At least three kidnapped Chinese oil workers were killed in the South Kordofan region of Sudan on Tuesday. An unidentified group had been holding nine workers of the China National Petroleum Corporation hostage since Oct. 18. The killings apparently took place after a helicopter flying overhead spooked the kidnappers. Chinese and Sudanese officials are now searching for the other hostages.
The Sudanese government has blamed rebel group the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), which has fought with government forces in neighboring Darfur for six years, for the violence. While JEM has previously accused China of abetting government-sponsored brutality through oil investments, the group has denied responsibility for the killings.
China has called the incident an "inhumane terrorist deed." However, it seems unlikely the country will use its petroleum agreements to pressure the Sudanese government into ending the Darfur conflict, as many international diplomats have hoped, unless such incidents become commonplace and severely disrupt production.
A new source of concern has emerged for uneasy Chinese consumers as Hong Kong authorities discover excessive amounts of melamine in mainland eggs.
China opened the 6th National Farmers' Games in Fujian province on Sunday. Events include many familiar sports but also tire-pushing, food-carrying, kite-flying, and tug-of-war.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao spoke at the China-Russia Economic and Trade Summit in Moscow Tuesday, praising the strength of economic ties between the two countries.
The government ageed to another round of talks with the personal representatives of the Dalai Lama. However, the Dalai Lama admitted that he has given up on trying to convince Beijing to grant Tibet more autonomy.
Business & Economy
The People's Bank of China cut the benchmark interest rate by 27 basis points to 6.66 percent. This marks the third time China has cut rates in the past six weeks.
Net income at PetroChina, Asia's largest oil producer, jumped 30 percent in the third quarter on record oil prices. Meanwhile, Sinopec, Asia's largest oil refiner, suffered a 39 percent drop in profits. The Chinese government's caps on consumer fuel prices prevented the company from offsetting higher oil costs.
China signed a much anticipated oil pipeline deal with Russia on Tuesday. The deal grants China access to Russian oil in exchange for sizeable loans to Russian energy firms.
Science & Environment
Authorities have discovered a series of iron and gold ore deposits in eastern China that may be worth more than 20 billion RMB ($2.92 billion).
Workers brought the final power-generation turbine online at the Three Gorges Dam, edging the project towards completion a year ahead of schedule.
It's the 21st century. Who better to look over your shoulder than your fellow netizens? Thomas Crampton reports on China's freelance Internet censors.
Photo: Isam Al-Haj/AFP/Getty Images