that Taiwan's economic fundamentals are rosy and robust. An official urged local stock investors should keep confidence in the market.

Information-technology and communications products remained the best-selling item, garnering US$1.91 billion worth of orders in September, up 9.66 percent from the year-earlier level. Electronics followed with US$1.86 billion in orders, marking a 23.42 percent year-on year growth. Chang Yao-chung, director general of the MOEA's statistics department, said information technology, communications and electronics industries have become the driving force of Taiwan's export growth.

The United States remained Taiwan's largest source of export orders, contributing US$3.41 billion worth of orders, which marked a 6.57 percent year-on-year gain. Orders from Europe picked up 13.13 percent to US$1.922 billion, while orders from both Hong Kong and Japan declined, down 0.26 percent and 24.82 percent, respectively.

See also

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Education: Taiwan wins right to host Mathematics Olympiad
The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced yesterday that Taiwan has won the right to host the 39th Mathematics Olympiad in July next year.

The ministry said this is the first time that Taiwan has been granted the right to sponsor an international Olympic academic contest. There will be more than 1,000 hopefuls from 85 countries and territories taking part in the extravaganza.

Chen Chao-ti, dean of the College of Science of National Taiwan Normal University, said it is a hard-won achievement for Taiwan to host the event. Taiwan began participating in the annual mathematics competition for senior high school students in 1992. Because of the outstanding performance of Taiwan's students and the tremendous efforts of the domestic mathematics community, Taiwan has managed to win the hosting rights, Chen said.

Over the past six years Taiwan on average ranked 10th in the annual two-day contest. The best record was seen in 1993 when Taiwan garnered the fifth place. Chen said the contestants are usually senior high school students with a special talent for mathematics. The events' problems are consistently very difficult and mainly aimed at testing the participants' creativity and logical thinking ability.

Chen said the MOE and the National Science Council will jointly earmark NT$37.2 million (US$1.25 million) to finance the event, while National Taiwan Normal University will be responsible for organizing the contest.

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)


Cambodia: Online NewsHour: Hun Sen Interview -- October 21, 1997 is a transcript of an interview conducted by PBS's Charles Kraus with Cambodia's Hun Sen, who recently came to the US.

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China Informed

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