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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Wed, Nov 12, 1997 edition
Election Coverage:
KMT targets Taipei's mayor

Also in this edition . . .

1: parties should not make claims of being trustworthy
2: in polluted Taiwan environment is a real issue
3: a concerned Prime Minister warns Japan to steer clear of Taiwan
4: building to move underground as planners face urban growing pains
5: headlines from today's China Daily reveal the themes
6: New Party leaders head to Beijing, deny any connection with elections
7: Taiwan turns down invitation, China expresses regret
8: crime bill restricts weapons and toughens sentences
9: interesting look at history of Koran translations in China


Mayor Chen Shui-bian: KMT targets mayor in video and book expose on his 'true nature'
(source: China News) Will the truth be damaging to Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian? KMT politicians think it will be, and soon the party will distribute some 20,000 books around the island, exposing the truth about Taipei's 'experience' under Chen's administration.

As China News reports, the mayor has actively stumped for local DPP politicians standing in this month's elections. "The KMT appear to be very dissatisfied with Chen's campaign speeches, many of which, they charge, were aimed at smearing President Lee Teng-hui's image and ridiculing the KMT for its incompetence in handling social, economic and political crises," writes the paper. Mayor Chen is not running in this election.

The stepped-up propaganda effort will see the KMT question the Mayor's boasted achievements in the city's developments. "Taipei City Council Speaker Chen Chien-chih was the first to challenge Mayor Chen to an open debate on the mayor's boasted achievements in the city's development," reports the paper. In a video produced by the City Council and distributed to Taipei citizens by the hundreds, Mr Chen pushes his argument that the mayor takes credit for achievements belonging to his predecessors.

According to Taipei City Councilor Chen Shei-saint, the book will also expose the mayor's true nature of one who would damage another person's reputation in order to consolidate his power.

Integrity: parties should not make claims of being trustworthy
(source: The China News) Provincial Civil Affairs Department Commissioner Chen Chin-hsing said yesterday that politicians belonging to the DPP and KMT should not stake claims to being trustworthy because elected officials from both parties have about the same level of integrity.

Chen, speaking at a Provincial Assembly session yesterday, made the remarks after KMT Provincial Assembly Deputy Chiu Chuan-liang said it was misleading for the DPP to accuse KMT township chiefs of being the "most corrupt."

Following Chiu's demand that he set the record straight, Chen said that of the 309 townships on the island, 251 are headed by KMT politicians. Chen then noted that about 20 percent of the KMT township chiefs have been involved in at least one lawsuit.

Chen continued that although only 24 townships are headed by the DPP, one of every six has been involved in a lawsuit. As for the 34 independent township chiefs, ten have been accused of illegal acts on at least one occasion. Chen also revealed that of the 21 mayors and county chiefs around the island, 13 belong to the KMT, compared to seven for the DPP. Two of the KMT politicians have been involved in lawsuits, while one DPP politician has been involved in a lawsuit.

Environment: in polluted Taiwan environment is a real issue
(source: The China News) Environmental protections strategies were aired by Taichung's four mayoral candidates during a discussion held yesterday afternoon.

In an event sponsored by Global Views Monthly magazine and the Commonwealth Publishing Company, KMT candidate Hung Chau-nan, DPP candidate Chang Wen-ying, New Party candidate Eric Soong and Taiwan Independence Party candidate Cheng Pang-cheng engaged in a two-and-a-half hour discussion of various environment-related issues. The issues discussed included improving enforcement of related laws, noise reduction around the North-South Freeway, environmental protection taxes and increasing public confidence in government efforts.

While candidates agreed on the importance of upgrading environmental protection efforts, different strategies and approaches were proposed.

Soong and Cheng continued their opposition to the construction of a controversial second garbage incinerator in the city, noting that such a measure would actually encourage garbage output. They supported increased recycling instead.

Hung and Chang supported the new incinerator, warning that failure to begin construction soon could impact on the quality of life in the city.

All candidates took note of the city's polluted waterways and the increased need for waste water treatment and proper sewage systems. Hung and Cheng proposed a new, environmentally-friendly recreation area/wildlife reserve at the Fa-tzu Creek.

Cheng said that Taiwan's laws need to be stronger, pointing to Singapore as a model. Soong said that the island's current, insufficiently-enforced laws had to be revised.

Taiwan's environmental problems stem from rapid industrialization spanning decades. The problems themselves span a host of areas, from ground-water pollution to noise pollution.


Security: a concerned Prime Minister warns Japan to steer clear of Taiwan
( Prime Minister Tells Japan to Stay Out of Taiwan Strait ) Prime Minister Li Peng told members of Japan's Parliament today that Japan should steer clear of Taiwan's affairs. The newly revised US-Japan defence pact secures greater commitment from Japan to aid in military operations in the region, but it does not establish geographical limits for Japan. China is suspicious of the pact, fearing it would require Japan to support US operations in the Taiwan Strait, in the event China invaded or menaced the ROC.

In a meeting with Takako Doi, head of the Social Democratic Party, Li said Prime Minister Hashimoto had not given him a verbal commitment "that Taiwan was out of the picture". Doi did not respond to this comment, but did say peace in the region balanced on developments in the Korean peninsula.

( China, Japan Seek Asian Financial Stability ) Despite the quiet response to Mr Li's suggestion, both Prime ministers agreed yesterday in Tokyo to coordinate efforts in restoring the region's markets after weeks of volatility and battering, reports Reuters. Mr Hashimoto was quoted as saying, "Japan and China need to cooperate in the interest of stability," and Asia's two great powers could not stand aloof during the crisis. No word came about how such coordinated efforts would pan out or what substantive ideas they could put forth. But Mr Li said no changes in Beijing's policies vis-a-vis Hong Kong would occur. The paper quotes Mr Li as saying to Mr Hashimoto, "China will not intervene in Hong Kong monetary policy. China supports the Hong Kong dollar being pegged to the U.S. dollar. The Hong Kong economy has sufficient strength; its future outlook is bright." China's Foreign Ministry Spokesman said both countries would join with relevant third countries "in considering a response" to the financial crisis.

( Leaders praise bilateral links ) The China Daily recounts the meetings between Mr Li and various politicians in Japan and the royal family.

  • "Li briefed the Emperor on the return of Hong Kong, the 15th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, and the progress of the Three Gorges Project on the Yangtze River."

  • "Li told Doi Takako, president of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), that the LDP is playing an active role in supporting Sino-Japanese friendship."

  • "Li told Ichiro Ozawa, head of the New Frontier Party (NFP), that a good exchange of relations had been established between the CPC and the NFP. "

  • "When meeting with Democratic Party representative Naoto Kan, Li said China attaches importance to relations with his party."

  • He also meat with former Japanese prime ministers--Nakasone Yasuhiro, Noburo Takeshita, Toshiki Kaifu, Morihiro Hosokawa and Tsutomu Hata.

( Li states principles for ties ) Clearly the symbolism of the two nations coming together in common interest for promoting peace and stability speaks more at this point about their improving relations. In a speech before members of various organizations promoting 'friendship' and cooperation in Sino-Japan relations, Mr Li spelled out the five principles on which China would conduct itself with Japan. The Five Principles are

  • "mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs; seeking common ground while setting aside differences and appropriately handling disputes; strengthening dialogue and promoting mutual understanding; seeking mutual benefit and developing economic co-operation; and looking to the future and maintaining friendship from generation to generation," reports the China Daily.

  • "In specifying the five basic principles, Li said that both sides should respect each other's development road selected according to national conditions, transcend differences in social systems, ideology and sense of values, and be harmonious neighbours on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence."

  • "The two countries should resolve problems and disputes between them by removing the cause of the disturbance and through peaceful consultation while strictly following the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and the China-Japan Treaty of Peace and Friendship."

  • "Dialogues and exchanges between the two countries in various fields and at various levels should be strengthened so as to promote trust and expand common ground, Li said."

Urbanization: building to move underground as planners face urban growing pains
( Government stimulates underground facilities ) An interesting note in today's China Daily reports on government plans to promote urban development in underground spaces. The paper recounts a 'news conference' made by Ye Rutang, Ministry of Construction vice-minister, who said the efforts were needed because of shrinking land resources and deteriorating environments. The plan is to figure importantly in maintaining 'sustainable development,' he said. "Considering China's per capita arable land availability is just one-fourth of the world's average, exploiting underground space is an obvious solution to relieve the 'symptoms'," Ye said. "Developing the underground will not only substantially ease the shortage of land for construction, but also contribute to improvement of cities' environment and protection of historic relics," he said.

The paper cites trends which predict a 45 percent rise in the urbanization rate by 2010, "when 630 million people will be living in urban areas." The paper notes urban underground spaces were "deemed by the United Nations in 1981 to be an important natural resource."

Media: headlines from today's China Daily reveal the themes

  • ( China sets seismic code for buildings ) "China is revising its national code for the seismic design of buildings in a bid to help disseminate the experience and expertise in resistance to earthquakes accumulated during the past decade."

  • ( Conference approves NPC election procedure ) Hong Kong residents who want to sit on the National Peoples Congress may start submitting applications today, reports the China Daily.

  • ( Wei urging scientists, workers to join hands ) "Scientists should use their theoretical and practical knowledge to help workers improve their skills, suggests Wei Jianxing, Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC)."

  • ( Population programme, staff training set up ) "China has established an education programme on population and family planning to provide in-depth training to professional staff within the field. The country now has more than 10 population and family planning schools. Also, a number of universities, training centres and 550 health schools have opened related courses or majors in the subject."

  • ( Gansu turns to Silk Road in plan to boost tourism ) "Gansu Province will focus on the traditional Silk Road, the countryside and the new look of ancient cities to attract more tourists, said Li Jimin, deputy director of the Gansu Tourism Bureau. The Silk Road goes 1,655 kilometres through the province, accounting for one-fifth of the total length. The road, whose 'golden section' is located in the province, has turned Gansu into an important region for cultural and trade exchanges with other countries."

  • ( Fragile Tarim environment well tended ) "The Tarim Oilfield Exploration Headquarters has channeled massive capital and has applied high technology to protect the environment in China's most promising oil and gas powerhouse for the 21st century. In the eight years since it was established, the headquarters has poured more than 420 million yuan ($50.6 million) into ensuring the soundness of the environment while it prospected for oil and gas in an area of more than 300,000 square kilometres in the inland Tarim Basin. With Taklamakan -- the world's second largest drifting desert in the world, stretching through central Tarim -- the enclosed basin in south Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region is ecologically fragile."

  • ( More tigers inhabit Tibet ) "Extensive research has revealed that the Tibet Autonomous Region is currently home to more than 30 Bengal tigers. The species is under Class-1 State protection and has been listed as one of the world's most endangered species."

  • ( Ceiling mosaics found in former bank building ) "Construction workers in Shanghai discovered a group of ceiling mosaics when renovating an old Western-style building that was used by the Shanghai-Hongkong Bank early this century. The colourful mosaics, made of tens of thousands of pieces of porcelain, were made by several Italian artists in 1923 and cover 200 square metres of the lobby ceiling."

  • ( Traffic cops clamp down on parking offenders ) "Beijing traffic police have adopted a new-fangled gadget designed to lock illegally parked cars in an attempt to reduce the practice of illegal parking. The half-metre high, triangular-shaped clamp, which weighs about 13 kilograms, was first used on October 15, when a new regulation aimed at improving car-parking in the city went into force."

  • ( Diversification enriches village ) "The village head of Dongdian on the southern outskirts of Beijing neither looks nor behaves like an old-fashioned stereotype: a bare-footed peasant cadre wearing a straw hat and talking about the fulfilment of quotas. Instead, Zhao Jinfu wears leather shoes, an all-cotton golf shirt and discusses market prices from a mobile phone in an air-conditioned office. On his name card he is titled 'General Manager.'"

  • ( Briefs ( Page 3, Date: 11/13/97 ) ) (Rangoon) "Vice-Chairman of the Myanmar State Law and Order Restoration Council General Maung Aye met yesterday with a visiting Chinese People's Liberation Army delegation led by General Liu Jingsong, commander of the Lanzhou Military Region. During the meeting, both sides stated good relations exist between the two countries and the two armed forces." And more . . .

AIDS: ( New project to help fight HIV/AIDS ) With an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 people already infected, China's health agencies are gearing up for a new campaign to control its spread. "Activities highlighting the theme of "Children Living in the World with AIDS" will be launched later this month and last till March next year. A team of experts will tour the country to lecture on the HIV/AIDS epidemics in China and spread knowledge about prevention. Publicity and education campaigns have been scheduled for middle school students. These will be followed by an essay competition," writes the paper.


Cross strait relations: New Party leaders head to Beijing, deny any connection with elections
A group of New Party leaders are on their way to China to meet some of Beijing's leadership, but party officials are downplaying speculation that the visit was related to the coming elections.

According to one recent newspaper report, New Party leaders affiliated with the New Society for Common Cause, including the party's senior adviser, Hsu Li-nung, Legislator Lee Ching-hua and National Assemblyman Hung Hu-hsiang, left Taipei on Monday for a visit to several cities in China on the pretext of visiting relatives.

During their trip, they are expected to meet Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other high-ranking officials. They are scheduled to return on Nov.26, the paper said.

Their visit has attracted much attention because it was arranged after President Lee Teng-hui was quoted as saying Taiwan was an independent country during recent interviews with The Washington Post and The Times of London.

The party's legislative whip, Lin Yu-fang, said he had told Lee that the time was not right for him to visit China because the party needs his help in screening many pending bills. Lin said Lee might be fined for being absent from the current legislative session.

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)

Cross strait dialogue: Taiwan turns down invitation, China expresses regret
China expressed regret yesterday that a top Taiwanese negotiator has not accepted its invitation to a trade conference, and poured cold water on Taiwan's proposal to send a senior official later.

Beijing's response appeared to kill chances for a meeting soon between high-level negotiators from the two sides, more than two years after China suspended talks in anger over President Lee's trip to the United States.

Taiwan is passing up an opportunity for exchange and communication by not accepting the invitation sent to Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Vice Chairman Chiao Jen-ho, China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) said in a faxed message.

The SEF and ARATS were set up by their governments to handle contacts between the sides in the absence of official channels. Last week, China invited Chiao to attend a conference aimed at expanding trade between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, and also to visit Beijing and Shanghai. The conference opens December 7 in the Chinese city of Xiamen.

Taiwan responded by thanking the association for what it called a friendly response to calls for a renewal of contacts. But it suggested instead that SEF Chairman C.F. Koo visit China for causal meetings in mid-December.

Taiwan has sought to limit booming trade and investment with China, and worries that meetings like the one in Xiamen will be used to pressure it into lifting bans on direct transport, commerce and communications links with China.

In its message, the ARATS said it welcomed Koo to visit at an appropriate time, but that a trip would require much prior discussion.

( Beijing Calls on Taipei to End Hostilities ) Meanwhile, China called on Taipei to end its hostilities with the mainland, reports Reuters.

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)

Law and Order: crime bill restricts weapons and toughens sentences
Proposed restrictions on the production, sale, storage, and transportation of various guns and ammunition nearly found unanimous support during second and third readings of the amendments in the legislature. The rental, transfer or lending of guns was also made illegal. The new rules apply to handguns, rifles, automatic weapons, and explosives.

The range of punishments for convictions was extended to include the death penalty, as well as fines of up to NT$30 million. Maximum penalties prior to yesterday's amendments ranged from five to seven years in jail, and there were no stipulations for imposing fines.

A second set of amendments called for harsher parole conditions, with those sentenced to life serving a mandatory 15 years. Repeat offenders sentenced to life will serve a minimum of 20 years. Those given other prison terms must now serve at least half of their sentences, with repeat offenders doing at least two-thirds of their time.

The amendments also stipulate that those incarcerated for sex-related offenses cannot apply for parole unless they have undergone treatment or counseling.

The changes came in response to a perceived decline in social order, particularly in the wake of the Pai Hsiao-yen murder in April.

In an attempt to stem growing concern among the public, lawmakers rearranged yesterday's agenda and brought the gun control bills to the floor. They wanted to make sure that the amendments passed before the legislature takes a two-week recess prior to the Nov.29 elections.

Although it was almost lunchtime by the time the Arms and Ammunition Control Act was brought to the floor, Legislature Speaker Liu Sung-fan asked all legislators to stay on to review and vote on the bills.

But there turned out to be little reason for concern, as legislators voted almost unanimously in favor of the changes, sending the bills smoothly through the second and third reading.

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)


Islam: interesting look at history of Koran translations in China
( Chinese build bridge in translating Koran ) The China Daily has an interesting look at the history of the Koran in China. It might gloss over many salient issues concerning Islam in the country, but nonetheless it's worth reading. The paper notes, archeological evidence suggests Islam came to China somewhere around the seventh century, near the beginning of the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907), and says there are some 14 million Muslims in China today. This figure sounds low to me, given the way identities have changed in recent years; anyone with more knowledge on the subject?. . .

Muslims then were hesitant to translate the Koran into Chinese, believing such an effort would be blasphemous.

    "In time, they realized that translation was necessary if they wanted to let more non-Arab people understand the teachings of Mohammed.

    Extant hand-written copies of the Koran in China date back to 1318. Introductions to the Koran in the Chinese language began in the 17th century. Among the extant works are Wang Daiyu's "Zheng Jiao Zhen Quan" (The Message of Islam ), "Qing Zhen Da Xue" (Great Learning of Islam) and "Xi Zhen Zheng Da" (Correct Answers to Questions about Islam).

    Liu Zhi (1664-?), a productive author with more than 30 volumes of works extant, wrote "Tian Fang Xing Li" (Nature and the Ways of Islam), a chronological biography of Mohammed, "Tian Fang Zhi Sheng Shi Lu" (A Biography of the Great Prophet) and a number of popular readings on Islam and the Koran.

    Ma Zhu (1640-?) authored "Qing Zhen Zhi Nan" (Guide to Muslims), a widely read book on the history of Islam and the Hui ethnic group, messages from the Koran, Islamic philosophy, astronomy and legends."

The paper continues with a history of the Koran into the present, noting breakthrough translations in recent years.

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©1997 Matthew Sinclair-Day
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