Monday, January 24, 2005

News of the Day (January 24)

The Fredericksburg commemoration for Zhao Ziyang was cancelled due to inclement weather – at least that’s what the hosts said when they closed for the day. If the event is rescheduled, future entries will have the requisite information. Stalinist North Korea News is at the end of this entry.

IBM sale to Communist-owned Lenovo his national security snag: It appears someone in Washington is actually doing their job. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (the consortium of agencies which was examining the Hutchison Whampoa-Global Crossing deal when it fell through) is expressing concern over Lenovo’s bid to buy IBM’s personal computer division. Unnamed sources “familiar with the matter” told Bloomberg News (via New York Post) that fear of the Communists “using stolen technologies for military purposes.” The lead objections are coming from the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security. One other strike against the deal may be the market reaction – shares of the Communist-owned, market traded Lenovo actually rose upon hearing the deal might go south (BBC).

Communists put Zhao memorial on hold, go after mourners: Communist China’s insistence on slandering Zhao for his support of the Tiananmen Square protestors during his own memorial has, to the surprise of no one, ensured that no timetable has been set for any commemoration of him (Epoch Times 1, BBC). In its place, the Communists have maintained official silence (Cybercast News), and struck out against those who would mourn him, from individual dissidents (Epoch Times 2) to, in at least one case an entire village (Epoch Times 3). Few are surprised by this: one would have a hard honor Zhao properly without undermining the Communists’ rationale for continued power. The Epoch Times heard from four more people who put the spotlight on the Communists’ (well-deserved) dilemma: Princeton Professor Andrew J. Nathan, one of the editors of the Tiananmen Papers; Hua Feng; exile Wang Juntao; and his fellow dissident Wu Guoguang.

Communist China finds released hostages: Communist China found the eight former hostages released by a terrorist group last week (BBC). Given that the eight most likely escaped from Communist China, rather than come at its behest, it’s unsure if they actually wanted to be found – the Washington Times examined just how much people escaping Communist China will sacrifice to get out. As for Iraq, Communist China had a long history with Saddam Hussein, including turning oil-for-food into oil-for-missile-parts.

Straw now in Washington for talks: UK Foreign Minister Jack Straw has left Japan for the U.S., and his government’s support for ending the European Union arms embargo on Communist China – against American wishes (fifth item) – is sure to be major issues in the talks (Cybercast News).

Senators Schumer and Graham to resubmit tariff bill on Communist imports: Last year, four Senators, including New York Democrat Charles Schumer and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, submitted a bill calling for a corrective tariff against Communist China so long as it continued to deliberately devalue its currency – which makes its imports cheaper. Schumer announced he and Graham would resubmit the bill this year (Epoch Times).

The Communist currency is currently set at 12 cents; its real value is closer to 16 cents. That means imports into the U.S. – and anywhere else – are up to 25% cheaper than they should be. The result: a U.S.-Communist China trade imbalance of over $150 billion, and Canada becoming the only nation that exports more to the U.S. than the Communist regime.

Bank corruption – one dirty cadre jailed, another two go missing with $120 million: As Communist China announced it had sent Liu Guangyi to jail for life for embezzling over $13 million from the regime-owned China Construction Bank (BBC 1/23), two officials at another regime-owned bank – Bank of China – have gone missing, along with $120 million (BBC 1/24). Both banks “shared a $45bn state bailout in 2003, to help clean up their balance sheets in preparation for a foreign stock market debut.” They may want to hold off on any IPOs. Masha Loftus, also in the Epoch Times, cited the banky-panky as a chief reason Communist China’s economy is more fragile than the regime would like to admit.

India and Communist China in talks: Communist China and its longtime rival India are holding another round of talks “on bilateral relations, including in particular on preparations for the forthcoming visit of China's Premier Wen Jiabao to India” (BBC). India and Communist China fought a border war in 1962 during which the Communist seized 40,000 square miles of Indian territory, and is claiming even more Indian land.

Taiwan’s Cabinet resigns: In reaction to the “pan-blue” opposition holding its majority in legislative elections, Taiwan’s entire cabinet resigned. President Chen Shui-bian, who anti-Communist “pan-green” coalition was on the wrong end of same legislative elections, “is expected to name Frank Hsieh, the mayor of Kaohsiung city, as his next prime minister.” The BBC does not mention that Hsieh is also from a faction of Chen’s Democratic Progressive Party which is less enthusiastic about formal independence than Chen (allegedly) is.

The Washington Post notices petitioner abuse: In the final weeks of the Update, Communist China’s abuse of petitioners regularly made an appearance in Human Rights and Freedoms News. So it’s good to see the Washington Post finally start to notice.

Is there a labor shortage in Communist China? That’s what Neil Gough, Time Asia, sees, and as he doesn’t overlook the Communists’ union-busting, the piece is not half-bad.

Another Hu-wasn’t-what-we-thought-he-was story: Matthew Forney and Susan Jakes, Time Asia, joins the chorus of those disappointed by Hu’s recent crackdowns (although they seemed inexplicably missed the Hanyuan County massacre).

Eric Margolis, Toronto Sun, is one of the few who ties Communist China’s economic surge to its anti-American geopolitical ambitions.

Eight SNK refugees in Japanese Embassy in Beijing: Eight refugees from Stalinist North Korea – “five women, two girls and one man” (CNN) – are in a school in the Japanese Embassy in Beijing, joining sixteen others who have escaped Kim Jong-il’s regime, only to find that in Communist China – SNK’s half-decade-plus ally and partner in capturing refugees – they are forced to live as nonpersons.

Stalinist North Korea cuts food rations to 250 grams: Kim Jong-il’s regime reduced daily food distribution to just 250g per person, or “just half the amount recommended by the World Food Programme” (BBC). The previous number, 300g, was less than two-thirds the recommended amount as it was. Such is the result of a crippling famine made worse by a regime that has stolen international food aid from its own people to feed itself and its military. Perhaps this is why dissidents inside SNK are no longer a myth (Time Asia).

SNK insists its nuclear weapons are “defensive”: KJI’s Vice Foreign Minister, Kim Kye-gwan, told Congressman Kurt Weldon that the Stalinists’ nuclear weapons are “defensive in nature,” and that the regime hopes to get rid of them someday (Washington Times). There was no word as to whether the Pennsylvania Republican – who has publicly called for a deal with the regime (Other Nuclear News) – believed them.

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