Communist Tax Lawyer

A news, research and discussion platform for monitoring the evolution of Communist and ex-Communist countries to market economies


Tibetan Protests Break-out in Western China

March 23rd, 2009

In the largest protest in Qinghai province this year, almost 100 Tibetans have been detained after a crowd surrounded government buildings near Rabgya Monastery.

The unrest seems to be in response to the 28-year-old monk, Tashi Sangbo, committing suicide.

The young monk was arrested last week for having a Tibetan flag in his possession as well as several political leaflets – both of which are banned in the region. Tashi then escaped custody and killed himself by jumping into a river.

“Angry protesters managed to snatch from police the Tibetan national flag that was earlier confiscated by the Chinese officials,” according to the Phayul report, which also reported that thousands were involved in the protest.

Chinese officials managed to block all communication in and out of the Tibetan enclave by closing roads, as well as cutting telephone lines, text messages, and internet, making it difficult for reports to be authenticated.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama, which has triggered China to issue thousands of paramilitary troops to the region to ensure stability.

China-Vietnam Friendship Year Set for 2010

March 20th, 2009

To celebrate the 60th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, Vietnam and China have mutually agreed to launch the “China-Vietnam Friendship Year” in 2010.

As a part of this year of friendship, both countries have vowed to resolve their border disputes in a peaceful and effective manner as well as enhance cooperation in science, technology, agriculture, and athletics.

Furthermore, the two sides have agreed to jointly tackle the worldwide financial crisis with a win-win strategy that will include high-level exchanges that will achieve mutual political trust.

Chinese State Councilor Dai Bingguo stated that he hopes the event will establish, “long-term stability, future orientation, good-neighborly friendship, and all-round cooperation.”

Cuba and Costa Rica to Restore Diplomatic Relations

March 20th, 2009

Costa Rica’s President Oscar Arias has vowed to reopen diplomatic relations with Cuba which have been closed for since 1961 – two years after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution.

“It doesn’t make sense today to maintain an official distance, when we have open channels of cooperation in various areas, when we have consular and commercial relations with Havana,” said President Oscar Arias after signing a decree to reopen formal relations.

Oscar Arias, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1987, went on to explain that he did not want Costa Rica to partake in the antagonizing or excluding of any people.

“Times change and Costa Rica must change with them. It is a step that gives coherence to our exterior policy,” Arias told a news conference.

El Salvador’s President-elect Mauricio Funes said he would follow suit and reopen ties with Cuba after he takes office at the beginning of June.

China Rejects Coca-Cola Takeover

March 19th, 2009

China’s Ministry of Commerce rejected Coca-Cola’s US$2.4 billion bid for China’s juice maker Huiyuan yesterday which would have been the largest takeover in history of a Chinese company by an overseas competitor.

Officials from the Ministry of Commerce claim that the takeover would have been bad for competition and cited anti-monopolistic grounds as the reason for their rejection of the deal.

This move may have a negative effect on how companies perceive business investment in China given the friendly and seemingly fair offer proposed by Coca-Cola to Huiyuan.

“It indicates that the Ministry of Commerce is going to take a very hard look at foreign acquisitions of leading Chinese brands, even if the foreign acquirer has little or no market penetration in that particular segment of the market,” said Lester Ross of the Wilmer-Hale law firm in Beijing.

This move by China, however, is not without precedent. In 2005, America’s government strongly contested the attempted takeover of U.S. based oil company Unocal by China National Offshore Oil Company citing “national strategic interests” even though their bid of US$18.5 billion was the highest.

North Korea to Allow Kaesong Industrial Park Workers to Leave

March 18th, 2009

North Korea, which has been holding hundreds of South Korean workers employed at the Kaesong Industrial Park on the North-West coast, has finally allowed them to leave.

The industrial park employs some 450 South Korean managers who have been detained since last week, apparently in response to strong statements about the DPRK made by South Korea’s President Lee Myung-bak.

The Kaesong Industrial Park, which opened in 2004, is one of North Korea’s few sources of foreign currency and is now only operating on a minimum level due to the political dispute. South Koreans and South Korean cargo have also been blocked from crossing the border.

The dispute damages North Korea’s ability to attract foreign investors, with an expert on North Korea at Dongguk University stating that the workers had been detained as “hostages” and that the DPRK was using the project as collateral to serve political, rather than economic purposes.

Russia to Upgrade its Military

March 18th, 2009

Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev announced on Tuesday that his country is planning a “comprehensive rearmament” of its military.

Experts have remarked that the brief war with Georgia last summer revealed substantial weaknesses in Russia’s armed forces, specifically with communications and the nation’s air force.

Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov has said recently that Russia is planning on having at least 70 percent of its military “modern” by the year 2020.

Similarly, President Medvedev said that the, “most important task is to reequip the (Russian) Armed Forces with the newest weapons system.”

This news comes amid a string of recent events that have hinted at Russia’s desire to maintain a leading world military force.

Second-hand Markets in China

March 17th, 2009

In an effort to increase domestic consumption, China’s Ministry of Commerce has recently unveiled plans to establish a chain of second-hand markets throughout the country.

This comes as part of China’s plan to stimulate the economy through an increase in domestic spending, which will be a tough task as individual’s incomes are affected by the financial downturn.

Officials believe that creating a market for second-hand goods like home appliances and clothes will encourage individuals to sell off their current possessions in order to buy new ones.

The theory being this being that people who are hesitant to buy new refrigerators and televisions may have increased incentives if they can recuperate some of the expenses of their current appliances. It also will provide cheap goods to those who cannot afford new merchandise.

More Issues in the South China Sea

March 16th, 2009

In another controversial move, China has recently dispatched a state-of-the-art patrol ship to the South China Sea – possibly in response to the signing of the Philippine Archipelagic Baselines Law and the recent altercation with a U.S. surveillance vessel.

The Philippines believe the move to be a show of intimidation in the region following the island country’s claim on the Spratly Islands and Scarborough Shoal.

“The deployment of the patrol ship was a message and we cannot just ignore it,” Philippines National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. “We have to take it seriously.”

While the Philippines maintain that their claim is consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, it has been met with fierce protest in Beijing where the Baseline Law is regarded as ‘illegal.’

The Spratly Islands are claimed in full by China and Vietnam, as well as partly by the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, as well as Taiwan, and have been a contentious topic for years.

Date Set for North Korea’s Satellite Launch

March 13th, 2009

North Korean officials have reportedly told regional news agencies that they have set an early April launch date for their controversial satellite.

Many neighboring countries and Western nations believe that North Korea is using the pretense of a satellite launch to test their capability of firing a long range ballistic missile that could potentially reach the continental United States.

The situation has to be dealt with carefully, as North Korea has warned that any attempt to shoot down the satellite would be regarded as an “act of war.”

There has not been an official date set as of yet, but South Korea’s Yonhap news agency quoted an undisclosed North Korean government source saying the launch would be between April 4th and 8th.

China and U.S. to Look Past Recent Incident, Collaborate on Economic Issues

March 12th, 2009

Officials say the recent incident between a U.S. surveillance ship and China’s naval vessels in the South China Sea won’t adversely affect relations between the two countries as they work together to fight the global financial crisis.

The U.S. ship, Impeccable, was conducting tests designed to seek submarines and other vessels within China’s economic exclusion zone, less than 200 miles south of Hainan Island. The ship was harassed by a group of Chinese naval vessels which performed maneuvers within 25 feet of the Impeccable.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi in Washington yesterday and both parties have agreed to try and prevent these types of incidents from occurring in the future.