- - Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Chinese mining tycoon, his brother and three associates were executed Feb. 9 in China for “gangster crimes.” But it is clear the tycoon’s association with China’s former security czar Zhou Yongkang was the real reason for their fate.

Mr. Zhou was purged and is being “investigated” for crimes of corruption and political plotting against President Xi Jinping.

Liu Han, the mining tycoon, first grew powerful in Sichuan province during the rule there under Zhou Yongkang when he was a local Communist Party boss there. Liu Han gained Mr. Zhou’s favor and protection by becoming a business partner with Mr. Zhou’s son Zhou Bin.

China’s rubber-stamp official prosecution organization charged Liu Han with having illegally acquired wealth and power through bribery, extortion and murder.

Liu was sentenced to death in May in a case involving 36 people arrested for similar crimes. China executes more prisoners than any other country in the world.

Indignity at Harvard

Harvard University’s Model United Nations session stirred up an undiplomatic storm when a delegation representing communist China was unceremoniously expelled from the event.

At issue was the Chinese delegation’s violent objection to the Harvard student organizers’ decision to list Taiwan as a “country” in the event. After being showered with several rounds of shouting protests, event organizers were fed up with the Chinese delegation and expelled the entire team from the event.

The Model United Nations is a student-led educational event involving academic competition. It has several hundred hosts throughout the world, but the U.S. is the most active and prestigious.

The Chinese communist newspaper the Global Times blasted Harvard’s Model United Nations organizers. “Harvard’s attitude and deed have angered every patriotic Chinese person with backbones,” the state-run newspaper said in a Feb. 9 article.

Despite this incident, however, Harvard maintains a cordial and robust relationship with the Beijing government. Many of China’s top leaders send their children to Harvard to study. The son of former Politburo member Bo Xilai was attending Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government two years ago when his father was being purged inside China. Bo Xilai subsequently was given a life prison term after a show trial instigated by President Xi Jinping, whose own daughter attends Harvard as a graduate student.

Russia ground stations

For the first time since the 1950s, China is allowing Moscow to establish intelligence and surveillance ground stations inside its borders.

This time, the deal is for Russia to build ground relay and transmitting stations in China’s northeastern city of Changchun and its northwestern city of Urumqi as part of Russia’s Glonass global positioning and navigation system.

Chinese state media reported that the deal is reciprocal, with Russia allowing China to build its own ground signal stations for China’s Beidou global navigational system when the Chinese system goes global in a few years.

Glonass is one of the four leading global positioning and navigation systems. Others are the U.S. GPS, European’s Galileo and China’s Beidou.

China has been sensitive to any foreign government’s effort to build ground stations inside its territory. In the late 1950s, it was Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s proposal to build Soviet long-wave submarine communications stations inside China that riled Mao Zedong and partially led to a split between the communist powers that lasted three decades.

Miles Yu’s column appears Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected] and @Yu_miles.


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