Can China be an international leader?

Originally published by, 9 Apr 2010

By Jamie F Metzl

China’s willingness to join negotiations on potential sanctions against Iran and to send President Hu Jintao to a nuclear security summit in Washington this month are important preliminary steps towards taking more responsibility in managing international affairs. But merely joining conversations or showing up for meetings is not enough. Given its growing profile, China must do far more to demonstrate its bona fides as a responsible global leader or risk undermining the system that has enabled its own miraculous rise.

China has emerged as a world power far more quickly than most observers – and China’s own leaders – might have predicted as little as a decade ago. China’s rapid economic growth, juxtaposed against America’s problems in Iraq and Afghanistan, monumental debt and role in sparking the global financial crisis, have changed global power realities – and global perceptions of those realities even more. China’s current international influence likely outstrips its desire or capacity.

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Kyrgyz president refuses to quit

Originally published by BBC News, 8 Apr 2010

By Rayhan Demytrie

Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was forced to flee the capital Bishkek amid a bloody uprising, has insisted he will not resign.

In a series of interviews, Mr Bakiyev said he was in the south and would not leave. But he accepted he had lost control of the security forces.

The opposition, under ex-foreign minister Roza Otunbayeva, says it has taken full power.

The violent uprising has left 75 people dead and more than 1,000 injured.

Further sustained gunfire was heard after nightfall on Thursday, with Reuters news agency quoting the interior ministry as saying police were battling hundreds of looters.

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Kyrgyz unrest plays into regional rivalry

Originally published by Reuters, 8 Apr 2010

By Steve Gutterman and Amie Ferris-Rotman – Analysis

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The overthrow of Kyrgyzstan’s government adds a fresh dose of chaos in a region where Russia, the United States and China have a common interest in stability and competing hunger for influence.

The opposition said on Thursday it had taken power in the poor, mostly Muslim nation north of Afghanistan after President Kurmanbek Bakiyev fled the capital following clashes between police and protesters that left dozens dead.

Here are some of the implications for Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia and beyond.

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China says Iran sanctions talks in NY “constructive”

 Originally published by Reuters, 8 Apr 2010

By Daniel Bases and Louis Charbonneau

NEW YORK (Reuters) – China joined Russia and four other world powers on Thursday for what diplomats said were “constructive” but inconclusive talks on possible new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program.

“It’s a very constructive negotiation,” China’s U.N. Ambassador Li Baodong told reporters after a nearly three-hour meeting with his counterparts from Russia, the United States, Britain, France and Germany.

He said the group planned to meet again next week. Details of the discussions were not immediately available, but diplomats familiar with talks said the delegations were far from agreement on a fourth round of U.N. sanctions on Iran.

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Our Friend, The Dragon

Originally published by Energy Tribune ,7 Apr 2010

By R. Dobie Langenkamp

China is much in the news and on the minds of those of us in the West.

There is concern over China’s human rights posture, its treatment of Tibet, its monetary policy, its massive trade surplus, its burgeoning defense budget, its contribution to global warming, and its impediment of internet freedom.

But there is one aspect of Chinese policy which causes unneeded concern when it is actually beneficial to the world economy and a win-win situation: China’s aggressive efforts to develop oil and gas reserves.

With a relatively flat 3 million barrels per day of production, and a sky rocketing economy, it is natural for China to be concerned about access to the oil it needs to move the country forward. Think of how concerned the US has been with oil production even though its production is almost twice that of China’s. And now remember that the US has the benefit of being nestled between two substantial oil producing states. (Three if you count Venezuela.)

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China’s Censors Tackle and Trip Over the Internet

Originally published by The New York Times, April 7, 2010


BEIJING — Type the Chinese characters for “carrot” into Google’s search engine here in mainland China, and you will be rewarded not with a list of Internet links, but a blank screen.

Don’t blame Google, however. The fault lies with China’s censors — who are increasingly a model for countries around the world that want to control an unrestricted Internet.

Since late March, when Google moved its search operations out of mainland China to Hong Kong, each response to a Chinese citizen’s search request has been met at the border by government computers, programmed to censor any forbidden information Google might turn up.

“Carrot” — in Mandarin, huluobo — may seem innocuous enough. But it contains the same Chinese character as the surname of President Hu Jintao. And the computers, long programmed to intercept Chinese-language searches on the nation’s leaders, substitute an error message for the search result before it can sneak onto a mainland computer.

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Uighurs demand release on US soil

Originally published by Bangkok Post, 7 Apr 2010

Lawyers for five Uighurs held at Guantanamo Bay are petitioning the US Court of Appeals in Washington to consider their clients be initially released on US soil.

A US federal judge had granted that right to the Uighurs in October 2008, but the ruling was overturned on appeal.

US lawmakers have also blocked the Uighurs from being released in the United States, even though the federal government has cleared them of any wrongdoing and said they do not pose a risk.

Washington refused to send the men — members of a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority — back to China, fearing they would be persecuted.

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Q+A: What is going on in Kyrgyzstan?

Originally published by Reuters, 7 Apr 2010

By Guy Faulconbridge

BISHKEK (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev declared a state of emergency on Wednesday as dozens of people were killed in clashes between police and thousands of protesters demanding an end to his five-year rule.

Below are questions and answers about what is going on in Kyrgyzstan:


Kyrgyzstan, which lies at the heart of Central Asia, is central to Western efforts to contain the spread of Islamist militancy from Afghanistan.

The United States rents an air base in Kyrgyzstan which it uses to support its fight against Taliban insurgents in nearby Afghanistan. Russia also has an air base in the country.

A change of leadership in Bishkek could complicate the base agreements. Last year, Kyrgyzstan demanded the United States close the Manas base, but later agreed to let Washington keep the base for a higher rent.

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