Friday, March 11, 2005

News of the Day (March 11)

Chen Shui-bian rips EU plans to lift arms embargo on Communist China: Taiwan’s elected leader – whose constituency is the most likely target of Communist Chinese weaponry – blasted the European Union for its plans to lift its embargo on arms sales to the Communists. Human rights groups and one European Parliament member joined Chen in criticizing the EU (both links from Taipei Times). The EP last year voted overwhelmingly to keep the embargo (Other American-Related News).

“State Security” arrests top 800,000 in 2004, and show no signs of slowing down: The number of people arrested by the Communists for “endangering state security” (Asia News) – the cadres’ catch-all crime for doing anything of which they do not approve – was 811,102 last year. Meanwhile, 2005 is promising to be another busy year for the brutal dictatorship – over 2,000 “appellants,” i.e., petitioners bringing their grievances against local cadres back home to Beijing – have been arrested (Epoch Times).

CCP resignations due to Nine Commentaries pass 200,000: Well, that didn’t take long. Days after the 100,000th Chinese Communist Party member quit due to the Epoch Times Nine Commentaries on the party (third item), the resignation number hit 200,000.

BBC Question Time program filmed in Shanghai, but aired in London: The BBC’s much-hyped Question Time program in Shanghai (last item) went without a hitch. However, “The audience also included a number of academics and government officials suggested by the Chinese Foreign Ministry,” while the broadcast itself was never seen in Communist China itself, but rather “was fed live to London for broadcast.”

“Private” airline launched: Okay Airlines “made its maiden flight from Tianjin in north China to the central city of Changsha on Friday” (BBC). This made news because Okay is a “private” airline. However, the owners were not named – “private” businesses in Communist China are usually owned by party members, their relatives, or their cronies.

Hong Kong after Tung: As the local press gave its divided verdict on former Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa (BBC – each paper’s account largely based on its position vis a vis the Communists), pro-democracy activists in the city “called for Beijing to use the hiatus to allow the Hong Kong people to start choosing their rulers themselves” (BBC). The Communists answered that question before it was asked – it’s all but certain acting Chief Donald Tsang will be “elected” by a Communist-appointed panel to succeed Tung.

Paper thief arrested: Never underestimate the reach of the Communists. A man known as Mr. Lum was busted by Los Angeles police after stealing thousands of copies of the Epoch Times over 11 days in that city.

From the Falun Gong War: Caylan Ford and Matthew Little, Epoch Times, detail the plight of the Lin family, where husband, wife, and brother were persecuted for their belief in the spiritual movement (the brother’s persecution has yet to end).

Roh Moo-hyun to Taiwan – Drop Dead: South Korean dovish President Roh Moo-hyun did not directly address the island democracy per se, but when he flatly refused to agree to American troops deployed to protect his country from Kim Jong-il being “entangled in regional disputes against our will in the future” (his words via United Press International/Washington Times), the harsh message to Taiwan was unmistakable.

Whither South Korea’s future? A joint South Korean-American conference revealed a more disturbing mode of thought behind the dovishness of President Roh and his Uri Party – a feeling that Communist China would be a better ally than the United States! In reality, South Korean opinion is far more deeply divided on this subject than Richard Halloran (Washington Times) lets on (fifth item), but the piece was alarming all the same.

Stalinists cracking down again: Meanwhile, Kim Jong-il’s regime “recently tightened state control over its hunger-hit population” (UPI/Washington Times) in reaction to “outside influence is seeping in the watertight society” – such as “Leaflets and posters against Kim's rule” and local Koreans using cell phones “as conveyer belts of information from the outside world to help combat decades of state-sponsored propaganda.”

Los Angeles Times hears more criticism for soft SNK piece: The paper’s soft piece on Stalinist North Korea (last item) caught the attention of Hugh Hewitt, radio host and Weekly Standard columnist. Like many, he was not happy with what he read.

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