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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---Tue, Dec 2, 1997 edition
Beijing warns DPP
historical ties bind Taiwan to mainland, Beijing claims
Also in this edition . . .
1. DPP Chief wants friendly relations, stresses historical basis of Taiwan sovereignty
2. on upcoming visit DPP chairman will brag about success
3. loss send party searching for answers, pressure mounts against Lee
4. Zhu organizes working group to co-ordinate reforms in mammoth state sector
5. 450 million surplus laborers expected by 2010, massive urbanization in the works
6. treaty makes way for China's first international research institute in Beijing
7. as China moved through period of profound change, missionaries opened a school
8. China and Pakistan join network to tackle issues of reproductive health and development
9. market falls on concerns about government's goals and mainland China relations
10. malaise falls over attendees as conference starts with no clear end
11. Florida group protests against China's theme park
Cross-strait relations: Beijing warns DPP about historical tide
(sources: Agence France-Presse and The China Post)
Beijing warned Taiwan's pro-independence parties Monday that they would never succeed in cutting ties with the mainland, despite their surprise win in local elections.
"Opposing the independence of Taiwan is the wish of all Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. It is a historical tide which cannot be reversed," a spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said. We hope that all counties and cities in Taiwan can make more substantial contributions to the development of relations across the Strait," he added in response to a question about Saturday's elections.
The Democratic Progressive Party, which supports independence for the island, won 12 of the 23 local administrative posts, doubling its previous share. The ruling Kuomintang garnered just eight constituencies, losing half its previous seats, while the remaining three were taken by independent candidates.
( Force still an option, splittists told ) Meanwhile, the mainland's Foreign Ministry reiterated its long-held stance vis-a-vis any attempt by Taiwan to announce its independence.
- "We'll work hard for peaceful reunification, but we will not renounce the use of force," said Tang Guoqiang, an official with the ministry. "This is targeted against foreign forces that meddle in China's internal affairs, and pro-independence forces in Taiwan.
- "There might be some pro-independence forces emerging in Taiwan," Mr Tang said. "Our position is clear. Any attempt to promote Taiwan independence runs counter to the fundamental interests of all China, including our Taiwan compatriots."
- "Whatever elections are held, whatever the results, it doesn't change the basic fact Taiwan is a province of China."
Cross-strait relations: DPP Chief wants friendly relations, stresses historical basis of Taiwan sovereignty
(sources: Associated Press and The China Post) The leader of the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party said Monday he wants to keep peace with mainland China, denying that cross-strait tensions might be prompted by the DPP's victory in Saturday's local elections.
The DPP wants Taiwan to declare formal independence from mainland China, but its charter calls for an islandwide referendum on the question before taking substantial action. Beijing claims sovereignty over Taiwan and has threatened to use force if it ever declares independence.
In Saturday's elections, the DPP gained 12 of the 23 mayoral and county seats contested. For the first time, it also beat the ruling KMT in the overall vote count, capturing 43 percent of the votes to the Nationalists' 42 percent.
"We have always wanted to establish a peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship with China," DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang told reporters. "Even during the (pre-1987) martial-law era, we advocated reasonable, peaceful relations with China."
Hsu ducked the independence issue. Instead, he stressed the "historical fact that Taiwan has been a sovereign state" since the KMT retreated to the island after 1949, when the mainland was lost to communist forces in a civil war.
Most residents oppose an outright declaration of independence and prefer maintaining the status quo of de facto separation and independence. To assuage voters' worries over cross-strait tentions, the DPP down-played its pro-independence stance in the election campaigning. The party is widely expected to pursue a more pragmatic mainland policy as it gears up for legislative elections next year and presidential polls in 2000.
United States: on upcoming visit DPP chairman will brag about success
(sources: Central News Agency and The China Post) Riding on the wave of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party's victory in Saturday's local elections, DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang will visit the United States this weekend, according to official party sources.
Hsu, accompanied by Sisy Chen, spokesperson for the DPP, and Parris Chang, the DPP's representative to the United States, will leave Taiwan on Saturday for the week-long visit. The delegation is scheduled to meet Richard Bush, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan, as well as several other U.S. government officials.
Hsu's first stop will be in New York City, where he is to speak to overseas Chinese there about how the DPP has transformed itself so successfully in recent years, culminating in its winning 12 of the 23 seats up for grabs last week. He will also hold a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to promote the experience of the largest opposition party in Taiwan.
During his stay in the United States, Hsu is also expected to call on several think tanks, including the American Enterprise Institute, the Atlantic Council and the Heritage Foundation, as well as many U.S. senators. Hsu is expected to return to Taiwan on Dec. 14, before travelling to South Korea to observe that country's presidential election on Dec. 18. South Korean presidential candidate Kim Dae Jung is an old friend of Hsu's.
KMT: loss send party searching for answers, pressure mounts against Lee
Top Kuomintang leaders met yesterday to examine the reasons for its worst-ever defeat in Saturday's local elections.
KMT Secretary-General Wu Poh-hsiung instructed the party's Cultural Affairs Department to collect and classify all media analyses of the elections. "I personally would suggest Chairman Lee and my successor not to make hasty judgments based only on the election results," said Wu.
Earlier, Wu said he did not believe the central government's decision to down-size the provincial administration had contributed to the KMT loss. A campaign within the KMT has been mounted to unseat Lee from the party leadership. Lee's popularity has dipped to a record low following Saturday's defeat.
The KMT's whip in the Legislative Yuan, Chen Horng-chi, said "from the top down" the party must assume responsibility for the setback and "Lee should know what he has to do." KMT Central Committee member Wei Yung, former legislator, said he would start collecting endorsements to force Lee to resign the chairmanship.
According to a survey by the United Daily News, Lee's approval rating has fallen to 39 percent, while his disapproval rating has leaped to 46 percent compared with an average 29 percent since his presidential inauguration in May of last year. Popularity for Premier Vincent Siew also fell to 52 percent from 60 percent a month ago. The party said Siew would soon order a major Cabinet reshuffle to meet public demands for "changes and new ideas."
(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 http://www.chinatimes.com and from there locate the article)
State-owned enterprises: Zhu organizes working group to co-ordinate reforms in mammoth state sector
( Zhu draws up plan to revive state industry ) Vice Premier Zhu Rongji has formed a co-ordinating group to work out the details of transforming the state-owned sector, reports the South China Morning Post. Mr Zhu will head up the Leading Group on the Reform of the State-owned Enterprises. Wu Bangguo, Vice-Premier in charge of economic reform, will be the second in command. A number of so-called 'young Turks' have been elevated to the group, reports the paper, as part of Mr Zhu's efforts to prepare a significant policy speech for the March session of the National People's Congress. The overall direction of reforms will apparently focus on three initiative, reports the paper:
- Auctionign off of medium- and small-size state-owned enterprises, particularly those controlled by local authorities. The timetable for this is two years.
- Large enterprises, especially those with growth potential, will be transformed into share-holding enterprises and will be listed on markets in China, Hongkong, and elsewhere.
- Key enterprises, probably in such areas as defence and energy, will be merged to form conglomerates; and will presumably remain under the purse of the government.
The plan might also call for the elimination or scaling down of certain ministries and parts of the government considered redundant, such as the State Commission for the Reform of the Economic Structure (SCREC), reports the paper. Overall control of the enterprise reform process will be under the State Planning Commission and the State Economic and Trade Commission.
The paper quotes and individual who says Mr Zhu's credibility rests on his handling of this issue.
Urbanization: 450 million surplus laborers expected by 2010, massive urbanization in the works
( Surplus labour to 'triple by 2010' ) We get perspective on daunting urbanization and labour issues facing the mainland. In a China Daily report, itself re-told by the South China Morning Post, we learn of concerns over rising unemployment, or surplus labour. The number currently stands at around 130 million, but by 2010 the number might triple to 450 million. Yearly an estimated 26 million people join the so-called floating population, the largest instance of migration, to move from rural China into overtaxed urban spheres.
The number of laborers absorbed annually by township industries was only 5.3 million between 1988 and 1994, compared to 10.8 million from 1984 to 1988.
Such mass migration is over taxing large cities, such as Shanghai and Guangzhou; and so the government has been planning to institute a more tiered approach to urbanization, whereby infrastructure and economies in small towns and cities would be developed to capture many who would otherwise float down stream, as it were. There are currently 18,000 'small towns' in China, and as time goes on more and more towns and cities will spring up.
The article emphasizes the need for a more flexible resident permit system for urbanites.
Development: treaty makes way for China's first international research institute in Beijing
( The Earth Times/DEVELOPMENT: China to get new institute for sustainability. By Jack Freeman ) The Earth Times reports today that an international research institute will be established in China under a treaty signed by eleven nations. It is the first such international institute for China, and funding will come from Beijing, the UN and Canada's International Development Research Center (IDRC).
The institute, International Network for Bamboo and Rattan (INBAR), will be headquartered in Beijing and conduct research into ways of increasing the economic, environmental and social uses of bamboo and rantan. As Cherla Sastry, the founding Director General of INBAR, said: bamboo and rantan "are the single most important and valuable forest products in many developing countries, after timber." He said the global bamboo and rattan industry is worth $14 billion per year, reports the paper.
The establishment of INBAR in Beijing was endorsed by Bangladesh, Canada, China, Indonesia, Burma, Nepal, Pakistan, Peru, Tanzania, Thailand and Vietnam. "India and Malaysia have also expressed interest in taking part," reports the paper.
1894: as China moved through period of profound change, missionaries opened a school
( The Earth Times/ASIA: Centennial of a little schoolhouse in the heart of China. By Audrey Topping ) Audrey Ronning Topping recounts the lives of her missionary grandparents as they set out to establish the first school open to women in Hubei Province. The year was 1894, on the eve of China's defeat to Japan, and the tale recounts the difficulties in persuading locals to send their children for schooling.
". . . They invited the officials and gentry of Xiangfan to the mission for tea and discussion in hopes of gaining their support. Rev.Ronning explained that reading and writing would be taught first in Chinese and then English. He pointed out that the merit system established by Confucius was to be highly recommended but that it usually allowed for only one boy in a family or one boy in a whole village to be educated whereas his school was for the average child.
"He reminded them that during the Tang Dynasty when China was at the height of glory, girls had the same opportunity for education as boys. He explained that Hannah and Thea wanted to restore the educational opportunities that girls enjoyed during that period. The elite group, according to a letter written by Halvor to his brother Nils, "listened with an air of apathetic indifference which seems to veil the inner feelings of most polished Chinese gentlemen." He was soon to discover their real feelings. . . . "
South South Initiative: China and Pakistan join network to tackle issues of reproductive health and development
( The Earth Times/SOUTH-SOUTH: Pakistan, China admitted as new members of Partners. By Erin Trowbridge ) A 22 November issue of Earth Times notes that China and Pakistan have joined the Partners in Population and Development, known as the South-South Initiative. Their ascendancy to the body occurred during the most recent meeting held Nov 17-19. Working together, the 10 charter member nations share ideas "on reproductive health issues, sustainable development and, ultimately, improving the quality of life in their countries," reports the paper.
It is explained the South South Initiative came to being after the UN-sponsored International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo, Egypt in 1994.
"The idea behind the organization was to set up a communications network between the 10 countries to facilitate exchanges of ideas and programs and to help other developing nations implement family planning and reproductive health services. The founding countries have all been internationally recognized for their exceptional work in the development of population programs and health services and for their commitment to the ideas discussed at the ICPD."
Stock market: market falls on concerns about government's goals and mainland relations
We have more information on the stock market slump in the wake of Saturday's election. As we mentioned yesterday, the market fell nearly 400 points, or 5.1 percent, because of the surprise defeat of the ruling Kuomintang.
One dealer, Allen Wu of Masterlink Securities Co., Ltd. explained to the China Post: "Battered by overwhelming selling pressure, the market dropped sharply from the start of trading," The weighted index fell to its lowest point in four weeks, dumping 396.55 points before settling at 7,400.64. Wu added that investors rushed to dump shares because the market expected the KMT would not move to support the bourse following its unprecedented defeat. "The results of the Saturday's elections largely fell short of investors' expectations," Wu said, adding that the KMT had been expected to enjoy at least marginal gains in the polls.
Prefiguring into the whole action were the strained relations with mainland China and vows from the victorious pro-independence DPP that it would push ahead with its goal of formalizing the island's independence, reports the paper. "DPP Chairman Hsu Hsin-liang moved to soothe investors' unease over his party's growing influence on the island's political and economic fronts, saying the DPP would soon come up with well-designed economic policies."
Climate conference: malaise falls over attendees as conference starts with no clear end
( The Earth Times/ENVIRONMENT: Climate change talks start on uncertain note. By Bonner R. Cohen ) The Earth Times' Bonner Cohen writes about the unhappy faces at the Kyoto climate conference, as uncertainty over the US position and how the conference will end has made many weary eyed. . . .
Protest: Florida group protests against China's theme park
( Citizens Against Communist Chinese Propaganda ) "Citizens Against Communist Chinese Propaganda" is a Florida-based group:
"A group of dedicated volunteers who are against the inclusion of 'minority' and religious exhibits at the Chinese Communist Party owned and operated Florida Splendid China theme park in Kissimmee, Florida. Specifically, we are protesting the inclusion of the Potala Palace that was built by the Tibetan people and served as the home of successive Dalai Lamas since 1645, the Id Gah Mosque and Tomb of Abakh Hoja which serve as cultural icons of the people of Eastern Turkestan. and the Mausoleum of Genghis Khan and the Mongolian Yurt exhibit which attempt to add a Chinese name to the Southern Mongolian people."