Monday, July 11, 2011

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  • prioritydate
    08-05 06:24 PM
    <20. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.>

    ROTFLMAO.... :D:D:D

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  • SunnySurya
    12-22 10:17 PM
    Good post,
    You post is a testimony that not all hope is lost with Islam. There are still people like yourselves who can think objectively or at least open to one.
    And this is the reason why I am not against Islam as this would also mean that I am raising my fingers on the guys like urself.

    Please quantify your response. There are numerous hindu groups that have worked for the upliftment of many. There are certain right wing hindu groups that do that just like there are many right wing muslims groups that target the other communities. As for Jinnah, I wonder if there would pakistan if he was offered the PM or the home minister. It is a rheotrical question and I doubt there is a clear answer.

    Hindus have pretty much killed the practice of Sati and I doubt there will ever be such abominable events. Atleast they looked at it and removed it and that is praise worthy. There is still work to be done with the caste sytem but it is slowly been taken down

    I agree with the Palestians point. I think that community is unfortunately the most beseiged and under one of the worst oppressors. Using religion to usurp their land and then making them prisoners in their own land in this age is unbelievable.

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  • walking_dude
    09-30 09:17 PM
    After the bail-out bill failed in the House, Obama immediately posted a response reassuring Americans and investors that the leaders will come up with another soon.

    Contrast this with McCains partisan blaming of Obama for failure of bailout, while it was him that pulled the stunt of rushing to Washington to 'rescue' the bailout. After failing to show the leadership of his own party -with majority of Repubs voting against the bailout (a clear indication of leadership failure and ineffectiveness of McCain Presidency in passing anything through his own party!), he found it convenient to Obama.

    And it was Obama who proposed raising FDIC insurance to $250,000 to which McCain has (thankfully) chimed in.

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  • Macaca
    05-12 05:47 PM
    Get ready� Chinese investors are coming Latin America ( By Andres Oppenheimer | Miami Herald

    It�s no secret that China�s trade with the Americas has soared in recent years, but we are likely to see a major new phenomenon in coming years � an avalanche of Chinese foreign investments.

    It has already started in Latin America, where China�s foreign investment more than doubled in 2010. And it�s beginning to take off in the United States, although in a smaller scale because of U.S. concerns over the potential national security threats of selling major corporations to Chinese investors.

    According to several new studies, we will soon see Chinese firms buying increasingly more companies throughout the Americas, ranging from oil, minerals and other natural resources firms in Latin America to manufacturing plants in the United States. As China�s companies grow, so do their need to expand abroad, they say.

    A newly released study by the Asia Society and the Woodrow Wilson International Center, entitled �An American open door?,� estimates that China�s worldwide direct foreign investments will rise from an accumulated $230 billion today to between $1 and $2 trillion by 2020. The figure does not include China�s purchases of government bonds, or passive investments in stocks and bonds.

    Until now, China was virtually non-existent as a global foreign investor. While China accounts for 8 percent of global trade, it only accounts for 1.2 percent of the global stock of foreign investments. Its current foreign investments pale in comparison with the $4 trillion in U.S. investments abroad.

    But that�s changing very fast. Unlike six years ago, when China�s Lenovo raised eyebrows worldwide when it bought IBM�s Personal Computers Division, such purchases are becoming increasingly common. Last year, China�s Sinopec oil company bought Brazil�s Repsol-YPF for $7.1 billion, and China�s CNOOC oil firm bought Argentina�s Bridas Corp. for $3.1 billion.

    A study released last week by the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) shows that China�s foreign direct investments in Latin America reached $15 billion last year, doubling the total of China�s accumulated investments in the region of the past 20 years.

    In addition, China has announced it will invest $22.7 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean starting this year, the study says.

    China�s investments in the United States have been much smaller, of about $5 billion last year, according to the Asia Society study. But that was a 130 percent increase over 2009, it says.

    What�s moving China to invest in the Americas? I asked Alicia Barcena, head of the Santiago, Chile-based ECLAC.

    First and foremost, the need to secure its supplies of oil, minerals, soybeans and other raw materials, she said. China is a major importer of Latin American primary products and wants to protect itself from big price increases or potential disruptions in the supply chain. So Chinese companies want to make the transition from importers to part-owners of the Latin American firms that produce the goods they are now buying.

    Second, China�s companies are increasingly behaving like profit-driven Western firms: When faced with tariff barriers in big markets they want to get access, such as Brazil�s, they buy local companies to sell their goods within those countries.

    Third, China�s labor costs are rising, as Chinese firms are raising wages. Just as Chinese companies have been going to Vietnam and other Asian countries to lower their production costs, they may soon do the same in Latin America.

    �This trend of growing Chinese foreign investments in Latin America is likely to continue,� Barcena told me. �There has clearly been a policy change there, and the Chinese government is now encouraging foreign investments by Chinese firms.�

    My opinion: China�s eruption as a major foreign investor in the Americas is a positive development, but brings along several problems that countries in the region will have to face.

    China buys majority stakes in foreign companies, but makes it difficult for foreigners to buy Chinese companies, and sell in China. Also, China�s nearly exclusive focus on raw materials in Latin America threatens to turn countries in the region into extraction economies, delaying the development of high-tech industries.

    And Chinese companies are not known to follow strict environmental or anti-corruption rules. Their arrival in the region will be a welcome phenomenon, but it will pose many challenges that countries should begin to prepare for as they roll out their red carpets to Chinese investors.

    Now for the price of chasing Afghan shadows ( By David Pilling | Financial Times
    Chinese and American madness ( By Clyde Prestowitz | Foreign Policy
    The S&ED No-Holds Barred: China�s Deplorable Human Rights and the Simple American People ( By Elizabeth C. Economy | Council on Foreign Relations
    Inouye�s Asia-Pacific Warning ( By James Holmes & Toshi Yoshihara | The Diplomat
    Hardy perennials block US-China light ( By Jingdong Yuan | Asia Times
    More Hopes Than Gains At U.S.-China Meetings ( By BINYAMIN APPELBAUM | New York Times
    Managing the China Challenge in Business ( By Kenneth G. Lieberthal | The Brookings Institution
    Hillary Clinton: Chinese System Is Doomed, Leaders on a 'Fool's Errand' ( By Jeffrey Goldberg | The Atlantic


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  • akred
    06-23 02:48 PM
    I don't believe the housing market slump will last more than 3 years!

    Echo boomers a lifeline for embattled U.S. housing | Reuters (

    The demand may come back, but the prices may be lower from here on out. If interest rates move higher due to the deficit, people won't be able to afford as much, causing prices to fall further.

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  • kshitijnt
    09-27 11:15 PM
    With economy in doldrums, mccain has almost lost election. CO is leaning to democrats so is VA and NH. And no state that Kerry won in 2004 is leaning to republicans. PA is almost safe with Biden in ticket. So Obama has reasonably stable lead in polls. All he needs to make sure is he does not make any gaffes in the debates.


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  • SunnySurya
    08-05 02:56 PM
    I just got several red dots for expressing my opinions...

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  • vdlrao
    07-14 01:03 PM
    I presume EB2 India will be current by next October. Till now for EB2 India there are only 1/3 of 7% of 140K visas which are 3,266. Due to the new change of horizontal fall outs EB2 India exclusively getting about 32k visas, very little share to china. So this change making an availability of about 30k aditional visas to EB2 India along with regular 3,266. So total About 32K visas for EB2 India. This includes unused Family Visa Numbers as well. So from now on EB2 India getting almost 10 times more visas.

    And due to the change to Horizontal Fall out of Visa Numbers from Vertical Fall outs, Its not the India which loses but its EB3 ROW.


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  • delax
    07-13 08:59 PM
    Can't beleive people can sound so arrogant. That's exactly some of the hispanic politicians unwilling to provide any relief to any employment based immigration. Some people think they are "superior" than others, the so called "smartest", "brightest", "highly skilled". A country like the US needs people from a diverse background. It does not need all the Phds or masters. It needs chefs, agriculture workers, doctors, nurses, business persons, all backgrounds. Can you imagine that this country only consists of Phds? That's why when arguing why EB applicants should be given relieve first and then illegals, we should not sound we are "superior". Rather we should simply state our confidence about the integrity of the legal system.

    As far as the so called "preference", how are you going to catergorize those under EB4, EB5, etc.? The so called "preference" is a myth. Otherwise, the law would only allow a "lower" perference to get a green card until all the "higher" ones get theirs. It is not the case, isn't? Rather it gives a % limit for each category.

    If you find it arrogant then so be it - you are entitled to your opinion - that still does not change the truth - please read the post below. The law is written such that the skill, training and experience requirements of EB2 are clearly superior (to use your word) to EB3. The same is the case between EB1 and EB2 - you seem to be completely blind to the fact that any EB3/EB2 change can almost as easily be applied to EB2/EB1 as well.
    Pasting the post in the link above:
    At the risk of differing with you and inviting unflattering comments from others, but to benefit a healthy debate, I beg to differ that spill over should go to the most retrogressed at the expense of a difference in skill, training and experience level. As you probably may know, EB2 does require a different and arguably more enhanced skill, traninig and experience level than EB3.

    If you beleive in the principle that in a land of meritocracy the higher skilled should have an easier path to immigrate then EB2 should always get a preference over EB3 regardless of country of birth so long as the ROW demand within the same category has been satisfied.

    Understand, that this definition of EB3 and EB2 is all on paper. I am not saying that all EB2 are 'smarter' than EB3 and vice versa, but the letter/intent of the law is what it is.

    Sounds harsh and heirarchical but is true. Obviously I have a vested interest in a favorable interpretation of the law and I welcome the spill over to EB2-I. This does have a flip side if you are EB3-I, but look at a few bulletins from last year/early this year where EB2-I was unavailable and EB3 still was current and/or had a cut off date for a ROW/retro country.

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  • ujjwal_p
    01-07 03:17 PM
    Those who said, Hamas was hiding inside school and firing rockets, go check the fact in CNN.

    U.N. 'sure' no militants at school hit by Israeli troops

    Human sheild, hiding in hospital, hiding in mosques, hiding in school - All are big lie and bullshit. Just to justify the killing of innocent lives.

    hey dude. just a few posts back, you mentioned that cnn and fox are mouthpieces of a vast jewish conspriacy. and now you have no qualms in using CNN to justify another argument you are making. so i guess it's ok to switch sides in the middle of an argument? i'm not trying to demean you, but you sure have me confused now.


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  • arunmohan
    03-25 04:48 PM

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  • validIV
    06-25 03:42 PM
    You just gave an example of a guy who owns his own house.

    Rich guys first make their money and then buy houses. Reverse is not necessarily true. They are not rich because they bought houses. If money was no object for me I too will go ahead and buy house even it did not make strict financial sense. I'm not there yet.

    As for naming names, Warren Buffet who is plenty rich does not favor real estate as an investment vehicle. Real estate has has 1-2% average rate of return over the last 60 years barely keeping up with inflation barring crazy speculative booms like we recently had which quickly go bust. This is to be expected since house is an unproductive asset and unlike businesses (stocks/bonds) does not "produce" anything so in the long run it's price will roughly track the inflation.


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  • catopa
    07-14 09:11 AM
    send the damn letter, nothing happens, and then come back here and vent your frustration again. as you said, buddy, HARD LUCK indeed !!

    I cannot believe the nerve that you EB-3 India guys have. You are begging for a GC based on your length of wait!!! laughable at best...........go wait a decade or so more, then come back here and start this useless BS again.

    one good thing happens for the EB-2 folks, and the EB-3 community cannot stomach it. pure freaking jealousy.

    Sorry but couldn’t ignore this being an EB3-I applicant with more then 10 yeas in US and 7 years in GC processing. I think most of EB3-I are people who got stuck in this queue (specially during 2001/2002) have a master or more and applied in EB3 based on their employers/lawyers advise (My Case).

    I think the quoted poster needs to understand the frustration that builds up with people who have been waiting in line for a long time. I don’t think EB3 is jealous but happy for our fellow country men who got the bright side of this mess.

    Good luck and god speed to all.

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  • lfwf
    08-05 07:12 PM
    Good points below.

    Now, FreshEb2, through the handle itself, comes across as a stoker not a sensible person.

    EB2 and EB3 are two very different EMPLOYMENT BASED legal immigration categories. Filing in one category DOES NOT PRECLUDE one from filing in another category, for another *future* job, as long the *future* jobs themselves meet the criteria to qualify for that EB category.

    Coming to tihnk of, the coward parading as RollingFlood has not posted his/her company, EB job posting, and other pieces of information that I had challenged him/her to post. Seriously you coward, come out and post it... this community can help validate whether there really is no US worker to take that position. Now, dont chicken out and fillibuster this with more weak arguments. Post your glorified EB2 job posting for all of us to see ... and let us see if you have illegally gotten ahead in the line ahead of all those hardworking US citizens that have been laid off in the last 2 quarters across all major sectors. C'mon, do it ... do it...

    Also, somewhere you had said that you were an MBA from a top US university. Welcome to the club. Though, I am sad to share the boat with you! Now, look back at the essay you wrote to get into B-School. Are you doing exactly what you claimed you would do after the MBA? Shall we take that up and go back to the school to have them rescind your diploma because you misused the system? One can say you got into an MBA on a fundamentally false premise. So, give back that diploma.

    Also, did you come into the country on a F1 visa? What did you tell the visa officer? That you were going back to your home country, right? Didnt you need to show proof of ties to your home country. Can we take you to court stating that you committed a felony by lying to a Government official regarding matters of homeland security? Seriously. Why not?

    No amount trying to sub-optimize logic to fit your specific narrow needs will make your holier-than-thou arguments even remotely credible, let alone valid in a court of law. What is clear from this 10 page thread, is that we have a few folks like FreshEB2, RollingFlood etc that present themselves as 'high skilled' workers in the US immigration system but clearly lack the basic level of logic to have a factual conversation. Their ladders of inferences are stark and substantive.

    By sub-optimally picking 'argument points' based the 'weakest links' that you invent and trying to super-size that to reflect a larger interest is very weak attempt to preserve your position.


    You had also mentioned that you would be filing a 'public interest litigation'. That is a very Indian concept. PIL type cases work differently in the US. You dont just run to your local court and claim 'PIL' because you felt wronged. Any court in the US would deem your case as narrowly defined to challenge legislation and throw you out because judiciary cannot legislate.

    Obviously, you grossly underestimated the intellect of this group and thought your big words and b-board bravado would scare people. :D

    OP is long gone. Your post is full of big brave words and no substance. If you want to have a discussion and demonstrate your "intellect", please make some rational arguments and back them up. There is no lawsuit discussion here, just a debate on the merits of BS+5 PD porting


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  • Winner
    03-25 11:01 AM
    Thanks for contributing to IV with meaningful discussions. Would you all consider making a monetary contribution to IV?

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  • Legal
    08-07 10:38 AM

    If you are interested to lead this effort, you can lead a thread of jokes on the forum and lighten up everyone.

    Des vs. Pardes

    1. Mother-in law:
    In Des - A women capable of making your life miserable.
    In Pardes - A women you never fight with, because where else you will find such a dedicated baby sitter for free?

    2. Husband:
    In Des - A boring human species, who listens more to his mother than you, and orders you around to serve him, his parents and siblings.
    In Pardes - Still boring, but now a useful human species that comes in handy when the house needs to be vacuumed.

    3. Friend:
    In Des - A person whose house you can drop into any time of the day or night and you'll always be welcome.
    In Pardes - A person who you have to call first to check and make sure he is not busy.

    4. Wife:
    In Des - A woman who gives you your underwear and towel when you go to take a shower.
    In Pardes - A woman who yells at you not to leave tub dirty when you go to take bath.

    5. Son:
    In Des - A teenager, who without asking will carry your grocery bags from the market.
    In Pardes - A teenager, who suddenly remembers he has lot of homework when you start mowing the lawn.

    6. Daughter:
    In Des - A lovely doll, who brings tears to your eyes when her doli is about to leave.
    In Pardes - A lovely doll, who brings you to tears long before any doli time.

    8. Father:
    In Des - A person you are afraid of, and who is never to be disobeyed.
    In Pardes - A person to whom you pretend to obey, after all he is the one paying your college tuition.

    9. Desi Engineer:
    In Des - A person with a respectable job and lots of upper ki kamai. :D
    In Pardes - A person without a secure job, who always dreams one day he will be rich.

    10. Desi Doctor:
    In Des - A respectable person with ok income.
    In Pardes - A money making machine, who has a money spending machine at home called "doctor ki biwi".

    11. Bhangra:
    In Des - A vigorous punjabi festival dance.
    In Pardes - A desi dance you do, when you don't know how to dance.

    12. Software Engineer:
    In Des - A high-tech guy, :D, always anxious to queue consulate visa line.
    In Pardes - The same hitech guy, who does Ganapati puja everyday, and says 'This is my last year in the US (or wherever)' every year.

    13. A Green Card holder bachelor:
    In Des - the guy can't speak Hindi, parents of good looking girls are dying to hook him, wears jacket in summer, says he has a BMW back there.
    In Pardes - the guy can't speak English, wears jacket all the time, works in a Candy store at Manhatta n, dreams of owning a BMW.


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  • logiclife
    07-10 01:33 AM
    According to Lou Dobbs, all the problems faced by America today are purely a creation of immigration and immigrants.

    The global warming, Hurrican Katrina, Rising gas prices, inflation, rising interest rates, slowing economy, deficits...everything is something that is purely a product of immigrants.

    According to him had it not been for immigrants, everyone would have 2-3 mansions to live in, 10-20 high paying job offers, 4-5 luxury european cars. But immigrants took all that away by stealing the jobs of Americans. If the immigrants had not been sucking out the welfare from this country, the social security trust fund and the US treasury would be overflowing with money.

    Goddammit these immigrants who stole the jobs of thousands of hard working lettuce pickers and meat packers and farm workers, who, had it not been for these job-stealing, flag waving, non-english speaking, country invading, sovereignty ruining, wage-depressing immigrant intrudor-invader-thief would have been millionaires by now.

    When will the politicians listen to Lou Dobbs who is the only smart person left in the United States now?

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  • mariner5555
    04-08 11:10 PM
    I remember the 1990's UK housing crunch

    Being an energy saving geek, I also recommend buying something with a large south facing roof (for lots of solar panels).
    Hi Mark,
    a quick question - has IV thought about using the housing problem to push for faster GC processing (or for getting a very relaxed multi year EAD) ? a poll was conducted recently and as one would guess lots of legal immigrants are waiting for a GC before buying a house.
    I am not suggesting that giving GC's to legals would solve the problem but I am suggesting to use it as a selling point. (ofcourse at the micro level even if 1 house is sold ..then it helps the economy ..and if 100,000 houses are sold definitely makes a difference)

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  • sledge_hammer
    06-05 11:12 AM
    Reading the article I take it that the writer is only concerned about the profitability of buying a house in the current situation. He's not of the opinion that buying a house is bad investment, ever! But a good investor does not try to time the market; it is, in my opinion, even if you tried, an art and not a science. So now maybe the best time to buy actually!

    But I have also seen many ignorant, anti-capitalist, anti-government, conspiracy theorist freaks out there, blogging from their basement, and writing articles suggesting that the government is somehow brain washing the public into buy a house so that they'll become the government’s slaves for the rest of their lives. These guys have actually never ever made any real money. They come up with short sighted calculations to prove that renting for life is better than owning a home. In my opinion no one should be listening to these people. I have yet to hear from a successful investor, or a businessman, or anyone that has what you may call reasonable wealth, saying that real estate is bad in the long run. I would take these people's advice any day because they have the money to show for their sound investment strategies, one of them being investment in a house, or a piece of real estate.

    We as immigrants who are not sure of where we'll be in the next 5 years may want to consider the fact before investing in a house. But anyone else that has no such worries would be foolish not to buy a house thinking it is a doomed investment.

    12-27 08:33 PM
    The Speaker's Grand Illusion ( Nancy Pelosi and Congressional Democrats Need to Get Real About What They've Accomplished By David S. Broder | Washington Post, Dec 27, 2007

    After one year of Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, public approval ratings for Congress have sunk below their level when Republicans were still in control. A Post poll this month put the approval score at 32 percent, the disapproval at 60.

    In the last such survey during Republican control, congressional approval was 36 percent. So what are the Democrats to make of that? They could be using this interregnum before the start of their second year to evaluate their strategy and improve their standing. But if Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House and leader of their new majority, is to be believed, they are, instead, going to brag about their achievements.

    In a year-end "fact sheet," her office proclaimed that "the Democratic-led House is listening to the American people and providing the New Direction the people voted for in November. The House has passed a wide range of measures to make America safer, restore the American dream and restore accountability. We are proud of the progress made this session and recognize that more needs to be done."

    While surveys by The Post and other news organizations show that the public believes little or nothing of value has been accomplished in a year of bitter partisan wrangling on Capitol Hill, Pelosi claims that "the House has had a remarkable level of achievement over the first year, passing 130 key measures -- with nearly 70 percent passing with significant bipartisan support."

    That figure is achieved by setting the bar conveniently low -- measuring as bipartisan any issue in which even 50 House Republicans broke ranks to vote with the Democrats. Thus, a party-line vote in which Democrats supported but most Republicans opposed criminal penalties for price-gouging on gasoline was converted, in Pelosi's accounting, into a "bipartisan" vote because it was backed by 56 Republicans.

    There is more sleight of hand in her figures. Among the "key measures" counted in the news release are voice votes to protect infants from unsafe cribs and high chairs, and votes to require drain covers in pools and spas. Such wins bulk up the statistics. Many other "victories" credited to the House were later undone by the Senate, including all the restrictions on the deployment of troops in Iraq. And on 46 of the measures passed by the House, more than one-third of the total, the notation is added, "The president has threatened to veto," or has already vetoed, the bill.

    One would think that this high level of institutional warfare would be of concern to the Democrats. But there is no suggestion in this recital that any adjustment to the nation's priorities may be required. If Pelosi is to be believed, the Democrats will keep challenging the Bush veto strategy for the remaining 12 months of his term -- and leave it up to him to make any compromises.

    An honest assessment of the year would credit the Democrats with some achievements. They passed an overdue increase in the minimum wage and wrote some useful ethics legislation. They finally took the first steps to increase the pressure on Detroit to improve auto mileage efficiency.

    But much of the year's political energy was squandered on futile efforts to micromanage the strategy in Iraq, and in the end, the Democrats yielded every point to the president. That left their presidential candidates arguing for measures in Iraq that have limited relevance to events on the ground -- a potential weak point in the coming election.

    The major Democratic presidential hopefuls all have their political careers rooted in Congress, and the vulnerabilities of that Congress will in time come home to roost with them. Today, Democrats take some comfort from the fact that their approval ratings in Congress look marginally better than the Republicans'. In the most recent Post poll, Democrats are at 40 percent approval; Republicans, at 32 percent. But more disapprove than approve of both parties.

    That is another reason it behooves the Democrats to get real about their own record on Capitol Hill. It needs improvement. And in less than a year, the voters will deliver their own verdict.

    12-28 06:29 PM
    China's Sudan Predicament ( By Joe Lauria | Huffington Post

    The age of ideology in China may soon be ending. Caught between its longstanding opposition to independence movements worldwide and its expanding economic interests, Beijing finds itself remarkably choosing to court a separatist government in south Sudan.

    The south is scheduled to vote on January 9 on independence from Khartoum after 43 years of civil war that left more than 2 million people dead. The referendum is still uncertain amid fears of a new war. But if the vote goes ahead, the south is overwhelmingly expected to break the continent's biggest nation in two.

    China has long had substantial investments in all of Sudan, the most of any foreign country. It has a 40% stake in the oil industry and 60% of Sudan's oil is exported to China. To protect those interests Beijing has supported Khartoum in the U.N. Security Council over separatist movements in Darfur and, until recently, in the south.

    That was consistent with China's opposition at the U.N. to separatist movements elsewhere in the world, such as in Kosovo and East Timor. The aim has been to give no encouragement to Taiwan and its own restive minorities in Tibet and Xinjiang. Those independence movements are watching what China does abroad. Taiwan, notably, was among the first countries to recognize Kosovo.

    Until early this year, China steadfastly opposed southern independence in Sudan too. But China saw the writing on the wall in Juba and was faced with a choice: either risk emboldening its domestic independence movements or its oil investments in the south, where 80% of the country's petroleum is found.

    "Khartoum had insisted that they alone were the interlocutor on oil for a long time and the Chinese respected that," said Fabienne Hara, an Africa specialist at the Brussels-based International Crisis Group. Khartoum awarded China's four oil concessions. But by 2007 the south Sudanese realized they needed China if they were to become independent and the Chinese realized they might soon need an independent south Sudan too, if the oil went with it. "It is pragmatism. I don't think anyone believes that the referendum process can be stopped," Hara said.

    China opened a consulate in Juba, the south's capital, a normally unusual move for Beijing in a place that wants to break away. Chinese Communist Party officials routinely visit the south. Southern leader Salva Kiir has twice visited China.

    But Beijing must walk a fine line between courting the south and not alienating the north. It still has major business there, including arms sales and infrastructure projects. Li Baodong, China's U.N. ambassador, told me that Beijing is clearly trying to stay on good terms with both sides.

    "We respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country, any argument amongst themselves, that's their internal affairs and we are not getting into it," Li said. "Whatever the choice the people make, we will respect that."

    Oil revenue is currently shared 50-50 between north and south under the 2005 peace deal that set up the referendum. It is pumped from the south through the north in a 1,000-mile Chinese-financed pipeline to a Chinese-built refinery in Port Sudan on the Red Sea, where it is shipped.

    How to share this oil in an independent south Sudan is still one of the trickiest questions the two sides, under the mediation of Thabo Mbeki, are trying to work out. Other issues under discussion are the border, sharing water and what to do with Abeyi. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir warned of war if these issues aren't worked out by Jan. 9.

    The south would likely enrage Khartoum if it were to find a way to get the oil out bypassing the north altogether. With Chinese help, this may one day happen.

    Kenyan officials have been studying a pipeline and refinery project from south Sudan to the port of Lamu on the Indian Ocean coast. The Kenyan Transport Ministry has sought bids for the project. According to China Daily, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Chinese President Hu Jintao discussed China's commitment to build the $16 billion project last May in Shanghai. China is conducting a feasibility study, according to Kenyan media.

    I asked Ali Karti, the Sudanese foreign minister, about how his government would react to such a project. "We have our own oil," he said, adding, "That project will never be built."

    Adopting a Western business mentality, in which profit and economic growth are often the only tenets, has launched China into a head-on collision with some of its traditional policies, said Dru Gladney, an expert on Chinese minorities at Pomona College in California.

    China has always portrayed itself as a leader of developing countries, but its own rapid development has changed its relationship with the developing world, he said. "Encouraging a so-called separatist movement is one that is going to complicate that position very much," he said.

    "It is a delicate issue for China. It is a very important development that China is seriously considering going against its 50-year long policy of non-intervention," Gladney told me.

    China has apparently calculated that it can suppress its own separatists while courting separatists in Sudan, he said. "Chinese separatists are going to recognize that China first and foremost is very pragmatic, that its development and national self-interest is clearly taking precedence over ideology in China today."

    "They may take some encouragement from it, but I don't think they really will take it that China is changing its position on separatism, especially within China," Gladney said.

    He expects Beijing to crack down on separatists at home while making deals with them abroad. "It's whichever cat catches mice and in this case the cat that supports a separatist, Christian group will catch more mice for China," Gladney said.

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