“It is legal to supervise religious affairs, and protect normal religious order. This issue of forced disappearance fundamentally does not exist.” It seems the Chinese government possesses magical powers usually, though incorrectly, associated with Tibetan holy men: It has made over 300 monks from Tibet disappear. In April, Chinese security forces rounded up the monks up from Kirti monastery in the Aba prefecture of Sichuan Province. China’s foreign ministry claims the monks are undergoing government “re-education”, but refuses to divulge the location of the 300 holy men to U.N. human rights investigators. The government in Aba says it decided to give the monks further education on China’s legal system following the actions of a monk who burned himself to death in protest earlier this year. According to China’s state news agency Xinhua, the Kirti monks have also been guilty of hiring prostitutes, gambling, drunkenness, and viewing pornography, adding to the need for their legal re-education. Still, no one with the U.N. knows where the monks are or if they are still alive, and at the very least their disappearance and detention is a violation of international law. (Reuters – 300 Tibetan Monks Disappear)
China’s First Aircraft Carrier?
“The carrier revelation comes at a complicated time for U.S.-Chinese relations.” What surprised us about this story isn’t the fact that China’s military has an aircraft carrier; it’s that this is apparently their first one. The Chinese government normally holds facts about the country’s military very, very close to the proverbial vest. However, Chinese defense minister Chen Bingde revealed details about the carrier this week to a reporter for Hong Kong Commercial Newspapers. The ship is under construction in Dalian, and is nearly completed. It has taken literally an army of workers to convert the hull, which dates from the Soviet era, to Chinese naval specifications. And until now, the entire project has been kept secret with a cover story which claimed the giant ship was a floating casino being built for use off the shores of Macau. The reason the revelation about China’s carrier worries the U.S. is that it is further evidence that the Chinese are developing military technology in secret, technology which could threaten American military superiority. (ABC News – Chinese Aircraft Carrier)