Thursday, February 03, 2005

News of the Day (February 3)

Willy Lam says “Zhao Ziyang fiasco” could hurt Hu Jintao the most: Willy Lam, formerly of Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post (resigned after they demoted him for being too independent-minded) and now with the Jamestown Foundation and CNN, has always been renowned for his sources within the Chinese Communist Party. Almost no one is better at gauging the factional scuffles within the party. In his Epoch Times column, he says the Party treatment of late Party boss, Tiananmen massacre opponent, and house detainee Zhao Ziyang was so cold and cruel it “could cost him the support of the CCP's liberal faction, which remains a force to be reckoned with despite its much-reduced political fortune.” Lam makes pointed reference to all of those “reform” noises Hu and Communist Premier Wen Jiabao made over the past two years, and how much the “Zhao Ziyang fiasco” undermined all of it. Lam also noted Hu’s “series of tough crackdowns on bourgeois-liberal intellectuals since last autumn” – although he skipped the Hanyuan County massacre – as another sign of the bloom coming of Hu’s rose.

More on Zhao and Hu: Jiao Gambia, Associate Professor at Peking University, for now (an anti-Communist paper he published was blacklisted and he has been de facto suspended) spoke to the Epoch Times about the Party, its treatment of Zhao, and its lack of concern for humanity. Exile Liu Binyan, who also talked with the Epoch Times, believes the shabby treatment of Zhao says more about Hu than many realize: “Hu Jintao is still clinging to Mao Zedong’s leg and wants to drag China back to the Era of Mao.”

American citizen Charles Lee begins third year in Communist jail: Charles Lee, naturalized American citizen and Falun Gong practitioner, began his third year in prison for his beliefs last month. Lee’s fiancée, Yeong-Ching Foo, led a rally by “Friends of Charles Lee” on Saturday in San Francisco calling for his release. California House Democrats Tom Lantos and Anna Eshoo also wrote to Communist Ambassador Yang Jiechi demanding Lee, who was “beaten minutes after his flight landed in southern China on January 22, 2003” (Epoch Times), be set free and allowed to return home.

Communist stock markets hit 21st Century low: Just days after this quarter took note of Communist China’s structurally weak stock markets (twelfth item) the Shanghai and Shenzhen indexes both hit new lows for the century. The Epoch Times analysis of the problem was, if anything, even more pessimistic than Time Asia’s: “Chinese economist Wu Jinglian attributes the bubble stock price and investors’ losses to the government’s taking money from the market. He believes that the market is specially designed to finance state-owned enterprises, creating intrinsic drawbacks in the system.”

On the EU arms embargo: William R. Hawkins, of the U.S. Business and Industry Council, rips the European Union nations hoping to lift the EU arms embargo against Communist China, and calls on the U.S. to adopt this response: “Any EU firm that contributes to China's military capability should be denied the right to bid on U.S. military contracts or have access to American technology” (Washington Times).

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