|Asia News Digest
Urumqi Riots Prepared in Advance, Coordinated
July 19 (EIRNS)China's People's Daily gives a comprehensive report of the organization of the July 5 riots in Urumqi, the capital of China's Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, showing evidence that they were both prepared in advance, and coordinated in execution.
The central rally functioned mostly as a diversion. As the city's security forces concentrated their attention and resources at the downtown location of the rally, disturbances and violence broke out at about 50 locations elsewhere in the city. The main rally then moved southward to join up with the ongoing rioting.
Some two hours after the start of the main demonstration, emergency calls from many areas of the city began to flood the police and hospital services, causing a breakdown of the telephone switching system. According to the center, 737 ambulance trips were required for about 900 injured people during the night of the riot.
It appears that weapons, such as bricks, stones, knives, and clubs were pre-positioned for use in the attacks. Sales of knives spiked a few days before the riot, and there were stores of rocks placed on the roofs of buildings, ready to be flung at passers-by.
Transportation and civic institutions were special targets. A total of 28 buses were burned and 266 damaged. The buildings of the Communist Party of China, the public security department, fire department, and media organizations were all attacked. The reported death toll has risen to 197; the security forces have indicated they were responsible for shooting 12 Uighurs.
An Islamic fundamentalist connection is probable. Men and women dressed in Islamic garb directed the mobs. At least some of these leaders were not local, but from southern Xinjiang (near Pakistan and Afghanistan). There is at least one report of a Uighur woman being attacked by a riot leader because she was said to be not dressed modestly enough.
China Summons Diplomats To Aid in Economic Crisis
July 21 (EIRNS)Chinese President Hu Juntao and Premier Wen Jiabao somberly addressed a national meeting of Chinese diplomats on dealing with the international economic crisis.
President Hu, in a turn from recent optimistic language about successfully coping with the crisis, called on diplomats to play a bigger role in supporting the country's national interests, since "China is at a crucial moment in dealing with the financial crisis and maintaining rapid economic development.... Diplomacy must better serve the overall situation of reform, development, and stability.
"Under the new situation, diplomacy must rely on, serve, and promote development. It should focus on the task of ensuring growth, life and stability," Hu said.
Premier Wen reinforced Hu's remarks, saying, "the recovery of the global economy will be a slow process with twists and turns; there must be a long-term preparedness to effectively deal with [the global downturn]." The global financial crisis has plunged the world into deep recession, and it's difficult to say the global downturn has reached the bottom, said Wen, according to People's Daily.
Wen also said, "China will continue to reform the RMB, or yuan exchange-rate-forming mechanisms, and maintain the yuan's exchange rate at a stable level." And he said that "China will participate extensively in international cooperation in non-traditional fields," without elaborating what that might be.
North Korea Declares It's Still Ready To Talk
July 25 (EIRNS)Sin Son Ho, North Korea's permanent representative to the United Nations, responded to the barrage of political assaults being leveled against it, with a formal statement on July 24. The ambassador then initiated a call to CBS News, and its affiliate Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS), to talk about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
"We are not against the dialogue," said Sin. "We are not against any negotiations for the issues of common concern," but the failure of these talks "is not because of us." CBS News foreign affairs analyst Pamela Falk reports that, according to Sin, Pyongyang is prepared to negotiate directly with Washington about Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program: "We are ready, any time," he said.
Sin also addressed the question of why North Korea believes it needs a nuclear deterrent; he insisted that they will never return to the six-party talks because the promises made were not kept; he reiterated that Pyongyang would consider the boarding of its ships an act of war; and denied that the country is considering leaving the United Nations.
The ambassador's remarks underscore the wisdom of Lyndon LaRouche's May 25 proposal on how to deal with North Korea: "Why not roll with the punches and accept the fact that North Korea has a nuclear weapons capability? It's true, isn't it? It is also true that North Korea has an economic crisis beyond belief. Why not indicate a willingness to cooperate on solving their economic crisis? Let China, South Korea, Japan, and Russia make the approach, with U.S. backing."
WHO Rebukes Japan for Vaccine Import Policy
July 19 (EIRNS)The Japanese government last week revealed that it might have to import swine flu vaccine, because its own production will not meet needs: It estimates that it will have only about 30 million doses by the end of March 2010, while about 50 million will be required. (The population of Japan is 127.7 million.)
At a July 16 Tokyo press conference, World Health Organization medical officer Nahoko Shindo said, "I felt a sense of disappointment when I heard the news that Japan will buy vaccines that are scarce globally. The international community has high expectations of Japan to provide support to developing countries in Southeast Asia. I think the international community will be shocked by such imports by Japan."
The Japanese health ministry said today that the number of A/H1N1 flu cases in Japan had topped 4,000, marking a rise of roughly 1,000 cases in the past four days.
Koizumi Is Loser in Japan Election Debate
July 19 (EIRNS)An election for the lower, more powerful house of the Japanese Diet is expected on Aug. 30, with control of the government up for grabs. The Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has controlled Japan for about half a century, may be voted out of office for the first time in that period, and is certain to lose its overwhelming lower house majority, which allowed it to override the Japanese Democratic Party in the upper house.
Only two things are clear, as the election battle begins: The Japanese export-driven economy is in horrible shape, and the pro-market "reforms" of ex-LDP Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi are blamed by nearly everyone for making things worse. Koizumi's policy was to do everything in his power to reduce business and government costs and make the economy "more efficient," thus reducing or eliminating Japan's social safety net. Now, with the collapse, there is no resilience to absorb the shocks.
Prime Minister Taro Aso has been waging a fight within his administration to reverse Koizumi's policies and move the LDP away from its identification with the now-despised former premier.
How successful this has been is seen in an early debate for Japan's upcoming Diet election held by NHK-TV, where the subject was the Koizumi policies. Five of the six parties represented attacked those policies, including the LDP's ruling coalition partner, the New Komeito Party. The LDP could only defend Koizumi by saying the "emphasis on the private sector is correct, but strains caused by the reforms should be removed."
So when the international press talks about how the current campaign lacks the spark of innovative, dynamic, popular reformer Junichiro Koizumi, you should know that they only want a continuation and intensification of the policies that have taken the Japanese powerhouse of the 1980s into its current collapsing status.