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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---
Tue, Jan 6, 1998 edition
Holiday in the Sun, pt. II
Beijing sends stern message to Singapore

Also in this edition . . .

1: hoping to mend fences Jiang calls on Qiao at home
2: Beijing picks banker to govern Guangdong
3: Qiao predicts end to UN sanctions
4: as China sets to reform state-owned sector it takes note of Korea
5: People's Daily article raises questions about US intentions in Asia
6: Chairman returns from nine month clean-up
7: Li Peng boasts of improvements in nuclear industry
8: Beijing warns Singapore about Lien Chan's visit
9: mainland's new Kilo-class sub raises concerns in Taiwan
10: DPP Mayor finds anti-prostitution initiative turned into political game?
11: the trend in Taiwan is also for sub-$1000 PC's
12: Taipei offers financial assistance to neighbours
13: Op-Ed: 'Mandela, I see as no one special anymore'
14: government criticized for handling of chicken slaughter
15: protestors raise flag over political prisoners and Tiananmen
16: Beijing vehemently denies reports of harbouring Pol Pot
17: King returns to Beijing for medical check-up
18: language kits integrate 'uncommon' or 'unusual' languages into desktop
19: News Links on Asia's economic outlook, provincial government and more


Politics: hoping to mend fences Jiang calls on Qiao at home
( Jiang woos enemy for unity's sake ) According to the South China Morning Post, President Jiang has visited with NPC Chairman Qiao Shi on at least occasions, in order to promote 'party unity.' Qiao was removed from the Politburo in September at Jiang's suggestion, and is set to retire from his remaining position at the head of the National People's Congress. The paper quotes one source who says Jiang appealed to history, evoking memories of the two working in Shanghai's underground student before 1949. Jiang apparently thanked Qiao for helping him during this period. Fence-mending of this type is not new to Jiang, who has successfully opened dialogues and cooperation with enemies.

Jiang apparently wanted to secure Qiao's assurances he would not obstruct Li Peng, who will leave his current post as Premier and move into Qiao's current one when Qiao retires in March. . . .

( SCMP Internet Edition -- Archives ) Qiao Shi has moved the NPC away from a mere rubber-stamping organization, and the question is how his reforms will continue after Li Peng ascends to the helm. A 3 December South China Morning Post article suggest Qiao and his entourage have a 'top secret' plan to further reforms for fashioning the body into a true deliberative one, integral to the functioning of government policy.

Guangdong: Beijing picks banker to govern Guangdong
( Banker 'to govern Guangdong' ) Government reshuffling is afoot, headed by Zhu Rongji. Off the front page of the South China Morning Post comes the story of Mr Wang Qishan, a mainland banker, who is being tapped for Governor of 'unruly' Guangdong Province. . . .

Iraq: Qiao predicts end to UN sanctions
( Iraq Embargo Won't Last Long, Says China Parliament Head ) Iraqi National Assembly Speaker Saadoun Hammadi was in Beijing where he met with his counterpart. NPC Chief Qiao Shi predicted that sanctions against his guest's country would not hold. The statements come at a time when Beijing wants to be seen increasingly active on the world scene, especially in world bodies such as the United Nations, where it assumes an important role. Reiterating his government's stance for promoting a peaceful resolution to the Iraqi-UN showdown, Qiao said Beijing stands ready to aid in settling such conflicts. "We are ready to play a positive role in the United Nations and set forth proposals in the interests of the world and all the people," Qiao said.

Iraqi News Agency reported that Hammadi and representatives from Chinese National Petroleum Corp. had discussed in June a scheme by which China would invest US$1.2 billion in developing a petroleum field in Iraq. Further information was not forthcoming from the Chinese government on this issue.

Haste: as China sets to reform state-owned sector it takes note of Korea
(source: Reuters) A mainland Chinese government think tank on Monday warned against hastily arranged mergers of money-losing sate-owned enterprises and copying South Korea's conglomerates that are now collapsing under a mountain of debt. Hastily arranged mergers and the creation of conglomerates were likely to drag core and good enterprises into collapse, the People's Daily said, quoting the macro-economic Research Academy under the Cabinet's State Planning Commission.

Suspicious: People's Daily article raises questions about US intentions in Asia
( Beijing Sees a Plot in U.S. Financial Aid to Battered Asian Economies ) Reuters reports of a People's Daily Article which attacks the United States for attempting to push its free-market ideas onto Asian nations. The article states, the US is concerned about growth potential in the region and is using its influence in the IMF to push open afflicted economies and assert influence over them. "By giving help it is forcing East Asia into submission, promoting the U.S. economic and political model and easing East Asia's threat the U.S. economy."

"Troubled East Asian countries have no alternative to swallowing the bitter medicine prescribed by the International Monetary Fund, and under harsh conditions contract internally and further open up externally," the article stated.

See also

  • SCMP ( America using IMF bailout rules 'to crush Asian rivals' )
  • NYT ( Nagging Worries on Asia Deflate a Rally on Wall St. )
  • NYT ( Struggling Thailand Seeks Easier I.M.F. Terms )

    Mao Zedong: Chairman returns from nine month clean-up
    ( Mao's Corpse Back on Public Display After Touch-Ups and Reconstruction ) Gone for a make-over, Chairman Mao has returned after nine months. His mausoleum in Beijing reopened today to a line of waiting visitors. The Chairman's corpse had been removed reportedly for a touch up on his makeup.

    Energy: Li Peng boasts of improvements in nuclear industry
    (source: Reuters) Mainland China boasted on Monday of major breakthroughs in its nuclear industry in 1997, including stemming financial losses and developing new techniques to produce nuclear material.

    Premier Li Peng congratulated the industry on its efforts in a letter presented at the opening of the China National Nuclear Corp's 1998 Work Meeting in the mainland Chinese capital, the Xinhua news agency said. "Our nuclear industry had splendid achievements and made important contributions to protecting national security and expanding national and military prestige," Xinhua quoted Li as saying in his letter.


    Triangular relations: Beijing warns Singapore about Lien Chan's visit
    (source: Reuters and The China Post) Beijing on Monday again warned its close ally Singapore not to damage bilateral ties over a visit to the city state by ROC Vice President Lien Chan.

    Beijing hopes that Singapore will stick to a One China policy and will not do something that harms bilateral ties, the official Xinhua news agency quoted mainland Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guo-fang as saying.

    Lien on Sunday wrapped up an unofficial four-day visit to the Southeast Asian nation, where he golfed and dined with Singaporean leaders including Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew, who is in good standing with both Taipei and Beijing. Singapore officially recognizes mainland China but has extensive trade and business links with Taiwan.

    Shen's remarks reiterated Bejing's opposition to other countries having official ties with Taipei, but fell short of openly rebuking Singapore. Lee Kuan Yew is widely regarded as potential mediator between mainland China and Taiwan, but in an interview with Taiwan's China Times published yesterday, he said he wasn't interested in continuing this role. In the interview, Lee also said Taipei's 29 remaining diplomatic allies had merely been bought with several million U.S. dollars, a policy he attributed to "your esteemed country's president," Lee Teng-hui.

    Taipei said Lien's visit was a "private vacation." Taipei often employs such tactics, called "holiday diplomacy," to counter Beijing's efforts to isolate it diplomatically. Lien's Singapore trip was the latest in a series of contacts between the two sides. Singaporean Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong dropped into Taipei recently for talks on the Asian economic crisis.

    See also ( Beijing Warns Southeast Asia Over Aid to Rival Taiwan )

    Submarine: mainland's new Kilo-class sub raises concerns in Taiwan
    The military is now closely monitoring the movement of a Kilo-class submarine recently purchased by mainland China from Russia, which is believed will pass through Taiwan's territorial waters in the next few days en route to a mainland China port, a local newspaper quoted military sources as saying yesterday.

    The China Times quoted unidentified military sources as saying that the Kilo-class submarine's final destination is the mainland's southeastern Zhejiang Province. The sources said the submarine may choose as its route either the Taiwan Strait or the Pacific Ocean off the eastern coast of Taiwan.

    The submarine's possible passage through waters near Taiwan triggered serious concern from military authorities here because the submarine is one of the most advanced of its class in the world and poses a threat to Taiwan's security in the future. The submarine to be delivered to the mainland is the Kilo-class series, military sources said. The Kilo-class Type 636 submarine is considered to be one of the quietest diesel submarines in the world. It boasts of low detectability and is capable of firing powerful and accurate rapid-action torpedoes.

    Type 636 has a displacement of 2,350 tons, with a maximum diving depth of 300 meters. Its speed is 11 knots when surfaced and 20 knots when submerged. Its sea endurance is 45 days. Mainland China has already two Kilo-class submarines, which are of the older Type 877. It plans to buy two newer versions of the Kilo-class, including the one being shipped to the Xiangshan port.

    Taiwan has only four submarines, with only two of them classifiable as modern.

    Prostitution: DPP Mayor finds anti-prostitution initiative turned into political game?
    ( January 9, 1998 - A Skirmish Over Brothels ) For months we have noted the on-going war between licenced prostitutes in Taipei and city hall, whose Mayor Chen would like to yank the women's licenses. The protests have been well orchestrated and persistent, reports Asia Week, and some think the entire escapade has been designed to unsettle Chen, the leading DPP contender for the next presidential elections in 2000.

    Computers: the trend in Taiwan is also for sub-$1000 PC's
    (source: The China Post) In the computer market, the trend is to cut prices, industry analysts and computer makers said recently.

    "Cheaper prices are the current trend, and we will see more PCs priced lower than US$1,000," stated Liu Pei-sheng, an analyst at the Market Intelligence Center (MIC) under Institute for Information Industry (III). He explained that in 1996, sub-1000 PCs, or personal computers cheaper than US$1,000, accounted for 8.6 percent in the home PC market, but that figure jumped to 19.1 percent in 1997, while this year the forecast is 22.7 percent.

    Echoing Liu's statement, an executive surnamed Li at Compaq Computer Taiwan said, "Competing by lowering prices is a sure thing and something we have to do." She added that the company also plans to launch sub-1000 models in Taiwan.

    Acer also sees the trend of more affordable computers. This year, Acer will unveil three prototypes of computers more inexpensive than traditional PCs-home banking computers cheaper than US$1,000, the "Kid-Computer" priced at US$200, and the computers especially designed for education and entertainment.

    Chairman of CEO of the Acer Group Stan Shih calls such a specialized computer the "XC," which he said represents "the unknown and limitless possibilities for the 21st-century generation of computers." According to Shih, only five percent of the population knows how to enjoy PCs, with the rest finding computers too complicated or too expensive. To counter this problem, Acer has designed less expensive computers for specific markets.

    However, Liu of MIC does not think that XCs will become the mainstream in the near future. He said the main force driving prices down is the cheaper prices of computer components such as CPUs and hard drives.

    Economy: Taipei offers financial assistance to neighbours
    (source: Reuters) Foreign Minister Jason Hu on Monday offered to help Asian neighbors fight the currency crisis that has sharply weakened economic development in the region.

    The economies of many fast-growing Asian countries including South Korea, Indonesia, and Malaysia have been badly hit by rapidly falling currencies and slowing foreign investment. Hu said although Southeast Asian nations did not maintain official ties with Taipei, the government should assist these countries due to their proximity to Taiwan. Hu's comments came after Vice President Lien Chan returned on Sunday from a four-day private visit to Singapore which was protected by communist China.

    Beijing, which has regarded Taiwan as a part of its territory since 1949, has warned other countries against permitting high-level visits by officials from Taiwan. On Monday, Beijing warned Singapore not to damage ties over Lien's visit and asked it to stick to a "one China" policy. Singapore officially recognizes Beijing but has extensive trade and business links with Taiwan.

    Hu's comments came amid reports that Taiwan's Central Bank of China had decided to offer US$1.22 billion in low-interest loans to Taiwan businessmen investing Southeast Asian nations. The reports said the central bank, via 61 overseas branches of Taiwan-based banks, would make loans available to Taiwan manufacturers and their joint ventures abroad.

    The Economic Daily News quoted central bank governor Sheu Yuan-dong as telling a seminar on Sunday that the move to offer US$1.22 billion out of the island's US$83 billion worth of foreign exchange reserves would take effect immediately.

    Sheu took Thailand as an example, saying the loans could help finance Taiwan manufacturers and their joint ventures in Thailand, and thus indirectly help finance Thailand, the paper said. He said the decision to make the loans was made on the basis that the nations of Southeast Asia were resource-rich and their economies should recover from their recent problems within two or three years.

    Other local newspapers had similar reports. Central bank officials were not immediately available for comment.


    South Africa: ( China Informed Op-Ed: 'Mandela, I see as no one special anymore' by Ms TKG) Ms TKG writes on Nelson Mandela, whose government switched formal recognition from Taiwan to the PRC. The author laments Mr Mandela's failure to maintain moral and ethical coherence---to maintaining one's integrity---in discharging the affairs of government. . . . .


    Public health: government criticized for handling of chicken slaughter
    (source: Associated Press) The government raised its compensation offer Monday for chickens slaughtered in the attack on bird flu, but farmers, vendors and legislators said it was still not enough.

    The political furor over the government's handling of the flu outbreak showed no signs of subsiding, even though the number of confirmed human cases seemed to have stabilized at 16. Four of them died.

    The government slaughtered all of Hong Kong's 1.3 million chickens last week because it suspected they were the source of the A H5N1 influenza virus that infected humans for the first time last year.

    About 150 poultry retailers, led by the opposition Democratic Party, protested outside the legislature building as a panel met inside to discuss the compensation package. "They have been taking one small step at a time," said the Democrat's vice chairman, Yeung Sum. "How can any responsible government order a mass slaughtering without first coming up with a workable compensation plan?"

    The Democrats said they would stage a sit-in outside government offices until Wednesday to press for better compensation. Wong Kam-kan, chairman of the Hong Kong and Kowloon Poultry Dealers and Workers Association, said the poultry industry already has lost millions of Hong Kong dollars (millions of U.S. dollars) and tens of thousands of people have been thrown out of work.

    Losses will mount as a 2-week-old halt to live chickens imports from China is expected to stretch on through January.

    See also ( Anson heads bird flu taskforce )

    Yang Shangkun: protestors raise flag over political prisoners and Tiananmen
    ( Protesters Disrupt Flag Ceremony ) As an update to yesterday's story on the visit of Yang Shangkun to Hongkong we note protests during a flag raising ceremony. Driven to harangue Yang for his leading actions in the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, Protestors took up chant outside a downtown conference hall where Yang was expected to arrive. He never did. Protestors called for the release of political prisoners in China and a re-evaluation of Tiananmen. Yang arrived on Sunday for what is viewed a 'private' trip arranged as a sort-of 'thank you' payback by President Jiang to senior and influential cadres who have aided his rise.


    False rumours: Beijing vehemently denies reports of harbouring Pol Pot
    (source: Agence France-Presse)

    Mainland Chinese foreign ministry and its diplomats in Cambodia and Thailand Monday angrily denied reports that notorious Khmer Rouge leader Pol Pot had fled to mainland China as groundless and absurd.

    Mainland China backed the Maoist Khmer Rouge during its reign in Phnom Penh in the 70s and after they were toppled by the Vietnamese in 1979 until 1991 when the Paris Peace Accords technically ended Cambodia's long-running civil war.

    Thai Foreign Minister Surin Pitsuwan said Sunday he had information that Pol Pot had left Cambodia, but did not know where he had gone. The commander of Cambodia's resistance army General Nhiek Bun Chhay was quoted last week by two newspapers here as saying Pol Pot fled to mainland China to escape a possible war crimes tribunal with assistance from Beijing.

    He hinted that the mainland Chinese became involved because they feared being implicated in such a tribunal and arranged for Pol Pot to receive medical treatment in Beijing during a mid-December meeting between Khmer Rouge officials and mainland Chinese diplomats in Bangkok.

    See also ( Bangkok Post Jan 6, 1998 - Pol Pot is found near stronghold Former Khmer leader admits he's 'finished' )

    [Macro error: Can't call "Topic" because there are too many parameters.]

    ( Cambodia's King Back in China for Medical Treatment ) Cambodia's King Norodom Sihanouk returned to Beijing for what a spokesman described as a 'check up,' reports Reuters. The Cambodian monarch has received medical treatment in Beijing for many years, and maintains a 'palatial' residence there, reports Reuters. . . . .

    The visit comes after Monday's decision by the King to grant 'amnesty' to his son, Prince Norodom Ranariddh, who fled the country right before a coup brought Hun Sen to power. The government has accused the Prince with arms smuggling and collusion with the Khmer Rouge. It is a charge the Prince denies, yet he refuses to return to stand trial, denouncing the charges as politically motivated and doubting he could receive a fair trial.

    The King could pardon his son, and facing international pressure Hun Sen has agreed to permit the Prince to stand in July's elections if he were pardoned. But on Monday the King said his son would have to request amnesty, a move the Prince has said would be tantamount to an admission of guilt, reports Reuters.

    Computers: language kits integrate 'uncommon' or 'unusual' languages into desktop
    ( XenoType Technologies ) Xenotype produces "foreign language solutions for Macintosh users who work with uncommon or unusual languages and scripts." Language kits and fonts available include those for Burmese with support for Shan, Karen, Mon, and Pali; Laotian and languages which use its script; Tibetan and languages which use its script; Khmer; Georgian; and Mongolian. Postscript fonts for these languages are available and look very nice.


  • Asia Week ( January 9, 1998 - What's Ahead for Asian Economies in 1998 )
  • SCMP ( Changes at the top for two provinces )
  • Asia Week ( January 9, 1998 - Who Will Lead? )
  • Asia Week ( January 9, 1998 - RECESSION IN ASIA )
  • SCMP ( Careers on rubbish heap )
  • SCMP ( Bus drivers in protest against fee increase )
  • Asia Week ( January 9, 1998 - Hero or Villain? )

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    China Informed

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