Monday, May 09, 2005

News of the Day (May 9)

Yours truly will be traveling on business today and tomorrow. The odds of an entry tomorrow are fairly slim, but we should be back to normal on Wednesday.

James Soong rips independence; Lien and Chen are criticized for softness: James Soong, leader of Taiwan’s People First Party and another presidential candidate defeated by President Chen Shui-bian (in 2000), began his visit to Communist China by ripping those of his countrymen who seek the formal recognition of its independence (BBC). Meanwhile, Lien Chan, the Nationalist Party leader who visited Communist China last week, was criticized for his behavior by one of his own entourage: John Chiang, a high-ranking Nationalist who just happens to be the grandson of long time anti-Communist leader Chiang Kai-shek (Epoch Times). Even President Chen Shui-bian, who was elected twice for his willingness to stand up to Communist China, is losing support from within his Democratic Progressive Party for his recent overtures to the cadres (Washington Post). However, Soong has been more of a headache for the Communists, then Lien was – his repeated references to the “Republic of China” (Taiwan’s official name) was enough for the cadres to “suspend its live broadcast of a subsequent visit” (BBC).

Animal diplomacy between Communists and Nationalists anger environmentalists: The cadres’ gift of two panda bears for Lien was matched by Taipei Nationalist Mayor Ma Ying-jeou, who has offered Communist China “a rare snubnosed spider monkey” (Epoch Times). Taiwanese environmentalists are screaming foul at the “gifts,” saying the animals should be allowed to “stay in their original habitats.” Give credit where credit is due; this stand and the recent statements of German Green Party leader Joschka Fischer are causing this quarter to rapidly increase his esteem for environmentalism in general.

Communist military research head to visit Europe: Chen Bingde, director of Communist China’s General Armament Department and a member of the all-powerful Central Military Commission, “left Monday for a visit to Italy, Belarus and Britain at the invitation of the armed forces of the three countries” (United Press International via Washington Times). The General Armament Department “is responsible for updating China's defense industrial complex and managing its weapons research.” What the three European nations want with him is not clear, but it doesn’t sound good.

Communist China leading jailer of journalists: Communist China, with 42 reports behind bars, “continues to be the world's leading jailer of journalists,” according to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists (quoted by the Epoch Times).

Guangdong cracking down on bulletin board sites: Guangdong province issued new regulations ordering “manual screening” (Radio Free Asia via Epoch Times) of all articles submitted for posting on bulletin board sites. Any “harmful information” that gets through would get both the author and the webmaster/censor in trouble.

Communist China leading world in software sales, so long as hardware counts: Another example of Communist China’s willingness to fudge statistics came to light when a cadre at the Ministry of Information Industry proclaimed “that China’s software industry was worth 230 billion yuan (US$ 27.8 billion) in 2004 . . . and has exceeded that of India and Korea” (Epoch Times). The only problem was the Ministry’s definition of “software,” which included “hardware such as servers, Internet devices, memory chips, and switchboards.” Even cell phones were redefined as “software.”

Communist China lured young women to be raped for Soviet officials: Feng Qing tells the Epoch Times a horrifying tale relayed to him by his uncle of cadres who “asked single girls between 18 and 22 years old to fill in forms and have their health checked, luring them with the promise of being sent to college.” Instead, they were sent “to a secret place where Soviet Union officials would rape them.” The cadres insisted silence from all rape victims, those who talked “would be immediately killed.”

More on the Chinese Communist Party: Mark Steyn, Chicago Sun-Times, does not believe Communist China will remain Communist for very long. Dr. Jack Wheeler, publisher and Editor-in-Chief of To the Point and President of the Freedom Research Foundation, has similar optimism (none of which is anchored in the “engagement” foolishness) in remarks reprinted by the Epoch Times.

On Communist China and the United States: Stephen Roach, of Morgan Stanley, has no use for those of us worried about the massive trade imbalance with Communist China, and of course, his Time Asia column ignores the national security implications. Richard Fisher, of the International Assessment and Strategy Center, has a much more sober analysis of Communist China – and a stirring call to preserve Taiwan’s freedom – in remarks reprinted by the Epoch Times. The China Support Network has high praise for a bill from Republican Congressmen Tom Tancredo (Colorado) and Christopher Smith (New Jersey) calling on the 2008 Olympics to be moved out of Communist China.

Other Commentary on Communist China: Jason Loftus, Epoch Times, details the digital battle between the Communists and the “hacktivists.” Jay Nordlinger, National Review Online, laments the continuing imprisonment of dissident Yang Jianli (third item). Bill Powell, Time Asia, examines the rise of CapitalBio, and would like us to believe a cadre-funded state-of-the-art biotech firm is a good thing. Ming Shi, Epoch Times, warns investors away from Communist China’s chaotic and corrupt stock market. Finally, yours truly takes South Korea’s new “nationalists” to task for giving Communist China a pass despite its fifty-year-plus support for Stalinist North Korea (Epoch Times).

Speaking of Stalinist North Korea . . .

IAEA head calls possible SNK nuclear test “crying for help”: No, that wasn’t a typo; Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Stalinist North Korea, by possibly planning a nuclear weapons test (CNN), was actually “crying for help” (BBC). The United Nations official let loose this whopper while speculating that the Stalinists may have about six nuclear weapons. He also said a test “would have ‘disastrous political and environmental consequences’” (BBC).

Everybody wants SNK to come back to the talks: Meanwhile, a diplomatic chorus of foreign ministers begged the Stalinists to come back to the failed six-party talks on its nuclear weapons (BBC). According to another BBC report, even Hu Jintao supposedly “urged North Korea to return immediately to talks,” although no quotes were released.

South Korea still hoping Communist China will help on SNK: South Korea Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon pledged to “call on China to play a more active role [in getting North Korea back to stalled nuclear talks]” (Washington Times). Will they never learn?

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