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Entries in China (54)


China Feature: Week in Review --- The "Chinese Dream" with Taiwan, Protecting Ships Near Somalia (Lin)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) with Lien Chan of Taiwan's Kuomintang Party

President Promotes Cross-strait Ties with Taiwan

President Xi Jinping met with Lien Chan, the visiting Honorary Chairman of the Kuomintang Party, Lien Chan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday.

The Kuomintang were the long-time rulers of China before the Communist Party took control in 1949, moving to the island of Taiwan after the Revolutionary. China does not recognise an independent Taiwan, claiming it as part of "one nation", but does maintain a relationship with the Kuomintang.

In the first meeting between senior officials after the 18th Communist Party Congress, Xi expressed his hope that those on both sides of the Taiwan Strait can cooperate:

If the brothers are of the same mind, their sharpness can cut through metal. "We sincerely hope Taiwan can develop along with the mainland and compatriots from both sides of the Strait can join hands in realising the "Chinese dream".

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China Analysis: Introducing President Xi Jinping --- A Princeling Facing "Flies" and "Tigers" (Lin)

To establish his authority, President Xi Jinping must maintain China's economic development while dealing with the "flies", the local officials who have recently faced allegations of corruption, and the "tigers", the senior officials in central Government who may see Xi as a threat to their power.

Can he succeed? And, perhaps more importantly, how will he attempt to do so --- with strong public moves for reform or with a more cautious approach within the Party, even as he cultivates his image with the Chinese people as their representative against corruption?

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China Feature: American Dream? Why Some Chinese Mothers Are Giving Birth in the US (Lin)

Facing economic challenges in mainland China, some newly-married couples from wealthy families have looked elsewhere for a better future for their unborn children: one with quality medical services, educational opportunities, and the security of good, healthy food.

For several years, Hong Kong --- formally part of China, with a similar culture and a lower cost than alternatives --- was the preferred location. However, in October 2011, residents began to protest against the increasing number of pregnant women from the mainland, whom they claimed were taking benefits without paying taxes. They called on the Hong Kong government to stop issuing birth certificates to the “foreign” newborns. Since 1 January 2013, the hospitals will no longer accept bed reservation for babies whose parents are neither local residents.

Those Chinese who did not want to give up the dream came up with a solution: why not go to the US? However, they are now finding that there is not necessarily a clear boundary between an American Dream and an American Nightmare.

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China Feature: Week in Review --- Pollution Chokes Beijing, Censorship Chokes a Major Newspaper (Lin)

In a possible test for new Chinese leader Xi Jinping's views on media freedom, the political effects continue from censorship of the leading newspaper Southern Weekend, after authorities banned a New Year’s editorial, “Chinese Dream, A Dream of Constitutionalism”.

An open letter signed by prominent academics has called on a top propaganda official in southern China to resign over allegations that he unjustifiably censored the comment.

The letter by the academics threatened to undermine the Communist Party’s effort to put away the editorial, but authorities have held the line. Southern Weekly was forced to announce that the published editorial was not tampered and apologise for some "spelling mistakes" in a rush work. The Central Propaganda Department ordered mainstream media to carry an official editorial from the Global Times, a party-controlled newspaper, saying any reference to wide-spread version of “constitutionalism” had been a mistake and also spoke of manipulation by outside powers. When Beijing News refused to carry the official editorial, it was threatened with dissolution.

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The Latest from Iran (26 November): Noting the Crackdown on Dissidents

See also The Latest from Iran (25 November): Larijani's Diplomatic Push on Gaza and Syria

2025 GMT: Oil Watch. Gholamreza Mesbahi Moqaddam, an influential member of Parliament's Economy Committee, has said the State budget for the next Iranian year may assume exports of only 1 million barrels of oil a day, less than half the level of 2011.

"Apparently, the government wants to decrease the 1392 (March 2013-March 2014) state budget's reliance on oil exports to one million barrels a day," Mesbahi Moqaddam said.

Industry data indicated that Iranian exports fell as low as 860,000 barrels per day this summer before rebounding in October to 1.3 million bpd. Last year the Islamic Republic shipped 2.2 million bpd.

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Bloodiest Day in the Conflict?

Footage from Al-Manar TV of the aftermath of Wednesday's bombings and attack by insurgents on Army Staff HQ in Damascus, with gun battles and bodies of three opposition fighters inside the building

See also Syria Analysis: Huge Stories, Small Headlines, and the Future of Insurgency
EA Video Analysis: Syria --- An Introduction to "The Grind of the Conflict"
Wednesday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: Double Explosion Hits Army Staff HQ in Damascus

2037 GMT: Iraq. CNN's Ivan Watson reports on thousands of internally-dsiplaced Syrians, camping out and sleeping in the dirt because they cannot cross the Turkish border:

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The Latest from Iran (12 September): Economic Problems? What Economic Problems?

See also Iran Audio Feature: The Gathering Economic Storm --- Scott Lucas with Monocle 24
The Latest from Iran (11 September): Promoting the "Resistance Economy"

1653 GMT: Political Prisoner Watch. Relatives of political prisoners born in the Iranian month of Shahrivar (August/September) gather to celebrate their birthdays:

1648 GMT: Economy Watch. Shabestan News Agency claims that the sale of stationery has been halted because the price for 70-gramme paper has tripled in price in the past two months.

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U.S. Audio Feature: James Miller Talks US Arms Sales with Monocle 24 EA's James Miller speaks with Monocle 24 about US arms sales. This past year, the United States drastically increased arms sales last year. While the US is often the number 2 or 3 seller of global arms, in the last year the US accounted for 79% of global arms sales, with the majority of those arms being sold to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies...

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Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: 217 Die Amid Question, "Where's Bashar?"

Insurgents take over a post on the Turkish border on Thursday

See also Syria Opinion: "Insurgency, Not Diplomacy, Will End This Conflict"
Syria Feature: Alawites Flee to the Coast
Thursday's Syria (and Beyond) Live Coverage: The Regime is Shocked and Awed

2030 GMT: Syria. At least initially, the greatest threat that the Syrian crisis poses to the region has nothing to do with terrorism or chemical weapons or cross-border firefights, but has everything to do with the massive amounts of refugees flooding some countries, particularly Turkey and Lebanon, but also Iraq and Jordan. As fighting is heating up in Damascus, the amount of refugees in Lebanon has rapidly risen to an extraordinary number:

Between 8,500 and 30,000 Syrians have crossed into Lebanon in the last 48 hours, an agency spokeswoman, Melissa Fleming, said at a news briefing in Geneva. The new flood adds to an exodus of more than 112,000 who have already registered as refugees in Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Jordan, and many thousands more who have fled but not registered. United Nations relief agencies say three-quarters of them are women and children, often arriving in a desperate state with no more than the clothes they are wearing. Internally, as many as a million people have been displaced, according to the Syrian Arab Red Crescent.

1942 GMT: Syria. The Free Syrian Army has engaged the Assad military in heavy fighting in the city of Zabadani, northwest of Damascus (map), for the second day in a row today...

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China Snapshot: Beijing Puts 1st Woman Astronaut Into Space

Christina Wang and Iris Gao write for EA:

China made history last Saturday when it launched a spacecraft sending the nation's first female astronaut into space.

The Long March 2F rocket, carrying the manned spacecraft Shenzhou IX, took off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Gansu Province in northwestern China. Inside the capsule was Liu Yang, 33, with commanding officer Jing Haipeng and Liu Wang.

At the sending-off ceremony, Wu Bangguo, the head of China's legislature, saluted the three astronauts, "The country and the people are looking forward to your successful return."

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