Celebrating Nobel, woman arrested for splashing champagne

Originally published by CNN, 11 October 2010

Hong Kong, China (CNN) — A woman celebrating the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to a Chinese dissident has been charged with assault for accidentally splashing champagne on a security guard outside the Chinese central government’s liaison office in Hong Kong.

“The officer walked up as I was opening a bottle of champagne and he was splashed,” said Ip Ho-yee, 22. “It was a minor incident. I never guessed that opening a bottle of champagne would lead to this.”

Ip, who was arrested Sunday afternoon, made her comments in Cantonese.

The security guard was not injured, but he made a complaint, so Ip was arrested and charged with common assault, said Hong Kong police spokesman Lawrence Li.

“This is an absurd case,” said Law Yuk-kai, director of Human Rights Monitor, a group based in Hong Kong. “This just shows who’s the boss,” Law said, referring to the mainland Chinese government.

Read More →

China mounts air exercise with Turkey, U.S. says

Originally published by Reuters,Fri, Oct 8 2010

By Jim Wolf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The air forces of China and Turkey have carried out a joint exercise, the U.S. Defense Department said on Friday, in what appeared to be the first such drill involving Beijing and a NATO member country.

Turkey assured the United States it would take the “utmost care” to protect sensitive U.S. and NATO technologies, said U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Tamara Parker, a department spokeswoman.

She described Turkey’s government as committed to the NATO alliance and the continuation of strong ties to the United States.

“To the best of our knowledge, U.S.-made F-16s were not involved in the exercise,” Parker said. She referred a caller to the Turkish government for details of the maneuvers.

The office of the Turkish defense attache in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

Turkish press reports have said the exercises took place September 20 through October 4 at the Konya air base in Turkey’s central Anatolia region.

Read More →

China’s Air Force Goes Abroad

Originally published by Asia Sentinel, 07 Oct 2010
Written by Gavin M. Greenwood   

Dudgeon and dragons for the Americans

Sometime during September, an unknown number of China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force Russian-built Su-27 and Mig-29 fighters landed at the huge Konya airbase in Turkey’s central Anatolia region. Within a few days they were training with Turkish US-built F-16 fighters in the first ever military exercise of its kind between China and a NATO country.

The brief training exercise, significantly held under the aegis of the ‘Anatolian Eagle’ series of joint military manoeuvres with NATO and other friendly powers, reflects multiple factors that will take some time for Turkey’s allies to fully decipher. From a western perspective, China’s sudden appearance on NATO’s southern flank and other Chinese military adventures in the so-called ‘Stans of Central Asia at about the same time was provocative in a period when relations between Beijing and Washington and many European countries are strained by a mixture of economic and military tensions.

Read More →

China: Liu Xiaobo’s Nobel Spotlights Rights Deficit

 Originally published by Human Rights Watch,October 8, 2010


Liu Xiaobo

This award will no doubt infuriate the Chinese government by putting its human rights record squarely back into the international debate.

Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch

Release Peace Laureate and Other Jailed Rights Defenders

(New York) – The awarding of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to the Chinese writer and human rights activist Liu Xiaobo underscores the urgent need for rights reforms in China, Human Rights Watch said today.

Human Rights Watch reiterated its longstanding call for the release of Liu, whom a Beijing court sentenced to an 11-year prison term on December 25, 2009.  His spurious “subversion” charges stemmed from his role in drafting and circulating Charter ’08, an online petition which advocates putting human rights, democracy, and the rule of law at the core of the Chinese political system. Originally signed by 303 Chinese citizens, including rights defenders and legal activists, it has been widely circulated online and has now collected thousands of signatures. Prior to his formal arrest on June 23, 2009, Liu had been held incommunicado since his detention on December 8, 2008.

Read More →

Liu Xiaobo and Chinese Democracy

Originally published by The New York Times,08 Oct 2010


Congratulations to Liu Xiaobo for winning the Nobel Peace Prize – and to the Nobel committee for giving it to him. China has countless dissidents and people pushing for democracy, of course, but there’s a reason Liu rose to the top in Nobel estimations. He has combined relentless courage and persistence in pushing for democracy over 21 years with a broad vision of democracy, all tethered to moderation and willingness to work with Communist Party leaders.

Read More →

Obama urges China to free Nobel laureate Liu

Originally published by The Associated Press, 08 Oct 2010
By Foster Klug

 WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama on Friday urged China to release quickly Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo. Obama called the jailed dissident an “eloquent and courageous” supporter of human rights and democracy.

 The comments are likely to rattle China further at a time that the United States is stepping up pressure on Beijing for a currency policy that Washington blames for American job losses.

 Obama’s statement, released hours after Liu was awarded the prize by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, reflected the sensitivity of U.S.-Chinese relations. Obama praised China’s “dramatic progress in economic reform and improving the lives of its people, lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty.”

 But, he added, “this award reminds us that political reform has not kept pace, and that the basic human rights of every man, woman and child must be respected.”

 U.S. officials try to strike a balance with China, pressing it on economic and human rights issues, while trying to win crucial Chinese support on Iranian and North Korean nuclear standoffs, climate change and other difficult issues.

Read More →

China livid as dissident Liu wins Nobel Peace Prize

Originally published by Reuters, 08 Oct 2010
By Wojciech Moskwa and Ben Blanchard

 OSLO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Jailed Chinese democracy activist Liu Xiaobo won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for two decades of non-violent struggle for human rights, infuriating China, which called the award “an obscenity.”

 The prize shines a spotlight on human rights in China at a time when it is starting to play a leading role on the global stage as a result of its growing economic might.

 “We have to speak when others cannot speak,” Norwegian Nobel Committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland told Reuters. “As China is rising, we should have the right to criticize.”

 The award drew muted reactions from the European Union, France, Germany and Britain.

 But last year’s winner, U.S. President Barack Obama, accused China of falling behind on political reforms as its economy surges, and urged it to free Liu Xiaobo as soon as possible.

 Liu Xiaobo rose to prominence as a strike leader during the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests in 1989.

 He was sentenced to 11 years’ jail last December for writing a manifesto calling for free speech and multi-party elections.

 The Nobel Committee praised him for his “long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights” and reiterated its belief in a “close connection between human rights and peace.”

Read More →

Chinese dissident hot bet for Nobel Peace Prize

Originally published by Associated Press, 07 Oct 2010
OSLO, Norway – Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo tops speculation for the Nobel Peace Prize — one betting site has already declared him the winner — though some experts expect a more low-key choice on Friday.

Two women are also hot candidates in this year’s Nobel buzz: Afghan women’s rights activist Sima Samar and Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina.

The last woman to win the coveted award was Wangari Maathai of Kenya in 2004. Of the 97 peace laureates to date, only 12 have been women.

Liu, who was sentenced last Christmas Day to 11 years in prison for subversion, has received by far the most attention in the annual guessing-game for the $1.5 million award.

Read More →