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Jiang: China never made U.S. political contributions


Chinese president says he will abide by Hong Kong laws

May 9, 1997
Web posted at: 11:36 a.m. EDT (1536 GMT)

In this story:

BEIJING (CNN) -- President Jiang Zemin said Friday that China never made political contributions to U.S. candidates in hopes of gaining influence. In an exclusive interview with CNN in Beijing, Jiang also said China will abide by Hong Kong's laws after the British colony is handed over to Chinese rule.

In a written statement addressing fund-raising controversies in the United States, Jiang said the Chinese government "has never been involved in or supported any political contributions."

Watch the entire exclusive CNN Interview with VXtreme streaming video (25 min.)
Read the entire exclusive CNN Interview

"Some people in the U.S. even claimed that the top leadership of China had approved of making contributions. This has no base in fact," the statement said.

Both the Democratic and Republican parties have returned illegal contributions from sources outside the United States.

And a Republican Party fund-raising letter declares the Clinton White House was "sold for illegal foreign cash" from "Red China."

In his statement, Jiang asserts that "some countries and a region have made political contributions and pursued money politics in the U.S., which is an open secret. However, we have not heard much strong reaction. It's hard to understand."

It was not immediately clear what countries or region he was referring to.

Hong Kong freedoms to stay intact

In the CNN interview, the Chinese president said he would be in Hong Kong on July 1 when it is handed over to Chinese rule. He also gave his personal assurance that Beijing would not interfere with Hong Kong's government.

Hong Kong, a British colony for more than 150 years, becomes a Special Administrative Region of China at midnight on June 30.

President Jiang Zemin's interview with CNN

Jiang on being president

icon (1.1M/51 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Jiang on Hong Kong's return

icon (621K/28 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Jiang on Hong Kong's residents

icon (621K/28 sec. AIFF or WAV sound)

Beijing has pledged the territory of 6.4 million people would keep its freewheeling capitalist way of life intact for 50 years after the handover.

"Some people may have some concerns about Hong Kong's return, but facts will prove that such concerns are unnecessary," Jiang told Beijing Bureau Chief Andrea Koppel.

"I am the president of this country and also the chairman of the central military commission, but I wish to emphasize that no matter how powerful I am, I will act according to the basic law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region," he said.

He said there was no reason for fears that freedoms of speech, press and demonstration will be curbed once China regains control over the British territory.

"After Hong Kong returns to China, the rights and freedoms enjoyed by Hong Kong residents will be protected according to Hong Kong law," Jiang said.

"So long as there is no external interference, we are convinced that the policies of 'one country/two systems' -- Hong Kong people administering Hong Kong and Hong Kong enjoying a high degree of autonomy -- will surely be successfully implemented," he said.

'China threat' downplayed

Although Beijing has acted menacingly toward Taiwan -- which it considers a renegade Chinese province -- Jiang said China should not be considered a military threat.

"This year, our defense budget is less than $10 billion (U.S.)," he told CNN. "I think that if you compare this with the United States and other big powers, China's military expenditure and armaments level are very low."

"China has never had the intention for expansion. As for the so-called 'China threat' theory concocted by some people with a Cold War mentality, I believe that people throughout the world, including people in the United States, will be able to make their own correct judgment."

He said reading and listening to music "can be very helpful to the health growth of a person." As for his own tastes, Jiang said he read Shakespeare, Goethe and Balzac and enjoyed listening to Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert.

The Chinese president is expected to visit the United States in the fall.

Beijing Bureau Chief Andrea Koppel contributed to this report


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