torsdag 22. februar 2018

'A very scary movie': how China snatched Gui Minhai on the 11.10 train to Beijing


The 11.10am to Beijing left on time, gliding out of Shanghai’s cavernous high-speed rail terminal and darting north through the cheerless suburban sprawl. On board the sleek, white bullet train sat an unlikely trio of Europeans, one of whom held the key to a real-life political thriller so frightening and tangled it has left all those trying to decipher it both gripped and unnerved.  Only two of the trio would make it to their final destination.

As the G126 hurtled towards the Chinese capital on 20 January, at speeds of up to 350km an hour, the latest dramatic chapter in a surreal two-year saga was about to unfold. For one of the passengers was Gui Minhai, a portly Swedish publisher once famed for his scandalous tomes about the leaders of the world’s second largest economy.


lørdag 17. februar 2018

Chinese stealth fighters are combat-ready, Beijing sats

China says its newest stealth fighter is combat-ready. Posts on both the website of the People's Liberation Army and the official Xinhua news agency said the J-20 fourth-generation fighter had been armed and officially commissioned into China's air force. Long touted as China's answer to US F-22 and F-35 stealth fighter jets, analysts say the J-20 is intended to fulfill two roles, air-to-air combat and ground attack.

With Sri Lankan port acquisition, China adds another 'pearl' to its 'string'

When Sri Lanka's government first looked to develop a port on its southern coast that faced the Indian Ocean, it went not to China, but to its neighbor, India.Then-Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said he urgently needed funding to transform the harbor of his home town and asked Indian officials for help with the project. 

New Delhi showed little interest in funding a costly and massive port construction project in the underdeveloped fishing village of Hambantota, a district that had been crushed by the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. "It was offered to India first. I was desperate for development work, but ultimately the Chinese agreed to build it," Rajapaksa said in an interview with Singapore's Straits Times in 2010.

How a Hong Kong millionaire's bribery case exposes China's corruption problem in Africa

It sounds like a Hollywood movie. A respected Hong Kong financial magnate allegedly plans a clandestine meeting with the president of Chad in the middle of the dusty Sahara Desert, and offers him a $2 million gift to secure oil rights for a Chinese conglomerate.(CNN)It sounds like a Hollywood movie. A respected Hong Kong financial magnate allegedly plans a clandestine meeting with the president of Chad in the middle of the dusty Sahara Desert, and offers him a $2 million gift to secure oil rights for a Chinese conglomerate.

In another scheme, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, according to United States prosecutors, sends the now foreign minister of Uganda, who was then the president of the UN General Assembly, a $500,000 bribe for business advantages, through the New York banking system. All this was allegedly planned under the noses of the world's top diplomats in the corridors of the United Nations in New York, where Ho ran an energy NGO.

In another scheme, Chi Ping Patrick Ho, according to United States prosecutors, sends the now foreign minister of Uganda, who was then the president of the UN General Assembly, a $500,000 bribe for business advantages, through the New York banking system. All this was allegedly planned under the noses of the world's top diplomats in the corridors of the United Nations in New York, where Ho ran an energy NGO.


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fredag 16. februar 2018

The 12 Most Noteworthy Years Of The Dog In Chinese History



In Chinese myth, the dog came second to last in the race to determine the order of the zodiac — but starting tomorrow, when the lunar calendar turns, it will take pole position. What will 2018’s Year of the Dog bring, and how does it compare to dog years past? We pored through history to get an idea, and below we list 12 different Years of the Dog in order of importance rather than chronology. Admittedly, we’re guilty of a little recency bias. Could we definitively say 1778 wasn’t more interesting than 2006, or 1526 wasn’t a year that should be remembered? No, we can’t. But records were spotty back then, so we’ll just have to go with what we know.

The Tet Offensive: A Reporter Looks Back

It was 50 years ago, but I still vividly recall the attack on Saigon. Like many others, I woke up in the South Vietnamese capital on Jan. 30, 1968 thinking that I heard firecrackers exploding to celebrate Tet, the Vietnamese Lunar New Year. But as I walked near the Saigon River waterfront, I realized that what I heard was automatic weapons fire, not firecrackers. In the predawn hours, Viet Cong and North Vietnamese troops had launched the Tet Offensive throughout South Vietnam. The Communist and South Vietnamese sides had separately announced that they would respect a two-day cease-fire for the Tet celebration. But the Communists had broken the truce.

Tyst om Gui Munhai i Margot Wallströms utrikesdeklaration

När utrikesminister Margot Wallström läser upp regeringens årliga utrikesdeklaration, finns där inte ett ord om Gui Minhai som nu varit försvunnen i Kina i 850 dagar. Wallström intervjuades i Sveriges Radio P1 Morgon om detta. Anledningen till att Guis fall inte nämns, sade utrikesministern, är att Sverige har ”många konsulära fall” att arbeta med, så varför ska man då välja att nämna bara ett eller två?

Således ser Utrikesdepartementet fortfarande på Gui Minhai främst som ett konsulär snarare än en politisk angelägenhet. Den stora skillnaden mellan fallet Gui och andra utlandssvenskars ”konsulära” bekymmer är givetvis att Gui är en samvetsfånge, som kidnappats av den kinesiska regimen på grund av innehållet i de böcker han publicerat.


torsdag 15. februar 2018

Catholics Warn Vatican Against Reported Agreement With Beijing

A group of prominent Catholics has penned an open letter to the bishops of the Catholic Church around the world, hitting out at an expected agreement between the Vatican and Beijing that could see bishops appointed by the Chinese government once more recognized by Rome.

According to a report from Reuters, the Holy See and the government of the People’s Republic of China will soon reach an agreement over the issue of bishop appointment, as well as recognition of seven bishops recognized by the ruling Chinese Communist Party, but not currently by the Pope. “We are deeply shocked and disappointed,” the letter, signed by influential Catholics in Hong Kong, the U.K. and the U.S., reads.

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Photo of Liu Xia in Bookstore ‘Doesn’t Mean She is Free’: Friends


The emergence on social media of an undated photograph of Liu Xia, widow of late Nobel laureate and political prisoner Liu Xiaobo, apparently browsing a Beijing bookstore, doesn’t mean that she is free to move around and contact friends and family at will, her friends have told RFA.

The photograph appears to show Liu Xia, who has been under house arrest since the announcement of her late husband’s Nobel prize in October 2010, poring over titles in a bookshop, with her characteristic shaved head, and wearing dark clothing. It has once more prompted speculation that the authorities may have relaxed their grip on Liu, whose continued house arrest in spite of having committed no crime, has caused an international public outcry. But Beijing-based rights activist Hu Jia, a close friend of Liu Xia, said she could have insisted on making a quick visit to the store on one of her frequent trips to the hospital for medical treatment.



Jojje Olsson: The Limits of Quiet Diplomacy With China

Michael Clauss, the German ambassador to China, last week made a brave and unusual statement. The first European ambassador to speak on the record regarding detained publisher Gui Minhai, Clauss told German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung that all of Europe supports Sweden in taking a harder line against China to secure Gui’s release.

Germany, and many other European countries, see Gui not just as a Swedish case but as a case for the entire EU. Hence, Clauss also underscored a “widespread worry” within the union that citizens from other member countries could also be subject to the same treatment as Gui because of the quiet diplomacy with which Sweden’s government has handled the issue.

In fact, it was only until late January this year that Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström made her first official statement calling for Gui’s release since he was kidnapped by Chinese security agents in Thailand in October 2015. And this short statement was only issued after 10 Chinese plainclothes police rushed into a train and snatched Gui in front of two Swedish diplomats while on his way from eastern China to Beijing for medical treatment for a life-threatening neurological disease he is believed to have developed while behind bars.

The Director of the FBI says China is a threat to the US



FBI director Christopher Wray reiterated a commonly held view on Tuesday that China is seeking to become a global superpower through unconventional means - but framed the threat China poses to the US as not just a governmental one, but as a societal one, too. Speaking before the Senate Intelligence Committee alongside the heads of other US intelligence agencies, Wray told Senators that China is using a host of methods to undermine American military, economic, cultural, and informational power across the globe that rely on more than just China's state institutions.

"One of the things we're trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole of government threat, but a whole of society threat on their end," Wray said, "and I think it's going to take a whole-of-society response by us."



onsdag 14. februar 2018

Lost in Cambodia: The Tragedy of Malcolm Caldwell

The name of Malcolm Caldwell is remembered now by very few people: some friends, family, colleagues, and students of utopian folly. In the 1970s, though, Caldwell was a major figure in protest politics. He was chair of CND for two years, a leading voice in the anti-Vietnam war campaign, a regular contributor to Peace News, and a stalwart supporter of liberation movements in the developing world. He spoke at meetings all over the country, wrote books and articles, and engaged in public spats with such celebrated opponents as Bernard Levin.

A NEW YEAR BUT A DECADES-OLD BLOT ON CHINA’S CONSCIENCE: UNPAID MIGRANT WORKERS

The mad rush of travellers for the Lunar New Year, known as the largest migration of human beings in the world, is under way. Hundreds of millions of people are taking planes, trains, cars, buses, ferries and motorbikes back to their families for the Spring Festival which falls on Friday. Altogether, about 3 billion trips are expected to be made between February 1 and March 12 during the rush known as Chunyun, a similar figure to last year.

Every year – and this year is no exception – there are the all too familiar, heart-rending scenes of tens of millions of migrant labourers on the move. They may have toiled and built the country’s high-speed railways and gleaming airports, but they usually choose the less modern and cheaper ways home to save money. Hundreds of thousands will ride motorbikes for days and nights on journeys of up to 1,400km, dressed in raincoats to brave the rain, sleet and snow, with their loved ones and goods strapped on their back seats.

tirsdag 13. februar 2018

Kinas mål: Skrämma oss till underkastelse


Just nu pågår en annan tyst diplomati: Den kinesiska regimen försöker mobilisera sina ”vänner” för att övertyga den svenska regeringen att sluta prata om den fängslade svenske medborgaren Gui Minhai: För jobbens skull, för investeringarna, handeln, ja för Volvos skull. Vi borde be Kina om ursäkt, för att vi dumt nog krävt att han får resa hem. Acceptera att han torteras till döds av regimen. Acceptera förödmjukelserna från Peking. Avskeda alla ministrar som sagt emot. Bara vi tar skeden i vacker hand, så blir allt bra!


mandag 12. februar 2018

Sweden condemns China's 'brutal' detention of bookseller Gui Minhai

Sweden’s foreign minister has condemned China’s “brutal” detention of a Hong Kong bookseller who irked Beijing with his tabloid-style stories about the Communist party elite. Gui Minhai, a China-born Swedish citizen, was picked up by plainclothes agents on 20 January as he travelled on a train to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats. Supporters said he had been traveling to the Chinese capital for a medical examination.

Gui had spent much of the previous two years in custody in east China after his suspected rendition from his holiday home in Thailand. Until his second disappearance, hopes had been rising among supporters for his release.

Bookseller Gui Minhai surfaces in Chinese custody to deliver staged confession

Three weeks after he was snatched from a Beijing-bound train, the Swedish bookseller Gui Minhai has resurfaced in police custody, making what activists denounced as a surreal, venal and shameful video confession to a series of unspecified offenses. “I feel ashamed about myself. I have made mistakes,” Gui, 53, is filmed telling a small group of reporters who said they had been given access to the prisoner by Chinese security officials. “My message to my family is that I hope they will live a good life. Don’t worry about me. I will solve my own problems myself.”

lørdag 10. februar 2018

Who Killed More: Hitler, Stalin, or Mao?

It is probably fair to say, then, that Mao was responsible for about 1.5 million deaths during the Cultural Revolution, another million for the other campaigns, and between 35 million and 45 million for the Great Leap Famine. Taking a middle number for the famine, 40 million, that’s about 42.5 million deaths.

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onsdag 7. februar 2018

Sweden condemns China's 'brutal' detention of bookseller Gui Minhai

Sweden’s foreign minister has condemned China’s “brutal” detention of a Hong Kong bookseller who irked Beijing with his tabloid-style stories about the Communist party elite.
Gui Minhai, a China-born Swedish citizen, was picked up by plainclothes agents on 20 January as he travelled on a train to Beijing with two Swedish diplomats. Supporters said he had been traveling to the Chinese capital for a medical examination.