Archive for November, 2011

Testy Pakistan-U.S. ties plunge into new low – Supply cutoff to NATO permanent, says Pakistan [Xinhua]

Posted in 9/11, Afghanistan, China, CIA, ISI, NATO, Pakistan, US drone strikes, USA on November 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Li Hongmei

BEIJING,Nov. 29 (Xinhuanet) — Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Sunday said that the supply of NATO has not been suspended; rather, it has been stopped permanently. Addressing the National Crisis Management Cell of Ministry of Interior, he strongly condemned the “accidental killing” of 24 Pakistani troops by NATO aircraft, which has prompted an angry response from Pakistan, further chilled the already volatile Pakistan-U.S. relations and dimmed any prospect of mutual trust.

“NATO force should respect feelings of Pakistani nation.” He said the nation and the government were aggrieved on the death of 24 officials of Pakistani security forces in the wake of NATO’s pre-dawn attack on Saturday when NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan.

Islamabad also said it had ordered the United States to vacate a drone base in the country demanding the Pentagon leave the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan Province, which services U.S. drones that launch missiles at al-Qaeda and Taliban militants along Pakistan-Afghanistan border, within 15 days.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani government said it would review all diplomatic, military and intelligence cooperation with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

China’s Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi expressed deep concerns Monday over the incident and said China will as always firmly stand by Pakistan in defending its independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

In actuality, the incident is by no means all accidental. Pakistan has been entangled in the bumpy relations with the U.S. since it uneasily allied itself with Washington after the September 11, 2001 attacks. Saturday’s tragic “friendly fire incident” along the Afghan-Pakistan border is eerily familiar to any observer of Pakistan-United States ties over the past decade.

A similar incident happened in September 2010, when U.S. helicopters under ISAF attacked a Pakistan border post and killed two members of the Frontier Corps who had been firing warning shots at them to keep away from the border.

Most recently, ISAF has adopted a more aggressive policy along the frontier. Hence, the tragic incident was bound to happen someday.

This year has seen terrible grudges in the Pakistan-U.S. relationship, beginning with the Raymond Davis affair. Davis was a CIA contractor working under the cover of the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad who shot two Pakistani men in January, claiming they meant to rob him. The affair highlighted the complex relationship between the two intelligence agencies, whose members distrust one another even as they work together in joint operations. Many Pakistanis have since complained about thorny problems inherent in the large U.S. intelligence presence in their country.

Tensions between Islamabad and Washington were whipped up by a unilateral raid by U.S. special forces that [allegedly] killed al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May, humiliating Pakistan’s military and intelligence. Pakistan deemed the May 2 raid as a flagrant violation of its sovereignty, in that the U.S. helicopters were able to slip in and out of its territory from Afghanistan apparently without the knowledge of Pakistani forces.

The deadly incident Saturday again plunged the Pak-U.S. relations into crisis.

As expected, NATO and U.S. officials expressed regret about the deaths of the Pakistani soldiers, indicating the attack may have been an error. All this happened when its gunships mistook warning shots by Pakistani forces for a militant attack, they explained.

Mutual trust between countries may require years and possibly generations to achieve, but “errors” recurring unstoppably will just erode the basis on which the sense of trust is built, now that the Pak-U.S. relations have been on a downward spiral, hard to reverse…

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link:


China issues white paper on poverty reduction in rural areas – 67m beat poverty in past decade [Xinhua]

Posted in China, Income gap on November 30, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) — The Chinese government on Wednesday unveiled a white paper on its poverty reduction efforts in the past decade, highlighting achievements and challenges for China to bring common prosperity to its more than 1.3 billion people.

The white paper, titled New Progress in Development-oriented Poverty Reduction Program for Rural China, was released by the State Council Information Office.

It introduces China’s policies, achievements, special programs, social involvement and international cooperation in the fight against poverty.

It was the Chinese government’s second white paper on poverty reduction after it issued the first edition of such document in 2001.


The white paper says the mission to reduce poverty is particularly difficult in China given the scale of poverty in rural areas.

According to the white paper, China’s poverty-stricken rural population fell from 94.22 million at the end of 2000 to 26.88 million at the end of 2010, an equivalent to lifting the entire population of France out of poverty in the past decade.

The proportion of poor people in the country’s rural population decreased from 10.2 percent in 2000 to 2.8 percent in 2010.

The Chinese government defines those who earn less than 1,274 yuan (about 200 U.S. dollars) in income a year as “poor people” after the nation raised the national poverty line for rural residents from 865 yuan in 2000 to 1,274 yuan in 2010.

China has basically solved the problem of providing adequate subsistence, food and clothing for its rural residents, the 36-page white paper declares.

By the end of 2010, the illiteracy rate of young and middle-aged people had dropped to 7 percent, 5.4 percentage points lower than in 2002, according to the white paper.

“The Chinese government has always made poverty reduction an important goal and task of national development…and worked hard to enable all the people to enjoy the fruits of economic and social development,” the white paper says.

It was in the mid-1980s that the Chinese government started the development-oriented poverty reduction program in the rural areas in an organized and planned way.

The program has promoted social harmony and stability, fairness and justice, and contributed to the development and progress of the country’s human rights.

As poverty reduction is a common cause for the entire human society, China’s development-oriented poverty reduction program is an important component of the world’s poverty reduction efforts, says the white paper.

The white paper stresses China has realized, ahead of schedule, the goal of cutting the poverty-stricken population by half, as listed in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, thus making great contributions to the world’s poverty reduction efforts.


Although China’s overall national strength has been greatly improved, the Chinese government is clearly aware that China remains a developing country with low per-capita income and is faced with the serious challenge of narrowing the gaps between urban and rural areas, between different regions, and between the rich and poor, says the white paper.

The current 26.88 million impoverished Chinese people are equal to the entire population of Texas, the second-largest state of the United States by population size.

The white paper says that the deep-rooted obstacles hindering the development of China’s poverty-stricken areas are still there, such as the large size of the impoverished population, comparative deprivation, frequent cases of sinking back into poverty, and underdevelopment of regions with special difficulties that lie in vast and contiguous stretches.

“Therefore, development-oriented poverty reduction is and will continue to be an arduous and long-term task for the Chinese government,” it says.

The white paper says China will continue to shoulder its international duties suitable to its development phase and development level and actively participate in international poverty reduction as a responsible country.

China is keen to continue working with the international community to create a beautiful and poverty-free world where people enjoy common prosperity, says the white paper.

According to the white paper, support from foreign funds has been an important part of China’s development-oriented poverty reduction drive.

The country received a total of 1.4 billion U.S. dollars in 110 foreign-funded poverty alleviation projects, benefiting nearly 20 million impoverished people in 20 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities, says the white paper.

Article link:

Belarus Prepares to Confront NATO Military Aggression []

Posted in Afghanistan, Andrew Lukashenko, Belarus, CIA, Fascism, Germany, Iraq, Libya, National Endowment for Democracy, Nazism, UNSC, US imperialism, USA, USSR, World War II on November 29, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Nov. 6, 2011

by Gearóid Ó Colmáin

On Novermber 4th, President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko told reporters in Grodno, that the NATO terrorists who murdered Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi were worse than the Nazis. The President of Belarus said:

““There was an act of aggression and the national leaders, including Gaddafi, were killed. He was not killed on a battlefield. NATO security services helped abduct the national leader. He was tortured and shot and treated worse than the Nazi did in their time. Libya was destroyed as a sovereign state”

The Belarusian president went on to denounce the role of the UN in tolerating what he described as NATO’s vandalism in Libya

““We can view the situation extremely negatively only. How can we evaluate NATO actions in Libya? As a violation of the mandate of the UN Security Council. I am not exaggerating this mindless and mad Security Council. I am not exaggerating their role and the role of the United Nations Organizations. The latter has evolved into some kind of cover-up. See or yourself: Iraq, Afghanistan, an entire Arabic curve. Why has UN failed to prevent all of it?”[1]

President Lukashenko, whose government has long been on the list of US regime change targets, also told reporters that preparations were underway to strengthen the country’s defense, through the creation of new territorial military units drawn from the civilian population.

“We have created the territorial units. This is cheaper than having a professional army, and we will be training our people. In a year they will make perfect troops. They are ordinary people who have civil professions and jobs. These troops are deployed only in wartime. In peacetime, they train.

They must protect their own property, in addition to the family and land. These people are very well-trained, among them there are a lot of military people.”[2]

The Belarusian government has announced the creation of a new citizen army of up to 120 thousand people. President Lukashenko told reporters in Grodno: ““If we ever have to be at war, we are men, we have to protect our homes, families, our land. It is our duty,” [3]

This is the first time since the Second World War that the people of Belarus have experienced a threat to their security and the threat is coming once again from the West.

Belarus is perhaps more qualified than any other country to make allusions to Nazism. The worst atrocities of the Second World War were carried out in Belarus by the German Wehrmacht. In fact, he resistance of the Belarusian people against their Nazi hoards was so heroic, the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR voted in favour of a proposal to include the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic as a separate seat in the General Assembly of the United Nations after the Second World War.

The Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic became the showpiece of the USSR, becoming the strongest and most prosperous of all the socialist republics in the Soviet Union.

The country’s leader Alexander Lukashenko, has been described by some as a typical ‘homo sovieticus’. A former state farm director, Lukashenko was the only member of the BBSR to vote against the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Lukashenko came to power in 1994 after gaining the people’s trust through his performance at the head of a national Anti-corruption committee.

The past 16 years of Lukashenko’s presidency have seen steady economic growth, rising wages and full employment. The socially-oriented economy of Belarus maintains close links with other countries resisting the dictates of the New World Order such as Cuba, Venezuela, Syria and, until recently, Libya.

Belarus has one of the lowest rates of inequality in the world, spends up to 6 percent of GDP on education and scientific research. Education and health care are free.

Needless to say, Lukashenko’s determination to serve the interests of his own people over the interests of Western finance capitalists has resulted in a sustained and unrelenting campaign of lies, calumny and defamation from the global corporate media empires.

* The United States, Belarus and “human rights” *

Lukashenko’s popularity in Belarus has long been the target of a heavily funded opposition from within the country, composed of so-called ‘civil society’ activists and ‘journalists’ funded by the National Endowment for Democracy in the United States, an organisation which works closely with the CIA to overthrow foreign governments who are not subservient to US interests.

The United States and the European Union have spent millions of tax-payer’s money on installing a subservient leader in Minsk compliant with their economic interests in the country. As a European official was once reported to have said “ Belarus is the one country left where there is still something to grab”.

After the Al Qaeda attacks in New York 2001, the meaning of those events quickly became apparent to the government of Belarus. At a conference entitled ‘Axis of Evil: Belarus – the missing link’ November 2002 Senator John McCain, referring to Belarusian trade agreements with Iraq, declared:

“Alexander Lukashenko’s Belarus cannot long survive in a world where the United States and Russia enjoy a strategic partnership and the United States is serious about its commitment to end outlaw regimes whose conduct threatens us.” McCain went on to say “September 11th opened our eyes to the status of Belarus as a national security threat”

In 2004 the United States passed the Belarus Democracy Act which mandated direct US interference in the internal affairs of Belarus in order to promote ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’.

This imperialist legislation was followed by a resolution presented to the UN condemning Belarus for ‘human rights’ violations.

However, the Belarusian government responded promptly through the United Nations.

In the 59th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, Belarusian permanent representative to the UN Andre Dapkiunas presented a resolution entitled:

‘Situation of Democracy and Human Rights in the United States of America’.

The Belarusian draft resolution condemned the fraudulent US elections of 2000, the fact that residents of Washington cannot elect representatives to the US congress, the death penalty for juveniles, and the mentally ill, unlawful detention of terrorism suspects and widespread torture.

This resolution by Belarus was particularly embarrassing for the US government as it forced the world’s leaders to face up to US hypocrisy concerning crimes against humanity. The United States passed legislation one year later, finally putting an end to the death penalty for teenagers under 18. The other human rights violations documented in the Belarusian UN draft resolution continue to be committed by the United States. [4]

* The Great Conspiracy against the Republic of Belarus *

On December 19th 2010, youth groups trained and funded by the US, Germany and Poland attempted to enter parliament buildings in Minsk, after Western backed candidates failed to make any significant impact among Belarusian voters.

In January 2011 the Belarusian state security agency (KGB), released documents seized from the protestors, which revealed the extent [of] wholescale interference by German and Polish intelligence officials in the internal affairs of Belarus. The report ‘Background of a Conspiracy’ published in the Minsk Times, proved that many of the youths used by Western intelligence in the riots had been trained in far-right training camps in the Ukraine.

Others youths had been brought across the border from Russia. The declassified documents showed how Western intelligence agents, working through various NGOS, smuggled money in suitcases across the Belarus border to opposition activists.

Western intelligence agencies had two strategic plans to overthrow the Belarusian government.

1) Get as many as 100,000 people out on to the streets of Minsk in a mass rally and storm the parliament.

2) If they failed to get the desired numbers to join the rally, the parliament buildings would be attacked with iron bars in order to provoke the police. The media would then blame the police for the ‘violent crackdown’ and the EU would be given an excuse to condemn the ‘rigged elections’ and impose sanctions.

The report points out that the international press reporters at the December riots did not make any attempt to cover the elections. They simply arrived to join the pre-planned rally in October Square.

The Western backed putschists were to give their backing to the poet Vladimir Nekliaev. The declassified KGB documents reveals the reasons behind the West’s endorsement of Nekliaev:

“V.Nekliaev is a representative of the so-called intelligensia. He possesses a certain charisma, has not been participating in the domestic political affairs for a long time. The public does not associate him with the image of a radical opposition member, he is better known as a poet.

His weaknesses can also be of use to us. In his past he was virtually an alcoholic (the illness of many artists). Our experts conclude that it creates conditions for forming a super idea in him of being superior, of being destined for a higher mission. We also possess essential incriminatory evidence against him, which enables us to give him additional stimulation at any stage of the project.

We believe it expedient to use the proposed candidature as the major one to represent the campaign. The earlier proposed candidate can be promoted along as a backup plan.”[5]

This document gives us a unique insight into the operational methodologies of Western intelligence agencies. Nekliaev was to become a Belarusian Vaclav Havel or Boris Yeltsin. His weaknesses as a leader would be useful to the West as it would be far easier to control him. Nekliaev was to be the Belararusian version of Mahmoud Jabril, a weak and feckless puppet of Western interests.

Nekliaev’s Western puppet masters also had ‘incriminatory evidence’ against him, which would enable them to blackmail him should he decide to favour the interests of his country over those of Western capital.

The declassified documents also reveal a sophisticated campaign of defamation and lies against the president of Belarus. Rumours and outrageous lies were to be spread and leaked to the Western press. Lies concerning the health of the president, lies about his private life, lies about foreign bank accounts, lies about the imminent resignation of the president etc.

The section concerning the rumour campaign against the Belarusian president makes for interesting reading and is worth reproducing in full as it reveals the highly co-ordinated activities of Western intelligence-funded colour revolutionaries:

“One of the components of the support campaign for the candidate of national confidence should be deliberate production of stimuli for the dissemination of rumours. Rumours are to be regarded as information passed on by means of informal communication and having a virus-like dissemination pattern. The ideal platform for such campaign is the Internet, especially various social networks, blogs, Twitter (Internet social network).
A well-run rumour campaign forces the authorities to continually look for excuses, which helps create the so-called presumption of guilt and evokes greater mistrust towards the government in the general public.
One of the basic rumours to be supported throughout the campaign should be the rumour of Lukashenko’s possible resignation. Its purpose to assure the general public and the elite of the very possibility of such resignation.
Suggested rumour cycles:
The personality of Lukashenko and his family, the rumors about the president undermine his personal position and destroy the image of a strong, brave and resolute man.
Here are the main directions and goals of the “background campaign”:
– The poor health of Lukashenko and members of his family.

The safety of large public projects is questioned.
– The nuclear power plant to be constructed will use a Chinese reactor that can be prone to explosion.
– The nuclear reactor at the nuclear power plant is, in fact, future missiles, and a platform for nuclear blackmail …”.[6]

The rumour mongering about Libya perpetrated by the corporate media shows striking similiarities to colour revolution methodologies used against Belarus. After the outbreak of violence in Bengazi, we were told by the mass media that Gadhafi had left Libya for Venezuela. To quote again from the document seized from the Belarusian opposition.

‘One of the basic rumours to be supported throughout the campaign should be the rumour of Lukashenko’s possible resignation. Its purpose to assure the general public and the elite of the very possibility of such resignation.’

The false reports of Gadhafi’s resignation in Libya were intended to encourage the uprising by making the protestors believe that they had already won the battle for power. These lies were soon followed by reports that Gadhafi had given orders to bomb protestors. However, the Russian military, who were monitoring Libya from space, subsequently confirmed that no bombing of civilians took place.

In the lead up to the Libyan war the Associated press spread more rumours and lies about Belarus.

Hugh Griffiths of the Stockholm International Peace and Research Institute has claimed that “”An Ilyushin Il-76 (plane) flew to Libya on February 15 from Baranovichi, a huge former Soviet weapon storage (area) now controlled by the Belarus government”.[7]

The accusations were vehemently denied by the Belarusian government. Speaking to the Belarusian Telegraph Agency. Belarusian foreign ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh told reporters:

“It has been established that the UN official [Jose del Prado] told the American journalist that he had no information and therefore could not confirm the presence of any Belarusian mercenaries in Libya. The fact can be deemed proof that The Associated Press is a hired propaganda outlet and tool,”

Savinykh politely noted the propensity of Western journalists to “effortlessly step over the conventional democratic standards when it is convenient to them and in line with the interests of their sponsors.”

Given the fact that Belarus is a target of US-sponsored regime change, one can only suspect that the media rumours were intended to serve as a warning to Minsk of what it will face if it refuses to bow down before the empire…[8]

Edited by Zuo Shou

Full article link, with footnotes:

KCNA Commentary Rejects U.S. ‘Asia-oriented Policy’ as Policy of Aggression [KCNA]

Posted in Australia, DPR Korea, Japan, Korean Central News Agency of DPRK, Obama, south Korea, US imperialism, USA, Western nations' human rights distortions, World War II on November 28, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Pyongyang, November 25 (KCNA) — The United States is zealously seeking to expand the sphere of its domination over the Asia-Pacific region.

Such scheme was more clearly revealed before and after the APEC Summit and the 6th East Asian Summit.

On November 17 U.S. President Obama, speaking at the Australian parliament, manifested the stand that top priority would be given to the Asia-Pacific region in carrying out the U.S. diplomatic and security policy.

He also promised to strengthen the relations with the ASEAN and its individual members on Nov. 19 when attending the East Asia Summit for the first time as the U.S president.

The U.S. secretary of State, too, in her lecture made in Honolulu, Hawai, on Nov. 10, said that the U.S. would pivot its diplomatic and economic policy to the Asia-Pacific region and the 21st century would be “U.S.’ Pacific century”.

The U.S. secretary of Defense said that the U.S. would remain a Pacific nation in the future.

This is a U.S. formal declaration on the “priority Asia-Pacific policy”, and it goes to clearly prove that the U.S. set the Asia-Pacific region as the main target of its strategy for domination over the world.

The Asia-Pacific region has become a center of international politics and economy.

The U.S. regards it as a matter closely related to satisfying its endless greed to realize its domination over this region.

Lurking behind the “priority to Asia” touted by the U.S. is its design to take an active hand in the problem of the Asia-Pacific region and tighten its domination and control over it.

The U.S. has long dreamed of its domination over Asia. It is the consistent view of the U.S. that the Pacific and Asia should come into its possession like Texas and California states. Such view had been expressed before and after the Second World War.

The U.S. seeks to realize this ambition at any cost in the present 21st century.

To this end it is scheming to intensify the control and domination over the Asia-Pacific region by military and economic means. Such scheme has been confirmed by the following facts: The U.S. has strengthened the security alliance with Japan, south Korea and others and decided to keep its armed forces in Australia. It has also pushed forward the “diplomacy over human rights” for interference while meddling in regional bodies’ activities and attempted to frame up U.S.-led Trans-Pacific Partnership initiative.

What does “return to Asia” by the U.S. in North America mean?

This means that the U.S. intends to make Asia serve it, not Asians.

The masters of the Asia-Pacific region are the people in this region.

But, the U.S. pursues its aggression policy for domination over the region, talking about “return to Asia” and “priority to Asia”. This is a wanton encroachment upon independence of the regional people.

The U.S. will remain a gate-crasher of Asia if it does not drop its design for domination over the region.

The 21st century will never be “U.S.’ Pacific century”. -0-

KCNA English homepage:

NATO: “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing”? – Editorial [4th Media]

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, NATO, UNSC, Yugoslavia - former FRY on November 28, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Dr. Kiyul Chung

Nov. 4, 2011


It’s not the first time and I’m sure it’s not only some of us who are lately more often reminded of the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” idiom. Since what’s happened to Libya last 8 months, it’s particularly so!

According to Wikipedia, this Christian biblical idiom which is often “used of those playing a role contrary to their real character” seems…identical with what NATO did last 8 months.

The most hypocritical, disgusting and infamous claim NATO has made is just like what the idiom says as if they were “playing a role [the so-called “protection of civilians”] contrary to their real character” or goal [the “regime change”].”

Also according to the Wikipedia, the similar Aesop fable, “concerning wolves that are mistakenly trusted by shepherds; the moral drawn from these is that one’s basic nature eventually betray[s] itself,” also seems [to] remind the world with another important lesson: Deception and Betrayal…

…The NATO used the betrayal card to Libyan people first, particularly its entire leadership, and then the deception card to the entire world including the UNSC which seems to have become in many aspects (NOW more than ever BEFORE!) one of the most PUPPET global regimes of the US/Israeli-ruled NATO powers, i.e., the traditional Western colonial powers.

As to the UNSC issue, whenever needs arise in global affairs, particularly in the billions and trillions dollar businesses of “regime change” through (almost all the time!) military interventions, the UNSC has often been conveniently employed to mostly cover up and/or justify the US-ruled NATO power’s “real characters, basic natures” and greedy goals as they did in Libya this time, of course as they have done to many others around the globe in the past and still this very day!

It’s nothing new the world seems to have watched helplessly the US/NATO colonial power’s very destructive military aggressions by way of their most well-known but ugly characters and natures such as betrayal, deception and hypocrisy.

All these could be quite easily identified with or found from the entire history of over five century-long Western colonialism.

These “real and basic characters and natures” of the US/NATO power seem to have never been changed even a bit throughout the history of US-led NATO interventions, as in the cases of Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, now Libya, which have been further intensified and [became] nakedly uglier [in the] last 20 [or so] years[,] particularly after the collapse of former Soviet Union in early 1990s.

It’s extremely challenging and devastating for the world to realize these disastrous traits of the Western colonial powers which seem to have been present all along throughout the entire history of the whole (north, central, and south) American continents including Caribbean Islands since 1492 which had been completely plundered by Western colonial gangsters, thieves, murderers, rapists, looters, robbers, or in short destroyers, do still overwhelm the whole world even in this 21st Century!

From the above-quoted two well-known Western parables, the world is cruelly reminded again the following characters of the revived(?) Western colonial barbarism in the form of Deceptiveness, Betrayal, Greed, Hypocrisy, etc.

Dr. Kiyul Chung who is a Visiting Professor at School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University is Editor-in-chief at the 4th Media

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link:

China sees alarming rise in divorce [People’s Daily]

Posted in Beijing, China, Economy, Shanghai on November 28, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Han Binbin

Nov. 13, 2011

BEIJING, Nov. 13 (Xinhuanet) — There are many social indicators to a country’s development. Unfortunately, one of those signs seems to be a rising number of broken marriages. In China – now the world’s most populous country and its second-strongest economy – Han Bingbin looks at the heartbreak, and searches for the reasons why.

It was Valentine’s Day. Wang Xiaobo (a pseudonym) had been in line since early morning to register her marriage. In front of her, couples were carefully threading their way into a little room and filing out from the other side. It made her think: “It’s exactly like an assembly line.” The process was so quick and simple that many couples came out slightly bewildered and wondering: “Are we married already?” For Wang, her feelings were slightly more complex. This was her second time in the line. The first time was four years ago, in 2007, a year after she graduated from college. Her husband then was seven years older, a man she considered “mature, considerate and good at cooking” and who gave her “a strong sense of security”. She had married him after they dated for two years and unlike her classmates who were still playing the field and shopping for the perfect mate, Wang was content with her choice and expected a “stable and happy” life after marriage.

But the rude awakening came sooner than she expected.

It was not the perfect match she thought it was. They spoke less and less to each other until conversations were reduced to curt greetings when they met at home after work.

Wang also found her husband sexually indifferent and, in their 16-month-long marriage, their sex life was practically non-existent. She tried to find out what was wrong, but he dodged the question every time.

She concluded that the love was gone, and it was around this time that she started an affair. Things deteriorated quickly and, one day, she moved out and asked for a divorce. To her surprise, her husband agreed.

With that, Wang became part of the statistics that show an alarming rise in divorce in China. Figures from the Ministry of Civil Affairs show that in the first three quarters of 2011, 2.8 million couples registered for divorce, up 12 percent year-on-year.

That translates to more than 10,000 families breaking down every day.

In the last five years, the number of divorces has steadily increased by about 7 percent year-on-year, nationwide. In the first-tier cities like Beijing and Shanghai, the rate has reportedly surpassed 30 percent.

Peking University law professor Ma Yinan says the rising trend began as early as the late 1970s, the result of strained marriages that came from differing political perspectives during the “cultural revolution” (1966-76). It is a crisis that has escalated, not abated.

Ma suggests that China’s transformation to a market economy and modernization also began to reshape lifestyles and values, including those on marriage. With material comforts vastly improved, people are no longer satisfied with marriages that merely fulfilled the need to carry on the family line.

Especially for women, economic independence has meant power to be emotionally more independent, making them brave enough to walk out of an unsatisfactory union. In Wang’s words, there is a new mantra: “Financially, I am independent. I don’t need someone to take care of me. I only look for love.”

Reports from Xinhua News Agency also suggest that more and more divorce hearings are initiated by women, with figures pointing to more than half the cases, in places as far apart as Beijing and Xinjiang.

Another contributing factor has emboldened suffering wives: Society is becoming more tolerant toward divorce. Public judgment has shifted from “shame” to “personal choice and privacy”, according to Qu Yang, psychiatrist and veteran marriage counselor at the Beijing National Olympic Psychological Hospital.

Qu recalls from his own childhood being taught that “good people don’t get divorced and divorcees aren’t good”.

At a time when conservativeness and self-containment were prevalent, society placed great value on collectivism and peer pressure had enormous influence, Qu says, and social scrutiny forced many couples to stay in unhappy marriages.

National policies, which reflected the moral values of that time, also dissuaded people. To get a divorce, the couple had to obtain a written recommendation from their employers as well as go through a one-month cooling-off period.

* A decade of change *

These processes stayed in place until 2003, when the State Council launched new regulations that canceled these complicated procedures. Couples who agreed to split could get divorced on the spot.

That year, according to Ma’s research, 1.3 million couples separated legally, the highest number since 1949.

“While getting divorced still underwent administrative intervention and social pressure, the low rate did not reflect the actual quality of marriages,” says Qu. “To some extent, rising divorce rates actually signifies progress of society.” Once the bread and butter issues were resolved, people were looking for better emotional well-being.

But it is still not a rosy picture.

A demand for better quality in a marriage and a more tolerant attitude towards divorce may have freed some from unhappy relationships, but a new generation also brings a totally different perspective.

Qu says people born after the 1980s often misunderstand the meaning of marriage. They currently make up the largest numbers of divorces.

In these newly prosperous times, young people are more given to lightning courtships fuelled by intense passion. Once the first flush of romance fades, however, they want out of the relationship instead of working out the problems. Qu says that for these age groups, the danger period is usually the first two years of marriage.

The reason for divorce is usually “incompatible personalities”, but Qu says a new individualism has taken a grip on young Chinese. They want what they can get out of a relationship and are less tolerant about what the other party needs or wants.

People more selfish

Qu recalls many cases when one partner chooses to go abroad for study or work, a separation that puts enormous strain on the marriage.

“In a purely traditional culture, it’s easier to produce so-called compassionate love,” Qu says. “But frankly, people are more selfish these days. There are fewer compromises.”

Financial benefit also drives some marriages: If the spouse cannot get what was promised before the knot was tied, such as a house or apartment, the couple may end up in court.

The irony, Qu says, is that husbands who can provide all the material comforts are also the ones rich enough to support extra-marital affairs, still the biggest cause for divorce.

“It’s been a growing phenomenon among the newly rich to divorce their wives and marry their lovers,” says Yang Xiaolin, a divorce lawyer in Beijing. In fact, many successful men take having a mistress as a status symbol, a fact that dismays both the psychologist and the lawyer.

Qu says the secret to a successful marriage is still the age-old solution: Love, tolerance and compromise. He also advises the young to take their time and choose their life partners carefully.

That’s also what Wang believes, after her roller-coaster ride since her first union. She has faith her second marriage will be long and happy, thanks to lessons learned from her first.

“There’s no perfect man. Put up with the little shortcomings. And, don’t bet on a marriage with love at first sight, or passing passions. Choose patiently. It truly takes a long time to understand a person and to understand yourself,” she concludes.

While Wang still cannot pin down the criteria for a good marriage, Qu prefers to fall back on a time-tested adage: Choose a spouse with similar family and financial backgrounds to even the odds and lay common ground for better communication. It makes for a better start and could prevent a possible bitter end.

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China warns US over recession [Global Times]

Posted in China, China-bashing, China-US relations, Early 21st Century global capitalist financial crisis' US origins, Economic crisis & decline, Germany, Japan, Protectionist Trade War with China, US imperialism, USA, Yuan appreciation on November 28, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Nov. 22, 2011

by Zhu Shanshan

Vice Premier Wang Qishan addressed US concerns over bilateral trade on Monday, warning that an unbalanced recovery would be better than a balanced recession given the current gloomy world economy.

Speaking at the annual US-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, Wang said that stable development between the two sides would bring positive contributions to the world, and that Beijing is ready to conduct closer and broader economic cooperation with Washington.

“One thing that we can be certain of, among all the uncertainties, is that the global recession caused by the international financial crisis will be chronic,” Wang said, adding that recovery will remain the primary task and that the two sides should form a solid partnership to face the challenges.

In response to mounting US pressure over yuan appreciation and other trade issues, the vice premier, who oversees China’s financial sector, urged Washington to relax controls on high-tech exports, avoid the abuse of trade remedies, recognize China’s market economy status and give equal treatment to Chinese companies that invest in the US.

Zhou Dunren, a deputy director of the Shanghai Pudong Institute for the US Economy, said Wang’s remarks were a warning to US officials that by imposing unreasonable duties on Chinese goods or forcing the yuan to appreciate, Washington might achieve its goal of reducing its trade deficit but in so doing harm both economies and the global recovery.

The vice premier’s statement came after US Commerce Secretary John Bryson, who co-chaired the JCCT with Wang, said Sunday that “many in the US, including the business community and Congress, are moving toward a more negative view” on the bilateral trading relationship.

Bryson also repeated US President Barack Obama’s “frustration” with China’s trade policy.

Washington has been accusing Beijing of deliberately keeping the yuan’s value low to gain a trade surplus, which harms employment in the US. However, China rejects such accusations and blames the US for setting up trade barriers.

According to the US Census Bureau, by the end of September, US trade in goods with China stood at a deficit of $217 billion, about $15 billion higher than the same period last year.

Meanwhile, analysts predict China’s economy is heading toward a soft landing due to a drop in exports and a tightened monetary policy to soak up liquidity. The government is also adopting measures to encourage domestic consumption.

China’s economic expansion has shown signs of a slowdown with GDP growth down to 9.1 percent in the third quarter from 9.5 percent and 9.7 percent in the first and second quarters respectively.

Zhao Zhongxiu, the dean of the School of International Trade and Economics under the University of International Business and Economics, noted that the world should not look to China as a savior because it cannot absorb all their exports.

“Chinese policymakers should strike a balance between growth and economic restructuring, given that we have already witnessed a slowdown in GDP growth. The restructuring should not come at the price of growth, and vice versa,” Zhao told the Global Times.

He noted that the high trade deficit has been a chronic structural problem for the US, and that Washington has made Japan and Germany scapegoats for the problem in the past.

Meanwhile, after the JCCT meeting, the two sides signed five economic and trade agreements related to intellectual property rights, technology, trade statistics, energy and business cooperation.

According to the agreements, foreign automakers are allowed to invest in the green vehicle market without transferring their technology to Chinese enterprises or establishing a local brand.

Bryson told reporters on Monday that China had confirmed that, in the coming five years, it plans to invest $1.7 trillion in “strategic sectors,” such as biotechnology, new-generation information technology, energy-saving and environmentally friendly technologies.

Bryson added that Wang said US and other firms would enjoy the same opportunities as Chinese firms to help these sectors grow.

“We had a very good dialogue on China’s strategic emerging industries, and we welcome China’s commitment that it will create a fair and level playing field for US companies in those industries,” Bryson said.

“Washington has complained that US companies were at a disadvantage while competing with indigenous companies in government procurement. By promising a level playing ground, Beijing is reassuring foreign businesses,” Zhou said.

He noted that if the US exports advanced technologies in these sectors to China, the trade imbalance between the two sides could be eased.

Yang Jingjie and agencies contributed to this story

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