TAHITI WELCOMES TOP CHINESE OFFICIAL

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PAPEETE, Tahiti (Tahitipresse, Dec. 11) – Luo Gan, Chinese Politburo [Communist Party of China Political Bureau] member and China's top law enforcement officer, arrived in Tahiti Saturday for a weekend stopover before flying to South America.

Luo, 67, who is responsible for China's law and order and foreign and counter intelligence work, was greeted at the Tahiti-Faa'a International Airport by French High Commissioner Anne Boquet and French Polynesia President Oscar Temaru.

A special welcome of traditional Tahitian dancing greeted Luo and members of his delegation, which arrived the day after it was officially announced that China would open a general consulate office and a cultural center in Papeete next year.

Luo was scheduled to meet with the French High Commissioner and Tahiti's president separately Saturday evening. He and his delegation will leave Tahiti Sunday for Argentina, Uruguay and Cuba. They arrived in Tahiti Saturday aboard an Air China flight.

Luo's visit was planned by Zhao Jinjun, China's ambassador to France, who, along with the high commissioner and Tahiti's president, announced the agreement for the Chinese consulate and cultural center and the Chinese government's Approved Destination Status (ADS) for French Polynesia. The ADS approval will open the door to groups of Chinese visitors for Tahiti starting next year.

[PIR editor’s note: According to PIR files, the Chinese government’s Approved Destination Status is something Tahiti’s tourism industry has anxiously awaited for the past three years. The Temaru presidency announced that French Polynesia will be the first ADS approval to be signed during the first half of 2006 (see related story).]

Luo was appointed a state councilor in China in 1993. He joined the Politburo in 1998 as the country's top law enforcement chief. His dramatic rise up the political ranks is attributed to his friendship with senior leader Li Peng.

According to the BBC News Internet website, "Their friendship was cemented in 1989 when Mr. Luo gave instructions to the armed police on behalf of Mr. Li during the Tiananmen student protests." Luo "has implemented China's 'strike hard' anti-crime campaign, which has seen the number of executions in the country soar".

Luo is also a member of the Political Bureau Standing Committee of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee.

[PIR editor’s note: According to chinatoday.com, the highest leading body of the Communist Party of China is the National Congress and the Party’s Central Committee elected by it. The National Congress of the Party is held once every five years – the most current plenary session was held October this year in Beijing - and convened by the Central Committee.]

December 13, 2005

Tahitipresse: http://www.tahitipresse.pf/index.cfm?lang=2

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