Monday, March 14, 2005

News of the Day (March 13)

Communist China enshrines “anti-secession law”: On Monday, Communist China’s rubber stamp parliament passed its “anti-secession law,” which purported to set policy for Taiwan despite the fact that the Communist regime never set foot there (MSNBC). As previous reports and text of the law itself (BBC) make clear, the Communists gave themselves the right to invade and crush the island democracy if “possibilities for a peaceful re-unification should be completely exhausted,” which is vague enough to mean whatever the cadres want it to mean. Taiwan, as one would expect, was furious – officials called the measure a “war bill” (CNN) and elected President Chen Shui-bian “called for hundreds of thousands of people to join a mass street protest later this month” (BBC, Bloomberg reported that Chen asked for a million people to take to the streets).

The new “law” inspired editorial comments around the world. The weakest came from the Japan Times (via Washington Times), which insisted the bellicose language coming out of Beijing couldn’t possibly be real. More sober opinions came from the editors of the Washington Times themselves, although they seemed to believe the U.S. should simply “continue sending the appropriate signals back to Beijing as a deterrent against Chinese military action.” Don Feder, also in the Washington Times, went one better, calling on the Bush administration to end the insane “one China” policy (which implies Taiwan should be under Beijing’s eventual control). Charles Smith, Newsmax, concurred, saying “If China, America and Europe want global peace, then we must all accept a free Taiwan.” The editors of the Washington Post used the issue to take aim at the European Union’s plan to end its arms embargo with Communist China.

Secretary of State talks to Washington Times, begins visit to Asia: Before heading off to Asia for a trip that is sure to include another ill-fated attempt to talk Communist China into putting pressure on Stalinist North Korea (Washington Post) – this quarter’s advice clearly went unheeded – she sat down for to talk to the Washington Times. During the interview, she stuck by her earlier comment that SNK was an “outpost of tyranny,” but fumbled on Communist China: “you have to recognize that China is going to be an influence and so to try to steer that influence into positive directions, not negative ones.”

Communist China working to wean away U.S. allies, build closer ties to Iran: Meanwhile, Communist China is also moving on two fronts seemingly – and maddeningly – ignored by the Administration: energy and diplomatic clout. The energy front has, as previously noted, led Communist China to deepen its friendship with Iran (Parapundit) as part of what Chietigj Bajpaee, of Civic Exchange, called an “energy cold war” (Asia Times). As for the diplomatic maneuvers, also known as “soft power,” Joshua Kurlantzick, of The New Republic, takes not of the alarming trend in Prospect, as does the aforementioned Parapundit. Of course, Communist China’s increasing military buildup must also be watched, as the BBC’s Adam Brookes notes.

Communist textile exports to U.S. zoom upward: On January 1 of this year, a slew of American trade restrictions against Communist Chinese textiles ended. The resulting effect on Communist exports to the United States was as follows: “some items from China rose by 1,000% in January,” according to the National Coalition of Textile Organizations (cited by the BBC). One analyst concluded that 10,000 U.S. textile jobs vanished in January and February. The overall trade deficit with Communist China for January was nearly $12 billion dollars (CNN).

Washington Post editor’s interview with People’s Daily land his paper in hot water: Phillip Bennett, managing editor of the Washington Post, had an interview with the Communist People’s Daily, during which he noted “his paper never characterizes China as a dictatorship” (World Net Daily). The stunning comment won the rhetorical double-barrel from World Net Daily’s founder, Joseph Farah. More importantly, as the Post editions themselves revealed – Bennett is dead wrong. A Saturday editorial on Taiwan ripped the “totalitarian Chinese government,” while Post reporter John Pomfret took aim at a slavish biography of Jiang Zemin written by Robert Lawrence Kuhn – a book that the Party is, of course, promoting to the hilt (Post again). Yours truly is far from a Post fan – their support of “engagement” is no secret – but it is nowhere near as accommodating of the cadres as Bennett says – or apparently thinks – it is. If I’m Bennett’s boss, I demand a retraction or a resignation – the guy clearly doesn’t read his own paper!

U.S. rips Communist China for treatment of SNK refugees: Communist China’s treatment of refugee from Stalinist North Korea “is violating at least four articles of the international convention on refugees,” according to the State Department (Cybercast News). State issued a report to Congress which noted that “Beijing's actions in repatriating North Koreans place them at risk of ‘serious abuses, including the possibility of torture and execution.’” The Communists send back to SNK any refugee they find, forcing them to live as nonpersons in Communist China.

Media firms looking for pot of gold in Communist China as NTDTV is shut down: Big Media giants such as News Corporation (Fox) and Viacom (CBS) are looking to the “1.3 billion customers” and getting “involved in joint ventures with Chinese players” (BBC), despite the continuing Communist crackdown on media content deemed “harmful.” The response from the western media corporations was summed up by this deeply disheartening line from Jeanne-Marie Gescher of CGA consultancy: “who do not care how people consume media – they just want people to consume more of it.” While all of this was going on, NTDTV, the scrappy Chinese-language, dissident-run worldwide network, went dark on the Asian continent due to an abrupt decision by Eutelsat to stop transmitting, a move NTDTV programming director Samuel Zhou attributed to “pressure exerted on them by Chinese authorities” (Epoch Times).

Attorney defending Falun Gong practitioner soon to join him in jail: Guoding Guo wrote to the Epoch Times earlier this year about the plight of his client, Falun Gong practitioner Qu Yanlai (sixth item). Now, Guo himself is likely going to jail for his efforts to defend Qu (Epoch Times).

As resignations the CCP climb, the Party pushes “maintaining advancement”: The Nine Commentaries on the Chinese Communist Party has likely inspired 300,000 resignations from the CCP by the time you read this, and desperate cadres have resorted to “maintaining advancement” – which “requires its members, including hospitalized patients and retired elders, to reaffirm their dedication to the party.” If the response of these 46 senior nuclear industry ex-cadres is any indication, it’s not working (both stories from the Epoch Times).

Cadre admits economic data is fudged: Li Deshui, the cadre in charge of statistics in Communist China, admitted this week that “Many provinces and cities overestimated GDP and reported false statistics” (Epoch Times). While Li implied that the national figures were clean, one economist earlier reported from abroad that the Communists’ national stats were actually off by over a full percentage point (Other Mainland News).

Inflation coming, courtesy of the Communists: Communist China’s central bank projected “a wide range of price increases this year” (Epoch Times), most of them courtesy of the cadres themselves, in the “Public utilities and services” sectors.

Tung gets kicked upstairs as Tsang takes over: Donald Tsang was “named to serve as Hong Kong's acting chief executive” (United Press International/Washington Times). Tsang quickly “set 10 July as the date to choose a permanent successor to Tung Chee-hwa” (BBC). The choice will be made by the same Communist-appointed panel that picked Tung, and the Communists have already made clear they want Tsang – but only until 2007. According to Hong Kong's City University Professor Anthony Cheung (quoted by Time Asia), “Beijing will regard the next two years as a test.” Although Tsang is far more popular among Hong Kong’s people than his predecessor, said people will – once again – have absolutely no say in the matter. Meanwhile, the Communists rescued their lackey from the cold by naming him vice-chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, a body that supposedly “advises parliament” (BBC).

Loose ends still united in Chen Shui-bian shooting case: The announcement by Taiwanese police that Chen Yi-hsiung shot President Chen Shui-bian one day before his re-election – and then killed himself when the President won the vote (sixth item) – is being challenged by at least one opposition politician. The controversy surrounding the assassination attempt of the President – his political opponents insist it was a post-shooting wave of sympathy that won Chen a second term rather than their own craven behavior toward Communist China – continues. Report: Time Asia

Commentary on Communist China: The editors of the London Telegraph take a very sober look at Communist China’s treatment of Hong Kong and Taiwan (Link courtesy John Derbyshire, National Review Online columnist and Member since 2002). Li Dali, Epoch Times, finds that elected officials in the United States are far less willing to waste public money than cadres in Communist China.

Roh Moo-hyun ripped: Former Professor R.J. Rummel, who runs the Democratic Peace blog, gives the rhetorical double-barrel to dovish South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun for “trying to control harsh criticism of him and his tyranny; preventing or downplaying reports by North Korean refugees of the horrible life they escaped; and providing significant food and economic aid, including building a huge industrial park in the north.”

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