August 18, 2011


Sources suggest Mikoyan 1.44 stealth jet knowhow has been passed into the hands of Chinese arms designers

Reuters in Moscow
A Chinese J-20 stealth plane is seen after finishing
a runway test in 
Chengdu, south-west China.
Photograph: AP
Similarities between a new Chinese fighter jet and a prototype Russian plane have brought suggestions that Moscow may be quietly helping Beijing compete with the world's top military powers.
Experts say the fifth-generation J-20 fighter, which made its maiden flight in January in front of the visiting US defence secretary, could have its origins in the Mikoyan 1.44 stealth jet that never made it to the production line.

A source close to Russia's defence industry said the similarities suggested Mikoyan technology had been passed into the hands of Chinese arms designers.

"It looks like they got access … to documents relating to the Mikoyan – the aircraft that the Ministry of Defence skipped over in its tender to create a stealth fighter," he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
He said it was not clear whether such a transfer of technology had been legal. Analysts say Russia's assistance to the Chinese may help Moscow keep tabs on the rising military power's defence capabilities of its eastern neighbour.
Independent analyst Adil Mukashev, who specialises in ties between Russia and China, suggested there had been a financial transaction.
"China bought the technology for parts, including the tail of the Mikoyan, for money," he said.
China's defence ministry declined a request for comment. Russia's United Aircraft Corporation (UAC), which oversees production of the Mikoyan jets, denies any technology or design transfer took place.
Only the US has an operational fifth-generation fighter, which is nearly impossible to track on radar. Russia is working to start serial production of its prototype craft in the next five to six years.
China's creation of such a plane would raise the country into an elite group of military powers, although analysts say it will take years to perfect the craft.
The source said Chinese officials had been invited to the plane's first public display when Russia was in the early stages of creating a fighter jet to compete with the US F-22.
Rival designer Sukhoi was eventually contracted to help build the fighter and the Mikoyan 1.44, which lacks the radar-evading engineering of the US F-22, was passed over.
Russia, the world's leading energy producer, has fed China, the largest energy consumer, with natural gas and oil in its bid to become a global power. But it has been unable to keep up with China's military spending, which was second only to that of the US in 2010.
Relations between the two countries are cordial but, in a sign that the two sides are suspicious of each other, Moscow is boosting its military capabilities in Russia's far east to defend its position in resource-rich Siberia.
China, once a big buyer of Russian tanks, helicopters and jet fighters, has slowed its purchases from Moscow as its own production grew but military ties remain.
China's ambassador to Russia, Li Huei, was quoted last year as saying defence co-operation with Russia was moving beyond the buying and selling of weapons.
China is also trying to boost its naval power and its first aircraft carrier had its maiden voyage this month. The re-fitted Soviet craft was bought from Ukraine.
"The Chinese aerospace industry is booming and developing rapidly," said Mikhail Pogosyan, head of UAC.
"In the aerospace industry what matters is the experience you have – not only to start a project but to see it through," he said on the sidelines of Russia's air show, MAKS.


Security forces step up attempts to tackle rise in violence, terrorism and radical Islam in troubled western region

Associated Press

Chinese security forces patrol in Urumqi, Xinjiang
 in July 2010. The regional government has
promised to create 'fear and awe' in the region.
China Daily/Reuters
Chinese security forces have launched a two-month "strike hard" crackdown against violence, terrorism and radical Islam following renewed ethnic violence in the restive western region of Xinjiang, the regional government has announced.

The campaign, which began on 11 August and will last until 15 October, includes around-the-clock patrols of troublespots, identity checks and street searches of people and vehicles, according to a notice posted on the regional government's website.
Authorities would step up investigations of suspicious activity and deal with defendants even more harshly through accelerated trials, the notice said.
"Public security units at all levels across the region must strengthen the work of security, take strict precautions, and create fear and awe," it said.
The region's police department conceded that the number of violent incidents was on the rise and pledged to "uncover the masterminds and organisers behind such activities".
"The frequency with which terrorist activities are carried out in the region is rising and it must be curbed," the department said in a statement.
China rolls out campaigns on a regular basis despite criticism from rights groups and imposes tougher penalties for crimes from theft to endangering state security.

Signalling the authorities' determination to crush all opposition, Beijing this month dispatched to Xinjiang its elite Snow Leopard anti-terrorism unit, which was charged with securing the 2008 Beijing Olympics and specialises in anti-terrorism, riot control, bomb disposal and responding to hijackings.

The unit will bolster security for the annual China-Eurasia Expo, being held in the regional capital, Urumqi, in the first week in September, along with National Day celebrations on 1 October.
The crackdown follows fresh outbreaks of violence blamed on militants among Xinjiang's native Uighur population, ethnic Turks who are culturally, linguistically and religiously distinct from China's majority Han. Militants have for decades been fighting a low-level insurgency to gain independence for lightly populated but resource-rich Xinjiang, which borders Pakistan, Afghanistan and several unstable central Asian states.
China generally keeps a tight lid on information about outbreaks of violence in Xinjiang. Uighur activists say even peaceful protests are often labelled acts of terrorism.
However, official reports said at least three dozen people, including the attackers, were killed in three incidents in the cities of Hotan and Kashgar despite a massive security presence that was tightened following an anti-Chinese riot in Urumqi two years ago in which at least 197 people were killed.
Beijing blames the violence on overseas-based militants, specifically those from the East Turkistan Islamic Movement who it says have trained in militant camps in Pakistan.
Yet Beijing has provided no direct evidence, and analysts say they suspect its claims are driven more by ideology than proof. Uighur activists say harsh crackdowns only lead to greater anger among young Uighurs who already feel culturally and economically sidelined by waves of Han migration to the region.
Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the German-based World Uyghur Congress, said high-pressure tactics and "systematic persecution" of attempts to assert a Uighur identity would only encourage radicalism.
"China is ducking responsibility for the turmoil its own policies have created," Raxit said.