Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

China hits back at US arms sales to Taiwan

This ping-pong has gone on for years, the rhetoric gets stronger and more solemn each time, but I believe China has the ability to impose some serious sanctions – economic and beyond, this time.

31 years of this. Since the year I was born! Go here to read what China’s foreign minister has to say.

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China hits back at US arms sales to Taiwan
New York Times
Source – The Age, February 1, 2010

THE Chinese Government has announced an unusually broad series of retaliatory measures in response to US arms sales to Taiwan, including sanctions against American companies that supply the weapon systems.

The Foreign Ministry announced that some military exchange programs between the US and China would be canceled in addition to the commercial sanctions.

Furthermore, a vice foreign minister, He Yafei, has called in Jon Huntsma, the US ambassador to China, to protest at the sales.

The US decision to sell more weapons to Taiwan ”constitutes a gross intervention into China’s internal affairs, seriously endangers China’s national security and harms China’s peaceful reunification efforts”, Mr He said.

The Obama Administration notified Congress at the weekend of its plans to proceed with five arms sales transactions with Taiwan worth $US6.4 billion ($A7.2 billion).

The arms include 60 Black Hawk helicopters, Patriot interceptor missiles, advanced Harpoon missiles that can be used against land or ship targets and two refurbished minesweepers.

China has regarded Taiwan as a breakaway province ever since the communists prevailed in 1949 in China’s civil war and the Nationalists retreated to Taiwan.

The US has been supplying Taiwan with arms under the Taiwan Relations Act, approved in 1979, which mandates that the US supply weapons that Taiwan could use to fend off an attack by mainland Chinese forces.


Filed under: International Relations, military, New York Times, Taiwan, The Age

‘I married a China prostitute’ [AsiaOne]

Perhaps sensational, but this an example of  the news reports that colour the imagination of all the ethnic Chinese Singaporeans in a Singapore filled with mainland Chinese (more than half-a-million), yes on top of Singapore-born Chinese…

A quick visit to any of Singapore’s popular online forums will yield many posts on subjects such as this – just check out the AsiaOne forum – An interesting specimen because it is one of Chinese overseas meeting overseas-born Chinese, and the troubles that follow.

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‘I married a China prostitute’
Source – AsiaOne, 03 December 2009

Photo Source – Lianhe Wanbao

A 64-year-old Singaporean man married a 40-year-old China woman despite knowing her for less than half a year, only to find out one month into their marriage that she is a prostitute.

Mr Chen, who spoke to the local Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao, said that he first met his China wife, Ah Ping, in April this year while dining at Pearl’s Centre in Chinatown.

Ah Ping had approached him first and engaged in in conversation. During this time, three men asked her if she provided sex services, but Ah Ping flatly denied so, thus giving Mr Chen a good impression of her.

She later told Mr Chen that she was a graduate back in China, and came to Singapore to look for work. They exchanged contact numbers and soon became a couple, meeting often for food and shopping trips.

In September this year, Ah Ping proposed that they get married. She told Mr Chen that they could apply for a flat together once she had gotten her permanent resident status.

Mr Chen, who was divorced two years ago, agreed to the wedding immediately. The couple registered their marriage on October 15.

Soon after they wed, Mr Chen realize that his new wife was almost never at home, and they often fought and argued, “There was once when things got really bad, and she told me that she was a prostitute in Shenzhou (China) and when she came to Singapore, she is still a prostitute.”

A former cleaner, Mr Chen told Lianhe Wanbao that he lost his job after sustaining an injury in a car accident on his wedding day.

When he lost his ability to work, his wife’s attitude towards him changed completely. “I didn’t know that she was a prostitute then. She asked me for money, saying that she plans to set up a stall selling socks.”

“Later on, a friend of mine saw her soliciting men, and it was only then that I realized ‘selling socks’ was just her way of telling me she’s going out to sell her body.”

Mr Chen said that his China wife also hit him from time to time during their rocky month-long marriage.

Since getting wed, the couple only had sex three times, and the sessions felt like Ah Ping was just obliging her new husband because she had to, Mr Chen said.

She was also drastically different from the caring woman that Mr Chen had thought her to be, and he found himself being kicked and beaten by her when things went wrong.

According to Mr Chen, his China wife was a divorcee as well. She has a 20-year-old son in China.

Because Ah Ping had yet to gain residency status, she had to leave Singapore once her visa is up, and can only return to the country after spending some time in China. When Mr Chen spoke to Lianhe Wanbao, Ah Ping was not in Singapore as she had left the day before.

Filed under: AsiaOne, Chinese overseas, Culture, International Relations, Overseas Chinese, Singapore

Private sector created 11.4 million new jobs in 2009

Go here to check out the source of the information – All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC). Coincidentally, the antiquated English version of its website has a ‘prelude’ (I think it means foreword) written ten years ago in 1999, the 50th anniversary of the CCP. For the updated site in Chinese, go here.

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Private sector created 11.4 mln new jobs in 2009
Source – China.org, 30 Jan 2010

Women employees work in a privately-run garment factory in Houma city of Shanxi Province on December 26, 2009. China's private sector created 11.4 million new jobs in 2009, contributing to more than 90 percent of all urban new employments, latest figures from the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce showed. Source - China.org

China’s private sector created 11.4 million new jobs in 2009, contributing to more than 90 percent of all urban new employments, latest figures from the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce (ACFIC) showed.

Private enterprises employed 8.4 percent more workers than the number in 2008 despite the global economic downturn, said a report issued by the ACFIC late Thursday.

The number of registered private companies nationwide reached 7.9 million as of September 2009, nearly 10 percent higher than the end of 2008, the report showed. The registered capital of these companies reached 1.36 billion yuan (about US$200 million).

The growth in the private sector partly explained China’s economic vitality in the globally difficult year of 2009, during which China’s gross domestic product (GDP) registered an 8.7 percent growth year on year.

However, the report said China’s private enterprises still faced financing difficulties, especially for small companies.

Other challenges included relatively weak capabilities for innovation and imperfect internal structures, according to the report.

Since the global financial crisis in 2008, China has implemented a series of policies to stimulate its economy, encouraging investments both in the public and private sectors and boosting consumption.

Filed under: Domestic Growth, Economics, xinhua

China banks on films to project power

It all started to become obvious with Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Then came a whole slew of movies aimed at showing how glorious and noble China’s dynastic ages were, and of course Confucius is up next to display China’s soft power. The Beijing Olympics was a prime example of this increasing Chinese sophistication at beating the West at their own game – gatekeeping through popular opinion.

Quotable Quotes – “For a nation to assert its position in the world, the spreading of ideas and values is even more important than economic development.” Chinese playwright Zou Jingzhi

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China banks on films to project power
Govt throwing weight behind local films with eye on soft power gains
By The Straits Times China Bureau
Source – Straits Times, 30 Jan 2010

BEIJING: China’s film industry is enjoying a boom, backed by a government keen to use the silver screen to project the country’s soft power.

Ticket sales of domestic movies, excluding those from Hong Kong, have jumped by at least 30 per cent every year since 2006, reaching a record high of 3.5 billion yuan (S$720 million) last year.

Overseas takings have also risen in the past four years, to 2.77 billion yuan last year. Besides increasing affluence, improved cinemas and movies and a consistent crackdown on piracy, a key engine behind the growth is the Chinese government’s desire to build the country’s own mega-studios to rival Hollywood’s 20th Century Fox or Paramount Pictures.

In the last few years, the government has implemented a slew of measures to bolster local movies. The latest came on Monday. The State Council – China’s Cabinet – issued a statement reiterating state support for Chinese studios through bank loans, stock market listings and the issuing of shares and bonds.

It also reminded cinema operators that at least two-thirds of screen time must be reserved for Chinese movies. China permits just 20 imported movies a year.

Cinemas should step up efforts to ‘help domestic movies enter the international mainstream film market’ as part of China’s strategy to ‘increase the nation’s cultural soft power’, said the statement.

The government has also allowed production houses to negotiate directly with cinema companies, instead of having to sell their movies to a state-owned company.

And in 2002, the system in which each province had just one cinema chain monopoly was scrapped.

These measures were effective in boosting the bargaining position and profits of the studios, which in turn spurred bigger investments in movies.

Huayi Brothers, the closest thing in the Chinese film industry to a national champion, was full of praise for the latest motion picture ‘stimulus package’.

‘Building large-scale enterprises with sufficient capital is still the most important task for the industry right now,’ said company chairman Wang Zhongjun.

He pointed out that with revenues of just 10 billion yuan, Huayi is dwarfed by large entertainment conglomerates in the West, which can make up to 40 times as much.

Chinese movies are routinely trounced by Hollywood blockbusters at the box office. Confucius, a highly anticipated local epic on the Chinese sage, took in only 38 million yuan in the first three days after its debut on Jan 22.

Avatar, meanwhile, became the top- grossing movie in China after chalking up 540 million yuan in 15 days.

One reason given as to why Avatar was shown in China two weeks later than overseas was that the China Film Group Corporation wanted to promote its own mo-vie, Bodyguards and Assassins.

Media analyst Zhang Zhihua of Beijing Normal University told The Straits Times: ‘We should give local companies more time to gain a better footing, so that they can eventually make a greater impact on the international market.’

But cinema chains fret that the domestic film quota hurts their pockets. And some people like Mr Gordon Chan, the Hong Kong director of the 2008 local hit Painted Skin, blame state protection for the overall poorer quality of homegrown movies. ‘In many cases, audiences pay money to watch local films but come out of the cinema cursing.’

Chinese people, not least the government, hope that will change soon.

‘For a nation to assert its position in the world, the spreading of ideas and values is even more important than economic development,’ famous Chinese playwright Zou Jingzhi told local media at a political conference of the Beijing government advisory body this week.


Filed under: Charm Offensive, Communications, Culture, International Relations, Media, Straits Times, The Chinese Identity

Big rusty shed gives China a taste of Australian life

Like it or not, China and Australia make strange bedfellows, but the fates of the two nations are inextricably linked today through trade and commerce. Not too long ago, the Chinese were not made too welcome in white Australia. It’s amazing how quickly the politicians forget but we gain an opportunity for cultural exchange when these agendas are blinded by ‘progress’.

What is key is that the people take advantage of these ‘momentary lapses’ and see and find out for themselves what things really are. In this case, for the mainland Chinese to really come to understand the land and people their trading partners from Australia are like. Especially so in this age of the lack of primacy of information where most things we know are speculations based on second hand knowledge. Of course, the 800,000 or so ethnic Chinese currently residing in Australia could help bridge those gaps in knowledge too.

And yet again, the numbers when it comes to China are staggering – “More than 70 million people are expected to wander among exhibitions from 200 countries sprawled over 5.2 square kilometres.

also –

“With a total project value of A$83 million, the Australian pavilion at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 is the largest investment ever made by Australia in a world exposition. It reflects not only the importance of the Australia-China relationship, but also the Government’s intention to take full advantage of the biggest world expo in history to bolster trade and investment, strengthen institutional and people-topeople ties, and project positive images of contemporary Australia.” source – China Australia Business

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Big rusty shed gives China a taste of Australian life
Source – The Age, January 30, 2010

The Australian Pavilion at Expo 2010: expecting 7 million visitors - Source http://www.chinaaustraliabusiness.net

LAST week China’s President, Hu Jintao, took a 25-minute stroll through the world’s most expensive rusty Aussie shed.

President Hu made his first overseas trip to Australia in 1986 and he knows the country well, but it’s doubtful he has ever seen it quite like this. It’s Shanghai Expo time and China, as usual, is giving new meaning to the word ”big”. More than 70 million people are expected to wander among exhibitions from 200 countries sprawled over 5.2 square kilometres.

The $83 million Australian shed stands out among the cranes and mud not only because it’s one of only a few pavilions that looks remotely ready for the May 1 opening. It’s a monolith of curved oxidised steel, ringed by raw Pilbara iron ore, not unlike the Olgas or Uluru.

Mr Hu visited no other country’s pavilion except Australia’s and his tour was broadcast on national television and splashed across a dozen Chinese newspapers.

Inside the pavilion it’s warm and self-mockingly Australian in the spirit of the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony. Cartoon-like children are seated at desks and hanging upside down from a ceiling made of drought-cracked mud.

”It’s the School of the Air,” explained artist Justin Dix this week, adding that it gave a Down Under feel to things. ”The President seemed to love it,” he said. ”But he didn’t see these, unfortunately.”

When Chinese leaders visit a company or a town it bestows the place with an almost mystical pulling power. It means good luck, that money will flow or, in this case, that the Australian pavilion has been preordained as a star exhibit at this year’s Expo.

Organisers hope 7 million visitors over six months will absorb a 20-minute crash-course on what it means to be Australian. They will be lured in through the great shed doors to where scuba divers will fly through the air in search of exotic fish. They will be swept up through an exhibition tube that snakes its way around the building, through displays of indigenous art and a part-caricature but also serious history of post-settlement Australia.

When visitors pass through the threshold of 1788, the colour turns to sepia, like the faded explorer maps of old. The colour shifts to black and white and then full colour, in line with the photographic technology of the times.

Thousands of miniature explorers, politicians, sports people, inventors and ordinary folk will be lifted out of packing cases and slotted into installations on the floor, roof and walls. A blue Esky protrudes from one wall, waiting for diplomats to decide which beverage deserves to rest there: Tooheys, VB or something pricier, such as Coopers? And waiting patiently in her packing case is a near-life-sized Cathy Freeman, in white hooded running suit with Olympic torch held aloft.

The main event is a 1000-person theatre where visitors will stop and watch a rotating visual animation and installation about growing up in an Australian city, backed by a score from the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

”The kids are imagining what a really great city would look like,” says Peter Sams, the Department of Foreign Affairs official overseeing planning and construction. The crowd will then return to the main reception auditorium, to be swooped on again by scuba divers. They’ll watch performers on the stage and savour kangaroo burgers or emu sausages, depending on how talks go with Chinese quarantine.

”We did crocodile rolls in Japan and they were huge. We sold literally hundreds of thousands,” said Mr Sams.

But there is also some image-correction therapy going on. Yes, Chinese visitors will get to see their kangaroos and iron ore. But with any luck, they’ll also see a more creative and accomplished side.

Lindall Sachs, commissioner-general for Australia at the Shanghai Expo, said focus groups had shown Chinese people lacked understanding of what Australia is actually about. ”People don’t know that there have been 10 Australian Nobel Prize winners,” she said.

Filed under: Australia, Communications, Culture, International Relations, The Age

Apartments in China for foreigners only

Why oh why? A revisit to the concession areas of the 1800s – “Ethnic Chinese – even foreign passport holders – will not be welcome to rent apartments in the Tianfu International Community in the southwestern city of Chengdu…

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Apartments in China for foreigners only
Source – AsiaOne, 29 Jan 2010

BEIJING (AGP) – A PROPERTY developer in China is inviting only ‘Western-looking’ foreigners to live in a new development, sparking comparisons with the controversial concession areas in the 1800s, state media said on Friday.

Ethnic Chinese – even foreign passport holders – will not be welcome to rent apartments in the Tianfu International Community in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the Global Times reported.

The ban on Chinese tenants was necessary to maintain the ‘purity’ of the international community, an employee surnamed Wang in the marketing department of the Chengdu Hi-Tech Investment Group was quoted as saying.

Chengdu Hi-Tech Investment is the parent of Chengdu Hi-Tech Properties, one of the developers involved in the controversial project. AFP calls to the developer went unanswered.

‘The foreigners we are talking about are those Western-looking people. We want to ensure that the international community is pure,’ Mr Wang said. ‘Others may be welcomed later.’

The first phase of the development will be finished in October. Once completed it will be able to accommodate 5,000 people and will have a church, schools, hospital and playgrounds, the paper said.

Filed under: AsiaOne, Culture

Tennis: Chinese tennis finally comes of age

I saw both matches on TV here, and I wish I had gone to watch it live, after all, it is in Melbourne. The giant flags. It was electric, and it roused the Chinese-ness in me, China’s extra-nationalism at work; its charm offensive. Or am I thinking too much?

Quotable Quotes – “More history beckons for Chinese tennis.” Global Times

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Tennis: Chinese tennis finally comes of age
Source – AsiaOne, 27 Jan 2010

MELBOURNE, Jan 27, 2010 (AFP) – It has been a long time coming but Chinese tennis finally came of age on Wednesday.

Li Na’s upset victory over Venus Williams at the Australian Open coupled with Zheng Jie’s stunning run gave the world’s most populous nation two players in the semi-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

It has sparked huge interest in China with national broadcaster CCTV, newspapers and websites giving their exploits blanket coverage.

“More history beckons for Chinese tennis,” screamed the Global Times, a headline emulated across the Chinese media.

This stems from the number of Chinese journalists in Australia to cover the tennis.

They are usually outnumbered by their Japanese colleagues but this year at least a dozen Chinese media are at Melbourne Park – far more than usual.

Li and Zheng have been predicting great things for some time but it is only since they left China’s state sports system to manage their own careers that the pieces have started to fall into place.

In December 2008, the nation’s top four women’s players – Li, Zheng, Peng Shuai and Yan Zi – became the first Chinese athletes to be granted unprecedented freedom in managing their careers.

It has meant they can select their own schedules, coaches and back-up teams, and also not have to hand over a significant portion of their prizemoney to the Chinese Tennis Association.

The move initially raised doubts about whether the players would survive on the WTA tour, but Li and Zheng, in particular, have thrived.

Li’s come-from-behind 2-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 upset of Williams is expected to propel her into the world’s top 10 – the first time a Chinese player has made the grade.

Zheng is forecast to move to 20 in the world after her 6-1, 6-3 quarter-final demolition of Russian Maria Kirilenko.

“For Zheng Jie, for me, for my country and my fans, it is a good thing,” said a delighted Li, whose bubbly personality and improved English has won over the media here.

“Tennis in China right now is getting bigger and bigger.”

Zheng feels that with Li and her doing so well and high-profile tennis tournaments like the China Open and Shanghai Masters now on the WTA schedule, the growth of the game has only just started.

“I feel tennis is very quickly going up (in popularity) in China,” she said.

“You can see a lot of the newspapers coming here from China,” she added.

“I think it (started to become popular) from 2004, Li Ting and Tian Tian won the gold medal from the Olympic Games.”

Li and Tian’s Olympic medal was certainly a breakthrough, but so was Zheng and Yan’s Grand Slam doubles title at the 2006 Australian Open, and her run to the Wimbledon semis in 2008.

The growing profile of tennis has already trickled down to the children in China with many parents now encouraging their kids to play rather than other sports, according to Yan.

“Table tennis and badminton are still the most popular but more mums and dads are taking their children to tennis clubs now,” Yan said.

Yet despite the presence of the Chinese women on the world tour the Chinese men have still not made any impact.

“Maybe men need to work harder,” Zheng said.

They may also need to break free from the state sports system, which remains largely modelled on the old communist structure where children are identified for a certain sport, then funnelled into government programmes.

The model has been unquestionably successful, with China topping the gold medal count at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, but has drawn criticism at home and abroad for focusing on results rather than the welfare of athletes.

Filed under: AsiaOne, Chinese overseas, Culture, Overseas Chinese, Sport

Davos2010: China says domestic demand ‘key’

Highlight – “Mr Li, who is tipped to replace China’s premier Wen Jiabao, also said it was vital to raise the living standards of poorer rural communities.”

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Davos2010: China says domestic demand ‘key’
Source – BBC, 28 Jan 2010

Li Keqiang has been tipped as the next Chinese Premier. Photo Source - BBC

China’s vice-premier, Li Keqiang, has told a forum at the World Economic Forum in Davos that domestic demand is key for China’s economic growth.

Reflecting international concerns, he said China had been “excessively reliant on investment and export”.

Mr Li pointed out that domestic spending improved in 2009, with sales of consumer goods up 15.5% last year.

He said the government had already taken successful steps to boost consumer demand.

For example, they had introduced a plan to subsidise home appliances, such as TVs and fridges, for farmers which had encouraged spending.

Mr Li, who is tipped to replace China’s premier Wen Jiabao, also said it was vital to raise the living standards of poorer rural communities.

China’s economy has grown rapidly but the development has been uneven across the country – with jobs concentrated in the coastal regions.

Nearly 10 million people move from countryside to cities every year, according to Mr Li. He said income in the central and western areas was still very low.

Other countries are keen for China to start importing foreign-made goods in order to help the broader global economic recovery.

No mention was made of its own currency, the renminbi, however. China has come under international pressure to revalue because it is felt to be artificially low, disadvantaging competitors.

“Everyone wants China to play by global rules, rather than go its own way – and revalue its currency as a first step”, said the BBC’s Economics editor Stephanie Flanders. “But in their public remarks today, Chinese officials gave little indication of wanting to play ball.”

Filed under: BBC, Davos 2010, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance

2009 Guardian Opinion: Tibet is off the agenda

To draw reference to the coming Tibet talks with China, here’s a opinion piece from the Guardian last year in 2009.

The Tibet issue certainly stirs up many things, for one the West likes to take sides with Tibet to find legitimate human rights reasons to pressure China, whilst it has a counter effect – it really bothers Chinese pride (both internal, and more strongly so, Chinese overseas and the Overseas-born Chinese, and it rouses nationalism in Chinese all around the world, loathe to bow to Western standards and demands after a century of bowing down to them.

The end product? Massive hysteria by the people on both sides over what is a matter between two neighbours.

I have seen it, my friends from the mainland, many travelled to Canberra for the Olympic Torch relay in full force, red flags waving, et al, a blast from the past – mainly galvanized by the Tibet issue. Their consensus? Tibet has belonged to the Chinese for centuries. But what I feel is this – the CCP inherited land won by China’s last dynasty, the Qing who actively expanded China’s borders, and now has a simple pride issue (beyond the land mass, extensive border buffer to China proper, and vast resources).

How dare you tell us what to do? Is the key underlying message.

I will be eager to hear the outcome of the ninth round of talks.

Quotable Quotes – “It was a very clear signal to Beijing, that Britain won’t seriously push the Tibet issue, and one that delighted China…

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Tibet is off the agenda
In this crisis, China, the US and UK will rise or fall together. But this new camaraderie leaves little room for debate on Tibet
Ed Douglas
Source – The Guardian, 06 March 2009

Noel Gallagher isn’t the sort to wring his hands about the future of the planet. This is, after all, the man who told Bono to ‘Play One, [and] shut the fuck up about Africa.” So when China announced this week it was banning Oasis from playing two gigs there because Gallagher supported a Tibet benefit in 1997, it was tough to decide what was more surprising. China’s petulance? Or Gallagher standing up for a cause?

China’s hypersensitivity is certainly confusing. One moment, its leaders are saying Tibet is an increasingly harmonious and prosperous corner of the Motherland and any dissent is caused entirely by foreign-based “splittists” like the Dalai Lama.

Next they turn purple and start foaming because Bjork, bless her pixie socks, shouted out the “T” word at her own Beijing gig. Forget Oasis, if Bjork can do that to the government of the most populous nation on Earth, then you get the feeling it’s not just a small clique surrounding one ageing monk who are unhappy about the situation in Tibet.

Fury at western support of Tibetan culture or autonomy isn’t confined to China’s leaders. No issue unites the Chinese people more quickly than Tibet’s sovereignty, a factor China’s leaders exploit again and again. But however much critics of China’s conduct in Tibet are dismissed as ignorant or naive, the awkward fact remains that after almost 60 years of occupation, Tibetans inside Tibet still cling to their identity, their culture and, most of all, their religion.

A week ago, just before the Oasis gig was canned, a Tibetan monk called Tapey is reported to have doused himself in oil and set himself alight near his monastery in Sichuan province. Authorities had told monks at Kirti monastery they wouldn’t be allowed to perform a prayer ceremony called Monlam, held soon after the Tibetan New Year.

The only way this young monk had to express his anger and frustration was self-immolation. As he burned, he held up a picture of the Dalai Lama and chanted. Reports from Kirti say police then shot the monk. China’s state media has said the monk was taken to hospital suffering from burns.

This is far from an isolated case. Across Tibet, the riots that prefigured last summer’s Olympics have turned into barely contained resentment at China’s continuing repression. This month sees the 50th anniversary of the Lhasa Uprising and the Dalai Lama’s flight into exile. In the face of an unremitting security operation, protests continue. The International Campaign for Tibet says 1,200 Tibetans remain unaccounted for, and will publish a list of more than 600 names on Monday.

Tibet’s pop stars, along with writers and artists, are detained if their work so much as hints at a separate Tibetan identity. But despite this, bloggers continue to post accounts from inside Tibet, including Woeser, a Beijing-based Tibetan who must be just about the bravest woman in cyberspace. In the absence of independent reporting, it’s all we’ve got that isn’t state sanctioned.

If there’s a new sense among Tibetans that following the global attention paid to China during the Olympics they are now on their own, there’s plenty of evidence for that. Last November, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, quietly changed the UK’s long standing policy on the legal position of China’s relationship with Tibet.

What the UK government got in return is anybody’s guess, but with a deepening world recession, the appetite to press China on Tibet has obviously withered.

During her trip to China in February, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, warned that issues like Tibet couldn’t interfere with solving the economic crisis. “We are truly going to rise or fall together. We are in the same boat and, thankfully, we are rowing in the same direction.” It seems the issue of Tibet has already been tossed overboard to keep the ship afloat.

Filed under: Beijing OIympics, Charm Offensive, Chinese overseas, Guardian, Han, Human Rights, International Relations, Overseas Chinese, The Chinese Identity

Gates: Net curbs in China very limited

The world’s richest man comes to the defense of China, and it is true, China is very sick and tired of being told what to do on the West’s terms, that really is the crux of the matter. Not that the West should speak on China’s terms solely either – common ground must be found, and that is the greatest challenge to international relations today – the bridge between East and West, until the divide exists no more.

Quotable Quotes“The Chinese efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited and so I think keeping the Internet thriving there is very important.” . . . “Now, if Google ever chooses to pull out of the United States, then I’d give them credit.” Bill Gates

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Gates: Net curbs in China very limited
By Qin Jize
Source – China Daily, 27 Jan 2010

Microsoft Corp Chairman Bill Gates has described Beijing’s efforts to censor the Internet as “very limited”, saying corporations which operate in China should abide by the local law.

In an interview on ABC’s Good Morning America on Monday about Google’s dispute with China, Gates said the Internet is subject to different kinds of censorship around the world, noting that Germany forbids pro-Nazi statements that would be protected as free speech in the United States.

“And you’ve got to decide: Do you want to obey the laws of the countries you’re in, or not? If not, you may not end up doing business there,” Gates, the world’s richest man, said without mentioning the search engine giant by name.

“The Chinese efforts to censor the Internet have been very limited and so I think keeping the Internet thriving there is very important.”

He declared he was unimpressed and a bit perplexed by Google’s recent threat to shut down its operations in China, citing disagreements with government policies and unspecified attacks.

One may or may not agree with the laws in China, Gates said, but nearly all countries have some controversial laws or policies, including the United States.

“What point are they making?” Gates asked. “Now, if Google ever chooses to pull out of the United States, then I’d give them credit.”

Google is currently in delicate negotiations with the Chinese government to continue its presence in the world’s most populous Internet market.

Its top lawyer said on Monday that the issue would probably be resolved in weeks, but cautioned it could take months.

Google’s complaints have received backing from the White House with Washington soon raising Internet freedom to the level of a major facet of its human rights agenda.

Beijing has tried hard to play down the row with Washington over the issue, insisting that the Google case is just a legal and technical matter that should not be linked to bilateral ties.

Observers agree with Gates’ remarks on following local rules, noting the US bans child pornography while France bans Internet access to Nazi imagery.

Fan Jishe, a scholar in US studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said every country has its own way of online supervision.

He said the Google dispute is only an excuse for the Obama administration to criticize China on Internet freedom. He said even if the Google issue had not come to the fore, Obama would have exerted pressure on Internet freedom sooner or later.

He noted that Obama had held up the United States as a model of free flow of information during his visit to Shanghai last year.

He Jingchu, a professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law said in an article yesterday that Obama’s over-interpretation of the issue is aimed at diverting domestic attention from his unsatisfactory political achievements to the Sino-US relationship, the world’s most important.

Zhang Haizhou contributed to the story

Filed under: Censorship, China Daily, Communications, Google Cyber-attack 2010, International Relations, Internet, Politics

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Wandering China: Facing west

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Travels in China's northwest and southwest

Wandering Taiwan

Wandering Taiwan: reflections of my travels in the democratic Republic of China

Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Click here to view the Wandering China, Resounding Deng Slideshow

Slideshow reflection on Deng Xiaoping's UN General Assembly speech in 1974. Based on photos of my travels in China 2011.

East Asia Geographic Timelapse

Click here to view the East Asia Geographic Timelapse

A collaboration with my brother: Comparing East Asia's rural and urban landscapes through time-lapse photography.

Wandering Planets

Creative Commons License
Wandering China by Bob Tan is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at Wanderingchina.org. Thank you for visiting //
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