- The Washington Times - Friday, February 1, 2002

Chinese villagers say election rigged

BEIJING Hundreds of residents of an eastern Chinese village held a four-day protest in Qindao, a Yellow Sea port city in Shandong province, this week over elections they say were fixed by local authorities.

"We are demanding fair and reasonable elections," Qu Liangkuan, 44, a candidate in local elections in Shilaoren village, told Agence France-Presse yesterday.

Mr. Qu said more than 1,000 of Shilaoren's 2,900 registered voters were prevented from voting in Monday's village elections. He said 300 workers at township enterprises were given only one voter registration document per family, meaning other family members of voting age could not cast ballots.

This tactic was adopted by the village election committee to assure the re-election of the present village committee, Mr. Qu said. Workers were promised pay increases if they voted as told and threatened with dismissal if they did not, he said.

Vietnamese ideologues to rethink capitalism

HANOI Vietnamese leader Nong Duc Manh has instructed the ruling Communist Party to review its whole approach to capitalism in a move diplomats hailed as a key endorsement from the top for the country's fledgling private sector.

Mr. Manh told party ideology chiefs they needed to overhaul their thinking to bring it in line with the market reforms that Vietnam has pursued for the past 15 years, state media reported.

The party should reconsider its opposition to admitting capitalists, Mr. Manh told its Theoretical Council on Tuesday. He urged council members to review their definition of "exploitation" and "explore if it is fitting to allow party members to engage in private enterprise," the English-language Vietnam News said.

Indonesia picks judges for trials over Timor

JAKARTA, Indonesia The government installed 11 judges yesterday to oversee the much-delayed trials of military officers and militiamen considered responsible for the destruction of East Timor in 1999.

The new justices, most of them university law professors, will join 12 career judges appointed to the Ad Hoc Human Rights Court that will hear the trials, expected to begin soon.

The legal process against 18 suspects will be watched closely by the international community, including the United Nations and donor governments. They are demanding that Indonesia punish the perpetrators of the violence that left hundreds dead after East Timor voted for independence.

Weekly notes

Hong Kong's government said yesterday it would not cut the minimum pay of foreign maids, bowing to pressure from Indonesia and the Philippines. A government spokesman said the minimum monthly wage of 3,670 Hong Kong dollars (U.S. $470) would be kept for the time being but could be reviewed if economic conditions continue to deteriorate. South Korean hip-hop singer Yoo Seung-jun is in disgrace in South Korea after he became a U.S. citizen this month to avoid compulsory service. The 26-year-old "dance machine" was to have started 28 months of public service in April in lieu of a stint in the military after failing an army physical.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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