|Beijing Scene, Volume 5, Issue 5, April 16 - 22|
Daqing To Run Dry
The northeastern oilfield accounts for nearly one-third of the country’s
annual crude oil output of around 160 million tons.
Quoting a recent staff representatives’ meeting at Daqing, the report
says the ratio of reserves to extraction speed had fallen below the
"More than 8,000 wells are still pumping oil," it says.
Water content in oil extracted at Daqing has been greater and greater
in recent years, forcing more and more strenuous efforts to maintain
production levels, the report says.
"Production costs are continually rising," it says, citing increasingly
frequent breakdowns of the outdated equipment in use.
The oilfield has topped 50 million tons of output for 23 consecutive
years, the newspaper says, describing the feat as a "miracle" even by
Nato’s spokesman says service on Nato’s home page was "erratic to
say the least" since early April. "Some hackers in Belgrade have hacked
into our website," he told a news conference in Brussels. "At the same
time our e-mail system has been saturated by one individual who is currently
sending us 2,000 e-mails a day. We are dealing with macro viruses from
Yugoslavia in our system." A senior Nato diplomat says Belgrade’s offensive
was clearly well-organized and prepared. "'It ranges all the way from
organized ethnic cleansing to messing up our website."
Kids R Us
The adoption law, introduced in 1992, was amended at the National
People’s Congress last month to make adoption easier. The revised law
means couples will be eligible to adopt even if they have the child
they were allowed under the one-child policy. Because of the policy,
many daughters were given up for adoption due to an age-old preference
for sons, the agency says. Handicapped children are also often handed
over for adoption.
President Bill Clinton and Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji failed
to reach a final accord on terms of China’s entry into the World Trade
Organization (WTO), despite down-to-the-wire bargaining last week that
the two said did yield substantial progress.
U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky says Chinese commitments
include full participation in the three global accords negotiated in
the WTO since the Uruguay Round of global trade liberalization talks:
the Information Technology Agreement; the Basic Telecommunications Agreement
and the Financial Services Agreement.
In the agricultural sector, Beijing committed to reducing immediately
upon accession to the WTO its overall tariffs to 17 percent and to 14.5
percent for US priority products.
Tariffs are to drop from 45 percent at present to 12 percent in 2004
for beef, 20 to 12 percent for pork, 20 to 10 percent for poultry, 40
percent to 12 percent for citrus, 40 percent to 13 percent for grapes,
from 65 to 20 percent for wine and from 50 percent to 12 percent for
In parallel to the market access accord, China also agreed to lift
immediately, with the signature of three bilateral accords, "unjustified"
sanitary and phytosanitary bans on wheat, citrus fruit and meat.
In the industrial sector, China is to cut average tariffs gradually
from the 24.6 percent average in 1997 to 9.44 percent.Top US trade officials
expressed confidence Washington and Beijing will complete a trade deal
that will help clear the way for China to join the World Trade Organization
by the end of the year.
"I have every confidence we will get back together with our counterparts
quickly, hopefully with a complete resolution," Barshefsky says.
Despite intense round the clock negotiations by trade officials, the
two sides failed to complete a deal when President Bill Clinton and
Premier Zhu Rongji met at the White House. But the two leaders vowed
to continue talks and complete an agreement by the end of the year.
"I believe this is going to get done. I absolutely believe it," Secretary
of Commerce William Daley says. He led a business delegation on a trade
mission to China earlier this month.
The key, he says, is to complete China’s WTO entry process by the
end of the year when WTO ministers will meet in Seattle, Washington,
to launch a new round of global trade liberalization talks.
Zhu, the first Chinese premier to visit the United States in 15 years,
wanted to return home with a completed WTO deal. He expressed disappointment
at a news conference with Clinton saying the gaps remaining were not
that large and blamed the political climate in Washington for the failure
to complete the deal.
"If you want to hear some honest words, then I should say that now
the problem does not lie with a big difference or big gap, but lies
with the political atmosphere," Zhu said.
Administration officials acknowledge that the climate in Congress
is not very positive, but insist there are serious issues that still
need to be resolved in the negotiations on banking, securities, audio
visual industries and textiles.
Clinton is expected to rely heavily on support from the business community
to sell China’s WTO entry to Congress.
"Once they begin to analyze this deal and the agriculture people,
and the banking people, and service sector people, and the auto people
and others begin to see what’s in the deal, they will be in there saying
this is a good deal," Daley says.
CITIC Head Arrested
Xinhua news agency quoted a Supreme People’s Procuratorate statement
as saying Jin had "used his official post to embezzle tens of million
of yuan in an abominable crime and grave plot".
"Jin Deqin is a senior cadre with more than 60 years as a Communist
Party member who ignored national law and government and party discipline
to commit the odious crime of large-scale embezzlement, causing grave
economic damage and extremely bad political impact," the statement says.
China’s cabinet and Communist Party stripped Jin of all official and
party posts, Xinhua says in the first confirmation of the banker’s arrest
since Hong Kong media reported his detention on April 28, 1998.
The state-run agency gave no more details on the charges against Jin,
who resigned as honorary chairman of Hong Kong’s CITIC-controlled Ka
Wah Bank on April 15, 1998.
Hong Kong media said last year Jin had been detained for misusing Ka Wah Bank funds, including making a US$8 million loan to his son.
The arrest makes it highly likely that Jin will go to trial and face
charges that could lead to a lengthy jail sentence. China has on occasion
executed officials for economic crimes.