The Big Story – Banks in Communist China stop lending, activists in Taiwan speculate regime collapse: As human rights activists visiting Taiwan discussed the “do or die” situation of the Chinese Communist Party (Taipei Times), two of the biggest regime-run banks on the mainland halted Shanghai lending (Epoch Times). Both banks had trouble meeting their obligations previously. It was yet another sign of serious economic instability on the mainland.

US and Japan come to Philippines’ aid in South China Sea; CCP unhappy: America sent the USS Fitzgerald to the region to join Philippine naval exercises there (Taipei Times). Japan’s Defense Minister promised to help the Philippines defend their island holdings in the South China sea, which sent Zhongnanhai into a rage (Taipei Times).

On Edward Snowden: Matthew Robertson (Epoch Times) assess the fallout from Snowden’s visit to Hong Kong. The shock of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) – one of the loudest supports of “engagement” with the regime – that the cadres didn’t act as she expected them to act isn’t nearly worth the damage Snowden did, but at least it’s something.

Other International news: Qantus, Electrolux, and Emerson are probing the source of headphones they bought from manufacturers in Communist China – they suspect labor camps were involved (Epoch Times).

Journalist dies in fall after exposing toxic waste spill: Liu Qi supposedly fell out a hotel window (Epoch Times – and they don’t buy it either).

Cadres create “special supply” set-asides to avoid the consequences of their decisions: The Epoch Times details how Party members have done this:

Nowadays in mainland China, all food is poisonous, and all matters are polluted. Even rivers, wells, and ground water have all been polluted.

In response to this situation, ‘public servants’ of the People’s Republic of China, including central and local officials at all levels, have expanded their own special supply systems of food to protect themselves and their families. The special supplies refer to the specific farms, vegetable-growing centers, and food companies that specially provide vegetables, meats, eggs, and the like to the officials.

As bad as this would have been by itself, it’s gotten worse:

Greed has no limits, however. The powerful have expanded their appetites too much and too oddly. If their privileges, special supplies, or special needs only aimed at organic food, corruption, or lust, this would not surprise people. However, now officials want young girls to be specially provided.

Meanwhile, this Epoch Times headline – Apples Grow Black in Polluted Chinese City – explains perfectly why the cadres have their “special supply.”

Other Corruption News: The cadre exposed via sex tape is sentenced to thirteen years in prison (Telegraph). Regime boss Xi Jinping installs a crony as a Commissar (Epoch Times).

Services Agreement still divisive in Taiwan: The island democracy’s government is pushing full ahead with an agreement for liberalized services trade with the mainland (Taipei Times), but the opposition is still very unhappy (Taipei Times).