Communists stay mum about anti-satellite test and place Jian-10 planes opposite Taiwan: Amidst growing U.S. anger over its anti-satellite missile launch (BBC and the Epoch Times), Communist China "refused to confirm or deny the incident, but said Beijing wanted no arms race in space" (Washington Times) - gee, thanks, fellas (see BBC and Time for more on this). Meanwhile, a dozen Jian-10 fighter planes are already deployed - within 500 miles of Taiwan (Taipei Times). The fate of Taiwan is also a major factor in the ASAT realm, as William Buckley (National Review Online) notes. Rand Simberg (TCS) also weighs in.
Old veterans given short shrift in favor of new weapons: Last week, roughly 50 retired members of the badly misnamed People's Liberation Army came to Beijing, to protest the abysmal way the regime has treated them since they retired (Epoch Times).
Imagine the outrage if anyone tried this in the Katrina aftermath: Housing built for flood victims in Pengze County (Jiangxi) is seized by local cadres for their own use (Epoch Times).
More on the state of the workers in the workers' state: James Reynolds (BBC) has an eye-opening piece on pollution in the rural interior. Meanwhile, real estate "tycoon" Zhou Zhengyi is arrested, again (BBC, see also tenth, twenty-sixth, fifth, ninth, and fourteenth items).
Factional battle within the party continues: The Jiang Zemin faction's new leader - Zeng Qinghong, has his eye on the regime Presidency as part of his attempt to grab the ultimate prize - Central Military Commission Chair (Freedom Press via Epoch Times).
Communist Chinese battle against human rights continues: He Qinglian (Huaxia Electronic Journal via Epoch Times) has the latest on the Great Red Firewall. Meanwhile, the editors of National Review lament the plight of Chen Guangcheng (see tenth, second, ninth, ninth, thirteenth, lead, tenth, fifth, tenth, sixth, ninth, eighth, ninth, eighth, ninth, sixteenth, ninth, second, fifth, tenth, fourth, twelfth, next to last, second, and eighth items).
Tibetan Youth conduct anti-Olympic protest as regime plans domination of the Games: The Tibetans' protest was covered by Boycott 2008, while the BBC had this quote from Simon Clegg of the British Olympic Association, "In sporting terms, actually, we're all at war against China".
Communists to move "diversify" investments of foreign reserves: In other words, the "70 per cent of reserves . . . believed to be held in US dollars" (Financial Times) won't stay that way. What this will mean for the regime's deliberately devalued currency is unclear, but it was in part maintained by said reserve holdings of American dollars.
Tom Tancredo rips Mexico for denying airspace to Chen Shui-bian: The Colorado Congressman and presidential candidate "said that the reason for the refusal was clear and simple: Chinese pressure" (Taipei Times).
Vatican offers to throw Taiwan under the bus - again: Yours truly's upset at his faith again, after its leader is preparing an "attempt to restore full diplomatic relations with Beijing" (BBC). Of course, the cadres made it out to be far more than it actually was (BBC), but what is actually was is troubling enough.
One Korean refugee repatriated by Communist China dies in custody: This phrase from One Free Korea was more than a little unnerving, "She apparently was in ill health and froze to death in police custody."
More on Korean refugees and Communist China: The Stalinist regime is "frantically searching for people linked to helping the recent escape of abducted fisherman Choi Wook Il to South Korea" (Daily NK, see also One Free Korea). Meanwhile, a leader in South Korea's hawkish opposition wil propose greater protection for refugees once they reach South Korean consulates in Communist China (One Free Korea).
United Nations scrambling to stop Stalinist North Korea from pilfering funds: The UN Development Program is now under heavy scrutiny after news of SNK diversion of funds came to light (BBC, One Free Korea, Washington Post, and Washington Times, see also next to last item).
Hundreds freezing to death in SNK: The London Telegraph finds many reasons, most tied to Stalinist incompetence; One Free Korea adds one more - "famine, which often kills by depriving the body of the ability to resist cold and disease, is beginning again."
More on Communist China's Korean colony: SNK is still trying to unfreeze money from Banco Delta (Daily NK). The next round of six -party talks will apparently start "within two weeks" (Washington Times). South Korea's dovishness is roundly criticized (Daily NK, One Free Korea, and Washington Times), while Japan is getting tougher (One Free Korea).
Is an attack against the Iranian mullahcracy coming? The Arab Times think so (via Strategic Intel).
More on Middle Eastern Proxy Number One (Iran): The most prominent Iranian dissident, Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, blasts Mad Mouthpiece Mahmoud (BBC). Israeli opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu wants the Mad Mouthpiece tried "for incitement to genocide" (Newsmax). The mullahs say they want to talk, but not make any concessions (Strategic Intel). On the commentary side, Senator Joe Biden is his usual, incoherent self (Washington Times); Carlos Pascual and Michael O'Hanlon are more articulate but just as bad (Washington Times); James Woosley is far more sensible (United Press Int'l via Washington Times).
On Middle Eastern Proxy Number Three (Hezbollah): Michael Totten reveals what the terrorist group has done to Lebanon (h/t Small Dead Animals).