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• Russia and China Join Efforts to Suspend Iranian Nuclear Activities
• Google Censors itself in China
• Taiwan’s Referendum Strains Relations with China

Russia and China Join Efforts to Suspend Iranian Nuclear Activities

1-31: Russia and China with commercial interests in Iran have only recently joined with the U.S., U.K., France, and Germany in an attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The collective group will bring the issue to the United Nations Security Council on February 2, 2006.

Iran has refused to pause its activities, citing the lack of a legal basis for bringing this matter to the Security Council. The deputy head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Javad Vaeedi, said that such a program was “irreversible.” Iran is the world’s fourth largest oil exporter. It has ignored the possibility of sanctions, threatening economic warfare by means of an oil crisis if the proposed sanctions are enacted.

Google Censors itself in China

1-30: Google may have dug itself into a hole with its company motto, “Do no evil.” The same company that has refused to hand over search records to the Bush Administration this week is also complying with the Chinese Government’s demand to censor Google News. Free speech groups are blasting Google for its hypocritical behavior.

The mandated censorship has obstructed the most crucial and controversial news from reaching Chinese viewers. Companies like Google are in a difficult position to negotiate with Chinese officials because of a lack of leverage. On one hand, arguments can be made that regardless of censorship, the presence of Google in China is broadening access to information for the Chinese. Each little step of progress exposes the Chinese to the world a little more than before.

Taiwan’s Referendum Strains Relations with China

1-30: On the first day of the Chinese New Year, Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian issued a statement that looked to modify the constitution, focusing on Taiwan’s title and definition of ROC territory. Su Chi, an opposing KMT party lawmaker, warns that such a move would provide an excuse for China to attack Taiwan.

An editorial reply came the next day in the Chinese Communist Party’s People’s Daily cautioning that such maneuvers on the part of Taiwan independence forces have formed the greatest barrier for Cross-Strait ties. The U.S. has yet to officially respond but has restated that the status quo was to be supported. Taiwan and China have been split since 1949, following the Chinese Civil War.

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