Monday, January 31, 2005

News of the Day (January 31)

Zhao funeral held in Beijing: Communist China allowed a no-frills funeral for Zhao Ziyang – the man forced to resign as leader of the Chinese Communist Party and placed under house arrest until he died for refusing to support the Tiananmen Square massacre – on Saturday. Only those “on an officially-approved guest list” (BBC) were allowed to attend. Everyone else was kept away, including at least 10,000 would-be mourners (Epoch Times), several reporters (Taiwan Central News Agency via Epoch Times), and, of course, dissidents within Communist China (Epoch Times). Bao Tong, Zhao’s longtime chief aide, was allowed to pay his respects at Beijing hospital, after being under house arrest for over a week (Epoch Times). Also reporting: Cybercast News

Washington, DC memorial also held: Several dissidents, human rights activists, and other anti-Communists (including yours truly) held their own memorial for Zhao on Saturday. Among those who spoke was House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (CNN).

Perspectives on Zhao: Zhao’s daughter, Wang Nannan, told the Epoch Times that “My family and I both think that the common people and history will eventually draw a just conclusion” about her father. Of course, she couldn’t say much else. Others who gave their views about Zhao were former cadres Li Pu (Epoch Times), Gao Wenqian (CNA via Epoch Times), Li Rui, and Chang Zhonglian (Epoch Times), as well as pro-democracy activist Zhang Lin (Epoch Times). The editors of the Epoch Times had their own opinion on what Zhao’s death meant, as did their columnists Zhang Jielian and Zhao Liang.

E-mail blocked in run-up to funeral: In the days prior to the funeral, the Communists exerted “strict control over electronic mail traffic, and blocked all messages that contained such sensitive words as ‘Zhao,’ ‘Ziyang,’ or even ‘News’” (CNA via Epoch Times). It was one of the tightest restrictions on e-mail by the Communists in quite some time, and “clearly showed their caution and fear.”

Woe Canada! Judi McLeod, Canadafreepress.com, details the ties between Communist China and the leaders of the Canadian Liberal Party, and how an investigation into the Communists’ spy network in North America nearly suffered a fatal blow because of it.

Another warning on the threat from Communist China: Newsmax’s Geoff Metcalf

Some tsunami aid is better than others: Clifford May, of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, blasting the disrespect given Taiwan, includes as evidence this stunner: “the United Nations was refusing more than $50 million in (tsunami) aid. Why? Because the offer came from Taiwan, and the Chinese rulers in Beijing do not want this island nation playing an independent role on the world stage - not even a charitable one.”

Cadre reads Nine Commentaries, admits to corruption, and quits CCP: An unnamed cadre, inspired by the Epoch Times Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party, admitted to taking “tens of millions of yuan” in corrupt gains and resigned from the CCP. Events such as these, albeit small, are why so many believe, in the words of author Gordon Chang, “The collapse of the CCP is a matter of time” (Epoch Times).

First direct flights to Taiwan: Communist China began allowing direct flights to Taiwan – and vice versa – on Saturday (they wouldn’t be trying to distract attention from anything, would they?). The flights will continue through the Lunar New Year (BBC).

More business deals with Communist China: Two more large firms decided to lay down with the devil. Boeing inked a deal to sell 60 Dreamliner aircraft to several Communist airlines (BBC), while Marconi announced a “long and mutually beneficial” (BBC) deal with Huawei Technologies, previously known for helping Saddam Hussein integrate his air defenses and building a telephone network in pre-liberation Kabul.

Zeng Qinghong sued in Peru by Falun Gong Practitioners: Communist Vice President Zeng Qinghong was among four cadres sued by the Peru Falun Dafa Association last week (Epoch Times). The suit was filed during Zeng’s visit to Peru; the other defendants are Commerce Minister Bo Xilai, Politburo Standing Committee member Luo Gan, and Jiang Zemin, the former leader of Communist China who authored the brutal crackdown against the Falun Gong community of faith in 1999.

Communist stock market in the doldrums: For over four years, Communist China’s stock markets have been “Asia's most catatonic” (Time Asia). Among the reasons for the weak record was this critical fact: “the majority of companies' hitting China's bourses are command-economy-era, state-owned enterprises (SOEs): many of them have limited growth prospects, while others, hopelessly uncompetitive, may be destined to fail.”

Meanwhile, in Stalinist North Korea, is a change coming? A remarkable story by Michael Sheridan of the London Sunday Times finds Kim Jong-il’s regime fraying at the edges, Christianity on the rise, and “faith, crime and sheer cold are eroding the regime’s grip at a speed that may surprise the CIA’s analysts: facts that should give ammunition to conservatives in Washington who call for a hardline policy” (that would be us).

Another SNK kidnapping? Prosecutors in democratic South Korea have indicted a captured Stalinist agent with “for alleged involvement in a kidnapping ring that is suspected of seizing at least 16 people in China, including” Reverend Kim Dong Sik, who was helping “children who have fled from North Korea” (Time Asia). Despite the outrage over the thirteen Japanese abductees (next to last item), and “an estimated 468 kidnapped South Koreans,” clearly “Pyongyang hasn't kicked its kidnapping habit.”

South Korea says nuclear deal could be soon: As this was unfolding, the dovish South Korean government was still talking about a possible deal with SNK on ending the latter’s nuclear weapons program (Agence France Press via Washington Times), despite the fact that previous talks have led to nothing but U.S. concessions.

Charles Robert Jenkins in Japan: The BBC talks to the Army deserter-turned-Stalinist prisoner (Other American-Related News).

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