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Friday, June 30, 2006

Railway to Tibet (Xizang) is Put on Operation

The Qinghai-Tibet (Xizang) railroad that was compeleted last year will be put in operation since July 1 after about one-year testing.

The highest railway in the world starts from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, ends at Lhasa, the Tibet (Xizang) Province. The total length is 1,956km, of which the 814km from Xining to Golmud was finished in 1979. The construction of 1142km from Golmud to Lhasa was started in 2001.

According to the Chinese government's plan, three more railroad branches will be built. The branches, which will connect Lhasa, the capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, and three other Tibetan cities – Nyingchi, Shiagatse (xigaze) and Yadong, will be completed in 10 years.

Passenger trains will start from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou (Capital of Guangdong province), Chengdu (capital of Sichuan Province), Chongqing and Xining cities.

A free trade zone, which will be the largest in southwest China, will be built in Yadong. Yadong is one of the major border towns in Tibet, and 460 kilometers southwest of Lhasa, or 300 kilometers from Bhutan's capital city, Thimbu, or 600 kilometers from Dacca, capital of Bangladesh.

The train from Beijing will pass through Shijiazhuang, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Xining, Golmud and Nagqu Township. The 4,064-kilometer trip will take 47 hours and 28 minutes from Beijing to Lhasa, 32 minutes less than the return trip.

The 3,360-kilometer trip from Chengdu to Lhasa will take 48 hours and 10 minutes and pass through Guangyuan and Baoji and then link to Lanzhou, Xining, Golmud and Nagqu Township.

The 3,654-kilometer trip from Chongqing will take 47 hours and eight minutes.
The 2,188-kilometer journey from Lanzhou to Lhasa will take 29 hours and 45 minutes.
The trip from Xining in Qinghai Province to Lhasa, which covers 1,972 kilometers, will be 26 hours and 23 minutes.

There are three kinds of tickets available, tickets for basic coachs(or called a hard seats), tickets for hard sleeper bunk beds and tickets for a shared compartments or soft sleepers. The prices for these three kinds of tickets are : (US$1 = 8 yuan)
From Beijing, 389 yuan, 813 yuan and 1,262 yuan respectively.
from Chengdu, 331 yuan, 712 yuan and 1,104 yuan.
From Chongqing, 355 yuan, 754 yuan and 1,168 yuan.
From Lanzhou, 242 yuan, 552 yuan and 854 yuan.
From Xining, 226 yuan, 523 yuan and 810 yuan.

The following are some facts about the Qinghai-Tibet Railway:

* It is the world's highest railway. Some 960 kilometers of its tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters, at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the Andes, which was formerly the world's most elevated track.
* It is the world's longest plateau railroad, extending 1,956 kilometers from Qinghai's provincial capital Xining to Lhasa in Tibet. The newly completed Golmud-Lhasa section zigzags 1,142 kilometers across the Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges.
* About 550 kilometers of the tracks run on frozen earth, the longest in any of the world's plateau railways.
* Tanggula Railway Station, 5,068 meters above sea level, is the highest railway station in the world.
* Fenghuoshan Tunnel, 4,905 meters above sea level, is the world's most elevated tunnel on frozen earth.
* Kunlun Mountain Tunnel, running 1,686 meters, is the world's longest plateau tunnel built on frozen earth.
* Upon its completion, the maximum train speed is designed to reach 100 kilometers per hour in the frozen earth areas and 120 kilometers per hour on non-frozen earth.
* Construction of the Golmud-Lhasa section of the landmark railway commenced on June 29, 2001 and test runs were set for July 2005.

The railroad from Gomud to Lhasa

The passenger train used on the railroad to Lhasa

Oxygen generator on the train

Toilet room on the train

Hard sleeper bunk beds

Shared compartment or soft sleeper

Tibetan Chinese happily patrols on the railroad

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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

F88 Wrist Watch Mobile Phone from CEC Corp

This could be "the first true cell-phone watch is about to break onto the market"

F88 is a wristwatch with built-in mobile phone capabilities. It features 26K colors CSTN display, a built-in 3 megapixel 180-degree rotating camera, a built-in microphone and speakerphone for conferencing, voice dialing, 4 minutes of voice recording, IrDA connectivity and organization tools such as schedule, alarm clock and reminder note. You can even play the pre-installed world cup games on the phone. The keypad number is located on the strap.

A wired earpiece is worn on the finger like a ring. To listen to the call, the ring is held up to the ear. However, a more conventional wireless infrared earphone or wired earpiece is also available.

CEC claims a talk time of up to 120 minutes and a stand-by time of up to 100 hours for the F88 with the 600mAh battery.

It measures 38.3 mm × 76.7 mm × 17 mm and weights 100grams with the battery.

CEC Corp built the GSM F88 wrist watch phone especially for Chinese ping pong player, Liu Guoliang. Perhaps due to his enormous popularity, the company has made the watch available to the market for 8,888 Yuan ($1,111).

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Saturday, June 24, 2006

China ready to grant farming cooperatives legal status

This is similar to the collective farming economy before the reform. With a lot of issues in rural China, more and more Chinese, especially farmers realize the agricultural reform is a failure and the root of almost all of the rural troubles.

The "distributing of the land to individual families" policy never works well in China. It is totally different than what both Chinese and western media said at the begining of the reform due to the color of the socilism of the farming cooperatives. The fact is Xiaogang Village that was used as an example of the agriculture reform is still very very poor even Chinese government allocated a lot financial resources comparing with some relic farming cooperatives.

Since China has only 7% of world's arable land, but has 22% of the world population. Each rural Chinese family has only a small piece of land for farming after the reform. The individual family are vulnerable in any mishaps and has nothing for reinvestment for its future.

The farming cooperatives are different. Families are teamed together. They can help each if some have trouble and bigger piece of land is more suitable for modern farming and also farming cooperatives can have more collective savings for investments that can give them a more promising future.

Some examples of the sucessful farming cooperatives:
Nanjie Village in Henan province
Huaxi Village in Jiangsu province
Hancunhe Village in Beijing

Some pictures of those relic and rich farming cooperatives in China:
Nanjie Village in Henan Province
Huaxi Village in Jiangsu Province
Hancunhe Village in Beijing

With the inspiration of those successful farming cooperatives, the collective economy finally come back again!


Cooperatives founded by farmers will soon enjoy legal status as Chinese legislators gathered Saturday to discuss a draft law to better protect farmers' business interests.

"How to help rural household better combat natural and market risks in business operation and connect small and sporadic household businesses with domestic and international markets are major issues in facilitating agricultural and rural economic development," said Li Chunting, member of the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee.

The draft law on farmers' professional cooperatives was presented to the legislators for the first deliberation, as household business, major backbone of China's rural economy, has become ever vulnerable when facing more and more competitive market.

Currently, China has no law or administrative regulations defining the legal status of rural cooperatives, which in turn fail to obtain government registration to guarantee their daily operation.

Source: Xinhua

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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Chinese University Released UNIX-like C++ OS

UnixLite, a small UNIX-like operating system written in C++, was released by Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (NUAA) in China.

Accoding to UnixLite website, this lightweight system is more modular and easily understood because of its small size (the kernel is made up of about 20000 lines of code) and the object oriented programming using the c++ language.

Technical Features of UnixLite System:
Support paging and flat memory model, nearly same as linux
Implements about 80 posix compliant system call
Binary compatible with linux
Able to run bash/gcc, and some other common UNIX tools
Very rudimentary TCP/IP support, able to run a simple http server
Very small, about 20000 lines of code
Written in c++, highly modular and extensible
Minix's 32-bit file system

Websites for reference:
UnixLite Website
News from linuxdevices

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Haier Won 2006 iF Product Design Awards

This actually could be a right direction for huge Chinese appliance industry.

Design Antidote for China’s Petty Profits?

by Viloet Han, China Correspondent

A milestone for the Chinese appliance industry was reached when the 2006 iF Product Design Awards were announced in April.

Haier’s A-003 became the first Chinese household appliance brand to win the award since the competition was first staged 53 years ago.

After more than 20 years of continuous expansion of China’s appliance manufacturing industry, the industry has encountered a kind of bottleneck. Some industry watchers in China have seen the global increase in raw material prices force OEMs in China to give up price-cutting and fast-paced expansion.

Some Chinese appliance producers are turning to industrial design (ID) to find a new competitive edge. Creating appliances with original elements and distinctive design is becoming a focus.

The truth is that, despite 20 years of expansion at break-neck speed, the household appliance industry in China has not cultivated much expertise in ID. Few decision-makers in the industry even realize its importance.

“Actually, the household industry was the first to introduce the industrial design idea,” says Li Jin, vice general director of TCL Industrial Design Company, part of TCL Corporation (Zhongshan, Guangdong, China), which also includes TCL Home Appliances Division, a maker of air-conditioners, refrigerators and washing machines. “Many engineers specializing in design work joined the household appliance industry 20 years ago. But, after that, the huge market stimulated the enterprises to develop rapidly around the strategic focus of ‘produce and market’ without efforts on industrial design anymore,” Li Jin says.

Niu Jiusheng, director of Xinxiang, China-based Henan Xinfei Electric Co., Ltd.’s Industrial Design Office, has a similar perspective. “Xinfei acknowledged the importance of industrial design as early as 1990,” he says. “However, our strategy focused on production, and marketing departments are the key power.” Still, he says Xinfei began putting more emphasis on the industrial design aspect of product development in about 2000.

Appliance maker Hefei Meiling Co., Ltd., (Hefei, China) has given ID more prominence in-house by establishing an ID center. Zheng Rongfeng, director of the center, says Meiling’s ID efforts were once scattered in several workshops that functioned independently. With the establishment of the new center, Meiling’s ID efforts are brought together, where they can be focused and maximized.

A Change in Perspective

Chen Wenlong, general manager of Taipei, Taiwan-based Nova Design Company, says he saw a basic lack of understanding of ID a decade ago. “I found the entrepreneurs lacked interest and basic knowledge on industrial design,” he says.

Today, ID professionals in China see greater awareness

of ID’s importance. Changes in the marketing environment have made ID a concern—passively or actively—to industry insiders.

An example of a company actively involved in the movement is consumer electronics and air-conditioning maker Sichuan Changhong Electric Co., Ltd. (Zhongshan, China). Changhong’s objectives were to reach the top of the China consumer electronics industry in a short period and acquire a certain level of influence globally within 3 years to 5 years. To help it achieve these ambitious goals, Changhong found the resources to create a higher level of in-house expertise in ID. Mo Wenwei, director of the OEM’s Industrial Design Office, says the office has grown to a staff of 40 in the 3 years since it was established.

Li Hong, vice general manager of Little Swan Co., Ltd. (Wuxi, China), says that there are 10 employees in its ID department and the company has traditionally designed products in-house. Now, however, Little Swan is considering inviting strategic partners to handle some of its research and development (R&D), Hong tells APPLIANCE.

Xie Fen, director of Midea’s air-conditioner design department, says that the decision-makers at the company have put more emphasis on ID this year. ID is currently handled by a specialized design firm, but Midea is in the planning stages for an independent, in-house design center, Fen tells APPLIANCE.

Kitchen electric housewares maker Guangdong Donlim Group (Guangdong, China) has come to place much importance on industrial design for giving small appliances’ brand identity and style. Pan Weidong, the assistant to the chairman of the group, says that the company is discussing a cooperative agreement with a French firm specializing in ID. Guangdong Donlim plans to leverage this design expertise to help it introduce the concept of the “French-style, Western-type appliance” in China.
It has been reported that Guangdong Midea (Shunde City, Guangdong Province, China) has 60 employees on its ID team, and plans to construct a new building to support the design of household appliances. Also, Midea is planning to set up an independent ID department under its subsidiaries.

Li Jin says TCL provided substantial financial support to its 26-staff ID company. In addition, the Zhongshan city government formed positive policies to support the ID company.

In April 2006, Qingdao Haier (Qingdao, China) became the first Chinese household appliance brand to win an iF Product Design Awards in the history of the competition. Haier won for the A-003 air-conditioner. The iF competition has been held since 1953 and is organized by the iF International Forum Design GmbH (Hannover, Germany).

An Uneven Developing Path

Interviews conducted by APPLIANCE reveal problems threatening to stall the flourishing of ID in the China appliance industry. Many OEMs don’t even have a full understanding of what ID is. Most producers seem to think ID is the same thing as product appearance, so ID efforts equate to emphasizing product aesthetics.
OEMs in China typically give their product development teams mandates of quick design and low cost. That leaves little room for enhanced ID efforts.

The result is that, even with some producers embracing ID, professional industrial designers in China are struggling to sign-up clients and the design companies are engaged in price battles, which hurts the development of this industry niche.

Knowledge as Property

It is worth noting that knowledge property should be an important and valuable result of an ID project. However, as APPLIANCE spoke to China’s appliance industry insiders, it became clear that there is much concern about the lack of protection for R&D results, especially in early stages of product development. China offers little legal protection for “soft designs,” particularly during the products’ early development stages.

Many companies feel helpless to prevent the possible loss of their hard-earned knowledge property. Naturally, this reduces industry’s enthusiasm for putting resources into ID.

Other factors are at work. Some segments of the Chinese appliance industry have entered what has been called a “petty profit era.” With profits relatively low, companies are looking for ways to reduce operational costs, often cutting costs from the R&D programs that were under-funded in the first place.

ID needs large-scale investment to ensure high-quality results. It is still unclear whether Chinese household appliance enterprises that are improving and investing in ID will retain their enthusiasm even under the cloud of petty profits.

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Just who's afraid of China?


June 21, 2006
The United States risks too much in portraying China as a threat to the rest of Asia, writes Hugh White.

FOR years, American strategists tended to underestimate the challenge that China poses to America in Asia. They put their faith in what seemed a simple and foolproof mechanism. The more China's power grew, they assumed, the more other Asian countries would come to fear it and welcome tough US action to counterbalance China and keep it in its box. This would impose a kind of automatic limit to China's regional influence: as its military power grew, its political and diplomatic clout relative to the US would fall.

But it has not worked that way. During the past five years, as China's military power has grown rapidly, its political and diplomatic influence has grown even faster. Beijing has mounted a sustained diplomatic offensive aimed precisely at easing regional fears of China's growing power.

The success of this diplomacy has been startling. Helped, of course, by the immense gravitational pull of its economic boom, Beijing has largely eliminated the negatives in its relationships with every country in the Western Pacific. Australia has been very much part of this pattern. The only exception — though a crucial one — is Japan.

As a result, Washington has woken up to the uncomfortable reality that an increasingly well-armed China might also be accepted as an economic and even political leader in Asia. That poses a real challenge to American primacy, which matters a lot in Washington. Sustaining primacy in Asia is one of America's top long-term strategic objectives.

So America is fighting back by trying to encourage Asians to be more worried by China's growing military power. Last year in Singapore, US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld took aim at China's military modernisation, and this month he did it again. His line is that Beijing has not properly explained what its growing forces are for and, without such explanations, China's Asian neighbours should be worried about them.

Is he right? Well, it is certainly true that China's military capability is growing, and changing shape in very significant ways. Until recently, China's military was overwhelmingly focused on big, crude land forces designed to fight the Soviet Union. Now it is focused on modern, high-tech air and naval forces. It is buying submarines with modern missiles and torpedoes, new warships with anti-aircraft radars and missiles, and combat aircraft suited to maritime strikes.

There is no doubt that all this makes China a more formidable maritime power than it has been in many centuries. And maritime power is what matters in Asia, especially for the US, whose strategic position in Asia is based on its traditional naval and air domination of the Western Pacific. It also matters to Japan, Australia and much of South-East Asia, whose security requires the protection of their island territories and seaborne trade from maritime threats.

But Rumsfeld is stretching it a lot when he says we do not know what China's forces are for. In fact, it's plain why China has been building up its forces, as the Pentagon itself concedes in its annual report to Congress on China's military power, published last month. Since the US sent carriers to the waters around Taiwan in 1996, China's military build-up has been primarily focused on ways to increase the costs and risks to Washington of doing the same again in a Taiwan crisis.

Beijing has been buying the ships, submarines, aircraft and other systems to enable it to attack the kind of forces, especially aircraft carriers, that Washington might send against China in a conflict over Taiwan. And there is not much doubt that it has succeeded, at least up to a point.

But China's growing maritime power may make a conflict over Taiwan less likely. The most probable spark for a crisis would be a miscalculated move towards independence by Taiwan's leaders, acting under a false assumption that American military supremacy would deter any Chinese military move. The stronger China's forces, the less likely Taipei is to make that mistake and the less likely we are to see a conflict.

Of course, China's maritime build-up probably has long-term aims beyond Taiwan. One is security for its trade, especially energy imports. China depends heavily on sea lines of communications to suppliers and customers and, unlike Japan, South Korea and Australia, it cannot rely on the US to help protect them. China does not yet seem to have worked out how to respond.

But again, actions by China to secure its sea lines of communication are not necessarily destabilising. China's many trade partners — including Australia — have an interest in the security of China's seaborne trade just as much as China does.

Is there nothing to fear, then, from China's growing maritime power? I would not go that far. China might be building its forces to deter Taiwan and protect its trade, but those forces will, over time, provide China with a substantial capacity to intimidate and, if necessary, to attack countries throughout Asia. Nothing in China's foreign policy gives good reason to worry that it will use its power in that way. But nothing guarantees that it will not. We simply do not know.

And it is no use for Rumsfeld to demand that China tell us their plans. They do not know what the future holds any more than we do. Like the rest of us, they are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.

The only alternative is to find a way to step back from the strategic competition that is growing so relentlessly between China and the US. One good start would be for Rumsfeld to stop trying to scare America's Asian friends with dark hints of a China threat. Washington cannot sustain its primacy in Asia by trying to make China look bad. That risks becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Hugh White is a visiting fellow at the Lowy Institute and professor of strategic studies at ANU.

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Sunday, June 18, 2006

Indian Stocks Too Costly to Sustain Rebound, Strategists Say


June 19 (Bloomberg) -- Indian stocks may be too expensive even after falling from records set last month, and many of the region's analysts say the market will fail to extend the biggest two-day rally in two years.

Strategists at Deutsche Securities Asia Ltd., Merrill Lynch Asia Pacific Ltd., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Nomura International (Hong Kong) Ltd. are among those who see share prices as too high relative to other emerging markets.

``I don't think that this market has finished falling,'' said Spencer White, chief equity strategist at Merrill in Hong Kong. ``I simply don't see enough factors to convince me that the 25 percent decline we have had in the last month really is the end.'' White has a ``market-weight'' rating on India, suggesting that investors' stakes track regional indexes.

The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index, or Sensex, has tumbled 22 percent from its peak on May 10, the biggest decline among Asian benchmarks. All 30 stocks in the index have fallen, led by a 36 percent plunge in Hindalco Industries Ltd., India's biggest non-ferrous metals maker.

Last week, the Sensex surged 11 percent in the final two trading days as concern eased that rising interest rates around the world will limit economic growth. The rally was the biggest since May 2004 and resulted in a 0.8 percent gain for the week, the index's first in six weeks, to 9884.51. The Morgan Stanley Capital International Asia-Pacific Index added 0.7 percent.

MSCI's Emerging Markets Index also snapped a five-week losing streak, adding 0.1 percent. The global index has fallen 20 percent from a record, reached May 8, on concern that higher rates will reduce demand for riskier assets. During that time, the Sensex has lost 21 percent.

10 Percent Tumble

Indian stocks tumbled 10 percent on May 22, sparking one- hour trading halts by exchanges. Prices rebounded after Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said banks would help investors meet calls for cash and urged individuals to stay in the market.

Earlier this month, stocks fell after the Reserve Bank of India unexpectedly increased the rate at which it removes funds from the banking system by a quarter point, to 5.75 percent. The central bank's June 8 decision was in keeping with similar moves in the euro region, South Africa, South Korea and elsewhere.

``We are still some way away from stability,'' said Jayesh Shroff, who helps manage about $1.9 billion of Indian stocks at SBI Funds Management Ltd. in Mumbai.

The Sensex is valued at 15.2 times estimated earnings for the current year, down from a high of 20.5 times on May 10. The price-earnings ratio is still above the MSCI emerging-markets index's 12.2 times.

More Rate Increases?

``It is early to say that a lot of value is emerging,'' said Adrian Mowat, JPMorgan's regional equity strategist, based in Hong Kong. ``I don't plan on changing my `underweight' view on Indian stocks yet.''

Local mutual funds were net sellers of stock from June 2 to June 14, according to data from the Securities & Exchange Board of India, the market's regulator. The nine-day stretch, with as much as $475.4 million in net sales, was the longest this year.

Overseas investors have sold about $2.4 billion more stock than they bought since May 11, almost half their net $5 billion of purchases for the year through May 10, the data showed.

Economists see India's central bank raising its key interest rate next month for the third time this year as the economy's expansion and higher oil prices spur inflation. The Reserve Bank will increase the rate at a July 25 meeting by a quarter point, to 6 percent, according to 10 of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News after this month's move.

Doubting 'Growth Story'

``We see more rate increases in India as the central bank tries to tackle rising inflation,'' said Sean Darby, head of Asian strategy at Nomura. Darby estimates the Sensex's fair value at 7,000, or 29 percent below last week's close.

Higher rates may impede economic expansion. Increases in gross domestic product averaged 8 percent in the three years ended March 31, making India the second-fastest growing major economy after China. The government is counting on rising farm and industrial production to accelerate the pace to as much as 10 percent a year over the next decade.

``I don't believe in the growth story,'' said Mark Jolley, Deutsche Bank AG's Asian strategist, based in Hong Kong. ``I don't believe the government can make the market grow without causing inflation.'' Jolley also rates India ``underweight.''

JF Asset Management Ltd., on the other hand, sees India as a ``a very good long-term growth story,'' said Grace Tam, a Hong Kong-based investment services associate for the firm.

Seeing the Bottom

``We have become even more bullish because the valuation has become even more reasonable,'' Tam said. JF Asset oversees $81 billion in Asia and favors stocks such as Associated Cement Cos., India's biggest cement maker by capacity.

Hayes Miller, a manager of global equities at Baring Asset Management Inc. in Boston, said emerging-market valuations are low relative to developed markets, helping countries such as India. MSCI's emerging-market index is valued at 12.2 times estimated earnings, below the 14.4 for the MSCI World Index.

``We aren't too far from the bottom,'' said Miller, whose firm oversees $37 billion.

Still, some investors share the concern among strategists. They said the Sensex will need to fall further before they are tempted to buy.

``India just doesn't make sense for us at the moment,'' said Angelo Corbetta, who oversees $4.3 billion at Pioneer Investment Management Ltd. in Singapore. ``The 8,000 level for the Sensex is a good entry point.''

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Report reveals whale hunt cruelty


AUSTRALIA has revealed the true cruelty of Japan's allegedly scientific whaling program, unveiling a disturbing report on how much the animals suffer as they are harpooned and suffocated.

Environment Minister Ian Campbell said the animal welfare study, based on videos of Japanese hunts, showed the way whales were killed was "inhumane and quite disgusting".

Senator Campbell's comments have ignited a new row with Japan on the sidelines of the International Whaling Commission's annual meeting. The Japanese, stung by the failure of three attempts to have the commission endorse its whaling program, have responded by suggesting kangaroos hunted in Australia also suffer.

Senator Campbell released the report, compiled by the International Fund for Animal Welfare, which claimed to show Japan's argument it conducts whale hunts humanely "is absolutely false". "This is how Japan, in the name of science, collects whale meat, takes it back to Japan, sticks it in warehouses, tries to get schoolchildren to eat it, gets old people to eat it now, and we also know from some evidence that they feed it to dogs," he said, although Japan denied these allegations.

"It is a horrendous thing . . . it is absolutely abysmal, it is wrong and it has to stop."

The IFAW report claims that more than 80 per cent of whales were not killed instantly, once harpooned. It says whales are often alive as they are winched aboard whaling ships, with harpoons embedded in their flesh. It also says harpooned whales often suffocate as their blow holes are forced underwater when pulled aboard.

Japanese delegate Joji Morishita said Japan's whale killing was "the most humane way". "I just wonder if the minister knows how long it will take for kangaroos to die in his country?" he said.

Japanese official Akira Nakamae later said Senator Campbell's comments were "ungentlemanly" and were damaging Australia's international reputation.

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IC Design in Mainland China are Cataching up with S Korea and Taiwan

Annual Survey of Integrated Circuit (IC) Design Houses shows mainland China firms are catching up with their counterparts in Taiwan and South Korea in terms of both annual revenue and design complexity.

The average size of the mainland China IC design house is 163 personnels with 49 IC design engineers. The average revenue for each design house were 5.4 million in 2005 and will be increased to 7.8 million in 2006. 86% of the design houses use foundry services, among wich 60% use local fountry services. 90% of the design houses have their own brands. 72% of the design houses utilize 0.25um or smaller technology in the digital design, 49% in the anolog design, 57% in the mixed-signal design.

For more detail, please visit

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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

How the Chinese view India

This article reveals some systematic issues in India, especially in the infrastruture improvement. Many think about the bright side of democracy, but the inefficiency is a big drag in India's economy.

Many talk about IT and back-office business in India. But with revenue of about $30 billion and employment of only 1.3 million, it does help the development in India, but, can it resolve the economical issues in a country of 1.1 billion population? I seriously doubt it. Without India's domestic industry is very critical since it can expand the development to more people, more importantly, those stand for the mojority of Indians. But without a sound transportation system, enough electricity, the development of manufacturing industry can only a plan on papers.


June 13, 2006

What does the average Chinese businessman think of India? I put this question two months ago to an Indian trader I met in China's textile capital Shaoxing, some four hours south-east of Shanghai.

Over a vegetarian pizza, he told me that most of his Chinese clients considered India with respect, some even with fear. After all, Indians were teaching otherwise crafty Chinese entrepreneurs a trick or two about the textile trade. And then there was the tale of a school teacher's son and his six colleagues setting out with $250 in their pockets 25 years ago and creating the $2 bn Infosys Technologies.

A few months ago, the owner of a large Chinese textile unit accompanied him on a visit to India. The mill owner was sewing up some big contracts with Indian garment exporters. And of course to see this "fast-growing nation" for himself. "Guess what," said the Indian trader, "The moment we landed at Mumbai and emerged from the airport, something changed. I could see the Chinese mill owner breathing a visible sigh of relief."

He said other traders had similar stories to narrate. Visiting Chinese businessmen would speak well of India for its market potential and entrepreneurship. But on India as competition, they changed their opinion the moment they cleared immigration. The perception they had built up did not match the reality they experienced. "'We don't have much to worry,' the mill owner told me," the Shaoxing businessman said, polishing off the last piece of the pizza.

Two weeks ago, GE Chairman Jeff Immelt towered over Mumbai's corporate who's who as he outlined his firm's revised India vision. "$8 billion by 2010," he announced to an attentive audience. How? "Well, for an economy to grow 8 per cent, you need power, planes." Immelt said broad-based consumerism, which wants basics as power, transport and water supply, was the driver. "Once people have tasted an economy that grows at 8 per cent a year, they get used to it," he said.

And then Immelt dropped his gem for the day. "The government and everything else work in China. The expressways and airports are just like those in Chicago and New York. China has got the macro picture right, India the micro picture. India's pluses are fantastic companies and systems." So, he said, with a flourish, India had to fix the macro picture. China has to fix the micro picture.

Since then, I've been posing that question to myself. Let's for a moment focus on the perception of whether we can fix the macro rather than whether we will fix it. Let's also assume, this writer's perceptions are clouded by journalistic pessimism.

Take the case of Mumbai, the city I live in. After years of debates, protests and court cases, a "new" airport will rise in the place of the only, old one. Will it be bigger? Not sure, that depends on whether the slum dwellers who muscled in alongside can be rehabilitated. Will it have better access? Not sure, looks like I will have to pass the same shanty towns to reach the international terminal. And no direct road. So, it's a look and feel show. A new airport is under consideration, though, for, possibly two decades.

A city metro system was under debate and discussion for as long, if not more. Work should start later this year. With the city's population straining over 17 million inhabitants, a metro (as and when it sees the light of day) will help. Unlikely, it will change life much.

An island city like Mumbai needs a water transport solution: think Star Ferry in Hong Kong. We must be in the third, or is it the fourth decade of planning and announcements? No solution is even in sight. So, don't expect dramatic quality of life changes for a few decades. What about power? Mumbai city scores here, though northern suburbs suffer. Let's not even talk of Bangalore.

In my last column, I talked about how investors are pouring money into China's mega bank IPOs. Only because they feel China is fixing its micro, to use Immelt's term again - he spoke of airports like New York and Chicago. Actually, China might do a little better. Particularly, if you were to consider Shanghai's Pudong International, which is going from two runways to five. Or the recently completed 1,142-km Qinghai-Tibet railway line, a massive engineering feat.

So, will India fix its macro? And, more importantly, when? If I haven't seen real action for the past two decades, what do I see today that suggests a magical transformation in the next two? Very little.

I've heard of the $150 billion opportunities number for a decade at least. Funny, the figure does not change. Shall we win the marathon against China in the next three or four decades? Probably. But chances are I may not be around. Nor, if you are reading this, will you. But China will fix its micro a lot sooner. That I am sure. And I am sure Immelt too is sure.

So, what should the average Chinese think of India? What should the average Indian think of India? The Shaoxing businessman tells me India has opportunity but should stop comparing itself with China. "Forget the infrastructure. Even we are treated better here," he tells me. Now, is that a macro or a micro problem?

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FiberHome Build 3.2 T DWDM System Between Shanghai and Hangzhou

According to the chinatechnews report, FiberHome Technology, a Chinese domestic company successfully built a transmission system 3TNetDWDM with feature of 80x40G DWDM transmission capacity between Shanghai and Hangzhou. This system was built jointly by FiberHome and China Telecom (CHA) as a key project of the State's 863 Plan.

FiberHome said this is a great breakthrough for China in the field of optical communications.

FiberHome, headquartered in Wuhan, is a company of more than 4000 staffs. It is the holder of 3 IP communication standards (ITU-T X.85, ITU-T X.86, ITU-T X.87)adopted by ITU.

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Monday, June 12, 2006

Feature: More and more Vietnamese keen on studying Chinese


"Like many other students loving Chinese, I'm sparing no efforts to enrich my language proficiency to have chance to set foot in China for better studying," said Nguyen Thi Cam Nhung, a Vietnamese girl.

Charming in a pink Chinese dress, the 22-year-old student of the Hanoi University of Foreign Studies in Vietnam's capital city said she would make greater efforts to win a big prize ( scholarship for studying in China) in the 5th "Chinese Bridge" - Chinese proficiency competition for foreign college students - to be held in Beijing in July.

On Sunday, Nhung beat 12 Vietnamese students from six major Vietnamese universities in the preliminary round of the 5th " Chinese Bridge" held in Hanoi. She and the second-prize winner will participate in the final round along with contestants from some 50 countries.

"I've determined on becoming a lecturer of Chinese language at my university. So, I do want to study Chinese in China. Mastering only language skills is not enough. I hope myself as well as my future students really to wallow in the beauty of Chinese language and culture," Nhung said, smiling.

Nhung's statement was echoed by the first-prize winner of the 4th "Chinese Bridge" held in Beijing in 2005, Vu Thuy Trang, from the Hanoi University of Foreign Studies. In August, Trang will go to the Chinese capital to pursue an MA (master of arts) degree in business administration.

"Vietnamese people have an old saying: Travel broadens the mind. Studying in China will enrich our professional knowledge. There are many destinations for our studying abroad, but for me, China is most suitable due to great similarities in culture and economy of China and Vietnam," said the newly-graduated girl.

"When I came to Beijing, I was deeply impressed. China is a country you want to stay or at least want to come back again once you go there," she stated.

For many other Vietnamese youths, who have won no scholarships to pursue further studies in China, their families are making efforts to send them to the country. At the Guangxi Education Exhibition held in Hanoi on Saturday, Trinh Thanh Tu, a 27-year- old girl from the city, said her family members were looking for a high-quality Chinese university for her to pursue a master's degree.

"I've already gained a university degree in business administration in Vietnam. I want to deepen my professional knowledge to get a better job in the future. Now, I'm actively improving my Chinese language skills," Tu said.

Nguyen Ngoc Long, dean of the Department of Chinese under the Hanoi University of Foreign Studies, said the department annually have 500 graduates, some of them have followed further studies in China, either on scholarship or self-financed basis.

"Many Vietnamese people like to study in China mainly because of similarities in conditions regarding food, accommodation and travel of Vietnam and China. Psychological and physiological features of Vietnamese and Chinese people are also much the same," Long said.

Tuition fee and cost of living in China are suitable to financial ability of many Vietnamese households, he added.

"As early as in their third year, almost every student at the Chinese department have found a good part-time job. Their good command of Chinese makes it easy for them to have chance to work for Chinese-invested companies here," Long said, noting that more and more projects invested by Chinese-speaking people from China's mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan districts, Malaysia and Singapore are appearing in Vietnam.

Broadened and deepened bilateral ties, especially those in investment and trade between China and Vietnam have resulted in bigger numbers of both Vietnamese students and state cadres studying Chinese.

In recent years, many officials of Vietnamese localities bordering China, including Lao Cai and Lang Son, have been sent to China to study Chinese so that they can handle their work in the language.

According to statistics of the Chinese embassy in Hanoi, there are now over 7,500 Vietnamese students studying in China.

Over the past five years, Chinese language training has seen a sharp rise, reflecting the country's rising position in Asia and the world. Nearly 40 million foreigners now learn Chinese language in some 12,400 schools or universities worldwide, said the National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language under the Chinese Ministry of Education.

The number of foreigners learning Chinese around the world is expected to hit 100 million in 2010, said the office.

"In 2010, I think I would have been a highly qualified lecturer of both Chinese language and Chinese culture. Now, my short-term goal is to further study Chinese in Beijing and then come back to Vietnam, telling my future students about what I learn and see with my own eye," Nhung said with a hidden pride gliding past her lively face.

Source: Xinhua

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How Western Media to Distort the Truth about China

I found the following report from Indian Express. From its content, this article came from LA times and Washington post, two American mainstream media.

This article is a very good example to show how the western medias distort the truth and facts about China and mislead their readers.

"Develop the West" is a big project started in late 1990s to promote the economy in China's western area to narrow the gap between the western and eastern areas.

To lure more investment to the western area, China government has to invest heavily in the infrastructures in the area as said in the article. Of course, with the improvement of the infrastructure, more and more natural resources in this sparely populated land will be put into production. But the resources will not be shipped to the eastern are for free since today China's economy is market-oriented.

But the article only remind the readers of the natural resources. It simply ignores the industrial development in the western areas. In recent years, Chinese coastal areas feel the labor shortage. This is a very important sign. Why? Most of migrant workers came from the western areas. But many of them prefer to stay in their home now since they can find opportunities there due to more coming investment either from government or private companies. The labor shortage in the eastern areas also forces the developed area to promote their industry to higher technological level and productivity as Chinese wish or moves their investment westwards to the less-developed areas.

China's western area is poorer comparing with the eastern area. But Xinjiang is not poor by Chinese standard, very contrary to the image this article portrait. According to Wikipedia, Xinjiang is listed as the No. 13 among 31 Chinese provinces or municipalities by GDP per capita, it is richer than many other Chinese provinces. urumqi, Kashgar, and other cities in Xinjiang are very modern.

Xinjiang is divided into southern Xinjiang (or Nanjiang) and Northern Xinjiang (or Beijiang) by Tianshan Mountains. Nortern Xinjiang is very developed comparing with many other Chinese areas. But shoutern Xinjiang was poor even it is a very good place for agriculture largely due to the seperation of the huge Taklimakan Desert. But China government complete the first across-desert highway (500 km in desert) in 1996 and finished a railway to the soutern Xinjiang in 1999. The infrastructure improvement promoted the economy in this area a lot. More and more agriculture products can be shipped out which promoted price of the farming products in the favor of local residents, and more and more industtrial products can be shipped in so that the residents can share the booming economy with other Chinese. Today, the economy in southern Xinjiang is in fast track too and Chinese government has to invest second trans-desert highway that will be finished in 2007.

Chinese people migrate inside China for chasing the economical opportunities. Chinese goverment does not force people to migrate unless some big projects need some people to give up their land. That's why more than 200 million rural Chinese moved to cities in the past 20 years. It is predicted that more than 300 million will move to cities in the next 15 years. So, it is actually a very good economical sign when people are moving to western area since it means the fast economical development in their destination areas. The move will not only benefits the migrants, but also the local residents without doubt.

There are some separatists in China. But they are minority. Most of minority ethnical Chinese, including muslims, are very patriotic. Separatism is never a big case in China even some countries count on them to disturb Chinese economy and politics. Have you heard any big incidents in China caused by separatists in recent years? The facts are so straightforward, but some are still dreaming on!

China's western area was at same developing level before the reform because of the campaign of "the third frontline construction" between 1960s and 1970s. Before this campaign, there was alomost no industry in the western area. But the alarm of possible wars with America from south and from east and Soviet Union from the north alerted Chinese government to invest heavily in the area to reduce the damage in possible wars. Even today, western China is still very important bases for avaiation, electronics, chemical, metal, energy, textile, auto, manufacture industries. There are a lot of univeristies in this area too, many of them are among the top ones in China, such as Sichuan UniversityLanzhou University, Yunan University, University of Electronic Science and Technology of China, Chongqing UniversityThe Fourth Military Medical University, The Third Military Medical University,...... There are some very large cities in western area too, such as Chengdu, Chongqing, Kunming, Urumqi, Nanning, Lanzhou. The western China is not as portraited by western medias at all. This area is developing very fast too, but slower than the eastern area.

Some pics of the western China from Skyscrapercity:

China’s westland

L A Times, Washington Post

Posted online: Monday, June 12, 2006 at 0000 hrs IST

Before the highway arrived last year, threading a strip of black pavement across a moonscape of pale sand, this town in central Xinjiang province was among the lonelier places on earth.
Now, trucks rumble across the desert, hauling watermelons from irrigated plantations to cities thousands of miles away. Caravans ferry supplies to workers at state-owned oil fields on the fringes of town, where drilling rigs extract crude for China’s industrial coast. Freighters carry electronics and clothing from coastal factories to Han Chinese merchants who have flocked here from other parts of the country to capitalize on an economic boom.
Yet just off the highway in Mazha village, life is little changed. Most people spend their days under the tyranny of sun and windblown dust, tending trellises of green grapes. Nearly all the villagers are Uighur, the Muslim ethnic minority that was the majority in Xinjiang before the arrival of Han Chinese, the dominant group in China. The highways funded by the government’s Develop the West initiative have brought little benefit here, the villagers complain.
“We Uighur people are all farmers,” said Gulijanat Tayir, a 17-year-old student. “The Han people are running all the businesses.”
In the six years since China’s central government began its well-financed campaign to spread the benefits of economic growth beyond coastal provinces, the effort has exacerbated the extreme inequality that characterizes the national economy. Gaps have grown between urban and rural China and between the less-developed west and the frenetic east.
The Develop the West program was conceived in part to stem separatist inclinations in Xinjiang and other western provinces, where ethnic minority communities resent the continued influx of Han — a migration encouraged by the central government.
Though sporadic and sometimes violent protests have persisted in Xinjiang since the advent of the program, observers say they are happening less frequently—a fact that Uighur groups attribute more to an aggressive crackdown by Chinese authorities than to the success of the campaign in spreading development.
“Among the key projects of the Develop the West program, the majority only benefit the east,” said Zhao Baotong, who heads the economics institute at the Shaanxi Academy of Social Sciences in the western city of Xian. “These projects are transporting electricity, natural gas and other resources from the west to the east to fuel development there. Almost none of these projects are aiming at developing local manufacturing industry in the west.”
Since the initiative began in January 2000, the central government has set aside $106 billion for 60 major projects, such as rail and road expansions, hydroelectric dams, and oil pipelines. Thirty-nine projects have been completed, costing $56 billion, according to state figures.
Studies have shown that the investment has contributed to economic growth in the west, but the pace has fallen behind development in the east, where China's nouveau riche and a growing middle class occupy increasingly glitzy cities. From 2000 to 2004, the overall growth of China’s 12 western provinces was behind that of 11 provinces and municipalities in the east by more than 12 percent, according to a study by the China Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

Extreme income gaps now separate Xinjiang from booming enclaves on the coast. In 1980, for example, the average annual income of people in Xinjiang was roughly equal to those in Zhejiang, a coastal province south of Shanghai. Last year, annual incomes in Xinjiang lagged behind those in Zhejiang by more than $1,000.
More than twice the size of Texas, Xinjiang has long occupied the fringes of Chinese domain, its inhospitable deserts once navigated by traders crossing the Silk Road from Europe to Asia. Today, a trip across the province reveals how the benefits of development are being spread unequally, even inside Xinjiang itself.
The great build-out of highways and the expansion of energy production encouraged by Beijing’s largesse have attracted millions of Han, who have come in a Gold Rush-like frenzy to capture some of the spoils of China’s modern-day frontier. The Han are now a slim majority among Xinjiang’s 19 million people. That has exacerbated tensions with the Turkic-speaking Uighurs, who have long regarded the Han as invaders.
Neon-lit shopping malls fill downtown Urumqi, the provincial capital, where Han Chinese merchants opened stores. In Kashgar (known as Kashi in Mandarin Chinese), Xinjiang’s westernmost city — an overgrown oasis that was a key stop on the Silk Road and remains famous for its raucous bazaar —Han entrepreneurs have established trading houses aimed at central Asian countries to the west, selling plumbing supplies to Kyrgyzstan and roofing materials to Tajikistan. The rectangular office buildings of the Han merchants tower over the labyrinthine streets where Uighurs live in ancient brick homes.
Han Chinese road crews from Sichuan province camp in rough canvas tents along the Karakoram Highway, the road through blank desert expanses, past mountain lakes ringed by tents, and finally on to Pakistan, paving the last remaining stretches of dirt in anticipation of more traffic.
A mile down the road, Uighur villagers sat on stools in front of half-built brick homes as the wind blew trash down unpaved streets. Men used donkey carts to carry farm tools into the fields. “We don’t have enough land,” complained Alim Pulat, the vice chief of Lianmuqing village. Families are dependent on middlemen traders to get their crops to customers in big cities.
With fields expanding and middlemen able to reach more areas, boosting supply, prices have dropped by as much as half since 2003. But the expansion of the roads and the electricity grid has produced several local factories —a heating plant, a copper smelter—and they have provided jobs for local people, boosting incomes.
“It’s a little better than years past,” Alim said. “We can eat. We have clothes to wear.” He shrugged when asked about the fairness of the Han getting more benefits from development: “It is more convenient for Han to do business with one another.”


Sunday, June 11, 2006

ULFA denies hand in Assam serial blasts

GUWAHATI: The outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) on Saturday denied triggering a string of explosions that killed five people and wounded 46 others during the past two days.

"This is nothing but a nefarious design on the part of some vested interests within the Assam Police led by Inspector General (Intelligence) Khagen Sharma who have actually triggered the explosions to defame us," said ULFA commander-in-chief Paresh Baruah in a statement.

There have been at least 10 explosions, including three grenade attacks, since Thursday that also blew up four oil and gas pipelines.

Police blamed the blasts on ULFA saying they had intelligence inputs and also confessional statements from an arrested militant suggesting that the outfit planned a three-day strike beginning on Thursday.

"We express our deepest condolences to the families of those who died and wish the speediest of recovery for the injured victims," the statement said.

The ULFA is a rebel group that has been fighting for an independent Assamese homeland since 1979 and representatives nominated by it have held two rounds of peace talks with New Delhi since last October. The next round will be on June 22.

"Triggering a series of blasts aimed at innocent civilians ahead of the June 22 talks is nothing but attempts by vested interests to derail the peace process," the rebel leader alleged.

Police denied the ULFA charges and said the outfit was trying to shirk responsibility following strong reaction from the public and was instead blaming a section within the government establishment.

"This statement is nothing but eyewash," said a senior police official requesting anonymity.

Click here for the introduction about ULFA, a rebellion group struggling for their independence from India occupation Assam.

Someone set up a website for ULFA and it has explanation for the issues related.

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Saturday, June 10, 2006

The U.S. Role in Darfur, Sudan

This article should be able to answer many questions about Darfur crisis in Sudan

Publication time: 6 June 2006, 01:17

WHAT is fueling the campaign now sweeping the U.S. to "Stop Genocide in Darfur"? Campus organizations have suddenly begun organizing petitions, meetings and calls for divestment. A demonstration was held April 30 on the Mall in Washington, D.C., to "Save Darfur."

Again and again it is said that "something" must be done. "Humanitarian forces" and "U.S. peacekeepers" must be deployed immediately to stop "ethnic cleansing." UN troops or NATO forces must be used to stop "genocide." The U.S. government has a "moral responsibility to prevent another Holocaust."

Outrage is provoked by media stories of mass rapes and photos of desperate refugees. The charge is that tens of thousands of African people are being killed by Arab militias backed by the Sudanese government. Sudan is labeled as both a "terrorist state" and a "failed state." Even at anti-war rallies, signs have been distributed proclaiming "Out of Iraq-Into Darfur." Full-page ads in the New York Times have repeated the call.

Who is behind the campaign and what actions are they calling for?

Even a cursory look at the supporters of the campaign shows the prominent role of right-wing evangelical Christians and major Zionist groups to "Save Darfur."

A Jerusalem Post article of April 27 headlined "U.S. Jews Leading Darfur Rally Planning" described the role of prominent Zionist organizations in organizing the April 30 rally. A full-page ad for the rally in the New York Times was signed by a number of Jewish organizations, including the UJA-Federation of NY and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs.

But it wasn't just Zionist groups that called it. The rally was sponsored by a coalition of 164 organizations that included the National Association of Evangelicals, the World Evangelical Alliance and other religious groups that have been the strongest supporters of the Bush administration's invasion of Iraq. The Kansas-based evangelical group Sudan Sunrise helped arrange buses and speakers, did extensive fund raising and co-hosted a 600-person dinner.

This was hardly an anti-war or social justice rally. The organizers had a personal meeting with President George W. Bush just before the rally. He told them: "I welcome your participation. And I want to thank the organizers for being here."

Originally the demonstration was projected to draw a turnout of more than 100,000. Media coverage generously reported "several thousands," ranging from 5,000 to 7,000. The rally was overwhelming white. Despite sparse numbers, it got wide media coverage, focusing on celebrity speakers like Academy Award winner George Clooney. Top Democrats and Republicans gave it their blessing, including U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer and New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine. Corzine, by the way, spent million of his own money to get elected.

The corporate media gave this rally more prominence than either the anti-war rally of 300,000 in New York City on the day before or the millionfold demonstrations across the country for immigrant rights on the day after.

U.S. Ambassador to the UN John Bolton, former Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell, Secretary of State Condo leezza Rice, Gen. Wesley Clark and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have all argued in favor of intervention in Sudan.

These leading architects of imperialist policy often refer to another model when they call for this intervention: the successful "humanitarian" war on Yugoslavia that established a U.S./NATO administration over Kosovo after a massive bombing campaign.

The Holocaust Museum in Washington issued a "genocide alert"-the first such alert ever issued-and 35 evangelical Chris tian leaders signed a letter urging President Bush to send U.S. troops to stop genocide in Darfur. A special national curriculum for students was established to generate grassroots support for U.S. intervention.

Many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) have embraced the campaign. Liberal voices such as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now, Rabbi Michael Lerner of TIKKUN and Human Rights Watch have also pushed the campaign to "Save Darfur."

Diversion from Iraq debacle

The criminal invasion and massive bombing of Iraq, the destruction of its infrastructure that left the people without water or basic electricity, and the horrible photos of the U.S. military's use of torture at Abu Ghraib prison created a world outcry. At its height, in September 2004, then Secretary of State Gen. Colin Powell went to Sudan and announced to the world that the crime of the century-"a genocide"-was taking place there. The U.S. solution was to demand the United Nations impose sanctions on one of the poorest countries on earth and that U.S. troops be sent there as "peacekeepers."

But the rest of the UN Security Council was unwilling to accept this view, the U.S. "evidence" or the proposed action.

The campaign against Sudan increased even as evidence was being brought forward that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was based on a total lie. The same media that had given credibility to the U.S. government's claim that it was justified in invading Iraq because that country had "weapons of mass destruction" switched gears to report on "war crimes" by Arab forces in Sudan.

This Darfur campaign accomplishes several goals of U.S. imperialist policy. It further demonizes Arab and Muslim people. It diverts attention from the human rights catastrophe caused by the brutal U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, which has killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.

It is also an attempt to deflect attention from the U.S. financing and support of Israel's war on the Palestinian people.

Most important, it opens a new front in the determination of U.S. corporate power to control the entire region.

U.S. interest in Sudan

Sudan is the largest country in Africa in area. It is strategically located on the Red Sea, immediately south of Egypt, and borders on seven other African countries. It is about the size of Western Europe but has a population of only 35 million people.

Darfur is the western region of Sudan. It is the size of France, with a population of just 6 million.

Newly discovered resources have made Sudan of great interest to U.S. corporations. It is believed to have oil reserves rivaling those of Saudi Arabia. It has large deposits of natural gas. In addition, it has one of the three largest deposits of high-purity uranium in the world, along with the fourth-largest deposits of copper.

Unlike Saudi Arabia, however, the Sudanese government has retained its independence of Washington. Unable to control Sudan's oil policy, the U.S. imperialist government has made every effort to stop its development of this valuable resource. China, on the other hand, has worked with Sudan in providing the technology for exploration, drilling, pumping and the building of a pipeline and buys much of Sudan's oil.

U.S. policy revolves around shutting down the export of oil through sanctions and inflaming national and regional antagonisms. For over two decades U.S. imperialism supported a separatist movement in the south of Sudan, where oil was originally found. This long civil war drained the central government's resources. When a peace agreement was finally negotiated, U.S. attention immediately switched to Darfur in western Sudan.

Recently, a similar agreement between the Sudanese government and rebel groups in Darfur was rejected by one of the groups, so the fighting continues. The U.S. poses as a neutral mediator and keeps pressing Khartoum for more concessions but "through its closest African allies helped train the SLA and JEM Darfuri rebels that initiated Khartoum's violent reaction." (

Sudan has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in the world. Over 400 ethnic groups have their own languages or dialects. Arabic is the one common language. Greater Khartoum, the largest city in the country, has a population of about 6 million. Some 85 percent of the Sudanese population is involved in subsistence agriculture or raising livestock.

The U.S. corporate media is unanimous in simplistically describing the crisis in Darfur as atrocities committed by the Jan jawid militias, supported by the central government in Khartoum. This is described as an "Arab" assault on "African" people.

This is a total distortion of reality. As the Black Commentator, Oct. 27, 2004, points out: "All parties involved in the Darfur conflict-whether they are referred to as ‘Arab' or as ‘African,' are equally indigenous and equally Black. All are Muslim and all are local." The whole population of Darfur speaks Arabic, along with many local dialects. All are Sunni Muslim.

Drought, famine and sanctions

The crisis in Darfur is rooted in intertribal fighting. A desperate struggle has developed over increasingly scarce water and grazing rights in a vast area of Northern Africa that has been hit hard by years of drought and growing famine.

Darfur has over 35 tribes and ethnic groups. About half the people are small subsistence farmers, the other half nomadic herders. For hundreds of years the nomadic population grazed their herds of cattle and camels over hundreds of miles of grassy lowlands. Farmers and herders shared wells. For over 5,000 years, this fertile land sustained civilizations in both western Dar fur and to the east, all along the Nile River.

Now, due to the drought and the encroaching great Sahara Desert, there isn't enough grazing land or enough farmland in what could be the breadbasket of Africa. Irrigation and development of Sudan's rich resources could solve many of these problems. U.S. sanctions and military intervention will solve none of them.

Many people, especially children, have died in Sudan of totally preventable and treatable diseases because of a U.S. cruise missile attack, ordered by President Bill Clinton on Aug. 20, 1998, on the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum. This plant, which had produced cheap medications for treating malaria and tuberculosis, provided 60 percent of the available medicine in Sudan.

The U.S. claimed Sudan was operating a VX poison gas facility there. It produced no evidence to back up the charge. This simple medical facility, totally destroyed by the 19 missiles, was not rebuilt nor did Sudan receive a penny of compensation.

UN/NATO role in Sudan

Presently 7,000 African Union troops are in Darfur. Their logistical and technical back-up is provided by U.S. and NATO forces. In addition, thousands of UN personnel are overseeing refugee camps for hundreds of thousands dislocated by the drought, famine and war. All of these outside forces do more than hand out needed food. They are a source of instability. As capitalist would-be conquerors have done for hundreds of years, they consciously play one group off against another.

U.S. imperialism is heavily involved in the entire region. Chad, which is directly west of Darfur, last year participated in a U.S.-organized international military exer cise that, according to the U.S. Defense Depart ment, was the largest in Africa since World War II. Chad is a former French colony, and both French and U.S. forces are heavily involved in funding, training and equipping the army of its military ruler, Idriss Deby, who has supported rebel groups in Darfur.

For more than half a century, Britain ruled Sudan, encountering widespread resis tance. British colonial policy was rooted in divide-and-conquer tactics and in keeping its colonies underdeveloped and isolated in order to plunder their resources.

U.S. imperialism, which has replaced the European colonial powers in many parts of the world, in recent years has been sabotaging the economic independence of countries trying to emerge from colonial underdevelopment. Its main economic weapons have been sanctions combined with "structural adjustment" demands made by the International Monetary Fund, which it controls. In return for loans, the target governments must cut their budgets for development of infrastructure.

How can demands from organizations in the West for sanctions, leading to further underdevelopment and isolation, solve any of these problems?

Washington has often used its tremendous power in the UN Security Council to get resolutions endorsing its plans to send U.S. troops into other countries. None were on humanitarian missions.

U.S. troops carrying the UN flag invaded Korea in 1950 in a war that resulted in more than 4 million deaths. Still flying that flag, they have occupied and divided the Korean peninsula for over 50 years.

At the urging of the U.S., UN troops in 1961 were deployed to the Congo, where they played a role in the assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the country's first prime minister.

The U.S. was able to get a UN mandate in 1991 for its massive bombing of the entire Iraqi civilian infrastructure, including water purification plants, irrigation and food processing plants-and for the 13 years of starvation sanctions that resulted in the deaths of over 1.5 million Iraqis.

UN troops in Yugoslavia and in Haiti have been a cover for U.S. and European intervention and occupation-not peace or reconciliation.

The U.S. and European imperialist powers are responsible for the genocidal slave trade that decimated Africa, the genocide of the Indigenous population of the Americas, the colonial wars and occupations that looted three-quarters of the globe. It was German imperialism that was responsible for the genocide of Jewish people. To call for military intervention by these same powers as the answer to conflicts among the people of Darfur is to ignore 500 years of history.

(Sara Flounders went to Sudan just after the bombing of the El Shifa pharmaceutical plant in 1998 with John Parker as part of an International Action Center fact-finding delegation led by Ramsey Clark.)

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China to build world's largest bio-technology incubator

This could show China's effort for the development of biotech industry.


Press Trust of India
Beijing, May 29, 2006

China, aiming to be the global leader in bio-technology, on Monday started constructing Asia's largest incubator in the western part of Beijing.
The Ministry of Science and Technology's proposed China Bio-tech Research Centre is a 250,000-square metre building with lab and office space for at least 500 research groups and about 100 intermediaries.

The building will include offices for representatives from government departments who will provide administrative support for bio-tech start-ups, research entities, incubators and branches from financial institutes and offices of global venture capitals.

Wang Hongguang, director of the China Centre for Bio-technology Development which is under the ministry, said, "We're going to provide a world-leading platform for bio-technological research and development, which could be used by hi-tech start-ups and even individual researchers".

Statistics show almost half of China's senior-level biologists are working in the Great Beijing Area on 40 per cent of the country's total national biological research programmes.

Research academies based in Beijing are also given about 40 per cent of public funds for studying biological trends.

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IC Design Houses survey by EE Times Asia (Taiwan, China)

China has paid a lot attention to the domestic IC industry. This is a blog about the comparison between the IC design houses in Mainland China and Taiwan. I can clearly tell mainland China is catching up quickly in this area.

IC Design Houses survey by EE Times Asia (Taiwan, China)

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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Indians' Fantasy World

India does make some progress economically in recent years. And it is hot for Indians to compare India with China. Very often India goverment and medias don't tell its people or readers the truth for some patriotic reasons.

Here is a typical report from Indian media. The titile is: "India has overtaken China in textile exports: Vaghela"

Is that claim true? Not at all.

From this report, China's textile export volume is expected to hit 116 billion US dollars in 2005 despite increasing trade disputes. That represents a 19.21 percent jump over 2004.

This is an Indian report, India exported only $17 billion in 2005-06 fisical year, and plans to export $19.7 billion this year.

What dose that mean? India's textile export is only 1/10 of that of China. That's a huge gap and no one can ignore.

Another similar Indian news titiled: "India world No. 2 hotels mkt".

Can India be the second hotel market in the WORLD? It is impossible. Many countries have larger tourist industry than India.

News should reflect the truth, not distort the truth.

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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Over 2.5 million students worldwide study overseas

According to a new UNESCO study, from the following article, 14% of the 2.5 million international students in the world are from China. That means about 350,000 Chinese are studying outside. That's a huge number.

South and West Asia is the origin of 194,000 mobile students, with two-thirds coming from India. That means only around 130,000 indians are studying in other countries.

New Delhi - Although China sends the greatest number of students abroad, tertiary students from sub-Saharan Africa are the most mobile in the world, according to a new UNESCO study.

The report tracks the flows of foreign or mobile students. Mobile students are defined as those who study in foreign countries where they are not permanent residents.

South and West Asia is the origin of 194,000 mobile students, with two-thirds coming from India, according to a report from the UNESCO Institute for Statistics (UIS) titled ‘The Global Education Digest 2006′.

Between 1999 and 2004, the number of mobile students worldwide surged by 41 percent from 1.75 million to 2.5 million, according to the Digest.

‘This does not mean that more students are travelling. Rather it reflects the rapid expansion of higher education overall, with tertiary enrolments also increasing by about 40 percent during the same period,’ the Digest states.

‘What this report shows is that the real enthusiasm in tertiary education is coming from African, Arab and Chinese students. They are the driving force behind the internationalisation of higher education,’ says Hendrik van der Pol, UIS director.

China sends the greatest number of students abroad - 14 percent of the global total - primarily to the US, Japan and Britain.

‘In relative terms though, sub-Saharan African students are still the most mobile in the world. Several countries in the region have as many or more students abroad than at home. Most have no choice but to go abroad because of limited access to domestic universities or the poor quality of instruction,’ states the Digest.

Yet these sub-Saharan African students are rarely counted in national statistics.

‘The South and West Asia region’s outbound mobility ratio of just 1.3 percent is primarily due to the low ratio reported by India of 1.1 percent. It rises to 11 percent in Afghanistan and 5.0 percent in Nepal,’ states the Digest.

The Arab states have seen a steady rise in student mobility over the past five years and now accounts for seven percent of the global total.

Presenting the latest education statistics from primary to tertiary levels in more than 200 countries, the report points out that if one out of every 16 - or 5.6 percent of tertiary students from sub-Saharan Africa are studying overseas, at the other end of the scale only one out of every 250 North American students (0.4 percent) studies overseas, making this group the least mobile.

Six countries host 67 percent of the world’s mobile students: 23 percent study in the US, followed by Britain (12 percent), Germany (11 percent), France (10 percent), Australia (seven percent) and Japan (five percent).

The Digest also evaluates the extent to which the universities of these host countries can absorb more mobile students.

They already account for 17 percent of total tertiary enrolment in Australia, for example, and 13 percent in Britain. But this figure falls to two percent in Japan and the Russian Federation and three percent in the US and Canada.

The report shows that low- and middle-income countries are playing to catch up with North America and Western Europe in terms of tertiary enrolment, leading to some startling changes in the rankings of countries.

‘Mobile students from abroad account for more than seven percent of total enrolment in Bahrain, Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mali, Namibia, South Africa and Togo,’ the report states.

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Friday, June 02, 2006

Indian Political Instability

Many Indian and western media say India is more stable than China politically. Is that true?

Here is some links:

Indian police shooting at protesters(Incompelte List)
1.Twelve protestors killed in police shooting

2.Four killed in protests in India's Gujarat state

3. Four were killed in the Violence over Indian star's death

How Indian gov robs its people:
To artificially make Kolkata "shining", gov "bought from farmers for 10,000 to Rs 12,000 per acre and sold to builders for Rs 300,000 to Rs 400,000 per acre ". This happens in a large city in India. !!!!!

How Indian government treats its people:
To make Mumbai as shining as Shanghai, so many slum residents losted their place to live in one day.,,1-3-1487253,00.html

How screwed Indians rebel
The ill-treated Indians have to take their weapons to stand up against Indian government.
Inside India's hidden war
Rebels kill police

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Sinophobia Grips India's Telecom

by Indrajit Basu
Jun 2, 2006

CALCUTTA, India - June 2, 2006 (UPI) -- Worried by the potential security threats that could rise from allowing Chinese telecom companies' to become deeply involved with the country's telecom sector, the Indian government is planning to put on hold the India expansion plans of Zhongxing Telecom Co (ZTE) and Huawei Technologies, the two largest telecom equipment makers in China.

Both these companies have operations in India and are keen to pump in substantial investments to participate in the development of the world's fastest-growing telecom market.

According to Times News Network, a local news agency, reacting to the objections from the country's intelligence agencies, the Indian government has put on hold ZTE Telecom's plan to enter wholesale trading in telecom equipment and is even planning to conduct a detailed probe into the Chinese company's activities globally.

ZTE had sought permission to enhance its equity capital and enter after-sales service and wholesale trading of telecom equipment.

But according to the report, India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board has been instructed by its security agencies, The Intelligence Bureau and The Research and Analysis Wing, not to grant permission until the agencies finish their probe.

This is the second time in the past 12 months that the Indian security agencies have moved to slow down the India expansion plans of Chinese telecom companies. Last year in August the Indian government disallowed Huawei Technologies' $60 million investment proposal in its Indian subsidiary, Huawei Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, citing the same reasons.

Subsequently the state-owned Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd, which is the country's largest telecom company, cancelled a $31.16 million contract bagged by Huawei for supplying equipment for 1.05 million wireless telephone lines in partnership with two Indian telecom companies.

The agencies alleged that China's intelligence apparatus and military may be using its telecom companies (which both deny) to gather intelligence from the country, and even added that the telecom companies' equipments (denied too by them) are used for debugging operation in Chinese establishments in India -- like the embassies and trade representative offices.

Indeed, for years India's fears about Chinese companies -- especially the high-technology categories -- were just subterranean. But lately it seems that the paranoia about Chinese investments in the country's telecom sector, fears of cyberwarfare and the reluctance of exposing a strategic network to Chinese telecom companies has gone on an overdrive.

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Thursday, June 01, 2006

12 police officers killed by land mine in India

This news reveals the real Indian instability economically and politically. This also shows the fundamental difference between China and India's reforms. China's reform benefits all Chinese, but some get more and some get less. India's reform only brings good to very few Indian people, and has nothing to do with majorities.

Communist rebels believed to be responsible for explosion

Updated: 12:01 a.m. CT June 1, 2006
PATNA, India - A land mine believed planted by communist rebels killed 12 officers from a paramilitary police force Thursday in eastern India, an official said.

The officers from the Central Reserve Police Force were heading back to their base in the state of Jharkhand after defusing land mines when their jeep struck a mine, said the state’s top police officer, B.C. Verma.

The explosion took place near the village of Karampada, about 155 miles south of Jharkhand’s capital, Patna, he said.

The area is in a remote part of the state and initial reports had said five officers were killed while clearing land mines at a school.

The rebels, who say they are inspired by Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong, have been fighting for more than two decades, demanding land and jobs for agricultural laborers and the poor.
The rebels have often targeted police and government officials, whom they accuse of colluding with landlords and rich farmers to exploit the poor.

The militants, known as Naxalites, are mainly active in six of India’s 28 states — Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, Karnataka, Orissa and Chattisgarh.

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India held back by wall of instability

By Chietigj Bajpaee

While much of the world's attention is on the "rise" of China in the political, economic and military spheres, there remains a relative lack of attention on Asia's other rising power - India, as highlighted by the fact that India has attracted a tenth of the foreign direct investment of China.

Corruption, India's infrastructure bottlenecks, bureaucracy referred to as the infamous "License Raj" and India's unpredictable democracy, which creates precarious coalition governments and changes in policy every time there is a change of administration has led India to becoming subordinate to China among the emerging economies.

However, another factor that has the potential to deter India's rise is the plethora of conflicts and instabilities on its periphery. WhileChina has resolved or shelved most such conflicts, India has active disputes along most of its borders. This "wall of instability" has prevented India from gaining access to vital resources and markets, deterred regional economic integration and security cooperation, and may even undermine investor confidence.

Limits to India's 'Look East' policy
India's poor relations with Bangladesh and instabilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and in India's northeast have limited direct land access to the markets of China and Southeast Asia. Progress on plans for Myanmar to supply India with natural gas from its Shwe field off the coast of Arakan state has been held up by tensions between India and Bangladesh and Myanmar's close relationship with China.

While a gas pipeline transiting Bangladesh would be the shortest route for an overland pipeline between India and Myanmar, frictions between Delhi and Dhaka have forced India to look into more expensive options such as constructing a deep-sea pipeline, transporting gas by tanker or through India's northeastern states.

Relations between India and Bangladesh have deteriorated in recent years as the goodwill generated from India's support for Bangladesh in its war of independence in 1971 has given way to Bangladesh's emergence as a potential new source of Islamic extremism in South Asia.

Internally, confrontations between Sheikh Hasina's Awami League and Begum Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh National Party and its ally, the Jamaat-e-Islami, are turning increasingly violent. Meanwhile, groups such as the Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami, Bangladesh (HuJI-B) and Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh continue to call for the implementation of sharia law in Bangladesh and have been held responsible for a series of bomb attacks in Bangladesh over the past few months.

Externally, Bangladesh has been accused of fueling the insurgencies in northeast India with arms, aid and training, providing a haven for al-Qaeda terrorists and emerging as a hub for arms trafficking. Bangladesh has emerged as a sanctuary for Islamic extremist groups in the region, including the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba and Myanmar-based insurgent groups such as the Arakan Rohingya Organization (ARNO) and the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO).

India's concern over the deteriorating security situation in Bangladesh was demonstrated in 2005 when the 13th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was postponed after the Indian delegation led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh refused to attend following a series of bomb blasts in Bangladesh.

Tensions between India and Bangladesh have been further fueled by a series of disputes over illegal Bangladeshi immigration into India's northeast, disagreement over water-sharing across the 54 rivers that traverse the two states and India's decision to fence its 4,000 kilometer border with Bangladesh.

The plans for a Myanmar-Bangladesh-India gas pipeline have been further soured by Myanmar's signing of a memorandum with the Chinese energy company, PetroChina, in December for the sale of 6.5 trillion cubic feet of gas to China over the next 30 years from the Shwe field.

India has been playing catch-up with China in cultivating relations with Myanmar. In the past, relations between the two countries were marred as a result of India voicing its opposition to the military junta's crackdown on pro-democracy activists and the house arrest of Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader of the National League for Democracy.

India's more pragmatic, non-interventionist policy with regard to Myanmar has been prompted by numerous factors, including its need to gain access to energy resources in the region; garner the support of Myanmar's government, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), in tackling Indian insurgent groups that have claimed sanctuary in Myanmar; Delhi's desire to access the vast markets of Southeast Asia under its "Look East" policy; and balance the growing influence of China in the region.

Finally, India's own insurgencies in the seven states of the northeast commonly referred to as the "seven sisters" (Assam, Arunachel Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura) where over 100 militant groups operate, have delayed plans for direct energy, trade and transport links between India and Southeast Asia.

The geographic separation of the northeast states from the rest of India, with only a 20 kilometer pass known as the Siliguri corridor linking the states to the rest of the country has often led to fears that outside powers could fuel the northeast insurgencies in order to "cut the chicken's neck". The fact that China claims 90,000 square kilometers of India's northeastern state of Arunuchel Pradesh has also been a cause of concern in the region.

The Indian government itself has been preoccupied by its northern insurgency in Kashmir, even though the economic gains from resolving the northeast insurgencies are greater given the importance of the region as a potential trade route between South and Southeast Asia as well as plans for a pipeline transporting natural gas from Myanmar and Bangladesh to India.

The region's proximity to the Maoist insurgency in Nepal, increasingly Islamic extremist Bangladesh and separatist movements and authoritarian rule in Myanmar have made the northeast insurgencies the final piece in an "arc" of instability stretching from Myanmar to Nepal.

Nepal and the Naxalites
While Nepal's King Gyanendra ended his 14 months of direct rule in April, the security situation in Nepal remains precarious as almost half the country remains under the rule of the Maoist militants (Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) ( CPN-M). Although the Maoists have entered into a 12-point agreement with the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA), the Maoists and the SPA do not see eye-to-eye on Nepal's future. The SPA does not appear ready to give up on the monarchy altogether while the Maoists want to turn Nepal into a republic as well as calling for one-partyl authoritarian communist rule.

The Maoists are also unwilling to disarm as sporadic violence and abductions continue. This conflict has spilled over into India as the Maoists have often sought sanctuary in India and maintain links with India's militant Maoists, known as Naxalites. More than 13 states in India have experienced Naxalite attacks, which have grown increasingly bold in recent months.

The Indian Naxalites and Nepalese Maoists continue to grant each other moral and material support and sanctuary and have even espoused creating a "compact revolutionary zone" from Nepal to Andhra Pradesh. Any strengthening of the Maoist position in Nepal is likely to invigorate the Naxalites in India.

The prospect of Nepal emerging as a failed state would have negative repercussions for India in the form of refugees and Nepal's emergence as a hub for terrorism and illicit activities.

Sri Lanka - a 'ceasefire' only in name
The Norwegian-brokered ceasefire, which was implemented in 2002 between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Ealem (LTTE), appears to be a ceasefire only in name. The suicide attack on the army headquarters in Colombo at the end of April and a naval clash in May add to a long list of violations of the ceasefire, including the assassination of foreign minister Lakshman Kardigamar in 2005 and hostilities between the Northern Prabakaran faction of the Tamil Tigers and the eastern Karuna faction in 2004.

While India doesn't crave the prospect of involvement in Sri Lanka, given its bitter experience from deploying peacekeepers to the country in 1987-90, which left it with a bloody nose, Delhi is also unlikely to sit on the sidelines as the Tigers and government become increasingly trigger-happy.

The resurgent violence is already increasing refugee flows into India and has the potential to enflame emotions among India's Tamil populous in the south. The LTTE has also been a catalyst for arms trafficking in the region, which has fueled conflicts in India's northeast and in Southeast Asia.

Pakistan: Denying India in the 'New Great Game'
Tensions have declined between India and Pakistan in recent years as a result of increasing people-to-people contacts brought on by direct road and rail links, military confidence-building measures, sport and growing trade.

Nevertheless, attacks by Pakistan-based terrorist groups, which have traditionally focused on Kashmir, have spilled over into the rest of India, as illustrated by bomb attacks this year in Varanasi and Jama Masjid in New Delhi, attacks in Ayodhya and the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore in 2005, and an attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001, which came close to sparking another war between India and Pakistan. These attacks have been aimed at igniting communal violence and undermining confidence in India's economy.

Furthermore, India's fluctuating relations with Pakistan have prevented access to energy resources and markets in Iran and the Central Asian republics. India has expressed interest in both the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) natural gas pipeline and the US-backed Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan or Trans-Afghan gas pipeline.

India's plans to import Iranian gas, which have been in the works since 1993, have been delayed by tensions between India and Pakistan. This has led India to look to the option of transporting gas by LNG (liquefied natural gas) carriers and building a deep-sea pipeline that bypasses Pakistan.

In recent years, as India-Pakistan relations have thawed, other security considerations have delayed the project, such as the insurgency in Pakistan's Balochistan province through which the IPI pipeline would have to transit and ongoing frictions between Iran and the international community over Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Meanwhile, the Trans-Afghan pipeline has been held hostage to instabilities in Afghanistan, from the Afghan civil war to Taliban rule and most recently the spring offensive by the Taliban and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami.

Questions over whether Turkmenistan has enough gas to meet India's appetite, given its commitments to Russia and China, have also dampened the Trans-Afghan pipeline project. While these deals continue to be discussed, on May 25 crude oil began flowing through the Kazakhstan-China pipeline from Atasu to Alataw Pass in Xinjiang province, with the potential of the pipeline being extended to the Caspian Sea.

The US-backed Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline is up and running with discussions on extending it to Kazakhstan, and Russia retains its pipeline network with the Central Asian republics from the Cold War. While India discusses its options in the "New Great Game" for energy resources, other states such as China, Russia and the United States are already full-fledged players.

China: Filling the void
While India continues to tackle insurgencies and active conflicts within its borders and on its periphery, China has either resolved or "shelved" all conflicts internally, with all 14 states along its border and with states in the region, with the possible exception of Japan.

Security and energy cooperation between China and Russia continues to deepen, while China engages in joint oil and gas exploration of disputed territory in the South China Sea with Vietnam and the Philippines. China's improving relationship with South Korea has even called into question Seoul's alliance with the United States.

Even on the Taiwan issue, which is the most likely source of conflict for China, Beijing has developed a more nuanced policy with its rapprochement with opposition "pan-Blue" parties in the face of separatist tendencies by the ruling "pan-Green" coalition led by President Chen Shui-bian.

China is also major player in numerous regional economic and security forums, including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) +3, ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the recently inaugurated East Asia Summit, as well as being a leader in numerous forums such as the Boao Forum, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the six-party talks to bring about a nuclear weapons-free Korean peninsula.

Finally, Beijing has successfully projected its principle of "peaceful rise" or "peaceful development" to reassure the international community of China's non-threatening intentions.

While numerous states on China's periphery remain suspicious of China and regard its "peaceful development" slogan as more rhetoric than reality, Beijing's achievements far outweigh those of India. While India's relations with Pakistan have gone from open hostility to limited cooperation and mutual suspicion, India's relations with its other neighbors have continued to deteriorate.

This has limited progress by regional bodies such as the SAARC and BIMSTEC (Bangladesh-India-Myanmar-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation) in forging a regional identity, creating a regional security structure and developing intra-regional trade and economic integration.

Intra-regional trade in South Asia accounts for a mere 4% of the region's total trade, even though the South Asia Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) has been in place since 1995. In contrast, in 2004, intra-regional trade in ASEAN amounted to 49%; in NAFTA this figure was 44% and in the European Union this was 67%. Progress on the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) has been slow, which has been fueled in part by political frictions between states in the region.

Furthermore, India's poor relations with its periphery have created a vacuum in power and influence, which has been filled by extra-regional powers, such as China. China has taken advantage of India's poor relations with its neighbors to expand its naval presence in the Indian ocean, as seen by the development of port facilities in Gwader in Pakistan and on the Coco islands in Myanmar and in Chittagong in Bangladesh.

These initiatives have been driven by China's desire to secure the Malacca Strait and the Strait of Hormuz through which as much as 80% of China's oil imports flow, as well as bypassing these chokepoints with overland "energy corridors" from Pakistan, Myanmar, Bangladesh or Thailand.

Beijing's presence on the Coco islands has also allowed it to monitor India's naval presence in the Andaman and Nicobar islands. In 2005, China also conducted its first joint naval exercises in the Indian Ocean with Pakistan, the first outside its territorial waters. India's transfer of the INS Tilanchang to the Maldives in April and desire to gain exclusive access to the naval base in the eastern town of Trincomalee in Sri Lanka has been regarded by some as a response to Beijing's increasing interests in the Indian Ocean.

China's observer status at the SAARC, much to the consternation of India, is also a sign of China's encroachment into its backyard. China continues to assist Pakistan in augmenting its military with the joint development of the F-22P frigate and JF-17 Thunder fighter. China is also assisting Pakistan with strategic infrastructure projects, such as widening the Karakorum Highway linking both countries and increasing cooperation in the energy sphere, including developing Pakistan's oil refining, storage and exploration capabilities.

China has also agreed to increase nuclear-power cooperation with Pakistan, which some regard as a reaction to the US-India nuclear deal that was reached during President George W Bush's visit to India in March. China has also made inroads in improving relations with other South Asian states, including Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, as seen by the number of high-level visits between China and these states in recent years.

China's strengthening of direct road links with Nepal and support for King Gyanendra during his suspension of democracy, regarding it as an "internal matter", while India, Britain and the US criticized his actions and suspended military aid, led some to believe that China may attempt to fill the void left by India.

China has also emerged as Bangladesh's leading trade partner and arms supplier and agreed to assist Bangladesh with its civilian nuclear program as well as expressing interest in the country's natural gas reserves.

Troublesome neighbors
India possesses numerous advantages over China, such as a strong bottom-up entrepreneurial spirit and English-language skills, and strong managerial and information technology skills. India has also raised its profile on the world stage in recent months, as illustrated by its prominent role at the Davos World Economic Forum in January and the US-India nuclear deal.

Furthermore, much of the limelight on China is negative, such as China's violation of intellectual property rights, undervalued exchange rate, growing trade surplus with the US, poor human-rights record, perceived aggressive policy toward Taiwan and Tibet, support for pariah regimes, growing oil imports, and potential to challenge US global predominance.

Over the long run, China's authoritarian system has the potential to create more instability than India's democratic government. The record number of protests across China in 2005 demonstrated that in the absence of a safety value offered by a democratic system, frustrations can only be vented through increasingly violent clashes with the authorities.

Nonetheless, India continues to be held back by instabilities on its periphery, which are preventing its access to markets and raw materials, deterring the emergence of regional economic and security structures and may even deter investors to the region.

Chietigj Bajpaee is a research associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC. He has been a researcher for the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies and a risk analyst for a New York-based risk management company. His areas of interest are energy security and macroeconomic, geopolitical and security developments in the Asia-Pacific region. The views expressed here are his own. He can be reached at

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