Monday, October 15, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: A Kazakh court is set to put to the test China’s a...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: A Kazakh court is set to put to the test China’s a...: Kazakh Court Case Tests Chinese Power A Kazakh court is set to put to the test China’s ability to impose its will and strong-arm Mus...

A Kazakh court is set to put to the test China’s ability to impose its will and strong-arm Muslim nations into remaining silent about its brutal crackdown


Kazakh Court Case Tests Chinese Power

A Kazakh court is set to put to the test China’s ability to impose its will and strong-arm Muslim nations into remaining silent about its brutal crackdown on Turkic Muslims in the north-western province of Xinjiang.

The court will hear an appeal by a former worker in one of Xinjiang’s multiple re-education camps against the rejection of her request for asylum. The appeal illustrates the political quagmire faced by Central Asian nations and Turkey given their ethnic, cultural and linguistic ties to China’s estimated 11 million Turkic Muslims that include 1.5 million people of Kazakh descent.

It also highlights China’s risky bet on being able to leverage its economic power to ensure the Muslim world’s silence about what amounts to the most concerted effort in recent history to reshape Muslim religious practice.

Up to one million Turkic Muslims have, according to the United Nations, been detained in a network of re-education camps in which they are being forced to accept the superiority of Chinese Communist Party beliefs and the leadership of President Xi Jinping above the precepts of Islam.

Beyond the camps, Turkic Muslims in Xinjiang, a strategic minerals-rich province bordering on eight Central and South Asian nations that China has turned into a 21st century Orwellian surveillance state, are forced to refrain from religious practice and custom in public.

After denying the existing of the camps for the longest period of time, China last month felt obliged to acknowledge them and give them legal cover.

Authorities in Xinjiang amended their anti-extremism regulations “to allow local governments to set up institutions to provide people affected by extremist thoughts with vocational skills training and psychological counselling.” China asserts that the crackdown is intended to counter extremism, separatism and terrorism.

China’s acknowledgement was designed to counter the UN report, threats of US sanctions against officials and companies involved in the Xinjiang crackdown, and revelations by 41-year-old Sayragul Sauytbay, a Chinese national of Kazakh descent.

Ms. Sauytbay testified in an open Kazakh court that she had been employed in a Chinese re-education camp for Kazakhs only that had 2,500 inmates. She said she was aware of two more such camps reserved for Kazakhs.

Ms. Sauytbay was standing trial for entering Kazakhstan illegally after having been detained at China’s request.

She told the court that she had escaped to Kazakhstan after being advised by Chinese authorities that she would never be allowed to join her family because of her knowledge of the camps. Ms. Sauytbay was given a six-month suspended sentence and released from prison to join her recently naturalized husband and children.

Since then, Ms. Sauytbay’s application for asylum has been rejected and she has until the end of October to leave Kazakhstan. She hopes that an appeal court will reverse the rejection.

Ms. Sauytbay’s case puts the Kazakh government between a rock and a hard place and is but one of a string of recent cracks in the Muslim wall of silence.

Kazakh authorities have to balance a desire to kowtow to Chinese demands with a growing anti-Chinese sentiment that demands that the government stand up for its nationals as well as Chinese nationals of Kazakh descent.

Ms. Sauytbay’s revelations that ethnic Kazakhs were also targeted in the Chinese crackdown sparked angry denunciations in Kazakhstan’s parliament.

“There should be talks taking place with the Chinese delegates. Every delegation that goes there should be bringing this topic up… The key issue is that of the human rights of ethnic Kazakhs in any country of the world being respected,” said Kunaysh Sultanov, a member of parliament and former deputy prime minister and ambassador to China.

In a further crack, Malaysia this week released 11 Uyghurs who were detained after having escaped detention in Thailand.

The Uyghurs were allowed to leave the country for Turkey. The move, coming in the wake of a decision by Germany and Sweden to suspend deportations of Uyghurs to China, puts on the spot countries like Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, where Uyghurs risk extradition.

Malaysia’s release of the Uyghurs occurred days before Anwar Ibrahim took the first hurdle in becoming the country’s next prime minister by this weekend winning a parliamentary by election.

Mr. Ibrahim last month became the Muslim world’s most prominent politician to speak out about the crackdown in Xinjiang.

Earlier, Rais Hussin, a supreme council member of Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) party and head of its Policy and Strategy Bureau, cautioned that “that geographical proximity cannot be taken advantage by China to ride roughshod over everything that Malaysia holds dear, such as Islam, democracy, freedom of worship and deep respect for every country’s sovereignty… On its mistreatment of Muslims in Xinjiang almost en masse, Malaysia must speak up, and defend the most basic human rights of all.”

Pakistan’s Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony minister, Noorul Haq Qadri, was forced to raise the issue of Turkic Muslims with Chinese ambassador Yao Xing under pressure from Pakistanis whose spouses and relatives had been detained in the Xinjiang crackdown.

Ms. Sauytbay’s appeal for asylum is likely to refocus public opinion in Kazakhstan and other Central Asian nations on the plight of their Turkic brethren.

She will not be deported, we will not allow it,” said Ms. Sauytbay’s lawyer, Abzal Kuspanov.

Mr. Kuspanov’s defense of Ms. Sauytbay is about far more than the fate of a former Chinese re-education camp employee. It will serve as a barometer of China’s ability to impose its will. If China succeeds, it will raise the question at what price. The answer to that is likely to only become apparent over time.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major Jam...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major Jam...: Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major James Francis Thomas - The Fourth Victim in the Execution of Harry 'Breaker' Mora...

Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major James Francis Thomas - The Fourth Victim in the Execution of Harry 'Breaker' Morant”


Featured Title Release: “Ready Aim Fire: Major James Francis Thomas - The Fourth Victim in the Execution of Harry 'Breaker' Morant”

 

Author: James Unkles


Title Details

ISBN-13: 978-1-925230-50-5

 

235 pages

Australian History

Sid Harta Publishers Melbourne Australia

 

The Book

 

In 1902, three Australian volunteers who served with the British Army during the Anglo Boer War were tried and sentenced for executing Boer combatants. Lieutenants Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant and Peter Handcock were executed and George Witton sentenced to life imprisonment.
The manner in which these men were treated remains controversial, shrouded in protest that they were scapegoated for the war crimes of their British superiors.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Major James Francis Thomas who was relegated to history without an understanding of who he was and the part he played in the dynamic development of the town of Tenterfield in New South Wales, Australia, as a property owner, solicitor, newspaper proprietor, historian, poet, proponent for Australian nationalism, volunteer soldier.  How he came to serve in the Boer War, yet destined to die alone from malnutrition, destitute having suffered from the stress of what he experienced in representing Morant, Handcock and Witton as their trial lawyer.
This book acknowledges Thomas’ sacrifice he made in acting for his clients, a task that took a terrible toll on his mental and physical health and his life in Tenterfield.

 

Author bio

 

James Unkles is a military and civilian lawyer who began researching the 'Breaker' case in 2009 and had serious misgivings about the legality of the trials of Morant, Handcock and Witton.
James has conducted significant research into the Morant case. His work has included petitioning the British and Australian Governments. In 2018, he succeeded in securing a motion in the Australian House of Representatives that provided an apology to the descendants of these men and an expression of sincere regret that they were not tried according to the law of 1902 and suffered a fatal injustice.
Ready, Aim, Fire! James seeks justice for Thomas and to highlight Thomas’ place in Australian history.

www.breakermorant.com

 

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy Co...

Kerry B. Collison Asia News: Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy Co...: Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy ConocoPhillips’ 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea The d...

Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy ConocoPhillips’ 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea


Timor-Leste stikes a US$350 million deal to buy ConocoPhillips’ 30% stake in the Greater Sunrise gas resource in the Timor Sea

The deal, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2019, covers production sharing contracts 03-19 and 03-20 and retention leases NT/RL2 and NT/RL4.

The licences contain the Sunrise and Troubadour gas and condensate fields, collectively known as the Greater Sunrise fields, which have remained undeveloped since being discovered in 1974 and which are estimated to hold 5.1 trillion cubic feet of gas and 225.9 million barrels of condensate.

The Timor-Leste government has long advocated for the gas to be piped about 150 kilometres to an onshore liquefaction plant on the country’s south coast, a concept the current joint venture partners have resisted.

“ConocoPhillips and the other joint venture partners have always known Timor-Leste’s preference for the development of Greater Sunrise through a pipeline to Beaco on the south coast of Timor-Leste,” Timor-Leste special representative and former president Xanana Gusmao said this week.

“Timor-Leste looks forward to working with the other joint venture members to successfully develop the project.”

In a joint statement, ConocoPhillips Australia-West president Chris Wilson revealed that the company came to the decision to sell its stake in the Greater Sunrise resource after it was approached by the Timor-Leste government.

“We respect the Timor-Leste government’s preference to develop the Sunrise fields through a new greenfield, Timor-Leste based liquefied natural gas facility,” he said.

“While we differ on the proposed economic development option, we recognise the importance of Sunrise to the nation of Timor-Leste and hope the sale of our interest to the government allows them to progress their vision for the development of Sunrise.”

Greater Sunrise had been a lead candidate for backfill for the ConocoPhillips operated Darwin LNG facility. However, the project had stalled amid differences of opinion over the development concept, as well as a maritime boundary dispute between Australia and Timor-Leste that was resolved earlier this year.

Meanwhile, ConocoPhillips’ Barossa project has jumped to the front of the queue as a backfill candidate for Darwin LNG, with a final investment decision currently being targeted for the end of 2019.

This would place it well ahead of Sunrise, with operator Woodside Petroleum not anticipating a decision on the development until the third horizon of its current growth period, which starts in 2027.

ConocoPhillips executive vice president production, drilling and projects, Al Hirshberg, said earlier this year he believed it would be difficult for Greater Sunrise to move into development “in the near future”, while labelling the government's plan as "uneconomic".

Woodside chief executive Peter Coleman has also previously stated it was unlikely his company would be involved in a development that sees the gas piped back to Timor-Leste, claiming the returns on such a development would not meet the company’s “economic hurdles”.

However, he also refused to rule out the option completely, adding certain arrangements could be put in place to allow the company to participate.

Wood Mackenzie analyst David Low backed the joint venture’s assessment over the economics of an onshore Timor-Leste development, while adding that concerns over building the pipeline across the seismically active Java trench, while more expensive than a typical subsea pipeline, was not a key driver of increased development costs.

“The economics of an onshore Timor-Leste LNG project is less competitive when compared to utilising existing infrastructure,” he told Upstream.

“We believe the key risk is the construction of a greenfield LNG project in a country that has historically lacked large-scale infrastructure project experience. For the project to screen we believe that the Timor-Leste government will need to provide considerable support via either adjusted contract terms or direct project investment.”

The agreement between the government and ConocoPhillips is still subject to certain conditions, including funding approval from the government of Timor-Leste, regulatory approvals and partner pre-emption rights.

Following the announcement of the deal, Woodside appeared to leave its options open as to whether it would look to increase its interest in Greater Sunrise.

“The joint venture participants hold certain rights that may or may not be exercised in such circumstances,” a Woodside spokesperson told Upstream.

“Woodside and the Sunrise joint venture remain committed to the development of Greater Sunrise and we look forward to working with Timor-Leste to deliver value to both the people of Timor-Leste and the shareholders of the joint venture participants.”

Woodside holds a 33.4% stake in Greater Sunrise, ConocoPhillips holds 30%, Shell has 26.6% and Osaka Gas holds 10%

Josh Lewis, Perth