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More News on Military Hotline With Russia

On March 14, 2008 the first military hotline between China and Russia was put to use, said the International Herald Leader, published under Xinhua.  It is meant to send a signal to the United States that there is much more trust between China and Russia.  A military hotline with the U.S. is expected soon.  However Chinese military experts have said that the two hotlines serve different purposes. The China-Russia military hotline is to improve communications and coordination on major international and regional issues, while the China-U.S. military hotline is to establish a dialogue to resolve potential crises between the two.

Source: Xinhua, March 18, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/mil/2008-03/18/content_7811142.htm

Mainland Chinese Media on Protest in Tibet

According to the  Hong Kong-based Apple Daily, as of March 15, the second day of reported protests in  Tibet, Mainland Chinese news media outlets were mostly silent about it. The official Xinhua news agency only reported on the protests on its English site.  At one point, Xinhua reported shooting by local police on its English site, but soon took the notice down.

Chinese Central Television (CCTV) aired some video footage about Tibet on its evening news on March 15, which only contained scenes of a group of young people burning stores or attacking civilians. It did not mention an earlier peaceful demonstration or the arrest of protesters by the local police. CCTV’s evening news called the protest “a riot that was carefully organized by Dalai Lama with the intention of damaging social stability.”

In the afternoon of March 15, major mainland Chinese websites and newspapers started to carry an article by Xinhua titled “Q&A issued by officials of the Tibet Autonomous Region about a small group of people creating social disorder” but the web link for posting comments was disabled.

Source: Boxun, March 16, 2008
http://news.boxun.com/news/gb/china/2008/03/200803161002.shtml

Shanghai Jiefang Daily: U.S. Has Two Faces on Human Rights Issues

The Jiefang Daily criticized the U.S. of having a double standard when it issued its 2007 human rights report on other countries. The article said that “while the U.S. pays close attention to human rights violations by other countries, it was blind to its own deteriorating human rights record.” The article stated that there has been a 25 percent increase in cases of personal rights infringement by the executive and judicial branches from 2001 to 2007; The U.S.-lead Iraq war has caused 660,000 casualties with 90 percent of them civilians; and the [Abu-Graib] prisoner abuse scandal has become a symbol of the U. S. The article suggested that U.S. should mind its own business before pointing fingers at others.

Source: Xinhua, March 14, 2008
http://news.xinhuanet.com/world/2008-03/14/content_7786747.htm

China Speeds Up Tapping of Strategic Oil Reserves

On March 6, PetroChina announced the opening of a commercial oil reserve project in Shanshan county of Xinjiang province. Total oil reserves there are expected to reach 1 million cubic meters. The project marks the beginning of China’s second phase of tapping oil reserves in response to the worldwide oil shortage.

The first phase centers on the coastline and consists of four strategic oil reserve bases: Zhanhai, Zhejiang province; Huangdao, Shandong province; Zhoushan, Zhejiang province and Dalian, Liaoning province. The Dalian base was the last one opened and it was close to being 2/3 completed as of March 6.

Source: China Stock, March 7, 2008 http://cnstock.xinhuanet.com/newcjzh/06cjdt/2008-03/07/content_3075200.htm

2008 Defense Budget Saw 17.6 Percent Increase From Prior Year

During the press conference at the First Session of the 11th National People’s Congress held on March 4, Jiang Enzhu, spokesperson of the conference disclosed that China’s defense budget for 2008 is 417 billion yuan (US$57.2 billion), a 17.6 percent increase from last year including currency impact. The increases are mainly to cover spending in army benefits, food and fuel consumption, administrative and training costs as well as equipment and weapon.

Source: China Review News, March 4, 2008
http://cn.chinareviewnews.com/doc/1005/8/3/1/100583185.html?coluid=4&kindid=18&docid=100583185&mdate=0304143540

Foreign Journalist Detained. China’s Pledge For Free Reporting Questioned.

In the afternoon of February 27, Mark Maginier, the Beijing bureau chief with the Los Angeles Times, and his translator were taken away by the personnel from the public security bureau. At the time, Mark was speaking with the petitioners living in the Shou Bao village of Da Xing district of Beijing, a newly established petitioners’ village. Mark told Radio Free Asia that he was taken away for over an hour and was questioned who he was speaking with and what kind of report he will write about.

Mark’s arrest raised concerns over Beijing’s promise. On December 1, 2006, China promised that the foreign reporters, whether assigned permanently or visiting for the Olympics, will be allowed to travel most of the country freely and report without interference by local police or propaganda officials from Jan. 1, 2007, until Oct. 17, 2008.

Source: Radio Free Asia, February 27, 2008
http://www.rfa.org/mandarin/shenrubaodao/2008/02/27/press/

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