Wednesday, January 19, 2005

News of the Day (January 19)

The Zhao Ziyang fallout: Zhao Ziyang, the Communist Party chief during the Tiananmen Square protests who was placed under house arrest for refusing to support the June 4 massacre, won more posthumous praise from dissidents Fang Lizhi, Wang Dan, and Gao Zhicheng, as well as Epoch Times columnist Tian Zhengjiang. A petition has begun to ask the Party to restore Zhao’s reputation and admit that the Tiananmen massacre was a mistake. Even high-ranking cadres – at least 20 of them – asked for Zhao to be given a state funeral. Other dissidents are asking for the right to attend Zhao’s funeral – state-run or otherwise (Zhao’s family has since decided not to ask for a state funeral that would likely never be granted, choosing instead to hold a private ceremony at his former home. The Communists made clear their intent on that request – they have prevented Zhao’s former top aide-turned-post-Tiananmen-dissident Bao Tong from stepping foot in Zhao’s home. Part of the reason for the near-total silence from the Communists is the obvious fear of the people’s already mournful reaction to the death. All of the above links, plus this one showing a pictorial of a Hong Kong commemoration of Zhao, are from the Epoch Times.

The Communists are also, as one would expect, continuing to keep a close eye on all mourners and would-be mourners of Zhao (BBC), several hundreds mourners in Shanghai were arrested and beaten by police (Human Rights in China via Epoch Times). Several survivors of Tiananmen Square are now under house arrest – specifically to ensure they never get to pay their respects (Central News Agency, Taiwan, via Epoch Times), or perhaps join others in calling for Zhao’s reputation to be resorted (CNA via Epoch Times). For over fifteen years, Zhao could have ended his house arrest by recanting his opposition to the Tiananmen massacre. He never did.

Reminder: a commemoration for Zhao will be held at the Caroline Street Library, in Fredericksburg, VA, on Sunday the 23rd from 1 to 3 PM (see here for more).

Condoleezza Rice lists “outposts of tyranny,” but Communist China is missing: According to Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice, there are six “outposts of tyranny” (Washington Times): Stalinist North Korea, Iran, Burma, Belarus, Cuba and Zimbabwe. As for Communist China, Rice preferred “building a candid, cooperative and constructive relationship with China that embraces our common threats but still recognizes our considerable differences about values” (Cybercast News). Never mind that the Communists have several economic and/or military ties to all six “outposts,” and that their treatment of their own people qualifies for nothing but tyranny.

Bush defends sanctions against Communist arms suppliers to Iran: President Bush, speaking to Fox News, said recent sanctions against Norinco, Great Wall Industry and several other Communist firms (see fourth item) would help “ward off trade in equipment that could be used in weapons programs” (Washington Post). The fact that Norinco is owned by the Communist military, and that a tougher policy on the regime as a whole would be in order, was apparently not discussed.

Russia looking to sell more advanced military hardware to Communist China: Already Communist China’s largest arms supplier, Russia appears ready to offer the regime strategic supersonic Tu-22M3 bomber planes, which “could pose a threat to U.S. aircraft carriers in the Pacific” (Cybercast News). In other words, the advanced bombers could be just what the Communists need to thwart any possible American move to protect Taiwan from invasion.

So who’s invited to the inauguration? That’s a sore subject between Communist China and Taiwan. The Communists insist they talked to the Bush Administration, which told them in no uncertain terms that the island democracy was “not invited” (Newsmax). Taiwan dismissed the Communist claim: “How could we attend the celebration without an invitation? It's not possible.”

Twenty-six power plants suspended: Communist China “ordered a halt to construction work on 26 big power stations, including two at the Three Gorges Dam” (BBC). The reason was a true shocker: the affected projects “had failed to do proper environmental assessments” – Three Gorges already has a well-earned reputation as an ecological disaster.

Wild Swans: Randall Effner, Epoch Times, reviews the 1991 book and finds that with its accounts of Communist persecution, it “seems more relevant today than when it was first published.”

Red China going gray? That’s what Francis Markus (BBC) finds, due to the hideous “one child policy” and its destruction of younger generations.

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