China Caucus Blog

Caucus Brief: Is China About To Get Its Military Jet Engine Program Off The Ground?
Posted by The Congressional China Caucus | May 14, 2012

  A new op-ed from Gabe Collins and Eric Erickson asks whether recent tension in the South China Sea will strengthen calls from the People’s Liberation Army for more modern jet fighters and strike aircraft.  From the piece: “Russia has historically supplied the high performance military jet engines that power these craft. However, China’s defense industry is working hard to become capable of mass producing Chinese-made military jet engines in order to end dependence on Russia, give China maximum strategic flexibility, and begin to compete with Russian-made combat aircraft in export markets… China’s inability to domestically mass-produce modern high-performance jet engines has been a persistent Achilles heel of the Chinese military aerospace sector.”

RESOURCE-RICH CANADA LOOKS TO CHINA FOR GROWTH.  According to the WSJ, Canada is looking to China in an effort to diversify its economic dependence.  From the piece: “Climbing oil production in the U.S. is upending American demand for Canadian hydrocarbons. That has spooked Ottawa, suddenly worried about finding buyers for its own growing crude exports, almost all of which now flows to the U.S.  The shift is sharpest here in Western Canada, rich in resources and closer to China. Last year for the first time ever, British Columbia sent more exports to the Pacific Rim than to the U.S. Chinese investors have beat out U.S. investors in Canada's oil patch every year since 2009, pumping $12.8 billion into companies and projects since then, according to Dealogic.”

CHINA SHOOTS DOWN WAR-PREPARATION RUMORS.  The WSJ reports that China’s Defense Ministry has responded to online rumors that it was making preparations for war in response to the standoff with the Philippines in the South China Sea.  From the piece: “Rumors last week on popular Chinese military-discussion pages claimed that military units had begun battle preparations and military personnel had been ordered to cancel vacations. The standoff between China and the Philippines is over the Scarborough Shoal, a collection of islands, rocks, and reefs known in Chinese as Huangyan Island.  In a brief statement posted online, the Chinese defense ministry said, ‘Reports that the Guangzhou Military Region, the South Sea Fleet and other units entered a state of combat readiness are not true.’  The statement underscores a rising level of concern over the month long confrontation between Chinese and Philippine government vessels—the latest and potentially most volatile in a string of territorial disputes in the South China Sea.”


DALAI LAMA: CHINA MAY HAVE PLOTTED TO POISON ME.  Reuters reports that Tibet’s Buddhist leader, the Dalai Lama, fears that China may have plotted to kill him by training female agents to poison him.  From the piece: “China has ruled Tibet since 1950, and the Chinese government has repeatedly accused exiled Tibetans, including the Dalai Lama, of stoking dissent against its rule. The spiritual leader fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising.  Last year he was warned that Chinese agents had trained Tibetan women to kill him, the Sunday Telegraph reported.  Asked about the assassination plot, the Dalai Lama said:  ‘Oh yes. In the hair poisoned and scarf poisoned. So they say they're sick, supposed to seek blessing from me. And my hand touch. That kind of information we received.’”


IN BRICS NATIONS, JOURNALISTS AT RISK.  According to the NYT, journalists are killed “with impunity” in the economically growing BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations.  From the piece: “The first three countries that form the BRICS acronym made it to the 2012 Impunity Index, a list of a dozen countries compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists to spotlight where ‘journalists are slain and killers go free.’  The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an independent nonprofit that promotes press freedom worldwide, calculated the index by determining the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population… Although China didn’t make it to the list, CPJ has reported that Chinese authorities crack down on critics, target minority journalists and clamp down on freedom on the Internet.”

The Caucus Brief is a daily publication for Members of Congress and Hill Staffers on China news and information compiled by the office of Congressman Randy Forbes, Founder of the Congressional China Caucus.  Email with tips, comments, or to subscribe/unsubscribe.

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