Under the Radar News 08.19.11

Posted on Friday, August 19, 2011 by Isabella Mroczkowski

A weekly compilation of underreported events in Asia.

  • China’s Dalian city government closed a chemical plant in response to a large protest of around 12,000 city dwellers. The chemical factory manufactures paraxylene, a crucial ingredient in polyester, which can cause eye and nose irritation, and in higher concentrations, death.

  • Earlier this week Vietnamese authorities allowed 100 protesters to march in the 10th anti-China rally since June, which criticized Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea. Yet when protesters spoke out against the Communist party and state, authorities ordered an end to the anti-China protests, citing ‘division in national unity and Vietnam-China relations.’

  • Chinese security forces launch a massive crackdown in Xinjiang, where the annual China-Eurasia Expo will take place in September. Recent waves of violence have left more than 30 dead. The Chinese government blames unrest on Islamic extremism, while the Uighur populations cite Chinese repression.

  • China develops nation’s first deep water natural gas field, “Liwan 3-1,” in the South China Sea. The field will produce an estimated 20 billion cubic meters of gas when it starts production in 2013.

  • Approximately 3,000 North Korean laborers are reportedly working in Vladivostock, Russia on construction projects (Vladivostock is the host of the 2012 APEC Summit).Pyongyang is sending its workers abroad to raise foreign currency based on 3-5 year contracts, in exchange the government gets a portion of their earnings.

  • Japan’s five-year science and technology program excludes prior plans to promote next-generation nuclear technologies. The new plan along with legislation calling for subsidies on renewable energy reflect Prime Minister Kan’s calls to shift from nuclear power towards developing renewable energy sources.

  • Taiwan’s annual budget for 2012 sets asides 16 percent of spending for defense, marking the first year-to-year rise since President Ma Ying-jeou came to office.

  • As part of Independence Day celebrations, Indonesia has reduced the sentences of 84 convicted terrorists, including Mohammed Jibril Abdurahman, an Al-Qaeda linked extremist.

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