Posts Tagged China
Dutch government to probe export of milk formula to China
The Dutch government is investigating a shortage of certain brands of baby formula, as well as potentially illegal exports of the products to China.
However, the Dutch Economic Affairs ministry said there was no national shortage in the country.
Tainted milk scandals in China have created distrust of local brands, with families willing to pay a premium for foreign brands.
Hong Kong, Australia and the UK have set limits on the sale of baby formula.
Let the Chinese have it!
Put Western babies back on the breast where they belong!
Google boss Schmidt labels China an ‘IT menace’
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt uses a new book to call China an Internet menace that backs cyber-crime for economic and political gain, reports say.
The New Digital Age – due for release in April – reportedly brands China “the world’s most active and enthusiastic filterer of information”.
China is “the most sophisticated and prolific” hacker of foreign companies, according to a review obtained by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ).
China denies allegations of hacking.
Beijing has been accused by several governments, foreign companies and organisations of carrying out extensive cyber espionage for many years, seeking to gather information and to control China’s image.
The New Digital Age analyses how China is dangerously exploiting an Internet that now permeates politics, business, culture and other aspects of life, the WSJ says.
It quotes the book as saying: “The disparity between American and Chinese firms and their tactics will put both the government and the companies of the United States at a distinct disadvantage.”
This, it says, is because Washington “will not take the same path of digital corporate espionage, as its laws are much stricter (and better enforced) and because illicit competition violates the American sense of fair play”.
The book argues that Western governments could do more to follow China’s lead and develop stronger relationships between the state and technology companies.
States will benefit if they use software and technology made by trusted companies, it suggests.
“Where Huawei gains market share, the influence and reach of China grow as well,” the WSJ quoted the authors as writing.
The WSJ this week said its computer systems had been hacked by specialists in China who were trying to monitor its China coverage.
It was the second reported attack on a major US news outlet in days, as the New York Times reported earlier that Chinese hackers had “persistently” penetrated its systems for the last four months.
China’s foreign ministry dismissed the New York Times’ accusations as “groundless” and “totally irresponsible”.
With all the evidence available, it is obvious that China is lying through its teeth. Not only that, but they must think we are totally stupid to believe their denials.
I have no doubt that the Americans and others are also hacking the Chinese net. I am not painting the west as lily white.
But one has to wonder at the technological gains that China has made in the last few years, they didn’t do it all so fast on their own.
Burma learns how to protest – against Chinese investors
Burma’s steps towards democracy have made it possible for people to protest publicly, for the first time in decades, against things they don’t like – and Chinese businesses have turned out to be top of their list.
Standing at the bottom of the vast open mine, I am a tiny matchstick figure.
My colleagues are standing hundreds of feet above but they can’t hear my shouts or even see my face.
From their perspective, the giant dumper trucks snaking their way to the bottom of the pit look like children’s toys.
This is one of the world’s top 10 copper deposits, expected to generate tens of billions of dollars over the next 30 years.
According to its Chinese co-owners, the metal extracted here, in the north-west Sagaing Region, is of the purest quality and much sought-after globally.
Most is destined for Japan, Malaysia and the Middle East, but Geng Yi, the young managing director from Beijing, believes Burma itself will soon be an important customer.
Although five decades of military rule have turned Burma – or Myanmar as the generals named it – into the poorest nation in the region, it has ambitions to become a “golden bridge” between the mega-economies of India and China.
To achieve this goal, cash from abroad is urgently needed.
“To be frank, we don’t have much capital to implement our economic reforms,” says Koko Hlaing, the government’s chief political adviser.
“Capitalism cannot be implemented without capital.”
The copper mine, is a joint venture between China’s Wanbao company – a subsidiary of the arms manufacturer, Norinco – and the deeply unpopular business arm of the Burmese military, which has lucrative stakes in everything from banking to beer, as well as a monopoly on the gems sector.
Its close connection to the men in khaki has also given it preferential contracts with foreign firms, such as this one clinched in 2011, before the nominally civilian government came to power.
But in the new Burma such deals are under public scrutiny.
The country recently held democratic elections, ended censorship and released hundreds of political prisoners. Now many are questioning authority for the first time in their lives.
Two cousins, whose faces are now famous across Burma, have become figureheads for opposition to a $1bn scheme to expand the mine, which will affect 8,000 acres (3,000 hectares) of farmland and 26 villages near the town of Monywa.
The farmers’ daughters, dubbed the Iron Ladies by a local poet, have led thousands of villagers, monks, environmental campaigners and other activists in protest, against what they say is the unlawful seizure of their land.
The women come from the village of Wet Hmay (which means Sleepy Pig in Burmese). Along with dozens of other households, they are refusing to move from their homes into a brand new village of identical, neatly spaced houses with corrugated metal roofs.
The younger cousin, Thwe Thwe Win has a round face, a husky voice and a manner as pungent as the garlic she sells in the market.
“We want the mine closed down immediately,” she says. “No-one should colonise our land.”
In their fields, which lie in the shadow of a towering waste dump, I meet her cousin Aye Net, who complains that her sesame and beans are much sparser since the mine expansion started.
“When it rains, water drains through the dump and on to our land. There’s something acid in it,” she says.
“We don’t want compensation. We just want to grow our crops and live here as we have for generations.”
Environmental campaigners and activists from the pro-democracy youth group Generation Wave joined the villagers’ protest.
Some locals have complained that the sulphuric acid used to leach copper from ore has contaminated drinking water although the Wanbao Company denies this.
U Wi Tatatema, a 21-year-old monk from the central city of Mandalay, says he read about the mining project in the newspapers and came to give his support.
“When I saw the village women sitting on the ground and singing the national anthem in protest, I cried,” he says.
“The mountains are as precious as our parents – so I felt as if they were slaughtering my own mother.”
Plans to relocate a sacred pagoda which was once home to a famous Buddhist teacher, helped to mobilise hundreds more of his fellow monks.
Along with other protesters, they occupied the hillside temple, in the heart of the mining complex, for several days.
Since they were forcibly evicted, it has been guarded night and day by police.
Geng Yi, the mine’s director, admits the protests made him feel “uncomfortable and unsafe” and he is still clearly frustrated by all the delays holding up the expansion plan.
“Without the rule of law and stability how can this country attract or protect foreign investments?” he asks.
“From our point of view, we would like the government and important people to pay attention.”
When the government finally reacted, the confrontation turned ugly.
On 28 November, riot police cleared the protest camps which had brought the mine to a standstill.
Nearly 100 villagers and monks were injured. Many suffered horrific burns caused by incendiary devices – possibly phosphorous shells.
The brutal crackdown was a stark reminder that the country’s transition to democracy is still in its infancy.
Many suspect the government acted to avoid angering China – the country’s powerful northern neighbour and biggest investor.
President Thein Sein’s popularity shot up last year after he suspended the $3.6bn Myitsone hydro-electric dam on the Irrawaddy river – another controversial Chinese mega-project – but perhaps he was warned not to make the same mistake twice.
Whatever the case, latent Sinophobia has recently exploded.
At a demonstration outside the Chinese Embassy in Rangoon one banner said “This is our Country – Dracula China Get out!”
Kyaw Min Swe, editor of The Voice newspaper, said many Burmese bitterly resent Beijing for its cosy relationship with the former military junta and are now determined China’s unchallenged dominance should end.
“The old regime got everything it needed from China – legitimacy, weapons and political support, like a veto in the UN Security Council and people had to put up with this for so many years.
“Now they are channelling all their anger with China into opposing this copper mine,” he says.
Six activists from the demo outside the embassy have been charged with holding a protest without permission. If found guilty they could face fines and two years in prison.
A parliamentary investigation into whether the mine expansion should be allowed to go ahead – chaired by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi – is likely to condemn the police for their heavy handed response, when it reports in the next few days.
But the investigation is a poisoned chalice for the Nobel laureate.
It is unclear how far she will risk antagonising either China or the Burmese top brass – outside the halls of the new parliament the military still wields formidable power.
Immediately after the crackdown, at a rally in the nearby town of Monywa, Aung San Suu Kyi got cheers for denouncing police brutality, but she also stressed the importance of friendly ties with neighbouring countries.
As the icon of Burmese democracy her role was clearly defined – she struggled for freedom against one of the world’s most oppressive regimes.
But now that she is an elected politician, she has to deal with Iron Ladies as well as army generals.
(Reuters) – Chinese netizens on Wednesday bit back at a government decision to ban serving shark fin soup at state banquets within three years, mocking it as a timid step by leaders who spend lavishly on other delicacies and are aloof from common concerns.
“You have to wait three years to do this?” demanded Wu Yaxue, a psychologist in Beijing, on his microblog account.
“Given the way Chinese civil servants eat, in three years you won’t need to enforce this ban; the shark fin will be all gone.”
Shark fin can sell for up to $600 per pound, increasing the practice of fishermen sawing fins and leaving the ocean predator to bleed to death. Environmental groups have called for an end to the eating of shark fin soup which is often served at special occasions by Chinese communities worldwide.
“Ordinary people eat starch noodles, officials use the people’s money to eat shark fin,” growled “Nova Zhou” on his microblog.
China’s has legions of microbloggers on sites like Sina Corp.s (SINA.O) Weibo, which offers a rare opportunity for open discussion, especially on the lifestyle of the communist party elite, though breaching restrictions can lead to arrest.
Others ridiculed the government remarks on shark fin made on Tuesday, saying the decision was aimed at saving costs for official functions, a sore point in China where a growing wealth gap has caused social tension.
“This just proves that solving the problems of housing, the elderly, the environment, corruption, employment, education, health care, food safety, migrant workers, stock markets, buying train tickets, and banning shark’s fin and maotai (expensive rice wine) are all more difficult than launching a rocket into outer space,” posted “Heng in South Korea“.
Heng was referring to China’s recent manned space shot from which three astronauts returned to Earth last week.
“So, are they going to eat panda now?” scoffed another Weibo blogger.
(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Ed Lane)
Chinese authorities have censored all weather reports after this cloud formation appeared over Beijing. The threatening nature of the phenomenon was considered to be an ominous sign for the communist regime and felt it was not in the ‘interest’ of the people to be informed.
Syria UN team ‘shot at’ near Qubair ‘massacre site’
The head of the UN has said monitors trying to reach the Syrian village of Qubair, where 78 people are said to have been killed, were fired upon.
None were hurt in the shooting but they have pulled back for the night.
Addressing the UN General Assembly, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon condemned the “killing of innocents” at Qubair as “shocking and sickening”.
Envoy Kofi Annan told the UN Security Council the crisis could soon “spiral out of control”, diplomats said.
Mr Annan earlier told the General Assembly his six-point peace plan was not being implemented despite having been accepted by Damascus.
Opposition activists blame the killings at Qubair on pro-government forces but the government accuses “terrorists”.
The White House said it strongly condemned “the outrageous targeted killings of civilians including women and children” in Qubair.
But both China and Russia repeated their opposition to outside intervention in Syria.
The UN has 297 unarmed observers in Syria to verify the implementation of a peace plan negotiated by Mr Annan. It includes a ceasefire, meant to have taken effect in mid-April.
‘Killing of innocents’
“I just learned a few minutes ago that while trying to [enter Qubair], the UN monitors were shot at with small arms,” Mr Ban told the 193-state assembly in New York.
Addressing a special closed meeting of the Security Council, Mr Annan urged world powers to warn President Bashar al-Assad of “clear consequences” if he did not comply with the six-point peace plan, diplomats said.
Sausan Ghosheh, spokesperson for the UN observer mission in Syria, told the BBC the monitors had been sent home for the night.
“We’re here serving the flag of the United Nations… until now we’re lucky no-one has been injured,” she said.
Speaking earlier in Syria, UN mission chief Gen Robert Mood said Syrian troops had blocked access to Qubair, which is near the western city of Hama.
In a statement, the White House said the killings, coupled with the “Syrian regime’s refusal to let UN observers into the area”, were “an affront to human dignity and justice”.
Source: BBC News Read more
The world pussy foots around while cowering to Russia and China.
What’s al-Bastard hiding in Qubair?
My guess is proof that his forces were responsible for the latest massacre, in which a whole village was as good as wiped out, men, women, children, all extinguished.
The six point plan for the Syrian ceasefire was, as I predicted, simply an excuse for al-Bastard to continue his bloody slaughter with impunity.
The UN observers have nothing to oversee. There was never and there won’t be a ceasefire as long as al-Bastard is at the helm. The best they can do is act as gathers of evidence for future prosecutions.
Now that UN observers have been met with hostile action; Russia and China MUST come to terms that their Syrian pet is out of control and totally beyond reason. He has fired on friendly forces. The world must now act.
Russia’s response should be to abandon its naval base in Syria and set sail and let the UN do its work.
Because after this mess is over both Russia and China should be held responsible and accountable.
Another Massacre in Syria: Qubair, Hama
It seems that Houla’s effect wasn’t “grand” enough for whatever force killing people in Syria to stop doing so. We all know who that force is but for the sake of keeping this about the people, I won’t throw names.
In the town of Qubair, near Hama in Northern Syria, 78 people have been killed including 35 from the same family. Half of those killed so far are women and children. The death toll is still rising. Did I mention the town counts only a 100 or so resident? They literally killed everyone there.
In the nearby town of Kfarzeita, 6 bodies were found burned till they became charcoal. There’s even a video for that.
In total, the death toll is at 130, more than Houla, and rising.
Source: A separate Sate of Mind Read more and see videos and pictures of the slaughter.
Warning: The content is horribly graphic
Syria unrest: Who are the shabiha?
Syria’s government has blamed “armed criminal gangs and terrorists” for much of the unrest since March 2011, but activists accuse state-sponsored militia of assisting in the crackdown that has left more than 9,000 people dead. Here is what is known about these armed regime supporters, known locally as the “shabiha”.
Throughout the uprising, many Syrians have said they have seen heavily-armed men dressed in black fighting alongside the security forces.
The men are accused not only of killing and beating people who attend demonstrations, but also of carrying out a campaign of intimidation that has included executions, drive-by shootings and sectarian attacks.
Activists say their presence has allowed the government to deny any involvement in the most brutal actions against protesters.
“They’re not afraid to use force, violence, weapons, racketeering and blackmail,” Ammar Qurabi of Syria’s National Organization for Human Rights told the Associated Press.
“That way, the regime will remain clean and will say: ‘Look these are gangs doing this, not us’.”
It is not clear exactly who they are and to whom they are loyal, but the term “shabiha” has repeatedly been used to describe them. Possibly derived from the Arabic word for “ghost” (“shabh”), it has come to mean “thugs” in modern day Syria.
Source: BBC News Read more
While it is not officially clear who the shabiha are loyal to, the answer must be al-Bastard if they are fighting alongside his troops and doing their dirty business.
China bans Tiananmen Square-related web search terms
Chinese authorities have blocked internet access to search terms related to the 23rd anniversary of the 1989 crackdown against protesters at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Terms such as “six four”, “23″, “candle” and “never forget”, typed in Chinese search engines, do not return any information about the event.
Discussions of the unrest of 4 June 1989 remain taboo in the country.
But some users managed to upload a few pictures on to Twitter-like Sina Weibo.
In 1989, troops shot dead hundreds of pro-democracy protesters gathered in central Beijing.
Source: BBC News Read more
I guess that’s why there are only 3 hits against the Chinese flag on my counter… I was surprised there was 3.
I guess my blog is as good as banned.
Paranoia is a terrible affliction.
Clinically, China is in denial.
Trying to pretend that the 1989 Tiananmen Square crackdown never happened.
It did. The whole world knows it, most of China knows it, but the petty little psychopaths that ‘run’ China pretend it didn’t happen.
China is a sick, very sick puppy.
Any clinician will tell you that healing cannot even begin to happen until you rise above denial.
China desperately wants to run the world. Global domination is foremost in the minds of the petty little psychopaths.
So, they go on pretending that Tiananmen didn’t happen. On this anniversary of their biggest mistake the petty little psychopaths are perpetuating the memory of the very Tiananmen that they deny.
This proves they are psychopathic, because psychopaths can’t see the wood for the trees.
Tiananmen Square happened.
There is nothing the petty little psychopaths can do to make it go conveniently away.
Until they face up to it, there can be no forward to China.
The way forward, admit it, apologise for it, take responsibility for a wrong judgment call, stop persecuting those who will not make it go away…
But psychopaths can’t admit they were wrong, that’s part of being a psychopath.
Apparently the Chinese have nothing to worry about with the USA moving into the Pacific, provocative as it may seem.
There have been recent complaints from senior naval staff about the quality of facilities in the Pacific region and Panetta is simply hoping to redress serious imbalance.
With the future of aircraft carriers in doubt, Panetta has suggested a compromise.
This of course puts paid to any ideas that China had of turning the sought after Spratly Islands into a five-star golf course.
Chen Guangcheng’s escape sparks China round-up
Chinese authorities have begun to round up relatives and associates of blind activist Chen Guangcheng, who fled from house arrest last week, reports say.
Several people involved in Mr Chen’s escape have been detained or have disappeared in recent days, and fellow activist Hu Jia is being questioned.
Mr Chen is believed to be sheltering at the US embassy in Beijing.
The US and international rights groups have frequently expressed alarm at the treatment of Mr Chen and his family.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who has demanded his release in the past, is due in China this week for a previously arranged meeting which is now likely to be overshadowed by Mr Chen’s case.
The US government has not so far commented publicly on the whereabouts of Mr Chen.
Analysts say the issue will be highly sensitive for both sides, and will not be easy to resolve.
If Mr Chen is in the embassy, his case will raise memories of an incident in 1989 when another prominent activist, Fang Lizhi, fled to the US mission in Beijing.
He remained there for more than a year while the two sides attempted to broker a deal.
Mr Chen was placed under house arrest in 2010 after spending more than four years in jail for disrupting traffic and damaging property.
He had exposed how local authorities in Linyi, Shandong province, forced thousands of women to have abortions or be sterilised as part of China’s one-child policy.
His colleagues said last Sunday’s escape had taken months to plan, and was carried out with the help of a network of friends and activists.
He scaled the wall that the authorities had built around his house, and was driven hundreds of miles to Beijing, where activists say he stayed in safe-houses before fleeing to the embassy.
His wife and six-year-old daughter remain under house arrest, but several of his family members have been detained and others are being sought by the authorities.
One of Mr Chen’s friends, He Peirong – who wrote on her microblog that she had driven him to Beijing – is believed to have been detained in the city of Nanjing.
“I was actually talking to her and the last words she said were ‘the PSB [Public Security Bureau] has arrived,’” said Bob Fu, of the US-based ChinaAid pressure group.
Her microblog was later deleted, and all searches on popular microblogging sites for Mr Chen’s name and other related terms were being blocked by the censors.
Source: BBC News Read more of the story
And the world continues to treat China as a trading partner, an off-shore factory where they can make cheaper products.
If China has to go through these contortions to keep the people submissive then there must be something seriously wrong.
Paranoia is a terrible thing.
The world boycotts and pressurises others, Syria, Iran, etc over various issues but touch the sacred cow.
Each day it gets worse, China grows from strength to strength at the expense of the world and its people.
China’s ambition is world domination; and it is well on the way.