- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 26, 2006

CHINA

Editor challenges party censorship

BEIJING — The closure by Chinese censors of an often outspoken newspaper supplement provoked unusual protests from journalists and writers, and its editor predicts the outcry against press controls will grow.

The Communist Party Propaganda Department ordered the indefinite suspension Wednesday of Freezing Point, a weekly section of the China Youth Daily that published investigative reports on corruption and abuses of official power, and commentaries critical of official thinking.

The Propaganda Department also sought to censor news of the censorship, ordering Chinese press to report nothing, said Li Datong, founding editor of Freezing Point. Mr. Li said he plans to formally complain about the Propaganda Department’s action and expects denunciations of press control to spread.

LAOS

Thais said to expel 26 Hmong children

VIENTIANE — Thailand expelled 26 Hmong children and an adult in secret last month for unknown reasons and the group is being held somewhere in Laos, foreign sources and Laotian officials here said yesterday.

The children had been living in a refugee camp for the Hmong ethnic minority in northeastern Thailand’s Phetchabun province bordering Laos. Several foreign sources citing independent information said the children were arrested in early December under the pretext they had strayed outside the camp boundary.

They were deported to Laos, apparently during the night in boats crossing the Mekong River away from border posts. Phetchabun authorities said 26 teenage women and a 45-year-old woman were deported Dec. 3 through the Thai Nongkhai checkpoint, but sources in Laos disputed this, saying some boys were in the group and the deportation took place Dec. 5.

Weekly notes

Gen. Leon LaPorte, commander of U.S. Forces in South Korea, told South Korean reporters yesterday the United States is ready to move as fast as the South Korean government wants to yield command of South Korean troops in the event of war. A day earlier, South Korea’s President Roh Moo-hyun said Seoul will work with Washington to complete this year a measure allowing Seoul to take wartime command of its troops. … China asked the United States Jan. 18 to relax financial sanctions imposed against North Korea, and offered the American side a compromise proposal, according to diplomatic sources at the United Nations. The proposal involves North Korean access to accounts at Banco Delta Asia SARL in Macao which the Chinese government put under its de facto control after the bank was accused by the U.S. Treasury Department in September of laundering money for North Korea and helping Pyongyang circulate counterfeit $100 bills.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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