China Border Map

Yearbook 2003

China. Sars, the taikonauth and Miss World were rewritten events in China 2003, in the light of the continued brilliant economic development.

A new, somewhat younger leader guard took office in March. However, outgoing 76-year-old President Jiang Zemin retained the grip of power as chairman of the Central Military Commission. He was also succeeded in the post of head of state by an ally, 60-year-old Hu Jintao, who became secretary general of the Communist Party in the fall of 2002 and was now elected president of the People’s Congress. Prime Minister became Wen Jiabao, 60 years. He succeeded 74-year-old Zhu Rongji, who played a significant role in China’s economic success. It was the first statutory change in power in Communist China’s history. According to Countryaah.com, China Independence Day is October 1.

Shortly thereafter, SARS, severe acute respiratory illness, became a serious problem. This new deadly viral disease broke out in Guangdong in southern China in November 2002. At the end of March, China confirmed that 31 deaths had occurred in Guangdong, 3 in Beijing and 10 in Hong Kong. The UN agency WHO imposed travel restrictions on China and unrest was great for mass death and economic race. WHO criticized the Beijing regime for darkening the scale of the epidemic. The regime responded by deploying power measures, and as early as June WHO declared that Sars were under control in China. Researchers proved that the hardy virus was spread through an animal named Mask Palms (Paguma larvata). China A total of 343 people were reported to have died from sars in China.

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Despite the backlash with Sars, China’s economy grew strongly according to data by Digopaul. The country went around the United Kingdom and became the world’s fifth trading nation. According to the World Bank, China 2003 was the world’s sixth largest economy. Towards the end of the year, annual growth in the economy was noted at 9%. The new leaders talked about a slowdown in 2004 to avoid overheating: next year they aim for “only” 7%.

In the US, China was concerned about China’s success. China’s surplus in trade with the United States was largely in part because of Beijing’s deliberate nerve-racking of its currency yuan, the Bush administration argued, imposing penalties on Chinese TVs and textiles. China Prime Minister Wen Jiabao diplomatically promised to study the yuan problem when he visited Washington December 8-9. President George W. Bush, for his part, warned Taiwan’s boisterous state to vote for independence and reiterated America’s commitment to a united China.

The government showed growing concern for the well-being of its citizens, but not at any price. A typical expression of this was the coal mining industry. The state increased security checks at the constantly affected mines. In 2002, 5,000 miners were killed. The number of casualties also fell slightly during the year, but the urgency to produce more coal was high and disasters continued to occur. One of the largest was reported in the Luling mine in Anhui province on May 13. At least 63 people were killed there. The worst known accident in 2003 occurred in Mengnanzhuang in northern China and required 72 fatalities. China needs a lot of energy himself for his growing industry and is also the world’s second largest coal exporter, after Australia.

Overall, the number of workplace accidents increased. In the first nine months, 11,449 people died at work, an increase of 9% according to official statistics. China’s worst known industrial accident occurred on the Chongquing natural gas field in the southwestern part of the country on December 23. A total of 233 people were killed when hydrogen sulfide leaked from a gas pocket during drilling.

During the year, shares began to be sold in the mast ravine project Three ravines dam. The first of the planned 26 generators was started in July. The dam will cover 10% of China’s electricity needs and reduce the risk of new devastating floods by Chang Jiang.

China, together with neighbor Russia, opposed the US war initiative in Iraq. However, Beijing was most diplomatically awaiting and recommended greater UN influence over the war on terror. Faced with fears about North Korean nuclear weapons, since North Korea broke with the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, China sought to mediate between Pyongyang and Washington. Six-party talks (with the US, Russia, South Korea, North Korea, Japan and China) on North Korea’s weapons came to an end in Beijing in August, but gave no concrete results.

Militarily, China went the same way as many other countries: the armed forces were modernized. In September, 200,000 soldiers were announced to be rationalized away, following a previous reduction of half a million. The armed forces still have 2.5 million soldiers. Military chief Jiang Zemin explained the cut that China must “speed up the development of information technology”. China was still seen by the United States as a nuclear threat. According to the CIA, China wants to manufacture an additional over 100 long-range robots that can reach targets in the United States.

Washington imposed financial sanctions against China during the year for its nuclear energy cooperation with Iran, out of concern about nuclear weapons exports. China showed a whole new openness in May after a mysterious submarine accident in which all 70 on board perished. China announced the accident and President Hu Jintao met with relatives to show his participation. In the sign of the cooperation, China held military maneuvers against terror along with Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. With both Pakistan – traditional partner – and India – old enemy – naval maneuvers were held off China’s coast.

Contacts with the EU were also characterized by a spirit of cooperation. On October 30, at a summit in the capital, Beijing and the EU signed an agreement on increased Chinese tourism in Europe and Chinese support for the Galileo satellite navigation program, an alternative to a US system. EU President Silvio Berlusconi and EU Commission President Romano Prodi attended the meeting with China’s leaders. China is the EU’s third largest trading partner and the EU is the third largest investor in China, after the US and Japan.

At the New Year, the EU and China launched a joint space probe to study the sun’s impact on the earth. In October, China became the third country in the world to send a man into space, four decades after the Soviet Union and the United States. Yang Liwei, who became China’s first spacecraft (taikonaut), traveled 14 laps around the earth in 21 hours and landed according to plan in Inner Mongolia October 16. The space program’s vice president Zhang Qingwei said after the successful trip that there are plans for a Chinese space lab and space station.

China was again criticized for his treatment of AIDS patients. According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), the infection is spread uncontrollably and the sick are denied care. Officially, one million are said to be infected with HIV, but there are more in reality according to HRW. China was also criticized by human rights movements for forcing North Korean refugees – at least 200,000 have traveled to China – to return to their homeland.

In October, it was announced that “Madame Chiang Kai-shek”, born Song Meiling, died in New York 105 years old. She was married to China’s disputed nationalist leader, who fled to Taiwan in 1949.

As an end to the international collaboration year, China, who previously banned beauty pageants, held the Miss World competition on the island of Hainan in southern China. One of the contestants was Miss Thailand, 22-year-old Mix Haxholm from FinspÄng, with Thai mother and Swedish father. The Irish won Rosanna Davison.

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