Kyoko Altman at PostGlobal

Kyoko Altman

Hong Kong, China

Kyoko Altman has worked as a correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC, and as a news-magazine reporter for Japan's top-ranked news program 'News Station' on TV Asahi. She has covered more than twenty countries. Close.

Kyoko Altman

Hong Kong, China

Kyoko Altman has worked as a correspondent and anchor for CNN and CNBC, and as a news-magazine reporter for Japan's top-ranked news program 'News Station' on TV Asahi. more »

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A Selective Superpower

Hong Kong - Yes, China's efforts in North Korea highlight its new prominence on the global stage. But whether that bodes well or ill for the rest of the world remains to be seen.

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All Comments (4)

Atheist, Boston, USA:

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997.

When you read the following quote from a PHR report documenting how the Chinese torture Tibetans, ask yourself, "What kind of sick monster would torture a child by forcibly drawing blood from the victim?"

"Striking Hard: Torture in Tibet" (PHR, 1997)
PHR found that reports of torture among Tibetan refugees were alarmingly common. More than one in every 7 Tibetan refugees interviewed reported a personal history of torture by Chinese authorities. Many of these cases of torture had occurred since 1995. Many of those tortured were children or young adults. [...] Torture survivors were subjected to repeated episodes of torture throughout their detention and multiple forms of torture including repeated beatings, electric shock with cattle prods on the face, arms and genitals, being suspended in painful positions, witnessing others being tortured, deprivation of food or sleep, mock executions, being forced to stare at the sun for extended periods, and having blood drawn against the individual's will.

Joshua Shen:

I think there are two fallacies to the lovely Ms. Altman's post.

1. China is not a superpower. It does not have the responsibility that comes from the ability to force others to comply (unlike the U.S.) It has SOME role in international peace, but c'mon, it's kinda hard when one is working against the current U.S. administration's biligerance.

2. If the Chinese aren't completely 'responsible', please tell me any major power that doesn't act solely in its own self-interests? Western platitudes about the 'horrors' of Africa is fine and dandy, but what do they really do about it, especially in light of the fact that Western countries are responsible for Africa's mess in the first place?

Shalom Freedman Jerusalem Israel:

Kyoko Altman does not mention the totally irresponsible role China has played in regard to the Iranian nuclear push. China has indicated it will not support even the mildest sanctions against Iran at the U.N. It too is reportedly a supplier of military technology to Iran.
China is striving in every area it possibly can to compete with and overcome the United States.
It may not have world- dominating ambitions but it definitely seems to be intent on increasing its power in the world global area in whatever way it can.

reporter, USA,

China is a superpower only in the sense of possessing economic clout and military might. China is this kind of superpower simply because most Chinese people care nothing about the 3rd facet (of superpower greatness): promotion of human rights and democracy.

Consider how the Chinese handle North Korea. Hundreds of thousands of North Korean refugees have fled to China. In response, the Chinese spit upon them and aggressively conduct periodic raids to round up hundreds of the refugees. Chinese soldiers then transfer them into Korean custody.,,2089-2393599_1,00.html

"The North Korean refugee had one request for her captors before the young Chinese soldiers led her back across the steel-girdered bridge on the Yalu River that divides two 'socialist allies'.

'She asked for a comb and some water because she said that if she was going to die she could not face going to heaven looking as dirty and dishevelled as this,' recounted a relative of one soldier who was there.

[...] The soldiers, who later told family members of the incident, marched the woman, who was about 30, to the mid-point of the bridge. North Korean guards were waiting. They signed papers for receipt of the woman, who kept her dignity until that moment. Then, in front of the Chinese troops, one seized her and another speared her hand -- the soft part between thumb and forefinger -- with the point of a sharpened steel cable, which he twisted into a leash.

'She screamed just like a pig when we kill it at home in the village,' the soldier later told his relative. 'Then they dragged her away.'"

North Korean refugees hiding in China have no rights whatsoever. They cannot appeal to the Chinese authorities for help because the Chinese will send the refugees to certain torture and death in North Korea. So, the refugees live a life of quiet desperation.

One refugee hiding in China wrote a letter to Radio Free Asia and pleaded, "But the Korean-Chinese people abused us because we couldn't speak Chinese. They arranged jobs for us but took our wages. All of us North Korean refugees have nowhere to go to complain. This has lasted for six years. I don't know what to do now. I have thought many times about committing suicide. If I return home, I am afraid of the security police and if the Chinese police arrest me I may be repatriated to North Korea."

While this monstrous brutality is occurring, the Chinese sing the praises of their superpower status. They feel neither guilt nor shame over the horrific injustice that they are inflicting on the helpless refugees.

As China's economic and military power grows, the Chinese increasingly will spread their despicable system of values to the rest of the world.

"In Ethiopia for instance, which has seen much of its European aid suspended because of gross human-rights abuses, China is believed to have offered to make good any shortfall. In Sudan, which has been accused of genocide, Chinese state firms have built a refinery and are getting involved in production. In repressive Equatorial Guinea, China is also sniffing out opportunities to rival the dominance of western companies."

The American response to China has been flawed. In a rush to deal with the Chinese thugs, Washington has tried to cater to New Delhi. Though India is indeed a democracy, it is not a Western nation. Its system of values are assault Western sensibilities. Consider the fact that the Indians have aggressively developed nuclear weapons.

Instead of aligning ourselves with the Indians, we Americans should find strength in our own system of values. Western values have created Western society to which both Indians and Chinese (who hypocritically reject Western values) want to flee for their lives.

How can we find strength in our own system of values? We should encourage Tokyo, Canberra, and Wellington to build the Asia Pacific Union (APU), structured along the lines of the European Union (EU) and NATO. APU shall spread Western values in Southeast Asia and shall treat China in the same way that the EU treated the Soviet Union.

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