China: Secrets To Die For


July 19, 2007: A Google Earth user, checking areas believed to contain Chinese naval bases (Chinese language message boards and chat rooms, in China and elsewhere, are good sources of these kinds of leads), found an excellent image of the first of the Type 094 SLBM (Ballistic Missile carrying nuclear subs) boats. In response, China repeated warnings to its citizens that geographic and military information about China is a state secret, and you can go to prison if found cooperating with foreigners who are collecting this kind of information. China monitors Internet activity inside China and, increasingly, outside China as well (especially if it is in Chinese and deals with politics or military matters.)

July 18, 2007: Thirty Thai Special Forces troops have come to China to train with their Chinese counterparts. Thailand is currently run by a military committee, which deposed the elected government last year. The Thai generals have reached out to their fellow dictators in China.

July 16, 2007: Chinese military commanders have felt compelled to announce new measures to assure the quality of food served to its 2.3 million troops. The rash of food safety scandals lately has caused numerous rumors to break out in the military. There have been cases in the past of corrupt officers substituting cheaper, but tainted, food, for the wholesome stuff. New army regulations call for more inspections and higher standards of hygiene in military kitchens.

July 14, 2007: China is becoming increasingly aggressive against Falungong members outside China. Falungong is a religious movement that demonstrated against government restrictions, and triggered a massive government effort to destroy the movement. This is partly because, in Chinese history, there have been many cases where similar religious movements triggered widespread rebellion against the government. What China is doing now is using diplomatic pressure, especially against small and poor nations, to expel or suppress Falungong activity in their country (usually by Chinese migrants or tourists.)

July 11, 2007: The former director of Chinas Food and Drug Regulatory Agency was executed for corruption. The official had taken nearly a million dollars in bribes to allow manufacture and distribution of untested new drugs. People died as a result. China rarely executes officials this senior. But the rule is that, if a corrupt officials gets enough bad press for himself, and the government, he will be punished more severely.

July 9, 2007: Now that Taiwan has overcome years of opposition in its own parliament, and ordered a dozen more U.S. P-3C maritime patrol aircraft, Taiwanese air force officers are in the United States to discuss details of buying 66 more F-16 fighters and 30 AH-64 helicopter gunships.

July 2, 2007: Recent revelations of widespread corruption in the food processing and pharmaceutical industries has led China to drop its long time rule that only Communist Party members can be appointed to senior government jobs. Now, the best qualified, and least likely to be corrupted, officials are being given jobs regulating the food processing and pharmaceutical industries. At least one of these officials is not a Party member.

June 30, 2007: China has set up an experimental "Peace Corps" for Africa. So far, 300 volunteers (selected from over 10,000 applicants) underwent three months of training, and then went to Africa to teach simple, but more advances, Chinese farming methods, as well as medical and public health procedures, and how to speak Chinese. The volunteers get round trip air fare, and a small monthly payment to help defray the cost of food and lodging. Volunteers are expected to forge links with Africans, gain knowledge of Africa, and improve China's image at a grass roots level.

June 28, 2007: There are several hundred violent demonstrations and clashes with the police each day in China, the result of growing anger and frustration at the corruption of government officials. Most of the culprits are identified as members of the Communist Party, although many joined simply to get ahead in their government career. The unrest is increasing, and senior officials are getting nervous about their inability to reverse the trends (unrest and corruption.)




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