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News Briefs

An overview of the top breaking news in China.

58.9% of People Surveyed Will Avoid AIDS Patient In Public

Xinhuanet, November 26, 2004: The 2004 Report of Chinese Citizens’ Common Sense, Attitude and Behavior towards AIDS, published by the Chinese Health Ministry on November 26, declared that citizens still harbor discrimination and trepidation towards AIDS and AIDS patients. 58.9% of those interviewed said they would stay away from AIDS patients in public, due to nervousness. The investigation reveals that if a colleague suffers from AIDS, 59.8% of the interviewees said they would not want to continue working with him. The main reason is fear of the disease’s contagiousness. If one of their family members were suffering from AIDS, 67.2% of the interviewed citizens expressed that they would be reluctant to let others know about the infection, and 26.9% would not want to continue to live together with that family member. 36.1% felt that AIDS patients or AIDS carriers should not share equal opportunities for school admission and employment. Only 47.4% of the interviewers approve of the regulation that a medical institution has no right to inform a third party about an AIDS patient’s or carrier’s infection history. In addition, 29.8% of the interviewers considered infection with AIDS to be related to morality.


McDonald’s Website Attacked by Chinese Hackers

According to a Beijing Legal Evening News report on December 26, 2004, McDonald’s Chinese website was attacked by Chinese hackers around 10:00 pm on Dec. 25. The website’s homepage was turned black with a skull composed of white English letters. The header was marked with “Chinese Hackers.” Under it was a paragraph saying, “To protest McDonald’s listing of Taiwan as a country. Taiwan is an unbreakable part of China. Any attempt to break China apart and to hinder the union across the Taiwan Strait is in vain! We have only one China!”

Falun Gong Videos Tapped into a Beijing Satellite TV Program

Epoch Times reported on November 23, 2004, that a Beijing Satellite TV program was tapped into on November 20. According to audiences in China, the broadcast was initially an animal program, which abruptly became a commentary about the ancient Roman tyrant, Nero, which is part of a Falun Gong video program entitled “Between Heaven and Earth.” Audiences in different areas said the programming was tapped into for about 10-30 minutes. Significant excerpts and commentary about the government’s official Tiananmen Square Self-Immolation video was shown. The Chinese government website expressed “intense condemnation” of the tapping.{mospagebreak}


About One Million Hepatitis C Patients In Guangdong Province

People’s Daily reported on November 20, 2004, that there are 40 million patients with the hepatitis C virus in China, according to Dr. Hou Jinlin, Professor of the Liver Disease Center of Nanfang Hospital in Guangdong Province. The Hepatitis C infection rate in Guangdong Province is 1.4%, with 1 million hepatitis C patients. Because hepatitis C virus carriers do not display symptom during the early stages of the disease, most people do not know they are infected. Therefore, the number of hepatitis C carriers seeking medical treatment is far below the figure of infected people.


China Will Not Speed Up Currency Revaluation from Foreign Pressure reported on November 23, 2004, that Li Ruogu, Vice-Governor of the People’s Bank of China warned that the United States should not attribute its economic difficulties to other countries. This is the strongest response thus far to the American request for revaluation of the Chinese currency Renminbi. In a Financial Times interview, Li indicated that China will not speed up the opening of its currency system because of pressure from foreign countries. The United States has blamed China for setting its currency at an artificially low level to gain an unfair competitive advantage in international commerce.


Russia Plans to Sell Its Most Advanced Military Equipment to China reported on November 23, 2004, that the most recent issue of Kanwa Defense Review stated that the Defense Department of Russia will sell S300PM, U2 ground-to-air missiles, and a batch of new Su30MK ground attack bombers to China. The report disclosed that China has been requesting Russia to sell or transfer more advanced navy and air force equipment to China.


Nearly Half of Historic Kings’ Mansions Turned into Restaurants Or Garbage Enclosures

Central News Agency, November 21, 2004, report: Many kings’ mansions remaining from the Ming and Qing dynasties have, with time, lost their elegance. Some have even been turned into restaurants or garbage enclosures. Beijing Entertainment Info reported, using the Fuqun King Mansion as an example, that though the main building is well-kept, most parts have been taken over by multiple companies.{mospagebreak}


AIDS in the Early Stage of Breaking Out in China

Central News Agency November 9, 2004, report: According to statistics from the Chinese Health Institute, up through April 2004, there were about 840,000 AIDS carriers and 80,000 patients, while 160,000 patients have died of AIDS. The epidemic’s speed of spreading in China took fourteenth place in the entire world, with second place taken by Asia. In addition, the speed is on the increase, at a rate of 40% per year. Chinese health experts said China has entered the early stages of an AIDS outbreak.


A Taiwanese Businessman’s Entire Family Murdered in Dongwan City, Guangdong Province

(Xinhuanet, November 26, 2004, report) On November 25, a Taiwanese businessman’s entire family of four was murdered. They resided at Zhenhumen Avenue, Dongwan City, Guangdong Province. According to an insider, the victims were one male and three females. The three females were the man’s pregnant wife and two daughters, one of them only a baby.


About 40% of Chinese Population Do Not Seek Medical Treatment

People’s Daily, November 20, 2004, report: According to the most recent investigative report from the Chinese Health Ministry, in the last decade, demands for health care services continually increased, while there are still almost 40% of the people in the city or countryside who could not get medical treatment, due to their economic circumstances.


Shenzhen Shows136% Increase AIDS Population for 2004

The Central News Agency reported on October 31, 2004, that the AIDS population increased sharply by 136% in Shenzhen City from January to September compared with the same time period in 2003. The average age of the newly emerged AIDS carriers is 31 years old, with young males being in the majority. It is worth noting that under 6% of the new carriers are originally from Shenzhen, with the remaining coming from other provinces, and even other countries.{mospagebreak}


“The 21st Century Economies Report” Dismissed Wang Guangzhe

The Voice of America reported on November 24, 2004, that Wang Guangzhe, the 32-year-old Internet essayist, correspondent and commentator for China’s 21st Century Economies Report, had been fired. Wang was dismissed after he participated in a forum in the U.S. regarding the state of China’s media and Internet. Wang revealed that upon his return from the forum, the newspaper office informed him that he was being dismissed for poor performance over the last two months. Wang previously worked for China’s official newspaper the Legal Daily, where he offended his communist superior and was finally forced to resign due to his efforts to interview family members of political dissidents. In 2003, he was hired by the 21st Century Economies Report, an affiliation of the Southern Newspaper Empire.


A Visiting Chinese Official Turned into A Fugitive in Zambia

Epoch Times reported on November 15, 2004, that Zambian police issued an arrest warrant on November 13 for Su Rong, Gansu Province Party Secretary, who missed court dates on Nov. 8 and 13. Su was visiting Zambia with an official Chinese delegation on November 4, when he was served with a summons by a marshal of the court and ordered to appear before the High Court of Zambia. A civil suit was filed on behalf of Falun Gong practitioners in China who were allegedly tortured and killed under Su’s watch during his tenure as an official in Jilin Province, China. Su Rong is the second high-ranking Chinese official to be sued in Africa for crimes against Falun Gong practitioners, and the first official forced to remain in a foreign country pending legal proceedings.


1000 Workers Strike for Better Treatment in Panyu, Guang Dong Province

According to a report by the Southern Metropolis Newspaper on November 8, 2004, at 8 o’clock in the morning on November 7, approximately one thousand workers at a factory located on the east ring circuit of the Panyu City bridge arrived at the factory’s entrance demanding a dialogue with executives. They were seeking a raise in their base salary, one day off work per week, and that wages be paid in a timely manner. The factory’s production was almost paralyzed, and surrounding traffic was jammed as a result of the strike. According to a female welder at the factory, she works every day from 8 o’clock in the morning to 10 o’clock in the evening with only a short break. She has to work nearly 12 hours every day. Despite her grueling schedule, her monthly base pay is only 400 yuan (US$48), and overtime pay is merely 2 yuan (US$0.24) per hour. Her monthly earnings amounts to 600 yuan (US$72), and the factory is even one month behind on payment.{mospagebreak}


Abuse by Police Results In Two Deaths

On November 15, 2004, the Yunnan Information Newspaper reported that a local police officer’s heated temper resulted in the death of two townsmen in Weimo Township, Yanshan County, Wenshangzhou City, Yunnan Province. Officer Lu Xiong, who was not wearing a uniform, fired four shots after arguing with the townsmen, killing them. The Weimo Police Chief and the Party Committee Secretary were on the scene of the shooting. Outrage boiled throughout Weimo as word spread, and an angry mob gathered to seek justice. They tracked the Police Chief to his car and detained him in the Township Public Health Center. It is reported that Lu, the Police Chief and Party Committee Secretary have all been temporarily suspended until further notice.


62% TV and 95% Newspaper Ads for Drugs in China Violate Regulations

People’s Daily reported on November 18, 2004, that Lan Yan, the Assistant Director of the Advertisement Examination Management of the National Food and Drug Surveillance Administrative Bureau, disclosed that from January to September of 2004, in a nation-wide survey on drug advertisements on television, the violation rate was as high as 62%. The violation rate for newspapers even reaches as high as 95%. The violations are mostly in the following forms: advertising prescription drugs for cancer, rheumatoid and weight loss in public media; advertising a new drug before it’s cleared for marketing by the drug administration department; forging a drug certificate number by the drug administration department; and using expired or suspended certificate numbers.


China’s Propaganda Department Forbids Media from Reporting Rioting Incidents

According to a Central News Agency report on November 14, 2004, the Propaganda Department of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee issued a notice to news media nationwide requesting that publications “not report any news related to deliberate bombings, rebellions, demonstrations and strikes without permission,” and that Xinhua News Agency would first issue a universal manuscript. Violators of the Propaganda Department’s orders would be seriously punished. The Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao reports that the recent string of large-scale violent riots in Sichuan, Henan, Chongqing, and other areas have shocked the Beijing authorities. In order to avoid a domino effect undermining social stability, the Chinese Propaganda Department has strictly prohibited reports on “violent uprisings and civil disturbances.”{mospagebreak}


Half of China’s Rural Population Cannot Afford Healthcare

The Central News Agency reported on November 7, 2004, that Mr. Zhu Qing Sheng, Vice-Minister of China’s Health Department, disclosed alarming statistics regarding the rural populations’ access to healthcare. Among the 900 million Chinese living in the countryside, half are too poor to see a doctor. The situation in the mid-west region is the most severe, with 60 to 80 percent dying in their own homes because they cannot afford hospitalization. In 2003, the average income per capita for China’s rural inhabitants was 2,620 yuan (US$316). The average cost of hospitalization was 2,236 yuan (US$269), indicating that when farmers fall ill and require hospitalization, a full year’s income may not be sufficient to pay for the treatment (source: China Health Statistics Yearbook, as referenced by The Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao). Accordingly, illness is the main factor driving farmers into poverty. Mr. Zhu stated that only 1.6 percent of the central government’s operating budget was spent toward medical services; of this, 70 percent was allocated to the cities and 30 percent to the countryside.


Two Billion Yuan Scandal at China’s Hai Tong Securities

Epoch Times reported on November 30, 2004, that Hai Tong Securities once led China’s stock market with registered capital as high as 8.7 billion yuan (US$1.05 billion) until Oriental Outlook Weekly magazine exposed a scandal in which Hai Tong lost 2 billion yuan (US$240 million). The passports of all Hai Tong senior administrators were confiscated, and the company is currently under investigation. Meanwhile, rumors have surfaced that Hai Tong had been diverting its customers’ escrow accounts and doctoring its books.


China Network Communication Group Charging Illegal Fees

Since July 2004, residents of Huiming, Shandong Province, have accused China Network Communications Group of charging inappropriate fees for disconnecting telephone service, according to a December 5, 2004, report in the Epoch Times. The Telephone Business Regulations state: “There shall be no fee or labor charge associated with discontinuing telephone service.” However, employees reported that the company is following orders from above to charge 30 yuan (US$3.60) for every line disconnected.