Over the course of the last month, Chinese officials have engaged in a systematic campaign to purge dissent in Tibet. These actions are part of a long-term policy to assimilate Tibet into Han Chinese society. With the much anticipated 2008 Olympic Games a few months away, the international community and non-state actors have turned up the heat, demanding that Beijing engage in dialogue with the Dali Lama and stop repression of Tibetans and other minority groups, such as Uighurs. Heads of state have variously threatened and committed to boycotts of participation in the games’ opening ceremony. But those calling for […]

China, Pakistan and India

If it weren’t for all hell breaking loose in the Middle East, the tectonic shifts going on in South Asia would probably be the decade’s storyline. As it is, they still might be. In addition to China’s rise and India’s emergence, there’s also all sorts of movement towards warmer relations between the region’s traditional rivals that could smooth the way for further growth. Pakistan-India relations, while still prickly and marked by tit-for-tat missile tests, are more cordial than they’ve ever been. Same goes for China-India relations.As for China-Pakistan relations, a couple of articles (one here at Asia Times Online, and […]

No Safe Harbor

That Chinese cargo boat carrying weapons bound for Zimbabwe has now been turned away by Mozambique and South Africa, with a gathering campaign now focused on keeping it from docking on the African continent: The International Transport Workers Federation says it has asked its members across Africa not to help unload the An Yue Jiang, which is reportedly carrying three million rounds of ammunition, 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades and 2,500 mortar rounds. Namibia and Angola have been mentioned as possible alternatives for getting the weapons into Robert Mugabe’s hands, but American pressure is reportedly being applied to keep that from happening. […]

China, Tibet and the West

One of the recurring subtexts of China’s relative opening to the world has been the tightrope the Chinese leadership is forced to walk between mobilizing nationalist sentiment to push back against Western human rights criticism, and actually keeping a lid on that nationalist sentiment to keep it from getting out in front of the official line of a peaceful rise. Case in point: Over the weekend there were demonstrations in several Chinese cities converging on the French supermarket chain, Carrefour, in part to protest the French government’s very muted grumblings about the goings-on in Tibet, in part to respond to […]

Although the Western media has become preoccupied with the protests against Beijing’s repression in Tibet, Chinese policymakers perceive a comparably serious threat from another minority: the Muslim Uighurs. Concerns about separatist agitation among the Uighurs have had a considerable impact on Chinese foreign policy. On April 10, Chinese authorities announced they had exposed a plot by Muslim terrorists to kidnap foreigners and carry out suicide attacks in Chinese cities during the Summer Olympics. In a news conference, an official from China’s Ministry of Public Security revealed that authorities had detained 45 suspects involved in two terrorist groups. The detainees allegedly […]

SEOUL, South Korea — Onlookers watch as a man tied up in ropes is led down a crowded pedestrian street by a woman holding a plastic assault rifle. Another man holding a megaphone explains that the re-enactment depicts a scene that has become an everyday occurrence in China. A multinational coalition of activists, calling themselves the 4-4-4 Campaign, holds this demonstration each weekend in downtown Seoul. In Chinese culture, the number 4 symbolizes death. Protester Nam Hyang Soo says the activists chose their name because Beijing’s refugee policy is killing North Koreans who try to escape their impoverished homeland. “The […]

Political Liberalization and China

Sam Roggeveen of The Interpreter has a thought-provoking post about whether China represents a special case in the normally direct relationship between economic prosperity and politicial liberalization. This strikes me as spot on: [Chinese leaders] seem to have struck just the opposite bargain with their people: if you accept perpetual rule by us, we will make you rich. That bargain is now the path to continued legitimacy for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), rather than any promise of political liberalisation. It’s impossible to separate China’s prosperity from the globalized market. But the reality is that the West probably has an […]

India, China and the U.S.

In the aftermath of the Tibet uprisings, India’s External Affairs Minister called on the Dalai Lama, whose government-in-exile India hosts, to refrain from “. . . any political activity in this country that harms India-China ties.” Meanwhile, there’s news out of Xinjiang that Uighur “extremists” were arrested as they attempted to incite an uprising. I’ve argued before that this is a great advantage America has in the globalized age over multicultural countries that either, a) inherited their minority populations from arbitrary colonial maps (India); or else b) absorbed them through expansion (China). There’s still racism and xenophobia in the States, […]

From the TV footage coming out of Nepal these days, it is easy to forget that the Himalayan nation is struggling to build a viable democracy. Almost every day since mid-March, when anti-Chinese protests erupted in Tibet and other countries, images of Nepali police beating Tibetan demonstrators have been beamed around the world. Nepal’s major political parties and former Maoist rebels have promised to build an open and inclusive state after years of turmoil. The people are preparing to vote April 10 for a new assembly that would write a new constitution embodying a federal democratic republic. Yet barely two […]

HONG KONG — As Beijing cracks down on protestors in Tibet in the run up to the Olympics, adherents of Falun Gong — a banned religious movement that draws from Buddhism and Taoism — are also facing the heavy hand of the Communist regime. Falun Gong members claim Chinese authorities are stepping up their crackdown on the group, branded an “evil cult” by Beijing, by using Olympic security as an “excuse.” In early March, the U.S.-based Falun Dafa Information Center announced that 1,878 practitioners from 29 provinces had been arrested since January 2008 and that cash rewards of up to […]