The decision to grant permanent observer status to China and five other nations by the Arctic Council meeting in Sweden Wednesday reflects the heightened interest by some of the world’s most powerful economies in an area rich in oil, gas, minerals, fish and new transport possibilities.
For new observer nations China, Japan and South Korea, shorter shipping routes to Europe through Arctic waters could open up prospects of new energy supply options later this decade, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Russia’s Yamal Peninsula in northwest Siberia.
It could also lessen China’s dependence on oil and gas shipped from the Middle East, which must pass through the Southeast Asian chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca. Allied to China’s interest of getting oil and gas delivered from new pipelines across Myanmar and Central Asia, the potential of the Arctic trade routes loom large in China’s strategic thinking.
India and China have ended a three-week standoff on a windswept Himalayan plateau where they fought a war 50 years ago by agreeing to pull forces back to positions held before the confrontation, India’s foreign ministry said on Monday.
The two countries packed up tents and left the disputed patch on the 5,000-metre-high (16,000-foot) Depsang Plain late on Sunday. But it had not been clear how far they had withdrawn.
Neither side has given details of the terms of the deal.
While North Korea has garnered attention as Asia’s top hotspot, experts worry that the real problem is between Beijing and Tokyo over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands, which China calls the Diaoyu Islands.
Over the past month, rhetoric has soared between new nationalistic leaders in China and Japan as each deploys hardware to the region.
China’s increased ship and air patrols to the islands have prompted an unprecedented response from Japan: Keep out or we will use force to keep you out. Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said, “Japan is determined to protect its land, water and air.”
And to help its key ally, America’s top military leaders have told Beijing that if the shooting starts, Washington is treaty- and duty-bound to back Tokyo.
That, in turn, has prompted China to declare the islands a “core interest” in a bid to force Tokyo and Washington to back down, a move that’s unlikely to work.
Rat Meat Ring Busted in China; One Million Dollars of Rats, Fox, and Mink Posed as Mutton and Lamb[VIDEO]
Chinese police have found meat harvested from rats and foxes sold as lamb and mutton after it was processed with additives. The scandal was raking in millions of dollars and thankfully the rat-meat ring is busted.
The crime ring passed off more than $1 million in rat and small mammal meat as mutton, authorities said.
Authorities have arrested 904 suspects for selling and producing fake or tainted meat products, the Ministry of Public Security said in a statement posted on its website.
Despite persistent efforts by police, “food safety crimes are still prominent, and new situations are emerging with new characteristics”, the ministry’s statement said.
Police confiscated more than 20,000 metric tons of fake or inferior meat products after breaking up illegal food plants during the nationwide operation, the ministry said.
This seems to be a trend in China where food busts happen daily.
More: Rat Meat Ring Busted in China; One Million Dollars of Rats, Fox, and Mink Posed as Mutton and Lamb[VIDEO]
Hong Kong celebrates May Day with anti-laojiao videos
Premiering today in Hong Kong and Taiwan, two documentaries focus on the survivors of China’s brutal ‘re-education through labour’ camps, set up by Mao to crush crime and political dissent. Old child inmates from the Dabao facility talk about eating earthworms to survive. Former prisoners from the Masanjia female camp tell a story of tortured bodies and souls.
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - As Chinese authorities ponder scrapping the laojiao, the ‘re-education through labour’ programme that is part of the country’s penal system, two courageous documentary films were screened today in Hong Kong and Taipei showing the brutality child inmates suffered in the 60s and women still endure today.
Chinese legal experts and human rights activists have tried for years to stop the laojiao, deemed “arbitrary” and “unconstitutional” by its critics. In recent months, the government has moved in different directions on the matter. After announcing it was closing “some” facilities in two provinces, it later backtracked and is now talking about reforming the system.
There is no evidence that the deadly H7N9 bird flu has yet spread between humans in China but health authorities must be ready for the virus to mutate at any time, a top US virologist has warned.
Anthony Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said officials in China had studied more than 1,000 close contacts of confirmed cases and not found any evidence of human-to-human transmission.
“That is powerful evidence because if you had a thousand contacts with someone with the flu you would be pretty sure some of them would have been infected,” Fauci said in an interview with AFP.
Nevertheless, Fauci cautioned that authorities needed to be ready for the possibility of the virus mutating and spreading between humans.
“It’s unpredictable as are all the influenza. One of the things we need to be concerned about is this might gain the capability of going human-to-human which up to this point has not happened and is somewhat encouraging news,” Fauci said.
“But we still need to be very prepared for the eventuality of that happening.”
Researchers are already developing a diagnostic test to identify H7N9, along with a vaccine, with clinical trials due in July or August.
In 1950, the Survey of India issued a map of India showing the political divisions of the new republic. While the border with Pakistan was defined as it is now, including the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir area, the borders with China were depicted differently. In the east, the McMahon Line was shown as the border, except in its eastern extremity, the Tirap subdivision, where the border was shown as “undefined.” In the Central sector of what is now Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and the eastern part of Jammu & Kashmir, including Aksai Chin, the boundary was depicted merely by a colour wash and denoted as “boundary undefined.”
In March 1954, the Union Cabinet met and decided to unilaterally define the border of India with China. The colour wash was replaced by a hard line, and the Survey of India issued a new map, which depicts the borders as we know them today. All the old maps were withdrawn and the depiction of Indian boundaries in the old way became illegal. Indeed, if you seek out the White Paper on Indian States of 1948 and 1950 in the Parliament library, you will find that the maps have been removed because they too showed the border as being “undefined” in the Central and Western sectors.
What was the government up to? Did it seriously think it could get away with such a sleight of hand? Or was there a design that will become apparent when the papers of the period are declassified? Not surprisingly, the other party, the People’s Republic of China, was not amused and, in any case, there are enough copies of the old documents and maps across the world today to bring out the uncomfortable truth that the boundaries of India in these regions were unilaterally defined by the Government of India, rather than through negotiation and discussions with China.
In the deadliest ethnic violence in China since 2009, 21 people were killed in confrontations Tuesday between police and Uighur residents of Kashgar, the country’s westernmost city.
Among the dead were 15 police and neighborhood security officers and six people that the state media described as “mobsters.”
Kashgar, which lies close to China’s borders with Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, has been a frequent site of violence between the dominant ethnic Han Chinese and the Uighurs, a Muslim minority. As is often the case, it was difficult to confirm details of the incident and the account offered up by authorities was vague.
Tianshan.com, a website run by the Chinese government, reported Wednesday that three neighborhood security officers tried to confiscate knives from a family in Bachu county, on the outskirts of Kashgar. The “mobsters” were hiding in the basement of a house and ambushed the officers, taking them hostage, the website reported. When police responded to the scene, a gun battle broke out and the house was burned down.
The website said that 10 of the police officers killed were ethnic Uighurs themselves.
“A preliminary investigation showed the mobster gang were planning to launch terrorist activities,” the report said.
Liu Hainjun, a graduate student from the village, said in a telephone interview that government officials were told to stay in their offices during the day for fear of attacks.
There are clashes often in the area between Chinese authorities and Uighur gangs. While Chinese frequently allege that the gangs are Islamic separatists, human rights activists say that the confrontations are often simply criminal cases.
The death toll from Tuesday’s clash is the highest since 2009, when 200 people died in rioting in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region.
Honda Motor Co. employees in the Chinese city of Wuhan need only visit the popular Feng Bo Zhuang restaurant to see the resentment their company faces. A sign at the door says Japanese are barred from entering.A sign suggesting no entry for “Japanese” is seen on a notice board posted outside Feng Bo Zhuang diner in Wuhan, Hubei province on April 22, 2013. Photographer: Ma Jie/Bloomberg
Discrimination against Japanese is common in China, according to Yasuhide Mizuno, the head of Honda’s venture in Wuhan, some 500 miles (800 kilometers) up the Yangtze River from Shanghai. Mizuno — who has also been assigned to Thailand, Taiwan, Malaysia and Australia — says he’s never worked in a more hostile place.
“Wherever I go, like department stores or in taxis, people ask me whether I am Japanese,” Mizuno, 49, president of Dongfeng Honda (GHAJCZ), said in an interview at the Shanghai auto show. When he says yes, he said, the reception can be frosty.
Mizuno’s experiences in the city, site of one of the bloodiest battles of the Sino-Japanese war in the 1930s, illustrate why sales for Honda and Toyota Motor Corp (7203). have yet to recover since violent protests across China seven months ago. Though the riots — triggered by a territorial dispute over uninhabited islands — have subsided, Japanese carmakers are continuing to lose share in the world’s biggest auto market.