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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Chinese Communist Party Congress,

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2338/01 2890730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160730Z OCT 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7147
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7358
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8639

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002338

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY CONGRESS,
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL TO DALAI LAMA


Summary: News coverage of Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies
focused on a variety of local issues over the weekend. Among the
stories were reports on the former Taiwan National Security Bureau
agent Isabelle Cheng, who allegedly had an affair with former U.S.
State Department official Donald Keyser. Keyser was convicted for
unauthorized possession of classified documents. Cheng told the
press the Keyser case was made up by the Taiwan and U.S. media. In
editorials and commentaries, the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
and the conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
discussed the upcoming 17th Chinese Communist Party Congress.
Meanwhile, the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
commented on Beijing's reaction to the Congressional medal to Dalai
Lama. End summary.

A) "The 17th Chinese Communist Party Congress Will Still Be Power
Struggle Stage for Dictators"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (10/15):

"... This time the 17th Chinese Communist Party Congress will be
held in the context that China has risen up to become a huge world
economic power. But the many problems brought about by rapid
economic development, such as environmental degradation, corruption,
human rights violations ... need to be resolved. Otherwise, if any
conflict or antagonism breaks out, it is not improbable that China
might collapse overnight. However, the congress put its emphasis on
the high-ranking party reshuffle. That is, to treat the party
congress as a stage for power struggle, while failing to come up
with any effective solutions to the serious existential crises
facing China.

"As a result, the party congress will not be able to reach a
satisfactory conclusion either power-wise or policy-wise. It will
lose in both aspects...."

B) "A Watershed Congress"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (10/13):

"The Chinese Communist Party will hold its 17th party congress next
week in Beijing to chart the future course of China's development in
the next five years. In a sense, the meeting of the CCP's 17th
Central Committee can be viewed as a watershed congress as the
country is entering a new era of development that faces new
challenges in economic, political, and social areas.

"Twenty-nine years after the reform and opening-up initiated by Deng
Xiaoping in 1978, mainland China's economy is at a crossroads:
whether to keep pursuing a 'GDP'ism' that has resulted in a tenfold
increase in gross domestic product at the expense of the
environment. The economic prosperity brought about by the explosive,
double-digit GDP growth has also produced the problem of an uneven
distribution of wealth, creating widespread discontent among the
poor and disadvantaged.

"... In the area of politics, the paramount issue is political
reform, which has been too slow and too little. The opening-up
should include relaxation of control on the press, religion and
human rights. It is apparent that mainland China's political reform
has lagged far behind its economic progress. The key to the reform
is political democratization, administrative transparency, and
judicial independence.

"... Will the issue of Taiwan come up? Surely, especially when
President Chen Shui-bian is heightening his separatist activities by
trying to change the country's official name, a move regarded by
Beijing, and Washington as well, as a step toward de jure
independence that Beijing has threatened to use force to prevent.
The congress won't sit idly by on the issue...."

C) "A Cautious Beijing, Despite the Slap"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (10/14):

"Last week, Beijing lashed out over the U.S. Congressional Gold
Medal awarded to exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama,
calling the award 'interference in China's internal affairs.'

"... With China so focused on preparing for the Olympic Games next
year, these public condemnations are insufficient, in and of
themselves, to make it change its ways overnight. But they are
nevertheless construed by Beijing as a collective slap in the face.

"... Some have argued that China's reaction to recent criticism and
to the award given the Dalai Lama has been surprisingly mild -- a
CONGRESSIONAL MEDAL TO DALAI LAMA

result, perhaps, of the coming Olympics, which forces it to moderate
its response to such sensitive issues, slap notwithstanding."
Congress has voiced much more disapproval of Beijing on human
rights issues than any other branch of the U.S. government, which
has often put Congress at odds with the US Department of State.
Congress is also a better, more intimate reflection of the popular
will of Americans, which makes its views something Beijing cannot
afford to ignore.

"What makes the situation even more awkward for Beijing is that U.S.
President George W. Bush will attend the award ceremony on
Wednesday, marking Bush's first-ever public meeting with the Dalai
Lama.

"... With China so focused on preparing for the Olympic Games next
year, these public condemnations are insufficient, in and of
themselves, to make it change its ways overnight. But they are
nevertheless construed by Beijing as a collective slap in the face.

"Some have argued that China's reaction to recent criticism and to
the award given the Dalai Lama has been surprisingly mild -- a
result, perhaps, of the coming Olympics, which forces it to moderate
its response to such sensitive issues, slap notwithstanding."


WANG

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