Thursday, June 9, 2011

Caucus Brief: Leon Panetta, The Pentagon and The China Threat

LEON PANETTA, THE PENTAGON AND THE CHINA THREAT.  Leon Panetta, current CIA Director and nominee for Secretary of Defense, made a point of addressing the growing threat posed by China's military modernization in his answers to the Senate Armed Services Committee's written confirmation questions.  Director Panetta's answers placed a specific focus on the need for the U.S. to continue its own military modernization efforts to prepare our military for an adversary armed with air defense systems, long-range ballistic missiles and anti-ship cruise missiles.

PANETTA SAYS CHINA IS BUILDING CAPABILITY TO COUNTER U.S. DEFENSE OF TAIWAN.  CIA Director Leon Panetta, in his written answers to the Senate Armed Services Committee confirmation questions, stressed that China is emphasizing anti-access and area capabilities to prepare for "contingencies involving Taiwan, including possible U.S. military intervention."  Director Panetta's statement went on to say: "The complexity of the security environment, both in the Asia-Pacific region and globally, calls for continuous dialogue between the armed forces of the U.S. and China."

HACKERS ESCALATE VIETNAM-CHINA SPRATLY ISLANDS ROW.  Computer hackers from both Vietnam and China have launched campaigns targeting hundreds of websites, including government websites, to post their national flags or post comments in favor of their national territorial claims.  In the last month, Vietnam has seen multiple public protests against China's claim to the South China Sea and recent aggression by Chinese patrol boats.  Hanoi has accused Chinese patrols of cutting communication cables and harassing Vietnamese ships in Vietnamese waters.

CHINA SCOLDS PHILIPPINES OVER DISPUTED S. CHINA SEA.  China and the Philippines have exchanged harsh words over contested territorial claims to the South China Sea.  The statement from China's Foreign Ministry: "China demands that the Philippines stop unilateral actions that damage China's sovereignty and interests at sea and could lead to the expansion and complication of the South China Sea dispute, and stop issuing irresponsible comments that are inconsistent with facts."  The Philippine President's spokeswoman released this response: "We stand by what we believe in and what is ours.  That is what we are trying to remind them."

CHINA'S SUPPRESSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYERS.  A piece from Jerome Cohen,  the Council on Foreign Relation's Adjunct Senior Fellow for Asia Studies, explores China's treatment of human rights attorneys and why this most recent crackdown on dissent is succeeding.  From the piece: "While in captivity, these lawyers endure humiliation, torture and endless demands to sign 'repenting' alleged misconduct and promising 'good behavior'…One wonders how severe the oppression of China's rights lawyers will have to become in order to prick the conscience of fellow professionals."


WIFE OF DETAINED ACTIVIST TELLS OF EVICTION EFFORTS.  The wife of internationally known human rights activist Hu Jia says that she and her daughter have been forced out of their home only weeks before her husband is expected to complete his 42-month prison sentence.  Mr. Hu's Wife is quoted by the NYT: "If I try to find a job, they threaten my boss.  If I try cooperating with someone, they threaten my partner.  If I try to find some part-time work, they tell the human resources of the company to censor me."

CHINESE COMMUNIST PARTY CAN'T TAKE A JOKE.  A retired forestry worker from the Chinese city of Chongqing, went online in April to express his views on the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) rising regional leader.  The online comment compared this particular CCP official to excrement.  The 45 year old retired forestry worker is now serving a year's sentence in a re-education-through-labor camp for his comments.

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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