Date: Wed, 5 Nov 97 08:43:21 CST
From: rich%pencil@VMA.CC.ND.EDU (Rich Winkel)
Subject: World Tibet News on Jiang Zemin Visit
/** headlines: 135.0 **/
** Topic: World Tibet News on Jiang Zemin Visit **
** Written 8:24 AM Nov 3, 1997 by newsdesk in cdp:headlines **
/* Written 2:32 PM Nov 2, 1997 by DEBRA@OLN.comlink.apc.org in hrnet.asia+pacific */
CHN: World Tibet News -- October 20 ---------- */
WASHINGTON -Oct 20 (AP) -- Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, in interviews with US news organizations, stood by his nation's policies on human rights and Tibet and made it clear he will carry the same message to Americans when he visits in a week.
Human rights is certain to be a dominant subject when Jiang, China's president and Communist Party chief, next weekend becomes the first Chinese leader to visit since the Chinese military crushed the Tiananmen democracy movement in 1989.
Over the last few years, Jiang said in an interview with Time magazine
in the edition reaching newsstands today, the United States-China
can be characterized like the weather: It has its ups
He said a key purpose of his trip will be to deepen understanding
it is no easy task for the people of our two countries to
really understand each other.
He was generally upbeat, saying the two countries
have a favorable
opportunity for further improvement. A good relationship in the
21st century, he said,
bears on the world's peace, stability, and
Diverging from communist rhetoric of the past, Jiang said,
is not a country in decline, and I do not think that China and the US
must come into conflict with one another.
Jiang, 71, is a former mayor of Shanghai. In the Time interview and a separate interview published yesterday in The Washington Post, he rejected arguments that China is guilty of massive human rights abuses.
The most important human rights issue in China, he said, is ensuring
that its 1.2 billion people have food and clothing. In that respect,
the rights and freedoms that our people enjoy today are
He told the Post:
Both democracy and human rights are relative
concepts and not absolute and general.
Asked by Time if he should make some gesture on human rights during
his trip, he retorted that China abolished slavery in Tibet when the
communists moved into the area in 1950, just as America had abolished
slavery during the Civil War.
I believe the American people should
be happy to see that, he said.
But Representative Henry Hyde, Republican of Illinois, said it would be only proper for Americans to demonstrate against China's human rights record as Jiang tours Hawaii, Williamsburg, Va., Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, and Los Angeles.
I think every opportunity should be availed to demonstrate to the
Chinese leaders how much the civil rights abuses, the human rights
abuses, are resented in this country and what an obstacle they are to
normalizing healthy relationships between our two countries, Hyde
said Saturday on CNN's
Evans f Novak.
While unlikely to make much progress on human rights, the two sides are working to complete a deal in which Jiang will pledge to end sales of antiship cruise missiles to Iran. The Post also quoted officials from the two countries as saying they will sign accords on avoiding naval incidents at sea and increasing cooperation in nuclear energy.
Following are excerpts from an interview in Shanghai on Oct. 17 with China's President Jiang Zemin:
Jiang: Very soon I will be paying a visit to the United States. I will meet President Clinton and discuss with him the guiding principles governing China-U.S. relations pointing toward the 21st century. And during my visit I will also have rather extensive contacts with other leaders of your country, people from your business community, education and other sectors of society. And I hope that through my visit the development of Chinese American relations will be promoted to a new level.
Q. We noticed with interest that you are going to start your visit by laying a wreath at the Pearl Harbor Memorial in Hawaii. That prompts us to ask what threats you see to China's security in the years ahead? Which countries do you think may be most difficult to deal with in China's external relations?
A. I will be very happy to begin my visit to the United States in beautiful Hawaii. The Pearl Harbor incident, which took place over 50 years ago, still evokes deep thinking among the people. Lessons from that incident cannot and should not be forgotten. The Second World War brought many countries in the world great disaster.
Peace and development are the main themes of our world today. However, the world is still far from tranquil. The supreme interest of China is peace and nation-building. As to all threats to peace and development, no matter where they come from, the Chinese people will join hands with the people of the rest of the world to prevent and eliminate all of them.
As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, both China and the United States share the responsibility for preserving world peace and stability. China and the United States have some differences on some issues. However, the common ground between us outweighs the differences, and we should proceed in the spirit of seeking common ground despite differences and work together to promote peace and stability in the region and the world at large.
On human rights:
The theory of relativity worked out by Mr.
Einstein, which is in the domain of natural science, I believe can
also be applied to the political field. Both democracy and human
rights are relative concepts and not absolute and general. . . . One
country's human rights situation cannot be separated from the actual
conditionsof that country. . . Undoubtedly, there can be [diplomatic]
discussion on the human rights issue, but I hope that the West
understands that our primary issue is to assure that all Chinese
people have adequate access to food and clothing.
On the possibility of holding democratic elections for major public
offices in China:
How can the American way of elections in China be
organized when we have over 1.2 billion people and more than 100
million who can't read or write? . . . We use a system of a mixture of
both direct and indirect elections. For example, I am a deputy to the
National People's Congress [China's legislature] elected by the
municipality of Shanghai. The city of Shanghai has a population of 13
million, and it's impossible for me to be elected directly by the
people of Shanghai. So I was elected to the National People's Congress
by the People's Congress of the city of Shanghai. . . .The developed
capitalist countries always hope to see uniformity in the world . . .
which I do not think is a manifestation of democracy.
On Tibet: (Jiang spoke of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, which
he often has quoted in public.)
Lincoln was a remarkable leader,
particularly in liberating the slaves in America. When it comes to
slavery in China, most of China got rid of slavery long ago, except in
Tibet, where it was not until the Dalai Lama left that we eliminated
serfdom. . .
. . . The impression I get is that you [Americans] are undoubtedly
opposed to slavery, yet you support the Dalai Lama.
On Taiwan: (Jiang spoke of reading
Gone With the Wind and
seeing a television series on the U.S. Civil War.)
The purpose of
your Civil War was to unite America together, yet on the issue of
Taiwan some of your people support separating Taiwan and China and
cannot understand how strongly 1.2 billion people feel about
reunification of their motherland. This makes people think that
standards you apply to others are not the same as those you apply to
Has been Communist Party chief for eight years and also holds the titles of president and chairman of the Central Military Commission. He was selected for the leadership by his mentor, Deng Xiaoping, in 1989.
An electrical engineer by training and a former mayor of Shanghai, he was considered somewhat uninspiring and many wondered whether he would be able to survive political infighting.
Since Deng's death in February, Jiang, 71, has solidified his position.
At the 15th Communist Party Congress in September, four powerful Politburo members were forced out. They included the party's number-three ranking official, Qiao Shi, chairman of the National People's Congress who apparently had pushed for political reforms. Jiang also managed to secure Central Committee seats for several key allies.
The congress also endorsed Jiang's report on overhauling state enterprises and his proposal to enshrine the market-style theories of Deng Xiaoping.
Jiang's image as an international leader was boosted in July with the successful handover of Hong Kong from Britain to China.