|Asia News Digest
Karzai: Where Government Has No Authority, Poppy Cultivation Is High'
Jan. 21 (EIRNS)Retaliating against the accusation of NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, that the Afghan government is "ineffective," President Hamid Karzai, in the Parliament on Jan. 20, accused his international allies of not doing enough to curb the drug trade. Afghanistan produces more than 90% of the world's illegal opium and most of it is used to make heroin destined for Europe and elsewhere. The President said that opium poppy production was highest in areas with heavy deployments of international troops. He was referring to Helmand province, which produces most of the opium, and where nearly 8,000 British troops are deployed.
On Jan. 18, in an opinion piece for the Washington Post, Scheffer, a Dutch bureaucrat, without mentioning President Karzai by name, said the authorities there are almost as much to blame for the country's plight as the Taliban. His remarks came at a politically sensitive time, as the Afghan leader is up for re-election this year and U.S. President Barack Obama has taken over the responsibilities of a losing war in Afghanistan.
On Jan. 18, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahmed Baheen said "Afghanistan's opium production was only high in places where international foreign forces were stationed, like the British troops in Helmand."
Petraeus Searches for Northern Supply Route to Afghanistan
Jan. 23 (EIRNS)During a two-day visit to Uzbekistan, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said his government was ready for cooperation to secure supply routes through Central Asia for its troops with practically any country, including the U.S. "This cooperation should be full-fledged and on an equal basis," he said. "We hope that the new U.S. administration will be more successful than its predecessor on the issues surrounding Afghanistan." Reports indicate the cooperation that Medvedev mentioned could include efforts to stop drug-trafficking and terrorism, as well as transit shipments of non-lethal goods.
During his tour through six countries in Central and South Asia, U.S. Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus said Jan. 20 that the United States has secured alternative logistical routes into Afghanistan through its Central Asian neighbors, reducing U.S. and NATO dependence on Pakistan.
Petraeus toured Kazakstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan on Jan. 13-20, but has not given details on which route the United States favors for shipping fuel and supplies to Afghanistan. In Dushanbe, Tajikistan, Petraeus said the United States intends to use Tajikistan's territory for transit of commercial cargo to Afghanistan. An agreement on this was reached at a meeting with President Emomali Rakhmanov.
China Trying To Revive Dead Export Economy
Jan. 20 (EIRNS)The government of China is trying to keep the already-dead low-cost export sector of its economy going through measures, such as tax supports, which will prove useless, at best. In doing so, Beijing is reversing the attempts made over the past few years to upgrade Chinese industry by encouraging higher-technology products. The globalized economy, for which China was the "world's workshop," is dying, along with the financial system which spawned it.
Measures which have been taken by Beijing since the crisis began to bite deeply last year, include lifting restrictions on the processing trade. This is supplemented by sudden restoration of the 11-13% VAT rebates which were allowed for exported products, beginning last August. China had begun to cut the export rebates on the standard 17% VAT on textile products in September 2006, in an effort to push producers towards higher-quality products. In July 2007, Beijing ended the rebates for high-energy-consuming products, curbing the tax supports for some 9,000 products overall.
On Dec. 1, 2008, Beijing had restored rebates for some 3,770 low-cost products, which account for 28% of China's exports. On Jan. 1, 2009, the export tax rebates on machinery, electrical, and other higher-technology products was restored.
Taiwan's Treasonous Ex-President Admits His Crime
Jan. 19 (EIRNS)Former Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, who is in jail pending trial on charges of corruption while in office, is actually far more guilty of treason to his nation and the world, by serving as a front throughout his reign, for the British/neocon forces in London and Washington who wanted to use a potential break by Taiwan from mainland China to provoke a war between the U.S. and China. Now, the blustering Chen is publishing a "prison diary" in which he brags that that was precisely his intention.
According to the Financial Times of London, the leading voice of the financial Empire, Chen has leaked a copy of the soon-to-be-published diary to the newspaper, acknowledging that the one issue which Beijing considered a casus bellia declaration of independence of Taiwan from Chinawas his primary purpose throughout his 2000-08 administration. "I am a splittist," he reportedly said. "I am a seeker and implementor of de jure independence for Taiwan."
Hitherto, he maintained a sophistical cover of agreement with the "One China" concept.
The purpose is clear. Although the new President Ma Ying-jeou (KMT) is enjoying massive support and optimism from the Taiwan population, anxious to move forward with cooperation with mainland China, the reality of the global economic collapse will put pressure on President Ma, and lead to opposition from those who blame him for the crisis. Chen plays on this, accusing Ma of "kowtowing" to Beijing, of "making concession after concession to China, while it has not changed its stance and policy toward Taiwan."
It will depend on both Ma and the Chinese government's ability to identify the real cause of the crisis, and to work together to solve it through international cooperation towards a new Bretton Woods, to prevent Chen's sabotage from having its desired effect.
China To Celebrate Freeing of Tibetan Serfs
Jan. 19 (EIRNS)The Chinese government has designated March 28 as an annual Tibetan Serfs Emancipation Day, to mark the date on which about 1 million serfs were freed 50 years ago.
On March 28, 1959, the central government announced it would dissolve the aristocratic local government under the rule of the Dalai Lama, and replace it with a preparatory committee for establishing the Tibet Autonomous Region, the Xinhua news agency reports. The move came after the central government foiled an armed rebellion staged by the Dalai Lama and his supporters, most of whom were slaveowners attempting to maintain serfdom. This is reported by the British and those who pander to the Empire, as the beginning of Chinese "oppression" of the Tibetan "natural culture."
The end of serfdom and the abolition of the hierarchic social system characterized by theocracy, with the Dalai Lama as the core of the leadership, resulted in the liberation of about 1 million serfs and slaves, which had accounted for 90% of Tibetan population in the 1950s. This is the "culture" the Dalai Lama wishes to reinstate.