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[PHOTOS] On this Date in 1989, the Chinese Government Sent the Tanks into Tiananmen Square

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tiananmen-square.jpg Read the rest of this entry »

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One-Third of Millennials Believe That More People Were Killed Under George W. Bush than Under Joseph Stalin

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Results from a new survey are not pretty. 

Jamie Gregora reports: The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation released its first “Annual Report on U.S. Attitudes Towards Socialism” Monday. The survey showed a distinct generation gap regarding beliefs about socialism and communism between older and younger Americans. For example, 80 percent of baby boomers and 91 percent of elderly Americans believe that communism was and still is a problem in the world today, while just 55 percent of millennials say the same.

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[Just how many people did Joseph Stalin kill?]

Just 37 percent of millennials had a “very unfavorable” view of communism, compared to 57 percent of Americans overall. Close to half (45 percent) of Americans aged 16 to 20 said they would vote for a socialist, and 21 percent would vote for a communist.

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[Mass killings under Communist regimes]

[Katyn Forest Massacre – Soviet Union –  Joseph Stalin]

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[ALSO SEE – 40 years after death, Mao’s mixed legacy looms over China]

From left: LM Kaganovich, Chairman Mao Tse-tung, NA Bulganin, Joseph Stalin, Walter Ulbricht, J cedenbal, NS Khrushchev and I Koplenig (Getty)

[MORE – The Russian Communist Party Is Rebranding Itself To Attract Young Supporters]

When asked their opinion of capitalism, 64 percent of Americans over the age of 65 said they viewed it favorably, compared to just 42 percent of millennials.

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[Read the full text here, at dailysignal.com]

The survey also revealed a general lack of historical knowledge, especially among young adults. According to the report, one-third (32 percent) of millennials believed that more people were killed under George W. Bush than under Joseph Stalin. Read the rest of this entry »


The Return of Mao: a New Threat to China’s Politics

Archive/Getty Images

The dictator is enjoying a surge of popularity. But the rise of this neo-Maoist movement could upend China’s stability.

 writes: A heavy pall of pollution hangs over Tiananmen Square and from a distance the giant portrait of Mao Zedong above the entrance to the Forbidden City looks a little smudged. It is 8am and the temperature in central Beijing is already approaching 30C.

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But the heat and smog are no deterrent to the thousands of people waiting in hour-long queues to pay respects to the preserved body of the “great helmsman”. Since his death 40 years ago, Chairman Mao’s corpse — or, more likely, a wax replica — has been on display in a purpose-built mausoleum in the geographic and figurative heart of the Chinese capital. Well over 200 million people have visited.

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In the west, Mao is understood chiefly as China’s “Red Emperor” — a vicious dictator who fostered an extreme personality cult, launched the disastrous Cultural Revolution and masterminded a “Great Leap Forward” that resulted in the worst famine in history. Experts estimate that Mao was responsible for between 40 million and 70 million deaths in peacetime — more than Hitler and Stalin combined.

[Read the full text here, at FT.com]

However, while Hitler, Stalin and most of the other totalitarian dictators of the 20th century were repudiated after their deaths, Mao remains a central figure in modern China. The Communist party he helped found in 1921 and the authoritarian Leninist political system he established in 1949 still run the country. “Mao Zedong Thought” is enshrined in the party’s constitution and, since 1999, his face has adorned most banknotes (something he refused to allow during his lifetime).

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But this whitewashing of Mao’s legacy is a risky strategy. Thanks to the party’s tight control over education, media and all public discourse, most people in China know very little of Mao’s terrible mistakes. Indeed, the dictator is more popular today than at any time since his death. Last year nearly 17 million people made pilgrimages to his home town — Shaoshan — in rural central China. In the mid-1980s, barely 60,000 undertook the journey.

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China has also seen the rise of a vocal political movement of “neo-Maoists” — militant leftists who espouse many of the utopian egalitarian ideas that China’s current leaders have largely abandoned. These neo-Maoists are by definition an underground movement, which makes it very difficult to estimate their numbers, but public petitions sympathetic to their cause have garnered tens of thousands of signatures in recent years.

[Read the full story here, at FT.com]

Several experts believe a neo-Maoist candidate would probably win a general election in China today, should free elections ever be allowed. This means the movement could enjoy the sympathy of hundreds of millions of China’s 1.4 billion people. As such, it poses one of the biggest threats facing the authoritarian system in the world’s most populous nation today.

Mao in modern China

“Speed up comrades, walk forward,” a young man in a clean white shirt with a bullhorn yells at the tourists lined up in Tiananmen Square, many of whom bow three times before a large Mao statue as they enter the mausoleum. Visitors are not allowed to take photos and tall paramilitary officers shoo people along, ensuring nobody gets more than a quick glimpse of the figure wrapped in the hammer and sickle flag and laid out in a crystal coffin behind a glass wall. Just a kilometre away is the heavily guarded compound where China’s current leaders work and live.

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“Chairman Mao was a truly great man but this is not the country he dreamt of, this is not real communism.”

— University lecturer interviewed in Tiananmen Square

Many of the people visiting Mao’s remains have been left behind by China’s economic boom in recent decades. They see Mao as a symbol of a simpler, fairer society — a time when everyone was poorer but at least they were equally poor. Those who have studied the resurgence in Mao’s popularity in China see it as part of a broader global phenomenon that encompasses the appeal of Donald Trump in the US, Brexit in the UK and populist politicians on the left and right in Europe. At a time of sharp dislocation and intense resentment towards elites, people in many countries are attracted by nostalgia and tradition. For ordinary people in China, that means Mao and the classless society he envisioned. Read the rest of this entry »


U.S. Embassy in Beijing Warns of ‘Possible Threats Against Westerners’ on Christmas Eve

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Carlos Tejada reports: The U.S. Embassy in Beijing issued a rare security alert for Westerners in the Chinese capital city on Christmas Eve, prompting a number of other foreign embassies to follow suit.

The notice posted on Thursday said the embassy had received “information of possible threats against Westerners” patronizing the area around Sanlitun, the site of a number of tony shops and restaurants catering to foreigners and affluent Chinese alike. The area is also close to a number of embassies, though not the U.S. embassy.

It said U.S. citizens should be vigilant. An embassy spokesman said he didn’t have additional information.

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A number of other embassies — including those for the U.K.the Netherlands, and Italy –  issued their own alerts, with many citing the U.S.

Beijing police didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Via social media, they issued their own security alert, though it didn’t specify any specific threats. It wasn’t clear whether the police notice was related to the embassy advisories. Chinese authorities have routinely issued security notices during holidays, even during foreign holidays such as Christmas.

A Foreign Ministry spokesman referred questions to other authorities. He added that Chinese authorities would do their best to ensure the safety of foreigners in the country.

[Read the full story here, at China Real Time Report – WSJ]

A small group of armed troops were stationed in front of the Tai Koo Li mall, a high-end shopping center famous for housing an Apple Store that is sometimes the scene of scuffles when the gadget maker updates one of its popular products. Chinese security personnel also erected spiked barricades near embassies in the area. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong: Tiananmen Vigil Highlights a Rift

 Sit In Protest Continues In Hong Kong Despite Chief Executive's Calls To Withdraw

Some student groups won’t join annual vigil on June 4

HONG KONG— Isabella Steger reports: Every year for a quarter-century, large Hong Kong crowds have commemorated the 1989 crackdown on student protesters in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. This June 4, some young Hong Kongers say they won’t join in.

Much like in Beijing in 1989, student groups were at the forefront of the monthslong pro-democracy protests that paralyzed much of Hong Kong last year and which challenged Beijing on how Hong Kong should elect its leader.

“I feel very sad. It’s a watershed year in my life” she said. “To call the ocean of candlelight ceremonial or perfunctory, it’s just not fair.”

— Claudia Mo, an opposition lawmaker and former journalist who was in Beijing during the 1989 crackdown

Unlike in Beijing, the Hong Kong protests ended peacefully, though with no visible concession from the Chinese government. What the rallies also did was lay bare a growing chasm between old and young over Hong Kong’s identity and relationship with Beijing. That rift is now playing out over the annual Tiananmen vigil, with some student groups saying Hong Kongers should focus on democratic rights in the territory rather than on the mainland.

“Every year it’s the same, we sing the same songs and watch the same videos. For some people, going to the vigil is a bit like clocking in. Should we continue looking back on a historical event, or focus on the more urgent situation here now?”

— Cameron Chan, 20, a social-sciences student at the University of Hong Kong

The University of Hong Kong’s student union will organize its own June 4 event “to reflect on the future of democracy in Hong Kong.” Separately, the Hong Kong Federation of Students, the main group leading last year’s protests, said that for the first time it won’t participate in the vigil as an organization.

A pro-democracy protester sits on a barricade at a protest site in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 26, 2014. Four weeks after tens of thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese city, weary demonstrators remain encamped across several major roads.   AFP PHOTO / Philippe LopezPHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images

A pro-democracy protester sits on a barricade at a protest site in the Mongkok district of Hong Kong on October 26, 2014. Four weeks after tens of thousands of Hong Kongers took to the streets demanding free leadership elections for the semi-autonomous Chinese city. Philippe Lopez/AFP/Getty Images

“I feel very sad,” said Claudia Mo, an opposition lawmaker and former journalist who was in Beijing during the 1989 crackdown. “It’s a watershed year in my life” she said. “To call the ocean of candlelight ceremonial or perfunctory, it’s just not fair.”

“Going to the vigil is a bit like clocking in.”

—Cameron Chan, University of Hong Kong student

But to Cameron Chan, 20, a social-sciences student at the University of Hong Kong, it is precisely that the annual vigil has become such a fixture that is the problem.

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

The student group’s decision is baffling to many democracy supporters in the city, who see the annual candlelight vigil in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park to remember the Tiananmen victims as an important civic duty—not least because it’s the only mass commemoration of the event in the Greater China universe.

Last year’s pro-denmocracy protests in Hong Kong were led by students, here seen gathered in front of the offices of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Oct. 2.Photo: Zuma Press

Last year’s pro-denmocracy protests in Hong Kong were led by students, here seen gathered in front of the offices of Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying on Oct. 2.Photo: Zuma Press

“I don’t see how Hong Kong can fully divorce itself from democracy movements on the mainland.”

—Joshua Wong, student leader

“I cannot understand [the students’] thinking,” said Jack Choi, a 36-year-old who works in finance and has been going to the vigil on and off since 2000. “It’s two separate issues. Our mother is China, if the mother is not free, how can the child be?” Read the rest of this entry »


HK: Dueling Definitions of Democracy

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Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.

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Martin Lee, a leading democratic activist and former legislator who sat on the law’s drafting committee.

“There was no doubt in our minds that Beijing was quite prepared to give us democracy or universal suffrage as everybody would understand it to be.”

— Martin Lee

When China and the U.K. began negotiating the transfer of Hong Kong in the early 1980s, both sides spoke optimistically about elections. Promises for future balloting were embedded in documents signed at the time to guide Hong Kong after its return to Chinese control in 1997.

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For WSJ – Ned Levin, Charles Hutzler and Jenny Gross: In recent months, arguments over the meaning of those promises have helped to propel increasingly confrontational protests over how the city will choose its next leader in 2017. Beijing says that it has honored its commitment to provide universal suffrage; pro-democracy activists say that China has trampled those promises by insisting that candidates be approved by a committee whose members are largely pro-business and pro-Beijing.

“No one told Hong Kongers when they were assured of universal suffrage that it would not mean being able to choose for whom they could vote.”

Rhetoric aside, China has always retained the final say on how the city’s leaders would be chosen. That power was enshrined in Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, by giving Beijing the right to final interpretations, including on elections.

“They can interpret white as black, yellow, green or red. And tomorrow, they can interpret back to white,” said Martin Lee, a leading democratic activist and former legislator who sat on the law’s drafting committee. He resigned after China’s bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.

The agreement to return Hong Kong to China was signed by U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Chinese Premier Zhao Ziyang in 1984. During a tense 1982 trip to China, Mrs. Thatcher tripped and stumbled on the steps of the Great Hall of the People in Tiananmen Square. Read the rest of this entry »


Head Off a Tiananmen Massacre in Hong Kong

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“Two of the world’s powerful autocracies, both rooted in the idea and practice of communist dictatorship, are bent on encroaching upon freedom and democracy on two different fronts: Ukraine and Hong Kong.”

Yang Jianli, president of Initiative for China, Teng Biao, a human-rights lawyer, and Hu Jia, winner of the Sakharov Prize, are former political prisoners of China. They write:

Thousands of pro-democracy demonstrators turned out in Hong Kong on Monday, defying a government crackdown over the weekend that saw riot police using tear gas, pepper spray and batons against protesters. As demonstrations grow against Beijing’s violation of its promise to allow universal suffrage, there is a danger that the infamous 1989 massacre in Tiananmen Square could be repeated in Hong Kong.

“Requiring voters to select leaders from two to three candidates selected by a committee controlled by Beijing is not meaningful “universal suffrage.'”

The crisis began in June, when Beijing released a white paper that reneged on the “One Country Two Systems” principle laid out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration of 1984 and the Basic Law, Hong Kong’s constitution.

[Also see – Democracy in China: ‘The struggle for Hong Kong,’ or ‘The Great Leap Sideways’]

China had pledged that Hong Kong could rule itself on all matters apart from defense and foreign affairs, and voters could freely choose their own leader.

Instead, the white paper claimed that Beijing has complete jurisdiction over Hong Kong, with the only autonomy being what the central government decides to grant. All aspects of local government are subject to oversight by Beijing, and even judges must meet its standard of patriotism. Read the rest of this entry »


Oh Yes They Did: Four Chinese Women Strip Down to Protest Government Corruption

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RocketNews24 reports: Recently, streaking and naked demonstrations have increased in popularity in China. The benefits are clear, as having pictures of naked women (and to a much, much lesser extent men) is a pretty solid way to get attention for your cause. It’s also a more peaceful form of expression that can gain sympathy from the public.

I’d gladly take my political messages from a few people who are standing naked in a park rather than say… driving around shouting through a megaphone while blasting patriotic music at full volume. On the flipside, naked protests also carry the risk of the message getting lost in a sea of people shouting, “Hey! Boobs!”

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These particular boobs belong to four women aged 65, 66, 68, and 73. Sorry to dupe you like this but since you’ve already come this far, might as well listen to their story. Like other naked protest photos this one has made the rounds through China’s social networks like Sina Weibo and websites.

It shows the small band of ladies stripping down to their birthday suits with writing all over their bodies. According to various websites such as Siyibao.org they also set up placards at their protest site outside the US Embassy in Beijing, one of which featured a Chinese character referring to “injustice.”

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This apparently wasn’t the first time either, as Sina Weibo users and other bloggers reported seeing them at other times and places such as the Tiananmen Square anniversary. In these instances they have also been seen getting taken away by police. Read the rest of this entry »


Tiananmen Anniversary in Hong Kong

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Tens of thousands have gathered in Hong Kong for the only major commemoration in China of the 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing.

For BBC News, Juliana Liu reports: The organizers said some 180,000 attended the vigil, but the police put the crowd size at just under 100,000. The city retains civil liberties not permitted to mainland Chinese. The 1989 protesters wanted political reform, but the crackdown was ordered after hardliners won a power struggle within the ruling Communist Party.

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In Beijing, the authorities have imposed blanket security, particularly on Tiananmen Square, to prevent any attempts to mark the anniversary.

Dozens of activists were detained in the run-up to the anniversary, with foreign journalists ushered away from the square on Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »


History: 1989 Cover Story About the Tiananmen Square Massacre


History: A Look at Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City in 1989 and Now


On the night of June 3rd 1989 the Chinese army unleashed its tanks in Beijing


China Faces its Own ‘War on Terror’

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Victor Zhikai Gao is director of China National Association of International Studies. He was a former employee of China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as English interpreter for Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping in the 1980s.

For CNNVictor Gao writes: For many decades, unlike their counterparts in many Western countries, Chinese police did not carry guns. Even the armed police in China, charged mainly with guarding foreign embassies, government buildings and important facilities, would normally only carry unloaded guns, keeping the bullets separate.

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A police officer firing a gun was a rarity, because China was a safe country.

Recently, however, a major shift is occurring that is significantly changing the landscape, as China faces its own “war on terror.”

With the war in Afghanistan winding down, there has been an intensification of terrorist attacks in China. Most bear the same tell-tale fingerprints. They originate from China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region, which borders Afghanistan, and are perpetuated by extremists from China’s Uyghur minority, a mainly Turkic-speaking Muslim population.

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They aim to indiscriminately kill innocent, unarmed people in public places, demonstrating a complete disregard for human life. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] This Day In History: April 21, 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests Begin

1989 Raw Video: Man vs. Chinese tank Tiananmen square

On this day in 1989, students began protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the symbolic central space of China. Several weeks later, when the government sent in the army to end the demonstrations, the citizens of Beijing poured into the streets in support of the students.

The demonstrations ended in a massacre on the night of June 3-4, when the government sent the troops into the city with orders to clear Tiananmen Square.

A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Changan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. (AP/Jeff Widener)

AP/Jeff Widener

One day later, a single, unarmed young man stood his ground before a column of tanks on the Avenue of Eternal Peace. Captured on film and video by Western journalists, this extraordinary confrontation became an icon of the struggle for freedom around the world.

Read the rest of this entry »


Shock and Mourning as China Absorbs the Full Horror of Islamist Train Station Stabbing Rampage

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Mourning: People turned out in their droves to lay candles for the 29 murdered in Kunming station

Mourners and volunteers descended on Kunming today after knife-wielding attackers killed 29 people in a frenzied rampage.

By Mia De Graaf and Dan Bloom and Kieran Corcoran

The killers, four of whom were shot by armed police, launched the horrific slaughter at Kunming railway station in Yunnan province at around 9pm local time yesterday.

“I saw two attackers, both men, one with a watermelon knife and the other with a fruit knife. They were running and chopping whoever they could.”

Distressing photos circulating online showed bodies, pools of blood and abandoned luggage scattered across the terminal floor in the wake of what authorities termed an ‘organised, premeditated, violent terrorist attack’.

More than 130 people were injured in the frenzied attack last night, which has left China shaken

More than 130 people were injured in the frenzied attack last night, which has left China shaken

It is a small step towards comprehending the atrocity as officials try to uncover who was behind it

It is a small step towards comprehending the atrocity as officials try to uncover who was behind it

Earlier, volunteers descended on the city’s hospitals in Yunnan province to give blood for the 130 wounded

Today, hospitals were filled with citizens giving blood as dozens remain in a critical state.

Outside, candles were laid in heart shapes as the nation absorbs the shock of the event.

It is believed that more than 10 people took part in the attack. As well as the four who were shot yesterday, one was taken alive. The rest are still being hunted.

Read the rest of this entry »


Communist Party feeling uneasy about Mao ahead of his birthday celebrations

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images - A man and a woman prepare to present flowers to a bronze statue of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at a square in Shaoshan, in China's Hunan province, on Dec. 24.

WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images – A man and a woman prepare to present flowers to a bronze statue of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong at a square in Shaoshan, in China’s Hunan province, on Dec. 24.

BEIJING —  writes:  A curious thing happened two weeks ago as China was preparing celebrations for the 120th anniversary of Mao Zedong’s birth. One of the main events — a symphony of favorite Communist songs at the Great Hall of the People — got an abrupt name change.

No longer would it be called “The Sun is Reddest, Chairman Mao is Dearest.” Instead, all traces of China’s founding father were quietly scrubbed from posters, ticketing Web sites and programs, and the show repackaged as a more generic New Year’s gala called “Singing the Motherland’s Praises.”

The sudden alteration — ordered from on high — is just one of many signs these days of the Communist Party’s uneasy feelings about the late Chairman Mao ahead of his birthday, on Thursday.

Even decades after his death, there is uncertainty about how to tackle the legacy of the man who cemented the party’s grip on power but was responsible for the deaths of tens of millions, disastrous policies and brutal purges.

At the heart of that ambivalence is a debate over China’s future. Die-hard leftists are pushing for the country’s new leaders to revive Mao’s teachings as a path to stronger nationalism, economic equality and party legitimacy. Meanwhile, liberals say the time has come not only for economic reforms and other new paths forward, but also for an honest assessment of China’s troubled past.

“Mao has never left China’s political stage,” said Guo Songmin, a well-known leftist commentator. “Now all sides want to use him to influence China’s political direction.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Dan Rather: CBS Attempting to ‘Airbrush Me Out of Their History’

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Sterling Beard writes:  CBS has not invited former longtime anchor Dan Rather to participate in its coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy — despite the fact that a much younger Rather covered the event for the network and will even be featured in archival footage for CBS’s broadcast.

Unknown“Looking back on it, they were trying to airbrush me out of their history, like the Kremlin,” Rather said, before wondering if CBS would remove him from other monumental stories.

“What’s next – I’m airbrushed out of Watergate coverage? Vietnam? Tiananmen Square? 9/11? Where does this lead?” he asked.

Rather left the network in 2006 following his 2004 60 Minutes report on Texas National Guard memos that indicated President Bush had received special treatment during his service — the documents turned out to be fake. Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Explosions reported in North China City of Taiyuan: Xinhua

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BEIJING (Reuters) – A series of explosions occurred on Wednesday in front of a Communist Party building in the north Chinese city of Taiyuan in Shanxi province, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that so far one person had been reported injured.

Xinhua said the blasts went off outside an office building of the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the Communist Party. It did not provide further details.

The Chinese government blamed Islamists for an attack in central Beijing last week when a car ploughed through bystanders on the edge of Tiananmen Square and burst into flames, killing three people in the car and two bystanders.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Editing by Mark Bendeich)

Yahoo News Canada … developing…


UPDATE: China Says 5 Jihadis Are Arrested in Beijing Attack

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BEIJING — reports:  The Chinese authorities announced on Wednesday the arrests of five people described as Islamic jihadists who they say helped orchestrate an audacious attack near Tiananmen Square, the political heart of the nation, that left five people dead.

In a brief message posted on its microblog account, the Beijing Public Security Bureau said the arrested men, all ethnic Uighurs from China’s western Xinjiang region, had enlisted a family of three to drive a vehicle across a crowded sidewalk on Monday and then ignite the car at the foot of the Tiananmen Gate. Two tourists were killed and 40 people were injured as the vehicle sped toward the entrance to the Forbidden City, just yards from the iconic portrait of Chairman Mao.

The occupants of the car — identified by the police as Usmen Hasan, his wife and his mother, also Uighurs — died as it went up in flames. The police say that in addition to gasoline and a gas canister, investigators recovered from the vehicle two knives, metal clubs and a banner bearing “religious extremist messages.” The police did not disclose the content of those messages.

“This was a violent terrorist act that was carefully planned and organized,” the statement said.     Read the rest of this entry »


China: “…the effort to prune the Internet of certain kinds of information is unprecedented”

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.

Security guards stand outside newspaper offices in Guangdong province in January, where banners and flowers were laid in protest of censorship.

Thousands of messages posted on the Internet every day in China get censored. Until now, little has been known about how the Chinese censorship machine works — except that it is comprehensive. Read the rest of this entry »