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China’s Battles Go Global

The Year of the Rat is over, and Chinese cadres smoking in the offices of Zhongnanhai, just West of the Forbidden City, must be relieved they survived. From a Tibetan uprising to the Sichuan earthquake to Olympic debacles and now economic meltdown, the past lunar year left many Chinese feeling ratty.

But before the New Year lanterns have been taken down, the Year of the Ox already has officials seeing red.
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Tibet Highlighted in China and France CommuniquÚ

Chinese President Hu Jintao met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in London on April 1, 2009, hours after China and France issued a press communiqué.  In the communiqué France pledged not to support "Tibet independence" in any form. However, Xinhua reports that Tibetan supporters still “have support among French voters and politicians.” On March 2 Xinhua published an article to quash rumors that China threatened to cancel Airbus aircraft orders worth tens of billions of U.S. dollars as a warning to the French government.

Sources:
Xinhua, April 2, 2009
http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2009-04/02/content_11121095.htm
Xinhua, March 2, 2009
http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2009-03/02/content_10925108.htm

Xinhua: Western Media Misinterpret China’s Statement on U.S. Dollar

The New York correspondent of Xinhua reported on April 2, 2009 that some Western media have wrongfully interpreted the March 23 statement by China’s central bank as a challenge of the U.S. dollar. The People’s Bank of China released this statement by Zhou Xiaochuan, the central bank’s governor, on March 23, 2009. It calls for replacing the dollar as the dominant world currency and creating "an international reserve currency that is disconnected from individual nations and is able to remain stable in the long run." 

Source: Xinhua, April 2, 2009
http://news.xinhuanet.com/fortune/2009-04/02/content_11120020.htm

Epidemic Spreads, Local Cover-ups Complicate the Situation

The Ministry of Health is investigating the reported death of five young children in Shandong’s Heze City, where the real situation of the epidemic may have been covered up.

Since January 1, 2009, 42,000 Chinese have been infected with the contagious hand- foot-and-mouth disease, according to the Ministry of Health.

The disease spreads every year, but it struck earlier this year in all provinces except Tibet.  This year the epidemic hit the hardest in Henan and Shandong.  More than 94% of the patients are children under the age of 5.  20 people have reportedly died.

Source: BBC Chinese, March 28, 2009
http://news.bbc.co.uk/chinese/simp/hi/newsid_7970000/newsid_7970100/7970127.stm

Government Corruption High, Even in a Bad Economy

A salesperson at a high-end restaurant in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, told the reporter that, not including drinks, a standard meal for costs at least 300 to 400 yuan for one person and 3,000 to 5,000 yuan for a typical group.  He said, “Our business is good. The economic crisis has not impacted us in any way.” Most customers have a high social status, and many are party and government officials.

Government vehicles are widely known to be used privately China.  A driver who works for the Zhengzhou Municipal Authorities Affairs department reported that only about one third of their use is for government business; one third is for private use; the rest is for their own private businesses.

It one example in Shanxi’s Jincheng City, 66 government vehicles were sighted at high-end entertainment facilities. Many had license plates belonging to government agencies or the county-level people’s congress. Nine were police vehicles.

The State Secretary for The Prevention of Corruption, Ma Wen, said, “We have repeatedly emphasized this problem of ‘dining’ at the government’s expense.  Despite arrests, the overall result is not satisfactory. Chinese people have a tradition of inviting friends and colleagues to restaurants. A number of cadres take dining on public funds for granted.

Despite the economy going downhill, corrupt government officials always find ways to keep themselves well fed and entertained, and the taxpayers get to pay for everything. 

Source: China News, March 30, 2009
http://www.chinanews.com.cn/gn/news/2009/03-30/1624243.shtml

Medical Experts Call for Stop to Training Chinese Doctors

At the Ethics of Organ Transplantation Conference (EOTC) at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas on March 28, 2009, world renowned Canadian human rights attorney David Matas gave a presentation on the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) practice of harvesting organs from living Falun Gong practitioners for profit.

Medical experts attending the conference were shocked and angered by Matas’ findings. Many expressed that organ harvesting should not be used as a weapon of killing and that doctors who had carried out the organ transplants were committing crimes. The attendees felt that transplant doctors carrying out forced organ harvesting on the Falun Gong practitioners in China had brought a great shame to the organ transplant field, and these experts stated that the US should stop training Chinese doctors and transferring their transplant techniques to Chinese doctors. Some indicated that they would put the case of the CCP’s ongoing live organ harvesting into text books. Some EOTC experts stated they would call for Congress to stop the CCP’s crime.

Source: The Epoch Times, March 9, 2009
http://epochtimes.com/gb/9/3/30/n2479217.htm