Tuesday, January 25, 2005

News of the Day (January 25)

More Zhao fallout: The Washington Post has more details on the argument between Communist China and Zhao Ziyang’s family on arrangements for his funeral. In addition to resisting the Communist demand that they slander Zhao for his support of the Tiananmen Square protestors during his own memorial, the family is asking “to open the funeral to the public and invite the hundreds who have visited Zhao's home over the past week to pay their respects.” Given that Communist China has already arrested over 300 people for making that visit to Zhao’s family (Epoch Times 1) I think we already know the regime’s answer to that one. Several other pro-democracy activists are in prison “for organizing activities to commemorate Zhao” (Epoch Times 2), and Tiananmen Mother co-founder Ding Zilin was banned from Zhao’s home – and any other Zhao events (Epoch Times 3).

Meanwhile, some of the twenty-two cadres who called for Zhao to be rehabilitated are no longer anonymous – two of them were once Politburo members - former Parliamentary Chairman Wan Li, and former Vice Premier Tian Jiyun (Epoch Times 4). They were joined by Tiananmen Mother Zhang Xianling (Sound of Hope Radio via Epoch Times).

Straw’s attempt to sell EU embargo life falls flat: British Foreign Minister Jack Straw tried to bring Secretary of State-designate Condoleezza Rice on board with the “code of conduct” (Washington Times) cover for lifting the European Union’s arms embargo with Communist China, but Rice didn’t buy it. Britain is the latest nation to joing France and Germany’s efforts to lift the arms embargo (second item, fifth item) – over American objections (fourth item). However, all European Union members must support lifting the embargo, or it stays in place. At present, Sweden, the Netherlands, Poland, and the Czech Republic refuse to go along.

India-Communist China talks end: Communist China’s talks with longtime rival India ended, and while both sides praised the results, neither was willing to tell the outside world what was actually discussed. India and Communist China fought a border war in 1962 during which the Communist seized 40,000 square kilometers (yesterday’s 40,000 square mile reference was erroneous) of Indian territory, and still “lays claim to a wide swathe of territory in Arunachal Pradesh” (United Press International/Washington Times).

Communist China 9.5% growth: Driven largely by deliberately devalued exports, (fifth item) Communist China reported economic growth of 9.5% for 2004 (BBC, UPI/Washington Times). The geopolitics of the Communist currency aside, the regime has a history of fudging economic data (Other Mainland News), so these numbers must be taken with a grain of salt.

Frank Hsieh nominated Prime Minister of Taiwan: As expected, President Chen Shui-bian has nominated Frank Hsieh, mayor of Kaohsiung, as Prime Minister. Hsieh may have some tough sledding getting his nomination approved in the opposition-controlled legislature, which “had nominated its own candidate for prime minister” (BBC). Chen is the first president in Taiwan’s history to be elected to the post. His predecessor, Lee Teng-hui, was appointed by the Nationalist Party, but put himself up for election to the voters for his last term in 1996. Lee has since bolted the Nationalists, formed his own party, and allied it with Chen’s Democratic Progressive Party. Taiwan’s democracy should be a marvel of the world. Sadly, due to Communist bullying, it is only a marvel to those who are willing to see it – such as National Review Online’s Cliff May.

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