» 02/23/2009, 00.00
CHINA - UNITED STATES
China and U.S. breathe sigh of relief: economy more important than human rights
For Mrs. Clinton, human rights will no longer be the main issue. In exchange, Beijing has decided to continue buying U.S. Treasury bonds, in order to support the American economy.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - China's official media have defined the visit of Hillary Clinton as "a relief," because the new U.S. secretary of state has set aside the question of human rights, and talked instead about the economies of the two countries.
China Daily commented that "if the point of Hillary Rodham Clinton's maiden voyage overseas in her new role as United States secretary of state was to assure and reassure, she made it."
At a press conference in the capital, Clinton clearly explained that human rights in China must not be a distraction from the more vital questions of trade and the environment, and expressed hopes for closer collaboration between the two powers in confronting the economic crisis.
Just a few years ago, Clinton unleashed a harsh attack against Beijing, which had censored part of one of her books published in China, where it talked about women's rights.
Yu Wanli, an associate professor at the Centre for International and Strategic Studies at Peking University, said that after this visit issues like human rights and Tibet will be pushed to the sidelines, in order to "work on something meaningful now." The American decision brings a "sigh of relief" for Beijing, since there are significant anniversaries this year that could lead to social tensions: the 50th anniversary of the revolts in Tibet, and the 20th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen Square.
Clinton also breathed a "sigh of relief," because China has considered the economy more important than the (past) criticisms about human rights: to the request that Beijing continue to buy and accumulate American Treasury bonds, the Chinese said yes. More precisely, Chinese foreign minister Yang Jiechi said that China wants its foreign currency reserves - at 1.95 trillion dollars, the largest in the world - to be invested safely, at good value and liquidity. But he added that China wants to continue to work with the United States. Similar assurances have been given by President Hu Jintao.
Clinton said that China and the United States find themselves "in the same boat," and are "rowing in the same direction." Beijing holds about 700 billion dollars in U.S. Treasury bonds. But the leadership is under pressure to diversify its holdings, because of the depreciation of the dollar. The economic crisis afflicting the United States risks reducing to nothing the value of its bonds.
According to the analyst Wang Xiangwei, however, Beijing has no alternative but to support the U.S. economy and invest in U.S. Treasury bonds, precisely as the Obama administration is seeking new funds to pay for the 787 billion dollar economic stimulus package. Wang Xiangwei (c.f. today's edition of the South China Morning Post) says that there seems to be some minor blackmail on the part of the United States: if China does not buy Treasury bonds, information will be published in the United States about the money that the leadership and their relatives have deposited in banks there.
20/02/2009 TIBET - CHINA - UNITED STATES
Tibetans ask Clinton for pressure on Beijing to prevent massacre
There is serious concern about the harsh repression taking place, with persecution of any form of dissent, and sentences to years in prison. Pro-Tibet groups are appealing to Clinton to intervene with government of China, where she is visiting today, and to push for a change in policy.
03/01/2009 ASIA - CHINA - U.S.
Chinese yuan set to replace dollar
Beijing has launched the experiment of using the yuan as a reserve currency in relations with 8 countries. Chinese exporters are asking to charge in yuan instead of dollars, because the U.S. currency is losing value. But China needs to revise its model of development, too much inspired by eighteenth century mercantilism.
Pro-democracy activist Wang Rongqing sentenced to six years for "subversion"
He is one of the veterans of the pro-democracy movement. The heavy sentence demonstrates that the government intends to suffocate the spread of democratic ideas, following the publication of the Charter 08. Beijing also fears demonstrations in 2009, the 20th anniversary of the massacre in Tiananmen. Wang Rongqing has also written in defense of religious freedom.
21/02/2009 CHINA - UNITED STATES
Charter 08 activists arrested, silenced ahead of Hillary Clinton's arrival in Beijing
They have been forbidden to leave their homes, or to meet with any representative of the United States. In Clinton's talks with the Chinese, human rights have been addressed only in passing. Yang Jieshi: we agree about discussing human rights, but without interfering in each other's domestic affairs.
04/06/2008 INDIA - TIBET - CHINA
Tibetan exiles commemorate Tiananmen Square massacre
In Dharamsala, a vigil and a documentary film on the Chinese pro-democracy movement. Comparisons with the recent repression in Tibet. Pro-Tibet activists: solidarity with the Tiananmen Mothers movement, which has been asking for justice for 19 years.
HONG KONG – CHINA – VATICAN
On “Hong Kong sectors” supposedly "against Francis"
John Mok Chit Wai
A scholar at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who collaborates with AsiaNews, responds to accusations against the agency and people in Hong Kong with respect to criticism of the Vatican’s diplomatic approach towards China. Religious freedom is a fundamental human right and a universal value, whether in China, Russia or the Middle East. Between "Right" and "Left", China defines itself as left, yet it practices state capitalism and unfettered capitalism just as "right-wing governments" do. Gaudium et Spes calls on the faithful to engage in politics against the "arbitrary domination by [. . .] a political party,” like in China.
The "enemies" of Pope Francis
The charge made against AsiaNews that we are against the Pope and in favor of Putin, is an opportunity to outline what motivates our commitment to evangelization. And also to ask for greater professionalism from those who write about the Pope. The Pope does not need public defenders. Facilitating dialogue between "conservatives" and "progressives" to realize the Council and concern ourselves with the world so that it encounters Jesus Christ. Christ’s “enemies” were also his "friends."
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