Thursday, June 23, 2011

Caucus Brief: Dissident Chinese Artist Is Released

DISSIDENT CHINESE ARTIST IS RELEASED.  Internationally known Chinese artiest Ai Weiwei has been released by the Chinese government following three months of detainment.  This case had become a focal point of criticism of China's eroding human rights record.  The NYT reports that Mr. Ai was visibly thinner after his release.  From the piece: "The release of Mr. Ai, who is widely known and admired outside of China, appeared to be a rare example in recent years of Beijing bowing to international pressure on human rights."


11 CHINESE WARSHIPS CROSS HIGH SEAS OFF JAPANESE SOUTHERN ISLAND.  Japan's Defense Ministry said today that 11 Chinese warships were spotted in international waters off of the southern island of Okinawa.  No territorial violations were claimed by Japan, but the movements are sensitive because Japan and China dispute territorial claims over small islands in the East China Sea.

WEAKNESS OF THE ASEAN WAY.  A new piece from AEI argues that the recent escalation of tensions in the South China Sea raises questions over the sustainability of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  From the piece: "China's influence aside, the internal contradiction that has for so long characterized ASEAN - namely, vastly different political systems - may be finally taking its toll. The organization has been unable to solve some of the most pressing problems amongst its own members, let alone those involving external states."

CHINA CONTINUES TO WARN U.S. OVER INVOLVEMENT IN S. CHINA SEA.  A piece from the FT details how the Chinese government has warned Washington not to become involved in its territorial dispute with Vietnam over the South China Sea, casting a shadow over a new U.S.-China strategic dialogue to be held this coming weekend.  China's vice-foreign minister: "If the United States does want to play a role, it may counsel restraint to those countries that have frequently been taking provocative action and ask them to be more responsible in their behavior…I believe that individual countries are actually playing with fire, and I hope that fire will not be drawn to the United States."

CHINA'S J-15 NO GAME CHANGER.  A piece from The Diplomat explains why China's J-15 jet fighter for use on aircraft carriers is not a "great leap forward" in fighter technology, but is nevertheless an indicator of China's blue water navy ambitions.


A CHALLENGE TO CHINA'S SELF-LOOTING.  A piece from the NYT questions whether China's economic and governmental system is sustainable.  From the piece: "China today is awash with cash, and many people value the government for the economic growth and stability it has brought.  But it is also faced with seemingly entrenched corruption, a sense of lack of access to justice, and a large wealth gap."  The piece goes on to quote Zhang Musheng, a well known intellectual who has specialized in rural development: "A form of crony capitalism has emerged, with special interests using government connections to create vast wealth.  The result is a divided, often antagonistic society."


CHINA RESTRICTS POPULAR REPORT-A-BRIBE WEBSITE.  Frustrated with endless corruption, a Chinese public relations consultant set up a website to let people post anonymous tips on official bribery.  The website drew 200,000 unique visitors in only two weeks and accused officials of driving luxury vehicles and accepting bribes.  Over the weekend the website was blocked for anyone inside of China and the host, fearing government backlash, took down the website.

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

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