Monday, October 06, 2008

Melamine scandal spreads anew - and may be creating political side effects

The melamine scandal has broken free of dairy products (BBC) and reached vegetable production in Communist China (Taiwan Central News Agency via Epoch Times), as even longtime allies like the Burmese junta are putting their imprisoned citizenry over their Communist benefactors (Washington Post).

Meanwhile, we may be seeing the first political effects of the scandal with the announcement of a major American arms sale to Taiwan (CNN and Washington Post). Although the arms sale itself was a rehash of a proposed deal in 2001, its return to life surprised some, who noted the move may "complicate efforts to get North Korea, an ally of Beijing, to end its nuclear programme" (BBC).

In fact, the antics of the Korean colony would usually be enough to slap down anything like this (BBC and BBC again), especially with the viceroy making an appearance (BBC and CNN). However, so far, the reaction has been muted.

In the past, the cadres could count on enraging their imprisoned people about American interference in Taiwan. This time, however, the melamine scandal may have hit the point where the Chinese people would turn their anger on the Communists rather than with them. On top of the melamine fiasco, the Sichuan earthquake recovery is still causing headaches for the regime (Epoch Times); then there are the usual problems with persecuting the population (Epoch Times).

Moreover, what with the numerous tainted exports, an angry reaction to the arms deal by the cadres could get more attention from the rest of the world - the kind they don't like. The free world might find it curious (at best) that Beijing is spending so much time and effort blocking American arms sales to Taiwan rather than making sure their own products avoid lethality of an entirely different nature.

Of course, at this point, we're deep in speculation. The Communist regime may publicly rip the deal or push their Korean puppets to become more demanding and demeaning. However, what is clear as of right now is that the cadres are weaker now than in previous years. Absent any other dramatic difference between then and now, the melamine scandal may be showing effects far beyond what anyone anticipated.

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