This Week in China

Getty Images Taiwan Taiwan’s presidential elections and national referendums will take place this Saturday, March 22. Voters will choose between between Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou (right), who advocates closer trade and transport ties with China, and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Frank Hsieh (left), who is more concerned with Taiwan’s sovereignty.  Though no polls ...

595917_080319_taiwan2.jpg
595917_080319_taiwan2.jpg

Getty Images

Getty Images

Taiwan

Taiwan’s presidential elections and national referendums will take place this Saturday, March 22. Voters will choose between between Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou (right), who advocates closer trade and transport ties with China, and Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) candidate Frank Hsieh (left), who is more concerned with Taiwan’s sovereignty.  Though no polls have been released after March 12 in accordance with the law, Ma leads by differing amounts, depending on whom you ask.

Eighty-five percent of adults in Taiwan say they support applying for U.N. membership. In tandem with the presidential contest, the government is holding a referendum on this question — a move designed to bolster support for the incumbent party, the DPP.

If the KMT succeeds in taking the presidency, relations with China won’t thaw any time soon, says Reuters. Wang Tai-li of Taiwan‘s NationalChengchiUniversity argues that both camps have moved towards the center, as Ma’s recent criticism of Beijing indicates.

Ahead of the elections, the Far Eastern Economic Review makes its recent Taiwan coverage available for your reading pleasure.

China

In Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, demonstrations commemorating the 49th annniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Beijing turned violent after locals began attacking ethnic Han Chinese. Tibetan exiles and human-rights groups decried what they said was a brutal crackdown by the Chinese government, while Beijing blamed the violence on Tibetans. China says 16 people died in the clashes while Tibetan exile groups say the number is at least 80.

Premier Wen Jiabao told the Dalai Lama “the door is always open” for talks if he will renounce his Tibetan independance activities. The Chinese government kept up pressure on the spiritual leader, saying “ample facts” point to his involvement in the Lhasa violence.

Premier Wen Jiabao was re-elected to his position on Sunday by the “rubber stamp” National People’s Congress. Up-and-comer Xi Jinping was elected vice president instead of being appointed to the military commission, a move that “would have cemented his role as heir apparent to President Hu Jintao,” according to Reuters.

In response to U.S. criticism of its human-rights record, China released a report on the state of U.S. human rights.

Human Rights First, a U.S. advocacy group, alleges China is the sole supplier of small arms to Sudan in violation of U.N. resolutions, a charge Beijing denies.

Economy

This “may be the most difficult year for [the] Chinese economy” according to Premier Wen Jiabao, referring to rising inflation and the turmoil in international markets.

Land prices are expected to fall in China this year as the government tightens lending controls.

Alibaba.com announced profits were up 340 percent in 2007. Yet, shares plunged 20 percent Tuesday, leading the Financial Times to suggest China’s top e-commerce firm is “the canary that will die ahead of a worldwide recession.”

Analysis

Cheng Li of Brookings provides a who’s who of China‘s new economic leaders and the dynamics between them.

 

The World Security Institute’s winter issue of China Security (
中国安全) provides in-depth analysis on the Taiwan issue with authors from various perspectives based in China, Taiwan, the United States, and Singapore.





Lighter Fare

Tibet’s oldest person, Amai Cering, celebrated her 117th birthday.

China’s Ministry of Public Security released statistics on names for newborns that reflect social trends. Popular examples were He Xie (harmony) after the government’s social policy, Ao Yun (Olympics), She Bao (social security), and Min Zhu (democracy).

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