Bloomberg News sells its credibility to the Chinese

The investigative report they had been working on for the better part of a year, which detailed the hidden financial ties between one of the wealthiest men in China and the families of top Chinese leaders, would not be published.

In the call late last month, (longtime Bloomberg News editor in chief Matthew) Winkler defended his decision, comparing it to the self-censorship by foreign news bureaus trying to preserve their ability to report inside Nazi-era Germany, according to Bloomberg employees familiar with the discussion.

“He said, ‘If we run the story, we’ll be kicked out of China,’ ” one of the employees said. Less than a week later, a second article, about the children of senior Chinese officials employed by foreign banks, was also declared dead, employees said.

Edward Snowden exposed

The Sunday Morning Post can now reveal Snowden’s claims that the NSA is:

Assuming Edward Snowden isn’t naive enough to think the Chinese don’t spy on us, what’s his rationale for spilling U.S. secrets to state-run media?

Lest we forget

Before the birth of the Antichrist (a female, striking a blow for women) pushes Edward Snowden from the national consciousness, let’s revisit Edward Snowden’s judgement.

“Whether it was youthful naïveté or just ignorance, Mr. Snowden’s positive view of Hong Kong no longer matches the reality, according to the director of Hong Kong Human Rights Monitor. “Shortly before his arrival, the international organization Freedom House ranked Hong Kong 71st in the world in protection of political rights and civil liberties. Reporters Without Borders has dropped Hong Kong on its ranking of press freedom to No. 58, from No. 18 in 2002.”

As for Hong Kong’s landlord …

Those who care or purport to care about human rights must start to discuss this problem in plain words. Is there an initiative to save the un-massacred remains of the people of Darfur? It will be met by a Chinese veto. Does anyone care about Robert Mugabe treating his desperate population as if it belonged to him personally? China is always ready to help him out. Are the North Koreans starved and isolated so that a demented playboy can posture with nuclear weapons? Beijing will give the demented playboy a guarantee. How long can Southeast Asia bear the shame and misery of the Burmese junta? As long as the embrace of China persists. The identity of Tibet is being obliterated by the deliberate importation of Chinese settlers. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a man who claims even to know and determine the sex lives of his serfs (by the way, the very essence of totalitarianism), is armed and financed by China.

Christoper Hitchens

A most optimistic prediction for 2012

Writing for Foreign Policy, Gordon G. Chang predicts the collapse of the Communist Party in China. Let’s hope he’s right.

At a time when crucial challenges mount, the Communist Party is beginning a multi-year political transition and therefore ill-prepared for the problems it faces. There are already visible splits among Party elites, and the leadership’s sluggish response in recent months — in marked contrast to its lightning-fast reaction in 2008 to economic troubles abroad — indicates that the decision-making process in Beijing is deteriorating. So check the box on divided government.

And as for the existence of an opposition, the Soviet Union fell without much of one. In our substantially more volatile age, the Chinese government could dissolve like the autocracies in Tunisia and Egypt. As evident in this month’s “open revolt” in the village of Wukan in Guangdong province, people can organize themselves quickly — as they have so many times since the end of the 1980s. In any event, a well-oiled machine is no longer needed to bring down a regime in this age of leaderless revolution.

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I am a lonesome sellout

Maureen Dowd skewers Bob Dylan for capitulating to the Chinese government as it engages in a merciless crackdown of artists and dissidents. Renowned architect Ai Weiwei, responsible for the Bird’s Nest design of Beijing’s Olympic stadium, is among those who’ve been detained.

Dylan said nothing about Weiwei’s detention, didn’t offer a reprise of “Hurricane,” his song about “the man the authorities came to blame for something that he never done.” He sang his censored set, took his pile of Communist cash and left.

“The Times They Are Not a-Changin’,” noted The Financial Times under a picture of the grizzled 69-year-old on stage in a Panama hat.

“Imagine if the Tea Party in Idaho said to him, ‘You’re not allowed to play whatever,’ you’d get a very different response,” said an outraged Sophie Richardson of Human Rights Watch.

Wouldn’t want to offend China

Neither President Barack Obama nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has singled out China for public criticism over the latest wave of arrests, though both have said that they always raise human rights in their private conversations with Chinese officials.

Which makes them just like every administration, Republicans and Democrat.

Artist Ai Weiwei, who collaborated on the design for Beijing’s Olympic stadium, is the latest high-profile critic of the Chinese government who was reported detained. He was stopped at Beijing’s airport on April 3 as he prepared to fly to Hong Kong, and his whereabouts since have not been disclosed by Chinese authorities. …

Wolf said he doesn’t expect much from his colleagues in Congress either, where he said neither party “has the heart to take this issue on” or to press China to change its human rights record by threatening punitive measures on trade or currency.

American foreign policy — inconsistent and unashamed.


I’ll never understand artists who suck up to Communists.

[Pianist] Lang [Liang] played a Chinese household song called “My Motherland” at the function to welcome President Hu Jintao. It was the theme music of a 1956 movie named Shangganling Battle, which depicted the fighting of Chinese troops against US troops during the Korean War (1950-53).

A lyric in the song goes, “If the jackals come, we will greet them with guns.”

Lang denied any hidden intentions behind the choice, saying on his Facebook account Tuesday that “it has been a favorite of mine since I was a child. It was selected for no other reason but for the beauty of its melody. I am, first and foremost, an artist. As such, I play music to bring people together.”

“America and China are my two homes. … I couldn’t be who I am today without those two countries,” he added. “My mission is to bridge cultures through the beauty and inspiration of music.”

So I guess he’ll play the Battle Hymn of the Republic next time the U.S. president visits Beijing.

Artist and dissident Ai Weiwei, on a Twitter posting, simply laughed off Lang Lang’s explanation. He wrote “Not political?” — and then dismissed the suggestion with an unprintable expletive.

when will obama speak out on human rights?

China has detained several dissidents ahead of the president’s visit, and it’ll be interesting to see if he takes note. His silence on human rights abuses has disappointed.

(Commenters, please refrain from the hyperbole consistent with Obama Derangement Syndrome.)

the real legacy of the beijing olympics

Propaganda prevails, and China gloats:

The Games exposed billions of global viewers to the Middle Kingdom and its culture, furthering its “soft power” ambitions. It displayed impressive preparation and management skills, and its athletes won 51 gold medals —- far more than the 36 won by U.S. athletes. Even the air turned out to be better than many people expected.

Much of the media bought into the charade, but as Jeff Schultz observed, it was conducted on the backs of modern-day serfs.

The aftermath of elaborate Opening Ceremonies spoke volumes. There were stories of 51-hour rehearsals where participants were allowed only two bathroom breaks and two meals. Several collapsed from exhaustion or heatstroke. Some performers wore diapers because they couldn’t leave the field for six hours.

Fifteen minutes before the show, a 7-year-old girl was replaced by a 9-year-old girl to lip-synch, “Ode to the Motherland.” Zhang Yimou didn’t believe the 7-year-old was cute enough. That should do wonders for her self-esteem.

In an interview with Chinese journalists, Zhang said only North Korea could’ve put on a better show (“They are uniform beyond belief!”)

The IOC will probably give North Korea the chance. Former IOC dictator — and Franco toady — Juan Antonio Samaranch declared, “I think it is the best Olympics ever. China is No. 1.”

It must feel good, delivering a victory to Communist thugs. The IOC knew China’s record. They knew the government had no intention of changing. But money — and their own self-importance — proved more persuasive.

I’m happy for Michael Phelps and the other medalists, but I’m not proud to be an American, or “a citizen of the world.” Once again, we have failed the oppressed, blinded by pretty lights and human brushes.

whatever happened to dan and dave?

The *opening ceremony was compelling propaganda, writes Sacha Zimmerman, though the U.S. team didn’t leave much of an impression:

(T)he Ralph Lauren-clad Americans came marching along looking for all the world like the crew of “The Love Boat.”

Perhaps I’m reading too much into it, but that nifty sentence says a lot worth saying.

*Speaking of noteworthy opening ceremonies …

rooting against the americans

Interesting bit of channel-flipping after work last night. On one, I watched a report on the plight of Buddha’s noble, peaceful warriors. In Tibet, and less directly, in Burma, the Chinese government has aggressively thwarted their efforts to simply worship as they please.

I switched to ESPN, where LeBron James was discussing his newfound compassion for the suffering in Darfur (genocide sponsored by China). That interview was taped months before the Olympics, when James was practicing some damage control after being criticized for not signing a petition condemning China’s financial support of the Sudanese government.

Now he’s a bit more circumspect. Time to play basketball, you know.

We’re here to win the gold, James said, not to discuss politics. Kobe Bryant was equally feckless, saying, in effect, no one cares what athletes think.

Not so in China. With the Communist regime incorporating free market elements, American sports superstars have emerged as (safely sanitized) household names, especially now with Yao Ming competing against them in the NBA.

The Chinese people assume the American players are mere wards of the state. That’s how it is in their country.

The USOC is encouraging such submission. We’re here to dominate weaker countries, that’s all. Pride, not politics.

And really, what could be more inspiring than seeing a bunch of multi-millionaires unite to defeat a team of Lithuanians (whose center stands 6’7) by three points? I’m sure it’ll come of great comfort to the monks in exile. Maybe they’ll be inspired to fight harder. Get some guns and shit.

Better to see Americans, famous worldwide, standing up for what’s right, risking nothing more than some endorsement cash they would hardly miss. Think that might draw some attention? Hell, it might even touch a patriotic nerve or two.

Just a few words, or even a symbolic gesture — however choreographed — would send a message of encouragement to the oppressed. I bet they’d appreciate it.

Too bad there’s not a shoe deal attached.

Assuming none, I hope the Lithuanians kick our (their) ass.

don’t go, sarko

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he may not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics if China continues its brutal crackdown on peaceful protesters in Tibet.

“Our Chinese friends must understand the worldwide concern that there is about the question of Tibet, and I will adapt my response to the evolutions in the situation that will come, I hope, as rapidly as possible,” the president said during a visit with a military regiment in southwest France.

Meanwhile, the great liberator George W. Bush says politics has nothing to do with the Olympics. Politics has nothing to do with Jesus, either, but that’s never stopped W.

hu, you’re doing a heck of a job

China’s crackdown in Tibet won’t stop Bush from attending the Beijing Olympics. Apparently even a statement condemning the government’s brutal suppression of human rights is too much to ask.

Presidential spokeswoman Dana Perino Bush’s position is that “this should be about the athletes and not necessarily about politics.”She said that Bush, in accepting the invitation last year from Chinese President Hu Jintao to attend the Olympics, told him that the games would “shine a spotlight on all things Chinese.””That’s not necessarily a bad thing,” Perino added.  

Neither, I suppose, is China’s admission it has killed murdered “rioting” protesters. In self-defense, of course.

Obviously the communist superpower knows its importance to the American economy, so it acts with impunity. If only there had been a billion potential customers in Iraq …

Bush’s silence is an embarrassment, but not a surprise. His predecessors were equally complicit.