China -- which has recently taken a larger role in the politics of Southeast Asia -- has seemed strangely absent from the international response to the tsunami disaster. \nWhile the US military dominates relief efforts and Japan has pledged hundreds of millions of dollars, China looks like a bit player. \nTo be sure, China has hardly been idle. It has promised around US$83 million in aid, which state media has called the "largest foreign relief operation to date." And Chinese citizens have donated US$18 million -- a stunning amount for a country where urban annual incomes hover around US$1,000. \nPremier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) attended last week's tsunami relief summit in Jakarta, and China has already sent supplies and a 14-member medical team to Sri Lanka, among the worst-hit nations. \nYet those steps have barely registered in media coverage of the disaster, rife with images of US, Australian, and other relief teams hard at work. China's other main rival, Japan, has promised US$500 million and is poised to send nearly 1,000 troops to help out. \nEven tiny Singapore has 900 servicemen and women on the ground in Indonesia. \nAnalysts say China's response exposes the limitations in its physical ability to help in such crises, along with the diplomatic costs of its long-held aversion to foreign entanglements. \n"China is rising in importance in Asian and world affairs, but its power, influence and reach can easily be exaggerated," said Robert Sutter, an expert on Chinese foreign policy at Georgetown University in Washington. \nChina's absence wouldn't seem so glaring if it didn't follow a major foray into the region last year. \nWen was a central figure at November's meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, where the organization's 10 member countries agreed to a landmark trade accord with China. \nChina has also made initiatives aimed at protecting vital sea lanes and securing a steady supply of oil and raw materials to fuel its booming economy. Vague agreements have been reached for cooperation in military training, health care, and tourism while highways and railroads are planned to draw the regions even closer. \nHowever, China's civil and military bodies have little experience or capacity to deal with disasters far from its shores. Although Beijing has dispatched civilian peacekeepers to Haiti, Congo and other conflict areas, its forces are poorly equipped for humanitarian missions, especially thousands of kilometers from home. \nChina's response also reflects its extreme caution when approaching overseas adventures where the upside for China isn't readily obvious. \nMany Chinese still consider their country a poor nation that can't afford to match Japan and the West in foreign aid and the government is wary of getting in over its head. While pledges to boost trade carry little political cost, a major foreign relief effort would divert limited resources and could entail longer-term commitments. \nBradley Williams, a research fellow in political science at the National University of Singapore, said China missed a golden opportunity to shore up regional friendships. \n"Getting more involved would have provided China with a perfect opportunity to show their more compassionate side and alleviate some of the concerns about their rising influence in the region," Williams said. \nChina's entirely state-controlled media doesn't see it that way. \nThe aid offerings have "have caught the world's attention and the people of China are proud of this," the Communist Party's mouthpiece People's Daily exclaimed with pride last week. \n"This shows that Chinese people are their true friends and also shows that China is a responsible big country."
CAUTION: Taiwanese should be alert, even if they have just liked or shared posts that would breach Beijing’s national security legislation for Hong Kong, the council said Due to the newly implemented Hong Kong national security legislation, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) has drawn up a list of what it described as “high-risk groups,” cautioning them not to travel to Hong Kong. People who support independence for Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet and Xinjiang; those who are critical of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Hong Kong government and the “one country, two systems” concept; and those who donated to or voiced support for the Hong Kong anti-extradition bill movement are urged to refrain from visiting Hong Kong, the council said on its Web site. It released two posts on
HONG KONG SECURITY: The president blasted regulations requiring Taiwanese agents or political organizations to provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday warned of countermeasures should controversial Chinese national security legislation imposed on Hong Kong undermine or harm Taiwanese interests. Article 43 of the legislation empowers the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to serve written notices to Taiwanese political organizations or individual agents to furnish information on their Hong Kong-related activities, including their personal particulars, finances, assets, expenditure and capital in the territory. Failure to comply or providing false or incomplete information can result in a fine of HK$100,000 (US$12,903) or imprisonment of six months or two years respectively. Tsai said that Taiwan would keep a close watch on how
NEW HONG KONG LAW: A visit to Beijing-friendly nations or those with weak judicial systems could leave people at risk of deportation to China, a former MAC official said Beijing could request countries with which it has extradition agreements to deport Taiwanese to China to face criminal charges following the implementation of national security legislation for Hong Kong, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) official warned yesterday. Some developing countries, and those close to China because of the Belt and Road Initiative, are likely to accommodate Beijing’s requests to extradite Taiwanese to China, said former deputy MAC minister Chen Ming-chi (陳明祺), who served from July 2, 2018, until May 20, and then returned to his former post as an assistant professor of sociology at National Tsing Hua University. While Taiwanese
MORAL COURAGE: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged the global community to face China’s intention to subdue Taiwan and reject such irrational requests The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday strongly condemned the Chinese government for meddling with US officials’ interactions with Taiwan after FBI Director Christopher Wray revealed China’s efforts to discourage US officials from visiting Taiwan. The greatest long-term threat to the US’ information security and intellectual property, as well as its economic vitality, is China’s counterintelligence and economic espionage operations, Wray told a video event at the Hudson Institute in Washington. Beijing is engaged in a highly sophisticated and maligning foreign influence campaign, with methods that include bribery, blackmail and covert deals, he said. Giving an example, Wray said that when a US official