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Ness Drops China Trip Amid Tension

Las Vegas -- Federal Communications Commission member Susan Ness abruptly
canceled a trip to the People's Republic of China, where she was to deliver a
speech Wednesday on digital technology and high-speed Internet access.

Ness -- who returned to Washington, D.C., Monday, after attending the
National Association of Broadcasters' convention here -- decided not to travel
to Shanghai to deliver the keynote address at the PT SUPERCOMM Asia 2001
conference co-sponsored by the Arlington, Va.-based Telecommunications Industry
Association, China's National Postal and Telecommunications Appliances Corp. and
others.

Ness aides here said she was concerned about visiting China at a time of
political tension between the Beijing government and the Bush administration.
They added that Ness questioned the need for her to go when she is a few months,
if not weeks, from leaving the FCC to make room for three new Bush nominees.

TIA spokeswoman Rali Mileva -- who said last week that her organization was
expecting Ness to arrive in Shanghai -- declined to comment because she was
unaware that Ness had canceled and she was unable to contact TIA officials who
were already in China for the conference.

Ness aides said that in lieu of a personal appearance, she agreed to
videotape her remarks for presentation to conference attendees.

The United States and China have been at loggerheads since April 1, when a
Chinese F-8 interceptor collided with a U.S. Navy EP-3E Aries II surveillance
plane over the South China Sea.

China held the 24-member U.S. crew for 11 days and agreed to release the U.S.
military personnel only after the U.S. government issued a carefully worded
statement of regret.