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East Asia Archive

Friday, April 04, 2003

China Yields Data on Mystery Illness Reluctantly: "SARS has presented these same kinds of officials with a similar choice -- to save people or save face with their bosses -- and until recently they chose the latter."

Thursday, March 13, 2003

China introduces execution vans "The introduction of mobile execution vans, in which condemned prisoners are put to death by lethal injection, has been hailed in Chinese media as "a more humane method of dispatch".

Thursday, January 09, 2003

US shares blame for North Korea's bad behaviour "far from there being any progress towards normalising political and economic relations, President Bush, at the outset of his presidency, called North Korea part of the "axis of evil", and in place of formal assurances talked about pre-emptive attack and indicated a willingness to include nuclear weapons as part of it.
  If Pyongyang has plainly departed from the Agreed Framework, therefore, it did so after the agreement had already been substantially voided by the US, in the reactor commitment, the failure to proceed with the promised normalisation, and the nuclear guarantee. "

Saturday, December 28, 2002

U.S. Confirms Reports of Mass Rapes by Burmese: "mass rapes of hundreds of girls and women have been carried out by the Burmese army in central Shan Province, where the military government has tried for years to suppress an ethnic rebellion, the State Department said today."

Vietnam Announces Prison Sentences for 8 in Christian Minority: "Vietnam announced this week the latest in a long string of prison terms as part of a crackdown on the mostly Christian hill tribe minorities known as Montagnards."

Saturday, December 21, 2002

Justice for Cambodia: "the General Assembly directed United Nations officials to resume negotiations with the Cambodian government to set up trials for surviving Khmer Rouge leaders. The vote was not easy to come by...
  Mindful of concerns about the Nixon administration's secret aerial bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War and Cambodia's own human rights record of the last two decades, negotiators had reached a firm agreement that the court's focus would be limited to senior Khmer Rouge leaders and those who were most responsible for the crimes of the Pol Pot regime from 1975 to 1979. "
  [Kissinger's defense lawyers must have been working overtime.]

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

The Land That War Protected: "a preserve carved from the [Korea] demilitarized zone could be the source for replenishing endangered plants and animals lost to development in both North and South. It could also serve as a laboratory to study nature's resilience. In little more than five decades, the natural world has reclaimed an area devastated by war. There is no comparable place on earth. However, the window of opportunity for preservation may be closing. In September the two Koreas signed an agreement to build two rail lines and adjacent highways through the zone. Efforts to remove mines have already begun. Roads are likely to follow, and thereafter harm to the environment."

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Will China Blindside the West?: Kristoff - "China's transformation is trickling even into the poor interior, dragging all 1.3 billion people into the world economy. When historians look back on our time, I think they'll focus on the resurgence of China after 500 years of weakness -- and the way America was oblivious as this happened. Plenty can still go wrong in China, from a banking crisis (national banks are insolvent) to labor riots (laid-off workers are grumbling everywhere). The government is often brutal and is catastrophically mismanaging an AIDS crisis"

A Telling North Korean Journey: "Drinking wines imported from France, nibbling on gourmet meals with silver chopsticks, and joining in rousing choruses of old Soviet songs with "beautiful lady conductors," North Korea's remote "Dear Leader" emerges in flesh and blood from the pages of a new memoir by Mr. Pulikovsky, the representative of President Vladimir V. Putin in Russia's Far East. Called "Orient Express" and published this fall in Moscow, the 200-page snapshot-laden book prompted a diplomatic protest from North Korea and teeth gnashing in Russia's Foreign Ministry. It draws heavily on a confidential report prepared by a Russian Foreign Ministry notetaker on board during Mr. Kim's leisurely one-month train ride across Russia in the summer of 2001."

Saturday, November 23, 2002

Shouting the Pain From Japan's Germ Attacks: "she vowed... to shake Japan, China and the United States out of the great Pacific amnesia about biological warfare. Ms. Wang assembled 180 Chinese victims and sued Japan, charging that its forces had spread bubonic plague and other diseases in China during World War II. The group claimed that 300,000 people were killed by germ warfare, though there are no official tallies. After five years in court, the plaintiffs scored a partial victory in late August when Judge Kohi Iwata of Tokyo District Court ruled that Japan's infamous Unit 731 "used bacteriological weapons under the order of the imperial Japanese Army's headquarters." The judge rejected compensation, however, saying the plaintiffs had no right to demand money from Japan under international law. "

Monday, November 18, 2002

Hu Jintao: Mystery Man at the Helm: " Low-profile even by the hermetic standards of China's one-party system, Hu Jintao today took over the most important political position in the world's most populous nation by appealing to the one constituency that counts: elite party insiders. A merchant's son, Mr. Hu survived a decade-long leadership trial by persuading elders that he was the perfect party mandarin, pragmatic and flexible, yet discreet and fiercely loyal. "

Sunday, November 17, 2002

China has new chief, but power may lie elsewhere | "Hu Jintao took party helm this weekend. But Zeng Qinghong may be the man to watch."

Thursday, July 25, 2002

In China's West, Ethnic Strife Becomes 'Terrorism': " heavy-handed security tactics and uneven economic development are aggravating relations between Xinjiang's 7 million Han, the dominant Chinese ethnic group, and its 8 million Uighurs, Turkic-speaking Muslims, many of whom yearn for independence or at least greater autonomy from Chinese rule."

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Order Yielding to Lawlessness in Rural China: "In Lanshan County, not only can the police look the other way during a cannon battle, afraid to get involved or to challenge certain village powers, but senior police and other county officials have been implicated in heroin dealing and counterfeiting. A senior officer is known to gangsters as Big Daddy, and bribery and cronyism have demonstrably warped the priorities of the police and courts. Protesting the lack of security and fairness, a remarkable 12,000 residents of the county have risked reprisals by putting their names and fingerprints on a petition calling for dismissal of corrupt police and Communist Party officials."

Saturday, May 25, 2002

Japan Cuts Whaling Rights for Native Peoples of Arctic: "Frustrated by a string of defeats at the International Whaling Commission meeting here, Japan retaliated today, leading a successful movement to deny Alaska and Siberian native peoples a renewal of permission to hunt whales. It was the first time in the 56-year history of the commission that quotas allowing aboriginal subsistence whaling had been rejected.... Representatives of some of the world's largest environmental groups - rarely defenders of whaling - said they were shocked by what one called the callous politics of the Japanese move.  Richard N. Mott, vice president for international policy at the World Wildlife Fund, said: ``Using native Arctic nations as pawns in a political battle between superpowers in unconscionable. It has done enormous damage to Japan's reputation.''"

Thursday, May 23, 2002

The War Is Long Over, but Vietnam Continues: Review of "Vietnam Passage" - "through unfamiliar and revealing archival film and photographs. These focus on the Vietnamese experience of the war and its aftermath, including the country as it appears today, looking remarkably capitalistic but still exotic. The stories include wartime tragedy and triumph but also the less dramatic process of rebuilding families and lives in altered circumstances."

Monday, May 06, 2002

China Makes Progress on Chips: "Despite earlier efforts by the United States to keep China behind the high-technology curve, the country is fast catching up with America's ability to make advanced semiconductors, the computer chips that run everything from rice cookers to missile guidance systems."

Freed Burmese Democracy Leader Proclaims 'New Dawn': "Freed this morning after 19 months of house arrest in the capital, Yangon, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 56, the leader of the pro-democracy movement, said it was time to move forward from a period of fence-mending to the beginnings of substantive change in the country, the former Burma."

Wednesday, May 01, 2002

China's Communists Try to Decide What They Stand For: "Responding to a mounting identity crisis that has swept through its ranks in the last few years, China's ruling Communist Party has started searching aggressively for a new set of principles and policies to define its future, reforms intended to ensure its relevance and survival in this increasingly market-oriented, pluralistic society."

Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Beware of Cross-Cultural Faux Pas in China. Evan as globalization continues to narrow the cultural divide, the worst gaffes still leave a bad impression and the right gestures still earn respect.

Youth Let Their Thumbs Do the Talking in Japan. With its text messaging mania, Japan has become a national experiment for intensive thumb use.

By Leaps and Bounds, Monkeys Overrun Japan. Monkeys are spreading across Japan, a tidy, cement-trimmed nation more commonly associated with bullet trains than wildlife.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

'The Cat From Hue': Apocalypse Then. John Laurence's summary and recapitulation of his time as a network TV correspondent in Vietnam is an eloquent, at times acerbic recollection. By Stanley I. Kutler.

China's Party Bosses Thwart Local Leaders: "A confrontation between dozens of elected village leaders and long-entrenched Communist Party bosses, many of them accused of brazen corruption and nepotism, has stewed for three years now in the apple-blossom hills of eastern China. So far, the party bosses have kept control, sometimes through brute force, preventing elected leaders from doing their jobs and thwarting the scrutiny of village accounts."

Monday, April 08, 2002

Japan's Export Power Drifts Across the China Sea: "As more production is moved overseas and Japan opens to imports, and as an aging population leaves Japan with more consumers and few producers, the trade surplus looks set for a structural decline... With growth prospects poor at home, Japanese investors have increasingly looked overseas, largely to foreign bonds. Japan now has $2 trillion in offshore assets, the equivalent of half of the nation's gross domestic product."

Friday, March 29, 2002

North Korea Has a Hold on Hearts in Japan. A nationalistic fervor has endured among many of the 600,000 people of recent Korean descent living in Japan. By Howard W. French.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Chinese Protests Ebb as Officials Talk Tough, but Give Ground: "giant protests by displaced workers from state-owned factories in northeastern China have dwindled in recent days as officials responded with a dual strategy, meeting some of the workers' monetary demands while detaining several organizers and threatening still more demonstrators with "

Shell Plans to Triple Its Stake in China: "2,400-mile pipeline ... which will ship gas to Shanghai on China's east coast from Xinjiang Province in the northwest"

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Leaner Factories, Fewer Workers Bring More Labor Unrest to China: "every weekday since March 1, tens of thousands of irate workers have gathered outside the headquarters of China's most glorified oil field, at Daqing in the far northeast, charging official deceit and betrayal in what some experts have called the largest protests over labor issues since the Communist Party took power in 1949. "

Sunday, March 17, 2002

An Islamic Scholar's Lifelong Lesson: Tolerance: Indonesia: "The inclusive brand of Islam that Mr. Madjid has preached for decades is coming under pressure from more militant quarters in the world's most populous Muslim country. But this tolerant man is unbowed, arguing that the idea of an Islamic state is at odds with the teachings of the Koran, that religion should remain in the realm of the transcendental, and that understanding should prevail."

Chinese Outdid Columbus, Briton Says: "a British amateur historian says he has gathered evidence showing that, in a double challenge to accepted history, the Chinese beat Columbus to America by 72 years and also circumnavigated the globe a century before the Magellan voyage."

Thursday, March 14, 2002

100,000 People Perished, but Who Remembers?: "57 years ago this week a fleet of American B-29 bombers dropped 1,665 tons of napalm-filled bombs on Tokyo, leaving almost nothing standing over 16 square miles..  In one horrific night, the firebombing of Tokyo -- then a city largely of wooden buildings -- killed an estimated 100,000 people. In the spring and summer of 1945, similarly devastating raids on over 60 Japanese cities occurred before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought World War II to an end. Despite the huge toll, the firebombing of Tokyo left surprisingly few traces in the popular memory of Japanese, or Americans."

Jim Hightower: DUMPING TOXIC TRASH ON POOR NATIONS -  "Technically, says the [computer] industry, the discarded electronics are not dumped, but "recycled." In reality what happens is that poor Asians are paid a pittance to scavenge various metals and other resellable compounds out of these machines. Indeed, about 100,000 people -- including thousands of children -- in Guiya [China] toil in the midst of piles of electronic trash, smelting circuit boards, using acid to extract traces of gold, dumping cathode ray tubes filled with lead, opening toner cartridges by hand to brush the toxic toner into buckets, and burning plastic components. Guiyu's groundwater is now so polluted that the people have to truck in water for human use. "

Monday, March 11, 2002

Japan Rediscovers Its Korean Past: "Recognition of ... Korea's importance as a contributor to Japan's early imperial history... recently received a huge and unexpected push from the highest of sources -- Emperor Akihito. With a candor far removed from the usual poetic fog of the imperial court, Emperor Akihito, in remarks to the news media that took Japan by surprise in December, all but declared his own Korean ancestry. "

Friday, March 08, 2002

Japan's New Insider Speaks Up for the Outsiders: " In 1992, Mr. Tsurunen became the country's first Westerner to serve as a city assemblyman. He was unexpectedly elevated to Parliament when a lawmaker from his opposition party.. resigned his seat, making way for Mr. Tsurunen, the runner-up in last July's election. ... Japan's 600,000 ethnic Koreans, a group that Mr. Tsurunen has cultivated in recent years."

Far From Beijing, a Semblance of Democracy: "As China now convenes its legislature, the National People's Congress, it is clear that the pyramid of local congresses that underlies the national body is changing, becoming more responsive to popular sentiment, if still far from democratic. The congresses at provincial and local levels have become increasingly activist since new laws expanded their powers a decade ago. Today, in many places, they are reinventing themselves as agents of change, or at least guardians of good government. "

Friday, March 01, 2002

Nixon Proposed Using A-Bomb in Vietnam War

Thursday, February 28, 2002

Records Dispute Kissinger on His '71 Visit to China: "Henry A. Kissinger used his historic meeting with Prime Minister Zhou Enlai of China in 1971 to lay out in detail a radical shift in American policy toward Taiwan in exchange for China's help in ending the war in Vietnam, previously classified documents show. The account of the meeting in the newly released documents contradicts the one that Mr. Kissinger published in his memoirs. The documents also indicate that the Nixon administration was determined to withdraw from Vietnam -- even unilaterally, and even if it led to the overthrow of the government of South Vietnam. The documents, released today by the National Security Archive, an independent research group, include the transcript of the meeting on July 9, 1971, in which Mr. Kissinger, then the national security adviser, pledged that the United States would not support independence for Taiwan. "

Wednesday, February 27, 2002

Devils and Evil Axes: Kristof oped - ""North Koreans would be proud to die in this way, to be the first country to have a nuclear exchange with America," Mr. Kim says cheerfully. He is cheerful because he is sure that America will back down. ... North Korea has more of a taste for brinksmanship than any country in the world, and avoiding the crisis will require plenty of diplomacy -- and a real policy, not just labels. So how can the danger be averted? The only practical measure I can see is to press ahead on engagement with North Korea."

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

Technology's Toxic Trash Is Sent to Poor Nations: "to China, India, Pakistan or other developing countries, where it is reused or recycled under largely unregulated conditions, often with toxic results."

Collected by Jonathan March with Radio Userland software