Outspoken Tibetan detained by China on separatism charges stuck in legal limbo, lawyer says

Originally published by Canadian Press,24 Aug 2010

By Alexa Olesen

 BEIJING, China — A Tibetan author detained for his recent book that calls for nonviolent resistance to Chinese rule in Tibet is stuck in legal limbo, his lawyer said Friday, with police reinvestigating his case and the court having rejected his chosen legal team.

 Four months after being taken into custody, the writer Tragyal remains in jail in the far western city of Xining, charged with inciting separatism. He was expected to face trial this month, but police recently told his family they were reviewing the evidence against him before sending the case to prosecutors, his lawyer said.

 Tragyal’s wife, a friend and lawyer all say Tragyal was being unfairly punished and the book, while critical, never advocates violence or Tibetan independence from China.

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The China Syndrome

Originally published by Forbes,24 Aug 2010
By Joel Kotkin

Five reasons why the U.S. can stay ahead of the Middle Kingdom.

China’s ascension to the world’s second-largest economy, surpassing Japan, has led to predictions that it will inevitably snatch the No. 1 spot from the United States. Nomura Securities envisions China surpassing the U.S.’ total GDP in little more than a decade. And economist Robert Fogel predicts that by 2050 China’s economy will account for 40% of the world’s GDP, with the U.S.’ share shrinking to a measly 14%.

Americans indeed should worry about the prospect of slipping status, but the idée fixe about China’s inevitable hegemony–like Japan’s two decades ago–could prove greatly exaggerated. Countries generally do not experience hyper-growth–the starting point for many predictions–for long. Eventually costs rise, internal pressures grow and natural limitations brake and can even throw the economy into reverse.

Instead the U.S. has a decent chance of remaining the world’s pre-eminent economy not only over the next decade or two and even by mid-century. There are five key reasons for this contrarian conclusion.

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ASEAN human rights remain a pipe dream

Originally published by The Nation (Thailand)/Asia News Network, 23 Aug 2010

By Kavi Chongkittavorn, Early this month, the U.N. special envoy for Burma (also known as Myanmar), Tomas Ojea Quintana wrote a letter to the chairman, Do Ngoc Son, of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) asking for a meeting “to exchange views” on their respective organizations and activities. The request was quickly turned down. Instead, he met with representatives from Thailand and Indonesia. In Jakarta, ASEAN permanent representatives including Burma also attended the meeting, which was described as useful and insightful.

Views were varied within ASEAN whether AICHR should meet with Ojea Quintana at this point. Like it or not with its establishment in October 2009, AICHR has automatically become the focus point of all activities related to human rights issues in ASEAN. Both Thailand and Indonesia thought that AICHR should have the opportunities to discuss issues related to human rights, especially those related to ASEAN, with Ojea Quintana who can bring in the much needed international perspective. Both countries believed that various aspects of human rights issues raised by the UN envoy would impact on ASEAN in the future.

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China moves to reduce number of crimes punishable by death

Human rights groups welcome proposals but say that 55 common offences remain unaffected

Originally published by Guardian.co.uk, 23 Aug 2010

By Jonathan Watts in Beijing

 If proposals are accepted, the crime of smuggling endangered animals such as the leatherback turtle (above) is one of those that will no longer be subject to the death penalty. Photograph: Natural England/PAChina is moving to soften its image as the world’s biggest executioner by removing the death penalty for tax dodging, fiddling receipts and smuggling endangered animals.

The maximum sentence for these and 10 other crimes that can currently be punished by lethal injection could be reduced to life imprisonment under a draft revision of the criminal code, which still has to be officially approved, the state media reported today.

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China Slams Pentagon Report

Orijinally published by RFA,18 Aug 2010

By Xi Wang

Beijing says Washington is hurting bilateral military ties.


People’s Liberation Army honor guardsmen march during a ceremony in Beijing, May 17, 2010.

HONG KONG—China’s defense ministry has hit out at a recent report on its military expansion by the Pentagon, which accuses Beijing of a secretive build-up of military power and calls on the ruling Communist Party to boost transparency.

A ministry spokesman said the report, which comes after Beijing recently suspended cooperation with the U.S. military, is “not beneficial to the improvement and development of Sino-U.S. military ties.”

The Pentagon report said Beijing is upgrading its hefty arsenal of land-based missiles, modernizing its nuclear forces, and expanding its fleet of attack submarines.

Chinese defense ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng said the report criticized “normal national defense and military build-up” and exaggerated China’s threat to Taiwan, which has been governed separately from the mainland since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949.

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China’s Secure Communications Quantum Leap

Originally published by Jamestown.org China Brief Volume: 10 Issue: 17August 19, 2010

 By Matthew Luce   

In May 2010 a team of 15 Chinese researchers from Tsinghua University in Beijing and the Hefei National Laboratory for Physical Sciences, a government-directed research center, published a research paper announcing a successful demonstration of “quantum teleportation” (liangzi yinxing chuan) over 16 kilometers of free space. These researchers claimed to have the first successful experiment in the world. The technology on display has the potential to revolutionize secure communications for military and intelligence organizations and may become the watershed of a research race in communication and information technology.

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PLA Expands Network of Military Reconnaissance Satellites

Originally boplished by Jamestown.org

By Russell Hsiao  

On August 9, China launched the remote sensing satellite Yaogan-10 (military designation: Jianbing) into orbit from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center. Situated in the northwest of Shanxi Province, the site is a space and defense launch facility reportedly used for testing the Chinese military’s intercontinental ballistic missiles and overland submarine-launched ballistic missiles (Globalsecurity.org). This event marks the sixth Chinese launch this year via the CZ-4C Chang Zheng-4C (Long March) launch vehicle and follows a surge in satellite launches that appear to reflect the Chinese determination to beef up its reconnaissance satellite network and end its dependence upon foreign satellite systems. While China’s exact intentions are unknown, given the dual use-nature of remote sensing satellites, China is rapidly improving its diverse network of space-based Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) sensors, which can bolster the Chinese military’s expanding land, sea and air operations (Nasaspaceflight.com, August 9; Xinhua News Agency, August 10).

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Pentagon Cites Concerns in China Military Growth

 WASHINGTON — China has increased spending on a military that is becoming larger and more effective even as Beijing has rebuffed exchanges with the Defense Department that could improve stability, according to a Pentagon study released Monday.

Senior Pentagon officials acknowledged that much of the Chinese military modernization program may reflect the rational ambition of a rising global power, albeit one that may be a worrisome rival to American interests in the Pacific region.

But across the American government — from the White House to the Pentagon to Congress — officials express concern that China’s lack of openness about the growth, capabilities and intentions of its military injects instability to a vital region of the globe.

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