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June 29, 2002  

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Taiwan opposition shoots itself in the foot
A normally uncontroversial confirmation exercise has turned into a circus because of the knife-edge balance of power between the two rival blocks in the Taiwan legislature. The opposition's attempts to capitalize on the controversy and smear the ruling party have backfired badly, writes Laurence Eyton, in a classic case of the pot calling the kettle black. (Jun 28)
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Hong Kong, China: Five years on
On Monday, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region marks the fifth year since its handover to China by Great Britain. For the business community, July 1, 1997, was a worrying time. But although the transition to Chinese rule has seen challenges, some still unmet, much of the pessimism of five years ago has proved unfounded. (Jun 28)
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Hong Kong, Singapore economies freest
The Economic Freedom of the World Report, an annual project launched with the help of Nobel laureate Milton Friedman, has analyzed the relative economic freedom of 123 countries and areas, and Hong Kong and Singapore top the list. Mainland China came 101st. (Jun 27)
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Political football: Senegal's ill-will Taiwan tour
A hastily concocted "goodwill" visit to Taiwan by Senegal's World Cup soccer team turned out to be anything but, as the Africans, tired and grumpy after their quarterfinals defeat by Turkey, showed up at a "friendly" exhibition match in flip-flops. Behind the disastrous visit, writes Laurence Eyton, was a Taiwan Foreign Ministry bereft of ideas on how to expand the island's diplomatic prowess. (Jun 26)
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Hong Kong embraces 'accountability system'
Next week, Hong Kong enters what is touted as a new era of political accountability furthering the quest for full democracy. While Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa says the new system - described as a hybrid of British and US administrative models - will energize government, critics worry that it will not solve Hong Kong's key concerns. (Jun 26)
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Russia, China eye pan-Asian oil bridge
Russia and China have agreed on an investment blueprint for a US$2 billion, 2,247 kilometer crude oil pipeline that will go a long way to realizing Beijing's goal of diversifying the country's energy supply away from US-dominated shipping lanes. Other, more ambitious plans for pipelines that would create a pan-Asian oil bridge, however, are proving more difficult to implement, writes Sergei Blagov. (Jun 25)
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State move sends markets soaring
Beijing's State Council has announced that it will stop selling state-owned shares in listed companies, and the Shanghai and Shenzhen bourses immediately skyrocketed on the news. It could be just the turnaround the Chinese markets, long in the doldrums, have been waiting for. (Jun 25)
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Why Japan doesn't fear 'made in China' label
Some believe that China will soon surpass Japan as the "factory of the world", but in fact many Chinese products contain a lot of components made elsewhere - including Japan. China's competitiveness continues to depend not on high-tech innovation but on low-tech products made by cheap, abundant labor. (Jun 24)
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Nepal: Learning to live with giant neighbors
Centuries ago, Nepal was described as a yam stuck between two boulders - India and China. And it is these countries that King Gyanendra is visiting on his first trips abroad since assuming the throne a year ago. The monarch has much to discuss with his two giant neighbors, but one thing is sure, writes Dhruba Adhikary, he will not play the one off against the other. (Jun 24)
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Asylum row over - for now
A 10-day diplomatic wrangle between South Korea and China over North Korean asylum seekers has ended with an agreement to let 26 defectors fly to South Korea. But while Beijing admitted its security personnel were overzealous in the affair, Chinese officials stopped short of apologizing. (Jun 24)
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Asylum bids hurt China's neighborly ties
With an increasing occurrence of North Koreans making dashing attempts to enter foreign embassies in China, Beijing is feeling the brunt of the thorny issue's consequences. And with the US tossed into the fray, the situation only gets messier. (Jun 21)
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