China accuses EU of interfering in domestic issues over Tibet
The Chinese foreign ministry has accused the European Union of
interfering in its internal affairs by issuing a statement on the
recent unrest in Tibet. A Chinese government spokeswoman in Bejing
emphasised that Tibet was a domestic issue and that no foreign
country or international organisation had the right to interfere.
EU foreign ministers had issued a joint statement on Saturday, in which
they called for an end to the violence and demanded that arrested
persons be treated according to international standards. The
ministers also called on China to grant journalists free access to
Pro-independece demonstrations and unrest erupted in Tibet on
March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against
Chinese rule. The Chinese government claims 19 people were killed in
the recent violence in the capital Lhasa but the Tibetan government-
in-exile said about 140 people were killed.
但事實並非如此。世界資源研究所 (World Resource Institute) 的研究表明，全球城市居民的數量預計在2025年將達到50億，較1990年翻一番。事實證明，許多人就是喜歡城市生活，而遠程辦公也存在侷限性：做生意仍需要面談時間。
Embarq的 WRI Center for Sustainable Transport 主管 Nancy Kete 表示：「人們都想住在其他人居住的地方。我們可以從相互交流中獲得能量。」不僅是那些發展完善的中等規模城市的人口在不斷增長，發展中世界也正不斷湧現巨 型城市中心。
世界資源研究所預計，2025年將出現33個超大型城市（人口超過800萬），這一數字較1990年的21個有所增長，更不用說1950年的2個了（倫敦 和紐約）。除6個城市外，這33個城市中的其它城市都將位於發展中國家。這些超大型城市中有許多都在很大程度上依靠製造業來拉動經濟增長，憑借低廉的交通 費用和充足的勞動力，這裏的城市環境變得更具吸引力。
Kete 表示：「這些城市中除了紐約之外，其它城市都尚未決定為21世紀的發展制訂藍圖。它們都正被自身的發展壓得無法喘息。」Kete 認為，就拿墨西哥城官員來說，他們正為墨西哥政府沒有對其周邊地區更多的軌道交通進行投資一事而犯愁。
墨西哥政府並沒有投資於墨西哥城的基礎設施建設，而是正在使用工廠補貼等土地分配政策來鼓勵人們遷移。哥倫比亞大學 (Columbia University) 城市研究主任 Owen Gutfreund 表示：「該計劃旨在遏制（而非鼓勵）墨西哥城的發展。」他指出，與眼見該城市的基礎設施建設無法跟上人口激增的腳步相比，這倒也不是一個糟糕的方法。
Gutfreund 認為上海是一座高瞻遠矚的超大型城市，他指出，該城市正在擴建高速交通——每戶住宅的平均使用面積增長了25%，並積極開發緊鄰的住宅、商業和公共交通用 地。Gutfreund 和 Kete 都對孟買最為不滿。儘管孟買人口年增長率預計將達1.8%，到2025年其居民數可能將超過2600萬人，但該市至今還未開始進行任何實際的城市規劃。儘 管孟買整體經濟發展強勁，人均收入為印度全國平均水平的3倍，但其市中心的大片地區仍處於貧窮且擁擠的狀態。
【2008-03-19 富比世】The 10 Biggest Cities Of 2025
Tom Van Riper, 03.19.08, 6:00 PM ET
The age of the mega city is just beginning. Ready or not, huge metros are growing across the globe. The question is how many are ready, from an infrastructural and environmental standpoint, to handle the load.
Experts say that it's a mixed bag but that many have a long way to go.
Not long ago, demographers were predicting the demise of the city. A swing to a service economy in the developed world, combined with technology allowing businesses to set up shop anywhere and workers to telecommute, would be the catalysts in eliminating the need for people to concentrate so close together.
But it hasn't worked out that way. The number of urban dwellers is expected to hit 5 billion globally by 2025--double the number of 1990, according to studies by the World Resource Institute. As it turns out, many people just like the city life, and telecommuting opportunities are limited: Doing business still requires face time.
"Humans want to be where others are. We get our energy from interacting," says Nancy Kete, director of Embarq's WRI Center for Sustainable Transport.
Not only are populations in many established mid-size cities increasing, the developing world is sprouting giant urban centers left and right.
Asia and Latin America, each cluttered with rural workers looking for better jobs and housing in the city, are slated to have nine of the world's 10 most populous cities by 2025. Among them: Mumbai, Calcutta and Delhi in India, Karachi in Pakistan and Shanghai, China. Latin American cities on the list include Mexico City and San Paulo, Brazil.
New York and Tokyo are the only traditional power cities expected to remain on the mega cities list in 17 years.
The World Resource Institute predicts 33 mega cities--those with populations exceeding 8 million--by 2025. That's up from 21 in 1990, not to mention two in 1950 (London and New York). All but six of the 33 will be in the developing world.
That many of these metropolises rely on manufacturing for much of their economies makes an urban environment, with its cheap transportation and closely packed labor market, that much more appealing.
The problem lies in preparedness. Many of today's and tomorrow's mega cities aren't planning ahead for how they'll improve transportation (moving more and more people around), housing (to avoid overcrowding) and pollution.
The risk is a loss of economic productivity, as congestion increases and long commutes--already averaging a three-hour round trip in some places--become even longer.
"None of these cities, other than New York, have made a decision to have a vision for the 21st century," Kete says. "They are choking on their own growth."
Mexico City officials, for instance, are hamstrung by the country's failure to invest in more mass transit in surrounding areas, Kete thinks.
Instead of investing in Mexico City's infrastructure, the Mexican government is using land allocation policies, such as subsidies for factories, to encourage people to move elsewhere.
"The plan is to curtail the growth of Mexico City (instead of facing it head on)," says Owen Gutfreund, director of urban studies at Columbia University. That's not a bad approach, he figures, compared with the alternative: seeing the city's population balloon faster than the infrastructure can keep up.
Gutfreund holds up Shanghai as an example of a forward-thinking mega city, noting its expansion of rapid transit--a 25% increase in average square footage per residential household--and aggressive development of space aimed at placing housing, business and public transport close to each other.
Both he and Kete are most critical of Mumbai, which hasn't embarked on any real urban planning despite an expected 1.8% annual population growth that will likely result in over 26 million inhabitants by 2025.
A big swath in the middle of the city remains poor and congested, despite a robust overall economy that's yielded a per capita income three times India's national average.
Rice and politics in Asia
Empty bowls, stomachs and pockets
Mar 26th 2008 | BANGKOK
Disquiet over the soaring rice price
THE soaring price of rice and dwindling stockpiles of Asia’s staple food are causing anxiety across the continent. In particular the Philippines, a big, hungry country which cannot grow enough to feed itself, could be in trouble. The front pages of Manila’s newspapers scream about a “rice crisis”, as politicians float drastic solutions, such as forcing the country’s top 100 companies to take up rice farming. Farmers in Thailand, the world’s largest rice exporter, are delighted with the price surge, although some were this week said to be hiring guards to protect their valuable crops against “rice bandits”.
The president of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, last month pleaded publicly with neighbouring Vietnam, the second-largest exporter, to guarantee supplies. The two countries signed an agreement on Wednesday March 26th apparently to do just that. But the various escape clauses that Vietnam insisted upon suggest it was more of a face-saving measure than a firm pledge. Vietnam and India, another big rice exporter, have recently announced export restrictions to try to curb soaring food prices at home. This will make it tough for poor, rice-importing countries, in Africa as well as Asia, to secure supplies.Until a few years ago, rising harvests were meeting the growth in rice demand caused by Asia’s success in cutting poverty and its booming population. However recent wobbles in rice production have reversed a long-term trend of falling prices. They have also left the world’s stockpiles at their lowest since the 1970s. The rising cost of food in general is now pushing millions back into the poverty from which they only recently escaped.
Political consequences may follow. Mrs Arroyo came to office in a “people-power” revolt in 2001 and her grip on power is tenuous. Spreading hunger could be just the rallying-point the opposition needs to bring Filipinos on to the streets. So Mrs Arroyo is straining to be seen doing something: posing for photos at state grain warehouses and promising a crackdown on the widespread fiddling of subsidised rice supplies.
Indonesia’s president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, had hitherto been expected to sail to re-election next year. But, again, costly food and resurgent poverty may endanger him. That Mr Yudhoyono made a show of completing a doctorate in agricultural economics during his 2004 election campaign only increases his potential for embarrassment. He has tinkered with, not abolished, Indonesia’s economically nonsensical restrictions on rice imports. These, like the Philippines’ rice import tariffs, were intended to protect poor rice farmers when prices were low but hurt the larger numbers of poor rice eaters. As elsewhere, attempts to manage food prices through trade restrictions have backfired.
This week one of Mr Yudhoyono’s officials said Indonesia had now reached its goal of becoming self-sufficient in rice. However, maintaining it may be another thing: the Philippines briefly achieved self-sufficiency in the 1980s but despite big increases in the acreage of its paddies since then, it has remained in deficit.
Geography and climate affect countries’ ability to grow rice. And so does the competence of government. The extreme example is Myanmar. Once it was the world’s biggest rice exporter and it still produces a small national surplus. Yet many of its people go hungry because its dictatorship is as incompetent as it is brutal.
Robert Zeigler of the International Rice Research Institute, one of the driving forces behind Asia’s 1960s “green revolution” in farming, says that governments are now reaping the results of years of neglecting agricultural research, irrigation and other means to aid farmers. They have lost much prime land, water supplies and labour in the rush to industrialise.
Reducing the huge disparities in productivity, even between identical fields in a given district, could solve Asia’s rice worries for decades to come. That would require, for instance, ensuring farmers can buy higher-quality seeds, which in turn would require more funding from governments for old-fashioned things such as cross-breeding of existing strains of rice. The region needs a new green revolution, especially if it wants to avoid revolutions of the blood-stained variety.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has promised his full support for the country's incoming government. The man expected to become Pakistan's next prime minister is someone Musharraf had jailed for over four years. Yousuf Raza Gilani has been chosen by the Pakistan Peoples Party to be its candidate for the premiership. The party of assassinated former leader Benazir Bhutto heads a coalition which now dominates parliament following last month's general elections.
Many believe Bhutto's widower Ali Asif Zardari will eventually take over the post of premier. He is currently ineligible because he is not a parliamentarian. The new government is widely expected to take measures to curb the power of President Musharraf.
Discipline First for Taiwan’s New Leader
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Growing up in Taiwan as the only boy among five children, Ma Ying-jeou bore the weight of his father’s expectations.
BORN July 13, 1950.
EDUCATION Bachelor of laws, National Taiwan University, 1972; master of laws,
CAREER Chairman, Nationalist Party, 2005-7; mayor,
The elder Mr. Ma, determined that his son be a broad-minded gentleman with a sense of national purpose, demanded that he study the Chinese classics and spend hours after school every day mastering Chinese calligraphy. And the father, a champion runner in high school and college, took him on long runs during his late teens after initially viewing him as too lazy to achieve athletic success.
Out of that upbringing came a fiercely determined man who sleeps five hours a night, jogs regularly at dawn — and on Saturday won the presidency of Taiwan.
“Although at the time I felt very much — well, sometimes — bothered, looking back I appreciate his role,” Mr. Ma, now 57, said Sunday in an interview, recalling the many evenings he spent practicing brush strokes.
President-elect Ma Ying-jeou (roughly pronounced Ma ING-gee-oh) will need that energy and discipline to lead Taiwan, having created high expectations during the campaign. Despite pledging to improve trade relations and calm military and diplomatic tensions with the mainland, he continues to castigate its leaders for human rights abuses and supports the Dalai Lama’s calls for Tibetan autonomy.
He has promised to stimulate Taiwan’s struggling economy by opening trade with China and letting in Chinese tourists, but now faces a global economic slowdown. He also has promised to run a clean government. But he leads a party with a long history of corruption and thuggery so ingrained that when Mr. Ma tried to investigate illegal deals while justice minister in the mid-1990s, he quickly lost his job and temporarily had to leave politics. He was an assistant professor at a local university for about a year before he came back by being elected mayor of Taipei.
Throughout his career, Mr. Ma, who has a doctorate in legal studies from Harvard, has taken legally precise positions that sometimes have been politically popular and sometimes have not.
“He’s very lawyerly, and his first reaction to events is to fall back on principles and the legal ramifications,” said Douglas H. Paal, who was the director from 2002 to 2006 of the American Institute in Taiwan, which handles American diplomatic interests here in the absence of full diplomatic relations. “It has given him an ability to respond to any issue that comes up in Taiwan, and there seems to be one every three days.”
Rebuilding Taiwan’s relationship with its longtime protector, the United States, is part of a difficult balancing act that awaits Mr. Ma as he prepares for his inauguration on May 20.
Mr. Ma said Sunday that he wanted to negotiate confidence-building military procedures with China to reduce the risk of an accidental war and eventually a peace agreement ending hostilities across the Taiwan Strait.
But he also needs to allay the suspicions of American conservatives who value Taiwan as a strategic counterweight to China and who remain distrustful of Mr. Ma’s Nationalist Party because of its reluctance for years to approve the purchase of submarines and other military hardware first offered by President Bush in 2001.
Mr. Ma plans to seek close relations with Japan, another important ally of the United States and one that shares the American commitment to preserving the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. But he has also long infuriated Japan by contending that it should hand over a cluster of small islands to Taiwan, known in Japan as the Senkaku Islands and to Chinese speakers as the Diaoyu Islands. He even wrote his doctoral dissertation at Harvard on the subject.
At a news conference on Sunday morning, Mr. Ma offered a mechanism and some thoughts on a formula for achieving a peace agreement with the mainland. For starters, he said, negotiations should be handled through two semiofficial foundations set up with government backing in the early 1990s: the Straits Exchange Foundation, which Mr. Ma helped establish on the Taiwan side, and Beijing’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits.
Using such groups to conduct talks, instead of government agencies, is like shaking hands while wearing white gloves, Mr. Ma said. “If you wear a white glove, it is still courteous, but it is not your actual flesh,” he said.
The trickier task is to find a formula that balances Beijing’s position that Taiwan is a breakaway province and Taiwan’s position that it is a sovereign country and the legal continuation of the Republic of China. The Republic of China was the formal name for China after the end of imperial rule in 1912 and during the time that the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, governed the country. The Nationalists lost China’s civil war to Mao’s Communist Party and fled to Taiwan in 1949.
Mr. Ma said that he accepted the so-called 1992 consensus, in which Taiwanese and mainland officials reached an understanding, never issued as a formal document, that there is one China but that the two sides interpret what that means differently.
He also offered another approach, saying that sovereignty issues were too hard to resolve but that each side would have to move beyond denying the legal existence of the other. He described this approach as “mutual nondenial” but provided few details.
Ma Ying-jeou was born on July 13, 1950, the son of a mid-ranking functionary in the Nationalist Party. Mr. Ma earned a bachelor of laws degree from National Taiwan University, a master of laws from New York University and a doctor of juridical science degree from Harvard.
After obtaining his doctorate, Mr. Ma became a translator for President Chiang Ching-kuo and rose quickly through the Nationalist Party ranks. Mr. Ma became the party’s deputy secretary general just three years later.
He may be at a disadvantage in reassuring Taiwan’s people that he can strike a hard bargain with Beijing because he comes from a mainland family and was born in Hong Kong. He said Sunday morning at a news conference that he had a Taiwan connection from the start nonetheless.
“I was biologically conceived in Taiwan, although I was born in Hong Kong, so technically I was made in Taiwan,” he said.
Mr. Ma’s wife, Chow Mei-ching, is a lawyer for a government-controlled Taiwanese bank and takes pride in riding the bus to work every day.
Ms. Chow put her husband through Harvard by working as a research assistant, an assistant librarian and even as maître d’hôtel at a Chinese restaurant. They have two grown daughters, both living in the United States.
Two of the earliest signs of a likely thaw in relations with Beijing may be shaggy and four-legged: Mr. Ma said Taiwan would be happy to accept China’s three-year-old offer of two pandas. “We have already prepared our zoo for that purpose,” Mr. Ma said. “We’ve already trained our employees to grow the bamboo they eat.”
BEIJING — In the chaotic hours after Lhasa erupted March 14, Tibetans rampaged through the city’s old quarter, waving steel scabbards and burning or looting Chinese shops. Clothes, souvenirs and other tourist trinkets were dumped outside and set afire as thick gray smoke darkened the midday sky. Tibetan fury, uncorked, boiled over.
Foreigners and Lhasa residents who witnessed the violence were stunned by what they saw, and by what they did not see: the police. Riot police officers fled after an initial skirmish and then were often nowhere to be found. Some Chinese shopkeepers begged for protection.
“The whole day I didn’t see a single police officer or soldier,” said an American woman who spent hours navigating the riot scene. “The Tibetans were just running free.”
Lhasa is now occupied by thousands of paramilitary police officers and troops of the People’s Liberation Army. But witnesses say that for almost 24 hours, the paramilitary police seemed unexpectedly paralyzed or unprepared, despite days of rising tensions with Tibetan monks.
The absence of police officers emboldened the Tibetan crowds, which terrorized Chinese residents, toppled fire trucks and hurled stones into Chinese-owned shops. In turn, escalating violence touched off a sweeping crackdown and provided fodder for a propaganda-fueled nationalist backlash against Tibetans across the rest of China that is still under way.
“I really am surprised at the speed with which these things got out of control,” said Murray Scot Tanner, a China analyst with a specialty in policing. “This place, this time, should not have surprised them. This is one of the key cities in the country that they have tried to keep a lid on for two decades.”
What happened? Analysts wonder if the authorities, possibly fearing the public relations ramifications of a confrontation before the Beijing Olympics in August, told the police to avoid engaging protesters without high-level approval.
Timing also may have contributed to indecision; Tibet’s hard-line Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, and other top officials were attending the National People’s Congress in Beijing when the violence erupted.
The full explanation could take years to emerge from China’s secretive Communist Party hierarchy. But the Lhasa unrest, not entirely unlike the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests of 1989, may be remembered as much for poor police work — faulty crowd control and political indecision followed by a large-scale response — as for the underlying grievances of protesters.
Lhasa now has created far more than a public relations problem for Beijing. It has unleashed widespread Tibetan resentment over Chinese rule. Antigovernment demonstrations have spread to Tibetan areas of western China. Military convoys and trucks of paramilitary police officers are streaming westward to quell the protests.
International leaders are alarmed at the continuing violence and have called on China to exercise restraint. But domestic opinion is inflamed with nationalist anger as state television is repeatedly showing images of Tibetans rioting in those early, unfettered hours.
“Our government should take a bloody suppression on these separatists!” blared one posting among the legion of enraged postings on Chinese Internet chat rooms. “We cannot hesitate or be too merciful, even at the cost of giving up the Olympics.”
The police hesitation did not last long. The crackdown began within 24 hours, on March 15. Witnesses described hearing the thud of tear gas projectiles and the crackle of gunshots as paramilitary police officers took control of the riot area. By March 16, the paramilitary police were searching Tibetan neighborhoods and seizing suspects. One foreigner saw four Tibetan men beaten so savagely that the police sprinkled white powder on the ground to cover the blood.
Lhasa’s death toll remains in sharp dispute. The Chinese authorities say 22 people died, including a police officer killed by a mob and shopkeepers who burned to death in the violence. The authorities also claim security forces did not carry lethal weapons or fire a shot. But the Tibetan government-in-exile, in Dharamsala, India, said at least 99 Tibetans have died in Lhasa during the crackdown. Foreign journalists are now forbidden to enter Tibet. But interviews with more than 20 witnesses show Lhasa was boiling with Tibetan resentment even as authorities believed they had the situation under control. Protests broke out at three monasteries beginning March 10, the anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, which forced the Dalai Lama to flee to India. The police arrested more than 60 monks and confined the rest in their monasteries. Tibetans say the police also beat monks during peaceful demonstrations.
James Miles, a Beijing-based reporter for The Economist magazine, had obtained approval from authorities for a reporting trip to Lhasa before the demonstrations. When the protests started, Mr. Miles wondered if he would be notified that his trip had been canceled. But no call came. He arrived March 12, and on March 13 officials took him to dinner, signaling their confidence by making no attempt to hide the recent demonstrations.
“I was assured that the situation in Lhasa was stable,” Mr. Miles recalled.
But the next day, March 14, would prove otherwise. At Ramoche Temple, monks left the monastery about midday to protest and were immediately met by police officers. Unlike the other monasteries, Ramoche is in the heart of Lhasa’s old Tibetan quarter, so the confrontation attracted a large crowd.
Unconfirmed reports about the earlier protests had been swirling among Tibetans for days, according to several people, including that monks and Buddhist nuns had been killed. Many Tibetans were angry when they saw the police clash with the Ramoche monks. Quickly, the crowd attacked the police.
Witnesses say police reinforcements who arrived with shields and riot gear were overwhelmed. “Almost immediately they were rushed by a massive group of Tibetans,” one witness said. Police officers fled, and a mob of Tibetans poured out of the old quarter onto Beijing Road, a large commercial street. A riot had begun.
Angry Tibetans attacked a branch of the Bank of China and burned it to a blackened husk. Photos and video images show Tibetans smashing Chinese shops with stones and setting them on fire. Witnesses described Tibetans attacking Chinese on bicycles and throwing rocks at taxis driven by Chinese. Later, crowds also burned shops owned by Muslims.
“This wasn’t organized, but it was very clear that they wanted the Chinese out,” said the American woman who witnessed the riots and asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals. She said Tibetan grievances exploded in anger. Crowds tied ceremonial silk scarves across the threshold of Tibetan shops to indicate they should not be damaged.
Mr. Miles, the journalist, found himself the only Western reporter on the scene. He spent the next several hours carefully walking around the old Tibetan quarter as rioters burned buildings and overturned cars. “I was looking around expecting an immediate, rapid response,” he said. “But nothing happened. I kept asking people, ‘Where are the police?’ ”
Protests are common in China and clashes can occur between demonstrators and police officers. Beginning in the early 1980s China created a paramilitary force, known as the People’s Armed Police, to deal with domestic unrest and other crises. Mr. Tanner, the specialist in Chinese policing, said the People’s Armed Police had developed tactics over the years to defuse protests without resorting to violent crackdowns. But riots of this scale are rare, and if violence erupts, policy dictates a firm response, Mr. Tanner said.
“There is no suggestion that they are supposed to sit back and let a riot burn itself out,” he said.
Tibetans also say the security forces were unusually passive. One monk reached by telephone said other monks noticed that several officers were more interested in shooting video of the violence than stopping it. “They were just watching,” the monk said. “They tried to make some videos and use their cameras to take some photos.”
Ultimately, the man responsible for public order in Lhasa is Mr. Zhang, Tibet’s party chief. Mr. Zhang is a protégé of President Hu Jintao, whose own political career took flight after he crushed the last major rebellion in Tibet in 1989.
According to one biographer, Mr. Hu actually made himself unavailable during the 1989 riots when the paramilitary police needed guidance on whether to crack down. The police did so and Mr. Hu got credit for keeping order, but he also assured himself deniability if the crackdown had failed, the biographer wrote.
Mr. Zhang also has an excuse; he was at the National People’s Congress in Beijing. When the violence started, Mr. Zhang had just completed a two-hour online discussion about China’s Supreme Court, according to a government Web site. It is unclear when Mr. Zhang was told of the violence, or if he made the final decision on how to respond.
But that decision became clear on March 15, the day after the riots. During the riots, the police had been armed with shields and batons, several witnesses said. But overnight, the People’s Armed Police had encircled the riot areas. Armed vehicles also were in position. By the afternoon, witnesses saw small teams of paramilitary officers with high-powered weapons moving into the old quarter. Mr. Zhang would later declare “a bitter struggle of blood and fire against the Dalai clique, a struggle of life and death.”
The Chinese authorities have also confirmed that army troops had arrived in Lhasa by March 15, saying their role was limited to traffic control and securing military property. But many people question if some of those troops were involved in the crackdown. Several armored vehicles had their license plates removed or covered in white paper.
Mr. Miles noticed that many of the People’s Armed Police officers actually appeared to be wearing irregular uniforms. One military analyst who studied photographs of the scene concluded that some armored vehicles belonged to an elite military unit. Witnesses reported hearing the sounds of gunshots throughout that Saturday afternoon.
The crackdown was only one part of the new strategy. The Chinese news media initially had not been allowed to cover the Lhasa violence. But by March 15,, that had changed. There, broadcast on state television, was video of Tibetans raging through Lhasa.
Zhang Jing, Huang Yuanxi and Chen Yang contributed research.
The China card
Mar 20th 2008 | TAIPEI
Taiwan's presidential elections
THE last thing China wants in the presidential election in Taiwan on March 22nd is another victory for the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). It still looks unlikely. But the military crackdown in Tibet and a warning from Wen Jiabao, the prime minister of China, that independence for either Tibet or Taiwan would be intolerable has helped the DPP candidate, Frank Hsieh. He has narrowed a double-digit deficit in unpublished opinion polls and pulled to within five percentage points of Ma Ying-jeou, the candidate of the opposition Nationalists, the Kuomintang or KMT.
Mr Ma tried to shore up his flagging support by taking a tough stance against China’s action. He threatened to boycott the Beijing Olympics should the bloodshed continue. Even that may have backfired, however. Rather against the odds, Taiwan’s baseball team this month qualified for the games—a triumph relished by the island’s many baseball fans.
Sabre-rattling by Beijing might be counterproductive in another way, too, improving the chances that two referendums to be held along with the presidential election, both of which China hopes will be roundly defeated, might actually be approved. One asks whether Taiwan should apply to rejoin the United Nations using the name “Taiwan”; the other asks if it should apply using “the Republic of China” (its formal nomenclature), “Taiwan” or something else. Parts of the KMT had been calling for a boycott of the referendums, which require a 50% turnout for the result to be valid.
After a landslide victory in January’s parliamentary election, the KMT’s bid to regain the presidency—which it held for five decades until 2000—enjoyed massive momentum. After eight years of lacklustre DPP rule, voters seemed ready for a change. But the KMT’s ambitions for closer ties with China, including even a peace treaty and a “Great China” common market, now look less like votewinners.
The KMT may have been hurt by overconfidence. Three weeks before election day, some senior party officials went so far as to claim that the DPP had no chance.
The DPP, however, has been aggressively ramming away at KMT policies and behaviour. It managed to portray a provocative visit by four KMT legislators to Mr Hsieh’s campaign headquarters on March 12th as evidence of an attempt at “one-party dominance”. This linked it to the authoritarianism that marked the KMT’s rule. Mr Hsieh has also taken every opportunity to label the “Great China” market a “One China” market, insisting the policy is tantamount to surrender to the communists.
He has spread fears that under the plan, Chinese workers and products would flood Taiwan, even though Mr Ma has repeatedly insisted that this would not be allowed to happen. The DPP has also attacked Mr Ma’s planned peace treaty, claiming it would lead Taiwan to a destiny no different from that of Tibet, which signed an agreement with China in 1951 promising it great autonomy.
In self-defence, Mr Ma has reiterated his “three noes” policy towards China—“no independence, no unification, and no military conflict”. He has emphasised his identity as a Taiwanese (despite his mainland-Chinese heritage) who would defend the island’s interests, by using local songs to accompany his television commercials.
In the previous presidential election in 2004, the DPP won by a mere 0.22%. Political analysts expect the KMT to win by a bigger margin of 2-4%, or some 250,000 to 500,000 votes. But if the DPP fares well in its stronghold in the south and wins a slight edge in central Taiwan it might just scrape home.
In the past two elections, China has tried and failed to intimidate Taiwanese voters. In 1996 it fired missiles in an attempt to scare voters away from the KMT’s independence-minded Lee Teng-hui—who this week endorsed the DPP’s Mr Hsieh. Again, in 2000, China gave warning of the danger of voting for pro-independence candidates. This year, it seemed to have learned its lesson and has been conspicuously silent. But events in Tibet have spoken louder than words.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Taiwan on Saturday elected its first president who had campaigned for closer economic relations with Beijing, paving the way for a considerable lessening of tensions in one of Asia’s oldest flash points.
Ma Ying-jeou, a Harvard-educated lawyer and former Taipei mayor from the Nationalist Party, won by a convincing margin. He prevailed despite a last-minute effort by his opponent, Frank Hsieh of the Democratic Progressive Party, to caution voters that the Chinese crackdown in Tibet was a warning of what could happen to Taiwan if it did not stand up to Beijing.
With all votes counted, Mr. Ma won 58.45 percent to 41.55 percent, and Mr. Hsieh quickly conceded defeat. Clear skies and warm weather until early evening helped produce a heavy voter turnout of 75.7 percent, which tends to help Nationalist candidates like Mr. Ma.
Both parties’ polls showed an increasingly close race in the final days of campaigning, in contrast with the last polls by news media organizations nearly two weeks ago, which showed Mr. Ma ahead by 20 percent. But in election day interviews, voters echoed Mr. Ma’s stance that closer relations with the mainland and its fast-growing economy represented the island’s best hope of returning to the rapid economic growth it enjoyed until the late 1990s.
Jason Lin, a 41-year-old interior designer, said as he left a polling place in Taipei that until this year he had voted for the Democratic Progressive Party and remained a member. But he crossed party lines to vote for Mr. Ma on Saturday because he was convinced that Taiwan’s economic survival depended on closer ties.
“If we don’t get into China’s market, we are locked into our own country,” he said.
Beijing officials have been wooing the Nationalists for years, even serving as hosts to visits to the mainland over the past three years by those party leaders who are especially eager for eventual political reunification with the mainland, like Lien Chan, the party’s unsuccessful presidential candidate in 2004.
Mr. Ma has taken a more cautious approach to the mainland, attending annual vigils for the victims of the Tiananmen Square killings in Beijing in 1989 and denouncing the mainland’s repression of the Falun Gong spiritual movement over the past decade. During the campaign, he ruled out any discussion of political reunification while calling for the introduction of direct, regularly scheduled flights to Shanghai and Beijing and an end to Taiwan’s extensive limits on its companies’ ability to invest on the mainland.
Chinese government officials had no immediate response to the election results on Saturday evening, but had made little secret of their hope that Mr. Ma would win. “China has a love-hate relationship with Ma — when I visited China last November, they criticized Ma a lot, and then asked me to vote for Ma,” said Yen Chen-Shen, a political scientist at National Chengchi University.
American officials have been deeply frustrated with President Chen Shui-bian, also of the Democratic Progressive Party, and have sought to reduce tensions between Taiwan and the mainland while preserving the political status quo. Mr. Chen is stepping down after two four-year terms.
But the Bush administration has also been irritated by the reluctance of Nationalists in the legislature to vote for purchases of American weapon systems, including systems that President Bush offered for sale in 2001 but that Taiwan still has not bought.
Many in Taiwan have preferred to spend money on social programs while relying on the United States military to deter aggression by the mainland, prompting bitter jokes among American military personnel that if mainland military forces ever land on Taiwan, the Taiwanese will fight them to the last American. Cheng Ta-chen, a Nationalist aide to Mr. Ma on security policy, said the Nationalists had not been given enough information by President Chen to understand and approve military purchases.
President Bush, in a statement, congratulated Mr. Ma on the victory and called it a step toward better relations with the mainland. “I believe the election provides a fresh opportunity for both sides to reach out and engage one another in peacefully resolving their differences,” he said.
After his inauguration, scheduled for May 20, Mr. Ma will have almost complete political power to pursue his agenda. His party and two tiny affiliated parties together took three-quarters of the legislature in January elections. Nationalists also serve as the magistrates, a position akin to mayor, in 15 of Taiwan’s 25 largest cities. The extent of Nationalist control made some voters nervous on Saturday.
Two controversial referendums, calling for Taiwan to apply for membership in the United Nations, also fell well short of passage. Taiwan’s referendum law requires a majority of eligible voters to vote on a referendum for it to be valid. Nationalists called for voters not to cast ballots for either initiative and slightly less than 36 percent of eligible voters did so.
With China strongly opposed to United Nations membership for Taiwan, which it regards as a breakaway province, the island’s recent efforts to win membership have failed. The United States and China had denounced as provocative the referendum sponsored by the Democratic Progressive Party, which specifically called for the island to apply as Taiwan and not using its legal name, the Republic of China.
The legal name reflects the principle that Taiwan and the mainland still form one China.
Taiwan’s economy grew 5.7 percent last year, but middle-class and working-class incomes have stagnated as an affluent elite has grown more prosperous, often from investments on the mainland.
Much of the island’s manufacturing industry has shifted to the mainland, and hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese have moved there to manage these operations. Most of them are men aged 25 to 45, leaving a dearth of skills and entrepreneurial energy in Taiwan.
Taiwan Wants to Focus on Building Its Own High-Tech Brands
HSINCHU, Taiwan — Mike Liang earns the equivalent of $37,500 a year, owns a four-bedroom apartment and can afford to send his two daughters to English tutorial schools.
Like other employees at the Hsinchu Science Park, Mr. Liang, a marketing manager for a semiconductor company, is the envy of many on this island, where average annual salaries stagnate at around $17,000 and high property prices keep many married couples living with their parents.
But what is on Mr. Liang’s mind and that of many others in Taiwan’s high-technology industry is how it can maintain success amid growing competition from neighbors, including China and South Korea, and global price declines in products like laptop computers. The slower growth rate in sales of some high-tech goods and the economic downturn in the United States are also worries.
Many industry workers and analysts say the greatest economic challenge for Taiwan and its 23 million people is overcoming its reliance on manufacturing for other brands and focusing on innovation and building its own brands.
“We have to transform ourselves,” Mr. Liang said during a lunch break. “Otherwise, our costs will keep going up and companies will move to China and Vietnam.”
High-tech products accounted for 70 percent of the island’s 2007 exports. Taiwan is the world’s largest supplier of notebook PCs, and liquid-crystal-display panels for flat-screen televisions, according to the government.
Two of the world’s biggest contract microchip makers are based in Taiwan — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and the United Microelectronics Corporation — and their foundries, the world’s two biggest, are based in the science park, one of three on the island.
The Hsinchu Science Park was opened in December 1980, Southern Taiwan Science Park in 1996 and the Central Taiwan Science Park in 2003. The Hsinchu Science Park is home to 440 companies and is where most of Taiwan’s top high-tech manufacturers are based.
But profit margins for many of the companies in the park have been narrowing. Some have moved production to China, while others are considering relocation to Vietnam for lower costs on labor and production.
“Back in 1999 and 2000, these companies enjoyed quite healthy profit margins,” said Ming-Kai Cheng, regional head of technology research for CLSA, a leading Asia research, brokerage and investment group. “Now the number of companies in profit stage has dropped.”
Revenue growth at Taiwan semiconductor companies, for example, has fallen to single digits from double digits. A main reason is what Mr. Cheng calls the “me, too” mentality, or too many Taiwan companies doing the same thing.
“A lot of companies think if you’re going to make something profitable, I’m going to make the same thing slightly less profitable,” Mr. Cheng said.
About 50 percent of the companies in the Hsinchu Science Park carry out semiconductor manufacturing, design or related work, with revenue from the sector comprising 71 percent of the park’s total revenue.
Taiwan companies are also largely focused on making products for global brands like Dell, Apple and Intel, instead of coming up with their own brands, and they focus on hardware manufacturing, where only a small percentage of the price the consumer pays for a product is earned.
As little as 5 percent of the consumer price for a product like a laptop can be earned by the Taiwan companies that assemble them, while a higher percentage — about 20 percent — is earned by contract manufacturers, also known as original equipment manufacturers, or O.E.M.’s — which make chips or other parts for the brand holders, according to industry estimates.
With their own brands, the companies could earn as much as 30 percent of the consumer value of a product, analysts estimate.
Transformations are nothing new for an island that has evolved from an agriculture- and textile-dominated society after World War II to a factory for light industrial and labor intensive products like sneakers in the 1960s and 1970s to an electronics production base in the 1990s and now to a high-tech center.
Huang Der-Ray, director general of the Hsinchu Science Park Administration, said companies in the park had increased spending on research and development from 4 percent of total revenue in previous years to 7 percent in the last three years.
Companies have also begun to focus on innovation and building their own brands. Mediatek, a chip design company that initially focused on optical storage drivers’ chips, has ventured into other areas, including designing chips for wireless communications and high-definition digital televisions. The company is one of the most profitable in the science park and is considered a pioneer in its designs.
Several companies have focused on research into new technologies, including solar energy, Mr. Huang said. One, Gintech Energy, has been successful in designing solar panels, which it sells to power companies around the world.
More companies are also moving toward design instead of just manufacturing. A decade ago, only about 20 or 30 companies in the Hsinchu Science Park were chip design companies, with most being contract manufacturers. Now, there are 80 companies whose focus is design, Mr. Huang said.
Analysts said a challenge that Taiwan companies faced in developing a global brand was overcoming the label-consciousness of consumers, who prefer internationally recognized brands rather than domestically designed products. Other than Acer and ASUS, which are Taiwan laptop brands, few of the island’s high-tech products are known around the world, unlike the situation in South Korea.
Workers like Mr. Liang, while worried, say they think that Taiwan can again find a way to engineer am(sic) economic miracle.
“I’m optimistic,” he said, while adding that “to compete, Taiwan has to invest a lot of money.
“Some of it has to come from the government. That’s the only way to compete with the big companies overseas.”
China Tensions Could Sway Vote in Taiwan
TAIPEI, Taiwan — Violent unrest in Tibet has created shock waves in another volatile region on China’s periphery, shaking up the presidential election in Taiwan and sapping support for the candidate Beijing had hoped would win handily.
The suppression of Tibet protests by Chinese security forces, as well as missteps by the Nationalist Party, which Beijing favors, have nearly erased what had seemed like an insuperable lead for Ma Ying-jeou, the Harvard-educated lawyer who has been the front-runner in the race.
Concern that China’s crackdown could herald a tougher line on outlying regions that Beijing claims as sovereign territory, including Taiwan, has become the most contested campaign issue ahead of Saturday’s election.
On Thursday, China acknowledged for the first time that security forces had opened fire on Tibetan protesters in Sichuan Province, while also saying that protests had spread to several areas of China where ethnic Tibetans live.
Even if Mr. Ma wins, the election may now give him a weaker mandate for his goal of pursuing closer economic ties and reduced diplomatic tensions with China.
A loss by Mr. Ma, which campaign analysts say is unlikely but now possible, would be a major setback for China’s leaders. They have cultivated the Nationalists in recent years to undermine Taiwan’s current pro-independence president, Chen Shui-bian, and reduce the chances that his Democratic Progressive Party will hold the presidency after Mr. Chen’s mandatory retirement.
The stirring up of the election on Taiwan, which Beijing has long considered its top national security priority, is a potentially heavy price for the Tibetan unrest and the ensuing police action. Beijing also faces a stronger international outcry over its human rights record and scattered calls to boycott the opening ceremony of the Summer Olympic Games, which China hopes will showcase the country’s rapid development.
Both the Nationalists and the Democratic Progressive Party promise to reduce tensions between Taiwan and China. But China has been wary of the Democratic Progressive Party’s presidential candidate, Frank Hsieh, who inherits a volatile coalition that includes many native Taiwanese who favor outright independence from China.
Mr. Hsieh and his party, with help from Mr. Chen’s ministers, have moved swiftly to turn Tibet into a central campaign issue. They contend that Tibet’s fate is a warning of Taiwan’s future if it does not stand up to Beijing.
“What has happened in Tibet in the past three decades, and what is going on now, is a warning to us,” said Shieh Jhy-wey, the minister of information and a Democratic Progressive Party member who takes a hard line toward Beijing. “We don’t want to have the same fate as Tibet.”
Mr. Hsieh abruptly turned a campaign rally in Taipei on Wednesday night into a candlelight vigil for Tibetans who have been killed, injured or detained during the Chinese crackdown. Party activists unfurled a huge Tibetan flag, and Tibetan students sang a Tibetan anthem.
A huge television screen at the rally showed a documentary on Tibetan history provided by the Taiwan office of the Dalai Lama, as well as a short video of Chinese soldiers mistreating Tibetans. Mr. Hsieh’s running mate, Su Tseng-chang, has scheduled a “Support Tibet” rally for Friday morning while Mr. Hsieh has scheduled a “Protect Taiwan Democracy” election-eve rally in Taipei for Friday.
With politicians from both parties concluding that the Tibet issue is hurting the Nationalists, Mr. Ma has focused on damage control. To the surprise of many even in his own party, he warned this week that Taiwan might boycott the Olympics if the Chinese crackdown in Tibet turned more draconian and if conditions there deteriorated further.
Known for his gentlemanly style, his reluctance to engage in personal attacks on political adversaries and his long-held desire for more cordial relations with the mainland, Mr. Ma has also rushed to distance himself from Beijing by using uncharacteristically harsh language.
When Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China said Tuesday that Taiwan’s future should be decided by people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, and not just by Taiwan residents, Mr. Ma condemned what he described as a “ruthless, irrational, arrogant, foolish and self-righteous comment.” Mr. Hsieh has rejected any boycott of the Olympics.
Opinion polls showed Mr. Ma with a lead of up to 20 percentage points last week; Taiwan’s election laws do not allow the release of polls during the final 10 days before voting.
But surveys by both parties show that more than half of that lead has evaporated. Mr. Ma is now ahead by a more slender margin because of Tibet and because of an embarrassing incident in which four Nationalist lawmakers were caught roaming through the Democratic Progressive Party’s headquarters, politicians and political analysts said.
The closer race has reinvigorated the Democratic Progressive Party, which had been deeply gloomy after badly losing a January vote for the legislature. “We have narrowed the gap significantly since January and I believe the final outcome will be very close,” said Hsiao Bi-khim, the international affairs director of Mr. Hsieh’s campaign.
Su Chi, a Nationalist lawmaker and deputy campaign manager for Mr. Ma, said that Mr. Ma’s lead had narrowed in the last few days, but added that this was to be expected.
Many Democratic Progressive Party supporters did not vote in the legislative elections because they were disillusioned with corruption cases involving the current government, but they are now becoming more active as Mr. Hsieh has campaigned aggressively, Mr. Su said, adding that he still thought Mr. Ma would win.
Government ministers have helped Mr. Hsieh by repeatedly drawing attention to the difficulties in Tibet.
At a news conference on Thursday, Chen Ming-tong, the chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council, the ministry responsible for relations with the mainland, called for the international community to put more pressure on China to begin a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibet’s government in exile.
Mr. Hsieh received an influential endorsement on Thursday. Lee Teng-hui, a former Nationalist president of Taiwan who now favors much greater political independence from the mainland, said he would vote for Mr. Hsieh.
The Nationalists and two affiliated minor parties captured three-quarters of the seats in the legislature in January’s elections, in a crushing defeat for the Democratic Progressive Party. The Nationalists’ capitalized on voters’ concerns about stagnant household incomes and paralysis in contacts with the fast-growing mainland economy — two potent issues that could still produce a victory for Mr. Ma on Saturday.
But the incident at Mr. Hsieh’s offices last week helped his party warn voters against giving too much power to the opposition. Four Nationalist lawmakers roamed through Mr. Hsieh’s offices in an attempt to document whether the building lease complied with election laws.
Mr. Hsieh’s aides trapped the four in an elevator, accused them of trespassing and called the police. A crowd of Democratic Progressive Party supporters formed and smashed the windshield of one of the police cars that rescued the four; Mr. Ma has apologized repeatedly since then.
Mr. Hsieh has staked out a more moderate position toward Beijing than Mr. Chen has. Mr. Ma has taken positions similar to Mr. Hsieh’s on economic issues, and he said that he would not seek political reunification with the mainland, still the goal of many Nationalists.
Many of the two men’s proposals, like direct flights to China, would require talks with Beijing, and are more likely to happen if Mr. Ma is elected because mainland officials have been reluctant to have formal contacts with the Democratic Progressive Party.
中国 | 2008.03.18
3月18日下午，德国著名中国问题专家、德国外交研究会会长桑德施奈德教授进入德国电视一台“每日专题新闻”网络版聊天室，与读者谈西藏问题。他说，中国 汉人绝对支持西藏属于中国，包括台湾人；西藏人也并非全部想法一样；假如中国支持巴伐利亚独立，德国也会禁止干涉内政；德国大多数民众认为中国办奥运是错 误，说明对中国的恐惧占了上风。德国之声记者整理并翻译如下。
后来，针对读者关于19世纪时西藏是否真的属于中国的问题，他说："这始终是个视角问题。幅员极广阔的中华帝国当时的领 土确实远及西藏的边境。但是中国的国家权力并非始终得到充分保障的。在这方面，西藏问题跟我们在世界许多地方听说的其它主权问题几乎没有区别。比如台湾声 称至今为止只有7年正式属于中国，在其它年头里它是日本殖民地或者事实独立状态，所以拒绝承认自己属于中国。从中国方面看来，事情完全相反。归根结底关系 到艰难的权力政治问题。自从中国人民解放军50年代初占领西藏以来，西方或者整个国际社会中没有任何人质疑过中国对西藏的主权。批评的矛头总是指向文化和 人权方面。"
一名读者说，"暴动的时间经过了聪明的选择。中国由于奥运会而在世界公众眼皮下不能过于强硬地对待抗议。"他问，其它分 裂主义者是否也会利用这个机会，向北京施加压力。桑德施奈德同意他的看法，"西藏流亡组织的代表们当然知道，国际上对奥运会的高度关注对他们来说是时间上 和事件上一个理想的机会，用以把他们的要求推到国际社会的注意力中间。"
有几个读者就是否应该杯葛北京奥运，甚至当初把奥运主办权给予中国就是一个错误提出问题。桑德施奈德认为，杯葛是没有用 处的，无助于西藏人，也不能让中国政府改变什么。他还说："当时中国获得奥运会主办权，在我看来是完全正常的。认为通过压力、批评或者杯葛威胁可以给中国 带来政治变化，是我们这里一个广泛流传的错误估计。经验表明，进行一场艰难的、长时间的，但在原则上是建设性的对话最终要比把中国排除在外更能取得成功。 我们不能忘了，这个国家的经济成就也使中国在国际上登台的自我意识迅速增长，跟这个国家的国民生产总值一样。"
一名读者问，中国政府采取一切强硬手段对待藏民示威者，中国老百姓（汉人）是怎么看的。桑德施奈德说，我们对中国民众的 看法知之甚少，这个国家之大也使这种了解很困难，在西藏问题上，官方的信息政策不是相当谨慎，就是非常具宣传性，"我们看得到的少量反应表明，如果事关国 家的统一，或者中国在国际上份量的增长，中国政府完全可以得到民众的支持。据我们所知，中国汉人民众的绝大多数是绝对支持西藏继续是中国领土的。"
桑德施奈德说，完全可能跟中国现在的做法一样，"德国联邦政府将竭尽全力禁止干涉德国内政。"他还说，假如5月1日在柏 林土耳其人聚居区克略茨贝格发生骚乱，示威者打碎玻璃，点火烧汽车，德国检察院也会全力干涉的。您的问题很有帮助，"因为它指出，不要老是拿出自己什么都 知道的观点去看中国，也要不时地在镜子里照照自己。"
桑德施奈德的答复是："我的比较很简单：当然可以批评中国警察的行动过硬。但我们能看到的西藏图像并非只显示殴打的、开 枪的士兵，而也显示了骚乱的、纵火的示威者。世界上没有一个国家可以听任在自己的大城市里有如此高的暴力潜力的示威进展而不以警察或者军队进行干预。我只 是想让您换一个视角来看问题，希望您能发现，片面的看问题方法，完全用批判的眼光来看中国武装力量的行为，也完全可能从事实真相旁边擦肩而过。"
他继续写道，我知道，我冒着被视为中国利益维护者的风险。但我并不是这样的。"但我在关于中国的研究中不断获得的经验 是，如果能把针对中国的看法短暂地'抽回来'。来看看德国可比的情况，看看从不同的视角能看到什么样不同的结果，是很有帮助的。从这个角度看，先前那个跟 巴伐利亚比较的问题很让我高兴。"
达赖喇嘛3月18日说，如果藏民不放弃暴力，他将隐退。有读者便问道，如果达赖喇嘛隐退，会发生什么事。桑德施奈德指 出，达赖喇嘛即使隐退，也只是世俗意义上的隐退。因为他一生是藏传佛教的精神领袖。"由于他近年来只是作为西藏的代表，而不是作为本身意义上的政治家出 面，应该把他的隐退威胁看成对西藏那些想使用暴力的社会集团的一个信号，让他们响应他非暴力的号召。"
桑德施奈德说：中国的崛起这个挑战我们不曾面对过，而我们现在对此很难找到令人信服的答案。"但是有一点在过去几个月里 越来越明显：中国接受西方开导的时代已经过去了。"由于经济上的强盛，中国在政治上已经变得相当强大，所以它比如可以在非洲搞一种跟西方的设想完全不同的 发展援助政策，同时，在科技和军事领域尽可能从自己的利益出发来求得发展。"冷战绝不符合我们的利益。"因此，无论有多艰难，也必须找到与中国持续对话的 道路。
他又提到，"人们现在就有这么个印象，几乎每个在奥运之前前往中国的西方记者都想带着一些批评性的报导返回。"中国政府 也早就认识到，利用奥运来提高中国形象是一件非常艰难的事情，"当前，与其说是形象赢分的机会，还不如说是形象受损的危险更大。""北京知道这一点，所 以，针对所有敏感的问题，官方发言人早已制定了、做好了相应的语言壳子。"
他解释道，中国整个让我们感到可怕，"因为它发展得快，因为我们不知道这一进程对我们的直接后果是什么，尽管我们感觉 到，局部也已经经历到，在中国发生的事情对我们的日常生活发生了直接的影响，这包括保住工作岗位，包括在我们的商场里能看到的著名的'Made in China'服装。"
他继而指出："我坚信，对中国恐惧是毫无意义的。在中国，树也不会长到天上去。这个国家经历了一条给人深刻印象的发展道 路，但也在社会、经济和环境领域积累了问题，这些问题非常大，至少提出了象现在西藏形势这样深刻的挑战。"他还指出，我们也要做跟中国一样的事情，"与其 在这些方面批评中国，还不如给我们自己提出问题，我们必须做什么，以对付全球性的挑战。"
- A member of a Rajput ethnic group predominant in Nepal.
- A member of this people serving in the British or Indian armies.
[Nepalese, from Sanskrit gorakṣaḥ, cowherd : Sanskrit gauḥ, cow + Sanskrit rakṣati, he protects.]
Wikipedia article "Gurkha".
Gurkha veteran Indra Gurung handed in his medals in protest
Fifty of the Nepalese soldiers have handed back their Long Service and Good Conduct medals in protest.
Gurkhas who retired after 1997 can automatically stay in the UK, but those who retired earlier must apply.
Communities Secretary Hazel Blears said ministers would listen "carefully" to what the protesters had been saying.
"I think we have to listen very carefully to what the Gurkhas are saying out there today demonstrating in a very peaceful, very honourable way...but I do think it is difficult to do things retrospectively," she said.
"The people who have been here since 1997 do have a right to join our pension schemes, to get treated in a similar way."
At prime minister's question time in the House of Commons earlier, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg held up one of the Gurkhas' medals and demanded they be given equal pay and pension rights as well as the right to live in the UK.
He told MPs ministers had made a "spectacular misjudgement" on the issue.
Addressing Mr Brown, he asked: "Can you explain to the Gurkhas why on earth you believe that Gurkhas who served in the Army after 1997 are worthy of British citizenship but those who served before that date should be deported?"
I think this is a simply scandalous way to treat some of the most modest, brave and courageous individuals I have ever met
Lib Dem leader
Mr Brown responded by saying the Gurkhas did a "tremendous job" for Britain and that the UK government was the first to extend equal pay and pension rights to those serving since 1997.
"Now why is the date 1997? It's the date that the Gurkhas - once based in Hong Kong - moved to be based in Britain," he added.
"And that's why we are honouring the promises we made for the period after 1997."
A bill has been launched in the House of Lords to try to change the law regarding the right for all Gurkhas to remain in the UK. Protesters are also calling for pension rules to be reformed in a similar way.
Mr Clegg, who attended the protest, said the retired soldiers had his full support.
"They fought on the front line very bravely in a long list of conflicts - they then retired from the Army and they are told they are not allowed to stay in this country.
I believe that the terms and conditions of service for serving Gurkhas, and pensions paid to ex-Gurkhas are fair and recognise the changes to the Brigade of Gurkhas since 1997
Defence Minister Derek Twigg
"I think this is a simply scandalous way to treat some of the most modest, brave and courageous individuals I have ever met."
Soldiers who retire after July 1997 - when Hong Kong, the former base of the Gurkhas, was handed over to China - receive a pension on the same terms as the rest of the British Army.
But those who retired before that date collect one-sixth of the amount received by a British soldier.
Peter Carroll, one of the march organisers, said it was "morally outrageous" for people to serve Britain and then be told "they are not allowed to stay".
Chhatra Rai, general secretary of the British Gurkha Welfare Society, said: "Every time the MoD [Ministry of Defence] makes an announcement over changes it says that Gurkhas are now being treated equally. But that is not the case when you look into it."
Gurkhas have fought for Britain since 1815 and served in conflicts including the Falklands and Afghanistan. They are now based at Shorncliffe near Folkestone, Kent.
Prince Harry was based with a Gurkha regiment during his time in Afghanistan last month.
The Home Office said the rule concerning the 1997 date was introduced because that was when the Gurkhas became a UK-based force, and its soldiers were likely to develop strong ties to Britain.
Regarding pensions, Defence Minister Derek Twigg said he recognised the professional service given by current and former Gurkhas.
"I believe that the terms and conditions of service for serving Gurkhas, and pensions paid to ex-Gurkhas are fair and recognise the changes to the Brigade of Gurkhas since 1997," he said.
南 韓首爾的「大學路」小劇場林立，是南韓年輕人流行文化的發源地，氣氛近似東京的下北澤，而這裡也有日本著名的「俏女僕咖啡廳」。像是六年前在「大學路」開 業的「Flying Needle」，每月平均有八千名顧客上門，店內一位十八歲的鄭姓俏女僕說：「角色扮演源自於日本，現在已經成為全球的共通文化。」
據 日本「讀賣新聞」十七日報導，南韓政府一九九八年將日本錄影帶作品或出版品解禁，對於如今已擁有消費能力的二十歲上下南韓年輕族群而言，日本動漫等同於寶 貴的兒時回憶，面對「日本文化」所產生的親切感讓他們掏錢毫不手軟。南韓○六年出版的漫畫中，翻譯成韓語的日本漫畫約佔七成。其中，以紅酒為主題的日本漫 畫「神之滴」，不但成為銷售破百萬本的暢銷漫畫，還在南韓引發紅酒熱潮。
反 觀○三年因南韓連續劇「冬季戀歌」，而在日本引發的「韓流」卻逐漸式微，可說是成了名副其實的「寒流」。南韓的電影出口額從○五年最高峰約台幣二十三億， 到隔年暴跌約六十八％，同年針對日本的出口額也較前一年大幅滑落約八十二％。為了振衰起敝，南韓政府已經提撥約台幣九十三億的「電影發展基金」鼓勵海外播 映工作，而南韓電影也開始向日本小說或動漫取經，希望能夠重新擄獲日本影迷的心。
时事风云 | 2008.03.13
老挝是一个布满战争伤痕的国家，30年前的那场越南战争让邻国老挝也变得满目疮痍。当年，美军的轰炸机在轰炸胡志明小道时将大量的炸弹也倾泻到老挝的领土 上。大约100万老挝人在轰炸中死亡，占当时这个国家人口的三分之一。许多炸弹并没有爆炸，而成为哑弹分布在老挝的各地。从90年代起，老挝开始搜寻，拆 解哑弹的工作，这是一项看不到尽头的工作，没有人能够说得清，到什么时候才能将这个国家的哑弹清除干净。
这 名男子是英国非政府组织“地雷顾问团”（MAG-- hc補Mines Advisory Group）的排雷工作人员。他和他的同事们一起担负着一项时刻有可能威胁到生命的工作：排除地雷和拆解炸弹。每天开 始工作前，他们都必须在这片测试区对探测器进行检验，检测探测器是否工作正常，这一步是非常必要的。对工作人员来说，工具的可靠性关乎生命。
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: 探测器是否工作正常关系到工作人员的生命
1994 年，“地雷顾问团”接受委托同其它组织一起在老挝负责这项旷日持久的排雷工作。“地雷顾问团”在老挝的工作中心被设立在首都万象。负责人Jo Durham说，这将是需要一代人来完成的工作。据推测，老挝四分之一的国土都埋藏着哑弹。在18个省份中的15个省都还可以挖到极具威胁的武器。“越南 战争期间，美军总共向老挝投掷了200多吨炸弹，其中约有三分之一的炸弹没有爆炸。” Jo Durham说。
按 照官方文件的说明，老挝并没有参与越南战争，但是它却介入了一场不为人知的秘密战争。当时美军希望通过轰炸截断被老挝支持的越共的退路和补给线。而川圹省 刚好毗邻越南，在战争中遭到最为严重的轰炸。战争结束已经30多年了，但仍不断有人成为战争的新的受害者。经常有在田间劳动的农民或者玩耍的孩子被战争遗 留下的哑弹炸伤或者炸死。
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: 雷区，止步！
当 村子里和树林里残留的地雷炸弹都被清除之后，来自全世界的游客都将被吸引至此。因为考古学家在这里发现了数量众多的巨大的历史容器。文学历史学者们断定， 川圹在陶器时期是文化“重镇”。上千件巨大的容器在这沉寂了几千年。直到今天考古学者无法考证，究竟是谁造了这么多巨大的容器，这些容器用来做什么的？
30 多年以来，老挝人已经习惯了和哑弹“共处”。老一代人在岁月中学会了如何躲避危险。“地雷顾问团”在万象的负责人Jo Durham说：“人们躲避这些残留的地雷炸弹的意识很强，虽然他们本身掌握的知识并不多，但这些都不是造成事故的主要原因。”在Jo Durham看来，主要原因是这里的人们别无选择，“他们很穷，为了养家糊口，他们必须走出去，冒着巨大的危险到田间耕作”。
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: 一代人的工作
几 天前，人们在一片树林中的洼地里发现了保险丝和弹头。后来，人们在这里发现了四吨的炸弹，要完全销毁这些还需要几十年的时间。排雷顾问小组的工作人员还要 在老挝一寸一寸地排查哑弹，为老挝的国民创造出安全的环境。一位工作人员说：“这是一项需要高度责任感的工作，也是充满挑战的工作。当然，我们的工作中充 满了危险，但我们每个人都在严格按照规章和安全条例工作。害怕？不，从来没有过。”