China post 2008 Olympics

Written by  //  September 4, 2009  //  China, Environment & Energy, Geopolitics, Justice & Law, Rights & Social justice, Science & Technology  //  Comments Off on China post 2008 Olympics

Chinese separatists blamed for syringe attack violence

Chinese authorities dispatched police in riot gear to disperse protesters in Urumqi, the capital of China’s increasingly restive Xinjiang province. More than 10,000 ethnic Han Chinese marched to protest what they consider a government failure to protect public safety after attacks in which hundreds of people were stabbed with syringes. Authorities said the Uighur separatists blamed for violent riots in July also were responsible for the syringe attacks — which caused some 500 injuries, according to state media. Los Angeles Times (9/4) , BBC (9/4) , Associated Press (9/4)

11 August
China’s Incinerators as a Global Hazard

SHENZHEN, China — As China runs out of landfill space, it is racing to build incinerators, a growing source of toxic emissions that can be carried overseas.
9 July
How China Wins and Loses Xinjiang
(Foreign Policy The Chinese government can put down a riot — but its heavy-handed tactics ensure that ethnic tensions will keep simmering.
Beijing claims that new industry and oil exploration in Xinjiang is bringing wealth into the region, benefiting both Han and Uighurs. Yet according to the Asian Development Bank, income inequality in Xinjiang remains the highest in all of China. Hiring discrimination is a substantial barrier, often fueled by the Chinese Communist Party’s perplexed attitude toward religion. … The vast majority of the new jobs in Xinjiang are state-affiliated: Construction crews, bank clerks, police officers, nurses and school-teachers all work for the government (there isn’t much private business on the frontier). Many of those positions are off-limits to publicly observant Muslims. The state-run Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, the largest development company in the province, for instance, not long ago filled, by mandate, 800 of 840 new job openings with Han Chinese.
Economic gulf, discrimination create tension in Urumqi
(Globe & Mail) An informal border has existed for decades, and the gap between the two groups has grown in the years since 1999, when then-president Jiang Zemin introduced his “Go West” campaign, which encouraged a huge influx of Han Chinese migration into the oil-rich northwestern province of Xinjiang. The Uyghur neighbourhood atop Yamalik Hill, meanwhile, has more in common with parts of rural Afghanistan than with the rest of Urumqi. Just a few hundred metres up a winding road from a major thoroughfare, the steel-and-glass towers of the city melt away rapidly into mud-brick homes and bumpy unpaved roads covered in litter.
30 June
China in internet filtering climbdown
(FT) China has agreed to delay implementation of its policy to have all new computers in the country equipped with a controversial internet filtering software, averting the threat that PC makers not complying by Wednesday would face fines.
12 June
Chinese Embassy Responds Regarding Kidnapped Christian Attorney Gao Zhisheng
Gao Zhisheng, now missing 128 days, was kidnapped from his hometown in Shaanxi province early in the morning on February 4 by Chinese officials. Currently, his whereabouts are unknown. Gao has been previously kidnapped and tortured for his pursuit of human rights in China. The statement by Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong is consistent with the continual denial from the Chinese government regarding Gao’s kidnapping. In a briefing in Beijing in March, Qing Gang, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, said, “There’s no political persecution or limits on the freedom of the family. We’ve handled the case in strict accordance with the law.” This statement denies the two years Gao Zhisheng’s family suffered under house arrest before their escape to the U.S. this past March.
19 February
Beijing Must Reveal Fate of Human Rights Lawyer
Jerome A. Cohen, Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies
(South China Morning Post) It is 43 days since the most recent “disappearance” of Gao Zhisheng, China’s most famous human rights lawyer, who boldly sought to use the law to battle corruption, overturn illegal property seizures, expose police abuses and defend religious freedom.
Little sympathy for opulent CCTV after fireworks burn down building
Chinese state broadcaster CCTV apologized for a fireworks display that caused an adjacent building to catch fire and burn. The Mandarin Oriental hotel, which stands on the Rem Koolhaas and Ole Scheeren–designed campus with the iconic CCTV headquarters, burned after a magnificent, unauthorized fireworks display that included rockets for which CCTV employees had not received permits. The incident crystallized the anger many feel toward CCTV for spending grandly on displays and for broadcasting state propaganda. Los Angeles Times (free registration) (2/11) , Google/The Associated Press (2/11)
Chinese TV airs footage of protester throwing shoe at PM Wen
A protester interrupted a speech by Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao at Cambridge University in England by blowing a whistle and throwing his shoe at Wen, further proving that the shoe has replaced the cream pie as the protester’s projectile of choice. In a secondary shock, Chinese state television aired footage of the incident — a move prompted by the inevitable proliferation of the video online, according to media observers. The New York Times (2/3) , Google/The Associated Press (2/3) 
23 January 2009
China says Web crackdown to be “long-lasting”
BEIJING (Reuters) – China sought on Friday to portray its Internet crackdown as a campaign to protect youth from filth and nothing to do with stifling political dissent, with an official promising long-lasting action against “vulgarity.”
The government has closed over 1,200 websites, including a popular blog site, but with an estimated 3,000 new sites appearing daily, the battle to maintain control of the online world is never-ending.
China denounces Nobel contender
Oct 09 2008 17:10
(FT) Beijing responded to speculation that a jailed Chinese dissident might win the Nobel Peace Prize by denouncing him as a criminal and warning that honouring him would amount to meddling in China’s internal affairs.
6 October
Nobel Peace Prize May Go to Chinese Activist, Angering Beijing
Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) — Two Chinese dissidents are among this year’s Nobel Peace Prize contenders, prompting moves by leaders in Beijing to pre-emptively counter possible negative attention on their human rights record. Gao Zhisheng and Hu Jia are deemed top candidates by Oslo’s International Peace Research Institute, which handicaps competition for the award that will be announced Oct. 10. It’s preceded by Nobel prizes for medicine today, physics tomorrow, chemistry on Oct. 8 and literature on Oct. 9. A decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo to honor Hu or Gao may increase tensions between the West and the government of the world’s most populous nation.
26 September
China’s long march to the moon
(CBC Quirks & Quarks) Three Chinese “taikonauts” (from the Mandarin word for space) blasted into orbit this week aboard Shenzhou VII, a mission that includes the first space walk by China. It’s the third time China has sent humans into space, part of a steady “long march” towards their own space station, and possibly a small step on the moon.
9 September
Economic nationalism worries EU business in China
BEIJING, Sept 9 (Reuters) – A rising tide of economic nationalism in China is deterring investment by European companies and hampering access to the domestic market, the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said on Tuesday. EU businesses remain optimistic because of China’s strong economic growth but face increasingly sophisticated protectionism based on lobbying by domestic special interest groups and a tendency to favour local companies, according to the chamber’s annual position paper. More
27 August
The Olympics will not change China’s behaviour
(The Economist) From the world’s biggest airport terminal, where the athletes and visitors arrived, to the colossal new “bird’s nest” stadium and the lavish opening and closing ceremonies involving thousands of costumed soldiers drilled to perfection, China wanted to inspire awe, and leave visitors and viewers alike impressed by the country’s grandeur, immensity and a national will to succeed.
… From the world’s biggest airport terminal, where the athletes and visitors arrived, to the colossal new “bird’s nest” stadium and the lavish opening and closing ceremonies involving thousands of costumed soldiers drilled to perfection, China wanted to inspire awe, and leave visitors and viewers alike impressed by the country’s grandeur, immensity and a national will to succeed.
… But will a proud and confident China interact with the world any differently?
… In the coming months, China will likely turn inward. It has much soul-searching to do over recent domestic crises such as upheaval in Tibet, militancy in Xinjiang and a deadly earthquake in Sichuan. It worries about balancing a growing economy with the need to control inflation. China is unlikely to behave like a self-assured power globally unless it feels stable internally.
August 21
China’s Rise Goes Beyond Gold Medals
(NYT) China is on track to displace the United States as the winner of the most Olympic gold medals this year. Get used to it. Today, it’s the athletic surge that dazzles us, but China will leave a similar outsize footprint in the arts, in business, in science, in education.
The world we are familiar with, dominated by America and Europe, is a historical anomaly. Until the 1400s, the largest economies in the world were China and India, and forecasters then might have assumed that they would be the ones to colonize the Americas — meaning that by all rights this newspaper should be printed in Chinese or perhaps Hindi.
But then China and India both began to fall apart at just the time that Europe began to rise. China’s per-capita income was actually lower, adjusted for inflation, in the 1950s than it had been at the end of the Song Dynasty in the 1270s.
Now the world is reverting to its normal state — a powerful Asia — and we will have to adjust. Just as many Americans know their red wines and easily distinguish a Manet from a Monet, our children will become connoisseurs of pu-er tea and will know the difference between guanxi and Guangxi, the Qin and the Qing. When angry, they may even insult each other as “turtle’s eggs.”
During the rise of the West, Chinese culture constantly had to adapt. When the first Westerners arrived and brought their faith in the Virgin Mary, China didn’t have an equivalent female figure to work miracles — so Guan Yin, the God of Mercy, underwent a sex change and became the Goddess of Mercy.
Now it will be our turn to scramble to compete with a rising Asia.
This transition to Chinese dominance will be a difficult process for the entire international community, made more so by China’s prickly nationalism. China still sees the world through the prism of guochi, or national humiliation, and among some young Chinese success sometimes seems to have produced not so much national self-confidence as cockiness.
China’s intelligence agencies are becoming more aggressive in targeting America, including corporate secrets, and the Chinese military is busily funding new efforts to poke holes in American military pre-eminence. These include space weapons, cyberwarfare and technologies to threaten American aircraft carrier groups.
President Bush was roundly criticized for attending the Beijing Olympics, but, in retrospect, I think he was right to attend. The most important bilateral relationship in the world in the coming years will be the one between China and the United States, and Mr. Bush won enormous good will from the Chinese people by showing up.
Having won that political capital, though, Mr. Bush didn’t spend it. Mr. Bush should have spoken out more forcefully on behalf of human rights, including urging Beijing to stop shipping the weapons used for genocide in Darfur.
It’s a difficult balance to get right, but China’s determination to top the gold medal charts — and its overwhelming efforts to find and train the best athletes — bespeaks a larger desire for international respect and legitimacy. We can use that desire also to shame and coax better behavior out of China’s leaders.
When the Chinese government sentences two frail women in their late 70s to labor camp because they applied to hold a legal protest during the Olympics, as it just has, then that is an outrage to be addressed not by “silent diplomacy” but by pointing it out.
We also must recognize that informal pressures are becoming increasingly important. The most important figure in China-U.S. relations today isn’t the ambassador for either country; it is Yao Ming, the basketball player — and David Stern, the commissioner of the N.B.A., is second. The biggest force for democratization isn’t the Group of 7 governments, but is the millions of Chinese who study in the West and return — sometimes with green cards or blue passports, but always with greater expectations of freedom. China’s rise is sustained in part by the way the Communist Party has grudgingly, sometimes incompetently, adapted to these pressures for change.
On this visit, I dropped by the home of Bao Tong, a former senior Communist Party official who spent seven years in prison for challenging the hard-liners during the Tiananmen democracy movement. The guards who monitor him 24/7 let me through when I showed my Olympic press credentials.
Mr. Bao noted that Communist leaders used to actually believe in Communism; now they simply believe in Communist Party rule. He recalled that hard-liners used to fret about the danger of “peaceful evolution,” meaning a gradual shift to a Western-style political and economic system. “Now, in fact, what we have is peaceful evolution,” he noted.
That flexibility is one of China’s great strengths, and it’s one reason that the most important thing going on in the world today is the rise of China — in the Olympics and in almost every other facet of life.

Comments are closed.