No Commonwealth censure
The nation’s human rights record was glaringly absent from a communique issued by Commonwealth leaders on Sunday at the end of a fractious summit dominated by allegations of war crimes during the bloody climax of the island’s 26-year civil war. The normally sedate two-yearly meeting of mostly former British colonies ran into controversy this year before it had even begun after some members objected to it being hosted by a government accused of shelling civilians just four years ago. Sparks flew at the summit when British Prime Minister David Cameron threatened to push for an international inquiry into the allegations of large-scale civilian deaths during the army’s final victory over the Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009. About 300,000 civilians were trapped on a narrow beach during the onslaught and a British panel has estimated that 40,000 non-combatants died. It concluded that, while both sides committed atrocities, army shelling killed most victims.
Police detain churchgoers
Relatives of a Christian pastor yesterday said that police have detained the religious leader and about 20 churchgoers in a crackdown on a state-backed church involved in a local land dispute. Pastor Zhang Shaojie (張少傑) was taken away from his church in Henan Province’s Puyang city on Saturday by police who provided no identification or basis for the detention, Zhang’s wife, daughter and son-in-law said. Sun Zhulei, Zhang’s son-in-law, said police have also taken away about 20 others since Wednesday last week, including Zhang’s two sisters. The crackdown is unusual for a state-approved church. The government allows worship only in such churches, while unregistered congregations tend to be subject to harassment. However, Zhang and other church leaders have been involved in a land dispute with local authorities in which city officials have tried to seize back land that had been earlier allocated to the church for its expansion, Zhang’s daughter, Zhang Yunyun, said.
Graft crackdown nets 17,000
Nearly 17,000 people have been punished for flouting the Chinese Communist Party’s “frugality” guidelines, state media said yesterday, in the latest sign of efforts to clamp down on corruption. A total of 16,699 people have been punished for violating the rules announced in December last year, Xinhua news agency said, citing the party’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection. Their offenses including violating a “ban on government building projects, excessive spending on receptions, use of government vehicles for private purposes, unnecessary trips in China and abroad using public money, as well as excessively large wedding banquets,” Xinhua said, citing the commission’s notice.
Farmland transferral tested
An eastern region is experimenting with letting farmers mortgage or transfer control of their publicly owned land, in what could help spread prosperity to the impoverished countryside and become one of the nation’s most pivotal rural land reforms in 35 years. There is no private land ownership in the country, with all urban land under state ownership and rural land under collective ownership overseen by village officials. That would not change in Anhui Province, where the latest experiment is under way. However, farmers would be given more flexibility in how their allotted plots are used and more opportunities to profit from the nation’s booming real-estate market.
An Australian university student who has never visited China and has only a modest social media following would seem an unlikely target for the Chinese government. However, when a Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman personally denounced Drew Pavlou at a news conference, it was just the next phase in an extraordinary campaign against the 21-year-old that has fueled concerns over China’s targeting of critics overseas. Pavlou first placed himself in the superpower’s sights when in July last year he organized a small sit-in at the University of Queensland, where he studies, to protest against various Chinese government policies. Since then, the Global
‘ASKED TO MOVE OUT’: Indonesian coast guard personnel argued with a Chinese vessel over territorial claims after it entered the country’s exclusive economic zone An Indonesian patrol ship confronted a Chinese coast guard vessel that spent almost three days in waters where Indonesia claims economic rights and that are near the southernmost part of China’s disputed claims to the South China Sea. The Indonesian Maritime Security Agency on Friday night detected Chinese ship 5204 entering Indonesia’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in what Indonesia calls the North Natuna Sea. The agency sent a patrol ship that closed within 1km of the Chinese coast guard vessel and they communicated to affirm their position and their nation’s claims to the area, Indonesian Maritime Security Agency head Aan Kurnia said. “We
BEFORE WINTER COMES: Snow cuts off roads into Ladakh for four months or more each year, so the crunch is on to get food, tents and high-altitude equipment to Leh From deploying mules to large transport aircraft, the Indian military has activated its entire logistics network to transport supplies to thousands of troops for a harsh winter along a bitterly disputed Himalayan border with China. In the past few months, one of India’s biggest military logistics exercises in years has brought vast quantities of ammunition, equipment, fuel, winter supplies and food into Ladakh, a region bordering Tibet that India administers as a union territory, officials said. The move was triggered by a border standoff with China in the snow deserts of Ladakh that began in May and escalated in June into hand-to-hand
Since her personal telephone number was posted online, Hong Kong democracy advocate and Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions chairperson Carol Ng has received menacing calls from strangers and been bombarded with messages calling her a “cockroach.” She is not alone. A sophisticated and shady Web site called HK Leaks has ramped up its “doxxing” — where people’s personal details are published online — of Hong Kong democracy advocates, targeting those it says have broken Hong Kong’s National Security Law. Promoted by groups linked to the Chinese Chinese Communist Party and hosted on Russia-based servers, HK Leaks has become the most prominent “doxxing”