The message for China from Tahrir Square

The uprising in Egypt must have stunned Chinese leaders. Beijing has heavily censored news of the uprising, strongly indicating that the Chinese Communist party (CCP), which narrowly avoided collapse during a similar popular revolt in 1989, is gripped by the fear that it could encounter the same fate as befell Hosni Mubarak.

The insecurity displayed by China’s ruling elites may seem extreme. After all, unlike the Mubarak regime, the CCP has consistently delivered increasing standards of living and currently faces few threats to its authority at home. The conventional wisdom says China has a self-confident leadership that sees itself as a contender for global supremacy.

The trouble with a heated Vietnam

It was back in 1994 that The Wall Street Journal first described Vietnam as "the next hot thing".

Judging by the way the country has been pitched to investors over the intervening years, it seems like Vietnam has been the next hot thing ever since, without ever quite graduating into the hot market of the current moment.

In fact, for the past year or so, the Vietnamese economy has not been hot so much as overheating, with impressive growth rates masking a deteriorating foreign trade position and accelerating inflation.

What is Democracy?

Democracy is a system of political governance whose decision-making power is subject to the controlling influence of citizens who are considered political equals. A democratic political system is inclusive, participatory, representative, accountable, transparent and responsive to citizens aspirations and expectations. Fundamentally, it means a government of, by and for the people.

What is Human Rights?

Human rights are minimum standards of legal, civil and political freedom that are granted universally. These rights take precedence over other claims by individuals, groups or states. Human rights refer to the perception that humans, no matter what ethnicity, nationality or legal influence, have universal rights. These rights usually include the right to life, freedom from torture, freedom of movement, the right to an adequate standard of living, freedom of religion, the right to self-determination, the right to participation in cultural and political life and the right to education. Many international as well as national laws safeguard the human rights of its inhabitants, although these laws and their implementations vary.

What is Non-Violent?

The term nonviolence is complex and has varied meanings, among which it is important to draw distinctions. In general, the term has been interpreted as in the negative - an absence of violence. However, nonviolence, both in theory and practice can and should be viewed as a positive, an active and potent force for attaining certain goals.

Self-Determination

The preferred outcome of an exercise of the right to self-determination varies greatly among the members of the UNPO. For some, the only acceptable outcome is full political independence. This is particularly true of occupied or colonized nations. For others, the goal is a degree of political, cultural and economic autonomy, sometimes in the form of a federal relationship. For others yet, the right to live on and manage a people’s traditional lands free of external interference and incursion is the essential aim of a struggle for self-determination.

Tolerance

Tolerance is respect and acceptance of the rich diversity of the world’s cultures, forms of expression and ways of being human. It is fostered by knowledge, openness, communication, and freedom of thought, conscience and belief. Tolerance is harmony in difference. It is not only a moral duty; it is also a political and legal requirement. Tolerance is the virtue that makes peace possible. It contributes to the replacement of the culture of war by a culture of peace.

Vietnam yields to inflation impulse

Vietnam's currency devaluation, meant to help arrest mounting economic problems, instead risks triggering a new and potentially uncontrollable round of price rises in one of the world's inflationary hot spots, analysts say

Years of loose interest-rate policies and state-subsidized lending have ramped up Vietnam's economic growth to China-like levels in a relatively underdeveloped country that analysts say is ill-equipped to handle it, driving up prices for many basic commodities. As in other emerging economies, inflation in Vietnam is ringing alarm bells amid rising food and fuel costs; consumer prices in January were up more than 12% from a year earlier.

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