China: For the First Time In History

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June 13, 2007: For the first time in history, a Chinese warship made a visit to a Japanese port. This is part of a program to rebuild good relations with Japan. Over the last few years, the government has allowed anger, over bad Japanese behavior in China in the first half of the 20th Century, to get out of hand among the Chinese people. No more, and now Japan is officially a friendly neighbor (with a shady past, just in case.)

 

June 12, 2007:  SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) released its annual estimates of military spending, and China now has a larger defense budget than Japan. The top five were the U.S.($528 billion), Britain ($59 billion), France ($53 billion), China ($50 billion) and Japan ($44 billion).  India was only $24 billion, and former superpower Russia, $35 billion. The U.S. believes Chinas true defense spending, because of military expenses absorbed by other parts of the government, is over $100 billion. This shifting of expenses, to hide the true size of the defense budget, was a common practice in the Soviet Union, and other communist states. China is still a communist dictatorship, and believed to be using this form of deception. After the Soviet Union collapsed, many of these budget deceptions were revealed. 

 

June 11, 2007: Taiwan has revised its massive rearmament program to include aerial refueling aircraft. It apparently hopes to get the aircraft from the U.S., and use them to keep fighters in the air longer, or refuel F-16s before they went after targets deep inside of China. 

 

June 10, 2007:  The government announced that 6,600 government officials had been punished, after an 18 month investigation (that ended six months ago). But when you read the fine print, you find that only three percent of those punished were senior officials, and only eleven of them were senior provincial officials, the guys who are doing the most damage out there. So a lot of low level thieves are going to prison or being executed, and will be quickly replaced, so the bribes and payoffs can continue to be passed up to the senior people who tolerate all this bad behavior.

 

June 6, 2007: Taiwan lost one of the 25 nations that recognizes, as China offered Costa Rica enough money to switch diplomatic recognition to China. Taiwan still holds the recognition of 24, mostly poor Western Hemisphere, nations, by offering generous foreign aid. But China will offer a lot more, if a nation will switch. Moreover, Chinas growing export trade, especially of cheap goods that are popular in poor countries, gives China more diplomatic clout as well. Thus the recent scandal involving tainted Chinese food and medical exports, was particularly embarrassing for Chinese diplomats. 

 

June 5, 2007:  The Information Police suffered a self-inflicted defeat when someone placed an ad in a newspaper, honoring the victims of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Officially, that event does not exist, and in true police state fashion, the government has kept it out of school books and the media. As a result, many young Chinese know nothing of the Tiananmen Square events. One of them was the clerk who accepted the ad, which used the term "victims of 64" (June 4, 1989) to identify the event. Using numbers like that for dates in common in East Asia. When the add appeared on June 4th, news quickly spread via cell phone and Internet. Government reaction was swift. Police rushed to remove remaining copies of the Chengdu newspaper from newsstands. Fewer than 200,000 copies were distributed, and they are now collectibles. Three employees of the newspaper were fired. And millions of young Chinese now know what the term. "victims of 64" means.

 

 


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