Tag: China

UPDATED (3x): Police Conduct House-by-House Searches In Tibet As Protest Spreads

From today’s Wapo – I’ve highlighted a chilling part of their report:

Vowing a harsh crackdown, Chinese police conducted house-to-house searches in central Lhasa Monday and rounded up hundreds of Tibetans suspected of participating in a deadly outburst of anti-Chinese violence, exile groups and residents reported.

The large-scale arrests and official promises of tough reprisals suggested the Chinese government has decided to move decisively to crush the protests despite calls for restraint from abroad and warnings that heavy-handed repression could taint next summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Tibetan regional governor, Champa Phuntsok, said detainees who show remorse and inform on others who were part of the week-long unrest would be rewarded with better treatment. But Buddhist monks and other Tibetans who participated in Friday’s torching of Chinese-owned shops and widespread attacks on Han Chinese businessmen would be “dealt with harshly,” he told a news conference in Beijing.

link: http://www.washingtonpost.com/…

Updated – Protesters Dead in Tibet, Dalai Lama Calls for International Investigation

The city is in complete shutdown. There is no atmosphere whatsoever on the streets because there is a curfew and the streets are totally deserted.

This evening we have heard a few sporadic blasts once every few hours.

Right now, I’m looking at buildings that are burnt out. The city is absolutely burnt to cinders. It’s trashed.


Our current hostel is in a safe area, in a kind of ‘green zone’ as people are calling it. The worst of the violence was in the centre and east of the city.

Some tourists who were in the east were forcibly removed from their hotels and hostels. Police turned up today and tried to forcibly remove all of us to a hotel further out west.


The electricity in our hostel is out even though all the buildings nearby have electricity. You sense that it might be because they know tourists with cameras and email accounts are here and could contact the outside world.

From an eyewitness account in Lhasa: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asi…  

Tibet Crisis Continues + ACTION ITEMS

In case you haven’t heard, there’ve been protests in Tibet the last few days marking the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. These are some of the biggest demonstrations the country’s seen since the 1980s. The Chinese government has clamped down hard and violence has broken out.

Violent protests erupted Friday in a busy market area of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as Buddhist monks and other ethnic Tibetans clashed with Chinese security forces. Witnesses say the protesters burned shops, cars, military vehicles and at least one tourist bus.

The chaotic scene marked the most violent demonstrations since protests by Buddhist monks began in Lhasa on Monday, which was the anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. The ongoing protests have been the largest in Tibet since the late 1980s, when Chinese security forces repeatedly used lethal force to restore order in the region.

The developments prompted the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, to issue a statement, saying that he was concerned about the situation and appealing to the Chinese leadership to “stop using force and address the long-simmering resentment of the Tibetan people.”

This particular media report skipped the last part of his statement: “I also urge my fellow Tibetans not to resort to violence.”

Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Dickens Set Free in China

Crossposted at Daily Kos and also at Truth & Progress

Lost in the hoopla and frenzy of the 2008 Presidential Campaign over the past couple of weeks was an overlooked (though important) anniversary in the Peoples Republic of China.  In February 1978 — a year or so after Chairman Mao Zedong’s death — the Chinese communist government lifted a ban on the writings of three of the greatest minds the world has ever seen.

This was a critical development for from their graves, three men long dead — Aristotle, William Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens — were finally free to peddle their ‘subversive’ ideas about the complexity of the human condition.

Aristotle, William Shakespeare, and Charles Dickens

Tea and Oranges

Tea and Oranges


DharmaBums Abroad

all photos copyright zwoof 2008


Suzanne takes you down  

to her place near the river

You can hear the boats go by

You can spend the night beside her

And you know that she’s half crazy

But that’s why you want to be there

And she feeds you tea and oranges

That come all the way from china

And just when you mean to tell her

That you have no love to give her

Then she gets you on her wavelength

And she lets the river answer

That you’ve always been her lover

And you want to travel with her

And you want to travel blind

And you know that she will trust you

For you’ve touched her perfect body with your mind.


Kucinich: Statement on the death of Benazir Bhutto w/poll

The US had chosen who to back in Pakistan, and that was Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.  Not surprisingly, it’s blown up in our faces.  We have no idea where things will lead, but the world is an ever more dangerous place tonight.  With an unstable Afghanistan on one border, Iran on another, longtime rivals India on another and China on the fourth, the instability that this adds could lead to a regional war involving the world’s two most populace countries (and Pakistan is no slouch at over 164 million people.

Can’t make this stuff up: Chinese toys tainted w/date-rape drug (updated)

Canadian Press is reporting that the popular toy known as “Aqua Dots” in the U.S. and “Bindeez” in Australia has been pulled off the shelves because of a coating chemical, when ingested, metabolises into the “date-rape” drug: GHB (gamma hydroxy butyrate).

A popular Chinese-made children’s toy is being pulled from Canadian store shelves over worries that a similar toy sold in Australia contains a chemical that converts into a powerful “date rape” drug when swallowed.


[Update] The U.S. is recalling Aqua Dots, as well, after reports of 2 children in comas after ingesting the beads:

Two U.S. children went into comas after who swallowing Chinese-made Aqua Dots found to contain a chemical that converts into ‘date rape’ drug when ingested.


More below the jump.

A funny thing happened on the way to war with Iran…

As Seymour Hersh has reported, the Bush Administration has made a deliberate calculation to change the rationale for its warmongering against Iran. They realized that the lie about Iran’s nascent nuclear weapons program wasn’t selling, so they decided to recalibrate and relaunch with a new marketing campaign claiming Iran is a major cause of the violence in Iraq. Of course, there wouldn’t be much violence in Iraq, had Bush not launched an invason, but we’re talking about catapulting propaganda, not reality.

So, the first Iran War rollout wasn’t working, and the Administration decided on another one; because it’s not the facts that matter, it’s the selling of war. So, Iran suddenly became a dangerous influence in Iraq. And some-time general, and full-time political hack, David Petraeus was recently in England, trying to sell the same story– although the Brits aren’t buying it. Apparently, neither are the people who would actually know something about it: the Iraqis.

The New York Times is reporting:

Iraq has agreed to award $1.1 billion in contracts to Iranian and Chinese companies to build a pair of enormous power plants, the Iraqi electricity minister said Tuesday. Word of the project prompted serious concerns among American military officials, who fear that Iranian commercial investments can mask military activities at a time of heightened tension with Iran.

Or maybe those American officials are actually worried that it’s going to be hard to sell a war based on Iranian meddling in Iraq when Iraq itself is inviting Iranian businesses into Iraq to build power plants.

The Iraqi electricity minister, Karim Wahid, said that the Iranian project would be built in Sadr City, a Shiite enclave in Baghdad that is controlled by followers of the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr. He added that Iran had also agreed to provide cheap electricity from its own grid to southern Iraq, and to build a large power plant essentially free of charge in an area between the two southern Shiite holy cities of Karbala and Najaf.

So, Iran’s going to actually help solve Iraq’s electricity problem. Something at which we’ve not been doing such a good job.

The Chinese will be paid about $940,000,000 for their plant, and the Iranians about $150,000,000 for theirs. Don’t ask where the money’s coming from. The article doesn’t say whether it’s out of the funds we’re giving Iraq, but it would be interesting to trace it. Because we are giving them a lot. And these are expensive projects. So, it does actually seem plausible that our tax dollars will be going to Iran, to help them rebuild Iraq.

And there’s this:

Neocons vs. Iran: Final Prewar Scouting Report

As the Bush/Cheney White House, its supportive neocon ideologues, and its public relations machine appear to be “catapulting the propaganda” to prepare the way for attacking Iran, perhaps for a change we should try the novel approach of thinking and asking about the possible consequences before actually launching yet another preemptive war.

No one in the corporate media, in Congress (save for a few largely drowned-out voices, such as that of Senator Jim Webb), or least of all in the Unitary Executive (except for Secretary of Defense Robert Gates) gives much evidence of raising and pondering such questions.

Let’s give it a try below the break. Just taking the trouble to ask a few questions uncovers at least five major tectonic shifts that likely would follow a U.S. assault on Iran.

There will be plenty of links for those who want to delve a little deeper. You might want to start with a full coffee cup.

This map of the region may help frame the questions.

When Nancy Pelosi had a Spine

Nancy Pelosi was for protests before she was against them:

Pelosi has had a long record of criticizing China. In 1991, she slipped away with two colleagues during a congressional tour and placed flowers at Tiananmen Square, where pro-democracy demonstrations had been violently suppressed two years before. Chinese guards briefly detained television crews filming the event.

An insight on US strategic thinking – why so much cowering fear?

Earlier last week, I wrote a diary (What the west means and what roles NATO plays therein) that used a recent Financial Times editorial as a springboard for a discussion on what the “West” was, and what the use of NATO was – questions that  left-of-center Europeans tend to see quite differently from most Americans, including left-of-center ones.

The editorial, by a well-respected British pundit, was insightful and interesting, and led me to conclude what many on the European Tribune have long suspected: that NATO is simply an instrument for Europe to support US strategic priorities, and that the “West” exists only when Europe (and in particular France) aligns itself unconditionally on US positions. The UK, as per that senior British commentator, has as its main role that of disrupting and dividing Europe when it is insufficiently respectful of US interests.

Since I’m French, you may be tempted to conclude that this is just sour grapes by a citizen of a supposedly declining country; however, what I found more interesting in that article was the dominant tone of fear – about the west being under siege, and needing security against various threats – in the form of coordinated military power and little else. It was a narrow, downcast, closed vision of the world, with little about values, progress or hope.

The comment thread is worth reading too, and one of the last comments, by Loefing, pointed me to another article on the same topic, this time by a graduate of the US Naval War College, Tony Corn. The article, (The Revolution in Transatlantic Affairs, has the same dominant tone of fear, but a much more detailed examination of the world. Given the credentials of its author, it is likely to have serious influence on the thinking of the strategists in the Pentagon, and it is thus worth deconstructing.

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