China’s long-simmering problems with Uyghur separatism and terrorism in the western region of Xinjiang has been thrust again into the international spotlight.
The U.S. State Department has criticized China’s «lack of transparency» regarding its claims of Uyghur terrorism in Xinjiang, questioned Beijing’s stated desire for greater counter-terrorism cooperation with the U.S., and said Chinese policies in the region «may have exacerbated ethnic tension» and contributed to «increased violent extremism.»
State media in Xinjiang reported this week that some Uyghur inhabitants would be required to provide DNA samples, fingerprints and a «three-dimensional image,» when applying for passports or other travel documents.
China has dismissed criticism of its policies in the region as «inaccurate and «un-objective.»
It is clear however that Beijing has increasingly instrumentalized the threat of terrorism in both domestic and foreign policy.… Seguir leyendo »
The military campaign against Islamic State is being reduced to a vicious sideshow as the Syrian civil war enters a new make-or-break phase. Russian military involvement has been a game-changer – saving Bashar al-Assad’s forces from near collapse, blatantly attacking western-backed opposition forces, and supplying T-90 tanks to Assad’s army closing in on Aleppo. For the western allies, time is running out. The agenda is being shaped by Russia, Assad and Iran, which have formed a de facto alliance to maintain the old Syria and – despite the supposed ceasefire agreed by the big powers in Munich last Friday – are not dissuaded by the death and destruction involved.… Seguir leyendo »
China’s sweeping new counter-terrorism legislation, which takes effect in January, may constitute a Patriot Act-like moment for the country.
Just as homeland security has dominated politics in the United States in the wake of the September 11 attacks, «counter-terrorism» is becoming a central ordering principle for both China’s domestic and foreign policy.
The new law requires local governments from the city level up to coordinate counter-terrorism activities with a soon-to-be-constituted national agency.
It provides a legal basis for the country’s various counter-terrorism organs to identify and suppress individuals or groups deemed to be «terrorists» and requires Internet providers and technology companies to provide technical assistance and information, including encryption keys, during counter-terror operations.… Seguir leyendo »
The lowering of the flags in Basra and the intonation of the names of the 179 British military dead murmur the big question in a more dignified way than the rest of us will. Was the operation a success? The troops themselves have their own hard-edged answer – it was a score draw away from home. No, it was not a victory. The soldiers don’t come home from these operations in troopships like the heroes of the Falklands, to be greeted by a grateful nation. They come back in battalion units, marching to their home bases knowing that they have done the job in their gritty, professional way.… Seguir leyendo »