Happy New Year! You're under arrest (Part I): Tiananmen Square hosted more than 200 hundred of protesters "voicing a variety of complaints" (Epoch Times). The Communist police had the response for all complaints: a jail cell.
Happy New Year! You're under arrest (Part II): Cadres in Hebei province arrested nine Catholic priests as part of the regime's continuing crackdown against Christians - Catholic and Protestant - who refuse to put the Communist Party between themselves and their God (Agence France-Presse via Washington Times).
Happy New Year! You're under arrest (Part III): In this case, house arrest, and the victim is none other than "freed" human-rights attorney Gao Zhisheng (Epoch Times, see also second item).
More on human rights abuses in Communist China: Between Heaven and Earth recaps they year that was; Germany takes an interest in the welfare of Three Gorges Dam protester Fu Xiancai (Epoch Times).
Hu Jintao's corruption crackdown panned: Several analysts compared Communist China's tight-lipped "anti-corruption campaign" with the very public Chen Shui-bian drama in Taiwan, and say Taiwan comes out looking better for its openness (Washington Post).
Ignorant Comment of the Day: Richard Clarke (Washington Post) is the runaway winner for his column listing non-Iraq geopolitical problems. His list includes seven items - none of which involved Communist China. The editors of the Post come in a (distant) second for ruining an otherwise decent piece on Stalinist North Korea's nuclear ambitions with the naive notion Communist China can be convinced to cooperate in ending Kim Jong-il's antics.
Communist China rips Chen Shui-bian for backing Taiwanese self-determination: The cadres were angry at Taiwan's elected President for saying this: "Taiwan's sovereignty belongs to 23 million people. It definitely does not belong to the People's Republic of China" (BBC).
Communist espionage a growing concern around the democratic world: The rise of Communist spying is now drawing concern both in Australia (Epoch Times) and Canada (Globe and Mail).
On Communist China's Korean colony: The Stalinist regime uses the New Year to celebrate its nuclear test (Daily NK), while its friends in Moscow try to make nice (United Press Int'l via Washington Times), and its dovish enablers in South Korea regroup (One Free Korea). Meanwhile, the Czech government tries to pull the plug on a Stalinist slave labor operation (OFK); another bank closes off ties with SNK (OFK); Ban Ki-Moon takes over as UN Secretary General (BBC); and Daily NK reviews the year that was on the Korean peninsula.
On the Communist-backed mullahcracy of Iran: Madman Mahmoud gets panned publicly by the editors of the Washington Times and privately by many of his own people (Washington Times). That said, Ahmadinejad is just the mouthpiece, and the fellow with the real power is no better (National Review Online: The Corner). Ex-mouthpiece Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani had his own harsh words for the democratic world (Washington Times), while Russia comically called on the mullahs "to abide by a U.N. Security Council resolution and halt its illegal uranium enrichment program" (UPI via Washington Times) - a resolution that does not even criticize Russia's nuclear aid to Tehran. Amidst the gloom, Israeli Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu insists Iran's nuclear ambitions can be halted (Jerusalem Post), but maddeningly, even he doesn't mention liberation.