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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: October 27, 2008 NO.44, OCT. 30, 2008

Mainland Scholar Manhandled By Taiwan Mob

An unexpected attack on Zhang Mingqing, a mainland scholar who was on an academic visit to Taiwan, has given rise to a new round of criticism against pro-"independence" forces on the island.

A Xinhua News Agency report said that "a local legislator incited a mob to close in on Zhang, Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication at Xiamen University, and shoved him to the ground," when Zhang was visiting a Confucius temple in Tainan City on October 21.

The maltreatment was condemned by the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, as well as the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taiwan and Taiwan authorities. ARATS and SEF are authorized nongovernmental organizations engaged in talks on issues related to exchanges across the Taiwan Straits.

Zhang, 63, is also vice president of ARATS. He served as spokesman of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council in 1993-2006.

In a statement released later on October 21, Zhang said that he believes the violence will not hinder the improvement of relations between the mainland and Taiwan.

Chiang Pin-kung, SEF Chairman, also told the media that in his telephone conversation with Chen Yunlin, President of ARATS, they agreed that preparations for Chen's planned Taiwan trip would continue. Earlier reports said that Chen was scheduled to visit Taiwan, the first for an ARATS chief, later this month or in early November.

IT Expert Champions Local Software

Ni Guangnan, a renowned Chinese computer scientist, has seen a new opportunity for China's local software developers to thrive after Microsoft Corp. launched a controversial anti-piracy campaign.

According to Microsoft, starting on October 21, screens of computers installed with unauthorized Windows XP Professional software in China will be blackened when the machines are started up and the blackout will reoccur every 60 minutes as a warning.

But Ni, a long-time critic of Microsoft, believes that the U.S. software giant's practice indicated big risks of personal information leakage to computer users.

Ni called on Chinese computer users, who cannot afford highly priced genuine Microsoft products, to turn to cheaper, and sometimes free, domestic software, which he said are already able to match their foreign counterparts in terms of performance.

Ni, 69, is now an academician at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Engineering. He is a leading proponent of open source software in China.

Corrupt Ex-mayor Gets Death Penalty

Liu Zhihua, a former vice mayor of Beijing who supervised the construction of Olympic venues, has been sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve on charges of bribery.

The first-instance court concluded Liu's case on October 18, accusing him of accepting bribes worth 6.97 million yuan ($1 million) in 1999-2006.

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