How can China forget ‘9/18′ Japanese militarists’ “Mukden Incident” (望海楼) ?


On Sep. 18 of every year, the Shenyang ‘9/18’ historical museum holds a ceremony of sounding the alarm. The 14 bells and the 3-minute air defense warning are always an emotional moment for China. (People’s Daily/He Yong)


On Sept. 18, 1931, Japanese troops blew up a section of railway near
Shenyang that was under their control. They then accused Chinese troops
of sabotaging the railway to create a pretext for war. Later that
evening, they bombarded the barracks of Chinese troops near Shenyang,
starting a large-scale armed invasion of northeast China.

On July 7, 1937, the Lugouqiao Incident occurred, and the nationwide War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression started.

83 years ago, Japanese militarists planned the ‘Liutiaohu’ event and then invaded northeastern China, unleashing full-scale aggression against China. However, this ‘9/18’ event has been deliberately obscured and ignored by Japan. There are only a few words about the event in the Hiroshima atomic bomb data repository: “Japan started its war against China starting on 18th September.” http://english.cntv.cn/special/sept3victoryday/history1931_1945/index.shtml

There are a number of equivocal accounts of the war crimes committed by Japan against China. After the Second World War, unreformed Japanese militarists refused to acknowledge what they had done in the war. They coveted China’s land and resources then, and the Japanese government’s conduct and its policies still indicate an attachment to militarism. The militarists dug their own grave by waging war against China. A militarist mindset will never be of benefit to Japan.

Why was China ravaged for years by Japan, which is only one thirtieth the size of China? Because Jiang Jieshi’s government pursued a policy of non-resistance, even though it had greater military power than its Japanese adversary.

Most of Jiang Jieshi’s troops withdrew without fighting, leaving southeastern China to fall into the hands of Japanese troops in just four months and 18 days. The great powers were busy trying to carve up poverty-stricken China. A backward China was bound to be mauled. These are valuable lessons to be learnt from history.

The victory gained by China in its anti-aggression war against Japan has created a solid foundation for its rejuvenation. 14 years of arduous war cultivated the Chinese people’s anti-aggression spirit. China’s national strength is growing, and so is its national status. But China is still facing challenges from home and abroad, so we must remain vigilant against potential threats even in times of safety. As long as the Chinese people remain united in the spirit of anti-aggression, we can overcome any difficulties and realize China’s dream.

By Hua Yisheng – This article was edited and translated from 《“九一八” 我们怎能忘记(望海楼)》, source: People’s Daily Overseas Edition

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Secessionism rising in the West; Scotland independence an inconvenient possibility; Scots choose to stay with UK


Scotland Independence
By Luo Jie

Tide of secessionism rising in the West

The Scottish independence referendum has come as a shock to the world at large. Even if the result of the vote vetoes independence for Scotland and maintains the unity of the UK, it is not so much a false alarm as a tremor shaking the whole Western system.

The UK is a representative country in the Western world. Despite the fact that the disintegration of the British Empire saw the painful departure of most of its colonies, the historic referendum on Scottish independence jeopardizes the integrity of its homeland. It is the fiercest outbreak of secessionism that has plagued major European countries in recent years.

The referendum is different from massive riots or disturbances in which immigrants acted as the main forces. It displays in a direct way a division in United Kingdom society. It is a showdown with the purpose of getting a “divorce.”

The referendum conveys a signal that the Western system has taken on numbness and lost efficacy in dealing with conundrums. People in the rest of the UK did not take seriously the term “Scottish independence” years ago, which, however, has kept swelling and become a major factor for the UK’s destiny. UK Prime Minister David Cameron made an appeal for Scotland to stay within the union and the US President also urged Scots to vote against independence, hoping the UK “remains strong, robust and united.” Western countries are making concerted efforts to save a united UK.

There is also secessionism in the Oriental world, notably in China, India and Russia, where, however, legal, political and moral systems play an effective role. Liberal practices in the UK might have worked in the past, but now are facing immense uncertainty.

Since the end of the Cold War, the West has come to the pinnacle of power step by step, while the Oriental world has been threatened by myriad crises. Nonetheless, emerging countries have flourished now after more than 20 years has passed. They have overcome deadly shocks and developed an effective control system.

There are signs that the West has started feeling anxious in front of the collective competition of emerging economies. Western society now apparently lacks confidence in an unprecedented way. Terms like solidarity, cooperation and diligence have long disappeared from the dictionary of many Westerners, who instead pursue maximized profits by using financial or political means.

Meanwhile, the vigor of the Oriental world is deeply rooted in people’s hard work and political progress gained at the cost of bitter lessons in the past. This represents a development trend of the world: Human society is seeing narrower gaps, which will likely be the essence of globalization.

Source:Global Times Editorial

Scotland: An inconvenient possibility 

Scotland Independence1

William Wallace, Robert the Bruce, David Cameron.

It’s ironic but if there is a yes vote in the referendum in Scotland on Thursday, and it is once again ruled from Edinburgh rather than London, it will be in large part thanks to David Cameron, the incumbent prime minister of the United Kingdom. Not only did he have to give his government’s consent for the referendum to go ahead, but he also ruled out the option of what is now being referred to as devo-max, the devolving of more powers to the Scottish parliament, and instead insisted on a straight yes or no choice to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country?

With the opinion polls at the time showing a healthy majority in favor of maintaining the Union, it was decided a straight yes/no independence referendum would result in vote in favor of keeping the union. However, that is looking a lot less like a sure bet now, with the polls showing the yes and no votes running neck and neck.

Just 10 days before the referendum, with the polls showing an upswing in people saying they intended to vote yes, the three main English parties struck a deal and pledged to give more powers to the Scottish parliament. But no details have been forthcoming of what this entails and no timetable presented. So it will probably not sway the minds of many still undecided voters.

If there is a yes vote, the Scottish government will have to set in motion the process for a written constitution, and there are hard negotiations that will need to be completed, not least on key issues such as a currency union, Scotland’s share of the UK’s national debt, and what will happen to the four submarines carrying missiles armed with Trident nuclear warheads that are stationed in Scotland, before the proposed independence date of March 24, 2016.

An independent Scotland will also have to negotiate for membership of NATO and the European Union. The rest of the UK, or rUK as it is known, would retain membership of NATO and the UN Security Council, as the government in London would retain control of Trident, but there would be growing pressure from those living in some cloud-cuckoo land of an imperial past for it to opt out of the EU.

Those claiming that Scotland is better off as part of the UK have been suggesting it is not a foregone conclusion that an independent Scotland will be able to join the EU. They have also tried to paint a dire picture of the future with the support of the oil companies and big banks, which have threatened to head south.

However, while independence does mean uncertainties, most of which can and will be resolved through negotiation, it also offers new opportunities. Despite the no camp’s unproven portents of doom, there is a belief among many, not just in Scotland, but elsewhere in the UK, that too much power is centralized in Westminster, and it favors the wealthy at the expense of the poor. The wealth gap continues to widen and this is evident not just in Scotland, but also elsewhere in the UK.

With a growing number of people struggling to pay their bills, there is a perception that those supposed to safeguard their interests are too busy finding ways to pad their claims for expenses and voting for their own pay rises to listen to their concerns. It has been said only half in jest that it is London and the South East of England that should go independent, because they are far removed in mindset from the more community based values of the rest of UK.

The Better Together pro-unionists have tried to portray the yes voters as hearts-over-minds anti-English nationalists nursing historical hurts as well as present grievances. Yet to many in Scotland, not just Scots, but residents of other nationalities, including English, better together means people in Scotland working together for a fairer society, one that is not victim to the whims of the unchecked free-market pursuit of profit. The central question for many is which option, a business-as-usual more-of-the-same no vote or an uncertain-hopes-for-the-future yes vote, offers the best chance of creating a more caring and equitable society.

To overseas observers who say Scotland would become irrelevant if it votes for independence and the UK diminished in stature without Scotland, most of those who intend to vote yes might reply, that’s just fine; Scotland is just a small country on the fringe of Europe that doesn’t need or want to strut upon the world stage – something its leaders should bear in mind if the vote is yes.

By Hannay Richards (China Daily)/Asia News Network

Cameron thanks Scots for choosing to stay, promises a more unified UK

 UK Prime Minister David Cameron is now delivering a speech. Let’s go live to see what he is saying.

Malays are lazy, dishonest and prefer to be Mat Rempit, Tun Dr Mahathir lamented!


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malays are still unwilling to change their “lazy” ways

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Malays in the country are lazy, dishonest and complacent.

In an exclusive interview with Mingguan Malaysia, Dr Mahathir said Malay men are also lagging behind the women, with many of them preferring to become ‘Mat Rempits’.

“The Malays are lazy and they are not interested in studying. If we go to the universities, 70% of the students are women, so where are the men?,” he asked.

“They prefer to become Mat Rempit, that is why I said they are lazy,” Dr Mahathir was quoted in the report.

In the interview, the longest serving former premier had also said that the largest race in Malaysia has not changed their “lazy” ways and also lamented over the fact that he has not been able to change that during his tenure as Prime Minister.

“I have never wanted to fool myself. If they’re lazy, I call them lazy. If people don’t like it, then be it. When I was UMNO president, I used to nag all the time,” he said commenting on the criticisms he received over his comments.

Dr. Mahathir also added that apart from being lazy, the Malays tend to be dishonest where money is concerned, and often forget themselves when they have money.

“Now I have a bakery. I want to say honestly, I am ashamed because among the Malay, Chinese or Burmese or any other workers, the Malay ones sometimes when they see money, they forget themselves, they become dishonest,” he said.

He said he was forced to sack many of his Malay staff working in The Loaf, his Japanese-inspired bakery, for swindling money.

In the interview, Dr Mahathir also said that Malays often refuse to pay their debts, although they have the means to do so.

“How many Malays are there who refuse to settle their debts? They receive scholarships and student loans but refuse to pay back.

This is not a question of being unable to, they have the money but just refuse to honour their commitments. We must be honest,” he was quoted.

He said this was the reason why many contacts are being awarded to the Chinese, who he said are more trustworthy, than the Malays.

“We have to be trustworthy so people will give contracts to us. When we want to give contracts, we give to the Chinese instead because we know they will do their work properly. This is our weakness, we are not trustworthy.”

He said Malays should also take the Japanese as an example to become better.

“Why did I introduce the Look East policy in 1982? It was because I admired the Japanese for their attitude when it came to work,” he said.

Contributed by Izza Izelan, Astro Awani September 14, 2014

 

Mahathir Mohamad_Laxy Malays The familiar lamentations of Dr Mahahir

The former premier’s latest remarks about ‘lazy Malays’ cause a stir among Malaysians.

TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad used to have only two upmarket bakery outlets known as The Loaf – one in the picturesque Telaga Harbour, where luxury yachts berth in Pulau Langkawi, and the other at Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur.

The number of his outlets, which sell breads and pastries using Japanese techniques, has grown to more than five. As such, he has to hire more staff.

A few months ago, a manager was caught stealing money from the cash register.

The suspicion began when the daily collection was not deposited into the bank. The Malay manager was caught red-handed and the incident infuriated Dr Mahathir.

“I am operating a bakery and have given many opportunities to Malays to hold management positions. Unfortunately, time and time again, honesty and integrity appear to be lacking as there have been staff who keep stealing money,” he said at the launch of the book Wahai Melayu: Allah Tak Akan Ubah Nasib Melayu Kalau Kita Tak Ubah Nasib Kita Sendiri by Anas Zubedy.

“They do not seem to understand that it is wrong to take what is not theirs; they do not think of the big picture or the long term,” he said.

The statesman repeated the criticism in an interview with Utusan Malaysia last Sunday.

That led to various interpretations, particularly on his criticism of the leadership, especially the current prime minister, especially at a time when the Umno general assembly is coming up.

But those present at the book launch believe that his remarks were in line with what he has consistently brought up, whenever the occasion suited it. They dismissed any suspicion of political conspiracy.

The book by Anas, a writer and speaker on motivation, is aimed at young Malay entrepreneurs. In the foreword, the author debunks the myth that the Malays are a lazy race who are only good in politics and the arts, but not in business.

“These are self-limiting artificial boundaries and we ought to break them,” he writes.

“What we need to do is to find the right motivation and inspiration for a specific culture like the Malays.”

But in his hard-hitting speech, Dr Mahathir spent 20 minutes arguing that Malays “lack honesty and inte­grity” and that they fail to “handle money properly” unlike the Chinese or even Myanmar nationals.

Ethnic Chinese, he said, were more honest compared to native Malays where money is concerned. He said these were the reasons for the Malays’ economic failures.

“We have to be trustworthy so people will give contracts to us. When we want to give contracts, we give to the Chinese instead because we know they will do their work properly. This is our weakness – not being trustworthy,” he added.

“If we fail, we should not blame anyone but ourselves. We have failed because we did not do what was right,” he said.

In the Utusan interview, Dr Maha­thir said Malay men were still lazy, citing the gender imbalance at institutions of higher learning, where the majority was women.

“They (the men) are not interested in studying and revising. If we go to the universities, 70% of the students are women. Where are the men?”

“They prefer to be Mat Rempit, that is why I said they are lazy.”

Dr Mahathir’s comments raised a storm, with some in social media suggesting that he should be arrested for sedition. The Selangor chapter of Malay rights group Perkasa, however, termed his remarks as “father­­ly advice”.

Veteran journalist Datuk Kadir Ja­­sin reportedly said people should not get upset or sulk over Dr Maha­thir’s remarks, especially with regards to the Malays being lazy, as there were those who were hardworking and excelled in whatever they did.

“Give them a crutch and they will turn it into a paddle and a pillar,” he said, adding that there were those from the community who had succeeded and made a name for themselves in the country and all over the world.

Citing legendary warrior Hang Tuah’s famous rallying cry that Malays would not vanish from the world, Kadir said the Malays were rulers and made up the bulk of the civil service, such as the police force, Customs and Immigration departments, and the teaching profession.

Not all Malaysians would agree with Dr Mahathir’s assessment, with some saying he is still caught up in racial stereotyping, even if it is aimed at his own community.

Nobody in his right mind would say Malays are lazy, Chinese are greedy, or Indians are disho­nest. In fact, few Malaysians, especially the younger ones, would link any race in Malaysia with any specific trait or even a vocation.

The NEP has, in many ways, succeeded in its two-pronged strategy of eradicating poverty for all Ma­­laysians as well as reducing and subsequently eliminating identification of race by economic function and geographical location.

Lazy and indolent natives were a favourite theme of 19th century colonialists who wanted the natives to work at producing food while putting migrants to work on the modern economy for their benefits.

Thus grew the myth of “lazy” natives and this myth continued after independence and was even believed by some Malaysians. It was only put to rest by scholars like Syed Hussein Alatas, who wrote a seminal work The Myth of the Lazy Native to explain British colonial policies.

Dr Mahathir is, however, a smart man.

Not only was he the longest ser­ving prime minister, but he also turned the country into an economic powerhouse, and only smart people could achieve that.

He also believed in throwing good money at individual Malays in the hope that he could achieve a successful Malay entrepreneurial class in a short time.

Some of his efforts ended in failure while others succeeded – but the failures always got the bigger headlines.

Thus was born one of the great themes of his political life – that he had failed to change the Malay mindset and that they preferred to live poor in a rich country.

Thus was also born the phrase, Melayu Mudah Lupa (Malays forget easily).

But while such generalisations will guarantee headlines, the reality is that one simply cannot tar a whole race with the same brush, the way you tar a person or two.

Dr Mahathir might have repeated the “lazy native” syndrome perhaps to get the attention of the Malays, in particular Umno members who are in the midst of division meetings and passing resolutions in support of Islam, Malays and the rulers.

It is a given that even after his retire­ment, Dr Mahathir needs to be at the centre of national life. He needs to have everything revolving around him and needs to command the national dialogue.

So he relies on an old theme that is sure to spark a huge controversy – like the myth of the “lazy Malays”.

But Malaysians want to move on. They want to get out of this race trap and the least said about such stereotyping would be better for Malaysia.

Comments contributed by Baradan Kuppusamy The Star/Asia News Network

The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.

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Possibility of Third World War as Ukrainian Crisis Deepens!


WW3_EU_Russia
EU vs Russia

As possibility of third world war exists, China needs to be prepared

WW3_US vs Russia US vs Russia

As the Ukrainian crisis deepens, international observers have become more and more concerned about a direct military clash between the US and Russia. Once an armed rivalry erupts, it is likely to extend to the globe. And it is not impossible that a world war could break out.

The world war is a form of war that the whole world should face up to. During human evolution, the world war has entered its third development phase.

The first phase took place between nomadic societies and farming groups. The second phase was featured by colonial wars, with WWI and WWII as its special representatives.

Currently, the world has entered an era of new forms of global war.

Outer space, the Internet and the sea have become the battlefields of rivalry. Technology is the key, and the number of countries involved is unprecedented.

The rivalry on the outer space and the Internet takes place with the rivalry on the sea as the center stage. During WWII, some major powers attached significant importance to the sea.

Alfred Thayer Mahan, a US military strategist who died in 1914, coined the notion of sea power. He advocated valuing the naval forces, commercial fleet and overseas military base, which served for wars on the land.

But nowadays, we stress the importance of power in the sea. Judging from the contention of the global sea space, the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific and the Indian Ocean have seen the fiercest rivalry. It’s likely that there will be a third world war to fight for sea rights.

In an era when a third world war may take place, an important topic for the Chinese military is how to develop its power to maintain its national interests.

This should become the basis for its development, because since the founding of the PRC, the development of its military forces has been centered around maintaining its rights on the land. As the rivalry on the sea grows intense, China’s military development should shift from maintaining the country’s rights on the land to maintaining its rights on the sea.

Meanwhile, China is standing at the focal point of rivalries. This requires China to develop its military power based on a global war. China is in the heartland of the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean.

The development of China’s sea power touches the nerves of many countries. China needs to develop its military power to avoid being squeezed to a passive position.

China’s overseas interests have spread all over the world. As the US has been shifting its attention to the Asia-Pacific region, especially aiming at China, China’s overseas interests have been increasingly threatened by the US.

Without large-scale military power, securing China’s overseas interests seems like an empty slogan.

The long-range or overseas combat capabilities of China’s sea and air forces are quite limited yet. If we don’t view the development of sea and air forces with a farsighted view, we will face various restraints when building up the combat capabilities of sea and air forces or maintaining overseas interests. This will lead to the backwardness of China’s sea and air forces.

China should not be pushed into a passive position where it is vulnerable to attacks. We must bear a third world war in mind when developing military forces, especially the sea and air forces.

Posted in: Viewpoint By Han Xudong Viewpoint Source: Global Times Published: 2014-9-15 19:38:01

The author is a professor at the PLA National Defense University. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

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Happy Malaysia Day? Economic assessment by the Performance Management & Delivery (Pemandu)


Pemandu_Happymalaysia

Toll roads criss crossing the nation and subsidsed food and petrol are signs of the nation’s prosperity

IN the cacophony assailing many parts of the world today, and where ills, tensions, warring and strife dictate much of daily life, we are living a life of plenty.

Pemandu_Idris JalaOur political climate is stable. We are at full employment, and our poor have enough to eat. Our children go to school and our graduates have opportunities.

We are attracting investments to our shores and multinationals are setting up shop. We are recognised for our talents and reforms, and are progressing headlong into a high-income, knowledge-based economy by the end of the decade.

If we are to be dictated by commentaries on social media alone, we will be sucked into a vortex of doom and gloom where everything has gone south and we should be defeated.

Social media, being free and rife, opens up also spaces for people to air their grievances whether valid or otherwise. But I believe we are maturing as a society and can learn to differentiate hate speech from the truth of good people trying to do good work to make a real difference for our future.

There is a lot going for us. Our GDP this year beat forecast to grow at 6.3%, while investments continue to impress even the cynical with its 12.1% spike this second quarter at RM53.1bil compared with the same period last year.

As a minister in the Economic Council, I was happy with the World Economic Forum’s resounding recognition of Malaysia as one of the world’s top 20 most competitive nations in the Global Competitiveness Report 2014. They described Malaysia as the highest ranked among the developing Asian economies and highlighted strengths in financial market development, efficiency in goods and services market, and a government that was able to tackle corruption and red tape.

This wasn’t the case just six years ago. In fact it was a whole different scenario, crippling even the best.

The US subprime meltdown sucker-punched Asia squarely in the gut and Malaysia was not spared. We had barely recovered from the economic hit of the 1998 Asian Financial Crisis, weighed down in debt and struggling with a ballooning deficit.

Our Prime Minister stepped into leadership at a particularly chaotic and trying time. America and Europe had plunged into severe economic recession. Asia, skittishly reacting to plummeting demand for its products and services, suffered also a jittery, highly volatile and unpredictable capital market.

The world was mired with insecurities and some first world countries embarked on austerity measures that further slowed any hope for growth and momentum. It was a dark period, especially for a relatively small and open market like Malaysia, straining to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Our Prime Minister recognised we cannot continue with business as usual. We cannot keep doing the same things and expect different results.

We had to act fast, and to take bold, radical steps to arrest slowdown, strengthen economic fundamentals and escalate efforts to grow our sectors to successfully compete with global players.

There was no room for complacency and half-measures.

The New Economic Model

Enter the New Economic Model. In 2009, a panel was convened to diagnose the nation’s economic health and to come up with a plan to transform government and the economy.

What really impressed me about the NEM was its mandate to pursue the high-income agenda, while keeping equally focused on inclusivity and sustainability.

I have often said that achieving high-income as a result of increasing GNI is easy enough. Do a few things right and we will get there.

But it is not enough. As a responsible government, we must make sure everyone benefits from prosperity. This wealth and wellbeing must be sustained so that our children and their children will live in a safe, progressive and prosperous nation.

Even developed countries struggle with the challenge of inclusivity. It is always missing in many international economic models resulting in unequal development – a combustible cocktail that has led to uprising and social dysfunctions as evident in the London riots, the Occupy movement and the Arab Spring.

Which brings me to this critical point that keeps governments awake at night – creating jobs for its people. There is no shortcut to this. It is the basis to secure stability and progress for any country, and allows people to feel confident and hopeful of their future.

The most sustainable way to create high value and quality jobs is through private investments. It is as simple and as complicated as that.

Investments

The domino effect of investment is obvious. Investments create jobs. The more people are gainfully employed, the more revenue a government will receive through tax and consumption. The more revenue we secure, the more government can spend on its people especially the poor and marginalised.

This is the “circle of life”, and private investment is the cog that will turn the wheel.

Under the ETP, private investment grew five times to 15.3% (CAGR 2010-2013) compared to 3.1% (CAGR 2007-2010). These are realised numbers and not merely committed so you can understand why I am very confident our economy is on track. (Chart 1)

Mida’s pipeline of approved investments in the last three years breezed past the goalpost of the 10th Malaysia Plan’s RM148bil annual target. In 2011, we recorded RM154.6bil, 2012 RM167.8bil and just last year, we chalked a whopping RM216.5bil. (Chart 2)

 

The ETP

Under the ETP, we deliberately chose the top 12 sectors which are strong revenue drivers and where we have the confidence to compete. These sectors alone will create 3.3 million high value, high income jobs by 2020.

In fact in 2010-2013, we logged 1.3 million employment in the NKEA universe, putting us on a sure footing.

In an advanced economy, workers will be paid higher wages, and this will lead to higher costs of production. In turn, we will experience a rise in the cost of living.

This is the flipside to being a high-income economy. You cannot have your cake and eat it too.

As long as the rise in income is higher than cost of living people will enjoy higher disposable income.

Today we are already seeing and feeling its effects. With the enforcement of the Minimum Wage Gazette 2013, it is unacceptable for Malaysians to earn less than the Poverty Index Line at RM900 per month (For Sabah and Sarawak, it is at RM800 per month).

Many employers were worried their production costs will escalate and their businesses will shut down. But as evident in many countries applying the same principles, what we will see in due time is efficient use of labour and resources, adoption of technology and overall greater productivity.

Managing finances

The common gripe I hear from some quarters is that they don’t feel the nation’s growing prosperity affecting them in any tangible or meaningful way.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. We are one of the most heavily subsidised nations in the world where our annual subsidy ticket in recent times rose to a massive RM40bil a year, of which half is used for fuel.

So it is fair to say, each time you fill up the tank in your vehicle, you are feeling the country’s prosperity.

I could draw up a list. Toll roads that crisscross the nation; public hospitals for consultancy and medication capped at RM1 since 1982; billions spent to keep electricity tariffs artificially low; and subsidised food items across the smorgasbord of gas, cooking oil and rice.

There are four ways to fix our problems:

1. Reduce expenses

We are carrying a debt burden of RM568.9bil since the 1998 crisis. The government has over the years, borrowed money for development as a result of channelling revenue to subsidies.

This is untenable and unsustainable with the ballooning subsidy bill.

It is easy to keep dolling out the feel-good factors of more and more subsidies. But living this fantasy will only plunge our next generation into a quagmire of liabilities and the slow debilitation of a society in regress.

We have to gradually reduce our subsidies. This is the bullet we have to bite.

To give you a sense of possibilities, if we were to reduce fuel subsidies by 30% or 50% – and it is a reasonable expectation – that will release about RM15bil-RM20bil that can make tremendous headways in the lives of the country’s bottom 40%.

2. Increase revenue

GST will come into effect next year and will broaden our tax base. Currently only 1 million people pay tax for a nation of 29 million.

As a consumption tax, anybody buying will be contributing to the national revenue. Of course basic products and services will be exempted from GST to safeguard the interests of the vulnerable.

Even at 6%, it is estimated that we will be able to capture RM22bil in revenue annually whereas with the current sales and services tax we have been able to earn about RM15bil-RM16bil annually.

Once we are able to reach the international benchmark for GST, the upside potential in terms of revenue is tremendous. We can do a lot for infrastructure and people development, and improve our social safety nets.

3. Reduce deficit

In 2013, Malaysia for the first time moved into the fiscal Safe Zone matrix developed by the Boston Consulting Group.

The “safe zone” is for countries whose public debt is below 75% of GDP and deficit is at 4% of GDP or below. Public debt equals or above the GDP and deficit of 8% and above places a country in the “Danger Zone”.

With much resolve, we reduced fiscal deficit in the last three years from 6.6% in 2009 to 3.9% last year. We remain on track for this year’s 3.5% reduction, and by 2020, are confident of hitting budget neutral, as targeted. We are also steadfast in maintaining our debt below the 55% legislated ceiling. (Chart 3)

4. Proliferation of entrepreneurship and innovation

I am passionate about efforts to create conditions for people to become self-employed and run thriving businesses.

There is much room for growth amongst Malaysian SMEs. Local businesses are fighting for slivers of a domestic pie when in reality the world has opened up to us. We must let go of our comfort zones and learn to ride the waves.

Although Malaysia entered the industrial sector aggressively at about the same time as Taiwan and South Korea, we lag behind them in terms of innovation. Samsung is a great example of brand that has captured the imagination of a global audience and today takes on the likes of Apple.

Agencies such as Mida, SME Corp and Agensi Inovasi Malaysia (AIM) are here to support local companies so they are able to step up but companies themselves must develop a strong appetite for competition and become global champions.

It is inaccurate to say the government is doing very little to make things better for the rakyat today. To put it into perspective, you will feel the transformation if you are the segments we are reaching out to:

> 5.16 million students benefit from highly subsidised public education

> School students have not been left out. 1.2 million tertiary education students received RM250 book vouchers via the Baucar Buku 1Malaysia, whilst 5.2 million students received RM100 via the Back to School Assistance initiative

> The government also opened 6,843 pre-school classes and trained 20,138 pre-school teachers. Total enrolment of pre-schooling children increased to 81.7% or 793,269 with more children having better access to quality early childhood education and getting a head start before primary school

> More than 10 million people use public hospitals and clinics, benefitting from affordable health and care in 2012 alone

> 4.6 million out of 6.5 million households benefit from free and low electricity tariff

> 22 million registered cars and motorcycles in Malaysia with 13 million licensed drivers directly enjoying cheap fuel everyday

> 4 million people are using toll roads in Malaysia

> Commuters on public transportation benefit from the additional 38 new six car train sets on the KTM Komuter service. We also introduced 35 sets of new four car trains for the LRT Kelana Jaya line, created a new integrated transport terminal at Bandar Tasik Selatan and revamped Puduraya. They are now more spacious and convenient. Every single one of the 400,000 daily commuters feel the transformation.

> Tackling the bottom 40% enabled us to reach and improve the lives of 188,000 individuals who are now lifted out of poverty, of which 89% recorded increased income levels

> We worked on 54,000 hard core poor families and gave them cash every day in order to ensure they had enough to feed their children and put a roof over their heads

> In ‘teaching them how to fish’, these individuals were required to choose one of the 1AZAM programmes under the GTP so they could start their own small business and become self-sustainable

> Over 5,300 women entrepreneurs profited from training and reskilling to improve their economic value via micro credit assistance

> We have built over 4000 km of rural roads that is comparable to driving from Johor Baru to Dhaka, Bangladesh. About 2.1 million people have gained, allowing rural communities to trade and access goods and services

> 61,062 houses have been built and restored for the rural poor, benefiting 305,300 people

> Overall, a total of 5.1 million people have benefited from basic infrastructure such as new roads, and access to clean water and electricity

> Over 6.8 million low income Malaysians received assistance via BR1M

> Malaysia is only one of few countries that regulate and control many food items and this means all Malaysians can enjoy low food prices every day. Our CPI has been kept under check and has been easing slowly in recent months as prices begin to moderate

Government innovation

In July this year, Pemandu was rated one of the top 20 Leading Government Innovation Teams Worldwide by Bloomberg Philanthropies and Nesta. The accolade testifies to the commitment and work from our Prime Minister, ministries, agencies and civil servants.

It is also a recognition of Pemandu’s 8-step transformation process. A systematic and structured approach incorporating diagnosis, planning, execution and feedback – securing transparency and accountability.

Besides tracking Ministerial KPIs and holding regular Steering Committee Meetings, the Problem Solving Methodology (also known as the Putrajaya Inquisition) is held twice a year with the Prime Minister and top government officials to identify problems, make decisions and move milestone projects forward.

Success in sight

In the long-term, our economic transformation will bear fruits so all Malaysians – including the middle-class – will meaningfully gain. Better incomes, quality education, efficient public infrastructure, cleaner and greener cities, higher-paying jobs for graduates, and transparency and governance. These are fair expectations to ask of a government.

It is every government’s mandate to prioritise its citizen’s needs and to put in place policies that will safeguard the public’s wellbeing for this and future generations. We are no different. Even as we battle to steer the country into the economic ‘safe zone’, we must continue to be in service of the rakyat so that no one is left behind.

As evident, all of us are already ‘feeling’ the benefits of government initiatives in small and big ways and our lives are better for it.

It is about time we give credit where credit is due i.e. to our Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministers, Chief Secretary and the civil servants.

Our Prime Minister has provided the right leadership to steer us in transforming towards achieving vision 2020. There is no doubting the results delivered so far since he became Prime Minister, although more needs to be done.

Having worked in his Cabinet for the last five years, I can say categorically that he works extremely hard and is totally committed to doing what is best for the country.

Given the various polarities of views and divergence of opinions amongst our multi religious and multi-ethnic society, he is taking us through a path of moderation.

I know a lot of people would prefer him to take their extreme position but as the leader of our country, it takes wisdom on his part to avoid knee-jerk reactions. Even if he is often provoked, he is patient enough to stay the course of moderation for the sake of our beloved country, Malaysia

I am a believer that Malaysia will stride on regardless of the bumps on the path to 2020. We must be patient even as we relentlessly pursue our goals.

As a Malaysian and Sarawakian, I wish each and everyone Happy Malaysia Day.

 By Idris Jala Transformation Unplugged The Star

Datuk Seri Idris Jala is CEO of Pemandu and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department. Fair and reasonable comments are most welcome at idrisjala@pemandu.gov.my

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Malaysian education: UPSR Exam leaks, okay to cheat our kids!


UPSR leak

 

Testing times indeed!

 

The UPSR leak fiasco seems to suggest we are in a real state of crisis and we are sending out a wrong messages to our kids – it is okay to cheat!

IT’S really incredible how so many of us have reacted over the leaked examination papers of the UPSR, which is merely an assessment examination for Year Six pupils. Yes, for 12-year-old pupils who are taking their first public examination.

The UPSR, to put it bluntly, has no serious bearing on how these kids will perform in future examinations nor will it have any impact on their careers.

But I guess not many would agree with my somewhat frivolous perception of the UPSR, judging from the kind of reaction that seems to suggest we are in a real state of crisis.

Education Ministry officials have been suspended, there are allegations of sabotage, possibly even political ones, and the police have been called in.

We hope the Inspector-General of Police won’t have to personally head a task force to nab the culprits.

I am not sure whether parents are upset that the papers were leaked, which in itself is incredulous, and a resit would mean the children having to go through another round of pressure, or is it because their holiday plans are now ruined?

The sad reality is that this is a country where parents and students are obsessed with the number of distinctions that one gets in public examinations.

Nowhere in the world, except perhaps in some other East Asian countries, do examination results hit the front page of the newspapers, or lead off the prime time news on national television.

And each year, we compare results like the way public companies compare their profit margins. The pressure is always to trend upwards. So, the focus will invariably be about how many more students have the perfect string of As as compared to the year before, giving the impression that we are in the business of producing super achievers.

Although the majority of students do not belong in this category, the perception is created that super-duper results are the passport for our children to become doctors, lawyers and engineers, and nothing less.

And every year, we have the same problem where the demand for places in universities for these courses far outstrips supply simply because there are so many students with the “right grades”.

Yet, many employers and top-notch foreign universities do question whether their grades actually match their abilities, and have their own ways to sieve out the real talents.

There are suspicions that we have lowered the passing marks and compromised our standards and in the process allowed more students to get these distinctions.

Of course, there are many who truly deserve the As, but it is most unfortunate that there are also those whose As can be questioned.

Forgive me if I sound dismissive and cynical because I come from the old school where we took our first public examination at Standard Five. That was the assessment examination and most parents would not get excited over the outcome of our performance.

It was kid’s stuff and they knew there was little bearing on our future, except perhaps to be enrolled into better classes or schools at the secondary level.

But when we took the Form Three Lower Certificate of Education, which is today’s equivalent of the PMR, it was real serious. You got kicked out from school if you failed.

That’s how it worked at that time with no free ride to the Fifth Form. The LCE required compulsory passes in Bahasa Malaysia, English and Mathematics.

The maximum number of As one could get was eight. If you got 5As, your name would probably show up in the newspapers.

But the standards were such that the grades truly reflected your real ability. An A in English for the LCE meant that you were speaking and writing the Queen’s English at that age already.

Today, most of our Form 3 students cannot even string a sentence together in English correctly. The fact that we are now considering including a compulsory pass in English at university level indicates that an A in that subject, whether at the UPSR, PMR or SPM level, is no longer an accurate reflection of one’s English proficiency.

After the LCE, we sat for the Malaysian Certificate of Education (MCE) where the maximum number of As was nine. It was a time when many Malaysians found places, on scholarships, to Ivy League universities in the United States and to Oxford or Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Yes, our MCE grades were deemed equal to the internationally-acknowledged O-Levels.

Now, despite the proliferation of the super achievers, we are told that fewer Malaysians are being admitted into these top universities.

And our students now have to prove their English proficiency to handle tertiary education overseas by taking the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) paper.

Let’s get our priorities right. The fact that the English paper was leaked even at Year Six level suggests that students are looking for help to pass a subject which they know is important.

What a contrast from those days when we had English-medium schools and getting a pass in English was not all that difficult.

And it is not just about the students. Two years ago, it was revealed that two-thirds of the 70,000 teachers who teach English in the country failed to meet the proficiency level in English for the Cambridge Placement Test.

The findings were revealed by the then Education Ministry deputy director-general Datuk Dr Khair Mohamad Yusof.

“When we did the initial profiling of the English teachers in Malaysia, we found that two-thirds of the teachers did not meet the proficiency level,” Dr Khair, who is now the director-general, was quoted as saying.

We really should be worried about how we can improve the standard of our education. There are many who love to score political points out of issues that affect our children’s education, including the UPSR leak fiasco.

We should start by doing a survey on how many of these politicians actually send their children to the government schools. Or are their own children not part of the system, but are instead in private or international schools, or even boarding schools overseas?

Let’s not play around with our children’s future. Year Six students shouldn’t be subjected to pressure cooker conditions in preparing for the examinations. And with this leak, we are now sending out a message that it is okay to cheat, even at this tender age.

Contributed by Wong Chun Wai on the beat The Star/Asia News Network

Wong Chun Wai began his career as a journalist in Penang, and has served The Star for over 27 years in various capacities and roles. He is now the group’s managing director/chief executive officer and formerly the group chief editor.

http://www.wongchunwai.com/

On The Beat made its debut on Feb 23 1997 and Chun Wai has penned the column weekly without a break, except for the occasional press holiday when the paper was not published. In May 2011, a compilation of selected articles of On The Beat was published as a book and launched in conjunction with his 50th birthday. Chun Wai also comments on current issues in The Star.

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13 years after 9/11: ISIS in Middle East, Muslim Terrorists from Malaysia and China …


US-Sept 11
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT


9/11 prompted end of US arrogance

 Was it the day which changed the world? Scholars are still pondering on the impact of the September 11 attacks on US foreign policy.

Those who consider the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 as a turning point mainly attribute the subsequent US military reaction to their trauma.

Others who disagree with this perspective employ a rather different argument. They claim that this catastrophic incident only highlighted Washington’s unilateralism, which had been already apparent during the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency and the last years of Bill Clinton’s administration.

Nonetheless, Washington’s response, and especially the war on Iraq, has changed the world indeed.

Advocates of the war in the US claimed that this military campaign was a necessary decision in the context of the international fight against terrorism and the need of a preemptive action against the usage of weapons of mass destruction by dictators.

But the result of the preventive war against Iraq has been rather dramatic. It left chaos not only in Iraq, but in the wider Middle East. The recent success and advance of the Islamic State (IS) outline that stability is a utopian dream at present.

Terrorist groups give the impression of a modern hydra which grows more heads for each one cut off. Few outside of Iraq could recognize the IS last year. But now it is widely considered as a new international threat jeopardizing security in the Middle East and defying human dignity, as in the brutal and videoed beheadings of journalists.

Instead of spreading democracy in the Middle East, the US is continuously involved in new battles and adventures. Its military victories are Pyrrhic, while the risk for the opening of new fronts in the future is high.

More importantly, the lack of clear political objectives complicates its efforts to deliver at the international level. Washington is not responsible for existing internal tensions, ethnic, religious, or political, in the Arab world, but it often incites them through its interventionism.

The image of the US in the Arab world remains problematic 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.

According to a recent Pew Research Center poll, just 10 percent of respondents in Egypt and 12 percent in Jordan hold a favorable view of Washington.

Anti-Americanism has been recently on the rise due to additional issues, such as the monitoring actions of the National Security Agency and the use of drones in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Pew Research Center also reveals that China is more popular than the US in the Middle East, with 49 percent of respondents holding favorable views of Beijing and just 30 percent of Washington.

We cannot tell how the map of the Middle East might have been shaped without the war on Iraq. Some Western policymakers insist that the world is safer as a result of US foreign policy in the aftermath of 9/11. Reality, however, challenges this view, and shows that the brief period of US dominance looks to be over.

A new multipolar world has been created in recent years. Washington’s failure in Iraq and the ensuing economic crisis have seriously hit its post-Cold War superiority.

In parallel with this, the rise of new countries such as China has started to alter the balance at the global level. This new environment is perhaps the most significant evolution of the post-9/11 era.

The study of international relations has to closely follow developments. Ironically, in spite of critical changes such as the relevant fall of the US and the rise of China, a basic factor remains constant. This is the success of terrorism. It was Al Qaeda 13 years ago and it is the IS now, as far as the Middle East is concerned.

The new multipolar world requires international cooperation more than ever. Arrogant foreign policy choices can no longer find a place.

By George N. Tzogopoulos Source: Global Times Published: 2014-9-10 19:23:01

The author is a research fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

To Destroy ISIS in Middle East and Syria! 



From Malaysia ISA to IS – Islamic State Terrorists

ISA_IS
He lived hereMohammad Fadhlan’s family home in Kampung Bukit Kabu, Kulim. The self-proclaimed jihadist was killed during an attack by Syrian warplanes and tanks.
ISA_Terrorists

Fighting for a faraway cause: (top left) Mohd Lofti, Zainuri, Mohd Rafi, (lower left) Samad, Zid Saharani among the five former ISA detainee who had gone to Syria along with Zainan (lower right), who was recently killed.

PETALING JAYA: Five former Internal Security Act (ISA) detainees are among 40 Malaysians who have joined up with the Islamic State militants in war-torn Syria where multiple factions are vying for supremacy.

The five are former Kumpulan Mujahideen Malaysia (KMM) members Zainuri Kamaruddin and Rafi Udin along with former Jemaah Islamiah (JI) operative Samad Shukri and Zid Saharani Mohamad Esa.

Former Kedah PAS Youth information chief Mohd Lotfi Ariffin, 45, rounded up the list.

Sources said that Zainuri, Rafi and Samad had gone to Syria on April 18 along with recently killed Jihadist Zainan Harith, also known as Abu Turob.

The latest Malaysian to be killed in the conflict was Mohammad Fadhlan Shahidi Mohammad Khir, 21, from Kedah. He was killed while fleeing an attack by Syrian government forces on Tuesday.

“Zainan was killed in an attack in Syria which left the other three severely injured. The authorities believe all the former ISA detainees are still in Syria fighting for a militant group,” a source said.

It is learnt that the five along with Zainan, were deeply influenced by extremist teachings and would often keep to themselves.

“It can be said that those who went to fight in Syria are very similar to each other. They believe that almost any means justifies the ends thus they are willing to do almost anything to justify their false jihad,” a source said.

In Malaysia, they held meetings dubbed “Usra” in random locations to avoid detection.

“These Usra included planning attacks and heists to fund the extremist movement. Their ultimate goal was to bear arms and fight in Syria,” the source said.

Surveillance by the authorities also resulted in various “Usra” locations being identified in the Klang Valley. Among the locations were Puchong, Shah Alam and Puncak Alam in Klang.

Aside from planning, the Usra was also used to invite “key” speakers, including jailed JI leader Abubakar Basyir. It is learnt that Abu Bakar gave various talks between 1998 and 2000 to further indoctrinate the followers.

Citing the example of Zainan, a former KMM member, the source explained that the 52-year-old man would distance himself from the family.

“If he did talk to his wife or other family members, it was about religious matters,” he said.

It is learnt that Zainan did not finish secondary school and joined the “tabliq” (missionary) movement soon after dropping out.

“He spent most of his time at the mosque in Taman Datuk Harun here. In 2000, while with KMM, Zainan was involved in the Hong Leong Bank heist in Petaling Jaya along with four others. They escaped with RM110,000 in cash,” the source said.

This was followed by a string of robberies, including a weapons raid on the Guar Cempedak police station and Southern Bank in Petaling Jaya.

“Zainan was finally arrested in 2001 and released from prison in 2010,” the source said.

When he left for Syria in April, Zainan did not even tell his wife about it. He just threw the car keys and said he was leaving.

“He only contacted the wife when he was in transit to Syria. They have been in constant contact via Whatsapp since – until their last communication on Aug 15,” the source said.

The source said the wife, who works in a private company, never suspected that Zainan would be involved in illegal activities, let alone extremism.

“She is used to his mysterious nature, having not told the wife when he went to Cambodia for some humanitarian work. The wife also learned not to ask any question as Zainan never brought any friends home,” the source said.

By Farik Zolkepli The Star/Asia News Network

 

Youngest jihadist is second Malaysian to be killed in Syria

ISA_Mohd Fadhlan Shahidi
Mohd Fadhlan youngest Malaysian jihadist in Syria.

PETALING JAYA: As Syrian jet fighters and tanks fired on a militant base in east Hama, Syria, in a daylight attack, the self-proclaimed jihadists, which included several Malaysian volunteers, fled in trucks and other vehicles.

Mohammad Fadhlan Shahidi Mohammad Khir, 21, from Kedah, was in one truck when he was hit by shrapnel and fell out of the speeding vehicle during the assault on Tuesday morning.

A tank was firing on the truck so the driver could not stop to enable the other passengers to pick up Mohammad Fadhlan, a fellow Malaysian jihadist Ahmad Salman Abdul Rahim revealed.

Militants in another truck managed to pull him into their vehicle shortly after but he was mortally wounded and died minutes later.

“Fadhlan died in the arms of a comrade,” Salman said.

Mohammad Fadhlan is believed to be the youngest Malaysian jihadist and is the second Malaysian to be killed in the ongoing conflict between the militants and the President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

The attack also wounded two other Malaysians: former Kedah PAS Youth information chief Mohd Lotfi Ariffin, 45, and another known only as Abu Agfhan.

Mohammad Fadhlan’s mother Fatimah Md Lazim, 55, identified his body from photographs, according to a source here. His remains were buried in east Hama.

His father Mohammad Khir Ismail, 59, has not been told of his death, reports ROYCE TAN.

“We have yet to break the news to our father because he is bedridden after suffering a stroke.

We don’t think he will take the news well,” said Mohammad Fadhlan’s brother Firdaus, 27, at the family home in Kampung Bukit Kabu in Mahang Karangan, Kulim, yesterday.

Mohammad Fadhlan was the fifth among eight children in the family. He has four sisters and three brothers, aged eight to 29.

He went to Syria on May 13 via Istanbul.

“He sent our mother a text message on May 14 telling her he was going to fight in Syria. We didn’t believe it at first. We only realised he was serious when we saw his Facebook postings,” said Firdaus.

After that, Mohammad Fadhlan did not keep in touch with his family.

“We tried sending him messages on Facebook but he never replied,” Firdaus said.

The first Malaysian militant to die in Syria was Abu Turob, 52, who was killed during an attack by tanks and snipers on Aug 19.

Another militant, Pahang-born Ahmad Tarmimi Maliki, died in Iraq when he drove a military vehicle packed with explosives into a SWAT headquarters and detonated it, killing 25 soldiers in May.

Source: The Star/Asia News Network

China unlikely to step into IS fray

Washington to extend airstrikes to Syria

China is unlikely to directly join in the current stage of the US-led fight against the radical Islamic State (IS) but will provide moral support instead, analysts said Thursday, following US President Barack Obama’s call to build a broad anti-IS coalition to crush jihadists in Iraq and Syria.

In a broad escalation of the fight against the IS, which occupies large swaths of land in Iraq and Syria, Obama said in a televised speech Wednesday night that the US will extend airstrikes to Syria and expand operations in Iraq.

Obama also said he was building a broad anti-IS coalition involving Sunni-led governments in the region and Western allies.

His speech came after reports that US National Security Adviser Susan Rice requested China’s support in forming the coalition during her visit to Beijing earlier this week. The Washington Post quoted an anonymous official as saying that, “The Chinese expressed interest [at the proposal].”

On Thursday, Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman for China’s foreign ministry, didn’t directly respond to the question of whether China will join the coalition, but said “China is ready to abide by the principle of mutual respect, equality and cooperation in strengthening anti-terrorist cooperation with the rest of the international community and maintaining global peace and stability.”

Dong Manyuan, a deputy director of the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times that he does not expect China to directly step into the fray, despite some shared interests between the US and China in combating terrorism.

Last week, Iraq’s defense ministry posted on its Facebook page photos that it said show a captured Chinese man fighting on behalf of the IS, reported the New York Times.

The Chinese government has yet to confirm the report, but various sources previously suggested that jihadists from Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region are fighting alongside IS fighters in Syria.

Wu Sike, China’s former special envoy to the Middle East, told a press conference in late July that around 100 jihadists from Xinjiang, most of whom are members of the separatist group East Turkestan Islamic Movement, are fighting or being trained in the Middle East.

Turmoil in Iraq, a major source of China’s oil imports, also posed a threat to Chinese businesses operating in the country.

Zhao Weiming, a professor of Middle East Studies at Shanghai International Studies University, said China may support the US in its fight against the IS, but that its support will be limited to the diplomatic level, and “it is not going to participate in any military actions against the IS.”

However, Zhao told the Global Times that support for the US fight against the IS doesn’t mean that China supports all US military actions carried out in the name of fighting terrorism.

“China opposes the US using anti-terrorism as an excuse to serve its own ends,” he said, referring to the US decision to strike Syria.

Obama Wednesday also asked Congress to authorize $500 million to train and arm “moderate” Syrian rebels outgunned by the IS and President Bashar al-Assad’s forces.

“We hold that in the international struggle against terrorism, international law should be respected, as well as the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of the countries concerned,” Hua told Thursday’s press briefing.

The US plan for airstrikes in Syria drew protest from Ali Haidar, Syria’s Minister of National Reconciliation Affairs, who said any military action without Damascus’ permission is an act of aggression.

“China might give a tacit consent to strikes against IS targets [in Syria], but it has a bottom line – no attack on Syrian government targets or civilian facilities,” Zhang Jiadong, a professor with the Center for American Studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times.

Zhang added that China will not allow the US to weaken Assad’s regime or destabilize Syria under the disguise of anti-terrorism.

China’s stated policy is consistently one of non-intervention, which has been criticized by some observers in the West.

In an August interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Obama said China has been a “free rider” for the last 30 years, referring to the crisis in Iraq.

Dong argued that US Middle East policy is the cause for turmoil in the region, and has forced some Chinese companies to pull out of the region. “The US not only failed to give Chinese companies a free ride, but actually made trouble for them.”

Zhao shared similar views, noting that China played a significant role in Iraq and Afghanistan’s reconstruction following US-led wars, and contributed to local economic development.

In the fight against the IS, Zhang noted that China can play a unique role in bridging the differences between Washington and Damascus.

US hostility toward both Assad’s regime and the IS, combined with close ties between Damascus and Baghdad, have made it very difficult for the US to carry out its policy, as its anti-terrorist efforts might be offset by the complex situation, Zhang told the Global Times.

“China should press the US to change its policy toward Damascus, and push for national rebuilding in Syria to ensure its stability and security and weaken the foundation of the IS,” he said.

By Yang Jingjie Source: Global Times Published: 2014-9-12 0:53:01

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