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CND-Global, September 14, 1998 (GL98-126)

+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+   C h i n a   N e w s   D i g e s t   +-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+

                         (Global News, No. GL98-126)

                          Monday, September 14, 1998

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                                ISSN 1024-9117

Table of Contents                                                 # of Lines
1. News Brief (3 Items) ................................................. 74
2. Dissidents Hope to Establish Legal Opposition Party .................. 51
3. News from Taiwan (3 Items) ........................................... 20

1. News Brief (3 Items) ................................................. 74

     (1) People's Liberation Army Discharges 100,000 Soldiers to Downsize
     (2) Top PLA General ZHANG Wannian Visits U.S.
     (3) Modern-Day Silk Road Foreseen
                      ____   ____   ____

(1) People's Liberation Army Discharges 100,000 Soldiers to Downsize

[CND, 09/11/98] The People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China has discharged
more than 100,000 soldiers, including many whose normal term of duty has
not yet expired, Reuters citing the People's Daily said on Friday.

The move, as part of a plan to slim down and modernize the world's largest
army, is hailed as an important step in shifting budget priorities. "The
numerous discharged soldiers' fine moral qualities of making selfless
tribute and taking the interests of the whole into account exhibit the
style and spirit of the army of a new era," the Beijing-based national
newspaper said.

During the Chinese Communist Party's fifteenth Congress last September,
Party General Secretary JIANG Zemin pledged to trim 500,000 from the PLA's
more than three million active and reserve troops over three years.

China's State Council, or Cabinet, has told local governments to ensure by
year's end that work and living arrangements be made for the retired
servicemen, the newspaper said. (Kewen ZHANG, Sue BRUELL)
                      ____   ____   ____

(2) Top PLA General ZHANG Wannian Visits U.S.

[CND, 09/11/98] ZHANG Wannian, Vice Chairman of the Central Military
Commission and a top PLA member of the Politburo, arrives in the U.S.
today for an official visit. The Xinhua News Agency said Zhang's visit is
part of an effort by China and United States to improve military

Zhang's schedule in the U.S. includes meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary
William Cohen to discuss global and regional security issues, meetings
with senior government and military officials and legislators and touring
U.S. military facilities.

Headed by ZHANG Wannian, The Chinese military delegation has several
senior PLA generals along. They are: Lieutenant General XIONG Guangkai,
the PLA's Deputy Chief of General Staff; SHI Yunsheng, Commander of the
Navy; LI Xinliang, Commander of the PLA's Beijing Garrison; and QIAO
Qingchen, Deputy Commander of the Air Force.

The AP cited Xinhua as saying that antagonism over Taiwan and other issues
eased as a result of U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to China in June.
Zhang's U.S. trip will build on that goodwill. (Bo XIONG, YIN De An)
                      ____   ____   ____

(3) Modern-Day Silk Road Foreseen

[CND, 09/10/98] Efforts to revitalize the Silk Road route as a major trade
corridor from Shanghai to Paris is underway, according to the Xinhua News
Agency and other reporters at the "Silk Road Summit" of central Asian
republics, taking place this week in Baku, capital of Azerbaijan.

A focus of this summit is Horgos Pass, an important station on the Silk
Road during the Sui and Tang Dynasties (581-907). The town lies between
China and Kazakhstan, and its population has grown from 54 in 1984 to
6,000 today.  According to Xinhua, Chinese and Kazakh trade turnover
amounts to almost two million yuan ($240,000) every day, making Horgos
Pass the largest border market in western China.

Representatives from twelve countries have signed an agreement that will
regulate the transportation grid, trading customs, and tariff procedures
in the area to help ensure the birth of the modern-day Silk Road. The
countries are: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Kazakhstan,
Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukrainia and Uzbekistan.
(Monica WANG,YIN De An)

2. Dissidents Hope to Establish Legal Opposition Party .................. 51

Reported by: Sue BRUELL, YIN De An
Sources:     AFP, Reuters

[CND, 09/11/98] Chinese dissidents from eastern Shandong province voiced
their cautious optimism that Party officials might allow them to establish
a democratic political party. It would be the first opposition party
allowed in the past forty-nine years, reported AFP from Beijing on Friday.
_From the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, Jose Diaz, a spokesman for visiting UN
Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson, remarked, "That would be a

Activist XIE Wanjun said officials of the Shandong Civil Affairs Bureau
"were considering an application to register the Shandong Preparatory
Committee of the China Democracy Party (CDP)." To be registered, the new
party must fulfill several pre-conditions within twenty days, including
paying a capitalization fee of $6000 (50,000 yuan); detailing particulars
about their headquarters; submitting the names of the organizers;  revealing
the names of at least fifty members; and giving brief descriptions of the
CDP's Chairman, Vice-Chairman, and Secretary. Xie believes these approval
decisions come from higher officials rather than local Party bosses.

The Information Center of Human Rights and Democratic Movement in China,
based in Hong Kong, noted that the tentative approval of an opposition party
coincides with the visit of Mary Robinson, the UN's Human Rights Chief.

The Hong Kong group said, "But whether Beijing is really lifting the ban in
earnest or just doing something for Mrs. Robinson to see [remains] to be
seen. Its spokesman, Frank LU, said that the actual membership of the CDP
might be closer to one hundred, reported Reuters.

Pro-democracy campaigner QIN Yongmin, who on Friday unsuccessfully tried to
register the same party with two other dissidents in the central city of
Wuhan, voiced his reservations, claiming that Party officials may be using
"delaying tactics." Qin further speculated that Communist officials could be
setting a trap, reported Reuters. Quoting a proverb, he warned, "We cannot
rule out the possibility that it is a plot to 'lure the snake out of the

Yet, there is always the hope that one official in Jinan, the provincial
capital of Shandong, has given a true go-ahead signal for the development
of democratic reforms in China.

Speaking on behalf of the exiled Free China Movement, WANG Lian said, "We
cautiously appreciate this positive gesture, as any bit of progress made
by the Communist Party towards relaxation and reform is welcome." He noted
that any celebration for the birth of an opposition party is premature,
pending approval by the Communist Party. However, Wang is looking forward to
the day when "freedom of association in China" is legal.

3. News from Taiwan (3 Items) ........................................... 20
Source:  Taiwan's China News (09/12/98 - 09/14/98)
Contributor: Chang-Jiu Chen;  Abridged by: TIAN Yu.

* Cross-strait shipping entered a new era when China's Ministry of
  Communications officially notified Evergreen Marine and Yang Ming Line
  that their applications for new international routes covering mainland
  ports had been approved.

* MA Ying-jeou has regained the lead over CHEN Shui-bian in public
  opinion, according to a poll released by the state-run Chinese
  Television Network.  The poll found that 35.7% of respondents would vote
  for Ma if the Taipei mayoral election were to take place the following
  day, while 32.1% would throw their support behind Chen, the incumbent

* Confusion appeared to be reigning over what the KMT plans to call the
  provincial government after it has been officially "downsized."

|    Executive Editor of This Issue: Jian LIU                              |
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