Eastern Bloc

Berlin wall escapee billed as dead for 31 years is alive and well

Flowers are placed in front of symbolic crosses commemorating the victims of the Berlin Wall's border guards, in Berlin, Germany, 13 August 2012. EPA/SEBASTIAN KUNIGKEIT

For 31 years, Rene Seiptius had been counted among the thousands of people killed while trying to escape the confines of communist East Germany. As it turns out, he was alive all along.

"I can't explain how it could have happened," Seiptius said.

Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 1:05pm

Channel hop

In Cuba, a research biologist gets paid US$25 a month. To do a simple scientific expedition, marine researchers have to get permission from 15 government departments, including the military. And to visit the small communist country is to step back 50 years. Aside from in the modern resorts that kiss the island's fringes, there are few modern conveniences. The cars are old and rusting.

6 May 2012 - 12:00am

Nature reserves are haven for hikers and bikers

Two decades on, there's no more potent symbol of the reunification of East and West Germany than the former Iron Curtain. Running from the Baltic Sea to the Czech border in a 1,400km zigzag, the barbed wire and fortifications have long gone, replaced by nature reserves.

3 Oct 2011 - 12:00am

Bloc Party

FINDING NEW art in New York is like finding sand on the beach. It's a certainty. But understanding how the art affects the viewer is where the sea level rises. One sure to create a stir is Ostalgia at the New Museum.

2 Sep 2011 - 12:00am

Recalling Germany's long, dark night

Behind Dr Gabriele Gauler, a confused and tense crowd stands frozen. Young, old they stand, perch and clamber onto a graffiti-covered wall lit by harsh floodlights on a dark night. The crowd is nervous, unsure of whether to believe the explosive news: East and West Berlin would no longer be divided.

14 Aug 2011 - 12:00am

Beloved Berlin Wall (film)

Directed by German filmmaker Peter Timm, Beloved Berlin Wall is a lighthearted romantic comedy that provides a refreshing setting compared to the usual American offerings.

Set in 1989, the time of the Berlin Wall - which had divided the German city since 1961 - the story focuses on East German border guard Sascha (Maxim Mehmet).

7 Jan 2011 - 12:00am

Berlin romance hits brick wall

Directed by German filmmaker Peter Timm, Beloved Berlin Wall is a lighthearted romantic comedy which offers a refreshing setting compared to the usual American offerings.

2 Jan 2011 - 12:00am

5-year training plan for cadres

The Communist Party launched a five-year education and training campaign yesterday to teach its rank and file subjects how to start a small business and run a village, among other skills.

27 Jul 2009 - 12:00am

Governing giant should not be afraid of dwarves

There are reasons why the eight non-communist political parties on the mainland are derisively referred to as dwarves. Their existence is at the mercy of the Communist Party, which has a middle-ranking bureau to look after their operations. They are represented on the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, an advisory body with no executive power.

16 Nov 2007 - 12:00am

Key dates

Events that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and reunification

3 Oct 2007 - 12:00am

Trabi love

On the East Side Gallery - a 1.6km-long chunk of Berlin Wall preserved as an alfresco art exhibition - is one image that sums up the city's tumultuous history: a painting of an East German Trabant car smashing through the concrete barrier. This, of course, is pure fantasy.

2 Apr 2006 - 12:00am

Vision of Iron Curtain as a tourism green belt

The European Parliament is pushing for what was once the Iron Curtain to be transformed into a 6,800km tourist trail, targeting bikers, hikers and history buffs.

14 Oct 2005 - 12:00am

Hu's anniversary speech sets tone for political shake-up

The Chinese Communist Party marked its 83rd anniversary yesterday with President Hu Jintao stressing the need for a capable and clean ruling party.

Mr Hu, also party general secretary, highlighted the need for the Communist Party to strengthen its ability to rule in a speech to Politburo members on Tuesday.

2 Jul 2004 - 12:00am

Communist Party to lift presence in private sector

The Communist Party plans to increase its presence in business in an attempt to boost its influence in the increasingly important sector, mainland media said yesterday.

24 Aug 2003 - 12:00am

Central government is urged to decentralise

The 'catch-up' call by an influential Communist Party magazine says local authorities should have more power

The central government has been urged to widen its power structure as it makes the transition from a planned economy to one driven by market forces.

4 Aug 2003 - 12:00am