Monday, May 02, 2005

News of the Day (May 2)

Once again, the abundant news on Communist China is trumped by Kim Jong-il . . .

Stalinist North Korea fires test missile and slams President Bush: Stalinist North Korea “test fired a missile into the Sea of Japan” (Fox News) over the weekend, just after the regime labeled President Bush a “half-baked man in terms of morality and a philistine whom we can never deal with” (Washington Post). While Japan took the missile test in stride (BBC), the U.S. is increasingly frustrated with the Stalinists’ refusal to rejoin the six-party talks (SNK, South Korea, Japan, the U.S., Russia, and Communist China) on its nuclear weapons (Voice of America via Epoch Times) and, according to envoy Christopher Hill, is considering unnamed “other measures” (Time Asia) – not that the talks were much of a success anyway. Hill did not mention the option of liberation.

Bush gets criticism from home and praise from abroad on SNK: Senator Hillary Clinton (D-New York), blamed the Bush Administration for the Stalinists’ capability (second item) to arm missiles with nuclear warheads (Newsmax). However, Djoko Susilo, an Indonesian legislator from the opposition National Mandate Party expressed support for what he called “this hard-line approach” (Washington Times) on SNK from the United States. Does he know something we don’t know?

Defector blasts Stalinists for human rights abuses: Meanwhile, Daniel Choi, vice president of the Exile Committee for North Korean Democracy, and her mother, former Stalinist prisoner Soon Ok Lee, spoke of the Stalinists’ abuses of human rights in a rally on Friday in Washington, D.C. Report: VOA via Epoch Times

Uri Party takes a beating in South Korea by-elections: South Korea’s Uri Party – founded to support the dovish policies of President Roh Moo-hyun – took a beating in by-elections for the legislature, winning none of the six seats despite previously having five of them (Cybercast News). The pro-American opposition Grand National Party took five seats, ensuring the Uris would not regain their recently lost majority (last item).

South Korea to bolster its military: South Korea’s military announced plans to “enhance firepower in response to a change in security ties with the United States” (Washington Times), which is reducing its presence in South Korea (eighth item).

Birds of a feather: Al Kamen, Washington Post, examines the comments on SNK that got UN Ambassador-designate John Bolton in hot water, and finds the rhetoric similar to that of President Bush. Now on to Communist China . . .

Lien Chan finishes trip to Communist China, calls for “peace”: Lien Chan, leader of the Nationalist Party, finished his visit to the Communist mainland with this idiotic send-off to reporters: “Peace is no longer pie in the sky” (BBC). This would be news to Chen Shui-bian, who repeated his oft-rejected call for talks with the cadres (Cybercast News) – and who is the man Taiwan actually elected President (over Lien and his Communist-friendly party). Frank Hsieh, Taiwan’s Prime Minister, said the Nationalists should “work hard to become a ruling party” (BBC), rather than try to bypass it (Chen and Hsieh are members of the Democratic Progressive Party, which supports Taiwan independence and is far more anti-Communist than the Lien-led Nationalists). Lien’s running mate in last year’s election – People First Party leader James Soong – is headed to the mainland later this week, but “President Chen has asked him to take his undisclosed message to leaders in Beijing” (BBC).

Reaction to Lien’s trip: As expected, Communist-run press and Taiwan’s opposition-supporting papers had high praise for the trip, while Taiwan’s pro-DPP papers ripped it (BBC). Even so, the most incisive criticism of the Communist maneuver came from the editors of the Christian Science-Monitor: “China's autocrats can't seem to accept that Taiwan is a democracy in which the people have voted for Mr. Chen twice, and against Mr. Lien.” Andrew Perrin, Time Asia, had a largely vapid column on the trip, while Bill Kaufman, Calgary Sun, notes the reality of the Communist military threat to the island democracy. Perhaps the most telling reaction came from mainland dissidents who, “out of frustration with the Taiwan Nationalists” (China Support Network, ninth item), re-formed the Chinese Nationalist Party in the Mainland in a shot across the bow to Lien, whose party was dethroned and forced off the mainland by Mao Zedong in 1949.

Koizumi pushes EU to keep arms ban: Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi met with leaders of the European Union to repeat “his concern over the bloc's plans to lift an arms ban on China” (BBC). While the effort, led by France and (part of) Germany to lift the arms embargo has been shelved due to the objections of at least four EU members, France has made clear it will continue trying to lift the embargo.

Communist China to keep devalued currency: Amid reports that Communist China was allowing its currency to float upward in value against the dollar, a spokesperson for the Communist central bank “poured some cold water on talk that a revaluation might occur” (Washington Post). Communist China’s deliberately devalued currency has greatly damaged its neighbors export sectors, and led to a $160 billion trade surplus with the United States – the largest bi-lateral trade imbalance in the history of the world.

Resignations pass 1.2 million: However, at least one was posthumous – Ran Kongjie gave his father’s painful life story before withdrawing on his behalf (Epoch Times).

Movie banned in Communist China wins film honor: The Tribeca Film Festival gave its Founders Award to Stolen Life, a film “banned in its native China” (BBC).

The Falun Gong war spreads to Singapore: After Communist China began its brutal crackdown against Falun Gong six years ago this July, Singapore – which prides itself on its closeness to the regime – began to follow suit. That has now extended to Ng Chye Huay and Cheng Lujin; they were sent to prison for “mailing truth-clarifying video discs to the police” – despite the fact that one of them has a six-month-old daughter. Both are now on a hunger strike, and the Falun Gong Human Rights Working Group has appealed to the UN (all links courtesy Epoch Times). Don’t hold your breath folks (ninth item).

Media crackdown sends reporter to prison as 60 publications join banned list: Communist China’s General Administration of Press and Publishing ordered the shutdown of 60 newspapers and magazines, in addition to the 395 magazines and 282 newspapers where publication “has ceased” (Epoch Times) under Communist orders. Meanwhile, the cadres sent a financial reporter to prison for ten years for “illegally providing state secrets to foreigners” (Washington Times, fourth item). His real crime was more likely his “Internet essays advocating reforms to China's one-party system.”

Turnout low in Hong Kong “vote” for Election Committee: Hong Kong held “elections” in some of the “functional constituencies” for the 800-member panel that chooses the next leader of Hong Kong on 2007. Due to the fact that the “functional constituencies” are largely gerrymandered to ensure pro-Communist members (and that the rest of the panel is Communist-appointed) turnout was “was the lowest in the city's history” (United Press International via Washington Times).

On the future of Communist China: F. Andrew Messing, Jr. and Daniel A. Perez, of the National Defense Council Foundation, sound the alarm about Communist China’s ambitions for global dominance in the Washington Times. Fareed Zakaria, Newsweek, has a more mediocre column on the cadres’ ambitions – mediocre largely because of his unwillingness to recognize the military aspect of the Communist threat. Meanwhile, Yu Linyi, Epoch Times, believes the Communists have a much shorter lease on life, due to the effect of the Nine Commentaries. National Taiwan University Politics Professor Ming Juzheng likens the CCP to the Nazi Party, and like the Nazis, he sees the Communists’ reign of terror ending as well (Sound of Hope Radio via Epoch Times).

On Communist China and Japan: Eric Margolis (Toronto Sun) and Paul Greenberg (Washington Times) remind Communist China of its own historical troubles, while Japan’s Asahi Shimbun (via Washington Times) calls on its government to be more open in trade if it wishes to keep up with Communist China’s economic diplomacy. Finally, the BBC makes a highly unusual mistake in falling for the notion that the anti-Japanese riots (second item) revealed “holes” in the Communists control of communication.

Other Commentary on Communist China: Yours truly praises the people of Europe and its elected Parliament for their steadfast support for the EU arms embargo on Communist China (Epoch Times). Du Yilong, also in the Epoch Times, examines the cadres’ version of “patriotism” with disgust. Ellen Bork, Project for the New American Century, is stunned at the Bush Administration’s refusal to face reality about Hong Kong’s one country, one-and-a-half systems. Matthew Forney, Time Asia, finds that Hu Jintao’s much touted “Education Campaign of Maintaining Party Members' Advanced Nature” has devolved into cadres mailing it in – or to be more apropos, pasting it in.

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