Archive for the ‘china’ Category

Dalai Lama: China Unfit To Be Superpower

December 5, 2008

China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.

After addressing the EU parliament in Brussels, the Tibetan spiritual leader said China “deserves to be a superpower” given its huge population and economic and military strength.

“Now one important factor is moral authority and that is lacking,” he told a press conference in Brussels.

AFP

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama speaks to the press ... 
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama speaks to the press at the EU Parliament in Brussels. China lacks the moral authority, including over the question of Tibet, to be a true superpower, the Dalai Lama said Thursday during a European tour that has angered Beijing.(AFP/John Thys)

“Because of its very poor record on human rights and religious freedom and freedom of expression and freedom of the press — too much censorship — the image of China in the field of moral authority is very, very poor,” he said.

“The sensible Chinese realize China should now pay more attention in this field in order to get more respect from the rest of the world,” the Nobel peace laureate said.

He cited the problems of Tibet and separatist factions in the southwestern Chinese province of Xinjiang as areas where such a moral authority should be displayed. He also named Hong Kong and reunification with Taiwan.

He said he continued to have confidence in the Chinese people while doubting the government wanted serious talks on Tibet’s future.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20081204/wl_asia_a
fp/euchinatibetrights_081204183116

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Naval Shps from Around The Globe Watch For Pirates. Where is China?

December 4, 2008

Among the naval forces of the world on guard against Somali pirates, China is conspicuously absent.  Today, a Chinese general asks “If China wants to be a world power, how come we are poweless so often?”

***

A Chinese general has called for the country’s navy to join the fight against Somali pirates, saying the mission would boost China’s international stature and give its sailors valuable experience in fighting open ocean combat operations far from their home ports.

Chinese ships have been among those seized in a wave of pirate attacks this year, including the fishing vessel Tianyu No. 8, seized in mid-November.

International warships from NATO and countries including Russia patrol the Gulf of Aden and have created a security corridor in the area under a U.S.-led initiative, but attacks have not abated.

Russia says it will send more ships to patrol the area off the coast of Somalia.
Russian Navy warship passes through the Suez canal and goes toward pirate patrol….

“Piracy doesn’t just interfere in our country’s navigational safety, it also impedes our development and interests,” Major General Jin Yinan told state radio.

“I think our navy should send ships to the Gulf of Aden to carry out anti-piracy duties,” Jin said, according to a transcript of the interview posted Thursday on the Web site of the official China News Service. The date of the interview was not given.

In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, ... 
In this Nov. 11, 2008 file photo made available by Indian Navy, Indian warship INS Tabar, right, escorts the MV Jag Arnav ship to safety after rescuing it from a hijack attempt by Somali pirates. The Indian navy says the INS Tabar dedicated to fighting pirates has successfully fought off an attempted pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden, sparking explosions and a fire on the suspected pirate ship late Tuesday, Nov. 18.(AP Photo/Indian Navy, HO, File)

China’s People’s Liberation Army Navy has little experience operating at long-range, its primary mission being coastal patrol. However, the service is believed to have major ambitions, possibly including the eventual deployment of an aircraft carrier.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081204/ap_on_re_as/as_china_piracy_1

The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf ... 
The French warship Nivose escorts commercial ships in the Gulf of Aden.(AFP/Eric Cabanis)

Many Nations Sign Cluster Bomb Ban; U.S. and Russia Refrain

December 3, 2008

The United States and Russia were absent Wednesday as representatives from countries from around the world gathered to sign a treaty banning the use of cluster bombs.

CNN
Some 111 countries were due to adopt the Convention on Cluster Munitions at an all-day signing ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

But four of the biggest cluster bomb makers — Russia, China, Israel and the United States, which claims the devices are a vital part of its defense strategy, stayed away.

Cluster Munition Coalition activists behind the agreement expressed disappointment at the absence of the big four, but insisted it wouldn’t undermine the treaty as it passes into international law.

“Obviously it’s very disappointing that those countries aren’t here, but at the same time, the strong message that this treaty sends will make it very clear to those countries that these are unacceptable weapons and inappropriate in future conflicts,” CMC Co-Chair Richard Moyes told CNN from Oslo.

French troops examine cluster bombs collected after the Lebanon conflict of 2006.

Above: French troops examine cluster bombs collected after the Lebanon conflict of 2006.

“The treaty and the stigma that it builds will make it practically and politically much more difficult for them to use these weapons again in the future,” Moyes added about the absent countries.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/europe/12/03/cluster.
bomb.ban/index.html?section=cnn_latest

Obama’s Many “Number One” Priorities

December 3, 2008

Remember this simple catchphrase for priorities: “It’s the economy, stupid”?

Many think that should be the watchword for the new President Barack Obama.  But a confusing and dangerous miasma of foreign policy challenges lurks and lurches ahead. Without carefully applied wisdom, the United States could make matters worse on a wide range of international fronts and issues…

President-elect Barack Obama waits to get on his plane with ... 
President-elect Obama with his two Blackberris and some light reading.
(Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

Yesterday, two think tanks said the U.S. should move away from Iraq and work like the devil on the nuclear covetous Mr. Ahmadinejad and Iran.

The Brookings Institution and the Council on Foreign Relations said it is time to make peace in the Middle east as a “top priority.”  For the past six years under President George W. Bush, U.S. foreign policy in the region has been dominated by Iraq, said Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center at Brookings, and Richard Haass, president of the Council.

Now the two agree the real problem is Iran.

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at the U.N. ... 
Nuclear aspirant: Mr. Ahmadinejad of Iran

One difficulty with this line of thinking is that, depending on the day, the think tank report one considers, and the newspaper headline, America faces stadium full of “top priorities.”

In Russia, Medvedev and Putin believe they should be tops on the Obama agenda.  Mr. Medvedev even threatened to deploy nuclear armed missiles in Eastern Europe unles and until the U.S. backed off of its missile defense ambitions with Poland and the Czech Republic.

And the Medvedev/Putin thrust cannot be overlooked: the two had no qualms about invading Georgia to get the attention of the U.S. and NATO: and it worked.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev visits a ballistic missile ...
Russia’s Medvedev, in front of a startegic Russian missile, said his missile advances will overwhelm U.S. defensive measures in the next few years.
AFP/Pool/File/Dmitry Astakhov

Terrorism could be the number one priority.  Just yesterday the U.S. Director of National Security said in essence that the Pakistani Islamist radical militant group  Lashkar-e-Taiba  blew up Mubai, India, last week, killing nearly 200.

On the same day, yesterday, a group of wise men said the U.S. can expect to face a biological or chemical attack.

Is another 9-11 in America’s future?  And are we ready to defend or respond?

Pakistan itself might lay claim to Mr. Obama’s top priority.  Bankrupt, last weekend rioters ripped through the nations largest city, the Pakistani Army was pinned down by terrorists in the tribal areas, and the nuclear-armed government was under fire from all domestic and international sides over Mumbai.

A Pakistani newspaper wondered yesterday if the Army was about to break with the elected government of mr. Zardari and his Minister Mr. Gilani.

Then there are a few small matters with China, North Korea and you name it.

Oh and there are just a few domestic realities and campaign promises that need our next president’s attention: OPEC and oil, drill or not to drill, schools and education, tax relief, jobs and unemployment,health care, AIDS and the list goes on.

You won’t convince me for a second that the modern miracle of multi-tasking and several Blackberries will resolve this poisonous soup.

America needs to take a deep breath and close its eyes: too much Obama-mania could cause one not to think.

Mr. Obama, the United States, all Americans and all Western allies are in for some very hard work, sacrifices of an unknown nature, and difficult decisions.

Here’s a simple truth: The age of simplicity is over.

*****

From Wikipedia:

It’s the economy, stupid” was a phrase in American politics widely used during Bill Clinton‘s successful 1992 presidential campaign against George H.W. Bush. For a time, Bush was considered unbeatable because of foreign policy developments such as the end of the Cold War and the Persian Gulf war. The phrase, coined by Clinton campaign strategist James Carville, refers to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because Bush had not adequately addressed the economy, which had recently undergone a recession.

Experts Warn Barack Obama of ‘Hornet’s Nest’ in Middle East, Including Nuclear Iran

December 2, 2008

Iran poses the greatest foreign policy challenge to the new president with Tehran on course to produce a nuclear bomb in the first year of an Obama administration, an unprecedented coalition of top think tanks warned yesterday.

Barack Obama must follow through on his promises of direct talks with Tehran and engage the Middle East region as a whole if he is to halt a looming crisis that could be revisited on the United States, the experts warned.

President-elect Barack Obama waits to get on his plane with ... 
President-elect Obama with his two BlackBerries….
.(Jeff Haynes/Reuters)

“Diplomacy is not guaranteed to work: it is not,” Richard Hass, one of the authors said. “But the other options – military action or living with an Iranian weapon are sufficiently unattractive for it to warrant serious commitment.”

The warnings came in a report called “Restoring the Balance,” a Middle East strategy for the incoming president drafted by the Council for Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institution. Gary Samore, one of the authors, said the level of alarm over the “hornet’s nest” facing the new president in the Middle East, and the need for the swift adoption of previously untested approach, had inspired the unprecedented decision to write policy for him. “New administrations can choose new policies but they can’t choose next contexts,” Mr. Samore said. “This is what they inherit.”

By

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world
/us_and_americas/us_elections/article5275647.ece

Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrives at the U.N. ... 
Ahmadinejad

Related:
 Obama’s Many “Number One” Priorities

Why Can’t France, Sarkozy Get International Respect?

December 2, 2008

In much of the world, President Nicolas Sarkozy enjoys a reputation for being something of a diplomatic dynamo. But Sarkozy and France get ignored, maligned, lectured and insulted often and loudly from one voice in Asia…..In China, the energetic French leader has a strikingly different standing than the one he enjoys almost everywhere else. In China, Sarkozy (and France) is the favorite international whipping boy……

By Bruce Crumley
Time Magazine

sarkozy
Business ties with China are likely to suffer if the French President goes ahead with his plan to meet the Dalai Lama.  Photo by Gerard Cerles / Pool / Reuters

The latest humiliation comes with Beijing’s decision to boycott the 11th annual China-European Union summit, which has been scheduled to open in Lyon today. China stunned E.U. officials last week by announcing that its delegation of more than 150 political and business leaders would stay at home because, in the words of China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang, “the summit cannot be held in a sound atmosphere, nor can it achieve expected goals.” The reason? The French President’s plan to meet with Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama on December 6 as part of an event honoring fellow Nobel peace prize winner Solidarity leader Lech Walesa in Poland.

“China firmly opposes any contacts with the Dalai Lama by foreign leaders in whatever form,” Qin said in a statement released by the state-run Xinhua news agency. “We hope that France could fulfill its commitments, and properly deal with China’s major concerns in earnest so as to create conditions for the steady development of bilateral relations.”

Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets the audience ... 
Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama greets the audience before delivering a speech in Prague November 30, 2008.(David W Cerny/Reuters)

Read the rest:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8
599,1863013,00.html?xid=rss-world

China: Death, Sickness from Poisoned Milk Double What First Reported

December 2, 2008

China’s Health Ministry said six babies may have died after consuming tainted milk powder, up from a previous official toll of three, and announced a six-fold increase in its tally of infants sickened in the scandal to nearly 300,000.

It was the first time since Sept. 21 that health authorities have revised the total number of babies sickened by milk powder adulterated with the industrial chemical melamine. The previous total was about 50,000.

The crisis has been met with public dismay and anger, particularly among parents who feel the government breached their trust after their children were sickened or died from drinking infant formula authorities had certified as safe.

The latest statistics show that China’s communist leaders are slowly acknowledging the breadth of China’s worst food safety scare in years. During such crises, the government often deliberately releases information piecemeal in part to keep from feeding public anger.

The ministry said in a statement late Monday that 294,000 babies across the country had suffered from urinary problems after consuming milk powder laced with melamine.

“Most of the sickened children received outpatient treatment only for small amounts of sand-like kidney stones found in their urinary systems, while some patients had to be hospitalized for the illness,” the statement said.

Thousands of parents have been clamoring for compensation for their sickened and dead children. The release of the figures raises the question of whether the Health Ministry is getting closer to finalizing a compensation scheme.

In this Oct. 19, 2008 file photo, Li Xiaoquan, right, holds ...
In this Oct. 19, 2008 file photo, Li Xiaoquan, right, holds up a photo of his twin daughters Li Xiaokai and Li Xiaoyan near his wife Li Aiqing and Li Xiaoyan at their home in Liti village, near Runan, central China’s Henan province. Nine month old Li Xiaokai who has been drinking a brand of milk formula linked to the melamine scandal died from kidney failure. China’s Health Ministry said six babies may have died after consuming tainted milk powder, up from a previous official toll of three, and announced a six-fold increase in its tally of infants sickened in the scandal to nearly 300,000.(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)

Read the rest from the Associated Press:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081202/ap_on_bi_ge/
as_china_tainted_milk_4

Santa Won’t Visit China’s Toymakers Much This Year

December 1, 2008

Dongguan, China, produces a vast amount of the toys that will end up under Christmas trees around the world. Or it did, until all the factories there started to close because of the global economy….. leaving thousands of workers out of work and out of luck….

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At about six o’clock Thursday evening, around what used to be quitting time for the day shift at the He Jun toy factory in Dongguan, China, 40-year-old Wei Dong Li made his way to the factory’s front entrance, his three-year-old son Qian Jie tugging at his sleeve. The factory is now closed; a few security guards stand inside the locked gate. Posted each evening at the front entrance is a sheaf of documents: the latest rulings from a local court on compensation claims filed by many of He Jun’s 4,000 workers, Wei included. “They process a few of them a day, so I come back every other day to check and see if my case is on the list,” Wei says. He has no luck again. “I’ll just wait some more,” he says. “I have nothing else to do at this point.”

By Bill Powell
Time Magazine

Dongguan, along with a handful of similar, nearby towns, is the real Santa’s factory at the North Pole. A sprawling, charmless city of 7.5 million that sits 80 km southeast of Guangzhou, the provincial capital of Guangdong in southern China, Dongguan produces a vast amount of the toys that will end up under Christmas trees around the world. Toys were one of the critical, low-wage, low-tech industries on which China built its economic ascent over the past 30 years. But as workers such as Wei know better than anyone, 2008 is the year that that part of China’s miracle has come to an end.

It’s been six weeks since He Jun, a Hong Kong-listed company, shuttered two of its biggest factories in China — suddenly and without any warning, former workers say. They were among the latest and largest factory closures in China’s battered low-end industries: toy manufacturers, textile companies and shoe makers most prominent among them. China’s steadily appreciating renminbi currency — which makes Chinese goods more expensive in key exports markets like the U.S. — as well as higher costs embedded in a new labor law enacted last year were already wreaking havoc with companies that survived even in the best of times on the thinnest of profit margins. Now, with a global recession gathering pace, the best of times are gone, and the pain in what had been booming areas in southern China is spreading quickly. Fully half of China’s toy exporters, which sent nearly $8 billion worth of Barbies and Thomas the Tank Engines to export markets in 2007, were driven out of business in the first seven months of this year, Beijing’s General Administration of Customs said in a recent report. In the city of Shenzhen, the other major manufacturing center in Guangdong province, 50,000 people have already lost their jobs this year. And in Beijing last week, Zhang Ping, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, the nation’s key economic policy-making body, bluntly warned that “excessive production cuts and business closures will cause massive unemployment and that will lead to instability.”

In Dongguan, it already has. Earlier last week, on the evening of November 25, another large toy manufacturer here, Kai Da Manufacturing, laid off more than 600 of its workers because of slowing production. According to participants and eyewitnesses to what followed, a large group of the workers gathered in the front courtyard of the factory demanding to know what compensation they would receive. At first, a company manager told them that anyone with a good work record and less than five years service would receive less than 10,000 RMB—less than $1,500 at today’s exchange rates. Anyone with over seven years on the line and a good record would get 12,300 RMB or about $1,800.

Read the rest:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,
1862717,00.html?xid=rss-topstories

India and Pakistan: Two Very Dangerous Neighbors

December 1, 2008

The tensions between India and Pakistan since the Mumbai terrorism should serve as a reminder that India and Pakistan are two of the more dangerous neighbors on earth.

Both nuclear-armed, India and Pakistan have fought several wars since Britain left South Asia and the nations were “partitioned” in 1947.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Wikipedia says, “resulted in the creation of the Republic of India and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, there have been three major wars, one minor war and numerous armed skirmishes between the two countries. In each case, except the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, where the dispute concerned East Pakistan, the casus belli was the disputed Kashmir region.”

India sees itself as a rival to another “emerging superpower”: China.  The two have tense relationships.

China has built the largest seaport in the world in Pakistan and provides Pakistan with military hardware, technology and assistance.  But when Pakistan recently needed cash, Hu Jintao’s China turned them away and sent them to the IMF.

The U.S. tries to have friendly and helpful relations with both India and Pakistan.  The U.S. just completed a nuclear technology assistance deal with India and Pakistan’s air force has U.S.-made F-16 aircraft.

China, the U.S., Pakistan and India all want a Navy strong enough to assure security in the Indian Ocean and surrounding sea lanes.  Persian Gulf oil headed to Japan, the U.S., and China all passes through these waters.

File photo of the Indian naval warship INS Tabar. A maritime ... 
The Indian naval warship INS Tabar has been involved in recent anti-piracy missions near Somalia.
AFP/Indian Navy/Ho/File

India has a variety of missiles including the short-range Prithvi ballistic missile, the medium-range Akash, and the supersonic Brahmos. The Agni missiles are the most powerful.

India last year successfully test-fired the Agni-III, which is capable of carrying nuclear warheads across much of Asia and the Middle East.

New Delhi says it developed its missile program as a deterrent against neighbors China and Pakistan.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

The Agni-II missile being displayed on a mobile launcher during the 2004 Republic Day parade.

Pakistan has its own ballistic missiles plus assistance from China on many weapons and projects.

JF-17 testing.jpg

Related:

China and Pakistan’s Strategic Importance: Background

JF-17 “Thunder” Aircraft Join Pakistani Air Force

GhauriMissile.jpg
Pakistan’s Ghauri missile can strike into India and other neighboring nations….

Four months after the U.S. ordered its troops into Afghanistan to remove the Taliban regime, China and Pakistan joined hands to break ground in building a Deep Sea Port on the Arabian Sea. The project was sited in an obscure fishing village of Gwadar in Pakistan’s western province of Baluchistan, bordering Afghanistan to the northwest and Iran to the southwest. Gwadar is nautically bounded by the Persian Gulf in the west and the Gulf of Oman in the southwest.

Related:
Attacks push India and Pakistan into deep water: analysts

China’s President Gives Grim Economic Assessment

November 30, 2008

Chinese President Hu Jintao warned at a weekend meeting of the Communist Party’s elite Politburo that China is losing its competitive edge as international demand for its products is reduced, according to official state media reports Sunday.

China’s growth rate has been forecast to be about 9 percent in 2008, down from 11.9 percent the year before and close to the 8 percent that economists say China must maintain in order to keep the labor market stable.

“China is under growing tension from its large population, limited resources and environment problems, and needs faster reform of its economic growth pattern to achieve sustainable development,” Hu said, according to the People’s Daily newspaper, the official Communist Party newspaper. He did not provide specifics. 

By Maureen Fan
Washington Post Foreign Service

Chinese President Hu Jintao speaks during a news conference ...
Hu Jintao by Reuters

“External demand has obviously weakened and China’s traditional competitive advantage is being gradually weakened,” as international demand is reduced, Hu told members of the Political Bureau of the party’s Central Committee, according to the state-run New China News Agency.

Protectionism has also started to increase in investment and trade, Hu added. China’s export growth in October was 19.2 percent, down from 21.5 percent in September.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/
2008/11/30/AR2008113000773.html