From the China Freedom Blog Alliance: Between Heaven and Earth marks the seven millionth resignation from the Chinese Communist Party with a Nine Commentaries speech by Dr. Jack Wheelers, tracks the latest news from Taiwan (including the propaganda value of panda bears - both links from Taipei Times), notes the Dalai Lama's comments on Tibet (via Agence France Presse), and the plight of one book banned in Communist China (via Globe and Mail). Meanwhile, One Free Korea takes dovish South Korea to task on its "sunshine" policy, both in general and its stunning release of a Stalinist agent who kidnapped Japanese citizens; OFK also notes a possible challenger to the anti-American Korean Teachers Union, and surprising unanimity on the Stalinist money counterfeiting operation (last item).
Canada file: Friendly Blog Small Dead Animals author Kate McMillan weighs in on the Liberals' attempt to use the head tax issue (sixth, lead, second, and second items) to make Communist China happy (CBC).
More Taiwan news: Taiwan is "unlikely" (BBC) to accept two pandas offered by Communist China as part of opposition politician Lien Chan's abysmal visit to Communist China last year. The Communists insist the pandas do "not fall under the control of the convention on international trade in endangered species." In other words, Taiwan should be Communist territory anyway, rather than its own, democratic country. Meanwhile, a Taiwanese citizen laments what he hears on the mainland to the Epoch Times, and Tsen-Hsie Wu, also in the Epoch Times, provides some background on pro-democracy activist and current Taiwan would-be refugee Yan Jun.
More Tibet news: Communist China is planning on building a luxury train to Lhasa, the capital of the occupied country. The railway's expected completion date is 2007 (BBC).
Chen Guangcheng beaten, again: Blind anti-"one child" activist Chen Guangcheng was beaten outside his home by "about nine people, including two officials" (Epoch Times), who "punched and kicked Chen" repeatedly. It was not the first beating for Chen (tenth, second, ninth, ninth, thirteenth, lead, and tenth items). Also reporting: Friendly Blog Shotgun
Protestors from Zhejiang pollution battle sent to prison: Protestors in Huaxi village, where Communist police sent cars to literally run over a large crowd demonstrating against a polluting chemical factory (fourth, eleventh, and sixth item), were sent to prison today (Washington Post).
Press Freedom groups angry at Communist repression: Reporters Without Borders makes a series of proposals to stop U.S. technology firms from aiding the Communist crackdown on free speech (via Boxun). The International Federation of Journalists railed against the imprisonment of reporters (via Boxun), while the Committee to Protect Journalists (via Boxun) highlights the case of Ching Cheong (sixth and eighth items).
Communist China faces two more toxic spills as Songhua cleanup cost hits $3 billion: The Xiangjiang river in Hunan province now has a cadmium spill due to "a botched environmental clean-up " (BBC) and six tons of diesel fuel spilled into the Yellow River in Shandong. Meanwhile, the Communists are admitting it will take five years to clean up the Songhua river from the benzene spilled into it from the Jilin chemical explosion (seventh, fourth, ninth, fourth, fourth, fifth, fourth, fifth, third, seventh, tenth, and twelfth items), at a cost of $3 billion (Washington Post).
Yet another Communist campaign against corruption has begun with a new Communist call for its cadres "to work harder to stop bribery among businessmen and local officials in the country's thousands of cities, counties and villages" (Washington Post); we expect the same rate of success as all the past campaigns.
Communist China claims economic growth underestimated, again: Communist China released new economic growth figures for 1998-2004, and the new data says the economy "grew faster than previously thought in each of the past six years" (BBC). Of course, the data was silent on the effect of inflated statistics and useless industrial construction was, naturally, not revealed (fifteenth, twenty-ninth, thirtieth, tenth, sixth, last, last, and seventh items).
Communist banking sector in terrible shape: One sign of Communist China's real economic state is its banking sector, where nearly half of the loans from the Communist-run banks were non-performing (i.e., not being paid back), or at least it was nearly half until recently. Both Samizdata and Friendly Blog Shotgun are puzzled at how the number fell to 12% "within a space of four years." Remember what we said about Communist statistics, gentlemen? Meanwhile, Asia News (Italy) finds that the black market in money now accounts for over $100 billion in "underground loans" annually.
New Bolivian President wants energy investment money from Communist China: Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales has "invited the Chinese government, through its state companies, to participate in Bolivia's energy sector" according to his economic advisor Carlos Villegas, cited by the BBC. While Morales is a left-wing politician who has criticized America heavily, he should tread carefully, as the Communists usually prefer working with dictators. Also reporting: Mercopress
CNOOC makes another C0mmunist stake in Africa: CNOOC, the Communist-run oil firm best known for trying to swallow up Unocal (see also fourth, seventh, and second items), "agreed to buy a stake in a Nigerian offshore oil and gas field for $2.3bn" (BBC). CNOOC's stake in the oil field is nearly half, and yet another sign of Communist China's growing influence in Africa (ninth item).
East China Sea talks go nowhere: Communist China and Japan "failed to make any progress in their dispute over energy resources in the East China Sea, but have agreed to talk again" (BBC). The Communist regime and its longtime democratic opponent in East Asia have argued over the economic claims to the East China Sea for many years (tenth, sixth, and fourth items).
Ignorant Comment of the Day: Former Australian diplomat Gregory Clark would have run away with the dubious honor even if I hadn't read his idiotic Japan Times (via Taiwan Security Network) column at the same time I was working my way through Mao: The Unknown Story, which happens to debunk much of his rant.
Two more Communist exports - cars and tennis players: Hannah Beech, Time Asia, examines Communist China's tennis program, and how its players will suffer because of Communist control. Daren Fonda, also in Time Asia, examines the Communist drive to export cars, including the Chery brand, courtesy of Yugo-salesman Malcolm Bricklin (fourth item).
Other Commentary on Communist China: Melinda Liu, Newsweek International, takes note of the Communists' high-tech "863 project," but misses the military-nanotechnology piece. Human rights attorney Gao Zhisheng (sixth, tenth, fifth, lead, third, last, twelfth, eighth, third, second, third, eighth, eleventh, eighth, fourth, and fourth items) calls upon all of us to remember the victims of Communist bloodlust (Epoch Times). Jill McGivering, BBC, gives the depressing reality about the surviving cult of personality around the late, unlamented Mao Zedong.