Asean Summit, Malaysia on Nov 21, 1015

Asean Summit, Malaysia  on Nov 21, 1015
Asean Establishes Landmark Economic and Security Bloc
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) - Text version)

“….. Here is the prediction: China will turn North Korea loose soon. The alliance will dissolve, or become stale. There will be political upheaval in China. Not a coup and not a revolution. Within the inner circles of that which you call Chinese politics, there will be a re-evaluation of goals and monetary policy. Eventually, you will see a break with North Korea, allowing still another dictator to fall and unification to occur with the south. ….”

“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."
"Update on Current Events" – Jul 23, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: The Humanization of God, Gaia, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Benevolent Design, Financial Institutes (Recession, System to Change ...), Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Nuclear Power Revealed, Geothermal Power, Hydro Power, Drinking Water from Seawater, No need for Oil as Much, Middle East in Peace, Persia/Iran Uprising, Muhammad, Israel, DNA, Two Dictators to fall soon, Africa, China, (Old) Souls, Species to go, Whales to Humans, Global Unity,..... etc.)
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk

North Korean defector criticises China in rare Beijing talk
North Korean defector and activist Hyeonseo Lee, who lives in South Korea, poses as she presents her book 'The Girl with Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story' in Beijing on March 26, 2016 (AFP Photo/Fred Dufour)

US under fire in global press freedom report

"The Recalibration of Awareness – Apr 20/21, 2012 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Old Energy, Recalibration Lectures, God / Creator, Religions/Spiritual systems (Catholic Church, Priests/Nun’s, Worship, John Paul Pope, Women in the Church otherwise church will go, Current Pope won’t do it), Middle East, Jews, Governments will change (Internet, Media, Democracies, Dictators, North Korea, Nations voted at once), Integrity (Businesses, Tobacco Companies, Bankers/ Financial Institutes, Pharmaceutical company to collapse), Illuminati (Started in Greece, with Shipping, Financial markets, Stock markets, Pharmaceutical money (fund to build Africa, to develop)), Shift of Human Consciousness, (Old) Souls, Women, Masters to/already come back, Global Unity.... etc.) - (Text version)

… The Shift in Human Nature

You're starting to see integrity change. Awareness recalibrates integrity, and the Human Being who would sit there and take advantage of another Human Being in an old energy would never do it in a new energy. The reason? It will become intuitive, so this is a shift in Human Nature as well, for in the past you have assumed that people take advantage of people first and integrity comes later. That's just ordinary Human nature.

In the past, Human nature expressed within governments worked like this: If you were stronger than the other one, you simply conquered them. If you were strong, it was an invitation to conquer. If you were weak, it was an invitation to be conquered. No one even thought about it. It was the way of things. The bigger you could have your armies, the better they would do when you sent them out to conquer. That's not how you think today. Did you notice?

Any country that thinks this way today will not survive, for humanity has discovered that the world goes far better by putting things together instead of tearing them apart. The new energy puts the weak and strong together in ways that make sense and that have integrity. Take a look at what happened to some of the businesses in this great land (USA). Up to 30 years ago, when you started realizing some of them didn't have integrity, you eliminated them. What happened to the tobacco companies when you realized they were knowingly addicting your children? Today, they still sell their products to less-aware countries, but that will also change.

What did you do a few years ago when you realized that your bankers were actually selling you homes that they knew you couldn't pay for later? They were walking away, smiling greedily, not thinking about the heartbreak that was to follow when a life's dream would be lost. Dear American, you are in a recession. However, this is like when you prune a tree and cut back the branches. When the tree grows back, you've got control and the branches will grow bigger and stronger than they were before, without the greed factor. Then, if you don't like the way it grows back, you'll prune it again! I tell you this because awareness is now in control of big money. It's right before your eyes, what you're doing. But fear often rules. …

Children Day

Children Day

Search This Blog

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Fugitive Taxman Gayus Surrenders to Police in Singapore Operation

Jakarta Globe, Zacky Pawas, March 31, 2010

Rogue tax official Gayus Tambunan, wanted for questioning over Rp 25 billion found in his bank accounts, has surrendered to Indonesian police in Singapore, police sources said in Jakarta late on Tuesday.

Gayus gave himself up after he was confronted by police officers at the Mandarin Meritus Hotel on Singapore’s Orchard Road, the source said, declining to offer further details.

ElShinta online reported that Sr. Comr. M Iriawan, believed to be in command of Indonesian police seeking Gayus in Singapore, confirmed that the fugitive had surrendered without resistance.

It was unclear whether Singaporean police were also present when the Indonesian officers took Gayus into custody.

Indonesia and Singapore have no extradition treaty, but Indonesian Foreign Ministry officials have said that in some criminal cases, extradition was possible.

Gayus fled the country on March 24, two days before the police obtained a travel ban against him.

His wife, who is also wanted for questioning, and their children were also missing, but it was unclear whether they were with Gayus in Singapore.

Gayus came under the spotlight after former National Police Chief Detective Comr. Gen. Susno Duadji this month claimed that high-ranking police officials had been bribed by Gayus to bury an investigation into the money in his bank accounts.

Gayus, the 30-year-old mid-ranking official at the Directorate General of Taxation, had been working at the agency’s tax dispute division.

The police source declined to say when Gayus would be brought to Jakarta, but said the police would address the issue publicly after the tax official was again on Indonesian soil.

Related Article:

Indonesian fugitive nabbed at Orchard Road

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Malaysia to Shift from Race-Based System to Focus on Poverty: Najib

Jakarta Globe, March 30, 2010

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak speaking at an investment conference in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. (AFP Photo)

Malaysia will revise its affirmative action policies to target the nation’s poorest across all ethnic groups, moving away from 39-year-old race- based measures that the government now says may impede growth.

The new policies will be fair and transparent yet continue to benefit the Malay majority, Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a speech at a financial-markets conference in Kuala Lumpur today. The strategies will focus on the bottom 40 percent of households by income, as the country must reduce income gaps in all races, he said.

“We must recognize that some policies, which served a purpose in a previous era, may now be impediments to success, distorting the market and putting us at a competitive disadvantage,” Najib said. “Our first priority must be to eradicate poverty, irrespective of race. We cannot have the high income, sustainable and inclusive economy we seek when disparities in income are not addressed.”

Najib’s father, Malaysia’s second prime minister, in 1971 introduced a system called the New Economic Policy that aimed to boost the social and economic standing of the ethnic-Malay majority through preferential treatment in education, housing and business. The plan has been criticized by opposition leaders including Anwar Ibrahim as hindering the country’s economic development.

Malaysia’s ringgit strengthened to a 20-month high against the dollar yesterday on speculation faster economic growth will attract overseas funds to the nation’s assets, and after Citigroup Inc. and Barclays Capital Plc said in research notes last week Najib may unveil initiatives to attract foreign investment.

Economic reforms can boost average annual growth to 6.5 percent in the 2011-2020 period, the National Economic Advisory Council said in a report in Kuala Lumpur today. Malaysia’s affirmative action should be based on need rather than ethnicity, as the ethnic-based affirmative action policies are raising business costs, it said.

Malaysia’s economic engine is slowing and the country needs an “urgent transformation,” the council said. Doing business in Malaysia is still too difficult and productivity is growing “far too slowly,” it said. The nation should also remove restrictions on skilled workers, the council said.

Southeast Asia’s third-largest economy may expand 4.5 percent to 5.5 percent this year after shrinking 1.7 percent in 2009, the central bank said in a March 24 report. That compares with a government estimate in October that gross domestic product would expand 2 percent to 3 percent in 2010.

Since taking office last April, Najib has vowed to roll back policies favoring the country’s biggest ethnic group to lure investment. The country will consider carefully whether it will “do away completely with affirmative action,” he said in a March 23 interview.

The preferences provide the Bumiputera, or ethnic Malays and the indigenous people of two states, with cheaper housing, give them priority in college admissions and government contracts and require publically traded companies to set aside shares to the group.

Nazir Razak, Najib’s brother and chief executive officer of Bumiputra-Commerce Holdings Bhd., said last year the policies are a “serious” impediment to competitiveness and undermine investment.

Before today, Najib had already scrapped a requirement that foreign companies investing in Malaysia and locally listed businesses set aside 30 percent of their equity for indigenous investors. Instead, Malaysian companies must offer half of the 25 percent stake required to be sold to the public to Bumiputera investors at the initial public offering, and publicly traded companies will no longer have to meet any Bumiputera equity requirement.

Opposition leader Anwar said earlier this month that Najib isn’t serious about doing away with the preferences. The new model will be “just a revision of what he has done in the past,” Anwar said.

Race relations are a politically charged issue in Malaysia, where rioting between Malays, who make up more than half of the population, and ethnic Chinese following elections in 1969 left hundreds dead.

Acts of violence were reported against at least 11 Christian institutions, one Sikh temple and two Muslim prayer rooms in January following a High Court judge’s decision to allow a Catholic newspaper to refer to God as “Allah” in its Malay-language section.


Related Articles:

Beer-drinking Malaysian Model Starts Community Service

Malaysia beer drink woman's caning sentence commuted

State religion (Wikipedia)

Malaysia movie censors ease up, but scorn bikinis

The Jakarta Post, The Associated Press, Kuala Lumpur | Tue, 03/30/2010 3:09 PM

Malaysia's censors have loosened decades of restrictions on sexual and religious content in movies, but are still keeping a tight leash on tiny bikinis, kisses and passionate hugs on screen.

The guidelines - made public on the Home Ministry's Web site this week - are meant to "ensure the creativity of filmmakers is not blocked," with the caveat that "extremely negative elements" should remain off-limits, the ministry's secretary general, Mahmood Adam, said in a statement.

The state-run Film Censorship Board has long faced criticism for snipping off scenes considered too racy and banning some movies altogether. Several Hollywood films banned last year include Sacha Baron Cohen's "Borat," which the board said promoted homosexuality because it centered on a flamboyant gay fashion journalist.

The new censorship guidelines stress that "adults should be free to choose whatever material they wish to watch, as long as the material is legitimate in terms of the law and does not have the potential to cause harm."

Previously, all profanities and scenes of amorous kisses were excised, but the new rules suggest that censors would only remove them if they were overly explicit, such as involving nudity.

The new rules list dozens of elements that might be objectionable, but indicates a movie containing them might not necessarily be prohibited. In another departure from previous guidelines, it notes that curse words might be allowed based on whether they are "appropriate in the context of a film."

Religious sensitivities in this Muslim-majority country take up a chunk of the guidelines, which discourage scenes of Muslims drinking alcohol, gambling and becoming involved in vice.

Muslims could not be shown consuming alcohol and gambling earlier, but the new guidelines state that it would be permissible if the filmmaker wants to "depict a person's transformation from being evil to good."

Also, depictions of Muslims who convert to other religions should not "highlight the benefits (of the act) without showing its bad consequences."

Sex scenes, including "homosexuality and unnatural sex," remain discouraged, extending to "erotic voices" and kissing on "body parts that could arouse sex, including the neck, chest and ears." Women should not wear "bikinis that are too tiny and tight," according to the guidelines.

Passionate hugs between men and women or gay people are also discouraged.

Movies that should be promoted include those highlighting virtues such as respect for God, honesty, courage and environmental preservation, according to the guidelines formulated by authorities following talks with film industry professionals and newspaper critics. The last revamp of the censorship rules was in 1993.

China appreciates Obama's "positive remarks" on ties 2010-03-30 11:35:05

BEIJING, March 30 (Xinhua) -- China has expressed appreciation over the "positive remarks" made by U.S. President Barack Obama and other officials on Sino-U.S. relations.

China valued the reaffirmation by the U.S. side on its commitment to China on the Taiwan and Tibet-related issues, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a press release Tuesday.

U.S. President Obama said on Tuesday Beijing time that the United States was devoted to working with China to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive U.S.-China relationship for the 21st century.

The U.S. would take concrete actions to steadily establish a partnership with China to deal with common challenges, said Obama when presented with the credentials from the new Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. Zhang Yesui.

Also on Tuesday Beijing time, Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg told a news briefing in Washington that the U.S. position on the one-China policy remained unchanged.

"It (the one-China policy) serves us very well. We have consistently through Democratic and Republican administrations understood those agreements and principles be the foundation of building an ever stronger relationship (with China)," Steinberg said.

Steinberg also reaffirmed that the United States considered Tibet to be a part of China and did not support "Tibet independence."

In Tuesday's press release, Qin said that Sino-U.S. relations had developed positively since the Obama administration took office.

However, bilateral ties underwent undue stress caused by the announcement of new U.S. arms sales to Taiwan in January and President Barack Obama's meeting with the Dalai Lama in February, which Qin said was not in the common interest of both countries.

"China and the United States are both countries with important influence in the world," he said. "A sound China-U.S. relationship is in the basic interests of the two peoples and is conducive to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world."

He reiterated that the Chinese government always attached great importance to relations with the U.S. and was committed to developing long-term, healthy and stable Sino-U.S. relations.

At the end of the press release, he again called on both sides to implement the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries and follow the principle and spirits of the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques and the Sino-U.S. joint declaration.

"China hopes to work with the U.S. to strengthen dialogue, communication and cooperation and handle sensitive issues appropriately, so as to make joint efforts to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive Sino-U.S. relationship for the 21st century," he said.

Related Articles:

U.S.-China relationship comprehensive, important: Obama

Chinese official says China-U.S. trade is win-win game

Some in Indonesia praise, seek to replicate China's fight against United States

Monday, March 29, 2010

RI wants ASEAN to adopt Copenhagen Accord

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Mon, 03/29/2010 9:35 AM

Indonesia will lobby other Southeast Asian countries to adopt the Copenhagen Accord at the upcoming ASEAN meeting in Vietnam, as only Jakarta and Singapore have done so, a source said.

The 10 members of ASEAN will convene from April 8 to April 9 in Hanoi, during which officials said the group would issue a joint statement to respond to the Copenhagen Accord initiative.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah told The Jakarta Post that senior officials would run a series of meetings ahead of the summit to prepare a text of joint statements, among others on climate change.

A source said Indonesia wanted all countries in ASEAN to adopt the Copenhagen Accord as 111 countries of the 190 parties to the UN climate talks had already submitted emission cut targets.

“We hope all ASEAN countries follow measures by Indonesia and Singapore to associate with the Copenhagen Accord,” the source told the Post.

Indonesia, the first developing country to voluntarily commit to emission reductions, pledged to slash emissions by 26 percent by 2020 funded only by a state budget of Rp 83 trillion.

Indonesia says if developed nations provided a further Rp 168 trillion, the country would increase cuts to 41 percent, the highest in the region.

Neighboring Singapore pledged to cut emissions by 16 percent by 2020. Both Indonesia and Singapore have adopted the Copenhagen Accord, making the promised emission cut targets binding for the two countries.

Experts say that ASEAN countries, with a combined area of 4.5 million square kilometers and an average per capita income of US$496, were vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

ASEAN established a climate change working group that is tasked with drafting a joint statement.

The Copenhagen Accord was issued last year after participants at the UN climate conference failed to reach a consensus on a much-expected legally binding treaty.

The accord, which was only a note for the conference, requested parties submit emission cut targets and associate it with the accord.

Forty Annex I (developed nations) and 33 non-annex (developing nations) have submitted reduction targets to the UN, with 64 of these countries have associated themselves with the accord.

Another 35 countries have associated with the accord but have not submitted emission cut targets.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s climate change adviser Agus Purnomo said that legal status of the Copenhagen Accord would not be changed although most of the countries supported the accord.

“There should not be new negotiations on the Copenhagen Accord as some countries fear,” he said.

“Indonesia will only agree if climate talks, including in Mexico, return to two tracks of negotiations on the Kyoto Protocol and the Long-Term Cooperative Action [LCA],” he said.

The Kyoto Protocol working group would discuss emission cut targets for developed nations from 2013 as the first commitment to a 5 percent emission when the protocol expires in 2012.

The LCA negotiation will focus on global emission cuts by both developed and developing nations to maintain temperature rise not exceeding 2 degrees Celsius.

Victims Demand More From Asean as Human Rights Body Gets to Work

Jakarta Globe, Markus Junianto Sihaloho, March 29, 2010

Victims of human rights abuses on Sunday called for thorough investigations into serious cases as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations’ new rights body opened its inaugural meetings in Jakarta.

The start of the previously unannounced five-day session, which comes five months after the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) was created in Thailand, wasn’t open to the public and focused only on housekeeping matters, including internal regulations and the scope of the body’s work for the next five years. The commissioners, some of whom will not arrive in Jakarta until today, are scheduled to meet through Thursday.

The rights body, which has one member from each of Asean’s 10 member nations, said in its political declaration that the commission was a milestone in the development of the Asean community.

Human rights victims from across Southeast Asia gathered in Jakarta on Sunday to demand a session with commission members. Critics have said the body is toothless because it lacks the authority to impose punishment.

“The AICHR has to protect us, the peoples of Asean,” Khin Ohmar, a representative from Burma, told a news conference. “For instance, crimes against humanity and war crimes such as extrajudicial killings and military rapes against ethnic minorities in Burma occur on a daily basis with impunity.”

From Indonesia, a group of female survivors from the 1965-66 purges of suspected Communists expressed frustration with the Indonesian government’s lack of acknowledgement of mass killings.

“We want the AICHR to push the Indonesian government to answer our calls to redress justice and reparations,” said Sumini, an 81-year-old victim.

Noemi E Parcon, the widow of a Filipino journalist killed in last November’s election-related massacre of 57 people in the southern Philippine province of Maguindanao, said: “I appeal to the commission to help our families to seek justice. The killing of 32 journalists is the worst-ever [incident] in the world for journalists, and the Philippine government is not responsive to our petition.”

Rafendi Djamin, Indonesia’s representative to the rights body, said they would consider the victims’ request for a meeting.

“Although we have yet to decide whether the AICHR will have authority to investigate human rights violations, it would be better if the AICHR received them first in a meeting,” Rafendi said.

Haris Azhar, from Indonesia’s Commission for Missing Persons and Victims of Violence (Kontras) asked why the inaugural session wasn’t announced in advance.

“Maybe they’re hiding something,” Haris said.

Related Article:

NGOs to report rights abuse cases to AICHR

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Indonesia's Broadcast Freedom Must Be Safe From China’s Meddling

Jakarta Globe, John Riady, March 28, 2010

Earlier this week, government authorities closed down Radio Era Baru, a radio station in Batam. The official reason: shortage of radio frequencies. Another view is that the closure is related to China’s opposition of the radio station’s links to and funding by the Falun Gong movement. In a letter addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, China warned of damage to Indonesia-China relations should the radio station not be shut down.

Whether or not a shortage of frequencies was merely a pretext remains to be investigated, but there is ample reason to be skeptical. The station was denied a license in 2007. If the shortage was real, why was it allowed to broadcast for the last three years? When its license was denied, why wasn’t a reason provided and why did claims of a shortage appear after public uproar? Many stations operate without a license. Why single one station out? Why not reorganize the frequencies during those three years, as was done in Jakarta a few years back? The radio station’s legal appeal has reached the Supreme Court and a decision is expected soon. Why deploy police to clamp down on broadcast freedom on the eve of a decision that might render such an extreme intervention unnecessary?

If the allegation against China is true, China’s intervention is offensive and the decision from Indonesian authorities is shameful. This is a critical issue and needs to be addressed using legal and quasi-legal remedies. Legal remedies can address the issue domestically, but to sanction China, more creative quasi-legal remedies are needed. Allow me to explain.

Legal Remedies

The argument is that the government’s closing of the radio station for reasons related to its links with Falun Gong violates Indonesia’s constitutional right to expression (Article 28) and is thus unconstitutional. A potential problem is that since Article 28 has not been litigated much, it is unclear what the boundaries of this freedom of expression are.

To solve this, the courts should look to international law for guidance, in particular the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights, which Indonesia has ratified. Given the near universal acceptance of the declaration, at least some of its provisions have reached the status of “customary international law.” This means that all countries, even those not members of the UN, can now be bound by those provisions.

The ICCPR’s guarantee of the right to expression is broad enough to be used in this case. Article 19 states that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds … through any other media of his choice.”

While the ICCPR does allow the limiting of expression when necessary for the protection of “national security,” it was held that it does not allow nations to prohibit speech just because it advocates the ideology of a political enemy. China should take note.

The treaty’s operative principles imply that countries have positive and negative obligations — this would include having in place licensing procedures that are consistent with the principle of free expression and that prohibit the use of police to crack down on violations.

These two legal remedies — our Constitution and the ICCPR—should provide generous grounds for the protection of Era Baru’s rights. However, these measures do not facilitate possible Indonesian sanctions against China. Domestic courts and ICCPR remedies have no teeth against other countries. For this, we turn to quasi-legal measures.


The idea here is to use trade sanctions to compel trading partners to adhere to principles that they have agreed to in nontrade agreements, in this case the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This would require framing freedom of press and censorship not as an issue of free press but rather a violation of WTO rules on free trade of “market access” and “national treatment.”

In a case where China censored its press by prohibiting foreign media companies from operating in China, the WTO panel concluded that these measures were inconsistent with China’s obligation under the national treatment and market access clause of the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs.

The idea of framing violations of free press in terms of violations of trade law has gained more and more acceptance. The European Union passed a proposal that would require member countries to classify any Internet censorship as a barrier to trade, and would require that the issue be raised in any trade negotiations.

Linking trade with press law is similar to the way in which trade is linked to environmental and labor standards — we do this all the time.

In light of the Asean-China Free Trade Agreement, this is a crucial point. Even though this trade agreement is separate from the WTO, there are significant parallels. China has much to gain from the establishment of a free trade area. If it is to reap the benefits of trade, it must not be allowed to pick and chose. Free trade comes in a package. With access to an enlarged market to which China is able to export its goods, it must also eliminate barriers to trade, which includes censorship and violation of free press.

Many in Indonesia complain that its domestic industries are not ready to compete with China. Proponents of trade argue that only when they are forced to compete will they then be ready. Now it is China’s turn to complain that they are not ready for free speech. To this we should say: sink or swim.

We need a thorough investigation to determine the real reasons for the radio station’s closing. If it turns out to be true that the closure was related to pressure from China, a strong stance needs to be taken. A free press at home can be protected using legal remedies. As for getting our point across with China, we need to resort to trade law.

John Riady is lecturer at the Pelita Harapan Universit y Law Faculty and editor at large at GlobeAsia. He can be reached at

Related Articles:

Missing Chinese dissident lawyer Gao Zhisheng 'alive'

Chinese Google Decision Allows All to Save Face

Google Exit Reminds Companies Asia Strategy Is Not Just China

Google row: China's army of censors battles to defeat the internet

A card, a letter and flowers are placed on the Google logo at its China headquarters building in Beijing after it moved its Chinese-language search engine to Hong Kong. Photograph: Feng Li/Getty Images

Friday, March 26, 2010

North Korea Losing its Iron Grip on Weary, Hungry Citizens, Report Says

Jakarta Globe, Blaine Harden, March 26, 2010

Two North Korean men make a blackmarket transaction. (AFP Photo)

Tokyo. There is mounting evidence that Kim Jong-il is losing the propaganda war inside North Korea, with more than half the population now listening to foreign news, grass-roots cynicism undercutting state myths and discontent building even among the elite.

A survey of refugees has found “everyday forms of resistance” are taking root as large swaths of the population believe pervasive corruption, rising inequity and chronic food shortages are the fault of the government in Pyongyang and not of the United States, South Korea or other foreign forces. The report is by the East-West Center, a research group established by the US Congress.

It comes amid unconfirmed reports from inside North Korea of a rising number of starvation deaths caused by a bad harvest and bungled currency reform that disrupted food markets, caused runaway inflation and triggered widespread unrest.

The number of starvation deaths in South Pyongan province, in the center of the country, is in the thousands since January, according to Good Friends, a Seoul relief group with informants inside North Korea.

It said bodies of malnourished elderly people were being found in the streets of the capital, and quoted unnamed party officials as saying starvation in some areas this winter has risen to levels unseen since the 1990s, when famine killed as many as 1 million North Koreans.

This mix of deadly food shortages, bureaucratic bumbling and rising cynicism presents a potentially destabilizing threat to Kim’s government. It comes at a delicate time, when the ailing 68-year-old leader has launched a secretive process to hand power over to his untested son, Kim Jong-eun, 27.

“Once a government has so badly damaged trust, it may be very difficult, if not impossible, to restore its credibility,” said Marcus Noland, co-author of “Political Attitudes under Repression,” the new report on a survey of North Korean refugees.

Although Kim’s government appears to be losing the hearts and minds of North Koreans, there is little or no indication organized opposition has emerged inside the country, Noland said.

However, signals of internal stress are growing, according to another new report on conditions inside North Korea. The International Crisis Group, an independent group that advises many Western governments and UN agencies, said pressure from the deteriorating food supply and “disastrous” currency reform “could have unanticipated consequences for regional international security. A sudden split in the leadership, although unlikely, is not out of the question.”

The results in the East-West Center’s report are based on a November 2008 survey of 300 North Korean refugees living in South Korea. The refugees in the survey, parts of which were first publicized last year, include new arrivals as well as those who fled the country during the height of the 1990s famine.

More than half of the refugees who have fled North Korea since 2006 said they listened or watched foreign news reports regularly. North Korea outlaws radios and TVs that can be tuned to foreign stations, but consumer electronics have flooded into the country from China.

“Not only is foreign media becoming more widely available, inhibitions on its consumption are declining as well,” the report said, referring to broadcasts from South Korea, China and the United States. “The availability of alternative sources of information undermines the heroic image of a workers’ paradise and threatens to unleash the information cascade that can be so destabilizing to authoritarian rule.”

The Washington Post

Related Article:

North Korea forces talks over Mount Kumgang resort

Burma Remains a Black Eye for Asean

Jakarta Globe, Nehginpao Kipgen, March 26, 2010

The goal of the emerging regional alliance represented by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations is to develop itself into a European-style single market by 2015. The bloc should be a potent force, with a market of more than 530 million people, but it still accounts for only 6 percent of world exports.

Leaders of the 10-member bloc (Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Burma) are scheduled to meet at the 16th Asean Summit in Hanoi from April 8-9. The meeting is expected to discuss the promotion of regional connectivity and strengthening cooperation between Asean and its partners.

There is one glaring issue within the community that has to be discussed, regardless of Asean’s customary pledge of noninterference in the affairs of member states — the lack of democracy in Burma. Governed by military dictators since 1962 and with ethnic minority communities long chafing under central government control, the nation is easily the most pressing human rights issue in the region.

The international outrage arising out of the recent promulgation of an electoral law in Burma has put the issue again squarely on the international — and regional — agenda.

The election law announced on March 10 prohibits anyone convicted of a crime from being a member of a political party. In so doing, it prevents hundreds of political prisoners from participating in coming national elections, including Aung San Suu Kyi, who is the general secretary of the National League for Democracy and the acknowledged leader of the opposition in the country.

While many politicians and student leaders have been imprisoned in recent years, Suu Kyi was most recently convicted of violating the terms of her long-standing house arrest by briefly sheltering an American who swam uninvited to her lakeside residence in August. She was subsequently sentenced to 18 more months of confinement.

The election law deprives Suu Kyi and other political prisoners of their political rights. Anyone convicted of a crime is barred from the polls, a move that is a apparent attempt to prevent democracy leaders from contesting the polls against military-backed candidates. The law also formally invalidated the result of the last general election in 1990, saying that the election law under which those polls were held was repealed by the new legislation.

The NLD, which won 392 seats in the 492-member assembly in the 1990 polls but was never allowed to take power, is a target of the military junta. The election law offers the NLD an impossible choice: If it is to register for the upcoming election, it must expel its leaders who have been convicted by the dictatorship — including Suu Kyi.

When this lopsided electoral law was made public, it led to a closed-door session in the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday called by Britain, the first time this year the council discussed political developments in Burma.

Mark Lyall Grant, Britain’s UN envoy, said council members voiced concern over Burma’s electoral laws, saying they “fall well short of what the international community expected in a free and fair process and fell short of the expectations set up in previous [council] statements.”

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon also discussed the latest developments with the Group of Friends on Burma at the UN headquarters on Thursday. The group includes representatives from Australia, Britain, China, the European Union, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Norway, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam. Afterwards, he said it was “disappointing that we have not seen much progress” toward democracy in Burma.

While many in the international community have expressed outrage and concern at the conduct of the Burmese military junta for many years, Asean, as a bloc, still maintains its formal silence.

Of the 10 members, only the Philippines and Indonesia have openly commented on the new election law. On March 11, Philippine Foreign Secretary Alberto Romulo said: “Unless they release Aung San Suu Kyi and allow her and her party to participate in elections, it’s a complete farce and therefore contrary to their roadmap to democracy.”

Asean has been critical of Western nations’ sanctions and isolation policy against Burma, arguing that constructive engagement is the better path. Since September last year, the US government has embarked on a limited engagement policy, but there has not been any tangible commitment from Asean to help resolve the decades-old conflicts within its own member state.

As a responsible regional bloc, Asean needs to break its silence on human rights abuses and the denial of fundamental political rights in Burma. Standing up to tackle the problems of its members will improve the bloc’s image and capability as an international organization.

Any pragmatic initiative led by Asean to find a democratic solution in Burma no doubt will garner the support of the UN secretary generaAlign Centerl and Washington and enhance the credibility of Asean itself. Until Burma recognizes the rights of every ethnic minority and every citizen to have a real say in their choice of leaders, Asean is unlikely to be a truly successful and thriving regional alliance.

Asean is not expected to expel Burma from the club, but is rather urged to genuinely engage it — and not just its military leaders — in order to find solutions. One hopes Asean will find the courage to address the task.

Nehginpao Kipgen is a researcher of political conflicts in Burma since the 1950s and is general secretary of the US-based Kuki International Forum.

Related Article:

Burma military rulers give hints of change

Myanmar's ruler warns against external interference

Myanmar leader senior general Than Shwe salutes from a podium as he reviews troops during a military parade Saturday

ASEAN to sign dispute settlement agreement

Lilian Budianto, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Fri, 03/26/2010 1:20 PM

ASEAN member states will sign a dispute settlement mechanism during the regional grouping's summit on April 9-11 in Hanoi.

The mechanism is aimed at resolving disputes resulting from different interpretation on the ASEAN Charter and its instrument, Ade Padmo, Foreign Ministry's director for ASEAN political and security cooperation, said Friday.

"There are three options to settle dispute, namely: mediation, conciliation, good offices and arbitrary," he said, adding that third parties could be involved in the dispute settlement upon approval of the disputed parties.

Ade said that some pending issues, including sanctions for non-compliance, would be negotiated further after the signing.

The summit will also inaugurate the guideline of Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC), dubbed ASEAN peace treaty.

"The guideline will allow countries with substantial relations with ASEAN to accede to TAC," Ade said.

China steams ahead on clean energy

BBC News, by Richard Black, Environment correspondent

Projects like Donghai Bridge wind farm in Shanghai have pushed China ahead

China overtook the US during 2009 to become the leading investor in renewable energy technologies, according to a new analysis.

Researchers with the Pew Charitable Trusts calculate that China invested $34.6bn (£23.2bn) in clean energy over the year, almost double the US figure.

The UK emerges in third place among G20 nations, followed by Spain and Brazil.

The most spectacular growth has come in South Korea, which saw installed capacity rise by 250% in five years.

Globally, investment has more than doubled in the last five years, Pew finds, with the recent economic turmoil generating only a slight dip.


  • China - $34.6bn
  • US - $18.6bn
  • UK - $11.2bn
  • Spain - $
  • Brazil - $7.4bn

"Even in the midst of a global recession, the clean energy market has experienced impressive growth," said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's campaign on climate change.

"Countries are jockeying for leadership.

"They know that investing in clean energy can renew manufacturing bases, and create export opportunities, jobs and businesses."

The US still holds a marginal lead in the total amount of installed capacity, but will be overtaken by China during the course of this year if existing trends continue.

Diversification nation

China's target of having 30GW of installed renewable capacity in place by 2020 will soon be exceeded through wind alone, and new targets are in the process of being set.

"The government has taken a strategic decision that diversifying its energy supply should be a national priority," commented Steve Sawyer, secretary-general of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), who was not involved in the Pew report.


  • South Korea - 249%
  • China - 79%
  • Australia - 40%
  • France - 31%
  • India - 31%

(growth in installed capacity over last five years)

"It is now the world's leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic cells, and more wind turbines are made in China than anywhere else."

However, China's use of fossil fuels is also expanding fast.

So far, renewables account for a small share of its energy supply, although the overall target is a 15% share of total energy by 2020.

Wind was the dominant sector in most of the high-investing countries, the exceptions being Spain, Germany and Italy where solar technologies commanded a majority share.

US investment fell by 40% during from 2008 to 2009.

"The US's competitive position is at risk in the emerging clean energy economy," said Ms Cuttino.

Spain's investment also dropped due to the recession, following several years of rapid increases driven by the desire to cut greenhouse gas emissions very quickly in order to reach its Kyoto Protocol target.

Pew notes that the UK achieved its third place through "large offshore wind deals, backed by the government", and by being "at the forefront of marine energy investments."

Pew based its analysis on the database maintained by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the international analysis and consultancy group.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chinese Court Sets Date for Rio Tinto Verdict

Jakarta Globe, March 25, 2010

Shanghai. The verdict in the high-profile Chinese trial of four employees of mining giant Rio Tinto will be delivered on Monday, the Anglo-Australian company announced on Thursday.

Australian executive Stern Hu and three Chinese staff members were tried this week in a Shanghai court on charges of accepting bribes totaling around $13 million and stealing trade secrets.

All four defendants have pleaded guilty to taking money, and one admitted to commercial espionage, defense lawyers say, although the accused have challenged aspects of the charges.

“Rio Tinto has been advised the verdicts in the trial of the four Shanghai employees will be delivered on March 29, 2010,” the company said in a statement.

The Australian government confirmed the verdict would be delivered on Monday.

Lawyers for the three Chinese defendants — Wang Yong, Liu Caikui and Ge Minqiang — said they had not yet been informed of a date for the verdict.

During the three-day trial in China’s financial center, which ended on Wednesday, the court heard evidence that millions of yuan in bribes had been stuffed into bags and boxes for the accused, according to reports.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the world was watching the trial, which has been widely seen as a test of the rule of law in China and has raised questions about doing business in the world’s third-largest economy.

“It is not just Australia that is watching this trial very closely, but I think the eyes of the world are focused on the way in which this trial is conducted and what happens as a result,” Rudd said.

The court heard that tens of millions of yuan were delivered by hand to Hu and others, according to the state-run National Business Daily.

Canberra has said Hu “made some admissions” in court, without elaborating. Rio, the world’s third-biggest miner, has previously said it was not aware of any wrongdoing by its employees.

The four were arrested in July during contentious iron ore contract talks between top mining companies and the steel industry in China, the world’s largest consumer of the raw material. Those talks eventually collapsed.

Under Chinese law, the toughest sentence for nongovernment officials convicted of accepting bribes is 15 years in prison, according to Wang’s lawyer.

The maximum penalty for stealing commercial secrets is seven years.

Australia will make a “considered statement” at the conclusion of the court proceedings, the Foreign Ministry said.

Agence France-Presse

India, China and Asean Economic Growth

Jakarta Globe, Tai Hui, March 25, 2010

China is Southeast Asia’s largest trading partner, but now it has some competition. In 2009, India ran a larger trade deficit with Asean-6 (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam) than China, despite the fact that China’s total trade with the grouping was almost fives times India’s.

As result of the significant narrowing of China’s trade deficit with Asean-6 in recent years, its direct contribution to Asean growth has diminished. A narrowing deficit reflects an increase in Chinese-made manufactured products entering Asean markets, as well as China’s weakening demand for Asean-made components of manufactured products. Lower commodity prices in late 2008 and 2009 may offer a partial explanation (commodities are an important source of Chinese demand for the region’s exports), but we do not see this as a satisfactory explanation.

In India’s case, faster economic growth in recent quarters and demand for raw materials have led to a considerable increase in imports from Asean. Given India’s lack of natural resources, and the fact that its manufacturing sector will take years to develop, India may well replace China as a key source of export growth for Asean countries.

In 2004 and 2005, China ran a $21 billion deficit with the region. China’s rising net imports from Asean-6 between 2000 and 2006 mirrored its growing trade surplus with the United States and Europe — China served as a manufacturing hub, gathering components from within the region for final assembly before shipping finished goods to the United States and Europe. Trade between China and Asean-6 rose from $38 billion in 2000 to a peak of $227 billion in 2008, before dropping to $207 billion amid the collapse in commodity prices in 2008-09 and weaker global growth. This represented a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 23.4 percent between 2000 and 2009.

China’s trade deficit with Asean-6 narrowed significantly after 2006. Between 2006 and 2009, China’s imports from the region expanded at a CAGR of 5.7 percent, while its exports to the region grew by 14.1 percent. While both rates slowed from the preceding years, the moderation in imports was more substantial. Vietnam has snapped up Chinese products faster than the rest of the region, with its share of total Asean imports from China rising to 15.9 percent in 2009 from 10 percent in 2004. The Philippines and Thailand, on the other hand, have scaled back their purchases of Chinese products.

In terms of Asean-6 exports to China, Thailand and Malaysia outperformed at the expense of Singapore and the Philippines. The strength of Thai and Malaysian exports is perhaps surprising, given that these two economies’ export structures share the greatest similarity with China’s. We believe strong commodity prices were behind the gains, as commodity producer Indonesia also saw its share of Asean-6 exports to China rise during the period. Nonetheless, the slowdown in Asean-6 export growth to China relative to imports from China is consistent with anecdotal evidence that China is becoming less dependent on imported components as it expands its range of manufactured products.

Of the Asean-6 economies, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam are already importing more from China than they are exporting to the country. While China runs a trade deficit with the Philippines, it is narrowing quickly. Thailand and Malaysia have been able to maintain their trade surpluses with China, but the concern is that tariff reductions as a result of the China-Asean Free Trade Agreement may tip the balance further, accelerating China’s exports of highly competitive manufactured products to Asean.

Until 2006, India’s trade balance with Asean-6 hovered around zero. This was partly because India’s total trade with Asean-6 was very limited, at just $6.7 billion in 2000. The pace of growth in the value of Asean’s exports to India has picked up considerably since 2003 with exports reaching $43.7 billion by 2009.

As trade between India and Asean-6 has expanded, India has emerged as a net importer from the region. Unlike in the case of China, this is not a result of the regionalization of the supply chain, but rather reflects India’s demand for natural resources. Some 87 percent of India’s imports from Asean-6 in 2009 came from Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Malaysian and Indonesian exports to India largely comprise commodities and raw materials. Singapore is India’s key export market in the region, absorbing 45 percent of Indian exports to Asean-6. Rather than reflecting Singapore’s underlying demand for Indian products, we believe this is more a function of Singapore’s role as a regional trading hub.

India runs trade deficits with Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, and we expect these deficits to widen. In fact, Indonesia and Thailand account for most of Asean-6’s trade surplus with India. Meanwhile, India is a net exporter to Vietnam and the Philippines. Its trade balance with Singapore is more volatile, but it has been a net exporter to the city-state for five of the past six years.

Because India runs a larger trade deficit with Asean-6 than China, it actually made a greater contribution to Asean growth in 2009 via trade in goods. Hence, on a net basis, Asean-6 is selling more to India than to China. This is not to dismiss China’s importance — after all, its trade with Asean-6 is still five times larger than India-Asean-6 trade. Instead, it highlights India’s growing importance as a driver of growth in emerging markets.

While financial markets in the emerging world react primarily to China’s economic data, India’s economic performance will play an increasingly important role as Asean countries seek to diversify their growth drivers. While manufacturers in Thailand and Malaysia are worried about the competitive threat of China’s exports, South Asia may offer new opportunities as India seeks to develop its manufacturing industries.

Tai Hui is r egional head of research for Southeast Asia at Standard Chartered Bank.

Global deforestation rate falling

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 25 March 2010 - 11:26am

World leaders planting trees (Photo: EPA)

The rate of global deforestation has fallen over the last decade. The UN's Food and Agriculture organisation says this indicates that measures to combat the destruction of forests are beginning to have an effect.

Nevertheless, the FAO warns that over five million hectares of woodland are still being destroyed each year. This is an area larger than the whole of the Netherlands.

The average area of woodland lost annually over the last decade was 13 million hectares, compared to 16 million in the preceding ten years. Major reforestation projects in China, India and Vietnam have compensated for the destruction of some woodlands.

Related Article:

China steams ahead on clean energy

Forest loss slows, as China plants and Brazil preserves