21 October, 2005

children of the killing fields

AsiaPundit welcomes a the new Small Things video blog, with a promising first post on The Children of the Killing Fields.


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by @ 11:29 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia

charles jenkins on 60 minutes

Via tdaxp, US Army deserter Charles Jenkins gives 60 minutes an account of his time in North Korea, including horror stories of beatings, forced sex and primitive tattoo removal techniques.:

Charles Robert Jenkins

That life included forced studying of the writings of the communist dictator Kim Il Sung. He says he and three other American deserters were forced to study eight hours a day for seven years. The studying was imposed by communist government handlers called "leaders." They also assigned him a Korean woman, with whom he was supposed to have sex twice a month. "The leaders almost tell her when to do it, and I got in a big fight one time over it," recalls Jenkins. "I told [the leader], ‘It’s none of his business if I want sleep with her. She wants to sleep — we sleep.’ ‘No — two times a month’" He says he was severely punished for talking back. "That’s the worst beating I ever got — over that," he tells Pelley, showing a scar where he says his teeth came through his lower lip.

Worse still, says Jenkins, was the pain he endured when someone saw his U.S. Army tattoo. He says the North Koreans held him down and cut the words, "U.S. Army," off with a scalpel and scissors — without giving him any painkiller. "They told me the anesthetic was for the battlefield," says Jenkins, "It was hell."

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by @ 8:30 pm. Filed under Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, North Korea

china’s space program

Unlikely Kudos to Beijing’s space program come from Imagethief and B J Black.:

So China’s two astronauts have just returned from four days in orbit to heroes’ welcomes, and China has just announced plans for a spacewalk by 2007 and a female astronaut.

Imagethief would like to take this moment to applaud the Chinese space program for two reasons. First, as a professional spin-doctor, I appreciate that a nation indifferent to repairing the sink-holes in
the sidewalk outside my apartment can muster the drive to fire
astronauts into outer space.
NautsIt goes to show you that China’s priorities are, quite correctly, set on propaganda. I don’t say this lightly. Space programs have long served as diversions from other, more pressing matters, such as, say, Southeast Asian wars. Furthermore, recent rallying points in China have largely revolved around the heinous Japanese, so it’s good to see some national symbolism that is more positive, if still phallic and potentially military in deployment.

Second, China’s ability to casually broadcast its citizens into orbit it brings this world something we have sorely lacked since, arguably, 1969: a space race.

Via China Challenges, the second analyst in this VOA report discusses why China’s space program may be a good thing for Taiwan and its allies.:

China’s second manned space launch has ignited a new round of debate over the implications of the PRC’s burgeoning space capabilities. “China is serious in investing” in space capabilities that have “significant military applications in the future,” retired Air Force China specialist Mark Stokes tells Voice of America.

“Space assets, as well as countering… the U.S. use of space or other countries’ use of space, are important force multipliers that can help to even the playing field when you are going up against a technologically  superior adversary.”

According to Stokes, the space launch constitutes “a stepping stone for a longer-range program to make them a significant player in military space in the  future.”

Others, however, take a different view. The Chinese “already have so many other programs to weaponize and militarize space that would be more effective in a shorter time,” says Larry Wortzel of the Heritage Foundation.

“I would rather see them go ahead with the manned space program and use the money on that because I think in the near term, it makes the United States, Taiwan, and Japan safer.”

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by @ 7:38 pm. Filed under China, Taiwan, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia

rand in china

Ayn Rand’s Fountainhead is set to debut in China.


Ayn Rand’s more tolerable tome, The Fountainhead, hits Chinese bookstores in November. 700 pages, 800,000 characters, the story of Howard Roark’s individualist triumph over the forces of collectivism will arrive in cities whose architecture he would probably have had difficulty preventing himself from dynamiting.

Why is The Fountainhead getting translated? Numbers, for one thing. Most early reviews note Rand’s vast audience, with Atlas Shrugged selling second only to the Bible. It’s certainly not because of any literary value. The Beijing News, in a review casting it as a work of utopian fiction, calls it “long, dull, and unbalanced, with no sense of rhythm,” but says that as a work of philosophy, “we really shouldn’t use the standards of literature to evaluate it.”

Writing in The Economic Observer Review of Books, reviewer Shi Tao pinpoints why this book might appeal to today’s Chinese readers:

In Rand’s view, you need not abase yourself to pursue wealth, but you should be ashamed of yourself if you lack creativity. The IT elite who came along later highly praised this ideal.

Or it could just be that the “virtue of selfishness” is just the philosophy China’s rich need to explain away such unpleasantries as the wealth gap and social duties.

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by @ 2:56 pm. Filed under Culture, China, Asia, East Asia, Northeast Asia, Books

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