Finally, PM to break his long silence

Originally published by The Australian, 23 Apr 2010

By Rowan Callick

THIS evening, Kevin Rudd will deliver a long-awaited address over which he will have agonised in the early hours, following his arm-wrestling with the premiers over health.

The Prime Minister is speaking at his alma mater, the Australian National University, on “Australia and China in the World”. There is no topic on which he is better qualified to talk, but also none on which he has been so reluctant, in recent times, to do so publicly.

The section of the speech likely to be most enthusiastically applauded will be his heavily anticipated announcement of a massive grant – believed to be about $35 million – to establish one of the world’s leading research centres on China at the ANU, as revealed in The Australian.

Continue Reading →

China: Risk of torture for 17-year old in China

Originally published by, 21 April 2010



18-year-old Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz was sentenced to life imprisonment on 13 April 2010, following demonstrations and subsequent violence in western China in July 2009. His trial was unfair and his confession may have been extracted under torture.

Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz has been held incommunicado since 27 July 2009, when he was detained in the wake of unrest in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region (XUAR). Police informed his family that he was detained because of his alleged participation in demonstrations in Urumqi (in Chinese: Wulumuqi) on 5 July 2009 and told them that a boy of his build was suspected of attacking people with stones.

His trial by the Aksu (in Chinese: Akesu) Intermediate People’s Court on 13 April lasted only 30 minutes. His mother attended the trial, but was told about it only one day in advance. The Court was shown video footage of a group of Uighurs beating a man. Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz was not present in the group beating the man in the video nor is he shown on the video carrying a stone. The video does, however, show him on the same street. The Court was also shown another video, shot a couple of months later, in which he was taken by police officers to visit the alleged murder scene. On this video, he confesses to the killing. It is possible that his confession was extracted through torture. The Court found Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz guilty of “murder (or intentional homicide)” and “provoking an incident” (Criminal Law articles 232 and 293 respectively). During his trial, he was represented by a lawyer appointed by the court. He is appealing his verdict.

Noor-Ul-Islam Sherbaz was held for the first 8 months in Xishan Detention Centre in Urumqi, but was then transferred to a detention centre in Aksu in western XUAR, approximately 1000 km from Urumqi for the trial. He was 17 years old at the time of the July 2009 unrest and turned 18 on 16 January in detention.

Continue Reading →

Australian firms fear Beijing’s cyber tentacles

Originally published by The Australian,21 Apr 2010 

By Rowan Callick

AUSTRALIAN corporations are increasingly being targeted by cyber attacks from unknown parties in China, and as yet there is no effective defence.

The attacks come as cyber warfare intensifies globally, and as the Australia-China relationship stabilises after a turbulent 2009, including debate about Chinese investment, the arrest of Rio Tinto executive Stern Hu and the visit of Uighur leader Rebiya Kadeer. On Friday, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will deliver an address at the Australian National University on the subject of “Australia and China in the world”.

Continue Reading →

China Eyes Kyrgyz Unrest

Originally published by RFA, 19 Apr 2010

By Michael Lelyveld

BOSTON—China is wary of Russia’s efforts to regain influence in Central Asia following the government overthrow in Kyrgyzstan, analysts say.

The deadly riots that ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on April 7 followed months of turmoil in the isolated country of 5 million on China’s western border.

Political and economic pressures prompted the takeover by a provisional government under former Foreign Minister Roza Otunbayeva.

But it was also preceded by an unusual wave of criticism from Russian media, television broadcasts and Web sites, experts said.

“Clearly, Russia was interfering,” said S. Frederick Starr, chairman of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Washington’s Johns Hopkins University.

Starr cited a “publicity campaign against Bakiyev” and “a large FSB [Russian security agency] presence in Bishkek, which is still there.”

Continue Reading →

Uyghur Barred from Travel

Originally published by RFA, 19 Apr 2010

By Erkin Tarim

 ANKARA—Chinese authorities have barred a leading ethnic Uyghur economist based, in Beijing, from attending an academic conference in Turkey, along with four other Uyghur academics from the Xinjiang regional capital, Urumqi, organizers say.

“We invited four scholars from Urumqi, six from Beijing—and now only four scholars from Beijing’s Central University for Nationalities are joining the conference now,” Alimjan Inayet, the organizer of an international panel on Turkic culture at Ege University in Izmir, Turkey, said.

Continue Reading →

The Geography of Chinese Power

Originally published by The New York Times, 19 Apr 2010


China’s blessed geography is so obvious a point that it tends to get overlooked in discussions of the country’s economic dynamism and national assertiveness.

Yet it is essential: It means that China will stand at the hub of geopolitics even if the country’s path toward global power is not necessarily linear.

Today China’s ambitions are as aggressive as those of the United States a century ago, but for completely different reasons. China does not take a missionary approach to world affairs, seeking to spread an ideology or a system of government. Instead, its actions are propelled by its need to secure energy, metals and strategic minerals in order to support the rising living standards of its immense population.

Continue Reading →

New film questions China’s effect on world

Originally published by Japantoday,19 Apr 2010

TOKYO —Veverka Bros Productions LLC has completed the company’s first feature-length film, “China: The Rebirth of an Empire.” The documentary examines the global implications of China’s unprecedented growth, which has placed it on the verge of overtaking the United States as the world’s preeminent power.

But what type of power will China become? Empire or democracy? In today’s interconnected and globalized world, the answer affects each and every one of us.

The film, produced by brothers Jesse and Jeremy Veverka, was shot on location in 10 different countries and territories throughout Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Nepal and the United States, and weaves together such diverse issues as free trade, Islamic fundamentalism, North Korea’s nuclear program and the Pro-Tibet movement under the umbrella of the national aspirations of an increasingly wealthy China.

Continue Reading →

China’s Hu flies in to quake site, toll tops 1,700

Originally published by Reuters, 18 Apr 2010

By Royston Chan and Chris Buckley

Continue Reading →