China: Fear of Foreigners

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May 31, 2007: Next year, China hosts the Olympics, and it fears reformers, and dissidents of all sorts, will use the huge influx of foreigners as an opportunity to stage anti-government demonstrations. This was learned when the contents of a secret speech, by a senior police official, was leaked. The government considers it essential for Chinese prestige, as a "major power", that the Olympics go off without a hitch. To that end, the government will round up all known troublemakers and dissidents and put them in preventive detention for the duration of the Olympics. By government count, there were 17,000 public "anti-government" actions last year, all but a few of them out of the view of foreigners. But the country will be full of foreigners, and foreign journalists, next year. The anti-government riots and demonstrations are primarily against corruption, and its after effects.

May 30, 2007: The former official in charge drug safety was convicted of taking bribes to approve dangerous drugs, and condemned to death. It's increasingly common for senior officials to be tried for corruption, but only a minute number of the corrupt senior officials are being prosecuted. Many of the worst cases (that become widely known, or whose crimes kill a lot of people, like the condemned drug regulator) are allowed to quietly resign, or are openly fired. A few of the worst cases are tried, but not enough to discourage the others.

May 29, 2007: It took the death of some American pets to focus attention on the large volume of Chinese foodstuffs being exported. The U.S. pets ate dog food containing a contaminated Chinese food supplement. On closer examination, the world became aware of how Chinas booming economy, and low operating costs, have enabled Chinese manufacturers to dominate in hundreds of small markets. Everything from food supplements, to vitamins and toothpaste have been affected. And all have suffered some contaminated shipments because of corruption in China. The U.S. inspects a portion of these Chinese goods coming into the United States, and rejects a higher proportion than from any other major exporter. The Chinese government has an economic interest in cleaning this mess up, but the corruption in China is the cause of the problem, and the chief obstacle to solving the problem. A lot of the Chinese regulators are corrupt, as are government officials who supervise them.

May 25, 2007: The U.S. Department of Defense released a report on Chinese military power. Nothing in the report that has not already been talked about in the American, or Chinese, media. China condemned the report anyway, even though Chinese military activities, thanks to the Internet and all those Chinese with cell-phone cameras, are well reported these days. Moreover, the Chinese military media is quite open when discussing plans and proposals. China is building up its military, particularly in the areas of anti-space satellite operations, and operations via the Internet.

 

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