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 Post subject: Not only coal
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 8:29 pm 
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As the celebrations over the success of "team GB" intensify, Michael Sheriden of The Sunday Times gives us another insight into the dark side of the Chinese Olympic "experience". Thousands of farmers, he writes, face ruin because their water has been cut off to guarantee supplies to the Olympics in Beijing, and officials are now trying to cover up a grotesque scandal of blunders, lies and repression.

View full article here

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 Post subject: Re: Not only coal
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:36 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:21 pm
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It certainly reminds one of the Moscow Olympics 1980 and the great meat crisis. One of the results then was the upheaval in Poland. Wonder what the coal, food and water shortage will result in in China. The big difference between Moscow 1980 and Peking 2008 is of course the implication a political/economic crisis in China will have on the global economy.

BTW, it beats me how anyone, and especially those who are supposed to be experts on China, could fail to see this coming. Allow me to tell a shortish anecdote from the one time I travelled in Central Asia.

Almost to the day 15 years ago, I and a few friends, found ourselves in Golmud, the second largest town in the Qinghai province, on the main road to the Tibetan high plateau. Since we were more than 4 people we were not allowed to travel alone, but were guided (and supervised) by guides from the Chinese tourist agency. The local guides that had met us in Golmud were extremely uninteresting, and by mid-afternoon they had taken us through their program and wanted to escort us back to our hotel (were we would be - more or less - locked up until we would continue our journey next day). We had, however, already complained to our Chinese tour leader, and she had promised us that she would take us to one more site as long as we suggested something. Some of my friends came up with the brilliant idea (not!) that we should be allowed to visit a Chinese factory.

It was quite obvious that this suggestion caused great consternation among our guides. I tried to persuade my colleagues to abandon the idea since I started to suspect what was about to happen, but no.....

So, eventually, we were driven to a building that we were told was part of a combine producing household appliances. We waited outside the gate for half an hour or so, while some of the guides were inside organizing our visit. And then, about one hour before closure the workers, mostly women, started to file out through the gate. They did not look happy, and no wonder, they had probably just lost one hour's wages. A few minutes later our guides returned together with an older man who we were told was the site manager. The visit was cancelled due to an electricity cut. That's why the workers had left early. So that was that, except that when we returned to our hotel, which was not even 10 minutes drive from the factory, the electricity worked, and had obviously worked all day.

Well, if you can shut down a factory like that, to avoid a totally non-official visit by 8 tourists - instead of just telling us it was out-of bounds - what would the Chinese authorities not have done for their Olympic show?


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 Post subject: Re: Not only coal
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 9:54 pm 
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It really does make you wonder how long the situation can continue. The news we get of occasional riots and local uprisings - Tibet apart - suggest that the country is on a knife-edge. The actions of the government over the Olympics can only make it worse. Much depend, of course, on the government being able to feed its population (especially the city-dwellers) and being able to contain inflation, neither of which are assured. To my mind, it is not a question of whether there is going to be an eruption, but when.

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 Post subject: Re: Not only coal
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:11 pm 

Joined: Sun Jul 03, 2005 11:11 am
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Ok, so what does an eruption in China look like?
Similar to the break-up of the Soviet Empire?
Not sure, since as I understand it China has been a bureaucracy for 3000 years.
I suppose the real question is how internal strife will affect foreign policy.

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 Post subject: Re: Not only coal
PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2008 10:12 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 01, 2005 10:21 pm
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No, Tibet is a special problem. The repression there is bad - but I still have to meet a Chinese, whether friend or foe of the present regime, who does not feel that Tibet belongs to China.

However, it was pretty clear already in 1993 that the there is a deep-rooted conflict between the Han and the Muslim "minority peoples" in the north-west of China. (Don't forget the attack on the police station in Kashgar just days before the opening ceremony of the Olympics.) A certain change of policy had already taken place once the Gang of Four had been kicked out; religion was allowed again, the minority peoples were allowed to have three children/family and the year after our visit young couples were going to be allowed to buy and own flats. But as you well know from history, it is not always a way to peace to reduce the repression.....

The part of China I visited is the back-of-beyond. What it is like in the more central and eastern regions I don't know, but a combination of a (slightly) less repressive government and politically induced food, energy and water shortages really sounds like a recipe for disaster. Maybe Helen should write something on the 1905-revolution...


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 Post subject: Not only coal
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:47 am 

Joined: Tue Sep 26, 2006 11:32 am
Posts: 824
Location: Tasmania
..."Obama's facile comments"...

At last Obama's name appears, though what his approach to China is, heaven only knows - like most of his other attitudes. The question to me is: when will he be found out?
1. He is a former Muslim according to his school registration at the Fransiskus Assissi school in Jakarta. That's fine by me, but how are both extremists & moderates going to deal with that if he is elected?
2. There's lots of problems around his nationality & his Hawaii birth certificate. According to relatives he was born in Kenya, & then rushed to Hawaii to be registered as American. Yet he was registered as Barry Soetoro when at school in Jakarta, because of his adoption by his Indonesian adopting father Lolo Soetoro - which therefore automatically made him Indonesian.
3. Additionally, forgery experts report that his Hawaii birth certificate, as featured on the Democrat-party supprting website Daily Kos, has his ID number blanked out, & have suggested that it may instead be a photoshop version of his sister's birth certificate - bearing in mind the technical overlaps on that particular document when magnified several times.

There are clearly a lot of problems about him & these issues that could get him into real hot water - however well or otherwise he does in the coming US election. Strangely Hillary Clinton & John McCain have said nothing concrete about this yet. Despite this,the websites 'Texasdarlin' & 'freerepublic' have both been buzzing with these 3 issues for the last 2 months at least.

Mind you, he will be in good company with so many skeletons in his cupboard. Just like so many of the current leaders of China & the Soviet Union (pardon me, Russia) have.


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