Friday, January 21, 2005

News of the Day (January 21)

Reminder: a commemoration for Zhao Ziyang will be held at the Caroline Street Library, in Fredericksburg, VA, on Sunday the 23rd from 1 to 3 PM (see here for more information). See below for more on the ramifications of Zhao’s death.

Washington Post columnist gets it: Charles Krauthammer is known as a leading foreign affairs pundit and analyst. His most recent column explains why. It was a clarion call to America to be prepared for a hostile, rising Communist China aided by Russia, its largest arms supplier. He also noted the Communists’ growing closeness to Iran and “various self-styled, anti-imperialist flotsam as Syria, North Korea, Cuba and Hugo Chavez's Venezuela . . . the beginnings of a significant ‘anti-hegemonic’ bloc – aimed at us . . . waiting for us on the day the war on terrorism is won, and perhaps even before.” Now, if we can just talk to Krauthammer about that “waiting” part . . .

Other commentary: Due to Krauthammer’s moment of clarity, the commentaries precede the news today. Also on the electronic menu: the Epoch Times gives a quick anatomy of a Shanghai scandal; Radio Free Asia (along with ET) marvels at the narcissism surrounding Communist China’s coverage of the Indian Ocean tsunami; Lev Navrozov of Newsmax writes an open letter to “any Chinese man or woman” on the understated power of democracy; and Rachel DiCarlo, Weekly Standard calls for the release of jailed dissident Yang Jianli.

Number of “dirty bomb” suspects from Communist China up to 14: Law enforcement in Boston is now looking for as many as fourteen people from Communist China who may be involved in a “dirty bomb” plot against the city. Meanwhile, the source of the information – still “uncorroborated” – said the group was awaiting the delivery of a chemical called “nuclear oxide.” The fact that no such chemical exists has many wondering what the deal is. Reports: New York Post, Washington Times

Hostage-takers make another death threat: The terrorists who have taken eight Chinese escapees hostage (sixth item) in Iraq made another threat to kill the hostages unless Communist China “issue a statement saying it will not allow its citizens to work for Americans in Iraq” (CNN). Communist China had several arms deals with Saddam Hussein and bitterly opposed his dethronement, but the eight hostages were not sent to Iraq by Communist China, but escaped despite the Communist regime (third item).

UK Foreign Minister, in Beijing, stands by plans to lift Communist China arms embargo: British Foreign Minister Jack Straw defended his government’s support for lifting the European Union arms embargo against Communist China (second item), despite opposition from United States (fourth item), Japan (BBC 1), and human rights groups (although Sky News didn’t name them). Straw also managed to get Communist China to label his nation as an “approved destination” for tourists (BBC 2). Also reporting: Washington Times

Canadian PM shames himself again in Beijing: Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin continued embarrassing his country while in Communist China. Martin, who publicly praised the “global power” of Communist China yesterday (fifth item), insisted that the regime was making “considerable progress” (Canadian Press) in human rights – never mind the continuing crackdown after Zhao Ziyang’s death, and of course, the Hanyuan County massacre. It led Bob McDonald, Toronto Sun columnist, to lament the shameful performance of his nation’s leader.

Canadian opposition MP pays respects to Zhao Ziyang: It was not all “Woe Canada.” Jason Kenney, a Canadian MP from the opposition Conservative Party who traveled with Martin, took time to visit the late Zhao Ziyang’s home to pay his respects. According to the Canadian Press, Kenney was “believed to be the first western politician permitted to make such a visit”. Of course, no cameras were permitted, but Kenney did have this to say of his visit: “I think it's an appropriate way to express Canada's solidarity with the brave Chinese youths who gave their lives 15 years ago for the sake of democracy in this country.” He might want to brief Martin on that “solidarity.”

More respects (and lack thereof) for Zhao: Among those who paid their respects personally to the late leader was exiled dissident Wang Dan, through his mother (Epoch Times 1), who went in his place (that’s meant as no insult to the Tiananmen survivor, given the likely fate that awaits him if he ever returned to a Communist-controlled China). Princeton Professor Perry Link called Zhao’s year-and-a-half as CCP General Secretary “most open 18 months in politics since the Chinese Communist Party seized power” (ET 2).

As for the Communists themselves, they are trying everything they can to draw attention away from Zhao. While they agreed to hold a no-frills funeral for him (Washington Post), they have refused to make clear any details – even to Zhao’s family. Meanwhile, the regime is ripping up mail for foreign embassies that mentions Zhao (ET 3), arresting and detaining domestic mourners (Taiwan Central News Agency via Epoch Times), and readying Zeng Qinghong, chief protégé of Falun Gong murderer Jiang Zemin, to write an “evaluation” (CNA/ET) insisting that that Zhao’s support for the 1989 protests was a “serious mistake.” Jiang, who was handpicked by Deng Xiaoping to lead the CCP after Zhao was purged, is for obvious reasons adamantly opposed to any attention brought to Zhao (ET 4).

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