Monday, September 26, 2005

News of the Day (September 26)

Reaction to the SNK nuclear deal poured in over the weekend, and created some tight competition for Enlightened Comment of the Day. The honorable mentions go to Jim Geraghty, author of National Review Online’s TKS blog, for being one of the few to note that the President’s increasing political weakness extended to the SNK “deal”: “the other great problem is that the elected leaders on “our” side, allegedly representing our worldview, don't seem to be all that interested in our ideas anymore . . . they’re telling us to trust them on that North Korean deal.” Jim Hoagland, Washington Post also made that point. Closest to the prize was Hoagland’s colleague Glen Kessler, whose interpretation of the “agreement” is as funny as it is infuriating (due to the topic, not Kessler himself). However, the winner is one of this quarter’s favorites, the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center’s Henry Sokolski, for his detailed takedown of the deal in Time Asia. Meanwhile, the Epoch Times reprinted yours truly’s post on the deal; Jefferson Morley, Washington Post, gauged the reaction from South Korea; and ex-State Department interpreter Tong Kim wins the more dubious Ignorant Comment of the Day prize for his Washington Post drivel on language. Making matters worse, the dovish government of South Korea is actually trying to use last week’s debacle as a bridge to “developmental projects geared toward North Korea's underground mineral resources” (United Press International via Washington Times). Altogether now: Will they never learn?

More on Stalinist North Korea: A father who lost his feet – that’s right, feet – to the Stalinist torturers managed to escape to Thailand with his son (Chosun Ilbo, South Korea). Friendly Blog One Free Korea weighed in thusly: “Explain to me again why the people of North Korea are programmed robots who lack the will to resist tyranny.” Zing.

Taiwanese march in support of stalled weapons buy: Over 40,000 Taiwanese marched through Taipei in support of an arms package proposed by the U.S. but blocked by the opposition pan-blue parties (Cybercast News). The opposition, which had no problem with the arms while they were in power before 2000, but has since held up the purchase for so long as to earn the Administration’s ire (seventh and seventh items).

Democracy advocates win in Macao: Former Portuguese colony Macao is always seen as the quieter, more accepting Communist Special Administrative Region (compared to Hong Kong, see below). In part, that’s because the city’s legislature has only 12 seats elected by the people (the other seventeen are controlled by the Communist-appointed city leader Edmund Ho and the pro-Communists “constituency groups”). However, the New Macau Democratic Association made the most of what they had, repeating their victory of 2001 (UPI via Monsters and Critics).

Hong Kong pro-democracy legislators visit mainland: Meanwhile, the entire Hong Kong legislature, “including 25 from the democracy camp” (BBC) visited Guangdong, where they were supposed to be impressed by “one of the most dynamic economic regions in China.” Instead, the pro-democracy lawmakers “held a contentious meeting Sunday with a member of the ruling Communist Party's Politburo about political reform and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre” (Washington Post). The cadre who hosted the meeting called the discussion a “waste of breath.”

Lawyer and reporter who fought Taishi crackdown are under arrest: Guo Feixiong, a reporter for Boxun who helped expose the Communist corruption and ensuing anti-democratic crackdown in Taishi village (fifth and tenth items), is himself under arrest, and may very well die in prison (Boxun). The Communists have also jailed Tang Jingling, an attorney who helped the locals conduct a village recall election – perfectly legal and still completely flushed by the cadres (Boxun).

Essayist sent to prison, as another already in is remembered: Freelance essayist Zheng Yichun was sent to prison for seven years for “subversion of state power” (Epoch Times) – which in this case meant writing anti-Communist web articles. The Committee to Protect Journalists railed against the arrest (via Epoch Times) and also reminded the world of the plight of Zhang Lin (also via Epoch Times), an essayist already in a Communist prison (see third and ninth items for Zhang’s comments on the late Zhao Ziyang), and currently on a hunger strike in protest (sixth item). Reporters Without Borders also highlighted Zhang’s plight (Boxun).

Communist China expands web crackdown to “social order” pieces: Communist China expanded its cyber-repression in order to “forbid content harming ‘social order’” (BBC), and take aim at “bloggers and other unofficial journalists and news sites” (MSNBC). Furthermore, all news sites “must be ‘directed toward serving the people and socialism and insist on correct guidance of public opinion for maintaining national and public interests’” (Cybercast News).

Appeals up “500-fold” in last two decades: The number of appeals – i.e., petitions to expressing grievances against the regime – “in the past 20 years . . . increased 500-fold” (Epoch Times), but “the ratio of the solved problems to the total amount of appeals was only 2 out of 1000.” Most appeals “not only were coldly received, but sometimes would be sent back after enduring such extremes as beatings and imprisonment.”

Falun Gong practitioner becomes first escapee to reach U.S. through Thailand: Li Weixun, a Falun Gong practitioner who “was arrested, expelled from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), lost her job, and was detained and tortured” (Epoch Times) before escaping to Thailand, is now in the United States. Li’s case is “the first time the U.S. government has successfully relocated a Chinese Falun Gong practitioner residing in Thailand through the UNHCR.”

Communist China preparing for next space flight: Communist China announced its next space flight will launch “on 13 October at the earliest” (BBC).

Communist China rips Indonesia for fishing boat incident: The Communist regime called on Indonesia to rein in its navy” (BBC) after the latter fired upon a flotilla of fishing vessels from Communist China (eighth item), never mind that the fishing vessels ignored radio warnings and then tried to flee after fishing illegally in Indonesian waters.

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