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At Least 74 Dead in China Following Mining Accident

February 23rd, 2009

A coal-mining explosion in North China’s Shanxi Province has left as many as 74 dead and more than a hundred injured in the deadliest mining accident to occur in the country in over a year.

The explosion occurred early Sunday morning at the Tunlan Coal Mine in the city of Gujiao – a mine owned and operated by Shanxi Coking Coal Group.

One of the deadliest working environments in the country, China’s mining industry reported 3,200 deaths last year. Government officials attribute the high death rates to illegally operated mines, which they number at almost 13,000 currently.

“Coal mines often experience the most serious accidents because so many of them are operating illegally,” said Zhao Tiechui, a senior official in charge of coal mine supervision. “The industry also sees the most frequent covering-up of accidents.”

Tunlan Coal Mine’s manager, top engineer, and official in charge of mine safety were all dismissed in the aftermath of yesterday’s tragic incident.

No Signs of Eased Control in North Korea

January 30th, 2009

Don Oberdorfer, a leading expert on North and South Korea in an interview with nytimes, says there are no clear signs that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il is too ill to run the country.

“We would know if he were in such a state that he could not function and he couldn’t give any instructions,” Oberdorfer said. “Things like that trickle out of the North. That’s not been the case.” He said he believes the Obama administration will step up diplomacy on North Korea but doubts there will be major initiatives in the short term.

“The administration has got lots of things on its plate” and this “is not an issue where you can get any early returns. I remain skeptical it’s going to be a major item.”

Stock market cooperation hint at HK’s growing strategic importance

January 27th, 2009

The relationship between the Hong Kong and mainland stock markets is warming up after more than two years of frigid relations. More importantly, behind the warming ties is perhaps the elevation of the status of the Hong Kong stock market in the eyes of Beijing from the political to the strategic.

Pakistan tensions could trigger unrest in Central Asia

January 26th, 2009

Uzbek President Islam Karimov said he feared rising tensions in Pakistan could trigger unrest in Central Asia. “Radicals may be reinvigorated by the recent events in Pakistan,” he told Reuters.

China’s Internet Users as Numerous as U.S. Population

January 16th, 2009

The number of internet users in China reached 298 million in 2008, nearly the populations of the United States, according to the official China Internet Network Information Center. The figure is a 43 percent increase over 2007.

There have been many articles, including this excellent one by James Fallows, on the manner in which the internet in China is censored – how the so-called Great Firewall of China operates. People who live outside the wall often do not fully appreciate just how it works, doesn’t work, the ease of which it can be circumvented, and how many people actually don’t bother or care. With so many people online in China, those who are outside the wall and want to feel part of the action can dowload this Mozilla Firefox plug.

In China, empty office spaces fill the sky

December 8th, 2008

according to the csmonitor:

A global credit meltdown and a slowing domestic economy conspired to ruin the coming-out party for this and other newly built skyscrapers, part of a Chinese real-estate boom that has lost its allure. New homes lack buyers and high-rise offices lack renters, depressing prices and forcing developers in Shanghai and other cities to mothball projects as financing dries up.

Unknown Kim Jong Il son emerges

December 3rd, 2008

A previously unknown third son of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il has emerged as a contender for power in Pyongyang, according to UPI.

DPRK tightens borders with RoK

December 2nd, 2008

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has decided to allow just 880 of Republic of Korea (RoK)’s officials and managers to remain at the joint industrial complex Kaesong from December 1, reports VNA.

China Postpones Summit Over Row With Dalai Visit

November 27th, 2008

reports the WSJ:

China postponed indefinitely an annual summit with the European Union, apparently because of French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to meet with Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

The postponement follows an announcement earlier this month that Mr. Sarkozy would meet with the Dalai Lama in Poland next month. It is expected that other European leaders also will meet the Dalai Lama.

The EU said in a statement that it “regrets” China’s decision not to attend the 11th EU-China summit, which was to begin Monday in the French city of Lyon.

Vietnam’s president in Venezuela to boost energy ties

November 19th, 2008

Vietnamese president Nguyen Minh Triet arrived in Venezuela late Tuesday where he was set to promote oil and gas cooperation for a two-day official visit, the first by a head of state from Vietnam.

Triet was set to meet President Hugo Chavez on Thursday before travelling to Lima, Peru, for an Asia-Pacific summit.

The two leaders planned to discuss a joint development fund similar to deals Venezuela has with China and Iran, according to officials in Caracas.

reports AFP