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Story here.

BEIJING: When state security agents burst into his apartment on Dec. 27, Hu Jia was chatting on Skype, the Internet-based telephone system. Hu's computer was his most potent tool. He disseminated information about human rights cases, peasant protests and other politically touchy topics even though he often lived under de facto house arrest.

Hu, 34, and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, are human rights advocates who spent much of 2006 restricted to their apartment in a complex with the unlikely name of Bo Bo Freedom City. She blogged about life under detention, while he videotaped a documentary titled "Prisoner in Freedom City." Their surreal existence seemed to reflect an official uncertainty about how, and whether, to shut them up.

That ended on Dec. 27. Hu was dragged away on charges of subverting state power while Zeng was bathing their newborn daughter, Qianci. Telephone and Internet connections to the apartment were severed. Mother and daughter are now under house arrest. Qianci, barely 2 months old, is probably the youngest political prisoner in China.

For human rights advocates and Chinese dissidents, Hu's detention is the most telling example of what they describe as a broadening crackdown on dissent as Beijing prepares to stage the Olympic Games in August. In recent months, several dissidents have been jailed, including a former factory worker in northeastern China who collected 10,000 signatures after posting an online petition titled "We Want Human Rights, Not the Olympics."
(a much longer article, click link above to read the rest)

Someone tell me again, why do we have such favorable trade policies for these a***o*e*?
Story here from the Times of India.

NEW DELHI: India has told China that Beijing's steadfast refusal to clarify the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was leading to incursions into Indian territory and political disquiet. The Indian response came after China protested "Indian movements into Sikkim" recently.

The Chinese protest was made at the flag meeting of the commanders well before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's recent visit to Beijing.

It was followed up by a demarche after the visit. What is less known is the Chinese protest following a formal protest lodged by India on their movements in Arunachal Pradesh. India had complained about Chinese incursions in Arunachal Pradesh and the India-Bhutan tri-junction after repeated instances of Chinese movements which were described as "aggressive."
. . .

More disquieting news, also from the Times of India:

. . . On November 8, Chinese forces demolished some unmanned Indian forward posts near two Army bunkers against which Beijing had raised objections since July. "The Chinese came, destroyed the posts and went back," said an Army officer. The incident is learned to have taken place around November 8. . . .


NEW DELHI: Amid reports of intrusion by Chinese forces in Bhutan, the Army has moved more than 6,000 troops to the Sino-Indian border, close to tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China. However, Army Chief Deepak Kapoor said that reported intrusions of Chinese forces in Bhutan was 'a matter between the two countries'. The shifting of Army formations north of Nathu La comes in the wake of reports of Chinese troops coming close to the Siliguiri corridor. But Army authorities brush it aside, saying that Chinese forces have been coming close to the Dolam Plateau for over two decades as the boundary in the area is still to be defined. Army officials described the movement from Jammu and Kashmir as "routine move-back" of troops to their original locations". . . .


GANGTOK: The Kunming bonhomie notwithstanding, the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China is undercutting Indian Army's efforts to strengthen its presence on the border. On November 23, a week before the visit of defence minister A K Antony and chief of army staff Gen Deepak Kapoor to Sikkim, PLA soldiers unloaded boulders in an effort to wreck the construction of a metalled road at Fingertips, a strategic spot near Gurudongmar in North Sikkim. The area is close to the Kangra La pass bordering south-west Tibet.

Indian troops, however, swung into action the next morning, and removed the obstruction. The road construction at an altitude of 18,500 feet was completed on November 27. Chinese representatives, however, did not speak about the offensive at Fingertips during a meeting between army representatives from both sides on November 23. They also kept quiet on the bunker dispute at the trijunction of Sikkim, Bhutan and Tibet. Significantly, prior to the Fingertips manoeuvre, Chinese troops had entered Indian territory and asked Indian Army personnel manning the border post there to stop construction of the road.

Apparently, the Chinese government believes that any negotiations should be accompanied by intimidation. Which of the presidential aspirants do you think best to handle negotiations with the growing power and ambition of China?
The world-wide slave trade continues. Article from the Telegraph.

More information, including a link to the 2007 U.S. State Department Report on current slaving here.
More bad news from China, for the average Chinese. From the AP.

BEIJING -- Sulfuric acid leaked into the water supply from a chemical factory in central China, poisoning at least 26 villagers who have been admitted to hospital with nausea and swollen faces, authorities said Thursday.

Here is the information that struck me:

Some of the most polluted cities in the world are in China, where many rivers and lakes are toxic after decades of breakneck industrial and economic growth. The State Environmental Protection Administration says about a quarter of all the water in China's seven main river systems is too toxic for human contact.

The official Chinese Environmental Protection Administration--Chinese government agencies are well know for downplaying internal problems--states that about a quarter of all the water in China's seven main river systems is too toxic for human contact--in other words, don't wash with it or swim in it or dare drink it.

Why are "Made in China" products cheaper than "Made in the USA"? In part because we enforce environmental regulations and they usually do not. We buy cheap "Made in China" products at the cost of the health of Chinese workers. Think about that next time you are in WalMart and other stores.

Article from China Post. English language, no language pack needed.
For those of you committed to the idea of complete moral relativism, that every culture and society is equally valid, and that no one culture or person has a priviliged position from which to criticize another, please read this article on the reconstruction of the records of the Stasi, the East German secret police. Then answer this question: if no society is superior to any other society, would you be happy living in pre-fall East Germany?

Most of the records were recovered intact by German citizens after the fall of the communist regime. But, during the final chaotic months, the secret police managed to shred about 5% of the records; and when the shredder motors burned out, they ripped files up by hand. Given Teutonic order and logic, one can assume that this 5% chosen for destruction first may be especially damning. Today the hand-ripped files are being pieced together, and now computer software has been developed to aid the recovery.

But some of it wasn't. And some of it ... Poppe doesn't know. No one does. Because before it was disbanded, the Stasi shredded or ripped up about 5 percent of its files. That might not sound like much, but the agency had generated perhaps more paper than any other bureaucracy in history possibly a billion pages of surveillance records, informant accounting, reports on espionage, analyses of foreign press, personnel records, and useless minutiae. There's a record for every time anyone drove across the border.

In the chaos of the days leading up to the actual destruction of the wall and the fall of East Germany's communist government, frantic Stasi agents sent trucks full of documents to the Papierwolfs and Reisswolfs literally "paper-wolves" and "rip-wolves," German for shredders. As pressure mounted, agents turned to office shredders, and when the motors burned out, they started tearing pages by hand 45 million of them, ripped into approximately 600 million scraps of paper

. . .
As the enforcement arm of the German Democratic Republic's Communist Party, the Stasi at its height in 1989 employed 91,000 people to watch a country of 16.4 million. A sprawling bureaucracy almost three times the size of Hitler's Gestapo was spying on a population a quarter that of Nazi Germany.

Part of an Evil Empire indeed.

Link from Instapundit.
Maybe it is a good thing that China will be hosting the Olympics.

When first announced, I grumbled about the choice. But, the publicity in the run-up to the games has prompted discussion and debate about China's poor human-rights record

From the Ottawa Citizen, link from Netherlands Post this article on controversy in The Netherlands over participation by Dutch athletes in the Olympics. Some excerpts:

THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The Netherlands irked Olympics host China on Thursday by going ahead with a discussion of the country's human rights record and the Games, despite a warning by the Chinese ambassador that the debate was offensive.

The Chinese government does not understand public relations in the West. Their response to any criticism, no matter how mild, seems always to be anger and threats. Maybe they do not know how to deal with free citizens.

Members of Tibetan groups, an organization representing the interests of the banned Chinese spiritual group Falun Gong and rights activists queued up at the microphone to express their views, many demanding a boycott of the Games. "What are you doing to stop the persecution?," "Sport doesn't live in a vacuum," and "We're being pushed under the table" were among the emotional and frustrated pleas made by such groups. [Dutch Foreign Minister] Verhagen said that a boycott would be counterproductive, and that dialogue would achieve more. But he expressed concern that respect for human rights in China seemed to be deteriorating in the run-up to the Games. "You do see a worsening situation if you look to freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and we have to address these issues with China," he said.

Perhaps shining some more light into this dark corner of the world may help. CNN has this video report on Tibetan monks celebrating the honoring of the Dalai Lama by the U.S. Congress, and their repression by Chinese authorities. Previous posts:

Amnesty International report on worsening of human rights in China as Olympics near.

Call from the Dream for Darfur group for boycotts of the China Olympics to put pressure on China to end its support for the genocidal regime in The Sudan.
After 9/11 President Bush made one of the most momentous choices in modern history and set a goal that is truly mind-boggling in its ambition: to transform the Islamic world into free and just societies.

He could have chosen the Clinton approach, treated the bombings as a matter of law-breaking and pursued the conspirators in a law-enforcement mode. But, he knew the bombings were an act of war, and must be responded to as such.

He could have chosen a purely punative approach, with the goal of punishing the guilty and frightening potential enemies away from similar future attacks. The American military was fully capable of leaving a trail of death and destruction through the Islamic world that would still be retold a thousand years from now: cities in smoking ruin, possibly radioactive. We could have made Attila and Tamerlane and Genghis Khan seem half-hearted.

But he chose a different path: transformation of Islamic lands. Using military force, yes, but with the goal and the methods not destruction and death, but rather to recreate new societies in which justice and peace could flourish.

In the history of the world, that is a major, major decision.

Will the goal be met? We, or perhaps our children, will see. But, Afghanistan and Iraq are on their way toward becoming just societies; and there are signs of hope also in other places.

Gateway Pundit has excerpts from President Bush's recent speech in Abu Dhabi, and a link to the full text. Amazing. Here is a portion:

The United States has no desire for territory. We seek our shared security in your liberty. We believe that stability can only come through a free and just Middle East -- where the extremists are marginalized by millions of moms and dads who want the same opportunities for their children that we have for ours.

To the people of Iraq: You have made your choice for democracy, and you have stood firm in face of terrible acts of murder. The terrorists and extremists cannot prevail. They are tormented by the sight of an old man voting, or a young girl going to school -- because they know a successful democracy is a mortal threat to their ambitions. The United States is fighting side by side with Sunni and Shia and Kurd to root out the terrorists and extremists. We have dealt them serious blows. The United States will continue to support you as you build the institutions of a free society. And together we'll defeat our common enemies.

To the people of Iran: You are rich in culture and talent. You have a right to live under a government that listens to your wishes, respects your talents, and allows you to build better lives for your families. Unfortunately, your government denies you these opportunities, and threatens the peace and stability of your neighbors. So we call on the regime in Tehran to heed your will, and to make itself accountable to you. The day will come when the people of Iran have a government that embraces liberty and justice, and Iran joins the community of free nations. And when that good day comes, you will have no better friend than the United States of America.
. . .
For most of the world, there's no greater symbol of America than the Statue of Liberty. It was designed by a man who traveled widely in this part of the world -- and who had originally envisioned his woman bearing a torch as standing over the Suez Canal. Ultimately, of course, it was erected in New York Harbor, where it has been an inspiration to generations of immigrants. One of these immigrants was a poet-writer named Ameen Rihani. Gazing at her lamp held high, he wondered whether her sister might be erected in the lands of his Arab forefathers. Here is how he put it: "When will you turn your face toward the East, oh Liberty?"

My friends, a future of liberty stands before you. It is your right. It is your dream. And it is your destiny.

God bless. (Applause.)

As I have written before, President Bush is a Christian post-millenialist in his beliefs and actions, whether he knows it or not. He believes that God is working in this world through human agency to transform this fallen, violent, sinful world into an era of peace and justice.

GW dreams big, even for a Texan.
Instapundit links to this story on Stategy Page about National Security implications of Chinese manufactured goods. Two excerpts:

January 4, 2008: One reason China tolerates the widespread manufacture of counterfeit products is because some of them have some military benefit for China's Cyber War effort. This came to light recently when the FBI arrested two Americans for running a computer parts company that was selling counterfeit computer parts (especially Cisco router components), manufactured in China. The phony parts had counterfeit labels, and were delivered in counterfeit boxes. The two brothers had a contract to sell these parts to the Department of Defense and other government agencies.
. . .
. . . There's also the fear that the Chinese, or some other hostile nation, might get their hands on real computer components, and replace some of the chips with modified ones that will make government networks easier to hack. Yes, it just gets worse.

Somebody explain to me again, why do we have free trade with these *ssh*l*s?

And more: according to this NYT article, abuse of workers in Chinese factories continues. Think about it. We have recalled toys made in China because of high lead content in the paint. What about the workers who make the paint and those who paint the toys? What of their lead exposure?
This is getting ridiculous. Lead paint used in toys, poisonous substance in toothpaste, and on and on and on.

Now, according to the FDA supplements from China containing unlabeled sildenafil have been found. Sildenafil is the active ingredient in Viagra. Story here. The FDA warning.

Someone tell me again, why do we still have free trade with these a***o*e*?

Here's one I had missed: this past summer the FDA issued an alert on seafood imported from China.

Here is the toothpaste warning from this past summer.

Here is a an FDA alert revised this fall on undeclared cyclamates in some imported Chinese food.

This is really great: on Dec 27 the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of defective circuit breakers--they do not "break" under overload. Country of manufacture? China.

The Who Sucks? website has prepared a timeline for 2007 recalls of dangerous products made in China.

Again, why do we continue to import products from these *ssh*l*s?
Heh guys, want to lead a protest that could save a lot of lives of black Africans, and get you some publicity?

Then check this out. It is a report on the efforts of the Dream for Darfur group to get corporate sponsors to bail on the Summer Olympics to be held in China unless China stops the genocide in The Sudan. They are the only country in the world that can do it without war since they are the main economic and political support for the current murderous regime.

Report by Nat Hentoff from Jewish World Review.
Story here: my favorite quote

Vandals have torched 372 cars as France celebrated the New Year, down on the figure last year after a night the police described as "relatively calm".

Somebody remind me again, why do many American elites want us to be more like Europe?