lørdag 21. september 2019

Hundreds of shackled, blindfolded prisoners in China purportedly seen in online videos: report

Videos purportedly showing hundreds of prisoners in China with their heads shaved, their hands bound behind their back and blindfolds over their faces that were posted online earlier this week appears to be authentic. The videos, posted anonymously on Twitter and YouTube Tuesday, appears to show hundreds of prisoners believed to be from China’s minority Uighur Muslims, Sky News reported. The footage shows the men sitting in lines on the floor or being moved by guards at a station in the city of Korla in Xinjian, northwest China.

Why Is China Building Africa?

China is all over Africa these days, building railroads, bridges, and ports, doing what European colonialists should have done long-time ago. Why?

On the surface, the answer is that China is investing in Africa to place the continent on the global map, help African countries develop a sound infrastructure. That’s what these countries need to sustain economic growth and join the global economy.Below the surface, the answer is different. China is investing in Africa to gain political and diplomatic influence, as has been the case in Southeast Asia.

Pro-China groups to tear down pro-democracy graffiti in Hong Kong

A pro-Beijing Hong Kong lawmaker urged supporters to pull down “Lennon Walls” on Saturday across the Chinese-ruled city, where the displays of anti-government graffiti have sometimes been flashpoints during more than three months of unrest. Legislator Junius Ho, who has taken a tough stand against the protests, called for cleanups of 77 Lennon Walls from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on “Clean Hong Kong Day”, by 100 people at each site.

“We will do this to celebrate the 70th anniversary of our motherland,” he said on his Facebook page, referring to the founding of the Chinese People’s Republic on Oct. 1, 1949.

Second Pacific nation in a week ditches Taiwan for Beijing

Kiribati has become the second nation in a week to drop Taiwan as a diplomatic ally and move towards Beijing, Taipei's foreign ministry announced Friday. Foreign Minister Joseph Wu announced the change at a press conference, saying that in response Taipei would cut diplomatic ties with Kiribati.

It comes just four days after the Solomon Islands' government voted unanimously to recognize mainland China over Taiwan, a move which was condemned in Taipei and welcomed in Beijing. The loss of the Solomon Islands and Kiribati has left Taiwan with just 15 diplomatic allies. Wu told reporters that Taiwan regretted and "strongly condemns" Kiribati's decision, which he added disregarded years of "assistance and friendship" between the two governments.

China depends on foreign oil. The Saudi attack is a wake-up call

Last weekend's drone attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities sent shockwaves through global energy markets and the price of crude spiking. While Saudi authorities have pledged that production will soon be back on track and oil prices have fallen, the attack underscored China's particular vulnerability to disruption in oil supplies.

As the world's largest crude oil importer, China's heavy dependence on other countries for energy has influenced much of its foreign policy. Beijing is trying to reduce that dependence, but the needs of its growing economy and a trade war with the United States have put it in an awkward position. It's buying more Saudi oil than it has done for years.

Hong Kong tries and fails to hire PR firms to rebuild image

Hong Kong's government contacted eight public relations firms to try and rebuild the embattled city's image, but all of them declined the contract. The city has seen months of unrest sparked by a proposed extradition bill that has since been withdrawn. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and her government have been widely criticised for their response to protesters. The PR firms said that "the time is not right" to restore the territory's reputation, Ms Lam told reporters.

Walking back from the trade war ledge, the US just exempted hundreds more Chinese goods from tariffs

The United States will exclude a long list of Chinese-made goods from the tariffs that President Donald Trump's administration imposed as part of the trade war. Dog leashes, pool vacuum cleaners, electric skateboards, Christmas lights and drinking draws are among the hundreds of goods that will no longer going to be hit with the tariffs, the Office of the United States Trade Representative announced Friday in three published lists.

The exemptions mark the latest detente in the trade war. Last week, China exempted certain American imports including shrimp, fish meal, and cancer drugs, followed a couple of days later by US soy beans and pork imports, from its own tariffs. The United States followed suit by delaying tariffs on certain Chinese goods from October 1 to October 15.

Hong Kong enters 16th weekend of protests as police warn violence escalating beyond control

Hong Kong is headed into its sixteenth consecutive weekend of anti-government protests, as police warned the level of violence is escalating potentially beyond control, as the force faced renewed allegations of brutality. Last week saw multiple fights between protesters, counter demonstrators and apparent bystanders on the sidelines of an unauthorized march which dissolved into pitched battles between the crowd and police, with one side throwing petrol bombs and bricks and the other firing water cannon and tear gas.

At a background briefing for foreign media Friday, a senior Hong Kong police commander said officers were concerned that the level of physical force was reaching a point where they might be forced to use live ammunition to defend themselves or others. "Our officers are worried that the level of violence has got to such a level that they might have to kill someone or be killed themselves," the commander said. "We have been so restrained but in the face of such violence this pressure has become extremely dangerous."

fredag 20. september 2019

Mired in protests, Hong Kong should brace itself for a takeover by mainland Chinese interests and capital

The protests in Hong Kong against the extradition bill have evolved into an unstoppable
anti-government movement. There is no sign that any of the stakeholders – China, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor or the protesters – will back down. Hong Kong is again at a crossroads. Since politics and economics are codependent, when there is political turmoil, we can expect capital to be relocated.

Over the past 50 years, as Hongkongers worked hard to transform their home into an international financial centre, there have been two major power and capital transfers. It seems to many that a third one is happening.

China's Non-state Universities: What It Takes to Succeed

Educational philanthropy encompasses many traditional Chinese values. Confucius said, “by three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” State appropriation and Chinese nationalism, however, are not to be confused with Confucianism.

While Xi Jinping’s efforts at national rejuvenation use the Confucian emphasis of “modesty, the arts of peace, and the vision of oneself as a set of relationships” as its framework, anything that falls out of line with these values has no place in Xi’s China. More and more communist-red banners are popping up all over cities – particularly outside schools and universities.

So, what happens when a local Chinese tycoon establishes a non-state university with private funds?

What Drives Chinese Arms Sales in Central Asia?

Chinese military assertiveness in Asia has often been viewed as an effort to strike balance, either with the United States, India, or other powers across the region. But for decades, Chinese military might was not built on strictly Chinese technological prowess. Since coming to power, Chinese President Xi Jinping has engaged in various military reforms, including allowing civilian companies to invest and modernize the military technology industry. Together with a grand national strategy to create a hyper tech-based society, the Chinese military technology industry is becoming a serious leader, especially in the field of military-use telecommunication.

One region that features prominently in this development is Central Asia. In Russia’s backyard, but increasingly a Chinese security interest, Central Asia provides a critical glance at the expansion of Beijing’s military assertiveness.

hina Detains FedEx Pilot Amid Rising U.S.-China Tensions

Authorities in southern China have detained an American pilot who works for FedEx, in the latest in a series of difficulties for American travelers and companies in China. The pilot had been waiting to catch a commercial flight out of the city of Guangzhou, where FedEx has a huge hub. In a statement, FedEx said authorities had found an object in his luggage, though it did not specify what the object was.

The pilot was released on bail, FedEx said. “We are working with the appropriate authorities to gain a better understanding of the facts,” it said in a statement and declined to comment further. The Wall Street Journal, which reported the detention on Thursday, said that the pilot had been carrying nonmetallic pellets used in air guns, and that he was a United States Air Force veteran named Todd A. Hohn who had been trying to catch a flight to his home in nearby Hong Kong.

Confucius Institutes: The growth of China's controversial cultural branch

According to China, its Confucius Institute is "a bridge reinforcing friendship" between it and the world. But to its critics the government-run body - which offers language and cultural programmes overseas - is a way for Beijing to spread propaganda under the guise of teaching, interfere with free speech on campuses and even to spy on students.

In recent weeks, a flurry of universities around the world have shut down programmes operated by the institute. And in Australia, an investigation is even under way into whether agreements between universities and the institute have broken anti-foreign interference laws.

Hong Kong protests: The Taiwanese sending 2,000 gas masks

Soft-spoken, bespectacled, and based 650km (400 miles) from Hong Kong, Alex Ko is far removed from the widespread protests sweeping the former British colony. But he's exactly the kind of person China is worried about. In recent weeks, when protesters were battling police on the streets of Hong Kong demanding universal suffrage, and their freedoms to be preserved by China, Mr Ko, 23, didn't just watch idly online.

He launched a donation drive for gas masks, air filters and helmets at his church. He's since collected more than 2,000 sets of such gear, and sent them to Hong Kong protesters to protect them against tear gas regularly fired by the police.

Hong Kong protests: tech war opens up with doxxing of protesters and police

Hong Kong as seen an unprecedented wave of doxxing – the malicious spread of private information online – since anti-government protests began in early June. Social media forums such as LIHKG, a Reddit-like website, and encrypted apps such as Telegram have played a critical role in organising the leaderless protest movement but are now being used to share names, photos, phone numbers, ages and the occupation of individuals on both sides of the protest line.

Supporters of the Hong Kong government have sought to identify masked protesters at demonstrations, while protesters themselves also appear to have taken part, sharing private information about police officers and their families across Telegram.

Hong Kong police show 'alarming pattern' of violence at protests

Amnesty International as warned of an “alarming pattern” of violence used by Hong Kong police at anti-government demonstrations over the past three months, with officers reportedly beating protesters before and after arrest. Based on interviews with 48 people, including lawyers and 21 arrested protesters, Amnesty International’s East Asia director, Nicholas Bequelin, said the human rights group had shown that “time and time again, officers meted out violence prior to and during arrests, even when the individual had been arrested or detained”, contrary to international human rights law.

“The evidence leaves little room for doubt: in an apparent thirst for retaliation, Hong Kong’s security forces have engaged in a disturbing pattern of reckless and unlawful tactics against people during protests,” he said, including “arbitrary arrests and retaliatory violence”.

Taiwan loses second ally in a week as Kiribati switches to China

Taiwan has lost its second diplomatic ally in less than a week after the Pacific nation of Kiribati moved to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan and establish foreign relations with China. The decision comes after the Solomon Islands announced it was breaking away from Taiwan on Monday, and means that in just a week the number of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies has dropped from 17 to 15.

Taiwan’s foreign minister Joseph Wu announced on Friday that the country was cutting diplomatic ties with Kiribati and immediately closing its embassy in the country. Wu also said Taiwan “rejects and strongly condemns” Kiribati for disregarding the long-standing relationship and aid provided by Taiwan, reported CNA.

torsdag 19. september 2019

China Experiments with a New Kind of Megalopolis

At night, when the sky clears, it's not difficult to guess where the bridge leads. The clouds on the other side of the bay glow orange, illuminated by the city of Hong Kong, with its population of 7 million, just beyond the horizon. Another glow can be seen farther north: the high-tech boomtown of Shenzhen, with 13 million inhabitants. There is a third and fourth patch of light in the sky even beyond that: Dongguan, with 8 million people, and Guangzhou, population 15 million.