February 8, 2010

How India and China Approach Separatism

While the Chinese government prefers development over human rights (like freedom of religion and speech), the Indian government, while guaranteeing these rights, neglects development.

Since their inception, the republics of India and China have faced problems of separatism. Indian Naxalite movements and the recent riots and uprisings in Xinjiang and Tibet highlight the need for respective governments to tackle the issue seriously.

The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called the Naxal movement 'The biggest internal security threat to the country'. Armed Naxals are active in at least a third of India's districts. It is estimated that some 6000 people have died already as a result of the Naxal insurgency. Apparently, there are some 20,000 armed cadre Naxalites, apart from 50,000 regular cadres working in various mass organizations - with millions of sympathizers.

February 2, 2010

Akmal Shaikh, Britain’s Double Standards, and Lessons for India

 The execution of a Britain in China for Drug Smuggling raises some interesting questions

Recently the news was atwitter with the execution in China of Akmal Shaikh, a "mentally ill" Briton. He was caught at Urumqi airport carrying 4 kilograms of heroin into China. His family (surprise surprise!) said that he was mentally ill. And then human rights groups, that are always more than ready to jump in on denouncing China, picked it up.

Much has been written about this story, with some citing it as yet another example of China's "increased confidence" and "muscle flexing"; and the more paranoid even saying that "the Chinese government didn’t need to know" that he was mentally ill, and only used Akmal Shaikh as a scapegoat to "keep the memory of those outrages (the Opium Wars) afresh". That particular article even goes on to say that it arrested four more drug smugglers "to show that it had no regrets"! Since China has sentenced one drug smuggler to death, the author thought it should stop arresting others.