Archive for China

Skirt Hurt

No one has it worse than Savannah Guthrie. Not Lara Logan, who was savaged by an Egyptian mob; not the Afghani girl (below) forced to marry her rapist; not even Elizabeth Warren, who overcame ethnic prejudice against First Peoples to ascend to the loftiest perch in academia.

No one else has been asked by Rand Paul to let him answer her question. (I guess I should have put a disclaimer up top about graphic language and imagery. Too late now.)

But this broad comes close:

Last month Wu Rongrong was taken into custody for planning to protest on International Women’s Day against sexual harassment in China. Since then, the Chinese authorities have formally detained her and four other activists for “creating disturbances.” They also briefly detained some of the activists’ supporters, raided a prominent nongovernmental organization that called for their release, and have at points denied some of the women access to medical treatment, lawyers and adequate rest.

The fate of the five will be revealed by April 13, as their case reaches the legal time limit when they must either be released or “formally arrested,” which almost always leads to conviction in China’s legal system.

The timing of the detentions of China’s most inventive women’s rights activists is ironic: Not only did they take place on the very day that marks women’s achievements and their struggle for equality, but they also come in a year in which Beijing would have won praise for its role in promoting women’s rights.

You know how “Made in China” is synonymous with cheap and fragile junk? The same goes for rights and justice. The Chinese are inventive and entrepreneurial, God bless ‘em. They see what people want, what they’re buying, and then they produce a cheap knock-off of the same product, often by piracy or violating a patent or two.

Women’s rights? Yeah, sure, we got that. How much you want? Two-for-one sale. “Ironic” my keister.

I first met Wu at a conference several years ago, at a time when there were very few women in China’s weiquan or “rights defense” movement. It was common back then for male colleagues to publicly address them as “babes” or “little sisters,” even in professional—and ostensibly progressive—settings. As women’s rights activists, Wu and others fight on two fronts: against overt rights violations by the Chinese government and against the wider gender norms that relegate women to second-class citizens.

Did Rand Paul call Savannah Guthrie a “little sister”? (She’s not a “babe” anymore, if she ever was.) Maybe he accidentally called her Mrs. Feldman. That would be a low blow.

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Where Russian Hackers Go, Chinese Hackers Have Already Come and Gone

And Hillary thinks her little wi-fi set-up in Bill’s rumpus room was secure.

Ho-Lee Fuk:

Russian hackers behind the damaging cyber intrusion of the State Department in recent months used that perch to penetrate sensitive parts of the White House computer system, according to U.S. officials briefed on the investigation.

While the White House has said the breach only affected an unclassified system, that description belies the seriousness of the intrusion. The hackers had access to sensitive information such as real-time non-public details of the president’s schedule. While such information is not classified, it is still highly sensitive and prized by foreign intelligence agencies, U.S. officials say.

The White House in October said it noticed suspicious activity in the unclassified network that serves the executive office of the president. The system has been shut down periodically to allow for security upgrades.

The FBI, Secret Service and U.S. intelligence agencies are all involved in investigating the breach, which they consider among the most sophisticated attacks ever launched against U.S. government systems. ?The intrusion was routed through computers around the world, as hackers often do to hide their tracks, but investigators found tell-tale codes and other markers that they believe point to hackers working for the Russian government.

Ben Rhodes, President Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said the White House’s use of a separate system for classified information protected sensitive national security-related items from being obtained by hackers.

“We do not believe that our classified systems were compromised,” Rhodes told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer on Tuesday.

“We’re constantly updating our security measures on our unclassified system, but we’re frankly told to act as if we need not put information that’s sensitive on that system,” he said. “In other words, if you’re going to do something classified, you have to do it on one email system, one phone system. Frankly, you have to act as if information could be compromised if it’s not on the classified system.”

To get to the White House, the hackers first broke into the State Department, investigators believe.

The State Department computer system has been bedeviled by signs that despite efforts to lock them out, the Russian hackers have been able to reenter the system. One official says the Russian hackers have “owned” the State Department system for months and it is not clear the hackers have been fully eradicated from the system.

You want Hillary’s deleted emails? Ask the Russians. Putin probably keeps them in the bathroom for reading material.

And like I said, it ain’t just the Russkies:

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, in a speech at an FBI cyberconference in January, warned government officials and private businesses to teach employees what “spear phishing” looks like.

“So many times, the Chinese and others get access to our systems just by pretending to be someone else and then asking for access, and someone gives it to them,” Clapper said.

[H]ackers have long made Clinton and her associates targets.

The website The Smoking Gun first reported in 2013 that a hacker known as Guccifer had broken into the AOL email of Sidney Blumenthal, a friend and advisor to the Clintons, and published emails Blumenthal sent to Hillary Clinton’s private account. The emails included sensitive memos on foreign policy issues and were the first public revelation of the existence of Hillary Clinton’s private email address? now at the center of controversy: hdr22@clintonemail.com. The address is no longer in use.

And Obama accuses Israel of spying. What a pantload. Our allies are the last to know what we think.

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Broken China

Enjoy your stay at the top world economy, China.

It’s a long fall:

Climate change could have a “huge impact” on China, reducing crop yields and harming the environment, the country’s top weather scientist has warned, in a rare official admission.

Zheng Guogang told Xinhua news agency that climate change could be a “serious threat” to big infrastructure projects.

He said temperature rises in China were already higher than global averages.

China, the world’s biggest polluter, has said its emissions of gases that cause climate change will peak by 2030.

However, the country has not set a specific target for cutting emissions of the gases, mainly carbon dioxide.

Don’t worry, I haven’t gotten religion on global warming. I remain skeptical. Of the “scientists”. The science itself is complex and perplexing; I remain an interested observer.

But China is a mess:

Mr Zheng warned of more droughts, rainstorms, and higher temperatures, which would threaten river flows and harvests, as well as major infrastructure projects such as the Three Gorges Dam. He urged China to pursue a lower-carbon future.

“To face the challenges from past and future climate change, we must respect nature and live in harmony with it,” the Xinhua news agency quoted him as saying.

“We must promote the idea of nature and emphasise climate security.”

China’s decades-long pursuit of rapid economic growth has boosted demand for energy, particularly coal.

Scientists fear that pledges made so far to cut emissions will not be enough to avoid the harmful impact of climate change.

Not so fast there, comrade. I’m not sure how you can have more of both droughts and rainstorms. Think about it. But that’s so typical of these General Gau’s chicken littles. You name the possible effect of possible global warming, and they’ll swear it’s coming. Except for improved growth from all the extra carbon dioxide. They never seem to mention that one.

In related ambiguous news:

China has announced continuing progress in reducing coal mine fatalities, although doubts remain about death counts and cover-ups in one of the most dangerous industries in the world.

On March 10, the director of the State Administration of Work Safety (SAWS) told a Beijing press conference that coal mine accidents claimed 931 lives last year, as the death toll dropped below 1,000 for the first time.

“The situation has been greatly improved,” said the SAWS director, Yang Dongliang, according to Agence France-Presse.

In 1996-2000, deaths in coal mines averaged 7,619 annually, or over 20 per day, about eight times more than last year, as cited in previous official reports.

But the 2014 figures appear inconsistent with the official reports that accidental deaths declined 14.3 percent from a year earlier, when 1,049 miners were listed as killed or missing.

So what if the number is a fiction? At least they’re headed in the right direction. Probably.

But if coal isn’t the death of China’s imperial dreams, and if global warming isn’t the death of China’s imperial dreams, you-know-what might be:

A Steyn I-told-you-so moment: America Alone was published in 2006 – and, as I always say with an eye to my Mann vs Steyn legal bills, personally autographed copies are exclusively available from the SteynOnline bookstore. The reason you should buy it is for things like the following:

Will China be the hyperpower of the 21st century? Answer: No. Its population will get old before it’s got rich…

Lots of experts crank out analyses positing China as the unstoppable hegemon of the 21st century. Yet the real threat is not the strengths of your enemies but their weaknesses. China is a weak power: its demographic and other structural defects are already hobbling its long-term ambitions.

Nine years later, the Chinese are beginning to figure it out:

China must open its doors to up to 100 million young immigrants from Africa and Southeast Asia to address the country’s aging workforce, according to a researcher with China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC)…

Beijing has no choice but to choose this path, Luo said, adding that this would make China the country with the second-most immigrants in the world behind the United States.

Which would be a profound transformation in a country with no experience of mass immigration.

And then this:

From page 30 of America Alone:

Since China introduced its “one child” policy in 1978, the imbalance between the sexes has increased to the point where in today’s generation there are 119 boys for every 100 girls. The pioneer generation of that male surplus are now adults. Unless China’s planning on becoming the first gay superpower since Sparta, what’s going to happen to those young men? As a general rule, large numbers of excitable lads who can’t get any action are useful for manning the nuttier outposts of the jihad but not for much else.

Nine years later, the SASAC commissars are catching up with Steyn:

China’s rapidly aging population, a product of the country’s one-child policy, has become one of the government’s biggest headaches. While Beijing has eased the national birth control policy in recent years, economic constraints have so far prevented a new baby boom.

The Chinese tradition of preferring boys to girls has also led to a gross gender imbalance in the population, with estimates that 30 million Chinese men will not be able to find a female partner by 2020.

The year 2020 is but five years away, if you’ve lost count. Before you know it, there will be as many unaccompanied men in China, many of them Muslim, as there are people in Malaysia. Like watching a fat man try to dive, that’s worth sticking around to watch.

PS: Do newspapers and wire services pay royalties to Mark Steyn? Their reporting just repeats what he wrote five, ten years ago.

PPS: How about putting all those excess men to work in the coal mines? Kill two birds, and thousands of surplus men, with one bituminous stone.

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Good News for the Clinton Foundation

Something to take the heat off all the Arab oil money greasing Hill’s, Bill’s, and Chelsea’s wheels:

One donor – Rilin Enterprises- pledged $2 million in 2013 to the Clinton Foundation’s endowment. The company is a privately-held Chinese construction and trade conglomerate and run by billionaire Wang Wenliang, who is also a delegate to the Chinese parliament. Public records show the firm has spent $1.4 million since 2012, lobbying Congress and the State Department. The firm owns a strategic port along the border with North Korea and was also one of the contractors that built the Chinese embassy in Washington.

That contract is a direct tie to the Chinese government, according to Jim Mann, who has written several books on China’s relationship with the U.S.

With “embassy construction, one of the most important tasks is making sure that there are no bugs there,” he said. “So you want to have the closest security and intelligence connections with and approval of the person or company that’s going to build your embassy.”

The Clinton Foundation largely stopped taking money from foreign governments when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state in 2009. It resumed the practice once she left in 2013, but never stopped taking money from foreign companies or individuals.

Government is too messy and contention to be left the the people or the representatives. Can’t we just hire the Clintons to do it for us? They know all the right people; Chelsea can take over from the Regis and Regina (there’s our first woman president); and Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky can take over after that. I know they’d be up for it, and China will call all the shots anyway.

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In 15 Minutes You Can Save 15% on Car Ins—GULP!

We’d like to have you for dinner:

Chinese authorities are investigating allegations that senior security officials ate a critically endangered giant salamander at a lavish banquet.

A local newspaper said journalists it sent to the restaurant to report on the meal were later beaten up as they photographed guests leaving.

The paper said that last Wednesday it received a tip-off that about 28 people, including senior public security officials, were using public funds to pay for a banquet that night, where they would be eating the endangered salamander.

It sent two reporters and a photojournalist, who managed to sneak into the restaurant and from outside the private dining room reportedly overheard the party host boasting that he wanted to give guests “a special treat”.

A dinner guest later confirmed with the paper that they were served a giant salamander which the host had brought for the party.

Chinese giant salamanders, which can grow to nearly 180cm (5.9 ft), are critically endangered and a protected wildlife species in China, but are also considered a delicacy.

Guests were also seen being given bags of fish as they left. An official was heard saying the fish were taken from a reservoir where fishing is prohibited.

The situation turned violent when the officials realised that the photojournalist was taking their pictures as they left the restaurant and confronted him, said the paper. The two reporters were also surrounded by the officials and security guards.

The journalists were allegedly beaten up and throttled, and their equipment and phones were stolen.

So China.

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Ils ne Sont Pas Charlie Hedbo

A couple of outlier reactions.

Boko Haram:

The leader of Nigeria’s brutal Islamist sect Boko Haram praised the perpetrators of last week’s Paris terror attacks in a video posted online Wednesday. The video, verified by jihadi monitoring group Flashpoint Intelligence, featured an animated eight-minute speech from Abubakar Shekau, the little-known figure believed to be the group’s commander. He said the group was pleased by the attacks.

Specifically:

‘We are indeed happy with what happened in France,’ the group’s leader Abubakar Shekau said in a video posted online.

‘We are happy over what befell the people of France… as their blood was shed inside their country as they (try to) safeguard their blood,’ he said.

What about China?

China’s state news agency, Xinhua, ran a commentary by its Paris bureau chief in which he said: “Unfettered and unprincipled satire, humiliation and free speech are not acceptable.”

A commentary posted on the Xinhua website also warns that we now live in “a reality that demands basic respect and prudence be exercised in mass communication so as to reduce inter-culture and inter-religion misunderstanding and distrust, which can easily be exploited by terrorists.”

That’s awfully measured for the Chinese. This is more typical:

Chinese police shot and killed six would-be bombers Monday in the latest violence to strike the restive far northwestern region of Xinjiang, a local government spokesman and official website said.

Critics and human rights advocates say Uighurs have chafed under the repressive rule of the Han Chinese-dominated government and complain of economic disenfranchisement with the inflow of Han Chinese to their homeland.

Authorities have responded to militants’ attacks by launching a one-year crackdown on violence in Xinjiang, where security was already tight following riots in the regional capital in Urumqi in 2009 that left nearly 200 people dead.

That’s the China I know.

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That Didn’t Take Long

Climate change is so…so November:

In a historic climate change deal, U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping announced both countries will curb their greenhouse gas emissions over the next two decades.

Under the agreement, the United States would cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26-28% before the year 2025. China would peak its carbon emissions by 2030 and will also aim to get 20% of its energy from zero-carbon emission sources by the same year.

“As the world’s two largest economies, energy consumers and emitters of greenhouse gases, we have a special responsibility to lead the global effort against climate change,” Obama said Wednesday in a joint news conference with Xi.

Not so fast, round-eyes:

China has rejected the scrutiny of efforts to limit carbon emissions, a key tool that the US says is necessary as more than 190 countries work to come up with a new deal to fight climate change.

Chinese negotiators sought at a climate conference in Lima, Peru, to delete provisions in a draft text that would have paved the way for other countries and non-governmental organisations to submit questions about its carbon-reduction plans….

Don’t take it too hard, Mr. President. China has made asses out of many people. You’re just the latest—and biggest—ass. Kim Kardashian has nothing on you.

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We Get Results

But when we teased you yesterday about your plummeting (or is it soaring?) on the list of most corrupt nations, China, we were just kidding around. Sort of.

Don’t be so sensitive!

Ex-security chief Zhou Yongkang, the most senior Chinese official to be investigated for corruption, has been arrested and expelled from the Communist Party, state media report.

The Supreme People’s Procuratorate, China’s top prosecuting body, said it had opened a formal probe against him.

Before he retired two years ago, Mr Zhou was the head of China’s vast internal security apparatus.

Many of his former associates and relatives also face corruption probes.

Mr Zhou was accused of several crimes, including “serious violations of party discipline”, “accepting large sums of bribes”, “disclosing party and state secrets” and “committing adultery with several women” as part of corrupt transactions, Xinhua news agency reported (in Chinese).

As long as they aborted any unwanted pregnancies, where’s the harm? Also, does this sudden onset of morality extend to hacking, violating copyright, and civil liberties? The article doesn’t say. We wish Mr. Eleven the best of luck with his crusade.

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News Flash

China is very corrupt. Russia is more corrupt.

Try not to let this news destroy your faith in ex-Communist states run by the very same party hacks who ran it before.

So much for President Xi Jin Ping’s much-vaunted anti-corruption campaign.

Transparency International’s annual index of perceived levels of corruption across the world is out Wednesday, and China has slid 20 places in the ranking to joint 100th, after posting one of the sharpest declines in its index score of all the countries in the survey.

Transparency’s index, which measures perceptions of corruption from various sources, also showed alarming declines in the scores of Turkey and Russia, the latter falling to 136th place in the rankings, level with Nigeria (and one place ahead of its embattled neighbor, Ukraine).

China’s performance meant that it fell below India, which rose nine places in the ranking to 85th and which, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is promising its own crackdown on bureaucratic corruption.

There is a ray of hope, however:

Another country to post a big improvement in TI’s rankings was Greece, It’s now risen to 69th place from 94th in two years, as the austerity plan imposed by the International Monetary Fund and Eurozone has bitten hard. The good news there is that it’s now only as corrupt…as Italy, according to TI.

As expected, the top of the rankings showed no real change from previous years, with the Scandinavian Goody Two-Shoes quartet of Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway taking four of the top five spots.

The U.S. edged up to 17th from 19th in 2013, level with Barbados and Ireland, and just ahead of Chile and Uruguay.

They must not be looking too hard into Obama’s shenanigans, then. And Greece is only less corrupt because it’s more broke.

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Exploding Excrement Topples Building In China

wow.

A cesspool filled with excrement has exploded in central China, injuring 15 people and knocking down a building, state-run media reported.
The blast was apparently sparked by a local man burning waste close to the cesspool, igniting methane gas which was emanating from the pit, the Xinhua news agency said late on Sunday.
The incident in Zhangjiajie city, in the central province of Hunan, caused a residential building to collapse and three of the injured had to be hospitalised, Xinhua said.

So much more interesting than Ferguson, right BTL?

– Aggie

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Voluminous Bituminous

Al Gore and the Global Warm-mongers said if we kept on burning coal many would die—and they were right!

A coal mine shaft collapsed in northwestern China, killing 16 miners, an official said Saturday, highlighting the persistence of safety problems in the industry despite a leveling off of demand.

Another 11 miners were injured in the disaster, which struck just before midnight Friday in Tiechanggou township outside the Xinjiang regional capital of Urumqi.

China’s mines are among the most dangerous in the world, although improved safety measures have vastly lowered the number of fatalities in mine accidents in recent years.

The government’s China National Coal Administration reported 1,067 deaths in 604 coal mining accidents in 2013, down 23 percent from the year before. That’s down from more than 6,000 a decade ago, largely due to increased inspections and the closure of small and unregulated mines.

Long-time readers will remember those heady days when we covered these collapses, explosions, floodings, asphyxiations regularly. In fact, this morning has a throw-back feel to it: Obama’s corruption, anti-semitism, China’s indifference to human life and the environment.

“Boy, the way Glen Miller played,
Songs that made the Hit Parade…
Those were the days!”

While China still produces and consumes almost as much coal as the rest of the world combined, the amount it burned in the first three quarters of 2014 was off by about 2 percent from the same period last year, according to Greenpeace energy analysts in China.

Don’t worry. What China cuts, India more than makes up for:

Decades of strip mining have left this town in the heart of India’s coal fields a fiery moonscape, with mountains of black slag, sulfurous air and sickened residents.

But rather than reclaim these hills or rethink their exploitation, the government is digging deeper in a coal rush that could push the world into irreversible climate change and make India’s cities, already among the world’s most polluted, even more unlivable, scientists say.

“If India goes deeper and deeper into coal, we’re all doomed,” said Veerabhadran Ramanathan, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one of the world’s top climate scientists.

But what about all the mercury-laced CFL lightbulbs I put in? Surely, that’ll make a difference.

Just because we’re all doomed doesn’t mean we have to frown all day.

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Forgotten But Not Gone

Old Democrats never die. They just appear on MSNBC:

It’s been more than three years since the state Legislature redrew his congressional district, forcing ex-U.S. Rep. Barney Frank into early retirement, but the cranky liberal war horse just can’t let it go.

Case in point: The Massachusetts Humanities Council’s 40th anniversary gala at the JFK Library the other night. Frank was seated at the same table as incoming state Senate prez Stanley Rosenberg, who happened to be the point man for the Senate on redistricting, and Barney wasted no time in letting Stan have it!

“He didn’t say hello, how are you, congratulations, nothing. He just started screaming at him,” said Someone Who Was There. “It was very ugly.”

So much so that the organizers of the event moved Rosenberg and his partner, Bryon Hefner, to another table to get away from the grumpy ex-congressman!

Apparently the gist of Barney’s gripe was that Rosenberg didn’t do enough to preserve Frank’s district after the 2010 census forced the state to lose a seat in Congress. Instead, the new congressional map took New Bedford — a Barney stronghold because of his work on fishing issues — and parts of Fall River out of his district and added Blackstone Valley, where he was not a shoo-in, making the voting bloc more conservative. Instead of running for re-election in the newly drawn district, Frank retired. But apparently not without a lot of hard feelings!

“He was telling Stan that he should have gotten preference because of his seniority,” said our spywitness. “He thought that they catered to (now U.S. Sen.) Ed Markey and (U.S. Rep.) Steve Lynch over him, and he wasn’t happy about it.”

What really cheesed off some of Rosenberg’s friends who witnessed the brouhaha was that Stan had been hospitalized twice during the redistricting process for treatment of squamous cell carcinoma, but that apparently earned him no sympathy vote from Barney!

Can’t imagine why they redistricted you out of existence, Barn. What do you want to bet that he hasn’t been down to the grimy docks of New Bedford or Fall River since he left office? The closest he gets to the fishing industry these days is pan-seared bluefin tuna with Asian marinade at some chi-chi bistro in Provincetown.

Gay-on-gay crime. Very ugly indeed.

Thank God for the Boston Herald. This is the Globe:

Secretary of State John F. Kerry turned to his Chinese counterpart at lunch last month at Legal Sea Foods’ Harborside restaurant and drew attention to the view of Boston Harbor.

The port was once a symbol of pollution, Kerry told China’s chief diplomat, Yang Jiechi. But after persistent government effort, Kerry explained, it was dramatically cleaner.

“This is a small example that shows that these big problems can and must be addressed,” Kerry told Jiechi over squash bisque, Maine cod, and Boston cream pie.

The exchange, related by a senior State Department official with direct knowledge of the Oct. 18 meeting, marked a turning point in the Obama administration’s efforts to get the world’s two biggest polluters to commit to lowering the greenhouse gas emissions causing climate change.

The landmark agreement, announced this week by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing, came after months of behind-the-scenes discussions involving other officials in addition to Kerry.

Imagine having to sit through a lunch with John Kerry. And having to eat squash bisque (whatever that is). No wonder Obama gave away the store. Kerry might have picked up the tab, but China paid plenty.

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