China is a nation without true friends
(Mar 31, 2007)
Like the emergence of Germany in the 19th century and of United States in the 20th, China's rapid rise to superpower status generates as much fear as admiration. The fears are most acute in its own neighbourhood.
Yet from a historical perspective, one of the more remarkable developments of recent years may be China's submission to the tiny threads of international constraint, especially in its own region.
It belongs to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum, whose members span the Pacific. The East Asia Summit and the regional forum of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) tie it closer to its Asian neighbours. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation links it with Russia and Central Asia.
More than this, it has shown active good-neighbourliness. A generation ago, China disputed most of its borders. Almost all have been settled, with the notable exceptions of those with Japan at sea and India in the Himalayas.
Even in the case of the huge claims China and India have on each other's territory, China has acquiesced in seemingly never-ending talks allowing relations to improve in other areas.
It no longer routinely provokes its southern neighbours by flexing naval muscle around the sand-and-coral specks in the South China Sea where six countries' claims overlap. It has begun to "consult," after a fashion, the states affected when it dams its rivers, such as the Mekong and the Salween.
This political tactfulness has been accompanied by an unplanned makeover of its economic image. A decade ago, China's new role as the world's workshop was one indirect cause of regional financial crisis.
Investors began to take fright at the scale of current-account deficits in countries such as Thailand, where export growth had stalled or slowed, in part as a result of new competition from China.
Many in the region saw China's supercharged growth as a threat. Many still do, but these days just as many see it as an opportunity. Most Asian countries enjoy surpluses in their trade with China. And yet, if you scour the region for China's firm friends it is hard to find them. Even Russia, where China's president, Hu Jintao, was this week pressing the flesh, is a fair-weather friend or rather sees China as a foul-weather insurance policy. India and Japan, China's other big regional counterparts, both view it with suspicion at best and, at worst, paranoia.
2007 The World's 10 Worst Dictators
1) Omar al-Bashir, Sudan
2) Kim Jong-il, North Korea
3) Sayyid Ali KhamEnei, Iran
4) Hu Jintao, China
China has become such an important part of the global economy that most countries ignore its abysmal human-rights record容ven as it prepares to host next year's Olympics.
The U.S. State Department has identified 22 areas of human-rights abuses under Hu Jintao,
among them torture, forced abortions, forced labor, detention of religious groups, government corruption and restrictions on speech and the media.
Last year, citizens were executed for such nonviolent crimes as bribery and stealing oil.
5) King Abdullah, Saudi Arabia
6) Hu Jintao, China. Age 63. In power since 2002. Last year’s rank: 4
Although some Chinese have taken advantage of economic liberalization to become rich, up to 150 million Chinese live on $1 a day or less in this nation with no minimum wage. Between 250,000 and 300,000 political dissidents are held in “reeducation-through-labor” camps without trial. Less than 5% of criminal trials include witnesses, and the conviction rate is 99.7%. There are no privately owned TV or radio stations. The government opens and censors mail and monitors phone calls, faxes, e-mails and text messages. In preparation for the 2008 Olympics, at least 400,000 residents of Beijing have been forcibly evicted from their homes.
China silent on academic scamPublished
Tuesday, 16 May, 2006, 10:56 AM Doha Time
SHANGHAI: Chinese authorities drew a veil of silence yesterday over the sacking of a professor for falsely
claming to have invented a new type of computer chip, refusing to say whether he would be prosecuted.
The firing of the academic at Shanghai’s renowned Jiao Tong University, the alma mater of former Chinese
president Jiang Zemin, represents a setback in China’s stated goal of moving up the global value chain by
boosting technological innovation.
Study: Research Fraud Rampant In China
Report Finds 60 Percent Of Ph.D. Candidates Admit To Plagiarism, Bribery
BEIJING, May 16, 2006
The stunning revelation of fraud and fakery in the heart of China's R&D industry has vindicated a feisty set of
scholars who are gaining traction in exposing a culture of fraud and corruption in China's colleges.
Just days ago, authorities revealed that the Hanxin digital signal chip, a so-called "Chinese chip" designed to
enhance home-grown computer technology, is not an original. Chen Jin, "father of the Chinese chip," evidently
used a product from a foreign firm to win a lucrative bid in 2003 ? ironically, to spearhead a much publicized
patriotic national drive to create a Chinese super microchip.