China’s Desperate Battle Against Separatist Terrorism

Zunyou Zhou writes: Thailand’s police have linked the August 17 bomb attack on the Erawan Shrine, a popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, to Uighurs, a largely Muslim ethnic group some of whom have been fleeing Chinese rule. The bombing killed 20 people, including seven Chinese tourists, and injured more than 100 others. Nobody has claimed responsibility for one of the worst terrorist incidents in recent Thai history.

Two men are currently in Thai custody: one is an ethnic Uighur carrying a Chinese passport while the other’s nationality hasn’t been confirmed. Thai police and security analysts have said that the perpetrators may have sought retaliation for Thailand’s forced repatriation to China of more than 100 Uighurs in July or for Bangkok’s crackdown on a human smuggling ring that had transported Uighurs from China to Turkey.

If the Thai allegation proves to be true, the blast would mark a rare spillover of violence related to Uighurs outside China. This attack would add a new dimension to the serious issue of terrorism in China, with significant security implications not only for China but also for Turkey, Thailand and other transit countries in connection with the movement of Uighurs.


Uighurs are a Turkic-speaking minority group who call China’s far-western Xinjiang region home. Overseas-based exile groups and campaigners say that Uighurs face brutal repression in China; Beijing denies any religious or cultural discrimination and maintains that its policies help bring stabilityand prosperity to Xinjiang.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

Since 2008, China has faced an increasing number of violent attacks which Beijing has blamed on Uighur separatists connected to overseas terrorist organizations. The violence had typically been confined to Xinjiang until October 2013 when a jeep careened onto the sidewalk near Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, killing two pedestrians and injuring more than 40 others; the three perpetrators set the vehicle on fire, taking their lives.

Several months later, a handful of Uighurs mounted a mass knifing at a train station in the southwestern city of Kunming, leaving at least 29 civilians dead and more than 140 others wounded. Beijing said the perpetrators were separatists who had carried out the attack after they failed to flee China for Southeast Asia. Read the rest of this entry »

Still-Unnamed Oregon Gunman Singled Out Christian Students, Shot Them in the Head

Chris Perez reports: The gunman who opened fire at an Oregon community college was forcing people to stand up and state their religion before he began blasting away at them, survivors said Thursday.

“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian. If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs.”

A woman who claimed to have a grandmother inside a writing class in Snyder Hall, where a portion the massacre unfolded, described the scene in a tweet.

“The shooter was lining people up and asking if they were Christian,” she wrote. “If they said yes, then they were shot in the head. If they said no, or didn’t answer, they were shot in the legs. My grandma just got to my house, and she was in the room. She wasn’t shot, but she is very upset.

After yet another bloody weekend, it's time to speak frankly about who's killing Christians and why

The Twitter user then recalled how her grandmother attempted to save the life of one of her close classmates.
Two women wait outside Umpqua Community College campus after a shooting.Photo: AP

“She tried to perform CPR on her friend, but it was too late,” the woman said. “I hope nothing like this ever happens again.”


Kortney Moore, an 18-year-old student at Umpqua Community College who was also in the room, told Oregon’s News Review that the shooter was indeed on the hunt for Christians.

Moments after hearing a bullet come flying through a window, she said the 20-year-old shooter made his way inside and targeted their teacher, pumping a single round into their head. Read the rest of this entry »

Head of President Xi’s Bodyguard Unit on White House Banquet List

Jeremy Page reports: The head of the secretive bodyguard unit that protects Chinese President Xi Jinping made a rare foray into the public spotlight on Friday, being put on the guest list for the state dinner at the White House.

The official guest list for the event names “His Excellency Wang Shaojun,” identifying him as “Chief, Central Security Bureau” among the invited attendees for the dinner, which followed Mr. Xi’s summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama earlier in the day.


Maj. Gen. Wang’s appointment to the bodyguard post has never been announced publicly by Chinese authorities, although Hong Kong media reported it in March, citing anonymous sources. The White House list confirms Maj. Gen. Wang’s position within an inner circle of trusted aides and advisers to Mr. Xi who see him almost every day and play an increasingly important role in Chinese politics.

The Central Security Bureau, also known as the Central Guard Bureau, is thought to command several thousand elite troops who protect top leaders and their families, according to experts on the Chinese military.

Its commander has always occupied a politically sensitive and influential position, given the bureau’s access to the top leadership. The post is considered to have become more so since Mr. Xi launched an anticorruption campaign that has led to the detention of more than 30 generals and several senior civilian Communist Party figures. Read the rest of this entry »

[PHOTOS] iPhone 6s Goes on Sale in Japan

Apple fans in Japan finally got a chance to get their hands on the iPhone 6s Friday…

Japan was among the 12 countries and territories where the iPhone 6s went on sale Friday. The new models were available by reservation only in China, Hong Kong, Japan and U.S. stores in tax-free states.

Despite the rainy weather in Tokyo, fans turned out to try the new 6s, including some wearing iPhone-shaped hats….(read more)

Source: Japan Real Time – WSJ

[VIDEO] Xi Jinping’s U.S. Trip in 60 Seconds 

Chinese President Xi Jinping lands in the U.S. on Tuesday and will embark on a whirlwind of meetings. Here’s a quick guide to Xi’s itinerary.

[VIDEO] Apple’s App Store Hacked in China

Some of the most popular Chinese apps in Apple’s App Store were found to be infected with malicious software in what is being described as a first-of-its-kind security breach. Here’s how it happened.



Obama Blocks Navy from Sailing Near Disputed Chinese islands 

US President Barack Obama attends a military briefing with US Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham (L) at Bagram Air Field, north of Kabul, in Afghanistan, May 25, 2014. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

 reports: The Obama administration has restricted the U.S. Pacific Command from sending ships and aircraft within 12 miles of disputed Chinese-built islands in the South China Sea, bolstering Beijing’s illegal claims over the vital seaway, Pentagon leaders revealed to Congress on Thursday.

“The administration has continued to restrict our Navy ships from operating within 12 nautical miles of China’s reclaimed islands,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) said in opening remarks criticizing the failure to guarantee safe passage for international commercial ships in Asia.

In this Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013 photo, a crew member of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy monitors on the deck of the China's aircraft carrier, the Liaoning, sailing on the East China Sea for sea trials. The Liaoning departed for its first-ever sea trials in the South China Sea, a mission likely to draw scrutiny amid Beijing's drive to assert its claims to those waters and their island groups. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

“This is a dangerous mistake that grants de facto recognition of China’s man-made sovereignty claims,” he said.

The South China Sea is a strategic waterway used to transport $5 trillion annually in goods, including $1.2 trillion in trade to the United States.

David Shear, assistant defense secretary for Asian and Pacific affairs, sought to play down the restrictions on Navy ship transits close to the islands. According to Shear, a regional freedom of navigation exercise took place in April and the tactic is “one tool in a larger tool box … and we’re in the process of putting together that tool box.”

Shear acknowledged that “we have not recently gone within 12 miles of a reclaimed area,” noting the last time a Navy ship sailed that close to a Chinese-built island was 2012.

Credit: Reuters/US Navy/Seaman Apprentice Carla Ocampo/Handout

The disclosure undermines statements made Wednesday by Defense Secretary Ash Carter who said the United States would not be coerced by China into not operating ships or aircraft in Asia. Carter said the United States “will continue to protect freedom of navigation and overflight.”

Shear insisted that in recent years the U.S. military has challenged “every category of Chinese claim in the South China Sea, as recently as this year.”

[Read the full story here, at Washington Free Beacon]

Blocking China from militarizing the new islands could include a range of options, including freedom of navigation operations, he said.

McCain, however, noted that the U.S. restrictions on close-in island military flights and ship visits were continuing despite the provocative dispatch of five Chinese warships in an unprecedented deployment to waters within 12 miles of Alaska’s Aleutian Islands—at the same time President Obama was concluding a recent visit to the state earlier this month.

A visibly angered McCain told Shear the best way to assert that international waters around the islands do not belong to China would be for American ships to make 12-mile passages by the disputed islands. “And we haven’t done that since 2012. I don’t find that acceptable, Mr. Secretary,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

Capital Flight from China

Lots of money is escaping China’s porous capital controls

The man who calls himself Jack is a caricature of a small-time gangster. Sporting a chunky Louis Vuitton belt, a gold necklace and gold-rimmed sunglasses, he chomps on a Cuban cigar. He says he has come to a pawnshop across the street from the Ponte 16 casino in Macau, a gambling Mecca and former Portuguese colony that is administered separately from the rest of China, only for its fine Cohibas. But when asked for advice about how to exchange yuan held within China for foreign currency—a transaction officially limited by China’s capital controls—he breaks into a laugh and flashes a Chinese bank card. “Just swipe it,” he says. “However much money you have in your China account, you can transfer it here.”

[Read the full text here, at The Economist]

Macau’s role as an illicit way station to move cash out of China, away from the government’s prying eyes, is nothing new. In recent months, though, things have been busier than normal. Capital outflows were already on the rise because of worries about the economy. During the summer, after the stockmarket crashed and the government let the yuan weaken, they soared. Official data indicate that more than $150 billion of capital left China in August—a record (see chart).


Faced with this exodus, the government launched a crackdown on underground banks, which run money across borders and arrange for matching onshore and offshore transactions. Police raided Macau’s pawnshops and arrested 17 people for laundering money. That appears to have slowed things down. When your correspondent visited pawnshops in Macau this week and asked whether they could help him shift 1m yuan ($157,000) out of China—three times what one can legally withdraw in a year—most demurred. Read the rest of this entry »

South China See: Satellite Images Show China’s Continued Island Building

In early August, China’s foreign minister said the country had stopped land reclamation projects in the South China Sea that were worrying neighbors and irking the U.S. With Chinese President Xi Jinping gearing up for a state visit to the U.S., a Washington-based think tank has published satellite images that cast doubt on that statement.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

A report published earlier this week by the Center for Strategic and International Studies contains high-definition photos of Chinese-controlled reefs in the disputed Spratly Islands taken in early September. The images suggest China’s island-building efforts are ongoing, and that China could soon have three airfields in the area, according to CSIS.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said this week when asked about the report that China has “indisputable sovereignty” over the islands and its works there are both for defensive needs and the public good. Read the rest of this entry »

Market Misdirection in Hong Kong


Regulators crackdown on free speech to shield Chinese firms from criticism.

Regulators in Hong Kong have an odd way of soothing investor concerns. With global investors reeling over China’s stock-market roller coaster and weakening economic data, Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) is proceeding with unprecedented actions against the authors of two critical research reports. This crackdown threatens to chill free speech in China’s leading financial center.


In the first case, which went before an appeals tribunal last week, the SFC fined Moody’s Investors Service $3 million over a 2011 report raising “red flags” about dozens of mainland Chinese firms listed in Hong Kong. The regulator says Moody’s work was “shoddy and unprofessional,” with errors amounting to a failure of due diligence in preparing credit ratings.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

But Moody’s report didn’t offer credit ratings, merely analysis of corporate-governance and accounting concerns common among Chinese firms. It didn’t examine new information or change its debt ratings. So the SFC’s claim to jurisdiction here, relying on its authority over credit ratings, is questionable. Read the rest of this entry »

Police Rewrite History of 1967 Red Guard Riots



The police have deleted (seen on top graphic) and modified part of the “police history” of the 1967 riots on their website.

The 1967 riots during May to December were started by leftists in Hong Kong following a labour dispute in a San Po Kong factory, after the Cultural Revolution in China started. During the year 8,074 suspected bombs were planted, of which 1,167 were real bombs; At least 51 people died during the riots, including ten police officers, and 802 were injured.

Commercial Radio host Lam Bun was burned to death in his car, and a pair of siblings aged 2 and 7 were killed by bombs during the riots. Read the rest of this entry »

First Head Transplant Patient Valery Spiridonov Schedules Surgery for 2017


A man set to become the world’s first head transplant patient has scheduled the procedure for December 2017.

“When I realized that I could participate in something really big and important, I had no doubt left in my mind and started to work in this direction.”

Valery Spiridonov, 30, was diagnosed with a genetic muscle-wasting condition called Werdnig-Hoffmann disease, and volunteered for the procedure despite the risks involved, Central European News (CEN) reported.

Russian computer scientist Valery Spiridonov, suffering from Werdnig Hoffman’s disease, has volunteered for the world’s first head-to-body transplant. VLADIMIR SMIRNOV/TASS/CORBIS

“The only thing I feel is the sense of pleasant impatience, like I have been preparing for something important all my life and it is starting to happen.”

— Spiridonov, a Russian computer scientist

“When I realized that I could participate in something really big and important, I had no doubt left in my mind and started to work in this direction,” Spiridonov, a Russian computer scientist, told CEN. Read the rest of this entry »

Apple’s iPhone Market Grew 75% Year Over Year In China


Apple’s iPhone market grew 75% in China year over year, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced on stage today. The Greater China region is Apple’s second largest market after the Americas….(read more)

Source: TechCrunch

The Truth Behind the French Resistance Myth

Nicholas Shakespeare welcomes a sweeping account of the French Resistance that gives credit to those previously overlooked by de Gaulle

Thirstily swallowed by a humiliated France, the dominant narrative of the French Resistance was cooked up by General de Gaulle – “Joan of Arc in trousers”, Churchill testily called him – when he addressed the crowds outside the Hôtel de Ville on August 25, 1944. “Paris liberated! Liberated by its own efforts, liberated by its people with the help of the armies of France, with the help of all of France.”

Yet, as Robert Gildea exposes in this comprehensive survey of the French Resistance, the myth that the French freed themselves is largely poppycock, like de Gaulle’s boast that only “a handful of scoundrels” behaved badly under four years of Nazi occupation. (One example: by October 1943, 85,000 French women had children fathered by Germans.) Most of the population didn’t engage with their revolutionary past until the last moment, when the chief thing they recaptured was their pride. The first French soldier into Paris was part of a 51ws6oAhkmL._SL250_regiment “called ‘la Nueve’ because it was composed mainly of Spanish republicans”.

[Order Robert Gildea‘s book “Fighters in the Shadows: A New History of the French Resistance” from]

The magnitude of the French defeat in June 1940, after a mere six weeks, compelled the writer Vercors (Jean Bruller), author of that celebrated novella of passive resistance, The Silence of the Sea, to predict that the Germans might stay on in France for a century. This being a very real possibility, it is not hard to see why the Resistance, in Gildea’s estimation, “mobilised only a minority of French people. The vast majority learnt to muddle through under German Occupation and long admired Marshal Pétain.” Attentisme – “wait and see” – was the most obeyed order of the day. It took until 1971 for a counter-narrative to surface, in the documentary Le Chagrin et la Pitié, which suggested that the French, instead of behaving honourably under the Occupation, “had been supine, cowardly, and only too frequently given to collaboration”.

[Read the full review here, at The Telegraph]

It bears repeating that an astonishing one and a half million French soldiers remained POWs in Germany until 1945, putting pressure on political activists back home, notably communists, to form the opposition. But French Communist Party bosses, answerable to Moscow, “always fighters-in-shadows-cover-smallcontrolled an agenda that had little to do with the Resistance”. One contemporary observer sneered: “The PCF led its resisters to the Rubicon – to go fishing.”

Neutralised for the first two years of the war by the Nazi-Soviet pact, which made Hitler their ally, the French communists were led by Jacques Duclos, “who lived a quiet life disguised as a ‘country doctor, 1900 style’ ”. Meanwhile, their general secretary, Georges Marchais, worked in a German factory as a volunteer. Hardly models of heroism.

Not until Hitler invaded Russia in June 1941 did a more convincing resistance emerge, gaining pace with the Relève of June 1942, in which Vichy’s chain-smoking Prime Minister, Pierre Laval, promised the release of one French POW for every three volunteers to work in Germany; the following February, the Service du Travail Obligatoire turned this into a compulsory order, directed at all men of military age. The result: up to 40,000 young men – the Resistance was 80 per cent composed of those under 30 – joined the maquis rather than go to Germany (although 650,000 did end up going). But as Gildea points out, the maquis were beset by problems – lack of weapons, training and leadership – which led to a succession of disastrous setbacks and reprisals. Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] China’s Latest Fashion Trend? Beansprout Hairpins: ‘The Highly Sought Illusion of a Plant Protruding from the Head’

Men, women, grandmothers and children in China are all donning the beansprout hairpin—a barrette that creates the highly sought illusion of a plant protruding from the head. Photo/Video: Menglin Huang/The Wall Street Journal

Rich Chinese Women Are Now Hiring Surrogate Moms in America for $150,000 

Due to restrictive Chinese laws on childbirth, American surrogate mothers are becoming an increasingly popular choice for Chinese citizens who are having problems conceiving.

Although there is an underground surrogacy network set up in China, authorities have been strict in their efforts to enforce their laws, making it dangerous and difficult to successfully bear children using Chinese surrogate mothers, according to CNNMoney.

While American surrogacy is expensive, costing upwards of $150,000 per child — of which $35-45,000 goes to the mother — it’s being chosen more frequently by Chinese citizens who desire parenthood. John Weltman of Boston-based agency Circle Surrogacy said:

“I’ve never seen anything like what I’ve seen with the Chinese. It’s like an explosion.”

Extraordinary Conceptions, a surrogacy center that helps clients meet with doctors, said they receive upwards of 10 inquiries from China a month, and around 40% of their clients are Chinese. Mario Caballero, the center’s executive director, said:

“It’s like anything else — once somebody discovers something, and word spreads, people realize there is another option.”

Dr. David Smotrich, a physician who has worked with hundreds of Chinese patients, said that there are a number of medical reasons that lead families to surrogacy. Read the rest of this entry »

China’s Female Soldiers Make Debut Overseas


China’s female guards of honor made their overseas debut Saturday on a military music festival staged in Moscow to celebrate the 868 years’ anniversary of the founding of the city.

A cold rain lasted throughout the parade, however, it didn’t dampen the troop’s morale as Moscow residents watched the Chinese girls in poncho striding along the historic Tverskaya Street, one of Moscow’s most visited areas.

Earlier on Friday, they attended a festival rehearsal on the Red Square. Pictures of the female soldiers’ formation soon drew many praising remarks on China’s Twitter-like Sina Weibo.

“Their bright and valiant look represents Chinese people’s heroic spirit, unity and perseverance,”@5372170258.

“Salute to China’s female soldiers,”@TOMYyuleifengtongxing.

“Our female soldiers are awesome,”@baiduanrouchang.

“The frequent exchanges between China and Russia show their close friendship,”@kexuejiahuojianzhushi.

China’s Military Parade in 60 Seconds 

Watch 12,000 troops, 500 pieces of military hardware and 200 aircraft roar through Beijing in a 60-second time-lapse version of Thursday’s military parade.


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