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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 2014)
December 1, 2014
ASIA / PACIFIC
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 5
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ONE-WAY INTEREST. This September 2, 2014 photo shows an entrance in Sinuiju, from North Korea
to China using the “Korea China Friendship Bridge” — the old bridge connecting the two socialist states over
the Yalu river. A new bridge that was built was supposed to be a key link for trade and travel between China’s
underdeveloped northeast provinces and a much-touted special economic zone in North Korea — so key that
Beijing sank more than $350 million into the mammoth, three-kilometer-long structure that was slated to open
this past fall. Now, it is beginning to look like Beijing has built a bridge to nowhere. The letters read: “Korea China
Friendship Bridge.” (AP Photo)
China’s $350M bridge gets
scant North Korean welcome
By Eric Talmadge
The Associated Press
OKYO — The bridge was supposed
to be a key link for trade and travel
between China’s underdeveloped
northeast provinces and a much-touted
special economic zone in North Korea — so
key that Beijing sank more than $350
million into it.
Now, it is beginning to look like Beijing
has built a bridge to nowhere.
An Associated Press Television News
(APTN) crew in September saw nothing
but a dirt ramp at the North Korean end of
the bridge, surrounded by open fields. No
immigration or customs buildings could be
seen. Roads to the bridge had not been
The much-awaited opening of the new
bridge over the Yalu River came and
passed on October 30 with no sign the link
would be ready for business anytime soon.
That prompted an unusually sharp report
in the Global Times — a newspaper
affiliated with the Chinese Communist
Party — quoting residents in the Chinese
city of Dandong expressing anger over
delays in what they had hoped would be an
economic boom for their border city.
The report suggested the opening of the
mammoth, three-kilometer bridge has
been postponed “indefinitely.”
Beijing and Pyongyang have made no
Foreign analysts have suggested the
apparent lack of progress might indicate
wariness in Pyongyang over China’s
economic influence in the country, which
has been growing substantially in recent
years as Pyongyang has become more
isolated from other potential partners over
its nuclear program, human-rights record,
and other political issues.
Since its founding, North Korea has
been exceedingly cautious of becoming too
dependent on either of its superpower
neighbors, China and Russia, preferring to
play each off the other. That pattern seems
to be repeating itself now.
The official media, while saying little
about business with China, have lately
been playing up the importance of
improving trade and political ties with
Moscow. Leader Kim Jong Un last month
sent a powerful party cadre as his special
envoy to Russia to discuss how to bolster
Better ties with Moscow could further
dilute Beijing’s leverage over the North,
the limits of which became apparent when
the North went ahead with its first nuclear
test in 2006. Beijing has repeatedly urged
North Korea to abandon nuclear weapons,
to no avail.
Continued on page 7
Indonesia tests female police recruits’ virginity
By Niniek Karmini
The Associated Press
AKARTA, Indonesia — Indonesia
must stop subjecting female police
recruits to physical tests in an effort
to determine whether they are virgins,
according to a leading human-rights
group, describing the practice as
degrading and discriminatory.
Human Rights Watch said in a report
that such tests were a longstanding
practice in Indonesia, where patriarchal
attitudes and practices in the security
forces are common.
The report was based on interviews with
female police officers and police applicants
in six Indonesian cities who had under-
gone the so called “two-finger” test to
determine whether their hymens are
The requirement is even posted on the
jobs website for Indonesia’s national
police. In mid-November, it read, “In
addition to the medical and physical tests,
women who want to be policewomen must
also undergo virginity tests. So all women
who want to become policewomen should
keep their virginity.”
Citing medical experts, Human Rights
Watch said the physical tests are useless
in determining virginity.
Indonesian police spokesman Maj. Gen.
Ronny Sompie urged people not “respond
negatively” to the tests, saying they were
aimed at ensuring applicants were free
from sexually transmitted diseases. He
said both male and female recruits also get
blood tests for STDs.
“All of this is done in a professional
manner and did not harm the applicants,”
Human Rights Watch has documented
the use of abusive virginity tests by police
in several other countries, including
Egypt, India, and Afghanistan.
In a video interview recorded by the
group, a 24-year-old Indonesian woman
said she was among 20 applicants who
underwent the test.
“I feared that after they performed the
test I would not be a virgin anymore,” she
told the group in a silhouetted video
interview. “They inserted two fingers with
gels … it really hurt.”
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