Tuesday, June 12, 2012

and now 菲律賓人

他們恨透了日本人, 因為日本人欺負過他們.

華盛頓郵報: In Philippines, banana growers feel effect of South China Sea dispute

PANABO, Philippines — Dazzled by the opportunities offered by China’s vast and increasingly prosperous populace, Renante Flores Bangoy, the owner of a small banana plantation here in the southern Philippines, decided three years ago to stop selling to multinational fruit corporations and stake his future on Chinese appetites. Through a local exporter, he started shipping all his fruit to China.
Today, his estate on the tropical island of Mindanao is scattered with heaps of rotting bananas. For seven weeks now — ever since an aging U.S.-supplied Philippine warship squared off with Chinese vessels near a disputed shoal in the South China Sea — Bangoy has not been able to sell a single banana to China.

He is a victim of sudden Chinese restrictions on banana imports from the Philippines that China says have been imposed for health reasons but that Bangoy and other growers view as retaliation for a recent flare-up in contested waters around Scarborough Shoal.
“They just stopped buying,” Bangoy said. “It is a big disaster.”
His plight points to the volatile nationalist passions that lie just beneath the placid surface of Asia’s economic boom. It also underscores how quickly quarrels rooted in the distant past can disrupt the promise of a new era of shared prosperity and peace between rising China and its neighbors.
Scarborough Shoal, a cluster of coral reefs and islets, lies more than 500 miles from the Chinese mainland and 140 miles off the northern coast of the Philippines, well within a 200-nautical-mile “exclusive economic zone” provided for by the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea. But China — which claims most of the South China Sea, including portions also claimed by the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan — insists that the shoal has been part of its territory since at least the 13th century and points to old maps that mark it as Chinese.
For a while, it looked as if the quarrel — which began in April when a Philippine warship confronted Chinese fishermen near the shoal and stirred a surge of nationalist fury in both countries — could tip into armed conflict between Asia’s most potent military power and one of its puniest. China last year spent $129 billion on its armed forces, 58 times as much as the Philippines, according to data compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The flagship of Manila’s navy, the boat that intercepted the Chinese fishermen, is a 45-year-old hand-me-down from the U.S. Coast Guard.
Manila does have one potent asset: a 1951 mutual defense treaty with Washington that the Philippines believes puts the world’s most powerful navy on its side. The United States has a policy of not taking a position on territorial disputes in the South China Sea and has been ambiguous about what it would do in the event of a conflict. President Benigno Aquino III visited the State Department and the White House on Friday to press for clarity on U.S. intentions.
Trade as ‘foreign policy tool’
Although rich in fish and long used as a shelter by Chinese and Philippine fishermen, Scarborough Shoal has no major economic or strategic value. But it has acquired great significance for both countries as a test case for issues of sovereignty that will help determine who gets to exploit potentially large reserves of natural gas and oil in other contested areas of the South China Sea. ...

Monday, June 4, 2012

2012/06/04 跌 64.89點 (64, 1989)
開盤 2346.98 (23週年 1989, 64)

紐約時報: Market’s Echo of Tiananmen Date Sets Off Censors

HONG KONG — The Shanghai Stock Exchange produced an uncanny — and politically delicate — numerical result on the 23rd anniversary of the military crackdown in Tiananmen Square, an odd echo of a tragedy that China’s leaders have tried desperately to erase from their country’s consciousness.

The index fell 64.89 points on Monday, a figure that looks like June 4, 1989. In yet another unusual development, the index opened on Monday at 2346.98 — a figure that looks like the date of the crackdown written backward, followed by the 23rd anniversary.

Chinese censors, showing characteristic heavy-handedness, especially on anniversaries of Tiananmen Square, began blocking searches for “stock market,” “Shanghai stock” and “Shanghai stock market” and started deleting large numbers of microblog postings about the numerical fluke.

The Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index is calculated by adding up the market capitalizations of hundreds of different stocks and then converting it into an index with a value of 100 on Dec. 19, 1990. Richard Kershaw, the managing director for Asia forensic technology at FTI Consulting, a global financial investigations company, said that it would be almost impossible for anyone to coordinate the buying and selling of so many stocks so as to produce a specific result.

But hackers have targeted the computer systems at other stock exchanges in the past and Mr. Kershaw said that it was at least possible that this might have occurred in China. He predicted that the government would investigate, but added, “You can bet we’ll never hear the results.”

The fall in the Shanghai market was statistically plausible, as it worked out to a drop of 2.73 percent; the Shenzhen stock market, the Shanghai market’s southern rival, fell 2.84 percent on Monday.

Chinese culture puts a strong, sometimes superstitious emphasis on numbers and dates. The Beijing Olympics started at 8:08 p.m. on Aug. 8, 2008, a time and date chosen for the many “eights” — considered an auspicious number.

Even 23 years later, the use of tanks and gunfire to disperse unarmed students and other Tiananmen Square protesters remains a point of considerable acrimony in China and around the world. Security measures are tightened in China each year for the anniversary, while dissidents and former Chinese officials periodically give their versions of what happened.

The suspension of a populist leader, Bo Xilai, from the Politburo this spring and a subsequent series of reports of factional infighting and military maneuvers to prevent any attempt at a coup has underlined this year how tightly held power still is in China.

Liu Weimin, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, expressed “strong dissatisfaction” with the United States on Monday after the State Department issued a statement on Sunday calling for China to free political prisoners still in jail nearly a quarter century after the crackdown.

“We encourage the Chinese government to release all those still serving sentences for their participation in the demonstrations; to provide a full public accounting of those killed, detained or missing; and to end the continued harassment of demonstration participants and their families,” Mark C. Toner, a deputy State Department spokesman, said in the statement.

In addition to people jailed since 1989, the Chinese government has detained an unknown number of dissidents or put them under house arrest in the last few days, part of an annual procedure ahead of the anniversary.

The local government of Tongzhou, an eastern district of Beijing, took the unusual step of publishing on its Web site a description of its precautions for the anniversary: “From May 31 to June 4, wartime systems and protective measures should be in effect, and security volunteers, wearing red armbands and organized by the collective action of neighborhoods, should be on duty and patrolling.”

The posting was deleted by early Monday afternoon, possibly because its blunt language had been reported in the morning by The South China Morning Post, a Hong Kong newspaper.

People began converging late Monday on a downtown park in Hong Kong for a candlelight vigil commemorating the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

Interest in the candlelight vigils here has waxed and waned over the years, often as a barometer of dissatisfaction in Hong Kong with the territory’s local government and with the Beijing authorities. Attendance eroded through the 1990s to 2002, jumped with the pro-democracy demonstrations here in 2003 and 2004, then eroded again for several years.

The vigils have picked up again since 2009 as inequalities of wealth, youth unemployment and other economic issues have come to the fore in Hong Kong and as retired Chinese officials who were in office in the months leading up to the Tiananmen Square crackdown have begun publishing their memoirs.

The memoirs of Zhao Ziyang, the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party in the two years leading up to the crushing of the protests was published shortly before the 2009 vigil. A series of conversations with Chen Xitong, the mayor of Beijing in 1989 and a reputed hard-liner, were published last week, in which he expressed regret that a military assault had taken place, denied reports that he had played a role in organizing that assault and said that “several hundred people died that day.”

Organizers say that the vigils drew 150,000 people each year in 2009, 2010 and 2011, matching a level not seen since 1990. The police put the turnout for these three years at 62,800, 113,000 and 77,000.