News & opinion on Greater China and the even Greater Beyond: by Biff Cappuccino.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Dalai Lama 'behind Lhasa unrest': The official Xinhua news agency said 17 Tibetans on 14 March destroyed a pair of statues at Lhasa's Ganden Monastery depicting the deity Dorje Shugden. Lhasa's mayor blamed the destruction on followers of the Dalai Lama, who sees Dorje Shugden as a divisive force. Analysts accused China of exploiting any dispute for political ends.
...China and the Dalai Lama have been engaged in secretive talks for years, and met for a fifth round of talks in February, but have made little progress. The Dalai Lama has called for Tibetan autonomy within China, but China repeatedly labels him a separatist and says he seeks full independence.
The Yin And Yang And The Apples And Oranges On Chinese Courts : About a week ago, I did a post touting the fairness of China's courts, entitled, "China's Courts are Fair." That post was based, in large part, on Professor Tseming Yang's (hence the "Yang" in my title -- groan!) post on his Citizen Yang blog, entitled "Local Governments Lose 30-50% of Administrative Lawsuits," noting "local [Chinese] governments lose an astonishing 30-50% of law suits in China."
I said I was not astonished by these numbers and I referred back to one of my previous posts, entitled, China Rises -- The TV Show/"Food is Heaven," where I noted the success rate small players had in their lawsuits in Chinese courts against big polluting companies.
I then went on to qualify my "China's courts are fair" assertion by noting that the Chinese courts virtually never rule against the government when central government policy is at issue and that I am ignoring criminal and political cases. I also stated that "the chances of getting a fair trial are much greater in prosperous commercial cities like Shanghai, Tianjin, or Qingdao, than they are in a small city in Anhui Province. I know too that a foreign company prevailing against a powerful local company in a Chinese court is always going to be less likely than if all parties are of the same strata:"
So China's courts are not always fair.
But, they are fair way more often than credited by the western media and I am absolutely convinced (as are all of the Chinese lawyers with whom we work) that they are fair often enough to make it as ill-advised to do business in China without written contracts or Intellectual Property (IP) protections as to do business that way in the West.
Even if China's courts are fair only 60% of the time, this is enough to cause the rational Chinese businessperson to make decisions based on legal ramifications.
Competing with China for African hearts and minds: As the chart (compiled by Travis with data from a BBC poll) hints, Central and Southern Africans view U.S. influence very positively, more so than Chinese influence. According to another poll, Africa is the only continent where a majority (55%) of the population views the U.S. in a positive light.
Competing with China for African hearts and minds/2: So it is surprising --and in my opinion telling of Chinese soft power ambitions in Africa-- that China today is by far the largest contributor to peacekeeping missions of the 5 nations holding permanent Security Council seats.
In March 2006, China had 1,137 peacekeepers deployed, of which 876 were troops, 189 were police personnel and 72 were military observers. Overall, that is the 14th biggest contribution out of 108 countries. By way of comparison, the US has 369, the UK 344, France 584 and Russia 207. While India sends a whopping 9,061, China's contributions are impressive, especially if compared with the past: in March 2001, it had 96.
America’s China “Experts” : Just who are America’s China “experts?” And the question we all really want answered: do any of them actually speak Chinese?
Wall Street ended Tuesday... carrying the Dow Jones industrials to a fresh six-year high and within reach of its best-ever close. ...analysts say the Dow is poised to break its record and could push higher. ...The Dow rose 55.23, or 0.48 percent, to 11,639.77. The index of 30 blue-chip stocks is 83 points from its all-time closing high of 11,722.98, reached Jan. 14, 2000.
Armoured suits are 'too goofy' say US troops: The water-cooled "alien spacesuits" are being handed out to turret gunners in their notoriously vulnerable Humvee vehicles... Capt Larry Bergeron told the military newspaper Stars and Stripes that the armour was credited with saving the lives of three men sprayed with shrapnel from roadside bombs. "One soldier's visor stopped a piece of shrapnel that hit dead centre," he said. "If he had not had that suit on, the effects could have been catastrophic."

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