Sunday, January 23, 2005

News of the Day (January 22/23)

On Zhao Ziyang: Of course, the big news remains the passing of Zhao Ziyang (if you’re seeing this on Sunday morning, you can still make the memorial in Fredericksburg). While Communist China is still haggling over details of the “funeral” service with Zhao’s family (Epoch Times), the regime is hard at work: arresting and torturing dissidents who only crime is wishing to pay their respects to Zhao in person (Epoch Times has several stories on this: here, here, here, here, and here), demanding high-level cadres come to Zhongnanhai to pledge their “loyalty” (Epoch Times again), changing the subject with more propaganda against Falun Gong (Epoch Times here and here), and sending waves of “plainclothes police” to the square that made Zhao a hero (care to guess?).

Meanwhile, democratic officials and media expressed their sorrows, including U.S. Congressman Henry Hyde and Canadian Foreign Minister Pierre Pettigrew (both Epoch Times), who was trying to make up for Martin’s terrible performance in Beijing in contrast to the brave action of Jason Kenney, an opposition MP who accompanied him. The editors of the Washington Times and Asahi Shimbun (via the WT) honored Zhao with praise for his courage in not supporting the Deng Xiaoping-inspired bloodbath. The people made clear where they stood: over 10,000 in Hong Kong rallied to remember Zhao, while several dissident groups made their farewell in Washington, D.C. (both stories are from the Epoch Times). Even on the mainland, the Communists – seeing the hand writing on the wall – allowed visitors to mourn at his home/prison (Epoch Times).

On the analysis side, Mikhail Gorbachev (through Hu Ping of the Epoch Times) reveals Zhao’s support for multi-party democracy because of this question: “Can the one-party system ensure the development of democracy? Can it effectively overcome negative actions and corruption in the party and the government? If it cannot, then we should bring up the issue of multi-party systems.” The Epoch Times editors discuss who Wen Jiabao, once Zhao’s right-hand man and now Communist Premier, chose to keep quiet and advance rather than share Zhao’s fate. Liu Qing, Chairman of Human Rights in China, talks to the Epoch Times about why the Communists are deeply skittish about Zhao.

Hostages freed after Communist China tells its people to stay away from Iraq: After Communist China “warned its citizens not to travel to Iraq” (BBC), the terrorists who were holding eight Chinese hostage let them go. At present, however, Communist China could not find them, which may not be an accident, given that the eight people in question probably “paid human traffickers for their passage to Iraq.” Communist China had several arms deals with Saddam Hussein and bitterly opposed his dethronement.

Communist China going back into space next fall: The regime announced plans for its second manned space flight, which “could launch as early as September” (BBC), about two years after the first one. Communist China has ambitions to reach the moon by 2010.

India to attend its first G-7 summit: Great Britain, host of the annual meeting of officials from the world’s top economies, extended the invitation to the world’s largest democracy, although its role will mostly involve talks with its longtime rival Communist China, “to be held separately from a regular meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States” (Washington Times). To this quarter, that sounds rather disrespectful.

The UK’s support for Communist arms buying is our fault? That what Newsmax’s Arnaud de Borchgrave would have us believe. Mr. de Borchgrave sees the UK’s support for ending the EU arms embargo on Communist China (fifth item) stemming from an October decision by two Congressman not to allow the UK to buy U.S. weapons without licensing restrictions. Never mind that the UK had hinted at this move last June.

On President Bush’s Inaugural: Many analysts have noted Communist China as a strange exception to the dramatically pro-democracy theme of the President’s address. Robert Kagan, Washington Post, believes this will, in time, be resolved with “a strategic reevaluation that places democratic allies, not China, at the core of American strategy.”

Yang Jianli’s wife finally gets to see him: Yang Jianli, a former exile now in a Communist prison cell after returning to help labor dissidents in 2002, saw his wife for the first time since his arrest. His wife found him to be in terrible health, and as such “plans to seek medical parole for her husband” (Washington Times, fifth item).

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