Archive for the ‘Beijing 2008’ Category

Olympics A Catalyst for Congressional Interest In China

January 12, 2008
By FOSTER KLUG, Associated Press Writer 

WASHINGTON – The world will be watching China closely as it gears up to host the Olympics this year. So will U.S. lawmakers, who hope to use the attention generated by the summer games to highlight their complaints about China’s government.

Lawmakers, in hearings and in legislation, will scrutinize what some see as unfair Chinese economic policies, its secretive military buildup and its human rights abuses. China already has been targeted by presidential candidates.

“The Chinese want this `Show’ — with a capital `S’ — to showcase their government to the world,” Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., said in an interview. Congress, he said, should use that as leverage to “bring maximum scrutiny and light to their egregious human rights abuses.”

Chris Smith
Chris Smith (U.S. politician)

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080112/
ap_on_go_co/us_china_congress_3

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China Conducts Multi-Nation Cyber Defense Drill

November 23, 2007

VietNamNet Bridge – Yesterday, November 22, Vietnam took part in a regional network security protection rehearsal with 13 organisations from 12 Asia-Pacific economies.

The scenario was that the Chinese Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team (CNCERT) detected hackers launching large-scale attacks from many countries on the official site of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and they requested assistance from emergency response technical teams in Asia-Pacific, including Vietnam.

Read the rest:
http://english.vietnamnet.vn/tech/2007/11/756456/

China: Activists Make Link to “Genocide Games”

October 17, 2007

Because of China’s involvement in Sudan during the “genocide” in Darfur, many in Hollywood have started calling the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics the “Genocide Games.”  Below is a report on how Reporters San Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) is protesting China’s repression.

October 15, 2007

Activists from Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) today demonstrated in front of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, unfurling a giant flag in which the Olympic rings appear in the form of interlocking handcuffs.

The demonstration marked the opening of the 17th Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing attended by more than 2,200 delegates, who are expected to give a boost to the leadership of President Hu Jintao whose period in power has been marked by a harder ideological line in the name of a “harmonious society”.
Photo
Two men walk past a sign advertising the Chinese Communist Party’s 17th five-yearly Congress in Beijing. China will strengthen the role of the Communist Party in foreign-invested enterprises as the number of cadres in overseas companies here grows, a leading official said Wednesday,
**********

“We hope through this action to challenge the IOC and its president Jacques Rogge, who refuse to condemn the bad state of human rights in China,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“We have also contacted the IOC’s ethical commission but they replied that they can only be activated by Jacques Rogge himself. This lack of will on the part of Olympic bodies is worrying,” the organisation added.

Games of the XXIX Olympiad

“For the past several weeks an icy wind has blown through freedom of expression in China. This with less than 10 months to go before the opening of the Olympic Games. How can the IOC and its ethical commission remain silent before such a heavy toll of violations of freedom of expression?” it asked.

“More than 30 foreign journalists have been arrested and prevented from working since the start of the year. No fewer than one thousand discussion forums and websites have been closed since July. And a score of dissidents have been imprisoned for expressing themselves freely,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Preparation for the Congress, a key event in the life of China’s sole political party, saw new restrictions slapped on all sectors of the press, Internet-users, bloggers, website managers, foreign journalists and defenders of freedom of expression.

There has been an increase in directives ordering the media to use only reports put out by the official Xinhua news agency. The Publicity (formerly Propaganda) Department has ordered state-run newspapers to step up news linked to the preparation of the Congress and the activities of the leadership.

Recently, five of the major official dailies brought out identical front pages, with the headline: “The 17th Congress of the CCP is set to be hot, hot, hot!” Next to it was the same article about Chinese leaders ordering a mining company to do its utmost to rescue workers trapped in a pit. The same photo of President Hu Jintao on a visit to Kazakhstan also appears on the cover page.

Several dozen online discussion forums, including Ai Zhi Fang Zhou
(www.chain.net.cn/forum

devoted to the patients with Aids, have been closed. The managers have been told that they will only be allowed to reopen once the Congress is over. Several hundred websites and blogs have been closed in the last two months.

On the eve of the Congress, the Party has also spearheaded a campaign for greater morality in the media, which led to a suspension of several reality television programmes. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) on 14 September quoted the fight against pornography as a reason to ban 11 radio programmes about sexuality. “Their content on sexual life and the effectiveness of medication for sexual problems was of an extremely pornographic nature,” the administration said. The SARFT also added that “films that were not suitable for children were also not suitable for adults.”

Beijing Shows Off New Airport

September 15, 2007

BEIJING – Beijing showed off its new multibillion-dollar airport terminal Wednesday — a mammoth structure of glass and steel with a gracefully sloping roof that the owners said is meant to impress visitors to China’s capital for the 2008 Olympics.

Terminal 3 at the Beijing Capital International Airport is a centerpiece project for the Olympics designed to relieve the overloaded airport’s other two terminals and accommodate the city’s torrid growth for the next seven years, executives with the airport’s state-run holding company said at a tour for foreign media.

The terminal, which will be opened for testing in February, is outfitted with a state-of-the-art-baggage handling system….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap_travel/20070912/ap_tr_ge/travel_brief_beijing_
new_airport;_ylt=AlT6PQNtynWGBVzfbrUPIMSs0NUE

Human rights questions remain for China

July 25, 2007

HONG KONG, China (CNN) — With a year to go before the 2008 Olympics get under way, questions linger over China’s efforts to improve its human rights record.

Read it all:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/07/
24/china.promises/index.html?section=cnn_latest

China, Vietnam and Russia: Torrid Economies, Rampant Lawlessness

July 24, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 24, 2007

This July 25, what do China, Vietnam and Russia have in common?

Easy answer: torrid economies and rampant lawlessness.

This is a witches brew.

Starting in the middle of June, 2007, Vietnamese peasant farmers staged a sit-in around government buildings in Ho Chi Minh City. The protest was orderly and completely peaceful.

For the most part, the farmers sat on the ground and were not blocking traffic or otherwise causing a nuisance. Because men suffer mightily when they stand up to the communist government of Vietnam, the vast majority of the protesters were women.

The farmers were protesting government seizures of their land.

How would American farmers respond if, after generations in the family had worked a parcel of land, the government took it away and told the family to go away?

On Thursday, July 19, the communist government of Vietnam decided it had enough of this peasant rabble. Police surrounded the area, jammed cell phone reception, and carried the demonstrators into waiting vans. Cattle prods were available for use on those that refused to cooperate (there weren’t any).

Over a thousand uniformed and plainclothes police were apparently used to clear the area of about six hundred peaceful protestors, most of whom were women.

A list of those arrested sent to Peace and Freedom contained ONLY the names of women.

In China, the number of so-called “mass incidents” (sit-ins, riots, strikes and demonstrations) reached 74,000 in 2004. During the last few years, China has made it harder for the west to see how many people are rioting, where and for what reasons. But the dissidents and disenfranchised in China say that rioting and social unrest is on the rise.

The number one reason Chinese insiders give for social unrest is the rampant seizure by the government of land.

Early in July, with the Beijing 2008 Olympics just about a year away, Beijing tightened the screws on social unrest. District and local communist party functionaries were given this notice. “Officials who perform poorly in maintaining social stability in rural areas will not be qualified for promotion.” This pronouncement came from Ouyang Song, a senior party official in charge of personnel matters in the communist party.
Games of the XXIX Olympiad
Logo of Beijing Summer Games;
Olympics 2008.

In Russia, many still live on state owned land or in state controlled properties. As Anne Applebaum catalogued in The Washington Post on Tuesday, July 24, it is not uncommon for people who have lived in apartments for decades in Moscow to find themselves illegally evicted while government bureaucrats and developers get rich.

Anne Applebaum called her essay “Trickle Down Lawlessness.” She summed up the problem this way: “Putinism isn’t just a foreign policy problem. The Russian president’s penchant for breaking weapons treaties, threatening small neighbors, disposing of his enemies and spouting Cold War rhetoric creates dilemmas for the West. Yet the lawlessness that pervades his country creates much worse dilemmas for ordinary Russians.”

Here we are not even speaking about the gross human rights abuses all thse three nations share.  We’ll document that more here at Peace and Freedom but Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International already have a pile of eveidence on the table to tell anyone who cares to listen: these regimes are armed and dangerous: especially if you live as a citizen inside any one of these nations. 

All three countries maintain a veneer of correct, good and honest behavior. Actually, it is more like a suit of armor than a veneer. And how do they do this? Easy: they control the media.

We really do not know what is going on inside China most of the time, unless a dissident makes us aware or the chinese government decides to let word out.

Peace and Freedom will keep tracking these situations but don’t be fooled: “Houston, we have a problem.”

Any time the three fastest growing economies in the world hide rampant lawlessness, we should be interested if not engaged.

Vietnam: Farmers Protest Government Land Seizures

As illegal land grabs increase, so does unrest in China

China tells local authorities to address social instability

Russia’s ‘Land Seizures:’ Trickle-Down Lawlessness

Though no longer “communist,” Russia stands, in a way, as a “club of one.”  But Russia often sides with China on policy issues and against the U.S. and NATO:
Russia must join with West, says Nato chief

China Planning a Surreal Facade for Summer Olympic Games: Beijing 2008

July 7, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
July 9, 2007

Few could have anticipated the run of bad publicity, crises and scandals that China has weathered since about last winter or spring.

First, pets in America became sick and many died. The illness was traced to Chinese-made pet food laced with a fertilizer component named melamine. Companies in China had illegally added melamine to wheat gluten and rice protein in a bid to meet the contractual demand for the amount of protein in the pet food products.

After that, the Food and Drug Administration in the United States began to take a harder look at a host of Chinese products imported into the U.S.

The FDA ended up barring most seafood from China (where we in the U.S. get about 1/3 of our shrimp, much of our catfish and other “farm raised” seafood products) because much of it contained drugs, bacteria or other suspicious or obviously harmful products.

Not only was imported seafood tainted, but the FDA began turning away tons of other food products – some of it contaminated, some filled with toxins and other products full of bacteria.

Products like toothpaste, chewing gum and even soy sauce were found to be made with toxic ingredients. Roughly 900,000 tubes of Chinese made toothpaste containing a poison used in some antifreeze products turned up in U.S. hospitals for the mentally ill, prisons, juvenile detention centers and even some hospitals serving the general population.

Then the Colgate-Palmolive Company announced that it had found counterfeit “Colgate” toothpaste containing the anti-freeze diethylene glycol, a syrupy poison.

Although tainted or poorly made and tested food from China was first noticed in the United States and other western nations, once China checked its own store shelves it found problems. 

Inspectors in southwest China’s Guangxi region found excessive additives and preservatives in nearly 40 percent of 100 children’s snacks sampled during the second quarter of 2007, according to a report on China’s central government Web site.

The snacks — including soft drinks, candied fruits, gelatin desserts and some types of crackers — were taken from 70 supermarkets, department stores and wholesale markets in seven cities in the region, it said.

Only 35 percent of gelatin desserts sampled met food standards, the report said, while two types of candied fruit contained 63 times the permitted amount of artificial sweetener.

And if substandard children’s snacks weren’t bad enough, China and the U.S. FDA uncovered a huge racket in substandard medicines. One manufacturer of medicines was implicated in 11 deaths.  Five manufactures lost the ability to continue in the business.  And 128 drug makers lost their Chinese government Good Manufacturing Practice certificates, a symbol of favorable performance, the China Daily newspaper reported on its Web site.

We also saw, thanks to an aroused international media, child laborers illegally producing Beijing Olympics 2008 memorabilia. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse for China, a slavery scandal erupted. Slaves were found mining materials and making bricks inside China.

The United Nations condemned China for the worst pollution in the world. China also produces more greenhouse gases than any other nation by far.

Despite China’s long history for managing its media and controlling what the world learned about the People’s Republic, stories surfaced and were verified that showed an illegal trade in “harvested” human organs from inside China. Unscrupulous doctors and businessmen teamed up to create a thriving business in human organs. The problem was that the organs came from prisoners and the mentally ill, who had no say in the matter and died before they could become witnesses to this atrocity.

Add to this a long and unresolved dispute about the way China controls its currency and a thriving business inside China in counterfeit goods: everything from U.S. music and motion pictures to Rolex watches, books and, well, you name it.

China tried to market a new Chinese made automobile to the upscale European buyer but the vehicle disintegrated in a 40 MPH crash test. Now Europeans wouldn’t be, well, caught dead in the thing.

So from May until July 2007, despite the Chinese News Spin Machine going full tilt the bad news about China seemed to be spinning out of control.

Just today, July 7, 2007, the Central Committee of the Communist Party seemed to be threatening local leaders who allow social unrest.  “Officials who perform poorly in maintaining social stability in rural areas will not be qualified for promotion,” Ouyang Song, a senior party official in charge of personnel matters said, according to China’s Official Communist News media.

All these problems don’t even trump China’s most horrible foreign policy disaster: Suport for Sudan without taking action on Darfur.  The U.N. and others have referred to Sudan’s conduct in Darfur as genocide.  And Hollywood big shots are already calling next summer’s Olympics in Beijing the “genocide games.” 

Not to worry, though. China’s communist leadership still plans a masterful and error free Beijing Olympics 2008.

The communist government of China is taking action to streamline what the western media sees next summer. Smokey, coal-fired factories are even being moved out of Beijing and into the countryside because their effluent looks so disgusting there was fear these factories alone could cause a major embarrassment.

Beijing’s population had a practice “No Spiting Day” in an effort to reduce this disgusting habit common in the city. The test was a disastrous failure and a new training approach is planned. Beijing also had a day devoted to polite lining up for buses and trains. This worked out a little better with the obedient and terrified city workers not taking any chances.

During the Olympics, communist leaders in Beijing plan to remove from the city the hordes of vagrants, homeless people and orphaned children who live on Beijing’s streets. Some estimate that as many as 2 million orphaned or homeless children live in Beijing alone.

In order to assess what can be done about Beijing’s choked streets overwhelmed by traffic; and to see if a dent can be made in the choking air pollution, one million Beijing automobile drivers will have to stay at home or use mass transit on a day scheduled to test the impact of all of this. Beijing only has 3 million registered automobiles so inconveniencing one-third of them for one day should hardly impact the economy, right? But if the test is a success, one would have to remind China that the Olympics is not a one day event.

When all this is assessed together, one might ask, when we get to Beijing next summer for the Olympic Games, how much of what we see will be real? And how much is a product of the smoke and mirrors China often employs to produce the desired result.

Related:

Pollution Dangers Cast Shadow over 2008 Olympics

Chinese Government Staff: “Happy News President Hu Jintao; We Ready For Happy Time Olympics!”

Some National Cultures More Tolerant of Death?

Tricky Vietnamese Truth About Catfish
The Chinese are just as smart as the Vietnamese on how to work the American system….

China says food safety scares threaten stability

China’s “Drug Abuse” Problem: Below Standard Pharmaceuticals Have Been Deadly

China may need a fresh approach to regulating its often unruly economy

China tells local authorities to address social instability

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From John Carey: A friend sent us this:

Friend:

I was in a Beijing hotel last year… A very upscale American style one near the Olympic area.Inside the hotel, it seemed identical to any nice hotel you’d see in New York, Dallas or LA… except for the big sign next to the faucet in the bathroom.

From John Carey: I had the same experience in Moscow.  Superior 4-star hotel  Water out of the tap was brown.

China’s Air Pollution Gorilla

July 6, 2007

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China’s Air Pollution Gorilla
By John E. Carey
July 6, 2007

China has by far the dirtiest air on earth. The city of Beijing, host city to the 2008 summer Olympic Games, is often dark or foggy looking even at mid-day.

The Financial Times (UK) reported this week that the World Bank and China were in a row (argument) over the number of “premature human deaths” cause by air pollution in China. Times sources said the World Bank was saying that about 750,000 people nationwide in China died prematurely due to the ill affects of air pollution. China apparently stonewalled the bank saying “only” between 350,000 to 400,000 premature deaths each year.

The World Bank wants to make sure the biggest industrial air polluters are shut down, cleaned up and issued heavier fines. Currently fines for pollution issued by China to manufacturers are not big enough to change anyone’s behavior. The big polluters would rather pay the fines than install the systems needed to clean up their exhaust.

You know how you know China is having a crisis or scandal? They march out a big shot bureaucrat to issue a denial.

China denied Thursday it pressured the World Bank to cut data from a draft of an environmental report that allegedly found that pollution caused about 750,000 premature deaths nationwide annually.

“The report you mentioned has not concluded yet and has not been released,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular briefing. “There was no issue of the deletion of relevant data requested by China.”

When you are discussing how many people die from your air pollution, you are discussing how many angels can dance on the point of a needle. The “point” China seems to miss is that their air pollution is so bad that it is killing people.

Reports say that China’s infant mortality rate due to air pollution is about 7% of all infants born in China.  These infants die within a few years due to respiratory problems caused by air pollution.

Factories built to fuel China’s economic miracle are big culprets in this air pollution disaster. But China also has more and more cars. The cars in China mostly burn fuel containing lead. Children have been severely harmed by lead-based pollution.

Beijing, a city of more than 15 million people, has at least 3 million registered cars. Chinese government officials are planning a day to remove 1 million cars from the roads so they can see if this reduces the pollution to a level that might be acceptible during the Olympics next summer.

A lot of people in China still use coal for cooking and heat.  In Beijing currently there is a drive to install cleaner gas for cooking and heating.

China has even moved at least one big pollution factory from Beijing to the countryside in anticipation of the Olympics.

With the Olympics about a year away some are wondering if the air in Beijing is clean enough to support the lives of world class athletes. “The athletes could be exposed to unhealthy air pollution unless there is a substantial reduction in emissions,” warns David Streets of the Argonne National Laboratory. Mr. Streets is the principal author of an article on the subject in the professional journal Atmospheric Environment.

More on this topic as it becomes available…..

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