Communist Party-linked group holds event at Hobart’s Parliament House, Tasmanian politicians attend
Rhiana Whitson, ABC News (Australia)
A Chinese Communist Party-linked group’s event held at Tasmania’s Parliament House was designed to influence politicians to support Beijing’s push for “unification” with the independent Taiwan, according to an expert on Chinese studies. The Reception Room at Parliament House in Hobart hosted the launch of the of the Tasmanian branch of the Australian Council for the Promotion of Peaceful Reunification of China (ACPPRC) on October 16. Then Speaker of the House Assembly Elise Archer signed off on the event, which was attended by Labor MP Lara Giddings and independent Upper House MP Rob Valentine.
Andrew Browne, The Wall Street Journal
As a Marxist thinker who sees the world in terms of titanic struggles between opposing social forces, Xi Jinping has put his finger on China’s main challenge.It is, he told a Communist Party gathering in October, the conflict between people’s desire for a better life and “unbalanced and inadequate development.” In a commentary, Xinhua News Agency explained that if such a “principal contradiction” is left unresolved, “it can lead to chaos and eventually, as Marx predicted, to revolution.” The first test of this new dialectic wasn’t long in coming. A fire that killed 19 migrant workers in a tenement on Beijing’s outskirts highlighted the inequalities Mr. Xi was alluding to.
China and Canada Fail to Agree on Launching Free Trade Talks
A push to launch free trade negotiations between China and Canada fell flat Monday, with the nations abruptly scrapping a planned press conference and agreeing instead to extend exploratory talks. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signaled one sticking point was Canada’s preference for sprawling “progressive” pacts, and that the countries only wanted to launch formal talks if they were more confident a deal could be reached. It’s the second time in a month that Canada has effectively left a trade partner at the altar.
Bad blood, high costs likely to hobble China’s Belt and Road Initiative: China expert Wang Gungwu
Lee Seok Hwai, The Straits Times
China’s bid to link countries in Asia and Europe under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) faces considerable problems at the practical level, not least due to suspicion over what the ambitious project is about, and it will be difficult to get it off the ground, prominent China watcher Wang Gungwu said on Tuesday (Dec 5).
Post-Soviet states feel lure of (Chinese) socialism
Nadège Rolland, The Interpreter
Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit to Hungary for the sixth China-Central and Eastern Europe Countries (CEEC) Summit last week demonstrates that China has become an increasingly important player in the post-Soviet space. Its presence in Central Asia is now an undeniable fact, but less well-known is its rapidly growing presence at the other end of the former Soviet empire, in the heart of Europe. Notwithstanding China’s historical ties with central and eastern European countries following the Sino-Soviet split, China’s push into the heart of post-communist Europe is relatively recent.
Trump names career diplomat to head Cuban embassy – sources
Marc Frank, Reuters
The Trump administration has named career diplomat Philip Goldberg to head the all-but-abandoned US embassy in Havana, according to three sources familiar with the matter, at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Cuba. But his appointment may ruffle feathers in Havana. He was expelled from Cuba’s socialist ally Bolivia in 2008 for what President Evo Morales claimed was fomenting social unrest.
Senior UN official makes rare visit to North Korea
Jane Onyanga-Omara, USA Today
A senior United Nations official was making a rare visit to North Korea on Tuesday, where he will discuss issues of “mutual concern” after being invited by officials from Pyongyang. Jeffrey Feltman, the UN under secretary-general for political affairs, will discuss “issues of mutual interest and concern” with officials including North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said.
Jet Pilots Say They Saw North Korean Missile in Flight
Austin Ramzy, The New York Times
Pilots of three commercial jets reported seeing what appeared to be the missile that North Korea launched last week, raising questions about the possible risk to civilian flights from the North’s weapons program.
Why Do So Many Western Leftists Defend Robert Mugabe?
Benjamin Fogel, Jacobin
Why do so many Western leftists feel the need to defend a counter-revolutionary, kleptocratic despot like Robert Mugabe? Is it because a country like Zimbabwe and its struggles only matter for them to score points against their interlocutors in the United States or Europe? Mugabe is almost universally reviled among his own people. His corrupt, authoritarian regime was about as far from any desirable socialist project as one could possibly imagine and he hijacked a popular movement performing actual land reform in order to save his stumbling autocracy.
Desperate Venezuelans Turn to Video Games to Survive
Andrew Rosati, Bloomberg Businessweek
Crisis-wracked Venezuela has become fertile ground for what’s known as gold farming. People spend hours a day playing dated online games such as Tibia and RuneScape to acquire virtual gold, game points or special characters that they can sell to other players for real money or crypto-currencies such as bitcoin. The practice, which has previously cropped up in other basket-case economies such as North Korea’s, has become so popular with Venezuelans that they’re now spreading inflation inside the virtual worlds.
How Deep is Vietnam’s Rot?
David Hutt, Asia Times
At a meeting of Vietnam’s main anti-corruption body held late last month, the country’s leading politician instructed it to quicken the pace of its investigations into corrupt officials. Nguyen Phu Trong, general secretary of the ruling Communist Party, applauded the anti-graft body for establishing a list of “urgent cases requiring drastic settlement,” local media reported but also stressed that much more needed to be done.