Google joins the crackdown: Internet search engine Google "rolled out a China-based version of its popular Web site - one that bows to Beijing's censorship laws and will edit the content of its results" (CNN). The firm tried to justify its decision with this laughable excuse: "While removing search results is inconsistent with Google's mission, providing no information (or a heavily degraded user experience that amounts to no information) is more inconsistent with our mission" (BBC, which was among the many that fell victim to Google's surrender). The backlash was swift. Reporters Without Borders (quoted in the Guardian, UK), Jonah Goldberg (National Review Online), and Mike Langberg (Mercury News, reprinted by China Freedom Blog Alliance Member Between Heaven and Earth, all ripped the firm for caving into Communist pressure.
Communists continue to harass Gao Zhisheng: This time, the cadres "found yet another method to harass" (Epoch Times) the human-rights lawyer (sixth, tenth, fifth, lead, third, last, twelfth, eighth, third, second, third, eighth, eleventh, eighth, fourth, fourth, last, fourth, fifth, twelfth, and fifth items): they have resorted to phone calls containing "streams of abuse at him." This is a tactic very familiar to victims of Communist persecution (fourth item).
Freezing Point shutdown likely authorized by Hu himself: The Washington Post has more details on the cadres' decision to shut down Freezing Point (item), "a four-page weekly feature section of the state-run China Youth Daily that often tested the censors and challenged the party line." Given that "China Youth Daily is the official newspaper of the Communist Youth League, a power base for President Hu Jintao," the shutdown of the news section (mislabeled as a magazine in the seventh item, mea culpa), "would almost certainly require his approval." In other words, Hu Jintao's "personal support for a tightening of controls on the media" continues apace.
Li Changqing sentenced to three years in jail: The sentence against the Fuzhou Daily reporter who supported whistleblower Huang Jingao (seventeenth, eighteenth, seventh, sixth, fifth, and sixth items), was reported by Boxun.
Open letter on Shanwei massacre: Last month, in reaction to the Shanwei/Dongzhou massacre, a number of academics and writers demanded the truth from the Communists about the bloody outrage. Their open letter was reprinted on Press Interpreter.
Communist China signs "oil for missiles" deal with Saudi Arabia: Communist China "signed a deal on energy co-operation yesterday" (Asia News) with Saudi Arabia during the visit of King Abdullah to Beijing. The deal also, according to Richard Russell of the National Defense University, includes upgraded Communist missiles for the Saudi Kingdom, whose support for America in the War on Terror has long been suspect (Wall Street Journal).
More on Communist China and the War on Terror: Pakistan, ally to both Saudi Arabia and Communist China, has been trying to play on both sides in the War on Terror for years. The editors of the Washington Post have taken notice.
Communist military hopes "charm offensive" will end global fears: Communist China is realizing its military modernization has made much of the rest of the world skittish, so they're trying to spread the good word about their military, in particular the reduction of actual troops (Asia Media). Why the world should ignore "the People's Liberation Army's transformation into a more hi-tech fighting force" was not discussed.
Was official who raised suspicions about a possible Communist spy drummed out of NSA? That is the question to ask after several former National Security Agency employees "told Cybercast News Service that the agency frequently retaliates against whistleblowers by falsely labeling them 'delusional,' 'paranoid' or 'psychotic.'" This was how Russell D. Tice was drummed out of NSA after reporting a possible Communist Chinese spy at the Defense Intelligence Agency. Tice is better known now for revealing the Bush Administration's "secret NSA surveillance program that was used to monitor the electronic communications of Americans suspected of contacts with terrorists."
U.S. and others rebuffed on demand for Communist answers on intellectual property theft: Joined by Japan and Switzerland, the United States "had set a January 23 deadline for China to respond to a request for detailed information on how China is using its regulatory and criminal procedures to crack down on intellectual property violations" (Financial Times, UK). In response, the Communists "rebuffed an initial request from the office of the US trade representative and . . . even questioned the US right to ask for such information."
U.S. and India continuing to warm to each other: Unfortunately, it takes John Lancaster nearly until the end of his Washington Post piece to mention the common threat to both (Communist China).
More on Communist China and the United States: William R. Hawkins, of the U.S. Business and Industry Council, wins the Enlightened Comment of the Day with his excellent piece on Communist China's threat to America (American Economic Alert). A New York Times columnist's attempt to downplay Mao: The Unknown Story irks Jay Nordlinger (National Review Online, third item). Finally, Peter Baker, Washington Post (via MSNBC), examines the Bush Administration's global democracy push - and its conspicuous absence regarding Communist China.
Taiwan swears in new cabinet: As reported earlier (tenth item), Su Tseng-chang is the island democracy's new Prime Minister (BBC).
Arrested refugees in Thailand safe in Norway: The plight of four Falun Gong practitioners arrested by Thailand and slated for deportation due to Communist pressure to stop a protest in Bangkok (third, fourth, fifth, sixth, sixth, and sixth items) is over; they are all safe in Norway (Epoch Times).
The Communist war on art - Australian dancers feel pressure; "Same Song" bombs: Communist China has "applied pressure on two dancers from the Australian ballet to withdraw their participation in a Chinese New Year Gala" (Epoch Times) because the gala "has been organised (Australian sp) by an independent Chinese language TV station," namely New Tang Dynasty Television. Meanwhile, the despicable "Same Song" concert (sixth, lead, and fourth item) "greatly disappointed much of the audience, with many leaving halfway through the show" (Epoch Times).
Communist economy continues to grow, according to the Communists: Communist China has claimed its "economy maintained its stellar growth last year . . . expanding 9.9% in 2005" (BBC). However, the cadres still have not revealed how much of that is either figure-padding or useless industrial construction (fifteenth, twenty-ninth, thirtieth, tenth, sixth, last, last, and seventh items).
Communist corruption now includes selling of offices: Also not included in the figures were the, ahem, valued added to the economy by "a series of cases where officials sold government posts to the highest bidder" (Asia News).
Communists reduce AIDS victim levels, remain silent on Henan: Communist China has now decided it only has 650,000 AIDS sufferers within its borders (BBC). Once again, as can be discerned from the figure itself, the one million sufferers in Henan province were left off the rolls, and for good reason: they had largely been infected by an unhygienic Communist blood-drive (sixth, fourth, and sixth items).
Dovish South Korean President lashes out against "some" who support liberation for North: Dovish President Roh Moo-hyun insisted there were "no differences with the United States on the resolution of the North Korean nuclear issue" (United Press Int'l via Washington Times). However, he did express disagreement "with some forces in the United States that raise issues about North Korea's regime, put pressure on it and apparently desire to see its collapse" (note: that would be this quarter, among others). Perhaps if Roh had taken the time to talk to the nearly 1,400 fellow Koreans from the Stalinist North who defected during the last calendar year (Asia News), he wouldn't be so dismissive of liberation. Also reporting: Cybercast News