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Archive for the ‘Asia’ Category

News: Michael Yon

Secretary Gates Sets Me Straight.
Secretary Gates read my site this morning and corrected an erroneous report from me. My information was actually accurate insofar as I reported what troops were saying — but it was in conflict with the reality.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates Sets Me Straight.
29 May 2009

Secretary Gates arrived in Singapore after a 35 hour flight from Kansas. The aircraft landed several times along the way due to a technical issue that precluded in-flight refueling. But he got here. [Continue reading.]

To Alaska!
Secretary Gates has departed the Philippines and is in the air to Alaska. I stayed behind in the Philippines to cover forces who are battling terrorists here.

Secretary Gates in Singapore.
01 June 2009
Manila, Philippines

The Shangri-La security dialogue is over. Bigwigs from all over the region came to the conference, including Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. All the major media outlets piled in, such as the New York Times, AP, and dozens of others from Asia, Europe, and the United States. The dialogue is already well covered in the media, so I’ll write mostly about topics that likely will not make the press. [Continue reading.]

Close Combat and US Navy In The Philippines.
These are great pictures here and here.

Philippines.
Fly from Mindanao to Sulu this morning. Please see latest from Philippines.

Philippines.
03 June 2009
Mindanao

The southern Philippines has been a festering bed for international terrorists for decades. Direct links with al Qaeda and associated groups, such as Jemaah Islamiya (JI), are conclusively established. These groups are collectively responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent people from dozens of countries. JI, for instance, was responsible for the 2002 Bali bombing that killed 202 people, including my friend Beata Pawlak. [.]

He just keeps writing away, and I will keep posting them for you. Have a wonderful weekend.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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It didn’t have to happen. Tienanmen Square. Below please find lost audios about what led up to that awful, terrifying, unforgivable day on 4 June 1989 and try to contemplate what could have been.

Zhao Ziyang Tapes Reveal Call for Democracy.
For more, go to www.RFA.org.

HONG KONG, May 14, 2009 — Twenty years after the People’s Liberation Army crushed the student-led pro-democracy movement in China with guns and tanks, a former top Communist Party official has released audio recordings in which former premier Zhao Ziyang calls for parliamentary democracy for China, Radio Frede Asia (RFA) reports.

Zhao, who fell into political disgrace in the wake of the crackdown, described it in recordings as “a tragedy to shock the world, which was happening in spite of attempts to avert it.”

He recalls hearing the sound of “intense gunfire” on the evening of June 3, 1989 while sitting at his Beijing home, where he was held under house arrest until his death. He concludes in extracts read from an unpublished political memoir that the only way forward for China is a parliamentary democracy.

“Of course, it is possible that in the future a more advanced political system than parliamentary democracy will emerge,” Zhao said. “But that is a matter for the future. At present, there is no other.”

He said China could not have a healthy economic system, nor become a modern society with the rule of law without democracy.

“Instead, it will run into the situations that have occurred in so many developing countries, including China: the commercialization of power, rampant corruption, and a society polarized between rich and poor.”

Released by aide.

Zhao’s former political aide, Bao Tong, who served a seven-year jail term in the wake of the crackdown, released the tapes ahead of the 20th anniversary of the violent suppression of the 1989 student movement, in which hundreds, perhaps more than 1,000, died.

“Zhao Ziyang left behind a set of audio recordings. These are his legacy,” Bao wrote to RFA’s Mandarin service from under house arrest at his Beijing home.

“Zhao Ziyang’s legacy is for all of China’s people. It is my job to transmit them to the world in the form of words and to arrange things,” he said.

“Their contents have implications for a history that is still influencing the people of China to this day. The key theme of this history is reform,” Bao said.

Authorities in Beijing suppressed any public displays of grief for Zhao in the days after his death on Jan. 17, 2005, detaining dozens of people for wearing white flowers in his honor or attempting to pay their respects at the former premier’s home.

Zhao was openly mourned by thousands in the former British colony of Hong Kong, however, where is seen by many as a symbol of the territory’s own struggle for political change.

Educating China’s youth.

Bao said his purpose in releasing the tapes, which he described as “political task,” was partly to educate a whole generation of young people in China who had never heard of Zhao Ziyang.

“On the mainland at the current time, this part of history has been sealed off and distorted, so it will be useful to discuss some of this history for younger readers.”

“The name of Zhao Ziyang was erased from news media, books and periodicals, and the historical record within China,” Bao wrote in a six-part essay accompanying the tapes, titled “The Historical Background to the Zhao Ziyang Recordings.”

“Zhao wanted to address the issues of official corruption and democracy which were the concerns of most ordinary Chinese people, using the principle of the rule of law,” Bao wrote of the conflict between his former political mentor and late supreme leader Deng Xiaoping.

“He wanted to instigate reforms of China’s political system alongside deepening economic reforms, concentrating the attention of the whole of society onto the issue of reforms.”

The Chinese authorities have already begun tightening security in and around Beijing ahead of the sensitive anniversary.

Articles and forum posts connected in any way to the events of 20 years ago are being deleted regularly from Chinese cyberspace, including an appeal for the rehabilitation of Zhao and Hu Yaobang, whose death on April 15, 1989 triggered the student movement.

Original reporting by RFA’s Mandarin service. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Translated and written in English by Luisetta Mudie. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Source: RFA.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts.

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Below you will find an article written by Radio Free Asia. This is the time of year they and we remember Tiananmen Square, 1989, when the Chinese government told its army to roll its tanks over the people, and they did so. What is it they were demanding of China? Freedom. Funny thing, ya know. Some people say others can’t handle it while sit in the majority of our country and try to take it away from us! It will be a cold day in hell…

(Go to www.rfa.org/english/news/special/june4/ for news, essays, and never before released videos and photos of the 1989 protests.)

Paint-Throwing at Mao’s Portrait Born of Frustration, 1989 Protester Says.

WASHINGTON—China has developed tremendously over the last two decades, but “in terms of political and democratic reforms” the system is unchanged, one of three men jailed for splattering paint on Chairman Mao Zedong’s portrait during the 1989 Tiananmen protests has told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Yu Zhijian, who along with fellow paint-thrower Yu Dongyue was just granted U.S. asylum, described their high-profile May 23, 1989 act of vandalism as a product of frustration directed at the Chinese authorities and prompted by the failure of protest leaders to devise a response when Beijing declared martial law.

“Before we resorted to the violent behavior, we tried to communicate to the student leaders our assessment of the situation,” Yu Zhijian told RFA’s Mandarin service in his first interview since arriving in the United States in mid-May.

“We felt, as participants in the movement, that there should have been a plan in response to the martial law.”

“The day after we arrived in Beijing, we joined the crowd that tried to block the PLA [People’s Liberation Army] vehicles from entering the city. We talked to the students and ordinary citizens. I felt that they didn’t know where the movement was headed,” he said.

“As there wasn’t to be a ‘triumphant withdrawal,’ the leaders of the movement should have come up with relatively decisive responses. So we proposed three suggestions,” he said, including a nationwide strike and a takeover of several key buildings.

But on May 21, “when we brought our three suggestions to the Square we didn’t see any student leaders. So we gave our proposal to someone whose job was to maintain order at the Square…After that, the movement wasn’t headed in the direction that we had hoped,” he said.

Turned over to police.

And two days later, “We decided to smear Mao’s portrait with eggs containing paint. In our view, the rule by the Chinese Communists from 1949-89 was a Maoist dictatorship,” Yu said.

“The portrait of Mao Zedong symbolized the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party. We had hoped that our action would lead the participants of the movement to change course and bring the movement back from the brink of failure.”

The two childhood friends—along with a bus driver named Lu Decheng—hurled 30 eggs filled with paint at the portrait and were quickly seized by student protesters eager to distance themselves from the act and handed over to police.

Less than two weeks later, Chinese troops moved in on the protests with tanks and live ammunition, killing hundreds of people and prompting an international outcry. An official blackout on discussion of the crackdown remains in force, 20 years later.

“China has witnessed huge changes in the past 20 years. But in terms of political and democratic reforms, it is where it was 20 years ago. There has been no change whatsoever,” he said.

Mental health damaged.

Yu Dongyue¸ a former journalist and art critic, was convicted of sabotage and counter-revolutionary propaganda and handed a 20-year jail term. Lu received a 16-year jail term, and Yu Zhijian, a former teacher, drew a life sentence.

Lu and Yu Zhijian were paroled in 1998 but Yu Dongyue remained in custody because, officials said, he had never confessed to any wrongdoing. His sentence was cut by two years in 2000 and another 15 months in 2003.

Yu Dongyue is the longest-serving known political prisoner sentenced in connection with the 1989 crackdown. He spent several years in solitary confinement and was subjected to beatings and electric shocks, and friends and relatives say his mental health has suffered severely.

During an interview here, Yu Dongyue appeared vacant. He spoke haltingly and was unable to answer direct questions.

“As you can see, his mental condition is awful, just awful,” Yu Zhijian said. “Yu Dongyue spent 17 years in prison. When he was released he was a shadow of his former self. My heart ached when I saw him.”

Lu was granted asylum in Canada in 2006. Yu Dongyue and Yu Zhijian fled China through Thailand and were granted U.S. asylum last month.

Neither man would discuss the route they took to escape China, but Yu Zhijian notably cited Chinese-born human rights activist Harry Wu and his Laogai Foundation, for their assistance.

Asked how he regarded the 20th anniversary on Thursday of the June 4, 1989 crackdown, he replied:

“My heart is heavy with memories of June 4th. These memories will never be erased from my mind. It is a topic that pains me to bring up, especially when the June 4th anniversary is upon us. I am unable to sleep or eat. My mind is in turmoil. The movement 20 years ago was a noble one and it changed our lives.”

“The participants were not limited to university students. The general public—in the millions—also took part in it. In our hometown in Hunan, even the peasants stopped working in the fields. They were glued to the television. They were inspired by the patriotism and democratic spirit of the students.”

Original reporting by He Ping for RFA’s Mandarin service. Translated by RFA Mandarin service director Jennifer Chou. Written and produced in English by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting and publishing online news, information, and commentary in nine East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. RFA’s broadcasts seek to promote the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” RFA is funded by an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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Those pesky North Koreans. They insist they are only going to launch a satellite into space on this rocket they plan to launch between April 4-8. Ha! So says the Navy.

We do not trust these lying cretins and with good reason. They are liars. They have yet to keep their word on anything they agree to, so you can see why we are skeptical.

As of this moment, CNN is reporting that “[t]he USS Hopper, a destroyer with the Aegis radar system aboard was scheduled for a port call in Japan in coming days, [b]ut the port call was canceled and the ship will remain in the Sea of Japan ahead of the launch, the official said.”

There are two other destroyers, the USS McCain and the USS Chaffee, that will be in the waters near South Korea.

There are usually destroyers with Aegis-capability in the Sea of Japan due to North Korea’s belligerence, so this is not new. What is new is that plans have been changed because of this North Korean launch. They have launched long-range missiles over the island of Japan and near the island, and Japan was angry when those incidents occurred.

So you can see why Japan and the US may feel a little hesitant to believe anything that shrimp leader of North Korea has to say. If he does decide to launch this missile, President Obama has 5 minutes or less to decide whether this is a dangerous launch or not, and he will have to give the order to shoot it down or leave it alone. Let us pray he makes the correct decision. There are people counting on us to do so. All politics aside…

Source: CNN: U.S. destroyers on move as N. Korea prepares rocket launch and/or Love America First-2.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Talon, TCU, SGP and Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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North Korea At It Again

Looming yonder…

WASHINGTON (CNN) — North Korea has positioned what is believed to be a long-range ballistic missile on its launch pad, a U.S. counter-proliferation official said on Wednesday. The official confirmed a Japanese media report. The Taepo Dong 2 missile could launch either a warhead or a satellite, the official said. What the North Koreans would be testing may not be known until an actual launch. The North Koreans have said they intend to launch a communications satellite.

Maybe they just want to be part of the ‘overseas contingency‘?

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Talon, TCU, SGP and Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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I have some very good news and sad news from Radio Free Asia today. One of the Chinese dissident’s family was able to successfully defect to the United States. Unfortunately, they had to leave behind their husband and father who is a civil rights lawyer in China. Here is the article below.

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WASHINGTON, March 12, 2009 — The wife and children of a top civil rights lawyer under close surveillance by the Chinese authorities have arrived in the United States after walking across the border to Thailand, Gao Zhisheng’s wife Geng He has told Radio Free Asia (RFA).

Provided by a family friend. Gao Zhistheng's wife Geng He and their children, after leaving China.

Provided by a family friend. Gao Zhistheng's wife Geng He and their children, after leaving China.

Geng said her daughter, 15, and son, 5, had suffered “great hardship” in China from living under virtual house arrest in their Beijing home. “I left China because my family had been under tight surveillance for a long time. We experienced —in our careers and daily life— great hardship and difficulty,” Geng told RFA’s Mandarin service in her first interview since arriving in the United States on March 11 to seek asylum.

“My daughter was unable to attend school. Because she was unable to attend school, she tried to commit suicide several times,” Geng said. “I had no place to turn. So I fled with my children.” Geng said she had left a note for Gao, an Army veteran who lost his law license after he criticized the government for its treatment of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

Gao began a rolling hunger strike among fellow civil rights activists to protest the ill-treatment of lawyers and rights activists at the hands of police and local government officials.

“I left a note for my husband that I was leaving with the children,” Geng said. “I said in my note that our daughter is miserable because she couldn’t attend school. I said I was miserable and I had to take the kids and leave,” said Geng, in tears.

Dangerous route through Thailand.

Geng and her children left China on Jan. 9 and arrived in Thailand on Jan. 16, leaving for the United States on March 10. Describing the family’s dramatic escape, Geng said they first left Beijing very quietly, unnoticed by the state security police who usually followed them.

“We could not travel by air. We took a train,” Geng said, adding that Gao was unable to accompany them because he couldn’t throw off the police on his tail.

“Eventually, with the help of friends, we freed ourselves from police surveillance and we walked to another country,” she said. Geng said friends who helped her leave China were members of the banned Falun Gong spiritual movement.

“We walked day and night. It was extremely hard. I did not even know the names of some of the towns we passed through…It was extraordinarily difficult to get us out of China. The friends who helped us escape took enormous pains, some even risking their own lives,” Geng said.

She said she hadn’t been in touch with Gao since leaving China. “On Feb. 4, when we had arrived in the second country, I heard from a friend that he had been detained. I am very worried,” said Geng, who has no idea of Gao’s whereabouts.

‘Very fragile state’.

Now in the United States, Geng said she has few specific plans. “The first step is to get here and to give my daughter a chance to heal her mental scars,” she said. “She is in a very fragile state. When she feels better, I will arrange for her to get an education. It’s important to get an education.”

She said her son asked repeatedly for Gao, and whether his father had been sent to prison again. Gao’s whereabouts remained unclear for months after he was subjected to a secret trial by the authorities on unspecified subversion charges in 2006.

Lauded by China’s own Justice Ministry as one of China’s Top 10 lawyers in 2001 for his pro bono work in helping poor people sue government officials over corruption and mistreatment, Gao was once a member of the ruling Chinese Communist Party. He resigned from the Party in 2005.

Gao’s fortunes took a sharp downturn after he wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao in October 2005 urging them to end the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners, detailing a range of abuses they suffer in custody, including torture, beatings, and execution.

Report on abuses.

In its most recent report on human rights around the world, the U.S. State Department noted that Gao’s whereabouts remained unknown. It also noted the authorities had revoked the professional licenses of several prominent lawyers, including Gao and of Teng Biao, who offered to represent Tibetans taken into custody for their role in the March 2008 Tibetan uprising in Lhasa. “Government-employed lawyers often refused to represent defendants in politically sensitive cases, and defendants frequently found it difficult to find an attorney,” the report said.

“Officials deployed a wide range of tactics to obstruct the work of lawyers representing sensitive clients, including unlawful detentions, disbarment, intimidation, refusal to allow a case to be tried before a court, and physical abuse.”

Provided by a family friend. Gao Zhistheng’s wife Geng He and their children, after leaving China.

Original reporting in Mandarin by Tang Qiwei. Mandarin service director: Jennifer Chou. Written for the Web in English. Edited by Sarah Jackson-Han.

Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting and publishing online news, information, and commentary in nine East Asian languages to listeners who do not have access to full and free news media. RFA’s broadcasts seek to promote the rights of freedom of opinion and expression, including the freedom to “seek, receive, and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” RFA is funded by an annual grant from the Broadcasting Board of Governors.
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Articles also included in this e-mail:
North Korea Bans Foreign Cars.
Mental Health Cases Sweep China.
Buddha Images Stolen in Laos.

May you walk with the LORD always, and when you cannot take another step, may He carry you the rest of the way until you can walk along side Him again.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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Iraq in lockdown on eve of vote.

Newsweek: The Iraq match-ups to watch.

Taylor trial witness: Rebels cut off my hands.

Zimbabwe opposition to join government.

At least 25 dead after Nairobi blaze.

Caterpillar plague spreads in Liberia.

Thousands of Tamils protest in Toronto.

Thieves shoot foreigner near Mexico airport.

U.S.-Mexico border fence almost complete. HAHAHAHA, My arse.

U.S. dealers arming Mexican drug cartels. Arrest them!

N. Korea scraps all accords with South.

New commander heads to Gitmo.

Judge refuses to delay Gitmo detainee’s trial.

Sept. 11 a factor in Fla. terror retrial.

Courtesy of MSNBC.msn.

Cross-posted @ Rosemary’s Thoughts. Digg! Digg!

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