Beijing Scene, Volume 5, Issue 9, May 21 - 27


Political Scholastic Aptitude Test (PSAT)
This test consists of one multiple-choice question: Here's a list of the countries that the U.S. has bombed since the end of World War II:
China 1945-46
Korea 1950-53
China 1950-53
Guatemala 1954
Indonesia 1958
Cuba 1959-60
Guatemala 1960
Congo 1964
Peru 1965
Laos 1964-73
Vietnam 1961-73
Cambodia 1969-70
Guatemala 1967-69
Grenada 1983
Libya 1986
El Salvador 1980s
Lebanon 1980s
Nicaragua 1980s
Panama 1989
Iraq 1991-99
Sudan 1998
Afghanistan 1998
Yugoslavia 1999

In how many of these instances did a democratic government, respectful of human rights, occur as a direct result? Choose one of the following:

(a) 0
(b) zero
(c) none
(d) not a one
(e) a whole number between -1 and +1

Stay in School
Some Taiwan university students are offered "Mafia Scholarships" by gangs in exchange for their service after graduation. The typical deal may involve the gang paying tuition fees and monthly stipends; in return the students will serve the gang. Taiwan's gangs are involved in a variety of activities, including drugs, prostitution and protection for gambling dens. The gang bosses are mostly college graduates.

Dirty Dishes
Chinese police have seized satellite dishes and decoder boxes in a crackdown on foreign television broadcasts, state television says.
The crackdown may have significant implications for overseas broadcasters such as Phoenix Satellite Television Co. and Walt Disney's ESPN, whose programs reach millions of Chinese viewers.
State television showed police carting away hundreds of satellite receivers, dishes and decoder boxes from an illegal satellite TV company in the coastal province of Fujian.

Foreign programs including news, movies, variety and talk shows, are reaching tens of millions of Chinese households illegally, much of it from Chinese-speaking Taiwan.

Cardboard boxes of equipment shown being confiscated by the police were clearly labeled "made in Taiwan."

Only tourist hotels and housing compounds for foreigners are allowed to receive satellite signals. However, foreign programming is widely picked up for rebroadcast by hundreds of cable television operators all over China.

The Beijing Daily published a 1993 State Council circular banning unauthorized satellite reception and threatening fines and jail terms. The newspaper carried the number of a telephone hotline encouraging citizens to report on illegal broadcasts.

Hong Kong-based Phoenix, which is 45 percent owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., along with News Corp.'s Star TV and other broadcasters have attracted a host of Chinese advertisers through their lively content that contrasts with China's own stodgy television fare.

Phoenix and Star TV are free-to-air, but other channels are being widely viewed with encryption decoders.

It was not immediately clear how free-to-air broadcasts would be affected, but one hotline operator said Phoenix would be targeted in the crackdown.
"This is not a really good time to say anything," says a spokeswoman for Phoenix, which claims to reach 45 million Chinese homes.

The clampdown comes in a politically sensitive year that includes the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic in October.

Nukes R Us
A city in southwest China is welcoming curious visitors into a high-tech nuclear weapons research institute as the country's tourism drive switches up a gear, state-run media says.
Tourists are now able to learn about China's "sophisticated weapon systems" at Mianyang City's China Engineering Physics Institute, one of the country's most important strategic weapons centers, the Xinhua news agency says.

It is the first tourism scheme of its kind in China, the report says.
Authorities in Mianyang, the second-largest city in Sichuan province, launched the new "science and technology tourism route" to boost the region's fledgling tourism industry, the news agency adds.
The move comes on the heels of explosive allegations that a Taiwan-born scientist working in a U.S. nuclear laboratory may have passed classified data to China.

Wen Ho Lee was fired from the Los Alamos nuclear lab earlier this year after officials accused him of violating lab security rules, although they admitted they had no conclusive evidence that Wen spied for China.

Sex and the City
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in China jumped 37 percent year-on-year in 1998, the biggest annual increase this decade, the government-controlled Newspaper Digest reports.
Quoting the National Sexually Transmitted Disease Control Center, it says reported cases of STDs last year rose to 632,512.
STDs have now overtaken tuberculosis to become the third most common category of infectious diseases in China after dysentery and hepatitis, the center says.

Fast changes in social mores since the introduction of market reforms in the early 1980s have brought on an explosion of promiscuity and as a result STDs, Chinese doctors say, citing low levels of risk-awareness among ordinary Chinese.

Cases of AIDS and infection of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes it are expected to hit one million by 2000.

Health ministry statistics show that 12,580 HIV/AIDS cases were reported nationwide by the end of last year, but officials estimate that up to 400,000 Chinese are unknowingly infected.

    Previous Stories...

May 7 - 13, 1999

April 30 - May 6, 1999

April 23 - 29, 1999

April 16 - 22, 1999

April 9 - 15, 1999

April 2 - April 8, 1999

March 26 - April 1, 1999

March 19 - 25, 1999

cartoon FYI In Short