Home | E-mail
and Images are © of their respective owners.
|December 25. 2009
Dissident to 11 Years for Subversion
By LORETTA CHAO
BEIJING -- A Chinese court sentenced Liu Xiaobo,
China's most prominent dissident, to 11 years in
prison for criticizing the government, a verdict
that suggests the numerous other activists who
have been detained in the past year may also face
harsher punishment as Beijing moves to tighten
already strict limits on dissent.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court
announced on Christmas Day its ruling that Mr.
Liu was guilty of "inciting subversion of
state power." The 53 year-old scholar spent
more than a year in detention before his
Wednesday trial that lasted less than three
Ding Xikui, one of Mr. Liu's attorneys, said Mr.
Liu plans to appeal the decision. "There
were some flaws in the procedures of the
trial," he said, but he declined to comment
further. Appeals on sensitive political charges
almost never succeed in China where political
directives often supercede the written law.
Mr. Liu has vocally pushed for democratic reforms
since the 1980s, and was a participant in the
1989 protests on Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He
was detained by authorities last year shortly
after he helped write Charter 08, a call for
sweeping legal and political change, which
hundreds of other scholars also signed. The
letter, which has since attracted thousands of
signatures of Chinese citizens, is seen as one of
the boldest challenges to Communist Party rule in
The verdict, especially coming on such a
significant holiday in much of the world, is a
stark rebuke to the outcry from foreign rights
activists and governments over Mr. Liu's case --
and especially to the administration of U.S.
President Barack Obama, who just last month on
his first visit to China pressed Beijing to
respect "universal" human rights such
as free expression. U.S. officials have
repeatedly raised the Liu case with Chinese
officials, and Washington was quick to criticized
the verdict Friday.
At the court Friday morning, U.S. Embassy First
Secretary Greg May said, "We are deeply
concerned by the sentence…Persecution of
individuals for the peaceful expression of
political views is inconsistent with
internationally recognized norms of human
rights." Mr. May repeated his call for the
government to release Mr. Liu
"immediately," and to "respect the
rights of all Chinese citizens to peacefully
express their political views."
sentence was also another strong message for the
many activists within China, including human
rights lawyers who have received warnings by
authorities against taking on political cases,
some of whom cannot practice law because the
government did not approve their license renewals
this year. It also serves as a warning to people
like Zhao Lianhai, who was formally arrested last
week, after a lengthy detention, for organizing
families affected by a tainted-milk scandal last
year that sickened at least tens of thousands of
"The fact is that Liu Xiaobo is neither a
subversive nor a criminal and the severity of the
verdict against him suggests that the Chinese
government is ready and willing to take an
unyieldingly harsh line against human rights
activists in the year ahead," said Phelim
Kine, an Asia researcher with New York-based
Human Rights Watch.
"The show trial of Liu Xiaobo by the Chinese
authorities is a scandal ... We call on President
Hu Jintao to reverse this injustice and to
release Liu and the scores of other Chinese who
have been imprisoned for simply speaking their
minds," said Kwame Anthony Appiah, president
of the PEN American Center, the U.S. chapter of
an international nongovernment writers
association that advocates freedom of expression.
Mr. Liu is a member of the organization.
Chinese officials couldn't be reached for
comment. But China's state-run Xinhua news agency
reported that a statement from the court said it
strictly followed the legal procedures in this
case and fully protected Mr. Liu's litigation
rights. Xinhua said the court statement said the
trial was "open to the public," but
when diplomats and foreign journalists requested
entry, they were declined.
The brevity of the proceedings led many to
believe the trial was just a formality. "The
premise of the trial was very wrong. How can you
judge people only for their words?" said Mr.
Liu's wife, Liu Xia.
According to Chinese law, the crime of inciting
others "by spreading rumors or slander or
any other means to subvert the State power or
overthrow the socialist system shall be sentenced
to fixed-term imprisonment," and
"ringleaders" of such activities are
sentenced to "no less than five years."
Mr. Liu's lawyers said the maximum sentence for
such crimes is 15 years.
Mr. Liu's supporters say his sentence is
especially severe given that he did not advocate
the removal of the Communist Party from power.
"The verdict is both a personal insult and
tragedy for Liu Xiaobo, who has done nothing more
than advocate rights and freedoms articulated in
China's own constitution," Mr. Kine said.
|December 23, 2009
|China tells climate
change "hijack" critics to honor
BEIJING, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Some developed
countries that had failed to honor their
commitments to tackle climate change are
unqualified to criticize developing nations, a
Chinese official said Tuesday.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu made the
remarks at a regular press briefing in response
to a reporter's question on the accusation of
China's "hijacking" of the Copenhagen
British Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed
Miliband published an article in The Guardian
newspaper on Dec. 20, saying China tried to
"hijack" the Copenhagen climate
Jiang said China had made arduous efforts to push
forward the progress of the Copenhagen conference
and adopted a series of active measures and
policies in dealing with climate change.
China was second to none in terms of its
attitude, intensity of actions and the
achievements in addressing the issue, Jiang said.
China's voluntary emissions cut target had no
strings attached and was not linked with the
targets of any other country.
Taking their attitude on climate change talks
into account, some developed countries that had
failed to fulfill their obligations should
reflect on their own conduct, Jiang said.
She said China expected all parties to take the
Copenhagen conference as a new starting point,
build further consensus, enhance cooperation and
fulfill their own commitments, so as to complete
the negotiations of the Bali Roadmap and promote
a continuous progress of the international
climate change cooperation.
|November 15, 2009
|China’s Role as
U.S. Lender Alters Dynamics for Obama
By HELENE COOPER, MICHAEL WINES and DAVID E.
When President Obama visits
China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in
many ways, be assuming the role of profligate
spender coming to pay his respects to his banker.
That stark fact — China is the largest foreign
lender to the United States — has changed the
core of the relationship between the United
States and the only country with a reasonable
chance of challenging its status as the world’s
The result: unlike his immediate predecessors,
who publicly pushed and prodded China to follow
the Western model and become more open
politically and economically, Mr. Obama will be
spending less time exhorting Beijing and more
time reassuring it.
In a July meeting, Chinese officials asked their
American counterparts detailed questions about
the health care legislation making its way
through Congress. The president’s budget
director, Peter R. Orszag, answered most of their
questions. But the Chinese were not particularly
interested in the public option or universal care
for all Americans.
“They wanted to know, in painstaking detail,
how the health care plan would affect the
deficit,” one participant in the conversation
recalled. Chinese officials expect that they will
help finance whatever Congress and the White
House settle on, mostly through buying Treasury
debt, and like any banker, they wanted evidence
that the United States had a plan to pay them
has struck a mollifying note with China. He
pointedly singled out the emerging dynamic at
play between the United States and China during a
wide-ranging speech in Tokyo on Saturday that was
meant to outline a new American relationship with
“The United States does not seek to contain
China,” Mr. Obama said. “On the contrary, the
rise of a strong, prosperous China can be a
source of strength for the community of nations.”
Books: Was Mao Really A
Monster? You can get it here, an afterthought.
|November 13, 2009
|Warm Welcome Awaits
President Hu Jintao
By Tham Choy Lin
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 7 (Bernama) -- When President
Hu Jintao flies in from the late autumn cold of
Beijing to kickoff a two-day visit here Tuesday,
he will be embraced by more than the tropical
Hu will be the first Chinese head of state to
visit Malaysia in 15 years, although he was here
as deputy president in 2002, a year before he
The visit, enroute to Hu attending the APEC
Summit in Singapore, goes deeper than the
symbolism of the 35th anniversary of
Malaysia-China diplomatic ties.
Amid the global
recession, China is emerging as a crucial trade
partner for Malaysia with the two sides taking
advantage of tariff cuts from the Asean-China
Free Trade Agreement that will come to fruition
by next year.
China has become Malaysia's biggest trading
partner this year, surpassing Singapore, the
United States and Japan.
Between January and September, bilateral trade
reached RM89 billion, accounting for nearly 13
per cent of Malaysia's total trade during the
period, according to Malaysian official trade
Chinese visionary leader Deng Xiaoping, credited
with establishing China's "open door"
policy and economic reform, was here as
vice-premier in 1978, President Yang Shangkun in
1990 and 1992, Premier Li Peng in 1992, President
Jiang Zemin in 1994, Premier Zhu Rongji in 1999
and Premier Wen Jiabao in 2005.
During his April 2002 visit, Hu took a detour
north of Malaysia to Penang island and visited a
two-storey shophouse that was a base for China
nationalist Sun Yat Seng in raising funds to
overthrow the last imperial dynasty that led to
the founding of China as a republic.
This time, Hu will take a short drive south of
the Malaysian capital for another patch of
Chinese history in the historic state of Melaka
where the seeds of relations between China and
the Malay peninsula were sown.
China's revered mariner, Admiral Zheng He, first
set foot in Melaka in 1405 and in all, he stopped
there in five of his seven voyages and is
believed to have set up warehouses to supply his
voyages and store goods gathered from his
|July 10, 2009
|Important notice: GeoCities
Dear Yahoo! GeoCities
writing to let you know that Yahoo! GeoCities,
our free web site building service and community,
is closing on October 26, 2009.
26, 2009, your GeoCities site will no longer
appear on the Web, and you will no longer be able
to access your GeoCities account and files.
|June 19, 2009
|TVB8 is now running 北京之路 –
解密開幕式 Behind-the-Scene Story of
2008 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
|April 24, 2009
|Yahoo to close
GeoCities this year
Yahoo Inc. said Thursday
that it would shut down its GeoCities free
Web-hosting service after paying about $3 billion
for the unit in 1999.
pointed GeoCities users to its paid Web-hosting
service. The company will give users more details
on saving GeoCities' data later this year.
visitors to GeoCities dropped 25% to 12 million
in March from the year-ago period, according to
research firm ComScore Inc. in Reston, Va.
|April 9, 2009
health-care reform guidelines
April 6, 2009
Monday unveiled a blueprint for health-care
over the next decade, kicking off a
much-anticipated reform to fix the ailing
medical system and to ensure fair and
affordable health services for all 1.3
The core principle of the reform is to
provide basic health care as a "public
service" to the people, which requires
much more government funding and supervision.
The reform is aimed at "solving pressing
problems that have caused strong complaints
from the public," the document said,
referring to long-standing criticism that
medical services are difficult to access and
Many factors were blamed for causing problems
- huge development gap between cities and
rural areas, low government funding, weak
health-care facilities at grassroots level,
and increasing disease burdens - despite the
country's effort to double the average life
expectancy over the past 60 years.
Soaring medical bills further strained
China's social security network, already
burdened by expensive education, fast
population ageing and unemployment. This
forces many ordinary Chinese to save money,
instead of spending, as precautionary
After the founding of the People's Republic
of China in 1949, governments covered more
than 90 percent of medical expenses for urban
residents, while rural people enjoyed simple
but essentially free health care.
But when China began its economic reforms in
the early 1980s, the system was dismantled as
the country attempted to switch to a
market-oriented health care system.
Due to low government funding, doctors at
state-run hospitals were forced to
"generate" incomes for the
hospitals through prescribing
highly-profitable, sometimes unnecessary
drugs and treatment. In many places this
could account for 90 percent of a hospital's
Soaring fees plunged many into poverty and
made medical services less affordable to
Statistics from the Ministry of Health show
that the personal spending on medical
services has doubled from 21.2 percent in
1980to 45.2 percent in 2007, while the
government funding dropped to 20.3 percent
from 36.2 percent in 1980.
Health care reform
could be prescription for employment
|March 31, 2009
Abandon Cities as 20 Million Jobs Disappear
March 30, 2009
by Andrew Fone
China - To see the Chinese countryside in the
western Sichuan Province in spring is a
chance to behold some truly spectacular
scenery. The yellow flowers in the fields
blaze across the landscape and farmers turn
the earth by hand.
the beauty belies the hard life of China's
800 million people live much the way they
have for centuries, with few of the amenities
of modern life. Just 10 months ago, Sichuan
Province was hit by a massive 8.0 magnitude
earthquake that left 70,000 people dead,
18,000 missing and millions homeless.
that the eyes of the world were watching and
that its response would be judged by its own
people, the Chinese government pledged a $150
billion reconstruction effort.
in China's rural areas has never been easy.
The average person in Sichuan Province earns
only about $400 a year, so with the promise
of well-paying factory jobs people have left
by the hundreds of thousands and headed for
China's booming cities. In the best of times
factory workers could make five times what
they could toiling in the fields of their
for many, these are the worst of times. As a
result of the global financial crisis, demand
for Chinese-made goods has declined and
within the last year an estimated 70,000
factories and businesses have closed, leaving
20 million "migrant workers"
are tough," said Li Yuan Zhen, who used
to work at a garment factory in Guangdong
Province earning about $150 a month.
the company went bankrupt there is no
work," she said. Hundreds of thousands
of workers from Sichuan are in a similar
position and have been forced to return to
their rural homes with no prospect of work
Party Chairman Mao Zedong believed that if
the party lost the support of the peasants it
would lose control of China. Mindful of that,
the government had set a goal of 8 percent
growth this year, fearing less would cause
such high unemployment it would result in
mass civil unrest.
hasn't happened yet, but after two decades of
economic growth, the global downturn is seen
as the most serious test for the ruling
Communist party in a generation.
to clean air, nature and another century of
Related: Agriculture in
China, Rural Tax, Village Elections
week-long May Day holiday
- China's southern Guangdong province will
resume the week-long May Day holiday this
year in a bid to revive the economy, local
officials said Wednesday.
2007, China cut the May Day holiday from
seven to three days to ease overcrowded
holiday in Guangdong will fall on May 1-7.
Two days will be paid leave and local
residents will have to work over the weekend
of May 9-10.
is the country's first province to resume the
Xiaojie, deputy secretary-general of the
provincial government, said the move would
help encourage travel and spur domestic
local economy in export-oriented Guangdong
has been hit hard by reduced global demand
for its goods.
Update: Banned by Beijing:
Guangdong’s Holiday Plan, Seeking a golden
spur for lagging economy
migrant workers top 225 million
BEIJING, March 25
(Xinhua) -- China, the world largest
agriculture country in terms of farming
population, has 225.42 million rural migrant
workers as of 2008, according to statistic
from the National Statistics Bureau (NBS) on
Among all the migrant
workers, 62.3 percent or 140.41 million were
working outside their home county, while the
other 37.7 percent or, 85.01 million, worked
in their hometowns.
Migrant workers from the
central areas accounted for 37.6 percent of
the 140.41 million ones. Other 32.7 percent
and 29.7 percent were from the western and
eastern regions, respectively.
The NBS said 70 million
migrant workers went back to hometowns before
February. Currently, 56 million have returned
to the cities, 45 million have found jobs,
and the other 11 million are still
The statistics are based
on a survey conducted by NBS, involving
68,000 rural households from 7,100 villages
in 31 provinces.
|March 17, 2009
|China Worried After
Lending 'Huge Amount' to U.S. -Dexter Roberts
have lent a huge amount of money to the
United States," Wen said at a press
conference in Beijing's Great Hall of the
People. "I am a little bit worried. I
request the U.S. to maintain its good credit,
to honor its promises, and to guarantee the
safety of China's assets."
it as bad investment and cut the losses.
Obama soothes China
on US debt -AFP
continuing to support American Treasury
instruments the Chinese are recognizing our
interconnection. We are truly going to rise
or fall together," Clinton said.
critics have charged that, as a developing
country, China should be investing at home
instead of subsidizing the world's richest
country, or else diversifying into other