Archive for ‘Politics’

02/07/2015

China National Security Law Aims to Create ‘Garrison State,’ Experts Say – China Real Time Report – WSJ

China has adopted a sweeping national-security law that the government says is needed to counter emerging threats but that critics say may be used to quash dissent and exclude foreign investment. As WSJ’s Chun Han Wong reports:

Its passage marked the latest signpost in Beijing’s intensifying crackdown on activism and dissent during the past two years, featuring repression of civil-society groups, heightened monitoring of social media, and sharpened warnings against the spread of Western ideas and influences.

The new legislation forms the centerpiece of a series of proposed security laws, including draft laws on counterterrorism and the management of foreign nonprofit groups. Together, experts said, the laws underpin a push by President Xi Jinping to consolidate his and Beijing’s power and promote a notion of rule of law that doesn’t undermine the Communist Party’s authority.

These laws “reflect the party’s determination to create a garrison state,” said Jerome Cohen, a veteran China legal scholar at New York University. The national security law, he said, is “an ideological platform that guides domestic and foreign policies.”

via China National Security Law Aims to Create ‘Garrison State,’ Experts Say – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

01/07/2015

NDA constituents Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, Swabhimani Paksha red-flag land bill provisions – The Hindu

Fault lines in the NDA over the land bill are visible with three of BJP’s allies – the Shiv Sena, the Shiromani Akali Dal and the Swabhimani Paksha — red-flagging a number of provisions of the proposed legislation.

The contentious land acquisition bill, which proposes amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, is under examination of a Joint Committee of Parliament. File photo

The contentious bill, which proposes amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013, is under examination of a Joint Committee of Parliament which is about to conclude its consultation process and consider it clause-by-clause next week.

While the Shiv Sena has, for quite some time, been on record seeking incorporation of a clause providing for 70 per cent consent of farmers in the bill, the SAD and the Paksha have written to the panel headed by S.S. Ahluwalia that “not an inch” of land should be acquired without the consent of farmers.

In its written representation to the JPC, five MPs from the SAD — Naresh Gurjal, Balwinder Singh Bhunder, Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa, Prem Singh Chandumajra and Sher Singh Ghubaiya — said that they firmly believe that land is a priceless asset of the farmers.

“Not even an inch of it should be acquired by the government without the consent of the farmers/land owners.” they said.

The MPs also insisted that land should only be acquired for public sector projects and the “government should not get into acquisition for private entities”.

via NDA constituents Shiv Sena, Shiromani Akali Dal, Swabhimani Paksha red-flag land bill provisions – The Hindu.

01/07/2015

China’s Communist Party: Still Big, and Getting Bigger – China Real Time Report – WSJ

Quality over quantity. Less is more.

Those have been the watchwords of the Chinese Communist Party ever since its top leaders declared in early 2013 that its membership would be controlled in a bid to improve the organization’s “vigor and vitality.”

Two years later, the upper echelons of Chinese leadership appear to have come face to face with a realization that’s true all the world over: slimming down is hard to do.

In a communique released Tuesday, the Organization Department of the Communist Party’s Central Committee said that the party boasted 87.793 million members as of the end of 2014. The figure – which exceeds the entire population of Germany – represents a net increase of 1.1 million from a year earlier.

China is in the midst of a sweeping anti-graft campaign under President Xi Jinping, with announcements of corrupt officials’ investigation and ouster from the party a near-weekly occurrence. Along with that crackdown has come a steady stream of warnings for party members to rein in behavior ranging from their mahjong playing to the use of terms like “dude” or “boss” when addressing their superiors.

At its heart is the pursuit of the party’s survival. Xi and other top leaders have made a point of reminding cadres that the Chinese Communist Party must avoid the same pitfalls that brought about the demise of the former Soviet Union – particularly disloyalty to Communist ideals – with some Chinese scholars warning that the Soviet collapse came when the ranks of its Communist Party had swollen to an unwieldy 19 million, or nearly 10% of the Soviet Union’s adult population.

The membership of the Chinese Communist Party currently stands at about 7.8% of China’s adult population.

Yet despite a vow by China’s Politburo leaders to limit the party’s size and purge “unqualified members,” statistics released by the Organization Department show that membership has actually grown over each of the past four years, albeit at an increasingly slower rate.

via China’s Communist Party: Still Big, and Getting Bigger – China Real Time Report – WSJ.

25/06/2015

At least 18 dead in attack in China’s Xinjiang: Radio Free Asia | Reuters

At least 18 people are dead after ethnic Uighurs attacked police with knives and bombs at a traffic checkpoint in China’s western Xinjiang region, Radio Free Asia reported on Wednesday.

The attack occurred on Monday in a district of the southern city of Kashgar, where tensions between Muslim Uighurs that call the region home and the majority Han Chinese have led to bloodshed in recent years.

Suspects killed several police officers with knives and bombs after speeding through a traffic checkpoint in a car in Kashgar’s Tahtakoruk district, U.S.-based Radio Free Asia said, citing Turghun Memet, an officer at a nearby police station.

Armed police responded to the attack and killed 15 suspects “designated as terrorists,” Radio Free Asia cited Memet as saying.

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomo...

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png The orange area is Aksai Chin, a part of Xinjiang which is claimed by India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The attack comes at the beginning of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, a sensitive time in Xinjiang after an uptick in attacks over the past three years in which hundreds have died, blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants.

Repeated calls to the Xinjiang government news office were not answered. Such incidents are frequently reported in overseas media but not confirmed by the Chinese government until days later, if ever.

Exiled Uighur groups and human rights activists say repressive government policies in Xinjiang, including controls on Islam and on Uighur culture, have provoked unrest, a claim that Beijing denies.

via At least 18 dead in attack in China’s Xinjiang: Radio Free Asia | Reuters.

23/06/2015

China unveils plans for V-Day parade|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn

China on Tuesday announced plans for this year’s celebration of the 70th anniversary of the victory in World War II, including inviting militaries of other countries to participate in a parade on Sept. 3.

China unveils plans for V-Day parade

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, will attend the event and deliver an important speech, an official said at a press conference on Tuesday.

At the event, Xi will award medals to veterans and generals who participated in the war and family dependents of the deceased.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War. It will be the first time for the country to hold a special parade to commemorate the victory.

Japan signed the formal surrender on Sept. 2, 1945, and China celebrated its victory the following day. September 3 was declared Victory Day.

 

via China unveils plans for V-Day parade|Politics|chinadaily.com.cn.

18/06/2015

India’s Modi Makes Ramadan Call to Pakistan’s Sharif – India Real Time – WSJ

In the latest gesture between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to greet him ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which starts this week.

During the conversation, which lasted for around five minutes, Mr. Modi announced the release of detained Pakistani fishermen as “an act of goodwill,” Mr. Sharif’s office said in a statement Tuesday evening.

The released Pakistani fishermen “will be able to be with their families to observe this blessed month,” Mr. Modi said on social networking site Twitter. Details on the number of fishermen to be released and the timing were not disclosed.

In response, Mr. Sharif said in a statement that the two nations should “forget their differences and talk of war, and move towards peace and tranquility.”

Pakistan and India should co-exist peacefully as they are neighbors, and they should not let their bilateral differences become hurdles in that path,” the statement added.

Mr. Modi first extended an olive branch to Pakistan when he invited Mr. Sharif to his swearing-in ceremony after his election last year, but since then, the fragile ties have soured with inflammatory remarks from both sides.

 

During a visit to Bangladesh earlier this month, Mr. Modi accused Pakistan of creating “nuisance” and “constantly troubling” India by promoting terrorism. Meanwhile, Indian military action along its eastern border with Myanmar last week rattled Pakistani leaders, who accused India of backing terrorist attacks on their land and slandering Pakistan at international forums.

Further, Pakistan last month refused to grant visas to Indian yoga instructors ahead of the first International Day of Yoga. India retaliated by rejecting the visa application of a Pakistani official to travel to New Delhi.

India and Pakistan have fought three wars since the partition of British India in 1947. Two of those conflicts were over the disputed region of Kashmir. New Delhi accuses Pakistan of sponsoring extremist groups that target India, while Islamabad accuses India of supporting terror outfits on their soil.

Cricket has often served as a diplomatic tool to ease relations though.

In February, Mr. Modi called Mr. Sharif to convey his best wishes for the 2015 Cricket World Cup. And in March, he again called the Pakistani prime minister to inform him about the visit of the Indian foreign secretary to his country as part of a tour of India’s neighbors.

Analysts feel Mr. Modi’s telephone call Tuesday could help resume dialogue between the two hostile nations.

“It is an optimistic development, a sign of goodwill in breaking the ice with Pakistan,” said Lalit Mansingh, a former Indian foreign secretary and one-time ambassador to the U.S.

But, “there is far too much a negative experience between the two countries to call it a diplomatic breakthrough,” Mr. Mansingh added.

Referring to Tuesday’s telephone call, Mr. Sharif said it reflected Mr. Modi’s wish “for good ties.”

via India’s Modi Makes Ramadan Call to Pakistan’s Sharif – India Real Time – WSJ.

18/06/2015

China steps up controls in unruly Xinjiang as Ramadan approaches | Reuters

Some local governments in China’s unruly far western region of Xinjiang are stepping up controls on the Islamic faith followed by the Uighur people ahead of Ramadan, including making officials swear they will not fast.

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomo...

An SVG map of China with the Xinjiang autonomous region highlighted Legend: Image:China map legend.png The orange area is Aksai Chin, a part of Xinjiang which is claimed by India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The holy month, which begins this week, is a sensitive time in Xinjiang following an uptick in deadly attacks blamed by Beijing on Islamist militants over the past three years in which hundreds have died.

In recent days, state media and government websites in Xinjiang have published stories and official notices demanding that party members, civil servants, students and teachers in particular do not to observe Ramadan, something that happened last year too.

In Jinghe county near the Kazakh border, food safety officials decided last week that they would “guide and encourage” halal restaurants to stay open as normal during Ramadan, the government said on its website.

Those that do stay open would get fewer visits from food safety inspectors, it added.

Muslims worldwide observe Ramadan, during which many abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

Other government institutions have given similar instructions.

via China steps up controls in unruly Xinjiang as Ramadan approaches | Reuters.

18/06/2015

China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters

China’s Defense Ministry said on Tuesday that two more former senior officers were being investigated for corruption, as part of a sweeping campaign against graft which has already felled dozens of senior people.

In a brief statement, the ministry said that Kou Tie, former commander of the Heilongjiang military region in northern China, had been put under investigation last November for suspected “serious discipline violations”. He was handed over to military prosecutors last month.

The other officer was named as Liu Zhanqi, a former communications division commander for the paramilitary People’s Armed Police, also suspected of “serious discipline violations”, common wording for corruption. He was handed to military prosecutors last month as well.

The ministry gave no further details. Neither case had been reported before.

Weeding out graft in the military is a top goal of President Xi Jinping, chairman of the Central Military Commission, which controls China’s 2.3 million-strong armed forces.

Serving and retired Chinese military officers have said military graft is so pervasive it could undermine China’s ability to wage war, and dozens of senior officers have been taken down.

The anti-graft drive in the military comes as Xi steps up efforts to modernize forces that are projecting power across the disputed waters of the East and South China Seas, though China has not fought a war in decades.

via China military says two more top officers probed for graft | Reuters.

18/06/2015

Venezuela to get $5 billion in funding from China in next few months: PDVSA official | Reuters

Venezuela will receive a loan of $5 billion from China in the coming months for crude oil projects, a director at state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela said on Tuesday.

The flow of crude oil is seen in a container while an oilfield worker works on a drilling rig at an oil well operated by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA, in the oil rich Orinoco belt, near Cabrutica at the state of Anzoategui April 16, 2015.  REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

China has become Venezuela’s principal financier over the last decade, lending more than $46 billion to be repaid in oil.

“It is being discussed right now and will come within a few months,” Orlando Chacin, vice president of exploration and production at PDVSA [PDVSA.UL], said in an interview.

The resources should help the oil company as it handles the severe impact of the drop in crude prices.

Oil makes up 96 percent of the country’s foreign income.

The funds seemed to be part of an overall $10 billion loan a PDVSA source earlier this year said Venezuela had negotiated with the Development Bank of China, half for oil projects.

“They are for many projects,” Chacin said. He said many of those would be in the vast Orinoco Belt, which contains most of Venezuela’s crude, but did not offer more details.

Venezuela is looking to increase crude production in the Orinoco region to offset declines in other traditional areas and to stimulate its struggling economy.

The country’s international reserves hit 12-year lows this month as the economy suffers a recession, high inflation and shortages of basic goods.

via Venezuela to get $5 billion in funding from China in next few months: PDVSA official | Reuters.

09/06/2015

Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters

The police killed 12 Maoist insurgents on Tuesday in a shootout with a group suspected of planning to extort money from mining contractors in Jharkhand, a spokesman said.

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand

Map of India showing location of Jharkhand (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Police, acting on a tip-off, tightened up security on the route to the mines. When the group approached a checkpoint in vehicles, the police got out and opened fire.

“We have recovered the bodies of 12 rebels from the spot. This is a big achievement for us,” police spokesman S.N. Pradhan said by telephone from Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand.

Jharkhand is among a dozen states fighting a four-decade old Maoist insurgency that the last government described as the country’s biggest internal security threat.

The Maoists say they are fighting for the rights of peasants and landless labourers. They routinely call strikes, attack government property and target politicians and police, mostly across swathes of rural India’s east and south.

Among the dead in the one-hour gun battle was a rebel leader with a 500,000 rupee ($8,000) bounty on his head. Police said he was wanted for planting an explosive device inside the corpse of a police constable in an incident two years ago.

The police, who suffered no serious casualties, were still searching for 10-12 rebels who fled the scene. It was not immediately possible to verify their account independently.

($1 = 64 rupees)

via Police kill 12 Maoist rebels in Jharkhand | Reuters.

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