Sudan: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

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February1, 2007: The president of China is in the midst of a trip to Africa, where he will visit eight nations. China has shown a preference for tyrants and police states, and is eager to get access to key raw materials (rare metals and oil). China does not care about criticism, and has no guilt about helping to prop up dictatorships. Makes sense, because for all its economic growth and rising living standards, China is still a Communist police state. This does not go unnoticed in Africa, where Chinese are seen as collaborators with the dictators and tyrants. The Chinese don't care, as long as they get what they came for.

January 31, 2007: Investigations into the growing organ transplant industry in China indicate that a major player is the Chinese military. There is a worldwide shortage of organs for transplant. Since China still executes hundreds of criminals each year, and has thousands of political prisoners, who often go into prison camps and just disappear, there always seems to be available organs for transplant in China. Desperate, and well heeled, foreigners come to China, get their life-saving transplant, and notice that there are a lot of military personnel working in the hospitals. The military is a major player in Chinese medical care, with a large network of hospitals for its millions of troops and their dependents. The military can also force prosecutors and police, in most cases, to go away.

January 25, 2007: China finally admitted it had been responsible for a recent anti-satellite test, and that it wants a treaty to ban weapons in space. The U.S. refuses to negotiate such a treaty, because of the belief that such a treaty would not really stop any of the satellite launching nations from developing weapons systems. China's January 11 test was its fourth attempt to destroy a satellite. China was using tech developed in the 1970s by the U.S. and Russia. Apparently the Chinese just wanted to see if they could do it. They are unlikely to do it again, as this one test increased the number of dangerous fragments-in-orbit by eight percent. With all the major industrial nations so dependent on the hundreds of satellites in orbit, China was spitting in everyone's soup with this test. It was all rather irresponsible, and says much about how decisions are made in China. Logic and self-interest are not always the prime considerations.

January 18, 2007: The government has established an organization to find and punish fraud in academic research. Corruption is widespread in China, always has been, and tends to be worst when there is more money involved. Given the importance of technology in military affairs, lots of money has been directed towards defense research. The misbehavior that ensues is kept quiet, as is the case with most instances of military corruption. But this is the reason why so many military weapons and equipment development projects have failed. It's not just the inability of the scientists to do what was asked of them, there was outright lying, fraud and theft involved. Thus the eagerness to buy, or steal, foreign military technology. But China also wants to develop, or at be able to use, the latest technology. To make this happen, there has to be less fraud in the scientific research community. You can't hustle the laws of physics.

 

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