Daily Archives: 4 May 2004

Women’s World Chess Championship Moves to Tibetan Buddhist Outpost in Europe

The Argus has a whole series of interesting posts about the conflicts between the newly renovated democratic Republic of Georgia and its separatist movement in Ajaria. Living With Caucasians is on the case, too. Among the drastic bits of fallout is this:

The Women’s World Championship has moved from Batumi [in Ajaria] to Elista. ‘Where the hell is Elista?’ you ask. Kalmykia, Tibetan Buddhism’s outpost in Europe (when it was independent, it was the only Buddhist kingdom in Europe). On this map, it’s south of Moscow and just above Dagestan.

To see where the Kalmyk-Oirat fit into the Greater Turanian States and Territories, visit the Ottawa Hungarian Folkdance Chamber Group, which seeks to restore Hungarians to their rightful place as masters of Eurasia.

See also Kalmykia and Buddhism in Russia.

UPDATE: On a more serious (but joyful) note, the U.S. and Russia seemed to have cooperated to help the citizens of Georgia and Ajaria liberate themselves from the now-exiled thug, Aslan Abashidze. The Argus offers a detailed chronology. I hope the Georgian sumo wrestler Kokkai (‘Black Sea’) is pumped up enough to make a spectacularly successful showing in this month’s sumo tourney.

UPDATE: In the comments, PF cites some evidence that the millionaire chess-enthusiast Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, President of Kalmykia, might deserve a good dose of thug-repellant as well. At the very least, he seems to suffer from a serious cult-of-personality disorder.

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Politburo Paranoia in China

On 23 April, Andrés Gentry cited a depressing article (no longer online) on MSNBC that illustrates how fragile and paranoid China’s top political leaders seem to feel.

The eight members of the New Youth Study Group never agreed on a political platform and had no real source of funds. They never set up branches in other cities or recruited any other members. They never even managed to hold another meeting with full attendance; someone was always too busy.

And yet they attracted the attention of China’s two main security ministries. Reports about their activities reached officials at the highest levels of the party, including Luo Gan, the Politburo member responsible for internal security. Even the president then, Jiang Zemin, referred to the investigation as one of the most important in the nation, according to people who have seen an internal memo summarizing the comments of senior officials about the case.

The leadership’s interest in such a ragtag group reflects a deep insecurity about its grip on power. The party has delivered two decades of rapid growth, defying those who believe economic reform must lead to political liberalization. But it is struggling to manage rising social tension and popular discontent and remains especially wary of student activism, which sparked the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square.

So the party moved quickly to eliminate the New Youth Study Group. In doing so, it forced eight young people to consider how much they were willing to sacrifice for their beliefs — and for their friends.

This account is based on interviews with the four members of the study group who escaped arrest, relatives and friends of those imprisoned, and others who attended the group’s meetings, as well as documents presented in court in the case.

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Flit(tm): Is the PRC Crashing?

TMLutas of Flit(tm) cites a Stratfor article (only temporarily accessible) under the heading, Is the PRC Crashing?

Essentially the argument is that the PRC is making the same errors that every other Asian country has lived through. It is aided by the fact that its currency is nonconvertible but that’s no panacea. It is suffering from a plague of crony loans made to connected people who have hollowed out their economy. Essentially, we’re in the end stages of the PRC’s economic pyramid scheme.

The stakes are quite high. If the PRC falls into crisis, it is much less likely to survive than Japan and more likely to fracture into the traditional solution of warlord dominated regional entities.

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