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China Reform Monitor - No. 690

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
April 11, 2008

March 27:

The Pentagon admitted it had mistakenly shipped four triggers for inter-continental nuclear missiles to Taiwan two years ago, The Australian reports. Officials said the components had since been returned to the US but added that they had begun a full investigation into the incident. Four of the cone-shaped fuses were shipped to Taiwanese officials in late 2006 instead of the helicopter batteries they had ordered. An examination of the site in Taiwan where the components had been stored indicated they had not been tampered with. The triggers were part of the Minuteman strategic nuclear missile system designed in the 1960s.

Washington envoy Raymond F Burghardt, chairman of trustees of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) has arrived in Taiwan to meet with president-elect Ma Ying-jeou and discuss US-Taiwan ties, Taiwan-China ties, US arms sales to Taiwan, and whether Ma can visit the US. Taiwan has just held its presidential election and Ma is eager to visit the US before his May 20 inauguration, reports Germany's DPA news agency. In his telephone conversation with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday, President George Bush told his counterpart that Taiwan's presidential election provided a “fresh opportunity” for Beijing and Taipei to resolve their differences. Granting Ma a visa requires the tacit approval of Beijing because the US has diplomatic ties with China and cannot receive Taiwan's leader while he is in office.

March 28:

The Hong Kong government has tightened immigration controls barring hundreds of Falun Gong practitioners from entering the territory in the run-up to the August Olympics, The Standard reports. The group claims 80 percent of its Taiwanese members have been prevented from entering. It is likely that more members will be turned away in the coming months following pressure from Beijing, which views the group as a “dangerous” cult.

[Editor’s Note: The Falun Gong is banned in the mainland but is legal in Hong Kong. Last month the Falun Gong lost a judicial review, appealing against the Hong Kong Immigration Department's refusal to allow hundreds of its Taiwanese members into Hong Kong during the 10th handover ceremony. The judge ruled it was a one-off incident and was not a result of religious discrimination.]

In response to fears about pro-Tibetan independence protesters, Beijing police have enhanced security in and around Tiananmen Square. Ta Kung Pao reports that the number of armed policemen wearing uniforms has visibly increased and that groups of policemen and security guards have been posted at the entrances and are thoroughly checking bags. In the past, it was quite rare for the police to open tourists' bags for check.

March 31:

Two Chinese nationals were killed and four injured in a labor dispute pitting striking Chinese workers against police in Equatorial Guinea. The People’s Daily reports that about 100 Chinese workers from a Dalian-based company staged the strike in violation of local the African country’s laws. The day before the incident, the Foreign Ministry issued a statement, reminding overseas Chinese workers to comply with local laws. The Chinese Foreign Ministry has demanded local authorities investigate the incident and said labor conflicts involving expatriate Chinese workers have become more frequent in recent years due to increasing flows of Chinese nationals to foreign labor markets.

Related Categories: North America; Democracy & Governance; Military; China

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