The Chinese Communist regime announced to the United Nations that it was developing "a major move to advance human rights protection in China" (Agence France Presse via Yahoo). That was more than enough for their usual friends on the UN Human Rights Council (Pakistan, Sudan, etc.), although Canada refused to fall for it (Voice of American News).
Within 24 hours, Gao Zhisheng's arrest by Communist police hit the internet (Worthy News). Oops.
Not the the cadres will mind, much. They've survived such juxtapositions in the past. So long as the rest of the world was content to line their coffers and praise their "reforms," the leaders and the members of the Chinese Communist Party were content to just ignore the minimal effect of their blatant disregard for their own words.
That's where the trouble comes in (for them): neither of the above are happening anymore.
The cadres themselves had to admit that roughly half of their toymaking firms fell under the waves of the global recession last year (AFP via Google and the Financial Post). The effect is cascading into other sectors (Wall Street Journal's China Journal Blog), but even that paled in comparison to the bigger danger for the regime. The recession is causing economists and financiers around the world to notice the cadres' penchant for padding its statistics (China Journal Blog).
Of course, in many capitals, the old combination of smiles and promises of economic aid can still work its magic (AFP via Google, AFP via Yahoo). However, in the private sector, the magic is gone. Foreign investment in Communist China fell by nearly a third last month alone (AFP via Yahoo).
It's gotten so bad now that even when a Communist-owned firm invests abroad, local investors are choosing to take their own money and run (AFP via Yahoo).
Meanwhile, in the developed democracies of the world, the Communists are running into a bit more flak then they anticipated. Rome's hard-left mayor reminded the world of the long-running anti-Communist impulse in European socialists by welcoming the Dalai Lama (AFP via Yahoo). The embrace of anti-Communism by India's Congress Party has the cadres doing a painful double-take (AFP via Yahoo).
Finally, in the United States, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is moving heaven and earth to shift from George W. Bush's largely friendly policy towards the CCP to her husband's even more friendly policy towards the CCP (Global TV and the Washington Post), Communist cyberhackers are leading others in the American government the opposite way (Bloomberg and China Aid) - including, ominously for the cadres, the president himself (AFP via Google).
Has any of this slowed down the cadres rapacious appetite for global power and resources? Of course not. The buying spree is now shifting to oil and other resources (Bloomberg and Bloomberg again); the military buildup continues (AFP via Google); and the persecutions continue (China Aid and Radio Free Asia).
They even went to the old standby - getting the Korean viceroy to act up and distract everybody, in this case with a test-launch of a missile that can hit the American Pacific Coast (CNN and National Review Online: The Corner).
Why are they doing this? They believe they have no other choice.
The cadres have been relying upon geopolitical power abroad to appease the masses at home for years, ever since the economy-first model resulted in the Tiananmen spring of twenty years ago. For the CCP, radical nationalism is the only card left to play, and they have played it well for nearly two decades.
Unfortunately, the regime is now discovering the awful truth: such a move forces it to really on outsiders for its own survival. So long as said outsiders were buying up Communist-made exports and playing nice with Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, everything was fine.
Now, however, with the recession wiping out the export market and more people in the free world wondering just what the CCP is planning, there is more risk in what the regime is doing. Most Westerners don't notice this because only the economic change has happened for them: governments in Washington, London, Paris, etc., still have the same vague confidence in "engagement" that they did before (while Ottawa maintains its vague skepticism).
In India, however, the change is profound - and much more troubling for the cadres. Nothing in the twenty years spooked the CCP more than India going nuclear in 1998. It turned the largest democracy on earth into a regional military power with an anti-Communist government at the helm. Eleven years later, India has grown to be a full-fledged economic competitor to Beijing as well, while the center-left coalition that ousted the anti-Communist in 1998 is mimicking them (and may lost to them anyway in upcoming elections).
This means the cadres only have one real hope: President Obama. So long as the president extends to the CCP the same olive branch he is trying to extend to nearly every rouge regime and entity the CCP backs, then the cadres can isolate India and still draw on international appeasement to ward off rising anger at home.
I sincerely doubt the cadres will leave their survival to such chance. Therefore, I still expect the satellites to be used to ensure Washington continues to "cooperate" with Zhongnanhai. North Korea's possible missile launch is part of that strategy. We should expect the Iranian mullahcracy to do its part soon.