Posts Tagged ‘china’
The creation of a new country is an immense undertaking. From the comparatively simple logistics of organising the demarcation of frontiers to establishing a governmental framework and all of the tens of thousands of tasks in between.
The difficulties of such an enterprise should not be underestimated or diminished, it is a mammoth accomplishment to even start the process.
So I think that whilst we should welcome the setting up of South Sudan we should not forget the background to its creation or the part play by Omar Al-Bashir, who took power in a 1989 coup d’etat.
We should not forget the ICC’s warrent for his arrest.
Reeves’s past piece on China’s role in this conflict is illuminating:
“The weaponry and ammunition in this and many other subsequent attacks on the UN peacekeeping force were in all likelihood manufactured in China and imported into Darfur by Khartoum’s armed forces—in direct violation of a UN Security Council embargo on all such movement of arms or ammunition. This is confirmed in a new, unpublished report from the UN Panel of Experts on Darfur, created by UN Security Council Resolution 1591 (March 2005). According to the Washington Post, the UN panel reports “finding recently manufactured shell casings from Chinese ammunition at the site of numerous attacks launched by unidentified assailants against peacekeepers from the joint UN-Union Mission.” This finding clearly implicates Khartoum and its proxies in the attacks on peacekeepers. “
We often think we have it hard in the West, but the reality is different. Particularly when you consider what happens to you in China if you step out of line. You get beaten up or jailed. That’s what happened to Chen Guangcheng, AFP reports:
“WASHINGTON — A blind Chinese activist who exposed abuses in Beijing’s population control policy was beaten unconscious by dozens of men led by a communist party official, his wife said in a letter released Thursday.
Human rights groups earlier reported an attack on activist Chen Guangcheng in February, but the account from his wife — who said she was also severely abused and remains under house arrest — offered graphic new details.
Wife Yuan Weijing said that 70 to 80 men stormed their home in February. She said around 10 beat her husband for more than two hours while the others trashed the place, taking away a computer, video-camera and even flashlights.
“Some of them twisted his arms forcefully while the others were pushing his head down and lifting his collar up tightly. Given his poor health condition of long-time diarrhea, Guangcheng was not able to resist and passed out after more than two hours of torture,” she wrote.
The letter was released by ChinaAid, a US-based rights group. It said it received the letter on Wednesday.
Yuan said the couple was not allowed medical treatment. She said she was covered with a blanket and beaten, which she believed caused her broken ribs. She said she could not see for five to six days and still cannot stand up straight.
Yuan said that the assailants were led by a local communist party vice secretary and included policemen, although they did not wear uniforms or show legal documents.
Yuan said that authorities have stepped up pressure on them since the beating, with their five-year-old daughter also under house arrest and Chen’s mother followed constantly by three men.
Previous attempts to verify the couple’s condition independently were unsuccessful. Reporters from Western news organizations said they were roughed up in February when they tried to reach Chen’s home in the city of Linyi.
Chen, a self-taught lawyer blind since childhood, served more than four years in prison after he exposed widespread late-term abortions and forced sterilizations under China’s policy of restricting most families to one child.
He was released in September and put under house arrest. He later made a daring video, also released by ChinaAid, in which he said police threatened to beat him or throw him back in jail if he spoke up.
“In 2007, officials subjected him to electric shocks, held lighted cigarettes up to his eyes and pierced his genitals with toothpicks. In 2009, the police beat him with handguns for two days. He has been tied up and forced to sit motionless for hours, threatened with death and told that our children were having nervous breakdowns.”
Not only do China’s dictators have one of the worst human rights record on the planet, within China and Tibet, they are also responsible for gunrunning and murder that has taken place in Darfur.
The Beijing dictators have been using all their skills and mounting immense pressure to stop a UN report which indicts them and in part they suceeded, Reuters has more:
“UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – After weeks of delays due to Chinese objections, the U.N. Security Council on Friday received a report on violations of the arms embargo in Sudan’s western Darfur region that infuriated Beijing.
Austrian U.N. Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting told reporters he was passing the so-called Panel of Experts’ report on compliance with the embargo to council members. A council diplomat later confirmed that the report had been sent out.
The confidential report, which Reuters has seen, said Khartoum committed multiple breaches of the embargo and China has done little to ensure its weaponry is not used in Darfur.
It describes how markings on most of the 18 types of bullet casings found at scenes of attacks against U.N./African Union peacekeepers indicated they were manufactured in China. “
The craven nature of Western powers complying with, or not wishing to offend their most beloved trading partners, China is shameful, but not unexpected.
As with David Cameron’s trip, Western leaders will occasionally raise, very carefully, a few questions about human rights in China.
But it is all for the benefit of the media and “face”.
Western leaders won’t let the inconvenient issue of human rights get in the way of doing lucrative contracts with China. Business comes first in the West, that’s how they see it, and it is the Darfurians and Tibetans that lose out as a result.
Update 1: We shouldn’t forget Eric Reeves’ writings on the matter, particularly his most recent:
“The relationship between Darfur and Southern Sudan has never been well understood by the Obama administration, largely because of the incompetence of the president’s special envoy to Sudan, retired Air Force General Scott Gration. Gration came to the position in early 2009 without any significant diplomatic experience or familiarity with the extraordinary complexities of Sudan—Africa’s largest and most diverse country; he touted as background only his birth in Africa to missionary parents and an apparent facility in Swahili (of no use anywhere in Sudan). But he has enjoyed until recently the full support of President Obama, and this has made informed, tough-minded engagement with the Khartoum regime impossible.
The consequences of this failure are increasingly evident in proliferating news coverage of the critical and unresolved issues between the regime in Khartoum and the southern leadership in Juba. Unsurprisingly, as the scheduled referenda for southern Sudan and Abyei draw nearer, there has been a corresponding proliferation of commentary, nearly all of it from sources as belated as the Obama administration itself in recognizing the dangers looming in Sudan. What these commentaries most conspicuously lack is any sense of the relationship between events in Darfur and Khartoum’s stalling on the southern electoral process.
THE COST of US belatedness in responding to the electoral calendar leading to the two southern referenda has been extraordinarily high (http://www.dissentmagazine.org/atw.php?id=303 ). With less than two months until the January 9, 2011 date on which the votes are to occur, Khartoum has successfully run out the clock and is in a position to extract significant concessions from the US—sweeteners to persuade the regime to allow the referenda to occur as guaranteed by the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which in January 2005 ended more than twenty years of unfathomably destructive civil war. Desperate to avoid the diplomatic catastrophe of a CPA collapse, the Obama team has been significantly expanded in recent weeks and months; however, it is far from clear that there is enough time to prevent war from re-igniting, the same war ended by the CPA almost six years ago. Warnings unheeded for well over a year have only now set off all the alarm bells; in turn, the most significant part of the US response has been to offer Khartoum more and more in the way of incentives.”
Liu Xia is a former civil servant, imprisoned in her own home under house arrest in China.
Her crime? Being married to Liu Xiaobo.
Whilst David Cameron is sucking up to the dictators in Bejing, human rights in China are getting worse, as the BBC shows.
The Chinese state is attacking Liu Xiaobo’s family and friends, as the Toronto Star reports:
“Now, with the award of the Nobel, the government has fired up a fresh campaign against Liu, while at the same time targeting his supporters.
Newspapers have carried anti-Liu essays and opinion pieces calling him a “criminal” and “a Western tool” for suggesting an end to the Communist Party’s monopoly on power.
Meanwhile the government has suggested the Nobel is just part of an international conspiracy to bring disrespect to China’s legal system.
And Wednesday it took the extraordinary step of quashing any hope Liu might have had to have his own acceptance speech spoken at the ceremony in Oslo.
Liu’s family said Chinese authorities have cancelled their scheduled monthly visit with Liu, apparently afraid that he might pass on a message to be delivered to the world at the December ceremony.
Liu’s wife, Liu Xia, had said after visiting him Oct. 10 that he intended to draft a message.
But Liu’s two brothers and a brother-in-law told the Hong Kong-based Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy that they expect no further family visits until after the ceremony, thereby ensuring no message gets out.
The government’s vitriol has surprised many observers.
“I think we expected some reaction after the award, but nothing quite as brutal as what we have had,” says Kerry Brown, a former British diplomat and senior researcher at London’s Chatham House, the international affairs institute.
“The Chinese response seems primitive and heavy handed. I am amazed that people we thought so powerful can get so offended.”
While many regard the awarding of the peace prize as “dubious at the best of times,” says Brown, “the Chinese elite are reacting like this actually matters — and evidently it does, to them.”
One of the most recent to feel the government’s heavy hand is Liu’s long-time lawyer Mo Shaoping.
Mo was forbidden to leave the country Tuesday — plucked from a line at Beijing’s sleek Capital International Airport just as he was about to board British Airways flight 038 to London.
Mo and well-known Chinese legal scholar He Weifang were headed to the U.K. to address a seminar hosted by the International Bar Association. The topic: the challenges of being an independent lawyer in China.”
Nor should we forget that China’s political policies, decided by unelected men, are the one reason that dictators in Burma are still in power.
“The protests are sparked by Chinese educational reforms which stipulate that all subjects will be taught in Chinese and all textbooks will be in Chinese.These reforms have already been implemented in other areas across the Tibet Autonomous Region, including in primary schools.”
Capitalism depends on the manufacture of goods at comparatively low prices, but often sold at a premium.
For evidence of that we need look no further than the modern Western accoutrement, the mobile phone.
This has been brought into focus by the activities of Foxconn, whose naked exploitation of its workers has led to many suicides and growing concerns over its activities.
Foxconn is effectively a subcontractor to Western companies, Apple, Nokia, etc. They put together electronic goods and mobile phones that are so ubiquitous in the West.
But that labour comes at a cost, small cost for Foxconn and a large one for its workers as the strike in India shows:
“Foxconn India management’s defiance to recognise the demands of the Foxconn India Thozhilalar Sangam (FITS) union affiliated to the Centre of India Trade Unions (CITU), on wages and reinstatement of 23 workers, caused workers to commence an industrial struggle on September 22, 2010, according to information provided by the International Metalworkers’ Federation (IMF) and India labour rights group Cividep.
On September 8, FITS, claiming membership of around 1,500 workers out of the 1,800 total of regular workers, gave notice to strike to Foxconn India management demanding wage negotiations. However, the management entered in to an agreement with Foxconn India Thozhilalar Munnetra Sangam (FITMS), a union affiliated to LPF workers wing of ruling DMK party.
From the early hours of September 22, 2010, FITS commenced its “sit-in” strike, around 1,500 workers participated and half of them are women workers. Around 6,000 contract workers and trainees were also not allowed to work by the strikers. In the evening of the same day workers called off the strike as the Foxconn India management promised to discuss with the FITS union in the presence of District Labour Commissioner on September 27, 2010.
However, on September 23, Foxconn India informed the workers that it already entered in to a memorandum of understanding with the FITMS union, hence no negotiations with FITS and announced the imposition of eight days wage cut for workers who participated in the strike.
Protesting against the management action, FITS resumed the sit-in strike on September 24. The management used police to arrest 1,500 workers and suspended 23 activists.”
It seems like ages since I rounded up some of the blogs that I read and their thoughts, but this time it is with the addition of some news stories that struck me.
First out, Flesh is Grass is espousing Fairness with an eye on the comprehensive spending review.
Martin About the design…and my own two pence.
“In a recent New York Times interview, the blogger Pamela Geller leveled many serious charges against Islam; she stated that Muslims curse Jews and Christians during their five-times-a-day prayer; that the only good Muslim is a secular Muslim; and most perniciously, she said that the Qur’an has never been properly translated, insinuating that it contains dark secrets about Muslims and their religious responsibilities. This last bit struck me as outrageous, because, as a Jew, Geller should know that anti-Semites have spent nearly two thousand years insinuating that the Talmud contains secret instructions guiding the alleged Jewish attempt to dominate the world. To make the same unsupported charge against Islam is egregious.”
I hope the miners in China will be rescued.
The FT has more.
Ami Isseroff on Peace is the only option.
Eamonn McDonagh says Ahmadinejad: An Honest Anti-Zionist.
YourFriendInTheNorth looks at North Korea:
“Totalitarian dictatorships are of course unpredictable beasts in that they can often collapse just as easily as they can declare war. At the opening of the 1980s few people predicted the revolutions that would sweep eastern Europe in the final months of that decade. There may be some hoping that the DPRK, now officially in a period of transition to a new leadership, will suddenly implode at some point in the near future in the same way that Romania, Czechoslovakia and their Stalinist neighbours did in that momentous year of 1989. Unfortunately, that is unlikely. Even more disgraceful than those indulging in such wishful thinking is the fact that there are many senior officials in the south who are content for the status quo to continue, so afraid are they of the potential cost of reunification and the possibility of millions of their fellow countrymen flocking to Seoul and other cities in the south in the wake of the 65 year old border evaporating. “
Weggis (with a nice new design) on Pissing into the Wind, he doesn’t seem to think too highly of a particular boat to Gaza.
Everybody Hates a Tourist has an excellent piece on how a leading member of the English Defence League LGBT’s division has resigned over the EDL’s constant racism.
I had been intending to cover Foxconn and their appalling treatment of workers for sometime, the Daily (Maybe) beats me to it with an informative post on the company and Hundreds of Foxconn workers arrested in India.
The CST on Abe Foxman: speak out against anti-Muslim bigotry, very timely.
“Instead, the job of shadow chancellor is to come up with what Tanweer Ali calls “simple frames” – easily-understood narratives and soundbites. And as Paul says, Johnson might be better at doing this than Balls precisely because he is not trapped by any knowledge.
These points do not apply merely to Johnson. As Jonathan says, Miliband has applied the no-expertise principle quite widely: Yvette Cooper has no background in foreign affairs and Balls little interest so far in home affairs.
There is, however, a cost here. Excluding expertise from politics has a conservative bias, because radical critiques of hierarchical capitalism require in-depth understanding, and cannot be reduced to mere slogans (they often are, but those slogans don’t work).
But then, the function of managerialist politics is precisely to uphold the existing order.”
Stroppy on LGBT rights , battle not won.
The Scottish Anti-Fascist Alliance has coverage of the Scottish Defence League and the typical “we are not neo-nazis defence” doesn’t work for the SDL either:
The Srebrenica Genocide Blog has coverage of Radovan Karadzic’s trial.
Snoopy thinks Lieberman is confused.
Searchlight’s A journey to hope Anti-fascism in a new era.
Rosie is less than impressed with the many incarnations of the RCP.
James Bloodworth sees the end of mass higher education.
Carl Paladino is taken apart at Mystical Politics.
Matt on a particularly odd form of one-state solution and Juan Cole.
Hitchens vs. Hitchens, again at Roland’s.
Green’s Engage has a piece on some monumental political stupidity and malice, Green Left’s guest urges support for the English Defence League.
Finally, Max on Liu Xiaobo, superb:
“I hope to be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for their speech.”
Update 1: Ops, I missed this one, John Gray on a completely flawed report by Lord Young.
Young, you will remember came into politics under Margaret Thatcher and was key in arguing for privatisation all over the place.
Update 2: Bob has a long thought entry, An enormous EDL post.
Most of us, we can barely imagine what it must be like to be a miner.
To carve lumps of rock, extract the minerals where possible and work hundreds of metres underground in cramped conditions, surrounded by rock, sweating, breathing in the dust and all to benefit other people.
That’s what miners do.
We shouldn’t forget what price is often paid by miners themselves and their communities.
The CNN reports:
“Coal helps fuel China’s surging economy. The country tripled its annual output of coal from 1 billion tons in 1999 to 3 billion tons in 2009, according to the state-run China Daily.
Accidents killed 2,631 Chinese coal miners in 2009, according to China Daily. The most dangerous year on record was 2002, with 6,995 deaths.
In China, poor safety conditions, a lack of training and the flouting of laws contribute to the high number of deaths.
By comparison, the United States had 34 mining deaths in 2009, a record low for the country. In 2008, the United States had 53 mining deaths, according to the U.S. Labor Department.
A typical Chinese miner works 21 shifts a month, for 12 hours a shift, according to the state-run newspaper.
“It felt like hell,” one miner said of his first time down in a maze of mine tunnels.
Wang Gang, a 24-year-old miner, gave his account to China Daily.
“Given a choice, I would never work in a mine,” said Wang, whose father and grandfather were miners.
He turned to mining in March 2009 only after starting a family. He became a miner at the Wangping Mine Co. in northern Shanxi province, a state mine where his father once worked.
Wang’s wife stays up till he returns from work safely, among many such concerned family members in the coal-rich province.”
And that’s only part of it.
Update 1: BBC World Service has a good programme on the Chilean Miners, Waiting for Omar – The Rescue of A Chilean Miner.
Google is in the news in more than one way.
Firstly, for releasing information on the type of requests that it receives from governments around the world on Google’s users.
There is a Google page which breaks it down to country by country requests.
Here’s the FAQ.
Next, more details behind the hacking attack on Google have been released:
“It was previously believed that the hackers took individual log-in details but, if the report is true, the breach was considerably more severe.
Google is notoriously secretive about Gaia and rarely discusses it in public, which may provide a clue as to why the company has been so tight-lipped about the incident.
The insider also told The New York Times about the methods used to gain access to Google’s systems.
“The theft began with an instant message sent to a Google employee in China who was using Microsoft’s Messenger program,” he is quoted as saying.
“By clicking on a link and connecting to a ‘poisoned’ web site, the employee inadvertently permitted the intruders to gain access to his (or her) personal computer, and then to the computers of a critical group of software developers at Google’s headquarters.
“Ultimately, the intruders were able to gain control of a software repository used by the development team.”
The hackers then transferred the stolen code to computers operated by web hosting firm Rackspace, from where they were sent to an unknown destination.”
Finally, fake Google extensions are doing the rounds, bringing in Trojans and other Malware, be careful.
The Torygraph has more:
“More than 400 people were killed and 10,000 injured when a series of strong earthquakes struck the mountainous Tibetan Plateau in south-west China, collapsing schools, offices and thousands of mud-wall houses.
State television showed aircraft being loaded with the first emergency aid deliveries that will include 5,000 tents, 50,000 cotton coats and 50,000 quilts to protect victims against near-freezing temperatures and strong winds that whip across the plateau.
Rescuers said that it could take some time to reach stricken areas, which are a 12 hour drive from the provincial capital of Xining along poor roads, some of which have been damaged by landslides.
The remoteness of the area, which is home to about 100,000 mostly ethnic Tibetan herders and farmers, meant that modern equipment, including earth movers and medical facilities, were also in desperately short supply.”
Update 1: The Beeb has coverage and a handy map:
Update 2: Time magazine has an informative article:
“On a good day, it takes 12 hours by bus to get to Yushu from the provincial capital, Xining, which is itself about a 1,000-mile drive from the national capital of Beijing. As you climb south and west across the Qinghai-Tibet plateau, urban sprawl cedes to empty steppe. Just north of Tibet, the road opens into a small town tucked in a river valley. Its main street is lined with vendors selling yak butter and tea; its low, brown hills are lined with rows of brightly colored courtyard homes. Those homes — and the town — now lie in ruin.
There is another factor at work here. Yushu sits at what was the edge of the old Chinese empire, and to this day its predominant population is not Han, the ethnic group that rules the new China, but Tibetan. Indeed, the name Yushu, or “Jade Tree,” is not what the locals use, beautiful as it is. Yushu is Mandarin, the language of the bureaucrats of Beijing. The town uses Jyekundo, which is Tibetan — the language of the exiled Dalai Lama, a bête noire of the Chinese government. Dominating a large square in Yushu was a spectacular statue not of some cultural hero from the broad river plains, crowded cities or farmlands further east but of the great Gesar, a legendary king of the pastoral peoples of Tibet and Mongolia. No one knows if it survived the quake.”
Update 3: More from the Beeb:
“Thousands of Tibetan monks using pickaxes, shovels and their bare hands have been helping rescue teams and local people dig survivors from the rubble.
“There are people in here, we have got to find them,” one monk in Jiegu told the AFP news agency.
At a foothill under the main monastery of Jiegu township, monks chanted Tibetan Buddhist mantras in front of piles of dead, Reuters news agency reports.
Some helped residents look for kin among what appeared to be hundreds of bodies, collected on a covered platform, the agency says.
“I’d say we’ve collected a thousand or more bodies here,” said Lopu, a monk in maroon robes. “Some we found ourselves, some were sent to us.”
“Many of the bodies you see here don’t have families or their families haven’t come looking for them, so it’s our job to take good care of them.”
Another monk told the AFP news agency he had come from the Ganzi region of neighbouring Sichuan province to set up a food station.
“Around 28 monasteries have sent people to help. We will be bringing in more and more supplies later today,” he said.
A distraught ethnic Tibetan woman who gave her name as Sonaman said she had “lost everything”.
Wandering the streets with her four-year-old nephew tucked under her coat, Sonaman, 52, said that her mother, father and sister had died.
“My house has been destroyed,” she told AFP. “It’s been flattened. My family lost 10 people. We have nothing. We have nothing to eat.”
[I wrote this a day or so ago and forgot to post it]
The Chinese government’s reaction to a proposed meeting between the Dalai Lama and President Obama is almost one of spitting blood. They have threatened some unnamed consequences if the meeting goes ahead.
What I thought was most interesting wasn’t the meeting itself or China’s reaction, which clearly was overkill, rather how a comparatively moderate individual figure, the Dalai Lama, is almost portrayed as a Baader-Meinhof psychopath, hell-bent on China’s destruction irrespective of the consequences.
That doesn’t seem to me to be a reasonable or accurate representation of his views. I could be wrong, and I confess I don’t follow his views that closely.
AS far as I can tell he holds very, very moderate views on Tibet, that it should still remain linked to China, but with the Tibetans actually running the country, as opposed to Beijing appointed Party Secretary. Nothing too radical there.
In fact, the Dalai Lama’s continued peaceful attitude towards China’s brutal occupation of Tibet is opposed by many Tibetans as inadequate, inappropriate and obviously not working.
Nevertheless, the Dalai Lama hasn’t recommended suicide bombings, random shootings or even murder of Chinese officials in Tibet, quite the opposite.
So it is all the bizarre that China’s government tries to depict his views as extreme, when they are clearly peaceful.
“Concern is mounting for a Chinese lawyer who is believed to be in detention but has not been seen for nearly a year.
Foreign governments have urged Chinese officials to reveal the whereabouts of well-known activist Gao Zhisheng.
Human rights groups say it is unusual that there has been no formal word on why Mr Gao was taken and what condition he is in.
Officials have so far given only cryptic hints as to where he is. A foreign ministry spokesman said he was “where he should be”.
The lawyer has long been targeted by the government, which has previously stopped him working, put him on trial and kept him under surveillance. “
The authorities in China have cancelled the first Gay Pride Festival there, according to the BBC:
“A Chinese gay pageant, said to be the first held in the country, was ordered by police to close an hour before opening, organisers say.
The Mr Gay China event was thought to mark a new openness toward the gay community in China.
Organisers said police informed them it could not go ahead because they had not applied “according to the procedures”.
Homosexuality was illegal in China until 1997, and officials described it as a mental illness until 2001.
The event’s organiser, Ben Zhang, said he had been hoping the event would mark another step towards greater awareness of gay people in China.
One of the judges, Weng Xiaogang, told the AFP news agency: “In my opinion, I believe it [the cancellation] had something to do with the issue of homosexuality.” “
Update 1: Sydney Morning Herald has additional coverage.