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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Sat, Nov 22, 1997 edition
Crime and Diplomacy
how a hostage crisis takes on foreign dimensions in Taiwan

Also in this edition . . .

1. Taiwan's most wanted ends his run from the law
2. in wake of hostage crisis, president calls for stepped-up efforts against crime
3. hostage crisis demonstrates how domestic and foreign issues are entwined in Taiwan
4. Justice Minister gets tough on crime
5. police hunt down one suspect, Premier praises efforts
6. in Burma, change in government may be more than 'old wine in a new bottle'
7. Burma will implement Asean drug control project, reports Xinhua
8. Taiwan cautious to new suggestion of 'one China' definition
9. President Lee tries different tact in persuading businesses about mainland investments
10. in the legislature members are cautious about Beijing's gesture
11. bomb explodes outside Taiwan's embassy
12. Florida group protests against China's theme park
13. in Taiwan patronage and money are important vote-getters
14. ROC navy to take delivery of new frigate this month



  • China Informed's connection to the internet ran into problems on Tuesday evening when its Internet Service Provider stopped providing service due to equipment failure and other failures (in their integrity). Though the server (located and maintained by a different company) worked fine, we were frustrated by our inability to hook-up to the world, as it were, and the publication schedule was disrupted. The timing of this small disaster came just after publishing the Mon, Nov 17, 1997 edition (now on the recent news page) which, we soon discovered after publication, was riddled by one erroneous headline and a number of rather silly mistakes in typing and such. Ouch.

  • In today's edition we are moving back on track by publishing a number of stories collected and written last week. You will notice this edition is rather heavy in its coverage of Taiwan. We will move to more balanced coverage in the next edition.

  • The stories on Chen Chin-hsing, who until recently enjoyed status as Taiwan's most wanted person, highlight both troubling incidences of violent crime, but also the way by which domestic matters in Taiwan crystallize a 'foreign' dimension.

  • Do take note of the pieces covering Burma, whose government recently re-named itself. In a piece republished under permission from BurmaNet this change in the troubled Southeast Asian nation is analyzed.

  • Finally, we have embedded a number of fonts into this edition. The technology is TrueDoc, implemented in Netscape's Navigator / Communicator 4.0 system. Unfortunately, Microsoft's Internet Explorer will not recognize TrueDoc fonts. Please send comments on the look of the page to


    Chen Chin-hsing: Taiwan's most wanted ends his run from the law
    ( Hostage Standoff Ends as Fugitive Gives Up ) Chen Chin-hsing, Taiwan's most wanted criminal, gave himself up to police on Wednesday, ending a hostage crisis which had taken on international repercussions. Chen was the target of Taiwan's most intense man-hunt, for his involvement in a series of brutal murders. "Chen began his final stand on Tuesday night when he broke into the home of South African embassy official Mac Alexander, a military attaché, with guns blazing, injuring Alexander and his 22-year-old daughter," reports Reuters. "Chen freed the injured captives on Tuesday night and let two more go -- a seven-month-old infant and Alexander's 12-year-old daughter -- earlier on Wednesday." With alexander's wife the remaining hostage, Chen subsequently gave himself up to police on Wednesday.

    See also ( Taiwan Fugitive Takes Diplomat's Family Hostage, Demands Safe Passage Abroad )

    Society: in wake of hostage crisis, president calls for stepped-up efforts against criminal activity
    The government yesterday vowed to continue its efforts to fight crime as it expressed relief over the resolution of the hostage crisis at the residence of South African military attache, McGill Alexander.

    It apologized for the injury of Alexander and his daughter Melanie in the incident and pledged to step up protective measures for foreign diplomats.

    Releasing a statement after the ending of the crisis last night, President Lee Teng-hui ordered law-enforcement authorities to step up their efforts to bring to justice criminals involved in several other major crimes which remain unresolved.

    Lee called on the public to cooperate with law-enforcement authorities in maintaining social order and security. At a news conference, Premier Vincent Siew vowed that the government will seek to speed up the institutionalization and modernization the nation's police administration.

    Siew said the government has toughened laws in an effort to deter the illegal possession of fire arms and will further beef up coastal patrols to guard against fire arms smuggling. He said in handling the hostage incident, the government placed safety of the hostages as its first priority and the move had gained the understanding of the South African government. He suggested that the proper handling of the crisis would help boost the nation's international image.

    Vice Foreign Minister Louis Tzen said the ministry had kept in close contact with the South African government, noting it of developments over the last 24 hours. Tzen said South African authorities fully understood the incident was an isolated one, rather than politically motivated. The ministry has started seeking safer measures to protect foreign diplomats, he promised. Among the measures, the said the government is currently building a community in Taipei's Tienmou district to locate the offices and residences of all foreign diplomats.

    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)

    Analysis: hostage crisis demonstrates how domestic and foreign issues are entwined in Taiwan
    Although the surrender of Chen Chin-hsing last night brought an end to the hostage drama and the arrest of the country's most wanted fugitive, commentators from local media could not help but to speculate on how the entire affair will tarnish the country's international image.

    When Chen Chin-hsing took the family of a South African diplomat hostage, Chen unwittingly turned a domestic issue on decaying social order into an international crisis, which Foreign Minister Jason Hu admitted will certainly affect Taiwan's national image. As some papers commented, the consequences may be inestimable, particularly as the drama involved a country that is set to break ties with Taiwan next month.

    Hu stressed that Pretoria understands that the incident was an isolated one, void of political dimensions. Ongoing talks between Taipei and Pretoria about future ties would not be affected, he said. But reports in South African media have linked the incident to the upcoming severance of ties. Lingering misconceptions among the public in South Africa may create obstacles in Taipei's efforts to maintain contacts with Pretoria, some worried.

    Pai Ping-ping, mother of Pai Hsiao-yen whom Chen and his accomplices allegedly kidnapped and murdered, said the internalization of the incident threatened to bring Taiwan irreparable damage diplomatically. A commentary by a United Daily News reporter said the lack of internal stability would cancel out all of Taiwan's diplomatic efforts overnight.

    In the past some lawmakers had likened Taiwan to Sicily when commenting on the deteriorating social order; now, one reporter said the international community might as well associate 'Taiwan' with 'crime,' because it had surpassed Sicily's notoriety. Social order would not return automatically with the close of Pai's case.

    While the government strives to stabilize social order, Chao Kuo-tsai, head of the National Chengchi University's foreign affairs department, said protection must also be stepped up for foreign diplomats in Taiwan in order to avoid a repeat of such an international crisis.

    Besides the diplomatic implications of the case, Taiwan's image may have been further damaged by the local media's unscrupulous coverage of the hostage drama.

    A Reuters story filed from Taipei presented the local media as news-hungry and insensitive to the ordeal that the hostages were suffering. Their insatiable desire for information, which manifested itself as a sort of rivalry to be the first to reach Chen on the phone, the sole medium to the outside world for the criminal, had created difficulties for police trying to enter into negotiations with Chen, Reuters reported.

    Whether Reuters' comment was justifiable or not, it has worried some in Taiwan, because its representation of Taiwan's media to the international community has apparently added to the impression that chaos is eating into the society---both criminals and the media are ruthless, albeit in their own ways.

    Yet, it is particularly apt that Taiwan's most wanted criminal---and therefore the very symbol of a leading domestic issue---had taken hostage a family from a country which in a few short weeks will break ties with Taipei and reestablish shop in Beijing. Local commentators and pundits all around wondered how the incident would look overseas, for how Taiwan is perceived would seem to worry those who consider the details of how it will be received by foreign governments. Coincidences are coincidences, but the symbolism cannot help to be noticed, that in Taiwan domestic and foreign affairs are very much entwined.

    See also

    Law and Order: Justice Minister gets tough on crime
    (sources: Central News Agency and The China Post) Justice Minister Liao Cheng-hao said on Monday that his ministry will continue the fight against crime, vowing that there will be no "law enforcement holidays" despite the upcoming mayoral and county magistrate elections in Taiwan province.

    In line with the "anti-violence and anti-vote buying" policy set by the government, Liao said all agencies under the Ministry of Justice will launch a joint operation to eradicate violence, vote-buying and crime prior to the elections scheduled for Nov. 29.

    Liao stressed that the government's non-stop, uncompromising efforts to eradicate crime will continue unabated in order to improve social order.

    He warned criminal syndicates and underworld elements not to underestimate the anti-crime campaign and urged the public to have confidence in the government's determination to carry out a "clean election."

    The justice minister said the nation's eighth island-wide campaign to crack down on crime was recently launched, and emphasized that there will be no "holidays" for law enforcement officials, even during the election period.

    Law and Order: police hunt down one suspect, Premier praises efforts
    Top government officials yesterday lauded the successful manhunt by police for one of the two most wanted suspects sought in connection with April's brutal kidnapping and murder of Pai Hsiao-yen, daughter of television celebrity Pai Ping-ping.

    Premier Vincent Siew highly praised police for their bravery in the manhunt for Kao Tien-min, the suspect who shot himself to death after a shootout with police. One police officer was slightly injured in the action.

    Siew said everybody knew all members of the police force had been put under great pressure since the Pai case was exposed.

    The premier also thanked the public for providing information as to the whereabouts of Kao, attributing the successful manhunt by police for Kao to cooperation from civilians. He said he hoped the general public will continue providing assistance to the police since maintaining social order is the job of every citizen.

    Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian also congratulated police for their successful manhunt for Kao. He also attributed the result of the police action to cooperation provided by local residents. Chen said he hoped police will maintain the victorious spirit in order to track down the other suspect in the Pai case, Chen Chin-hsing. He called on the general public to give more praise than criticism to police to encourage them to go on with the search for Chen.

    Both Siew and Chen inspected the scene of the gun battle between Kao and police in the suburban Shihpai neighborhood. They also visited police officer Lin Chen-hung, who was injured in the shootout, at the Veterans General Hospital in Shihlin.

    Siew said Lin was able to survive mainly because he wore a bullet-proof vest. Lin sustained three shots to the body, but two of the shots were deferred by the bullet-proof vest. The vest, which Siew praised, was only distributed to the police force recently. It had been harshly criticized by some politicians as being incapable of sustaining a single bullet.

    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)


    Analysis: change in government may be more than 'old wine in a new bottle'
    On November 15, the SLORC was dissolved and the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) came into being. The same top four SLORC leaders are at the head of the SPDC: Than Shwe, Tin Oo, Maung Aye, and Khin Nyunt. Many analysts have suggested that this is merely "old wine in new bottles". In many ways, yes, but it may signal a shift in tactics although probably not overall strategy. . . . (full story: BurmaNet Commentary)

    Burma: ( BURMA ) Bertil Lintner, the Far Eastern Economic Review's Burma specialist, says the military junta changed its name to State Peace and Development Council in a move to appease international observers and Asean. He says, the generals look enviously upon the Indonesian system, in which the military plays an active role accepted by the international community.

    • "The new name is a Burmese allusion to the Indonesian military's dwifungsi, or dual function, which is enshrined in Indonesia's constitution and gives its armed forces a duty to both defend and develop the country. The makeover was part of a government shake-up in Rangoon that appeared aimed at winning international legitimacy for the military government, but which analysts say fell far short of what's needed to end the junta's pariah status in the West."

    • 'The primacy of the military is subtly encapsulated in Slorc's new name. "The restoration of law and order is a temporary task," says an Asian diplomat in Bangkok who follows events in Burma. "But peace--meaning defence--and development are permanent duties."'

    Lintner notes the changes have also signalled a shift in power among the generals , with Lt. Gen 'Secretary 1' Khin Nyunt having consolidated his power against army chief Gen. Maung Aye. Just last year, writes Lintner, the tables had been turned in Maung Aye's favour. The change seems to have come by the hand of New Win, the semi-retired strongman. In the ranking of Burma's generals, Ne Win stands at the apex, and his influence might not be visible---it is nonetheless real. In February he host Indonesian President Suharto during his state visit to Rangoon. In September Suharto reciprocated. It was during Ne Win's visit to Indoenisa in September, says Lintner, that the two leaders discussed the progress of political developments in Burma.

    It has been no secret that Asean is courting Rangoon not so much out of affinity for the general's practices, but for strategic concerns due to Burma's proximity to China's southern frontier---and for China's overall intentions to use Burma for economic and political ends. Perhaps Asean had thought by bringing Burma into the organization, the event itself would have heralded substantive changes there. But with the opposition NLD ever strong and outspoken, the economy falling under the weight of its own contradictions, and the junta still brutalizing its people, there have been few changes to satisfy Asean or Western governments. Economic development might have boombed in recent years, but there are good indicators---inflation and foreign investment rates---which suggest the overall economy is in dire straits.

    Narcotics: Burma will implement Asean drug control project, reports Xinhua
    November 17, 1997

    YANGON (Nov. 18) XINHUA - Myanmar is making preparations to act as a host in implementing ASEAN members' three-year narcotic drug control project individually and collectively.

    According to today's official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar, local medical officers are being trained on drug abuse surveillance and substance abuse management.

    The training also includes collecting data for demand reduction as well as statistics on drug addicts to support law enforcement bodies in demand reduction measures.

    The three-year ASEAN plan, which was worked out at the 18th meeting of ASEAN Senior Officials on Drug Matters (ASOD) in Bangkok in 1995, covers programs on education, treatment, rehabilitation, control, eradication and research.

    Myanmar last attended the 20th meeting of the ASOD in Brunei in August as a full-fledged member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    According to official statistics, there were 56,847 registered addicts in Myanmar in 1996. Of them, 62 percent are opium addicts, 29 percent heroin addicts and 9 percent addicted to other drugs.

    Six major drug treatment centers have been set up in the country covering Yangon, Mandalay, Myitkyina, Taunggyi, Lashio and Kengtung, the statistics showed.


    Cross-strait relations: Taiwan cautious to new suggestion of 'one China' definition
    Taipei reacted with guarded optimism yesterday after reports cited mainland China's top negotiator with Taiwan as suggesting Beijing might loosen its decades-old definition of the politically sensitive "one China" concept.

    Chang King-yuh, chairman of the Cabinet's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said the move would indicate Beijing was starting to face the reality of both sides' political separation in the lead-up to eventual reunification. But Chang and other officials said the remarks would have to be verified over the coming days before Taipei could be sure Beijing had actually made such a major step.

    Earlier, the Chinese Alliance for Democratic Reform (New Teng-meng Hui), a pro-reunification organization based in Taipei, issued a statement saying Beijing had made the apparent concession in a Sunday night meeting between its top cross-strait negotiator and a delegation of alliance members.

    It cited Wang Daohan, chairman of Beijing's semi-official Association For Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, as saying: One China is not tantamount to the People's Republic of China, nor is it tantamount to the Republic of China. It is the unified China built by compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. If verified, the remarks would mark a major concession from the mainland's traditional stance on the sticky issue.

    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)

    Mainland investment: President Lee tries different tact in persuading businesses about mainland investments
    Defending Taipei's mainland and diplomatic policies, President Lee Teng-hui on Wednesday said they are needed to provide local entrepreneurs a protective "umbrella."

    He said local businesses must acknowledge the importance of the country's survival and security with which the government will be able to give protection.

    He made the remarks at the opening session of a national entrepreneurs' conference sponsored by the Chinese National Federation of Industries, one of Taiwan's three largest industry associations.

    At the same occasion last year, Lee demanded large-scale investments in the mainland be curbed, and businessmen be patient.

    Lee's remarks yesterday was elaboration of last year's talk. He reminded the businessmen that the "no haste, be patient" policy was aimed at protecting local business people and helping them reduce risks.

    He also proposed a new angle to look at the matter. He said the mainland and diplomatic policies, together with political democratization, and the economy, should be treated as one. Taipei must have its diplomatic space expanded, as well as a flexible mainland policy while pressing for political democratization and a substantial economic growth, he said.

    Lee said mainland China has promoted economic exchanges with Taiwan with a view to attract more Taiwan capital, while on the other hand it has consistently suppressed Taiwan's presence in the international community in order to annihilate the Republic of China.

    With or without government approval, some 35,000 Taiwan enterprises have poured an estimated NT$30 billion into various projects in mainland China to cash in on cheaper labor and raw materials there.

    Lee did not touch on the controversial topic Monday, but he again denounced Beijing for bullying Taiwan internationally.

    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: in the legislature members are cautious about Beijing's gesture
    The new "one China" definition apparently given by mainland China's top negotiator with Taiwan has drawn mixed reactions from local legislators of different political stripes.

    While some pro-unification lawmakers hailed the remarks made on Sunday by Wang Daohan, chairman of the Beijing based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), as a good-will gesture from the mainland, several pro-independence legislators said Wang's definition of "one China" is an old cliche.

    Wang was quoted by the Alliance for Democracy in China (New Tung-meng Hui), a local pro-unification political group, as having said that "one China" neither refers the People's Republic of China nor the Republic of China, but describes a "unified China built by compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait."

    The alliance said in press release that Wang made the statement during a meeting with alliance President Hsu Li-nung in Shanghai on Sunday. Hsu is currently on a fact-finding mainland visit at the head of a 10-member alliance delegation.

    Commenting on the reports, party whips of the three major political parties in the Legislative Yuan all said they remain suspicious about Beijing's true intention.

    New Party whip Lin Yu-fang said Beijing's recalcitrant attitude toward the "one China" definition has long hindered any breakthrough in cross-strait relations.

    "Beijing has often stressed that 'one China' means the PRC and has deliberately sought to downgrade the ROC as a local government under its jurisdiction," Lin said, adding that this hegemonic attitude has been the greatest obstacle to improvement in cross-strait ties.

    "Wang's statement may signal that the Beijing government is ready to soften its stance on the issue or to exercise some flexibility in handling related matters," Lin said.

    However, Lin cautioned, "We should not make any hasty judgment on Wang's remarks." He said he hopes the alliance president will give a more detailed explanation of the content of his talks with Wang following his return.

    Legislator Chen Horng-chi, also Kuomintang's party whip in the Legislative Yuan, said if mainland China is sincere about breaking the current cross-strait impasse, it should spell out its new definition of "one China" through formal channels.

    See also and httP://

    (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)


    Honduras: bomb explodes outside Taiwan's embassy
    ( Explosion Hits Taiwanese Embassy in Honduras ) A homemade bomb exploded outside Taiwan' embassy in Tegucigalpa, Honduras on Thursday, reports Reuters. Windows were shattered, but no injuries were reported. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Election coverage: in Taiwan patronage and money are important vote-getters
    (source: The China Post) Foreign Minister Jason Hu has become "flavor of the mouth" for Taichung locals after he made appearances at several campaign rallies and promised a "grand red envelope" to people in Taichung.

    A Taichung native, Hu has been dubbed the "super vote-catcher" after he overwhelmed the city with a landslide victory to the National Assembly two years ago. Hu has strong local support making him a super campaign politician for the Kuomintang's mayoral candidate Hung Chao-nan.

    Of the various heavy-weights from different parties, Hu put in the most appearances at Hung's campaign rallies in Taichung. Over the past month, Hu has spent most weekends and holidays attending open rallies, soliciting support at markets or participating at fund-raising banquets.

    A senior KMT official said earlier that Hung is assured the mayorship if Hu continues to campaign for Hung. However, Hu has become one of the most controversial government officials for many election observers and campaign staff of the opposition party after he promised a great benefits for Taichung locals.

    Confirming the popularity that he enjoys in Taichung, Hu told supporters that he will be very happy to be the honorary mayor if Hung is elected mayor.

    Not long ago, Hu promised the constituents that Shui Nan Domestic Airport would be relocated and constructed as part of the island's third international airport if Hung Chao-nan wins the mayoral seat.

    As senior citizens of Taipei County were pleased by President Lee Teng-hui's promise of a monthly NT$5,000 subsidiary, many locals expressed pleasure over Hu's announcement.

    However, many observer and supporters of the opposition parties said they suspected Hu's ability to carry through on his promises as officials with the Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Shuinan Domestic Airport admitted the plan is no easy job.

    Currency: (sources: Bridge News and The China Post) If the Korean won cannot be stabilized, the Japanese yen may suffer and eventually Southeast Asian currencies and the New Taiwan dollar, an official at the Central Bank of China (CBC) was quoted in Wednesday's Chinese language Economic Daily News as saying.

    The official said the CBC is currently following the trend of the Korean won closely and warned that if the New Taiwan dollar continues to depreciate, the domestic price level may rise drastically in 1998, the paper reported.

    CBC Governor Y.D. Sheu told Taiwan television on Sunday that the CBC will not sit idly by if the local currency depreciates too drastically.

    However, a CBC source was quoted in today's paper as saying "market supply and demand is to decide if the NT dollar has depreciated too drastically."

    A leading member of the Taiwan business community Tuesday quoted President Lee Teng-hui as saying the market should decide exchange rates, the Chinese-language Economic Daily News reported yesterday.

    Kao Chin-yen, chairman of Taiwan's Chinese National Federation of Industries, was relating Lee's message following a meeting with the president, the paper said.

    Lee had said that it is not within human power to control exchange rates, but that the market should decide, Kao said according to the paper. At the same time, Lee said it is a question if Hong Kong can maintain a peg of its dollar against the U.S. dollar, Kao was quoted by the paper as saying.

    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)

    Military: ROC navy to take delivery of new frigate this month
    (sources: Agence France-Presse and The China Post) The ROC Navy is scheduled to put into operation the sixth of seven frigates it ordered from the state-run China Shipbuilding Corp. (CSBC) next month, a naval official said Tuesday.

    Sources close to CSBC said the vessel, estimated to cost NT$17 billion (US$539.68 million), was to be delivered to the navy on Nov.29. The warship, to be christened Banchao named after an ancient Chinese general, is modeled after the U.S. Perry-class frigate.

    With a displace ment of 4,000 tons, the frigate is to be equipped with sophisticated radar systems, artillery, torpedoes, U.S.-made MK-13 missiles and locally developed Hsiung Feng II anti-ship missiles.

    The ROC Navy had planned to build eight such frigates, but later scrapped the last one due to financial constraints.

    In a move to modernize its aging fleet, composed mostly of 1940s U.S.-built destroyers, the navy has also leased six Knox-class frigates from the United States and placed orders with France for six Lafayette-class frigates.

    Mainland China has threatened to take Taiwan by force should the island formally declare independence, prompting Taipei to seek more sophisticated weaponry.

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