Although most Americans think that the Chinese communists have some influence over their fellow communists in North Korea, in fact this appears to be illusory. As far as the North Koreans are concerned, the Chinese leadership pays only lip service to Communism, and has effectively abandoned it in favor the free market and other capitalist notions. This is actually a pretty perceptive analysis on the part of the North Korean ideologues, though one lost on many Westerners.
July 4, 2006: China (and Russia) responded to North Koreas seven missile launches yesterday, but again refusing to back sanctions, but instead calling for more diplomacy and negotiations. China does not want the North Korean government to collapse, as this would send millions of North Korean refugees into northern China. Ultimately, China would like to see North Korea reform its economy, like China has done, and negotiate a unification with South Korea that would result in a unified, peaceful, and neutral Korea that no longer contained any American troops.
July 1, 2006: In Hong Kong, over 20,000 people demonstrated in favor of full democracy for the former British colony (which returned to Chinese control in 1997). China tolerates this activity in Hong Kong, but not elsewhere in China. That's because pro-democracy demonstrations of up to half a million people have taken place in Hong Kong, but no violent attempts to overthrow Chinese control have occurred.
June 30, 2006: China opened the first railroad to the capital of Tibet (Lhasa). The 1,140 kilometer line is the highest in the world, operating at over 16,000 feet at some points. Before this, the only way to get anything into Tibet was by aircraft, or a few roads. From a military point of view, the railroad makes it much cheaper to maintain forces in Tibet. This is not a problem at the moment, as India and China has settled most of their border disagreements in the area. Thus the railroad will mainly make it easier to bring more ethnic (Han) Chinese settlers into Tibet, with the eventual goal of Han outnumbering ethnic Tibetans, and thus forever quelling any separatist aspirations.
June 26, 2006: China has begun to crack down on blog postings. The blogs (nearly 40 million of them) had escaped attention from China's Internet censorship police until now, and had grown to be a major source of anti-government discussion. Blogs will now be watched as carefully as bulletin boards (BBS) and chat rooms. China is also planning on monitoring email and text messaging. All of these monitoring efforts are not one hundred percent effective. But the Internet police do catch people saying things the government does not approve of. Those who are caught are arrested, and some are sent to prison. This causes most Chinese to practice self-censorship on the Internet.