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Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

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The Week Ahead: Hospital Siege
This time the Thais may get tough with rebels from Myanmar
By WAYNE MORRISON

also:
CHINA: In This Anti-Corruption Campaign, Watch the Names and the Connections
INDONESIA: Troubleshooting

January 24, 2000
Web posted at 6:15 p.m. Hong Kong time, 5:15 a.m. EST


    INTELLIGENCE
Mahathir's Gamble
The new crackdown on the opposition tests Malaysia's drive for change
by Ricardo Saludo
- Monday, Jan. 24, 2000

e-Showmanship
Forget the title shuffles. The guys who made tech companies hot will continue to run them
by Stuart Whitmore
- Monday, Jan. 24, 2000

The Last Shall Be First in Taiwan
Lien Chan, a poll-lagging winner?
- Friday, Jan. 21, 2000

The Week Ahead
Coup Talk in Indonesia (and Pakistan), Counting Lamas in China (and India) and Tallying the Arrested in Malaysia
by Ann Morrison
- Monday, Jan. 17, 2000

Broadband Now, Please!
Until we get it, the entertainment revolution is still mostly talk
by Stuart Whitmore
- Friday, Jan. 14, 2000

China: The Coming Corruption Storm
A scandal is brewing at the highest levels
- Thursday, Jan. 13, 2000

Escape From Lhasa
The defection of a "living Buddha" sets back Beijing's plan to win over the Tibetans
by Julian Gearing
- Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2000

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Expect a stern response by the Thai Army to Karen guerrillas' storming and seizing of Ratchaburi Hospital near the Thai-Myanmar border west of Bangkok on Monday. The desperate action by 10 armed guerrillas of "God's Army" followed a recent heavy offensive by Myanmar troops against rebels in the border area. The guerrillas, demanding medical help for their injured, took more than 200 patients and staff hostage (some reports said more than 700 hostages were taken).

CNN BREAKING NEWS January 25, 2000
Web posted at: 9:49 a.m. HKT (0149 GMT)

Thai commandos raid hospital, nine gunmen killed, one escapes:
Thai commandos early Tuesday stormed a provincial hospital that had been held by a group of Myanmar Karen guerrillas and reportedly killed nine of the gunmen.

VIDEO
VideoCNN's John Raedler shows scenes from inside the hospital. (January 24)
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The raid appeared to have come as a result of Myanmar army action and also attempts by the Thai army to seal the border to prevent fighting from spilling on to Thai territory. After the Myanmar Embassy siege in Bangkok last October, Thai authorities cracked down on Myanmar dissidents and forced tens of thousands of illegal workers back over the border, at times with disastrous results (some women were reportedly raped and other workers were beaten or imprisoned). The Bangkok authorities had been criticized by the Yangon junta for their soft response in allowing the Bangkok siege-makers to get away -- and providing them with a helicopter. This time the Thais have surrounded the hospital with troops and police, and signaled that they will take a tougher stance. Interior Minister Sanan Kachornprasart, who dubbed the Bangkok siege-makers "freedom fighters," announced that protection of the hospital patients and staff would come first. God's Army, probably a breakaway group from the Karen National Union, is said to be giving protection to the Myanmar Embassy siege-makers.  

CHINA: In This Anti-Corruption Campaign, Watch the Names and the Connections
Watch where President Jiang Zemin's corruption crackdown unleashed last week is headed. For years China has waged war against increasing corruption. Now the war has been stepped up with a campaign that targets the Communist Party. "To bring order to the country, we must first rectify the Party," said Jiang. He vowed that offenders, no matter how high their position, would be punished. Within a few days, details emerged about one of China's biggest corruption scandals, centering on a smuggling ring in the port city of Xiamen and allegedly involving high-ranking people.

Dozens of officials, mostly in Customs, are suspected in the smuggling of billions of dollars worth of oil, cars, cigarettes and other products, an operation that investigators say includes Xiamen-linked companies set up in Hong Kong. The arrested include Lin Youfang, the wife of Politburo member and Beijing party chief Jia Qinlin, a Jiang protege who was once a top official in Xiamen. Jia quickly divorced Lin. Interpol's help was sought to find Lan Fu, a vice-mayor of Xiamen whom investigators believe has headed to Australia. Ironically, in 1996 it was then Beijing party chief, Chen Xitong, who was arrested and later jailed for corruption. Chen happened to be an opponent of Jiang. It is not known how the Xiamen scandal may affect Jia.

Other major cases are in the works. A Hong Kong newspaper reported that the in-laws of Gen. Liu Huaqing, a former PLA strongman and sometime political opponent of Jiang, were being sued for unpaid debts of nearly $2 million. Even as Jiang's "Rectification Campaign" was launched, another big scandal was brewing in southern Guangxi Autonomous Region, where the former governor, Cheng Kejie, was recently arrested in a corruption investigation. Cheng was said to have had the support of National People's Congress chief Li Peng. There was also talk that Li's son was linked to the investigation. And over the weekend, Xinhua quoted Auditor General Li Jinhua as saying that investigations have shown that 14 officials were guilty of siphoning off $60 million in funds earmarked for the Three Gorges Dam. The Three Gorges is regarded as a pet project of Li Peng.

Jiang's campaign is taking on corruption in the party, but it remains to be seen which high-level figures are targeted in what may well culminate in a political storm.  

INDONESIA: Troubleshooting
Journalists will be following with special interest the visits of President Abdurrahman Wahid and Vice President Megawati Sukarnoputri to Indonesian troublespots this week. Megawati goes to the Malukus today in another attempt to resolve the conflicts between Muslims and Christians that have led to hundreds of killings. The fighting began about a year ago and, despite the deployments of extra troops in the region, has escalated in recent months. Wahid gave Megawati responsibility for the Malukus problem when the government was formed late last year. Wahid is due to visit Aceh, where clashes between the military and an armed secessionist movement continue. Earlier talk by Wahid of possible East Timor-style self-determination has been replaced by pledges of a measure of autonomy. For instance, the Acehnese would be permitted to have shariah (Islamic) law for their territory. But the exact nature of any autonomy deal remains to be seen. Looming over the visits is the question of the stability of Wahid's administration amid rumors of a military coup in the making and alleged military instigation of ethnic and religious troubles in order to destabilize the elected government. Wahid, however, has had strong statements of support internationally, including one from President Clinton.


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