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China Reform Monitor - No. 733

"Serious operational glitches" in Chinese satellite bound for Caracas;
Jobless factory workers return home, find corruption and abuse

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
January 8, 2009

December 10:

Chinese space industry sources
cited by the South China Morning Post have said the three billion-yuan Venesat-1 space satellite that will soon be handed over to Venezuela has “encountered some serious operational glitches.” The report prompted concerns from Latin America, leading the China Great Wall Industry Corporation, the company responsible for negotiating deals for China’s space industry, to deny the claim. "The in-orbit test for the Venesat-1 satellite has been successfully completed," Great Wall’s statement said. The report follows last month’s announcement that Nigeria’s $340 million NIGCOMSAT-1 satellite, also built by China’s Great Wall, failed in orbit.

December 15:

The second China-India defense dialogue lead by Indian Defense Secretary Vijay Singh and Chinese People's Liberation Army's (PLA) Deputy Chief of General Staff Lt General Ma Xiaotian was held in New Delhi on the heels of the second Sino-Indian 'Hand-in-Hand' joint Army exercise held in Belgaum, Karnataka, India. This was the second annual defense dialogue between the two countries. The two sides discussed their bilateral military relations and exchanged views on regional and security matters, Indian Defense Ministry sources said
in comments carried by the Press Trust of India.

December 16:

Cases of police abuse have surged as millions of jobless farmers have returned home after factory closures in coastal regions. In Henan Province alone, at least five suspects have "died abnormally" during police interrogations or in custody since October. At the end of September, 436 cases of police abuse had been opened in the province, an increase of more than 15 percent over 2007, according to a statement by the provincial Department of Public Security,
the South China Morning Post [SCMP] reports. In Jiangxi, another labor-exporting province, one policeman told the SCMP: "We beat suspects all the time, but in recent months there are more criminals than ever, and some colleagues have lost their temper. Some returning young men have been exposed to the outside world, and they are less obedient." To handle increasing social conflicts, police stations often employ security staff on temporary contracts. A policeman who refused to be named said many were "the scum of society themselves. Hooligans are more effective in maintaining social order than university graduates. Parents who have some connection with the bureau chief like to get jobs for their trouble-making children at police stations," he said.

December 17:

n what the official Zhongguo Tongxun She calls “a rare opportunity for the Chinese Navy to test its combat capabilities,” the People’s Liberation Army’s Navy has decided to take action against Somali pirates that continue to plague the country’s trade with East Africa. Since Somali pirates hijacked a China Tianjin Ocean Fishing Company vessel, the Tian Yu No. 8, on November 14, four additional Chinese cargo ships have been seized, with 17 Chinese crew members taken hostage and one killed. Although the PLA Navy has no re-supply bases in the Gulf of Aden, the Hong Kong-based news agency suggested the Chinese expedition “should consist of three naval ships: one destroyer, one frigate or one type-271 large amphibious landing ship, and one replenishment ship” along with a “combat-experienced Chinese Marine special operations force.” This action is necessary because the piracy “affects China’s imports of energy and raw materials which are critically important to China’s economic development as well as the channels China uses to exports to Europe and Africa.”

[Editor’s Note: As of the end of 2007, China's ocean transport capability was the fourth largest in the world. China had almost 90 enterprises engaged in fishing far out in the ocean, with over 1,700 open-ocean fishing vessels scattered in the exclusive economic zones of more than 30 countries as well as international waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans.]

Related Categories: Africa; Democracy & Governance; Military; China; Space Policy; China and East Asia Program

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