Taiwan's anti-Communists spring back to life in elections: Taiwan's two largest cities, Taipei and Kaohsiung, elected mayors on Saturday. In both races, Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party did surprisingly well, cutting the gap with the opposition Nationalists in half in Taipei, while scoring an upset victory in Kaohsiung (Time). The results showed new strength for the anti-Communist DPP.
More on Taiwan and Communist China: Dan Sanchez (Epoch Times) continues his interview with Pepperdine University Professor Bruce Herschensohn on the fate of the island democracy.
Democrats score surprising strength in Hong Kong vote: Communist China allowed Hong Kong to hold highly restricted "elections" for part of the 800-member panel that is supposed to ratify the Communists' choice for leader of the city, in this case, current chief Donald Tsang. However, even in the highly restricted vote, the pro-democracy forces appear to have won enough seats to get their own candidate Alan Leong nominated to challenge Tsang (BBC).
You call this "progress"? Alleged prostitutes are treated better than lawyers and Falun Gong: According to the Washington Post, "many Chinese view the human rights situation as such an improvement over times past." What is their evidence? Outrage over how some Communist police treat alleged prostitutes. Meanwhile, attorneys fighting Communist abuses are sent to prison (Time) and the persecution of Falun Gong continues apace (Epoch Times). Olympic Watch was also unimpressed with the "improvement."
They're back! Six-party talks (or will it be five) to resume next week: The six-party nuclear negotiation debacle will restart this Sunday, in Beijing (BBC). Communist China has hosted every round of talks regarding the nuclear ambitions of its North Korean ally. The U.S., Russia, South Korea, and Japan are also expected to attend, although the Stalinists are especially eager to kick Japan out (One Free Korea).
More from the China Freedom Blog Alliance: OFK has more posts on South Korea's dovish silliness, Korean refugees, and the inner mental workings of Stalinist-in-chief Kim Jong-il.
More on Communist China's Korean colony: Speaking of South Korean silliness, the dovish government joined with the Stalinists in a combined bid for the 2014 Winter Games (BBC), and appointed Lee Jae-joung as the new Stalinist Minister for Southern Affairs, ahem, South Korean Unification Minister (United Press Int'l via Washington Times). Relatives of Stalinist North Korean abduction victims met in Tokyo (Daily NK). Hwang Jang-Yup reminded an audience in Seoul that SNK survives only because of Communist China (Taiwan Central News Agency via Epoch Times). Daily NK examines the internal repercussions of SNK's nuclear test - more surveillance, and more economic development propaganda.
Enlightened Comment of the Day: Peter Brookes (New York Post) wins the prize for his column on Pakistan's friendship with the Taliban. Mark Steyn takes the runner-up position with this terrific dissection of the Iraq Study Group in the Washington Times.
John McCain joins growing legion of skeptics on Iran: The Arizona Senator called on the United States "to reassure the millions of Iranians who aspire to self determination that we support their longing for freedom and democracy" (NY1).
More on Middle Eastern Proxy Number One: The notion that the Communist-backed mullahcracy can be useful regarding Iraq came in for continuing, and well-deserved, criticism (National Review Online, NRO - Corner, Townhall, and Washington Post via MSNBC) despite the best efforts of its supporters (Washington Times). Meanwhile, the mullahs seem to be taking more flak for their Holocaust "conference" (UPI via Washington Times) than from their nuclear ambitions (Worldwide Standard). Finally, Saudi Arabia threatens to invade Iraq itself to thwart Tehran's plans to subjugate it (Washington Times).
As for the other Middle Eastern Proxies: Hezbollah keeps pushing the Lebanese government, hoping it will fall (Washington Post). Syria may try to use terrorism to kick Israel out of Golan (World Net Daily).
Ignorant Comment of the Day: U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson wins the dubious honor with this mindless paean to "engaging Chinese leaders" (Washington Post). Still, he was nearly dethroned by Sebastian Mallaby (Washington Post), who embarrassed himself with this explanation of Communist China's massive trade surplus with the United States: "Unlike Japan, it has not closed its economy. Instead, China's surplus reflects, first, a currency that's about a fifth undervalued and so encourages exports; and second, a reluctance to stimulate domestic consumption, which forces companies to sell a large slice of their output to foreigners." Isn't Mallaby aware that upping exports and dampening imports are exactly what Japan did in the 1980s?
Congress passes U.S.-India nuclear deal: They sure took their time, but the 109th Congress finally did the right thing on this before it skipped town for good (Cybercast News and Fox News).