Monday, February 20, 2006

News of the Day (February 20)

From the China Freedom Blog Alliance (and other sources): Between Heaven and Earth has the latest on hunger strikers disappearing. For more news on the hunger strike, check out the Epoch Times, with links on the striker arrests, anonymous support, and an interview with relay group founder Gao Zhisheng (sixth, tenth, fifth, lead, third, last, twelfth, eighth, third, second, third, eighth, eleventh, eighth, fourth, fourth, last, fourth, fifth, twelfth, fifth, second, lead, next to last, seventh, last, and next to last items). Gao lost his assistant to the Communist dragnet (Epoch Times), and announced a weekly strike (Epoch Times) as support for the strike continues to spread (Radio Free Asia via Epoch Times). BHaE also comments on Phoenix Television's attempt to get channels into Canada. The Korea Liberator, as expected, has the would-be colony almost entirely covered, with the latest news, hope that the U.S. will finally see the light on refugees (Daily NK - even Europe is ahead of us on that score), plans for North Korea human rights envoy Jay Leftkowitz, and Deputy Stalinist-in-chief (ahem, new Uri Party Chairman) Chung Dong Young. TKL also covers U.S. military wariness of military exchanges with Communist China, as well as the major CCP-Iran oil deal in the works (the Washington Post) also covers this. Finally, and unfortunately, it misses the Freezing Point.

More on the satellite states: The editors of the Washington Post offers a very (and deservedly) guarded endorsement of the Administration's new push for Iranian democracy. Daily NK reports new findings of anti-KJI literature in the Stalinist North, while Michael O'Hanlon (Washington Post) is far harsher to Gordon Chang's Nuclear Showdown than yours truly was (fifth item).

The Washington Post examines Communist China's Great Firewall: The capital's better-known paper does its usual above-average job where a story on human rights in Communist China is concerned (for national security issues, DC readers should look to the Times). In the case of the "Great Firewall" - shorthand for the cadres' attempt to control internet content - the Post examines the fall of Wikipedia (plus comments from its defenders), the determination of Freezing Point's former editors (plus the story that likely played a major role in its original shutdown), and the part-comical, part-tragic saga of the "sensitive words" (i.e., Communist-banned ones). The paper also reprints posts (December 29, January 4, January 14, and February 17) from Zhao Jing, whose blog was shut down by Microsoft on Communist orders (fifth and tenth items).

More on human rights in Communist China: An anonymous "secret agent" reveals how the Communists dehumanize their own, and how he managed to restore his sense of self, in the Epoch Times. Sara Davis, author of Song and Silence: Ethnic revival on China's southwest borders, laments the cadres' use of "thugs to enforce their will and silence opposition" (Wall Street Journal Asia via Boxun). The reign of terror in Shanwei continues (Epoch Times). The Committee to Protect Journalists laments the lack of press and internet freedom in Communist China (Epoch Times).

Communist China pledges to wipe out power shortages this year: The cadres even had the audacity to claim they "could even reach the point of having too much electricity" (BBC). Where they managed to find 9 million kilowatts between last month and today (fifth item) was not revealed.

More thuggery against Falun Gong practitioners - in the United States: A Falun Gong practitioner with a history of run-ins with Communist agents overseas found documents stolen from inside his car (Epoch Times). Meanwhile, four hunger strikers protested the earlier assaults (Epoch Times) from San Francisco (twelfth item) and Atlanta (lead and second items). The victim of the latter, Epoch Times technician Yuan Li, talked to the paper about his ordeal.

U.S. wants cadres to open up internal economy, but won't use trade barriers to force issue: Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Karan Bhatia told the BBC that the Bush Administration "was 'perfectly prepared' to use trade measures to force the Chinese government to grant US firms greater access to China's domestic market." However, in the same interview, Bhatia insisted the U.S. is "not going to resort to protectionism." What options that leaves Washington was, luckily for Bhatia, left undiscussed. Communist China's trade surplus with the U.S. passed $200 billion last year (fifth, sixth and fourth items).

Musharraf visits Communist China: Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf visited his closest ally, Communist China, again today, where he "signed an economic and trade agreement" (BBC) with his hosts.

Tibetans' support for Dalai Lama environmental directive lands nine in Communist jail: After hearing that the Dalai Lama called "for Tibetans to stop wearing the skins of protected animal species" (London Sunday Telegraph via Washington Times), the Tibetans "responded with enthusiasm" and burned so much of the offending clothing that the Communist occupiers took it as "a political statement of support for the Dalai Lama" and arrested nine people.

India competing with Communist China for Russian arms: The longtime rival of the Communists now stands right behind them in terms of the value of Russian arms purchases, and may well help Russia "rescue the Yantar Baltic Shipyard" (United Press International via Washington Times, last item). Now, if we can only convince Moscow to send all its major arms sales India's way . . .

Ignorant Comment of the Day: Today's dubious honor winner is Dave Young of the Boston Consulting Group, whose paean to Communist China's role in the global economy (Washington Times) completely avoids the issue of national security. J.W. Marriott, Jr., from the hotel chain of the same name, takes the runner-up position with a similarly naive call for the U.S. to open itself up to more tourists from Communist China (Washington Post).

More Commentary on Communist China: John J. Tkacik, Jr., opines in the Weekly Standard that the Bush Administration is "near the end of its rope with China" - let's hope he's right. Bryan Walsh, Time Asia, reviews exile Yiyun Li's A Thousand Years of Good Prayers.

No comments: