A prostitute’s biography has exposed links between authorities in India’s Kerala state and the sex trade. Link via Asian Sex Gazette (article worksafe, but porn ads on site).:
Fifty-one-year-old Nalini Jameela’s autobiography exposes like never before how deeply politicians and senior officials in the "progressive" state - which tops welfare and literacy charts - are involved in a flourishing sex racket.
It was at the state’s cultural capital of Thrissur that a 25-year-old Nalini was initiated into prostitution.
A police jeep had taken her and friend Rosa, a veteran in the trade by then, to Ramanilayam - a government guest house and political beehive - to serve a senior police officer and a politician.
While this doesn’t reflect well on India’s government, the expose does have a silver lining: Jameela’s book has smashed the sales record previously held by a ‘Marxist scholar’
At the Economist’s View, Mark Thoma looks at the increasingly bombastic rhetoric over CNOOC’s bid for Unocal. Piquing his interest is this quote from a Washington Post item:
… the quest for Unocal and other foreign companies is being construed by some as a sign of diversification. "We invest too much in U.S. federal bonds, and they don’t make us much money," said Pan Rui, a professor at the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai. "Now we’re learning to invest more wisely, to try to invest in American companies and industries."
Curzon has noticed yet another addition to Pyongyang’s finest comedic moments:
North Korea is very scary. Their rhetoric is very funny.
North Korea’s official media on Monday suggested Japan should be excluded from future multilateral talks on the North’s nuclear weapons program, which have been stalled since the last round was held in June last year.
“The nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula is not a matter for such an insincere and clumsy political dwarf as Japan to deal with,” the Minju Joson daily was quoted as saying by the Korean Central News Agency, monitored in Tokyo.
Phatic Communion has today started a Monday China-watch page. It’s a welcome addition to a good blog. The initial post - an argument that China and Japan risk war over energy, nationalism and offshore energy resources - seems to be a touch over-the-top.
Even if Americans can’t stomach the idea of going to war over resources, it would appear that China and Japan have another focus. Chinese citizens, already irate over Japanese revisionism are treated to a barrage of nationalistic encomiums about China’s growing economic influence in the world, and oil is needed to run that engine. Japan fears the explosive growth in China’s economy. Japan continues to steam ahead on plans to drill in the East China Sea, angering China, and is losing to China in the search for oil abroad.
The East China Sea may become the tipping point between these two nations, and, if so, between China and Japan’s most ardent supporter, the U.S.
Rising tensions and nationalism over energy… certainly! But economic integration, the size of Japan’s self-defense force, and Japan’s pacifist constitution would likely deter any adventurism on either side.
Malaysia, the moderate Muslim nation, had one of its state’s Islamic enforcement forces raid the commune of a sect it considers “deviationist”, arresting 21 men. What did they do? Bomb a nightclub? Behead a Thai? Nope.
Muhammad Ramli said the police inspector was based in Perak. He said four of the followers would be charged under Section 14 (B) of the Syariah Criminal Offence Enactment (Takzir) 2001 for possessing documents which humiliated Islamic teachings. If convicted, they could be fined up to RM3,000 or jailed up to two years, or both.
They are still searching for its leader, Ayah Pin, who, after grabbing headlines at Malaysia’s best-selling English daily for the second day in a row, remains defiant. The last time, Ayah Pin made headlines for a teapot. Seriously.
Lisa points out an LA Times item on a slowdown in Dongguan.:
Is it the natural maturation of an industrial region, or signs of trouble ahead for China’s economic miracle? The Los Angeles Times reports today on the slow-down of growth in Dongguan, where thousands of foreign businessmen, mostly Taiwanese, had helped to create a Pearl River manufacturing export powerhouse:
year Dongguan’s minimum wage jumped more than 27%. Even with the
increase, employers are struggling with worker shortages. Government
inspectors are making the rounds at factories, enforcing work-hour
rules and pension contributions that officials paid little attention to
in the past. Electricity is in short supply, as is fuel.
These conditions, along with rising tensions with the West and Japan,
have led many Taiwanese businessmen to invest instead in places like
Vietnam.Moreover: After four years of booming growth,
foreign direct investments into China have flattened this year. That
signals the waning of massive capital inflows, particularly in the
electronics sector, that followed China’s ascension to the World Trade
Organization in 2001.
Imagethief looks at the behavior of technology companies in China and feels betrayed.:
Where do you want to go today? asked Microsoft, suggesting that it could be anywhere you want, and never hinting that they might choose to keep some destinations off limits. Any time, any place, any device, they said, but not any word, they neglected to add.
Do no evil, lectured Google. The first line of their mission statement: Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. Universally accessible. That’s a nice idea. I wonder if it would work, now that we know Dan Gilmore was wrong all those years ago.
Our culture drives us to set high standards for corporate integrity and to give back by using our resources for a positive global impact, says Cisco, in explaining their corporate citizenship. But some parts of the globe are impacted more positively than others.
As a spin-doctor for technology companies I have written words like these myself. I, above all people, should be cynical about them. But I always carried that core of idealism with me. The Internet would be different, I thought to myself, and the people who had founded technology companies, many of them from my cohort, would somehow bring a different set of values than business had previously known. These were the companies of my generation. I had forgotten the core of greed and shallowness that lurked behind the technology industry’s evangelical mask in the terrible years of 1999 and 2000, when we all piously awaited the digital Rapture.
It was foolish, of course.
Jakartass reports that superheros are returning to Indonesia, lord knows the country needs them.:
wears a black costume, while Flash wears red. Flash moves as fast as
lightning while Gundala is only as fast as a typhoon, but he can fire
lightning while Flash cannot."\
ended because I was lured by another comic project to depict the glory
of then president Soeharto. Me and some other artists and comic
creators in Yogyakarta thought we would be rich after the project,"
Jing at Those Who Dare offers a new assessment on whether China is a fascist state. The answer, probably, but the CPC aren’t the Nazis.:
Modern China, although an imperfect fit, does in most fashions classify as a nascent fascist state under Mussolini’s definitions, however whether or not this label has any significant relevance is unclear. For most people, fascism conjures the looming specter of Nazi Germany, yet of course there exists certain attributes that differentiates fascism from Nazism. History has shown the existence and surprising longevity of fascist and corporatist states that have been neither expansionist or particularly aggressive. Those axis powers that took up arms during World War 2 were all colonial powers and the conflict was in part still fueled by the residual legacy of the First World War. Other fascist states in both Europe and Latin American were neutral and uninvolved proving that the simple adulation of military prowess does not necessarily lead to the external exercise of it. If China is a fascist state, it is at present a relatively benign manifestation and not a particularly grave threat to the established liberal democratic order.
This is unexpected, the Malaysian government is setting up methadone, needle-exchange and condom-distribution programs to stop the spread of AIDS.
Local AIDS groups and the conservative Malaysian government, led by
Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, an Islamic scholar, disagree.
While the government had rejected plans to distribute condoms or
needles, it now argued that dramatic steps were justified because the
AIDS problem had reached a critical level, health officials said.
"When the condition reaches an epidemic level, unconventional methods
are necessary," the health minister, Chua Soi Lek, said in an interview
Sunday. The government argues that the new policies do not violate
Islamic law because in cases of emergency, people can break rules to
About 15,000 children have already been made orphans by AIDS in
Malaysia, and the country is on the brink of an AIDS epidemic, the
World Health Organization has said.
While I’m open to debate on the efficacy of methadone therapy, that Badawi is willing to push ahead with this is a good sign - particularly as Malaysia’s ruling UMNO coalition was very recently trying to ‘out-Islam‘ the fundamentalist Pas opposition.
China has started court action against a dissident who, among other things, posted lyrics to a punk rock song on the internet. From Taiwan, POTS interviews the writer of those lyrics, Ao Bo, who - along with another member of the band Punk God - is now in exile in Sweden.
FOLLOWING A press release by the organization Human Rights in China
(HRIC) on Jun. 15, it was widely reported that Chinese dissident Zhang
Lin (張林) was being put on trial for subverting state power in China’s
Anhui Province, with evidence against him including lyrics from a punk
rock song he’d quoted on an essay published on the Internet.
this week, Ao Bo (敖博), the writer of those lyrics and lead singer of
the band Punk God (盤古), contacted POTS, praising Zhang Lin as “a hero”
and commenting on the cited essay and his relationship with Zhang Lin.
essay in question, “Pangu – The Hysterical Ravings of the Chinese
People,” was singled out of the 192 Internet writings described in the
indictment handed down by the Bengbu municipal procuratorate on May 23
of this year, according to HRIC. The lyrics quoted were, “The Yellow
River should run dry, this society should collapse, this system should
be destroyed, this race should become extinct, this country should
Simon points to an interview with Chen Xiwen, a vice-minister in charge of agriculture in China, who talks to the SCMP on riots in China. Simon’s full post is here, in which he responds to the vice minister’s main points and comments:
1. Village riots are a sign of democracy. Of
course in most democracies farmers or other aggrieved parties have
easier methods of expressing their problems, such as courts or the
media. In China, apparently, massed riots are the thing. Talk about
democracy with Chinese characteristics.
2. The central leadership quickly responds to farmers’ problems. Which
implies either the central leadership has no idea what’s going in the
countryside and is relying on those who defy the state’s own censors to
hear about it. Talk about communication with Chinese characteristics.
3. Mr Chen lauds the role of the internet and media in reporting on
riots because it allows the central government to respond as in point
2. So are we going to see a massive relaxation in censorship laws
anytime soon? Don’t hold your breath.
4. The protests are an inevitable consequence of the massive social and
economic changes taking place in China. I dare suggest it is just as
likely to be about incompetent and/or corrupt local authorities
fleecing farmers who have no form of redress.
The full SCMP article is reproduced by Howard French and ESWN has a translation of a sections of a Chinese-language version in the Hong Kong press.
Reportage on the threat of the new ‘imperialist China’ has spread to the UK, where the Pub Philsopher sees China’s moves into the Sudan and Zimbabwe (first link in item) as a new attempt to colonize Africa.:
At last, someone writing in a British newspaper has mentioned China’s imperialist ventures in Africa. Niall Ferguson, in the Sunday Telegraph (you need to register but it’s free), said:
Already, China is
making its presence felt both economically and strategically in - guess
where? - Africa. While Western journalists have been wringing their
hands impotently about the genocide being perpetrated in Darfur, the
Chinese government has done a deal with the Sudanese government to
exploit that country’s oilfields. That says it all. While we indulge
our Victorian urge to give alms to the Africans, Beijing is pumping
I’m not a overt hawk on China. Its moves into Africa are nothing more than a resource grab and are ’strategically’ no more a threat to the west than any other investment. They are also no more imperialist than any foreign investment by any country anywhere.
Still, the CPC’s collaboration with Mugabe, the genocidal regime in Sudan and similar moves in Uzbekistan do nothing for the CPC’s attempts at making itself appear a responsible member of the international community. My worry is not that rogue states are falling under Beijing’s sphere of influence. It is the converse.
What we have is a permanent Security Council member that is quickly becoming more and more beholden to the demands of an array of third-world despots, each of whom are even more tyrannical than the CPC.
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Mao: The Unknown Story - by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday:
A controversial and damning biography of the Helmsman.
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