Appeasement gets us nowhere with bellicose Beijing

Originally published by The Australian ,01 April 2010

By Greg Sheridan

THE trial and conviction in China of Australian Stern Hu is a landmark in Australian foreign policy, and our relations with China.

Stephen Smith, a competent and effective Foreign Minister, nonetheless never said a stupider or more untrue thing than that the case would have no effect on Australia’s relations with China. This is just an insult to our intelligence.

The day after, Kevin Rudd criticised the part of Hu’s trial that had been held in secret, as indeed did Smith. The Chinese Foreign Ministry denounced Rudd’s “irresponsible remarks”.

Hu was sentenced to 10 years in prison for taking bribes and stealing commercial information. No Chinese has been charged with paying him bribes. Implicit in Smith and Rudd’s remarks is that foreign companies that do business in China are left in serious doubt, with appalling commercial and legal consequences, about what constitutes stealing commercial information.

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Journalists’ E-Mails Hacked in China

Originally Published by The New York Times, 31March 2010


BEIJING — In what appeared to be a coordinated assault, the e-mail accounts of more than a dozen rights advocates, academics and journalists who cover China have been compromised by unknown intruders. A Chinese human rights organization also said that hackers had disabled its Web site for five days in a row.

The infiltrations, which involved Yahoo e-mail accounts, appeared to be aimed at people who write about China and Taiwan, rendering their accounts inaccessible, according to those who were affected. In the case of this reporter, hackers altered e-mail settings so that all correspondence was surreptitiously forwarded to another e-mail address.

The attacks, most of which began March 25, occurred the same week that Google angered the Chinese government by routing Internet search engine requests in mainland China to Google’s site in Hong Kong. The company said the move had been prompted by its objections to censorship rules and by a spate of attacks on users of Google’s e-mail service, which the company suggested had originated in China.

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Turkish-Chinese Relations in the Shadow of the Uyghur Problem

Originally published by Today’s Zaman, 31 March 2010

Starting with the second half of 1990s, Turkish-Chinese relations have had a considerable revival.

Along this process, officials from both countries have made numerous mutual visits on many levels, signing a number of agreements. However, the events that took place on July 5th 2009 in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (Xinjiang Wéiwú’er Zìzhìqu / 新疆新 疆维吾尔自治区/ have caused great anger among the Turkish public.

While China was protested by the Turkish public, the ruling government adamantly criticized the incident, with Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan describing the situation as an “almost genocide.” In fact, looking at the incidents from a more informed perspective, it is possible to see that the situation is different than it appears to Turkey. While the harsh response of Chinese security forces to the protesters or the poor performance of legal channels deserve criticism, certain other facts have been largely ignored, such as the instigators being mostly Uyghurs and the majority of the dead and injured being of Han Chinese origin.

There are two main motives behind Turkey’s harsh response to the events. The first one is the government’s political concern to satisfy public opinion domestically. The second and the most significant motive is getting Beijing’s attention to focus on Ankara and showing Beijing Turkey is also on the field. In this manner, Turkey in a way was reacting to its “Chinese initiative,” which was started in 1997, rendered futile, and giving Beijing the message that the rules of the game needed to change.

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Amnesty says China Executed Thousands in 2009

Originally published by: VOA ,30 March 2010

By Selah Hennessy

Amnesty International has released its annual death penalty report, which shows the number of countries that use capital punishment is declining. But the report estimates that China executed several thousand people in 2009.

Arthur Judah Angel was sentenced to death in Nigeria in 1986 for a crime he says he didn’t commit.

“Being on death row was like being in hell. You understand? In fact, it’s very horrible. I don’t have enough language – in English or my own – to explain it,” said Angel.

He was 21-years-old when he was arrested and spent the next 16 years in prison. Every night he was there, he says, he had nightmares.

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China bans local media from reporting on 18 subjects

Originally published by: Article Link, 29 march 2010
China has banned the country’s media from reporting on 18 subjects, including yuan revaluation, corruption and problems in Tibet and Xinjiang, according to a media report.
“China has prohibited the Chinese media from reporting on 18 subjects, including yuan revaluation, corruption and problems in Tibet and the Xinjiang Uighur autonomous region,” the Japanese daily Asahi Shimbun has reported.
In a report published on March 26, the newspaper said, “Liu Yunshan, director of the publicity department of China’s Communist Party, faxed notifications about the bans to major newspaper companies, television and radio stations and Internet news companies on Sunday (March 22)”.
Going by the daily, the move came a day before Internet major Google stopped censoring web search results and redirected hunt queries from mainland to an uncensored site in Hong Kong.
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Development in Tibet an advantage for China: MoD

Originally published by: Indian Express, 29 March 2010
India has said rapid development in Tibet and Xinjiang has given the Chinese military strategic operational flexibility in the region.

Noting that the Chinese military has upgraded its “force projection capability” along the northern borders, the Defence Ministry has said in its annual report that India has initiated necessary steps to upgrade infrastructure on its side.

“India also remains conscious and alert about the implications of China’s military modernisation. Rapid infrastructure development in the Tibet Autonomous Region and Xinjiang province has considerably upgraded China’s military force projection capability and strategic operational flexibility,” the report says.

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Uighur activists puts pressure on Sweden

Originally published by: AFP Article Link, 29 March 2010
  Uighur activists on Sunday urged the Swedish government to pressure China over its treatment of the minority as Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping visited the Nordic country.

The World Uighur Congress said in a statement that Sweden should “exercise concrete pressure on the Chinese authorities so that they stop their brutal aggression against the Uighur people.”

Violence between Muslim Uighurs and China’s ethnic Han majority exploded in the Xinjiang region’s capital Urumqi last July, leaving nearly 200 dead and 1,700 injured, according to the government.

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Xinjiang’s irate minority Uighurs begin to worry Beijing

Originally published by: Daily Star Lebanon, 29March 2010

By Christopher M. Clarke

 The February 15 killing of the militant Uighur leader Abdul Haq al-Turkistani by an American drone in the border regions of Pakistan highlighted China’s continued sensitivity when it comes to its remote and vulnerable western region, Xinjiang. It also brought into focus the role of the wider Afghanistan-Pakistan region as an international sanctuary for Islamic militants. This helps to explain the reasons behind Beijing’s worries about social stability and potential terrorist threats in Xinjiang.

China’s neuralgia about security in Xinjiang will continue – and perhaps even grow – as big-power competition for influence and resources in Central Asia and its ties to the rest of the world continue to expand.

China’s troubles with the minority Uighurs are not new. But with the breakup of the Soviet Union two decades ago and the rise of the Islamist Taliban in what was once Soviet-occupied Afghanistan, the region’s dynamics have changed. Since the early 1990s, China has faced recurrent waves of unrest in Xinjiang as well as widespread acts of violence, some of which appear to have been terrorist acts carried out by the disgruntled Uighurs. 

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