Olympic Torch Back in China as Darfur Haunts Relay

HONG KONG — The Olympic torch was paraded through the wet and windy streets of Hong Kong on Friday amid small but rowdy protests and accusations that Beijing is underwriting the atrocities in Darfur with billions of petrodollars. American actress and activist Mia Farrow lent an air of glamour as thousands thronged the streets with the relay, taking in the city’s spectacular harbor and venues for this summer’s equestrian events, which will be held here. But Farrow’s attacks on China over Darfur, along with protests by pro-Tibet and free speech activists, meant hopes were fading that this year’s games can […]

TOKYO — Next week’s scheduled visit to Japan by Chinese President Hu Jintao is the latest evidence of a continuing thaw in the two countries’ relations, which only three years ago were decidedly icy. The Japan-China relationship reached a low point in April 2005, when thousands of Chinese across the country, outraged by Japan’s approval of textbooks that critics say played down Japanese aggression in World War II, joined a series of anti-Japan protests. Some of the protests turned violent, with attacks on shops selling Japanese products and the stoning of Japanese consulates. “Things were pretty bad,” said Maria Hsia […]

Zardari, Sharif Reach Agreement

Pakistan’s governing coalition is apparently safe for now, as Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have hammered out an agreement on reinstating Pakistani judgesremoved by Musharraf, as promised during the election campaign. It doesseem to say a lot about the state of Pakistani democracy, though, thatthe deadlock-breaking meeting took place in a hotel in Dubai, where thePPP is still headquartered. Update: After posting this, I ran across this Arif Rafiq post on the potential obstacles for the agreement. And if you haven’t already, bookmark Rafiq’s site, the Pakistan Policy Blog.

CHIANG MAI, Thailand — Promises of a war on drugs by Thailand’s new government had many Thais fearing a replay of the heavy-handed 2003 anti-drug campaign that saw the deaths of almost 3,000 people. So far, however, the new war has been a restrained affair, revealing much about the political strength of Thailand’s People’s Power Party-led government. The push for carrying out a second campaign against illicit drugs came from Thailand’s new interior minister, Chalerm Yabumrung, who had campaigned on the issue. In the wake of his party’s December 2007 election victory and with the approval of Prime Minister Samak […]

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