China Xinjiang Terrorist Attack 15 died, 14 Injured


Police officers stand guard in Xinjiang. The region has seen a series of attacks in recent months. Photo: AP

Police officers stand guard in Xinjiang. The region has seen a series of attacks in recent months. Photo: AP

Singtao Daily says in its report today that at 1:30pm (11:30am according to SCMP), a group of terrorists threw explosives at and hacked with knives and axes innocent people at Meishi (meaning tasty food) Street, Shache County, Kashgar, Xinjiang.

The policemen patrolling nearby streets rushed to the scene, surrounded the terrorists and killed 11 of them. Neither Singtao nor SCMP mentions in their report whether any terrorist has been captured alive. Singtao says 39 have been killed or wounded in the heading of its report but its report only mentions 15 deaths and 14 injuries.

That is confirmed by SCMP report on the same incident.

Local police are investigating the case while no organization has claimed responsibility.

Both newspapers described Shache as a country often attacked by terrorists. The most serious recent attack took place in July when 37 innocent people and 59 terrorists were killed.

SCMP says in its report on the attack today, “Two days after the July attack, Jume Tahir, the government-appointed chief imam of the country’s biggest mosque in Kashgar, was hacked to death after leading morning prayers.

“Beijing has blamed both attacks on Xinjiang separatists, whom the authorities said received terrorism training. Rights groups and exiled Uygurs dispute the terrorism label and argue the violence is the result of repression by the authorities.

“Two teenagers were sentenced to death over the killing of the imam, and a third man was given life imprisonment in September. More than 20 people responsible for the attack in July were sentenced to death by a Kashgar court in October.”

Source: Singtao Daily “Xinjiang Terrorists attack with knives, explosives causing 39 casualties” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)

Source: SCMP “15 dead after attack on busy street in Xinjiang”


Thoroughness, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Work Style


Yesterday, I reblogged China Daily Mail’s post of Newsweek article “Is This the End of China’s Economic Miracle?” The article points out with insight that the reforms Xi Jinping needs to carry out are not the one or two sweeping changes that Deng initiated more than 35 years ago. They are far more numerous and in some ways far more complicated.

The article says that Xi has launched a tougher than expected crackdown on corruption, projected Chinese power abroad, cracked down viciously on dissidents at home and evoked nationalistic themes and ancient Chinese literature in trying to unite his citizens behind his own “China Dream,” which he defines as “the rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.”

It says that Xi’s critics believe all of that has obscured the pursuit of reform, which is what the party needs most. They have even drawn unflattering comparisons of him to Mao and the cult of personality he created.

That was similar to people’s failure to understand Xi when Xi conducted his mass-line education campaign soon after he took over the reign instead of conducting a fierce campaign against corruption. At that time, people believed that corruption had to be his priority instead of mass-line education. Some people even thought that Xi was unable to really fight corruption.

I point out in the section “No Cyclone with Respect to Corruption at First”, Chapter 19 of my book Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition that Fighting corruption is Xi’s first priority, but Xi had “no intention to make widespread national efforts for that soon after he took over. In fact, it is understandable. Xi did not have trustworthy teams of assistants necessary for doing the job.”

Moreover, there was official despotism in most areas. People were afraid of officials and did not dare to expose officials’ despotism and malpractices of formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagance.

Xi’s mass-line education campaign is in fact what I call “Xi Jinping’s Typhoon of Democratic Supervision” (the subhead of the section on it in Chapter 19). The following is excerpts from the section:

Those are the mistakes that almost everybody from top to bottom has to a certain extent committed; therefore, Xi Jinping calls his campaign an education campaign, i.e. a campaign to educate the officials in order to overcome those mistakes and implement his mass line. It means that all officials shall examine themselves before the masses of people so that it is a campaign that will make them all lose their dignity and face.

Does that work? Can officials really be made to examine and criticize themselves? Will the masses of people come out to expose officials’ mistakes in spite of being scared by officials? The higher officials’ ranks, the more serious their mistakes. Who dare to expose high officials’ mistakes? Take care that there may be retaliation!

Xi Jinping takes the measures Chinese dynasties were accustomed to—sending imperial commissioners. The central authority sent 45 supervision teams to 15 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Jiangsu and Zhejiang, 7 ministries and commissions including the National Audit Office, Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission and National Health and Family Planning Commission and 7 central enterprises including Sinopec and State Grid and key colleges at vice minister-level including Nanjing University to ensure that the mass line education practice campaign will be carried out in an “orderly and effective manner” without being just for show, remaining in words only and or being deviated from the right course.

From the above we can see that Xi Jinping’s mass line education practice campaign is in fact his typhoon of democratic supervision.

It makes us see his super wisdom. Through this campaign, he wants to establish the foundation for eradicating corruption—democratic supervision. He pays attention to each and every aspect of the campaign in his arrangement.

When his mass line education had enabled the general public to conduct democratic supervision, he began his nationwide anti-corruption campaign. I predicted the campaign in my post “Severe Anti-corruption Storm on the Horizon” on August 31, 2013 as follows:

When initial success has been achieved in the mass line education practice campaign in September, a national struggle against corruption will be carried out with the suddenness of a thunderbolt after a harsh verdict is given to Bo Xilai. By that time, the 45 central mass line supervision and guidance teams and 10 Central Corruption Inspection teams are working with full steam and have gained some working experience and established their authority. Xi Jinping will take advantage of the universal awe caused by the severe verdict to switch the teams’ focus onto fighting corruption.

I describe Xi’s secret in turning the anti-corruption campaign into a storm in my book as follows:

Rights are indispensably accompanied with duties
Another clever move in Xi Jinping’s mass line education practice campaign is that he wants to guide the masses of the people to perform their duties of supervision in more actively exposing malpractices, making criticism and putting forward suggestions. In pursuing democracy, people often lay particular stress on people’s rights while neglect their duties. Xi Jinping is wise in advocating that the education campaign will not only grant people the rights of democratic supervision but also teach people to perform their duties of supervision. If in spite of the democratic rights of supervision people have, they have no sense of responsibility to exercise their democratic rights and turn a blind eye to the corruption they personally see, what is the use to have their rights?

Newsweek article wonders whether Chinese people will be patient enough to endure the hardship caused by the economic slowdown before Xi has carried through his reforms to put an end to the slowdown.

The blogger has to point out that like his mass-line education practice campaign that made preparations for his anti-corruption storm, the success of Xi’s fight has been making preparations for Xi’ economic reform. People will have the patience as Xi’s success in his mass-line campaign and anti-corruption storm have made them confident in the success of Xi’s reform. That’s Xi’s work style: making sufficient preparations for what he will do and carrying through to the very end what he is doing.

Readers may find the full text of Newsweek article “Is this the end of China’s economic miracle?” in my post of the same title reblogged from China Daily Mail yesterday.

Source: Chan Kai Yee Tiananmen’s Tremendous Achievements Expanded 2nd Edition

Source: Newsweek “Is This the End of China’s Economic Miracle?”

Related post at tiananmenstremendousachievements.wordpress.com:

  • Severe Anti-corruption Storm on the Horizon dated August 31, 2013
  • China’s Economic Slowdown Is Precisely What Xi Jinping Wants dated November 17, 2014

Is this the end of China’s economic miracle?


China Daily Mail

Shanghai Shanghai

Ma Jijiang and his once poor family are the flesh and blood of China’s modern economic miracle, living proof of how radically the country has been reshaped since the late Deng Xiaoping changed the world in 1978 by proclaiming that to get rich is glorious and launching China’s experiment with market economics.

Ma grew up as the only son of peasants in central Henan province. In the late 1990s, his father, a factory worker, suffered an industrial accident that caused him to lose the lower half of his left leg to amputation, ending his working life. His mother, Hui-fang, was a wheat farmer, her skin coarsened by days working in Henan’s broiling summer sun. The family used to live off a dirt road adjacent to the wheat fields in which Hui-fang toiled, in a tiny wooden house lit by a single light bulb.

No longer. Ma was an uncommonly…

View original post 3,084 more words


Shocking Exposure of China’s Unique Anti-Radiation Ground-to-Ground Missile


B611MR anti-radiation missile

B611MR anti-radiation missile

China showcases at its recent Zhuhai airshow its B-611MR tactical ground-to-ground missile, unique in the world for its anti-radiation function. The missile is installed with a terminal broadband passive radar to enable it to hit electromagnetic target.

It in addition is unique for its high altitude, speed, accuracy and maneuverability and the best penetration capability. Its trajectory is not the traditional hyperbolic one but can change vertically so that it is impossible to foretell its orbit. As a result, it is able to avoid the interception of any existing anti-missile system.

In addition, its launch procedure is very simple. It is necessary only to give the data of its target to its computer and send the missile roughly at the direction of the target. Such quick launching process ensures the surprise of the attack and the safety of the missile operators.

Source: qianzhan.com “Exposure of PLA’s one more shocking weapon absolutely the best and only one in the world” (summary by Chan Kai Yee based on the report in Chinese)


Chinese Scientists Discover Potential New Microbe-Killing Drug


SCMP says in its report “Scientists in Yunnan unlock secrets of ‘magical’ microbe-killing plant” today that Chinese scientists have found a plant in Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province that has the potential to be a safe, effective microbe killer.

The herb medicine has long been known to tribal doctors. SCMP says, “Tribal doctors have used oil extracted from the seeds to cure stomach disorders and flesh wounds since ancient times. The mild flavoured fruit has a pleasant fragrance and is used as a food preservative.

Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden covers 1,250 hectares. Photo: CAS

Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden covers 1,250 hectares. Photo: CAS

Ground-breaking medicinal research of Yunnan ma qian is being conducted at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. Photo: CAS

Ground-breaking medicinal research of Yunnan ma qian is being conducted at the Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden. Photo: CAS

A fifth of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden is primary rainforest. Photo: CAS

A fifth of Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden is primary rainforest. Photo: CAS

“The herbal germ-killer shows promise in treating patients while avoiding the serious overuse of antibiotics in China, according to researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).”

CAS Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden in Mengla county has studied the plant and confirmed its potential as an effective alternative to conventional antibiotics without side effect.

Due to excessive use of antibiotics in the world, especially in China, some germs have become resistant to conventional antibiotics. For example, nearly 7 per cent of tuberculosis cases in China are resistant to a variety of drugs.

Drug resistance in the world

Drug resistance in the world

Therefore, there is an urgent need for development of a new drug from the plant.

However, CAS scientists are very careful. They are preparing clinical trials of the drug but they want to do further research to know more about the plant before mass application of the drug.

Source: SCMP “Scientists in Yunnan unlock secrets of ‘magical’ microbe-killing plant”


China, Taiwan Each Making Efforts to Absorb the Other Peacefully


  Pro-China activist Chang An-le, also known as 'White Wolf,' answers a question during an interview with Reuters in Taipei November 14, 2014. Picture taken November 14, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Pichi Chuang

Pro-China activist Chang An-le, also known as ‘White Wolf,’ answers a question during an interview with Reuters in Taipei November 14, 2014. Picture taken November 14, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Pichi Chuang

When I was young, there was serious tension between Chinese mainland and Taiwan. Mao even bombarded Taiwan’s islands near the mainland and according to Henry Kissinger might have triggered a nuclear war.

Deng Xiaoping stopped the bombardment and tried to ease tension in order to attract Taiwanese investment. Seeing Taiwanese businessmen’s contributions to China’s economic growth, Deng switched to the policy of peaceful offensive supplemented by military threat.

This policy switch has been carried on by Deng’s successors. It seems quite effective according to Reuters’ report “Special Report: How China’s shadowy agency is working to absorb Taiwan”. It is really good that military solution is becoming an increasingly unpopular alternative for Mainland China to reunify with Taiwan.

In fact, even if Mainland China is able to take Taiwan by force, what is the use to get an island damaged by war with people hostile to Mainland China due to the war?

From Reuters report, we see the possibility of peaceful reunification as almost all the Taiwanese doing business and having married Mainland wives or traveled there have become pro-Beijing.

It is mainly because Mainland has been able to achieve prosperity and improve the rule of law and human rights.

If it is able to keep on doing so, there will be a peaceful reunification. However, I do not know whether it will be China absorbing Taiwan or Taiwan absorbing China.

In fact while China is trying hard to influence Taiwan, Taiwan is also trying to affect China.

Reuters says in its report, Taiwan’s “Mainland Affairs Council spokesperson Wu Mei-hung said United Front activity shouldn’t be interpreted in an ‘overly negative way’.”

It quotes her as saying “China has some political intentions, but Taiwan has its own advantages in terms of systems, core values and soft power. All of these, we hope, will impact China via exchanges.”

If you believe that China’s system is better then you may come to the conclusion that China will absorb Taiwan peacefully by its United Front efforts.

However, if you believe Taiwan’s system is better than you may think that Taiwan will absorb China peacefully via exchanges.

This blogger believes the final reunited China will either be a mixture that absorbs the advantages of both systems or allow each to maintain its own system as it suits the situation there and is better acceptable by the people concerned

The following is the full text of Reuters report:

Special Report: How China’s shadowy agency is working to absorb Taiwan

Ever since a civil war split the two sides more than 60 years ago, China has viewed Taiwan as a renegade province that needs to be absorbed into the mainland. To that end, the legion of Taiwanese businessmen working in China is a beachhead.

In June, hundreds of those businessmen gathered in a hotel ballroom in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. They were there to toast the new head of a local Taiwan merchants’ association. They sipped baijiu liquor and ate seafood as a troupe performed a traditional lion dance for good luck. An honored guest, senior Communist Party official Li Jiafan, stood to deliver congratulations and a message.

“I urge our Taiwanese friends to continue to work hard in your fields to contribute to the realization of the Chinese dream as soon as possible,” said Li, using a nationalist slogan President Xi Jinping has popularized. “The Chinese dream is also the dream of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait – our dream of reunification.”

Li, who ended his speech to beating drums and loud applause, is a department chief in the Shenzhen arm of the United Front Work Department, an organ of the Communist Party’s Central Committee. Its mission: to spread China’s influence by ultimately gaining control over a range of groups not affiliated with the party and that are often outside the mainland.

United Front documents reviewed by Reuters, including annual reports, instructional handbooks and internal newsletters, as well as interviews with Chinese and Taiwanese officials reveal the extent to which the agency is engaged in a concerted campaign to thwart any move toward greater independence by Taiwan and ultimately swallow up the self-ruled island of 23 million.

The United Front’s 2013 annual work report for the Chinese province of Zhejiang, for instance, includes the number of Taiwanese living in the province, the number of businesses they run as well as an entry on background checks that have been conducted on the Taiwanese community in the province, an entrepreneurial hub near Shanghai.

The United Front hasn’t confined itself to the mainland. It is targeting academics, students, war veterans, doctors and local leaders in Taiwan in an attempt to soften opposition to the Communist Party and ultimately build support for unification. The 2013 work report, reviewed by Reuters, includes details of a program to bring Taiwanese students and military veterans on visits to the mainland.

INFLUENCING POLITICS

Through the United Front and other Chinese state bodies like the Taiwan Affairs Office, which is responsible for implementing policies toward Taiwan on issues including trade and transport, Beijing has also tried to influence politics on the island, in part by helping mobilize Taiwanese businessmen on the mainland.

Many of them are heading back home this weekend to vote in mayoral elections that are being viewed as a barometer of support for Taiwan’s ruling Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), which favors closer ties with China than does the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). A large number of those businessmen, who a senior KMT source said will largely vote for the party, will be flying on deeply discounted airfares being offered by Chinese and Taiwanese airline companies.

“The goal is simple – peaceful unification,” said a person with ties to the Chinese leadership in Beijing. Soft power, not armed force, is the strategy. “To attack the heart is the best. To attack a [walled] city is the worst,” the source said, quoting Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.”

Questions sent by fax to the Beijing office of the United Front Work Department were not answered. The Chinese government’s Taiwan Affairs Office referred Reuters to a statement on its website saying it does not comment on elections on “the island.”

What’s happening in Taiwan is part of a broader effort by Beijing to bolster its control over restive territories on its periphery.

The United Front has long been active in Hong Kong, which is ruled under the “one country, two systems” model that enshrines a wide range of personal freedoms for its residents and which China’s leaders have proposed as a model for Taiwan. Reuters reported in July that United Front operations in Hong Kong had shifted from the backroom courting of academics and businessmen to the streets, where new groups of pro-Beijing agitators were attempting to silence critics of China.

“What the United Front is doing to Taiwan now is the same as what it has been doing in Hong Kong since the 1980s – a quiet, slow but extensive penetration,” said Sonny Lo, a professor at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and author of a book on China’s covert control of the city.

Unlike Hong Kong, Taiwan is a fully democratic entity. It has an army but does not have membership in the United Nations, and China has refused to rule out the use of force to gain control of the island.

Since the KMT won the presidential election in 2008, cross-Strait ties have been warmer than ever. More than 20 trade deals, including the establishment of the first direct flights between Taiwan and the mainland, have been inked. No trade agreements were signed under the previous DPP-led administration. Earlier this year, Chinese and Taiwanese officials held their first official meeting since 1949.

Taiwan’s economy has become increasingly intertwined with China’s. About 40 percent of Taiwan’s exports are to China and some key sectors like technology have much of their manufacturing on the mainland. The world’s biggest electronic components maker, Foxconn Technology Group ,, which assembles Apple Inc’s iPhones, has many of its plants in China.

Taiwan presidential spokesperson Ma Weikuo said Taiwanese heading home to vote were exercising their right as citizens. “It is normal that Taiwanese businessmen living in Hong Kong, Macau, mainland China, Europe, Japan and other parts of the world want to return to Taiwan to vote,” she said.

PRIZED HONOR

The United Front’s annual work reports and handbooks provide a window into the agency’s methods. It has at least 100 offices in Zhejiang. The 2013 work report said 30,000 Taiwanese businesspeople and their families were living in the province and 6,800 Taiwanese enterprises had operations there at the end of 2012.

United Front officials reported creating a more friendly business environment by helping to smooth investment problems and resolve legal disputes for resident Taiwanese. In the Zhejiang city of Ningbo, one United Front office said it spent 110,000 yuan (about $18,000) to buy life and traffic accident insurance for 137 Taiwanese businessmen.

Under a “three must visit” system in effect across the mainland, United Front officials are instructed to visit Taiwanese businesspeople and their families during traditional holidays, when a family member is ill and when someone is facing economic troubles.

“They help with our business as well as little problems in daily life such as car accidents, illness and schooling for kids,” said a Taiwanese man surnamed Lin, who works in the property sector in Changsha, the capital of Hunan Province.

One enticement China has dangled in front of the Taiwanese business community residing on the mainland, is provincial and municipal membership in the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), which serves as an advisor to the government. It is a prized honor for businessmen whose livelihoods are directly dependent on the mainland. The position affords access to government officials and a form of protection in a country that lacks an independent judicial system.

“There will be a force that helps protect your business on the mainland,” said Lin. “They won’t make trouble if you are a CPPCC member.”

Holding CPPCC membership is a violation of Taiwanese law that bars citizens from taking positions in state or party bodies in China. It is, however, legal to be an honorary, non-voting CPPCC member. The Association of Taiwan Investment Enterprises on the Mainland (ATIEM), which lists some 130 Taiwanese business associations across China as members, met with Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou in December 2012 to try changing that.

Their bid to persuade him to allow Taiwanese citizens to become full-fledged CPPCC members ultimately failed. Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council announced that same month that Taiwanese could not sit on the CPPCC.

Earlier in 2012, Taiwan’s National Security Bureau had handed a list of 169 Taiwanese suspected of being CPPCC members to the island’s Mainland Affairs Council, which implements policy toward China on a wide array of issues including business, shipping and travel. The council whittled the list down to 32. Ultimately, no one was punished after Taiwanese authorities determined those named were all either honorary CPPCC members or weren’t holders of a Taiwanese passport.

FAR-REACHING DEALS

Taiwanese working on the mainland have actively lobbied for increased trade ties with China. ATIEM, the business lobby, lists some of Taiwan’s largest companies as members on its website. Several of the group’s founding members urged the Taiwanese government to sign far-reaching deals with China, arguing it would boost Taiwanese business on the mainland. They held meetings with Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council to help lay the groundwork, a senior member of the organization told Reuters.

Their efforts were rewarded when Taiwan signed trade deals in 2008 that for the first time allowed direct flights, shipping and mail links with the mainland.

ATIEM hasn’t always been on the winning side. In March, students occupied the Taiwan legislature in a bid to block passage of a deal that would have allowed for freer trade with China. The protests, dubbed the Sunflower Movement, fed off fears the pact would give China greater sway over Taiwan. The protest ended when parliament agreed to suspend a review of the bill.

ATIEM did not respond to questions sent by email.

Some Taiwanese officials warn against United Front encroachment. In late September, the head of Taiwan’s Overseas Community Affairs Council, which handles matters related to citizens living overseas, told a parliamentary committee that the United Front was stepping up work among Taiwanese business leaders and younger Taiwanese on the mainland and abroad.

“They are drawing the Taiwanese who are more receptive to China over to their side, exerting pressure on Taiwan’s government and affecting its mainland policies,” Alexander Huang, a former vice chairman of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, which is responsible for ties with China, told Reuters. He didn’t cite specific examples.

Mainland Affairs Council spokesperson Wu Mei-hung said United Front activity shouldn’t be interpreted in an “overly negative way.”

“China has some political intentions,” she said. “But Taiwan has its own advantages in terms of systems, core values and soft power. All of these, we hope, will impact China via exchanges.”

The ruling KMT dismisses charges from the opposition DPP that it is benefitting from United Front activity. Kuei Hung-cheng, the KMT’s director of China affairs, acknowledged the close relationship between Taiwanese businessmen on the mainland and the Chinese authorities, but said that did not mean Beijing held sway over the party. “The KMT will not be influenced or controled by the Chinese Communist Party. That is not possible,” he said.

A MAGIC TOOL

The United Front is a legacy of the earliest days of Leninist communist revolutionary theory. China’s version of the United Front, dubbed a “magic tool” on the agency’s own website, helped the Communist Party become established on the mainland and ultimately prevail in a civil war that forced Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) to retreat to Taiwan in 1949. The United Front has as its primary goal the promotion of “motherland unification” and blocking of “secession.”

A 2007 handbook for United Front workers in Beijing instructs cadres to “unite neutral forces in order to divide and attack enemies.” It also directs them to “make friends extensively and deeply with representatives from all sectors” in Taiwan and abroad to “form a mighty troop of patriots.”

A senior Taiwanese defense official, who did not want to be named, referred to the United Front’s tactics as a “war.” The ultimate goal was “to overturn the Republic of China,” he said, using Taiwan’s official name.

The front’s activities haven’t been confined to harnessing China-friendly forces. The southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, which is a bastion of the pro-independence DPP, has been singled out. One group in the city that has gotten special treatment is doctors, who have been invited on trips to the mainland, according to a 2011 work report from an organ associated with the United Front.

The visits had “successfully enhanced identification with the motherland among some pro-green Taiwanese,” the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League, a nominally independent political group that is permitted to operate by the Communist Party, wrote in its report. Green is the color associated with the opposition DPP.

Some politicians in Taiwan unabashedly favor unification. Among them is Chang An-lo, the head of a pro-unification party. Known as the White Wolf, Chang was once a leader in a triad group, a traditional Chinese criminal syndicate, called the Bamboo Union. He lived for a decade in China as a fugitive from the law in Taiwan but ultimately was never tried. He also spent ten years behind bars in the U.S. on drug-smuggling charges.

Sitting in his office in Taipei dressed in a white jacket and black shirt, Chang says he and his party have regular contact with Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office and he has “friends in the United Front.” The Chinese government, he says, has provided all-expenses paid trips for members of his party to the mainland. “Getting carrots from China is better than getting sticks,” he says.

UNSPOKEN CONSENT

The United Front and the Taiwan Affairs Office are also deeply involved in an activity that in Communist China is strictly prohibited: democratic electoral politics.

Taiwanese businessmen based in Shenzhen and Shanghai told Reuters they have been encouraged by United Front officials to head home to vote in past elections.

This year, the stakes are high for Beijing. The Democratic Progressive Party champions independence. The ruling KMT government backs a status quo position of “no unification, no independence, no war.”

Election airlifts helped the KMT to victory in 2008 and 2012. Close to a quarter million Taiwanese residents on the mainland headed home to vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to a senior member of the ruling party who estimates there are about one million Taiwanese working and living in China. As many as 80 percent voted for KMT leader Ma, who won a second term promising closer ties with Beijing, the official said, citing an internal survey.

This year, the airlift may not be enough to turn the tide in the most important mayoral run-off – in Taipei. Final opinion polls published by Taiwan’s leading media outlets showed the KMT’s candidate trailing an independent by 11.5 to 18 points. A victory for the independent would mark the first time in 16 years that the KMT has not ruled the capital.

But Beijing isn’t giving up. More than a dozen airlines, including state-owned Air China and Taiwan’s largest carrier China Airlines, have agreed to provide discounted flights from the mainland to Taiwan at the end of November, according to a notice sent to members by ATIEM. The Beijing-based organization lists the Chinese minister in charge of the Taiwan Affairs Office as an honorary chairman on its website.

A senior official at Taiwan’s China Airlines told Reuters that “with tickets selling at 50 percent off, airlines will incur losses.” But the carrier would nevertheless “100 percent meet the demand from Taiwanese businessmen.”

China Airlines spokesman Jeffrey Kuo said the company was offering “promotional tickets for all flights” because November was “the low season.” Air China did not respond to questions sent by fax and email to its Beijing office.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said it was aware that Taiwanese businessmen wanted to vote in the elections. ATIEM had negotiated with airline companies to allow them to fly home, it said.

He-tai Chen, president of the Taiwan Merchant Association in Shenzhen, said the Taiwanese business community on the mainland was “China’s best public relations tool.”

“There are 7 to 8 votes in my family,” he said. “And am I not the one who decides to whom those votes go?”

The United Front has also been working to penetrate other layers of Taiwanese society. As part of an operation called “Collecting Stars,” it has targeted military veterans in Taiwan, inviting them to China for visits. In May 2012, retired Taiwanese and mainland generals who were once sworn enemies met for an invitational golf tournament in Zhejiang, United Front documents show.

Outreach to students takes the form of summer camps, corporate internships and discover-your-roots tours to the mainland. Tsai Ting Yu, a 15-year-old junior high school student who joined a trip in 2013 and in 2014, said she attended classes with her mainland hosts and visited popular tourist sites, including the Great Wall and the Forbidden City.

“Before the trips, I kind of resisted the idea of China. But through the programs I got to know them better and that resistance gradually disappeared,” said Tsai.

She says she is now considering doing an undergraduate degree on the mainland.

Source: Reuters “Special Report: How China’s shadowy agency is working to absorb Taiwan”


China to Expand Free Trade Area to South Asia


Prime Minister Narendra Modi watches a guard of honour upon his arrival for the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu November 25, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar

Prime Minister Narendra Modi watches a guard of honour upon his arrival for the 18th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Kathmandu November 25, 2014. Credit: Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar

Geologically, the Himalayas are regarded as the boundary of South Asia. As China lies to the north of the Himalayas, it is certainly not a part of South Asia and it has never claimed that in history.

However, Reuters says in its report “China looms over South Asian summit in the Himalayas” that China is much interested in having its status raised from “observer” in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). SAARC now consists of such full members as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

It is interesting that China at least borders with most SAARC members including Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Pakistan so that may regard some parts of it as within Shout Asia, but South Korea, a country entirely outside South Asia, is also interested in SAARC full membership.

For those who regard China as having the ambition to conquer the world, China’s interest in infiltrating into South China is quite natural. What about South Korea?

According to Reuters, SAARC has an urgent need for enhancing economic cooperation as it is a region with a fifth of the world’s population but barely any shared roads, fuel pipes or power lines.

For years China has been building roads, power stations, etc. and supplying weapons to some SAARC members. It’s a part of China’s efforts in building the Silk Road and the Silk Road of the Sea. The Silk Road was an ancient trade link on land between China and the parts of the world to the west of China. It is no longer useful as marine shipping is much easier and more cost effective.

However, now the sea route between China and those parts has become China’s trade lifeline and there is the danger of such route being blocked by US superior navy. Rebuilding the Silk Road and development of a new Silk Road of the Sea are now vital for China’s survival.

Ports and especially military bases along the Silk Road of the Sea are of great strategic significance for China.

On the other hand, through enhanced cooperation in building roads, railways, power stations and grids, and other infrastructure, the SAARC will provide a vast market and lots of cheap labor.

That is why not only China but also South Korea is interested in joining SAARC.

Reuters report only mentions that Pakistan wants to allow South Korea to become a full member in addition to China, but says nothing else about South Korea joining SAARC.

It describes China’s great interest in joining SAARC. It says, “Earlier in the week, the Kathmandu bureau of Chinese state news agency Xinhua distributed a newspaper that devoted several pages to promoting China’s full membership.”

It in addition quotes a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman as saying, “China attaches great importance to SAARC’s status and function. China is also willing to elevate the level of its relationship.”

The following is the full text of the Reuters report:

China looms over South Asian summit in the Himalayas

When eight South Asian leaders gather for a summit in Kathmandu on Wednesday, they will meet in a conference center donated by China to its cash-strapped Himalayan neighbor Nepal 27 years ago.

In the decades since it built the modernist brick and glass hall, China has massively stepped up its presence in South Asia, supplying ports, power stations and weapons.

China’s advance has been aided by bickering between India and Pakistan that stymies almost all attempts at integration in a region that is home to a fifth of the world’s population but has barely any shared roads, fuel pipes or power lines.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not welcomed Beijing’s renewed suggestion its status be raised from “observer” in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), in which India is presently the only major power.

SAARC summits bring together leaders from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Modi’s hope of using the group as a counterweight to China is unlikely to gain traction at the two-day Kathmandu meeting, with officials saying Pakistan is blocking deals to increase transport and energy connections.

Pakistan mooted the idea of upgrading China’s and South Korea’s status in the organization at a meeting of SAARC foreign ministers on Tuesday. It was quickly rebuffed by India.

“We need to first deepen cooperation among SAARC, before we try and move it horizontally,” an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said. He said several countries agreed.

China has sent Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin and is expected to make a statement during the summit.

Earlier in the week, the Kathmandu bureau of Chinese state news agency Xinhua distributed a newspaper that devoted several pages to promoting China’s full membership.

The paper cited serving and former Nepali ministers expressing support for the proposal.

“China attaches great importance to SAARC’s status and function,” a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman told reporters in Beijing on Tuesday. “China is also willing to elevate the level of its relationship.”

The geographical limits of South Asia are not fixed – Afghanistan was included as a member in 2007, while Myanmar, which borders India and Bangladesh, merely observes. But the Himalayas are generally seen as dividing China from the subcontinent.

“There are many other possibilities in between observer status and full membership, we are happy that China has shown interest,” Nepal’s communications minister Minendra Rijal told Reuters, adding the issue needed consensus.

Source: Reuters “China looms over South Asian summit in the Himalayas”