China: Making Nice With The Neighbors

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December 12,2008: The global recession is having an impact on China, but not one that is expected to halt the growth in military spending. Currently, China expects the growth of its economy will slip, from the 11.9 percent last year, to five percent or less this year. That would be the lowest annual growth for several decades, and it might get worse. Nevertheless, the government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to soften the blow of lost jobs. A million or more unemployed workers could cause social disorder that might get out of hand.

Japan, China and South Korea are forming a joint disaster preparedness organization. The three would pool information and disaster relief resources, for natural disasters like widespread earthquakes or typhoons that have an impact on all three countries. This cooperation would involve purely civilian agencies, as well as some military ones.

Recent talks between the president of France and the Dali Lama (the unofficial leader of those who campaign for Tibetan independence) angered China, and diplomatic protests were made. France ignored this, but now the French embassy in China is under hacker attack and largely shut down. The Chinese government denies any responsibility.

Former Taiwanese president Chen is being prosecuted for corruption. Chen resigned last August because of the charges. His family has been investigated for corruption over the last two years. Corruption is more common in China, but more often prosecuted in Taiwan.

China is demanding that the United States cancel arms sales to Taiwan, and refuses to resume U.S.-China military cooperation and exchanges until those arms sales are cancelled.

India has sent over a hundred troops to China for joint counter-terror training. These exercises are to work out differences in communications and tactics, so that future joint operations will go more smoothly.

China has set free a thousand of the those arrested during the separatist riots in Tibet last March. Hundreds more have been prosecuted and sent to prison. Thousands of additional riot police remain in Tibet, and the secret police keep a closer eye on anyone suspected of separatist attitudes. Recruiting of informers in separatist circles has increased, and Chinese officials in Tibet are under orders to prevent another uprising, or else (they lose their jobs, or even their freedom.)

 

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