mandag 27. mars 2017

Hong Kong Has a Controversial New Leader. What Happens Next?

Despite Carrie Lam’s unpopularity among many Hong Kongers, Beijing had made it clear that she was their preferred candidate, reportedly because she would loyally enact their will. (In February, the South China Morning Postreported that Zhang Dejiang, the senior Chinese official who leads the country's legislature, was touting Lam as Beijing's top pick.) Her primary opponent, former Financial Secretary John Tsang, earned only 365 votes, after running a campaign that earned an unprecedented degree of public support. Read more

On Taiwan, the Honeymoon Is Over



Since assuming office last May, public approval of President Tsai Ing-wn has plummeted. After a post-inaugural high of 69.9 percent, Tsai’s approval ratings last month dropped to new lows of 38 and 27 percent, according to two different polling stations. At the same time, Beijing has ramped up displays of military aggression and utilized its economic leverage to hit Taiwan’s already lackluster economy. Is Tsai’s lack of popularity an indication that Taiwanese are ready for warmer relations with Beijing? Will Tsai seek to bolster flagging numbers by courting her base, including more radical party voices calling for independence? And how might the Trump administration tip the cross-strait balancing act? 

Hong Kong elections: Carrie Lam voted leader amid claims of China meddling

China’s preferred candidate has won the heavily restricted election for a new leader of Hong Kong in a contest that pitted popular appeal against lobbying by Beijing. Carrie Lam, the former deputy to outgoing chief executive Leung Chun-ying, beat the former financial secretary John Tsang and former judge Woo Kwok-hing. She won 777 votes out of the 1,194 eligible to be cast to become the city’s first female leader. Her tally was more than double that of runner-up Tsang. The election was the first for the top job since pro-democracy protests gripped the former British colony in 2014. Read more

Living in Fear, Duterte’s Chief Critic Speaks Out From Philippine Jail

In a prison surrounded by tall walls topped with razor wire, past three security checkpoints, inside a tiny, sweltering cell with bare walls and bars on the high windows, the Philippines’ most famous prisoner sits at a small desk furiously writing a letter. Senator Leila de Lima, 57, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s most prominent critics, was sent here last month on charges of taking payoffs from drug traffickers, charges she says are false and part of an effort to keep her quiet. 

Read more Becoming Duterte: The Making of a Philippine Strongman

What a Buddhist Monk Taught Xi Jinping


In 1982, two men arrived in this dusty provincial town. One was Shi Youming, a Buddhist monk who was taking up a post in the ruins of one of Zhengding’s legendary temples. The other was Xi Jinping, the 29-year-old son of a top Communist Party official putting in a mandatory stint in the provinces as a bureaucrat in the government he would eventually lead. The two forged an unusual alliance that resonates today. With Mr. Xi’s backing, Youming, who like most Buddhist monks preferred to go by one name, rebuilt the city’s Linji Temple, the birthplace of one of the best-known schools of Buddhism. Even after Mr. Xi was transferred, he regularly visited Youming in Zhengding and sent officials there to study the partnership between the party and religion. Read more

China Bars Professor at Australian University From Leaving, Lawyer Says

A Chinese-born professor at an Australian university who has often criticized Beijing’s crackdown on political dissent has been barred from leaving China and is being questioned by state security officers as a suspected threat to national security, his lawyer said on Sunday. The confinement of Feng Chongyi, an associate professor at the University of Technology Sydney, or U.T.S., unfolded over the weekend while China’s premier, Li Keqiang, visited Australia to promote deeper trade and diplomatic ties. Professor Feng’s case could cloud those ties. The lawyer, Chen Jinxue, said Professor Feng had not been arrested or formally charged. Read more

søndag 26. mars 2017

Dalai Lama’s travel plans ignite reincarnation row


The ageing Dalai Lama’s upcoming trip to a Himalayan settlement under Indian control has angered China just as its Communist rulers seek to exert control over the mystical process of reincarnating a successor to the Tibetan Buddhist leader. “The Indian government allowing the Dalai Lama to visit Tawang is not friendly to China,” Lian Xiangmin, director of the Institute of Contemporary Tibetan Studies at the China Tibetology Research Centre, told journalists in Beijing on Thursday. “Only bad can come of the Dalai Lama going to Tawang, nothing good.” Read more

IS XI’S NEW ‘CORE’ STATUS A SIGN OF STRENGTH, OR WEAKNESS?


President Xi Jinping seems to monopolise the top news items every day. Even on the odd days when Xi is absent from public activities, the anchor will invariably lead with Xi’s past instructions and then go on to the relevant news items. Elsewhere, Xi’s news reports or his “golden aphorisms” are always mandatorily set at the very top of social media news apps or home pages of all leading news portals. All these hark back to the era of Mao Zedong whose quotations adorned the front pages of newspapers or led most all articles. Read more

Shuanggui: The hidden side of China's war on graft, and how one man disappeared into it



Members of the Communist Party accused of graft routinely disappear into buildings like those behind the grey wall after being placed under a form of extralegal custody called shuanggui. When they eventually emerge – sometimes after weeks, sometimes not for a year – they have prepared confessions of wrongdoing, for which they are then tried in court. Sentences include lengthy jail time, asset seizures and orders to repay large sums of money. Read more

Kunsten å lese baklengs


Det var selvsagt bare et tidsspørsmål før trenden med falske nyheter også nådde hit til Kina. Her er det vestlige menneskerettighetsgrupper som har stått bak. De falske nyhetene har handlet om Kinas pågående krig mot advokater, der et titalls nå er dømt og fengslet etter at et helt advokatkontor i Beijing for to år siden ble raidet av politiet og stemplet som en kriminell bande. Read more

Will Central Asia Water Wars Derail China's Silk Road?


According to a global stress map produced by the Water Resources Institute last year, Central Asia has one of the world’s highest water-stress levels. The region, with a population of 66 million, gets 90 percent of its water supply from two rivers, the Amu Darya and Syr Darya. Both river basins fall under the control of upstream countries Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. The downstream countries –Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan — on the other hand, have abundant oil and gas resources. 

This disproportional distribution of natural wealth worked in tandem for the five countries when they were still part of the Soviet Union. Enforcing a system of quotas and rationing schedules, Moscow made sure the distribution of resources between the neighbors remained equitable and productive. The cooperation resulted in sufficient water supply for agricultural irrigation in downstream countries and adequate power for upstream countries. 

What Happens After China Invades Taiwan?


Let’s assume, hypothetically, that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) successfully conquers Taiwan. Most analyses of an attempted invasionconsider only if the PRC could successfully subdue Taiwan. The consequences of an attempted invasion –even a tactically successful one – have received little thought, however. This analysis considers some likely consequences for the PRC if it attempts and/or completes an invasion of Taiwan. Likely consequences include: the direct human and economic expenditures of the invasion itself; the costs of garrisoning Taiwan; the PRC’s post-war diplomatic and economic isolation; and, finally, the significant and potentially destabilizing process of incorporating 23 million individuals into the PRC. Read more

EXCLUSIVE: Trump Administration Not Yet Challenging China in South China Sea

The Navy has made several requests to conduct operations that would challenge China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea, but the administration has not granted them, Breitbart News has learned. The operations are known as Freedom of Navigation Operations, or FONOPs, which would challenge China’s claims to its man-made islands in the South China Sea. Read more

China versus the US: Australia's increasingly hard choice

At the start of his five-day visit to Australia, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told parliamentarians in Canberra that "peace was the most precious thing." That might be Chinese diplomatic boilerplate, but Li was speaking at Parliament House, where security had been tightened following the appalling atrocity in London, so it would have felt very real to those in the room. Of course, Premier Li insisted in his Canberra speech that China "will never seek dominance." Read more

fredag 24. mars 2017

Living in Fear, Duterte’s Chief Critic Speaks Out From Philippine Jail


In a prison surrounded by tall walls topped with razor wire, past three security checkpoints, inside a tiny, sweltering cell with bare walls and bars on the high windows, the Philippines’ most famous prisoner sits at a small desk furiously writing a letter. Senator Leila de Lima, 57, one of President Rodrigo Duterte’s most prominent critics, was sent here last month on charges of taking payoffs from drug traffickers, charges she says are false and part of an effort to keep her quiet. Read more

As Hong Kong Chooses Its Next Leader, China Still Pulls the Strings

For the fifth time in the two decades since this former British colony’s return to Chinese rule, Hong Kong’s next chief executive will be selected on Sunday by a committee stacked with supporters of the Chinese government rather than by a free election. With a victory by Beijing’s favored candidate all but a foregone conclusion, some are raising a difficult question: Did pro-democracy demonstrators miscalculate when they rallied against Beijing’s offer of a popular vote three years ago? Read more

China to Plant ‘Green Necklace’ of Trees Around Beijing to Fight Smog


Senior Chinese officials have tried tackling their country’s chronic air-pollution problem in piecemeal ways — fining some polluting companies, investing in alternative energy sources and ordering lower-level officials to enforce standards, for example. To the dismay of many, pollution levels remain among the worst in the world, even if some official statistics point to slight improvementsNow, officials in Hebei Province, which surrounds Beijing, have decided to create what they call a “green necklace” of trees in hopes of clearing the air. Hebei is filled with coal-powered steel factories and has the most polluted cities in China. The pollution from the factories is responsible for much of the smog in Beijing, a city of more than 22 million, and other parts of northern China. 

Read more  Beijing's Smog: A Tale of Two Cities

Climate Change May Be Intensifying China’s Smog Crisis


Chinese leaders, grappling with some of the world’s worst air pollution, have long assumed the answer to their woes was gradually reducing the level of smog-forming chemicals emitted from power plants, steel factories and cars. But new research suggests another factor may be hindering China’s efforts to take control of its devastating smog crisis: climate changeChanging weather patterns linked to rising global temperatures have resulted in a dearth of wind across northern China, according to several recent studies, exacerbating a wave of severe pollution that has been blamed for millions of premature deaths. Wind usually helps blow away smog, but changes in weather patterns in recent decades have left many of China’s most populous cities poorly ventilated, scientists say. Read mor