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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Tue, Nov 11, 1997 edition
Pres. Lee says he was misquoted
in other news: concerns for police and government authority in Hong Kong SAR

Also in this edition . . .

1: run on bank sees billions returned
2: Airport Authority suprises all, will form own security service
3: another comment on warm Sino-Russian relationships
4: wanting to build cooperation and raise concerns, Li Peng arrives in Japan
5: New Republic column on what might be the undoing of Jiang and Co.
6: Zhonghua bites the Bullet
7: proposal to recognize mainland degrees criticized
8: MAC calls for consensus-building measures to crack crime problems
9: business delegation goes to Beijing
10: will the US beef up presence in Taiwan?
11: four more ministries to be added to Cabinet
12: spotlight on telecommunications in Vietnam


Secrecy: SAR government keeps human rights report secret, outrages groups in Hong Kong
( Secrecy of report on rights riles lobbyists ) Pressure groups are concerned over the government's handling of a human rights report which was prepared for submission to the United Nations and already delivered to the Foreign ministry in Beijing for review. The SAR government kept the report secret. As the South China Morning Post writes,

    The report, on whether Hong Kong lives up to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), will be the first on human rights treaties to be presented after the handover.

    Although the draft report by the Hong Kong Government has been submitted to the central Government's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, non-government organisations and the Equal Opportunities Commission have been told they cannot see it until it is presented to the UN in March.

Police power: Director says nothing has changed in police handling of protestors
( Police's role in management of public meetings clarified ) ( Surveillance of protesters continues after rallies ) The Director of Operations of the Police, Mr Ng Ching-kwok, said Hong Kong police has not changed its policies in handling demonstrations. Mr Ng was responding to recent comments in the media on the handling of demonstrators outside the IMF / World Bank conference venue in September. But he did admit the police initiated surveillance over some protestors in order to ensure the public's safety. Some Hong Kongers, however, say the police's actions have stepped on their civil rights.

Economy: run on bank sees billions returned
( Bank customers queue for money despite assurances ) Concerns over the financial viability of International Bank of Asia has prompted many to remove their savings. The bank has paid out between $1.4 billion and $1.6 billion, reports the South China Morning Post. The run continued yesterday despite government pronouncements about the institution's sound health. Many people interviewed in the article said, although they understood the bank was solvent and in good heath, pressure from family and friends had prompted them to remove their savings.

Chek Lap Kok: Airport Authority suprises all, will form own security service
( In-house security for Chek Lap Kok ) The Airport authority announced today it would forms an internal organization to handle security at Chek Lap Kok, reports the South China Morning Post.

    "The surprise decision will make the new airport, due to open in April, one of the few in a free-market country to have in-house security. Several firms, including current airport security service provider Securair, owned by Jardines and Cathay Pacific, had hoped to secure the contract, which could be worth $1 billion a year."

( Airport Authority had 'impossible' choice on lucrative contract ) In a related article, the paper reports how the Airport Authority faced an 'impossible' decision---contract out to Jardines or permit the PLA to handle security.

See also ( Airport Authority )


Russia: another comment on warm Sino-Russian relationships
( In Beijing, Yeltsin Finds Jiang Speaks His Language ) Writing from Beijing, New York Times reporter Seth Faison remarks about the Jiang-Yeltsin summit, from which only good-will seemed to flow. Faison notes how the warm feelings and overt displays of camaraderie would have, in another era, concerned governments in the West. But now such strategic merrymaking does not "appear to threaten anyone," Faison writes. "Still, each country closely watches how the other deals with the United States. The summit meeting Monday, coming so soon after Jiang's trip to the United States, seemed intended to add diplomatic ballast to warming Chinese-American relations."

( November 14, 1997 - NEWSMAKERS ) The Russian President must have a penchant for making friends, notes Asia Week. Prior to his arrival in China, Yeltsin and Ryutaro Hashimoto warmed up to each other in a 'no neck-tie' summit, agreeing to work out territorial disputes. Yeltsin is working to improve his standing in both countries, and it would appear to be working. . . .

( China, Russia Urge Iraqi Cooperation with U.N. ) A final note, not mentioned in Faison's article, concerns the diplomatic row between the United Nations and Iraq. Boris Yeltsin and Jiang Zemin reaffirmed their government's opposition of UN sponsored military attacks against Iraq, while at the same time they called on Iraq to permit the UN to monitor for weapons of mass destruction.

Japan: wanting to build cooperation and raise concerns, Li Peng arrives in Japan
( Prime Minister Li Peng Begins Six-Day Japan Tour ) Li Peng headed to Japan today, rounding out recent PRC diplomatic initiatives. The trip is designed to set the ground work for forging stronger cooperation as both nations anticipate the 'next century' (why do we divide time and events into 100 year blocks?). Li Peng and Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto are expected to ink a fishing rights treaty, and Mr Li is expected to raise his government's concerns over the recently revamped Japan-US defense pact, whose somewhat vague language might be interpreted to encompass Taiwan. "The two prime ministers are expected to agree to an official visit to Japan by Chinese President Jiang Zemin around October next year, they said."

See also South China Morning Post: ( Tokyo and Beijing put seal on fisheries agreement )

Opinion: New Republic column on what might be the undoing of Jiang and Co.
( The New Republic: TRB: DISORDERLY CONDUCT ) In the TRB column in the November 24 issue of the New Republic, Charles Lane argues that the social forces unleashed by 'modernization' could potentially unsettle the nation in a way much larger than Tiananmen did. Lane concludes along these lines:

    "Post-Tiananmen China remains characterized by a relatively low level of political mobilization--the masses seem either apathetic or tranquilized by the fruits of economic growth; the restive intellectuals seem cowed by repression. But China's rulers are wrong to consider this state of affairs as a vindication of their overall strategy. Jiang and his fellow politburo members have actually succeeded only in engineering a transition from communism back to authoritarianism . . . . "

Automobiles: Zhonghua bites the Bullet
( November 14, 1997 - Stuck in the Slow Lane ) Asia Week has an article on Zhonghua Automobile Industry Co which is pushing its Bullets Heads car to taxi drivers. "Zhonghua, one of the smallest of 120 car-makers in China, wants to market 30,000 Bullet Heads a year. Trouble is, the car is widely detested, especially by taxi drivers, and only 4,000 or so have sold since production started in 1994. Indeed, Zhonghua is a good example of where China's ambitions for a world-class auto industry are today: stuck in the slow lane with the signals somewhat crossed."

The company's sales manager claims, if Princess Diana had been in a Bullet, she would be alive today. And then there is a demonstration to back up this assertion . . .

China has great ambitions for its automobile industry, though the government has scaled back its goal of developing an inexpensive commuter car for urbanites. See the Mon, Apr 7, 1997 edition, Sat, Apr 5, 1997 edition and Thu, Mar 20, 1997 edition for more information on China's automobile industry.


Independence: Pres. Lee says he was misquoted by papers all around
President Lee Teng-hui yesterday personally denied recent newspaper reports that he is a supporter of Taiwan independence. He issued a statement saying his remarks had been misreported.

However, Hong Kong-based reporters who last week had interviewed Lee told Taiwan newspapers yesterday they were sure Lee had indeed made the sensitive remarks.

Lee's denial came after The Times of London published a story on Monday citing Lee as Lee as "declaring his island an independent country, just like Britain or France."

The president had received The Washington Post reporter Keith Richburg at his office Thursday and was interviewed separately by The Times reporter Jonathan Mirsky the following day.

On Sunday, officials including Foreign Minister Jason Hu and Cabinet spokesman David Lee had come out in force to deny that Lee had ever spoken of Taiwan being an independent nation.

They said Lee meant that the Republic of China was a sovereign, independent state, rather than Taiwan itself. Yesterday, a statement released by the Presidential Office said the two articles contained wording that had "differences" from what was said in both conversations.

It said President Lee had referred to the Republic of China, which has existed for 86 years, and that the Chinese nation was presently politically separated, with the Chinese communists ruling the mainland and the ROC ruling Taiwan. Lee just meant that presently in Taiwan, if the Chinese communists want to view the Republic of China as a local government or her province, people living in Taiwan absolutely cannot accept this.

The interview published by the Times had also cited Lee as saying he doubted leaders in Beijing would threaten to invade the island and that if there were a real threat, he would expect America to help defend Taiwan. But it also said Lee was careful to say that he would never proclaim an independent Republic of Taiwan. He also referred to Beijing's presence in Tibet as an occupation, The Times said.

Reacting to the hubbub over the interviews, both reporters yesterday told Taiwan-based evening newspapers separately that they were sure they hadn't misquoted the president.

See also,, and

(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)

Education: proposal to recognize mainland degrees criticized
The ruling Kuomintang yesterday slammed Education Minister Wu Jin for adopting a new policy to recognize degrees issued by mainland Chinese colleges and universities to Taiwan graduates.

But Wu said the policy would remain unchanged unless his superiors ordered otherwise. Lifting a decades-old ban, Wu announced last month his ministry would recognize the degrees of 73 leading mainland colleges, including Beijing University, allowing more options for Taiwan students.

"He (Wu) made the decision too hastily," said Tsai Pi-huang, director of the KMT's Department of Cultural Affairs, accusing the minister of lacking a comprehensive perspective. Tsai said he was not speaking on behalf of the party, but said President and KMT Chairman Lee Teng-hui also thought the decision by the Education Ministry was too hasty.

What worried the party was apparently the ideological implications. "The most important thing we must consider is whether Taiwan students, under long-time educational, cultural, propagandistic and social influences of the mainland, would not accept communist China's politico-socialization," Tsai said.

He said recognition of mainland degrees must be considered as carefully as other mainland policies, which must proceed in stages steadily in line with cross-strait relations.

As Beijing has not yet recognized Taiwan-issued degrees, "under the principle of equality, the ministry's unilateral recognition will create serious consequences," said Tsai. But he said President Lee had not given any instructions about changing the policy.

Premier Vincent Siew declined to comment on the matter. So did Siew's predecessor, Vice President Lien Chan, who reportedly okayed the new policy before he resigned the premiership earlier this year.

"The recognition of mainland degrees was adopted after five and half years of a co-study by the Ministry of Education and the Mainland Affairs Council," Wu said. "The ministry will not make any changes... We haven't received any instructions from superiors. If we had, we would have made reassessments. But we haven't received any instructions."

See also,, and

(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)

Cross strait relations: MAC calls for consensus-building measures to crack crime problems
(sources: Central News Agency and The China Post)

The cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has called for consensus-building measures across the Taiwan Strait in efforts to crack down on criminal activity.

MAC made the appeal as local police are fully mobilized in an islandwide hunt for Chen Chin-hsing and Kao Tien-min, the country's two most-wanted fugitives who are suspected of involvement in a series of brutal crimes, including the kidnap and murder of the daughter of entertainer Pai Ping-ping in April and the October killing of three other persons in a plastic surgery clinic.

MAC said that if Taipei and Beijing could reach such a consensus, it would not only be more difficult for the two fugitives to slip out of Taiwan into the Mainland, but would also be helpful in tracking down and repatriating other wanted criminals or suspects now in the mainland.

Statistics show that as of the end of September, the Taiwan side has asked mainland authorities for help in locating or repatriating 198 wanted criminals or suspects, to provide information on 94 criminal cases, and to help gather evidence in 145 other ongoing investigations. But Taiwan law enforcement officials had managed to take back only 46 criminals as of the end of September.

Sources say mainland China's response to overtures from the Taiwan side for stepped up cooperation in crime fighting activities has been lukewarm. They point to a lack of consensus on how such efforts should be conducted, an absence of trust rooted a failure to establish the principles of reciprocity, and poor cross-strait communications.

Cross strait relations: business delegation goes to Beijing
(sources: Agence France-Presse and The China Post) A high-powered Taiwan business delegation has arrived in Beijing for a trip expected to include meetings with mainland Chinese leaders such as President Jiang Zemin, reports the China Post.

The delegation is led by Hsu Sheng-fa, head of the Prince Motor Group, who is also chairman of Taiwan's Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Comprising 25 top executives from a broad range of Taiwan industries, including electronics, shipping and chemicals, will take part in a seminar discussing "high-technology cooperation between mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan," the China Post quotes a spokesman for Prince.

The delegation will also seek investment guarantees for Taiwan businesses. Arrangements were being made to meet with President Jiang Zemin.

See also ( Delegations visit mainland as Beijing rejects chief negotiator )

Diplomacy: will the US beef up presence in Taiwan?
(sources: Bridge News and The China Post) The US is considering raising the level of its official trade and economic contacts with Taiwan to help assuage Taipei's concerns about possible changes in US policy toward Taiwan after the recent US-mainland China summit, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported yesterday, citing an unnamed source.

The report said Taiwan and the US have decided in principle to hold the first Cabinet-level trade and economic meeting between the two countries in December in San Diego, which would be held as part of a large, more established annual private trade and economic forum between the two. The ROC's Economic Affairs Minister, Wang Chih-kang, and his US counterpart William Daley would attend, the paper said.

Government: four more ministries to be added to Cabinet
(sources: Central News Agency and The China Post) In line with a governmental reform policy, the Cabinet has tentatively decided to add four more ministries to its makeup, Cabinet sources reported on Monday.

The new ministries will include agriculture, labor, health and welfare, and culture, increasing to 12 the number of ministries comprising the Cabinet.


Vietnam: spotlight on telecommunications in Vietnam
( VBJ September/October 1997 - Cover Story ) Vietnam Business Journal is running its October cover story on the emerging---and vibrant---telecommunications industry in Vietnam. Foreign investors have their eyes on the world's most populous nation (78 million), and recent government plans to increase the number of lines, coupled with pent-up demand for phones, has brought these companies to the country. . . .

Korea: ( Korea Herald : Business News ) "Korean firms operating in China still trail far behind those from Hong Kong, the United States, Japan and Europe in their performance level, the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA) said yesterday," reports the Korea Herald.

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