IHT Asia Front Page - The New York Times

SUICIDE RIGHTS
IS INDIA A TRUE
DEMOCRACY?
ARTFUL DANCER
DEGAS WORK
ADORED ANEW
MOBILE RESCUE
SAVED BY A
MONSTER GAME
PAGE 6
PAGE 8
PAGE 13
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OPINION
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CULTURE
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BUSINESS ASIA
...
MONDAY, DECEMBER 29, 2014
Chinese city
faces life
after graft
crackdown
Nations join
in search
for missing
AirAsia jet
LÜLIANG, CHINA
BANGKOK
Xi’s campaign challenged
the close ties between
coal barons and officials
Contact lost with flight
carrying 162 headed from
Indonesia to Singapore
BY IAN JOHNSON
BY THOMAS FULLER
For 10 fat years, this mountainous
corner of central China was synonymous with the nation’s energy-hungry
economic takeoff. Its rich deposits of
coal fueled the most frenetic era of the
Chinese boom, turning owners of small
mines into millionaires and dirty towns
into gleaming cities.
Now, Lüliang is at the center of one of
the most sweeping political and economic purges in recent Chinese history.
As President Xi Jinping’s campaign
against corruption enters its second
year, the Communist Party authorities
have made an example of this district of
3.7 million, taking down much of its political and business elite in a flurry of
headline-grabbing arrests.
Seven of the 13 party bosses who run
Shanxi Province, where Lüliang is located, have been stripped of power or
thrown in jail, and party propaganda
outlets have trumpeted the crackdown
in the region as proof that Mr. Xi is serious about rooting out corruption.
On Friday, state news media reported
a new wave of arrests, with nine more
Lüliang officials detained. The reports
say the arrests are part of a new emphasis on cleaning up local governments,
where officials have extensive powers
and few restraints.
Among those who have been held up
for national humiliation here are Xing
Libin, a coal baron who reportedly spent
$11 million on his daughter’s wedding,
and Zhang Zhongsheng, a local apparatchik accused of using illegal gains to
build hilltop mansions. Interviews in
Lüliang and in state news reports put
the two men at the center of an incestuous network of entrepreneurs and party
officials who bought and sold government posts to maintain control of the
area’s lucrative coal mines and to finance lavish lifestyles.
The downfall of men like Mr. Xing and
Mr. Zhang has been cheered by much of
the Chinese public, which is outraged by
the runaway, often illicit concentration
of wealth that has characterized China’s
embrace of capitalism.
But in Lüliang and elsewhere, Mr. Xi’s
prolonged, nationwide crackdown on
corruption has also unsettled the party
establishment and its allies in business.
Even among ordinary residents, there
is concern about what it might mean for
jobs and growth, because private businessmen have been targeted alongside
government and party officials.
‘‘In this part of China, officials are
held in the palms of the coal barons,’’
said one shopkeeper, who asked that his
name not be used so he could speak
freely about a politically sensitive subject. ‘‘But these business leaders were
capable — they made us prosper.’’
Search-and-rescue teams were mobilized from across Southeast Asia on Sunday after a commercial airliner with 162
people on board lost contact with ground
controllers off the coast of Borneo, a
search effort that evoked a distressingly
familiar mix of grief and mystery nine
months after a Malaysia Airlines jetliner
disappeared over the Indian Ocean.
This plane, too, had Malaysian connections: The Airbus A320-200 was operated by the Indonesian affiliate of AirAsia, a regional budget carrier based in
Malaysia.
And while it seemed premature to
make such comparisons, the Indonesian authorities could not explain on
Sunday why the AirAsia jet disappeared
from radar screens about 40 minutes
after leaving the Indonesian city of
Surabaya around 5:30 a.m.
By nightfall, more than 12 hours later,
searchers facing bad weather had found
no sign of the wreckage and the search
was called off for the night, Indonesian
officials said.
The weather along the path of Flight
QZ8501 to Singapore was cloudy, and a
United States-based weather monitoring service reported a number of lightning strikes along the way. But the monsoon conditions did not seem
insurmountable for a modern airliner.
The route was a well-traveled part of
the Indonesian archipelago; six other
aircraft were in the vicinity of Flight
QZ8501 when it disappeared according
to data by Flightradar24, an organization that tracks aircraft.
Boats and planes from at least three
countries had joined the search along a
100-mile stretch of the Java Sea near the
island of Belitung, between the islands
of Borneo and Sumatra, the plane’s last
known location. The search was to continue on Monday morning.
Shortly before contact was lost on
Sunday, the cockpit crew informed air
traffic controllers in Jakarta that they
were planning to rise to 38,000 from
32,000 feet to avoid a cloud, Djoko Murjatmodjo, the acting director general of
air transport at the Indonesian Ministry
CHINA, PAGE 14
SIM CHI YIN FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Working on the site of a coal factory on the outskirts of Lüliang in central China. Rich deposits of coal in the area have fueled an economic boom, turning owners of mines into millionaires.
Fatal cost of U.S. ban on paying ransom
gence, in general, than in saving these
people,’’ he said. ‘‘I could have shown
them the location on Google Maps, but
they weren’t interested.’’ Although the
hostages had been moved by the time he
met with the American officials this
spring, the militants have been known
to recycle prison locations.
The United States says that it does all
it can through diplomacy, intelligence
gathering and even military action,
such as a failed commando raid in Syria
in July, to try to free hostages. It reached
out to more than two dozen countries to
seek help in rescuing the Americans
held in Syria, a National Security Council spokesman, Alistair Baskey, said in
an emailed statement on Friday. Mr.
Abo Aljoud offers a counterpoint to the
GAZIANTEP, TURKEY
Families, former captives
and ex-officials see gaps
in efforts to free hostages
BY RUKMINI CALLIMACHI
For a fleeting moment last year, Louai
Abo Aljoud, a Syrian journalist, made
eye contact with the American hostages
being held by the Islamic State militant
group.
One of dozens of prisoners inside a
former potato chip factory in northern
Syria, Mr. Abo Aljoud was taken out of
his cell one day and assigned to deliver
meals to fellow inmates. It was when he
opened the slot to Cell No. 2 that he first
saw them — the gaunt, frightened faces
of James Foley, Steven J. Sotloff and
Peter Kassig.
Mr. Abo Aljoud, a 23-year-old freelance cameraman, said he resolved not
only to save himself, but also to help the
other inmates if he could. He memorized the prison’s floor plan and studied
its location in Aleppo. When he became
one of the lucky few to be released this
May, he pressed to meet with American
officials in neighboring Turkey.
‘‘I thought that I had truly important
information that could be used to save
HOSTAGES, PAGE 4
INDONESIA, PAGE 3
BUSINESS AS USUAL AT THE C.I.A.
TARA TODRAS-WHITEHILL FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Louai Abo Aljoud, a Syrian journalist, outside his home in Gaziantep, Turkey. During his
capture, he saw the American hostages who were later killed by Islamic State militants.
these people,’’ he said. ‘‘But I was
deeply disappointed.’’
An American State Department employee and a contractor were eventually
sent to meet him at a restaurant, but
both were assigned to deal with civil society in Syria, not hostages. Mr. Abo Aljoud grew frustrated, insisting he could
pinpoint the location of the prison on a
map. Instead, he said, he received only
vague assurances that the employees
would pass on the details he had shared
and his contact information to the relevant investigators.
‘‘It’s my impression that they were
more interested in gathering intelli-
Despite a scathing report on the C.I.A.’s
use of torture, the agency is unlikely to
see its mission diminished. PAGE 3
CHAOTIC STALEMATE GRIPS SYRIA
Syria’s war leaves civilian activists
feeling that the revolution on which they
gambled their lives has failed. PAGE 4
PARENTS LOSE CHILDREN TO JIHADISTS
After two daughters leave England for
Syria, a family in Manchester feels
shunned by the local community. PAGE 5
FULLY HANDOKO/EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
In Surabaya, Indonesia, a passenger’s relative scanned the names of people on board.
A woman boxer fighting for India, and against prejudice
NEW DELHI
BY NIDA NAJAR
ANDREW TESTA FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
And they’re off
Camel racing has been part of Arabian culture for centuries, but
the widespread use of robots as jockeys is giving the sport a modern twist. PAGE 11
North Korea faults U.S. for outage
INSIDE TO DAY ’S PA P E R
Former nuclear test site stands up
The Marshall Islands want to spur
global disarmament in a case before the
world's top court. WORLD NEWS, 3
The North rejected accusations that it
was behind the hacking of Sony
Pictures and it called President Obama
reckless ‘‘like a monkey in a tropical
forest.’’ WORLD NEWS, 3
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IN THIS ISSUE
No. 40,992
Books 8
Business 13
Crossword 12
Culture 8
Opinion 6
Sports 10
Mangte Chungneijang Mary Kom, the
most celebrated female boxer in India,
grew up fighting.
She fought convention as the oldest
child of a landless farmer in the fractious northeastern state of Manipur,
where she drove steers across rice
fields, work that boys in the village let
her know, derisively, belonged to men.
She fought lack of means when she
trained in the state’s capital as a teenager — buying knockoff sneakers in a
black market bordering Myanmar, making do with two meals a day, shadowboxing her reflection in a mirror.
She fought her own body after under-
going one cesarean section for twin
boys, then another for a third boy, then
going back to train through postpartum
sluggishness and her legs’ sudden unwillingness to bounce step.
It is perhaps not surprising then, that
Kom, 32, who goes by the name Mary,
cannot seem to give up the fight.
She is a five-time world champion,
was the Olympic bronze medalist at the
London Games, and gold medalist at this
fall’s Asian Games in Incheon, South Korea. Her autobiography, ‘‘Unbreakable,’’
was released in 2013 at a ceremony hosted by the Indian actress and former
Miss Universe, Sushmita Sen, who
called it a story of ‘‘a woman’s road to
emancipation and empowerment.’’ She
was the subject of an operatic Bollywood
biopic released in September that was a
Canada’s bilingual nationhood
Mary Kom’s autobiography
has been called a story of ‘‘a
woman’s road to emancipation
and empowerment.’’
stacked against her and fellow boxers.
At the Asian Games medal ceremony in
October, another Manipuri boxer,
Laishram Sarita Devi, tearfully refused
her own bronze in the 60-kilogram category, protesting the judges’ decision to
award the victory in a semifinal match
ONLINE AT INY T.COM
For help on immigration, the United
States should look north, where we get
a lot right when it comes to living in a
multilingual, multicultural world,
Chrystia Freeland writes. OPINION, 6
Sea of blue for slain police officer
More than 20,000 police officers came
together for the funeral of Officer
Rafael Ramos, who along with another
officer was fatally shot in his patrol car
in New York City. nytimes.com/nyregion
Private equity lets in outsider
In a rare shift for a long-opaque
industry, the private equity firm
Freeman Spogli & Company will be
allowing investors to hire an outside
monitor to review the fund’s books and
practices. BUSINESS, 16
commercial success, perhaps the chief
indicator of having arrived in India.
But her rise has been punctuated by
deep grievances, often against what she
describes as a sports bureaucracy
BRANDON THIBODEAUX FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
How dreams and money didn’t mix
The founder of a Texas distillery who
sought capital to expand his company
clashed with his investors. BUSINESS, 15
Egypt rights group wary of new law
Advocates worry about how Egyptian
prosecutors will apply a sweeping law
decreed by the new president as a tool
to fight terrorism. nytimes.com/mideast
to her Korean opponent. Devi was suspended by the International Boxing Association for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Her colleagues, including Kom, stood
by her, and India’s sports minister
wrote a letter to the amateur boxing federation pleading for the revocation of
her suspension.
For Kom, a devout Christian from the
tiny Kom tribal community, who has remained somewhat of an outsider in India and who has railed against bias in
judging, Devi’s suspension reflects
deeper fissures in the sport.
‘‘Of course she won the bout,’’ said
Kom, in a hotel suite not far from the
presidential palace in New Delhi, asserting that the referee cheated, wanting to advance a Korean candidate to
INDIA, PAGE 12
The economic unknowns of 2015
No one can predict where the American
economy will land next year. But a
handful of factors, including
unemployment and inflation, will help
set its course, Justin Wolfers writes on
The Upshot. nytimes.com/business
For coach, not a smooth transition
Phil Jackson, who hired Derek Fisher
to coach the New York Knicks, has not
always agreed that players should go
right into coaching. And Fisher’s record
may make the point. nytimes.com/sports