torsdag 23. mai 2019

How China Uses High-Tech Surveillance to Subdue Minorities

A God’s-eye view of Kashgar, an ancient city in western China, flashed onto a wall-size screen, with colorful icons marking police stations, checkpoints and the locations of recent security incidents. At the click of a mouse, a technician explained, the police can pull up live video from any surveillance camera or take a closer look at anyone passing through one of the thousands of checkpoints in the city.

To demonstrate, she showed how the system could retrieve the photo, home address and official identification number of a woman who had been stopped at a checkpoint on a major highway. The system sifted through billions of records, then displayed details of her education, family ties, links to an earlier case and recent visits to a hotel and an internet cafe. The simulation, presented at an industry fair in China, offered a rare look at a system that now peers into nearly every corner of Xinjiang, the troubled region where Kashgar is located.

China factories releasing thousands of tonnes of illegal CFC gases, study finds

Industries in north-eastern
China have released large quantities of an ozone-depleting gas into the atmosphere in violation of an international treaty, scientists have said.Since 2013, annual emissions of the banned chemical Chlorofluorocarbon-11 (CFC-11) from that region have increased by about 7,000 tonnes, according to a report in peer-reviewed journal Nature.

“Our measurements showed ‘spikes’ in pollution when air arrived from industrialised areas” in China, said co-lead author, Sunyoung Park from Kyungpook National University in South Korea. CFC-11 was widely used in the 1970s and 1980s as a refrigerant and to make foam insulation. The 1987 Montreal Protocol banned CFCs and other industrial aerosols that chemically dissolve protective ozone 10-40km (six to 25 miles) above Earth’s surface, especially over Antarctica and Australia.

America and Japan’s vision of an Indo-Pacific free from Chinese threat runs into deep waters

For the free and open Indo-Pacific strategy to take off, it needs Asean’s endorsement. But this is unlikely as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations refuses to choose between this strategy and the other regional vision: China’s belt and road. Asean has largely taken a cautious, measured approach. Except for Indonesian President Joko Widodo, every Asean leader attended the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing in May. Despite expressing misgivings about a “new version of colonialism” in Asia, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir signed a fresh deal to proceed with the China-backed East Coast Rail Link project in April, after renegotiating the value of the project.

Donald Trump’s trade war and Huawei ban push China to rethink economic ties with US

The decision by the United States to impose tariffs on all Chinese products and put smartphone maker Huawei on a trade blacklist that could choke off vital components has severely damaged the fragile trust between the two countries, forcing China to re-examine the entire bilateral economic relationship to protect itself, according to Chinese researchers.

China is still open to resuming talks to end the trade war and refuses to believe that a “decoupling” of the world’s two largest economies is well underway. But government advisers are now highlighting the risk of sourcing critical supplies from an increasingly hostile US, particularly after the decision last week to put Huawei and its affiliates on a trade ban list, and are exploring ways for the country to cut its exposure to the US.

onsdag 22. mai 2019

Steve Bannon says killing Huawei more important than trade deal with China

Driving Huawei out of the United States and Europe is “10 times more important” than a trade deal with China, according to former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon. He also said he would dedicate all his time to shutting Chinese companies out of US capital markets. The remark by Bannon, a strong advocate of an “all-encompassing war” against China, came days after US President Donald Trump signed an executive order effectively banning Huawei from the US market and cutting off its vital components supply.

Opinion: China Deserves Donald Trump

A U.S. businessman friend of mine who works in China remarked to me recently that Donald Trump is not the American president America deserves, but he sure is the American president China deserves. Trump’s instinct that America needs to rebalance its trade relationship with Beijing — before China gets too big to compromise — is correct. And it took a human wrecking ball like Trump to get China’s attention. But now that we have it, both countries need to recognize just how pivotal this moment is.

The original U.S.-China opening back in the 1970s defined our restored trade ties, which were limited. When we let China join the World Trade Organization in 2001, it propelled China into a trading powerhouse under rules that still gave China lots of concessions as a developing economy.

Trump Administration Could Blacklist China’s Hikvision, a Surveillance Firm

The Trump administration is considering limits to a Chinese video surveillance giant’s ability to buy American technology, people familiar with the matter said, the latest attempt to counter Beijing’s global economic ambitions. The move would effectively place the company, Hikvision, on a United States blacklist. It also would mark the first time the Trump administration punished a Chinese company for its role in the surveillance and mass detention of Uighurs, a mostly Muslim ethnic minority.

The move is also likely to inflame the tensions that have escalated in President Trump’s renewed trade war with Chinese leaders. The president, in the span of two weeks, has raised tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods, threatened to tax all imports and taken steps to cripple the Chinese telecom equipment giant Huawei. China has promised to retaliate against American industries.

China Faces New ‘Long March’ as Trade War Intensifies, Xi Jinping Says

President Xi Jinping of China has called for the Chinese people to begin a modern “long march,” invoking a time of hardship from the country’s history as it braces for a protracted trade war with the United States.

Mr. Xi’s call, made on Monday, referred to the Long March, a grueling 4,000-mile, one-year journey undertaken by Communist Party forces in 1934 as they fled the Nationalist army under Chiang Kai-shek. From there, they regrouped and eventually took control of China in 1949, making the Long March one of the party’s foundational legends.

The comments appear intended to stir the spirit of the Chinese people as the Trump administration continues to press China on trade. But they also seem to acknowledge that the Chinese public could face difficult times ahead. The tariffs come as Beijing tries to lift the economy out of a slowdown, and as a variety of unrelated factors raise the prices of basic food items like pork and fruit for the average Chinese shopper.

What Does China Want From WTO Reforms?

As the world debates the prospect of a China-U.S. trade agreement, yet another debate is taking Chinese strategic circles by storm: World Trade Organization (WTO) reforms. It is argued that the ongoing trade negotiations between the United States and China, U.S.-Japan, U.S.-EU and the already concluded new NAFTA or USMCA between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, are really only the “prologue” to the ultimate “big show” – reform of the WTO, which will set the rules of the game in global trade and investment for the next quarter of a century or so. 

As per the Chinese narrative, the “game” surrounding WTO reforms has already begun and it is just a matter of time before the formal negotiations begin, likely following the successful completion of the separate negotiations in the various ongoing trade spats. In fact, the trade negotiations, many Chinese scholars argue, will further pave the way for WTO reforms by securing broad-based consensus among related stakeholders on matters of concern.

Chinese Clam Ships Back in Disputed South China Sea Waters: Think-tank

A Chinese clam-harvesting fleet has been spotted in force in the South China Sea, a U.S.-based think-tank reported, amid increased patrols by American forces that test freedom of navigation in the disputed maritime region. Fresh satellite images released by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative on Monday showed the Chinese boats near the Paracel Islands, which Beijing calls Xisha. Taiwan and Vietnam also claim the group of reefs and banks.

Families of Tiananmen Massacre Victims Under Surveillance Ahead of Anniversary

Family members of Tiananmen massacre victims and rights activists are being placed under surveillance on the 30th anniversary of the the declaration of martial law in Beijing during the 1989 democracy movement that took the country by storm.

Three decades after the student-led mass movement took hold of cities across China, prompting then supreme leader Deng Xiaoping to order the People's Liberation Army (PLA) to clear Beijing through martial law, the loved ones of those who died in the ensuing massacre are under house arrest or on enforced "vacations" with the state security police.

Branstad to Make First Visit to Tibet by U.S. China Ambassador Since 2015

U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad will travel to Tibet from Sunday for official meetings and visits to religious and cultural heritage sites, in the first such trip by a U.S. envoy to China since 2015, the State Department said.

Branstad will visit the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) and Qinghai Province, a historic region of Tibet known to Tibetans as Amdo, from May 19 to 25, a State Department spokesman told RFA’s Tibetan Service. “This visit is a chance for the Ambassador to engage with local leaders to raise longstanding concerns about restrictions on religious freedom and the preservation of Tibetan culture and language,” the spokesman said.

What Would Amending Hong Kong’s Law on Extradition Mean for International Non-Profits?

Hong Kong legislators are currently engaged in a fierce struggle over the proposed passing of a bill that would expand Hong Kong’s policy to allow for extradition, on a case-by-case basis, to countries with which the territory does not have formal agreements. One such country is China. Since the 1997 handover, Hong Kong’s extradition law has explicitly excluded the possibility of extradition to mainland China, but the amendments currently being debated would change that.

The international business community has spoken out against the revisions, arguing that the proposed changes would undermine the legislative independence of Hong Kong, while risking the security of foreign businesses and organizations operating within the city. Citizen-led protests erupted in March after the amendments were first raised in February and have continued since. A physical brawlbroke out between opposing lawmakers on the Legislative Council floor last week.

The Messy Truth About China's Social Credit

Almost every day, I receive an email from Google Alerts about a new article on China’s “social credit system.” It is rare that I encounter an article that does not contain several factual errors and gross mischaracterizations. The social credit system is routinely described as issuing “citizen scores” to create a “digital dictatorship” where “big data meets Big Brother.” These descriptions are wildly off-base. Foreign media has distorted the social credit system into a technological dystopia far removed from what is actually happening in China.

China's latest weapon in the trade war: Karaoke

A Chinese propaganda song about the ongoing Sino-US trade war is getting a lot of interest - and raising a few eyebrows - on Chinese social media. Trade War, written by a former Chinese official, appeared on popular mobile messenger WeChat on Friday and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times. It has also inspired an accompanying music video.

The song features strongly worded criticism of the US and a vow to "beat it out of its wits". China is no stranger to propaganda songs. Karaoke is popular in China and Beijing knows that songs are an effective way of conveying official thinking to young people. And with tensions escalating between China and the US, after the latter raised tariffs on some $200bn (£153.7bn) worth of Chinese products, the song has been an effective way for China to build its soft power and stir anti-US sentiment.

U.S. Eases Up on Huawei as Taiwan Boosts China-Linked Trade, Media Penalties

Washington on Tuesdaymoved to temporarily dial back trade restrictions on Chinese telecoms giant Huawei in a bid to limitdisruption to its customers, extending the company's license to buyU.S.-made goods until August.

Huawei was banned from buying U.S. goods by the Commerce Department last week over national security concerns, while Google onMonday announced it was terminating some updates to its Android operating system supplied to the company. The administration of President Donald Trump had earlier added Huawei, the second-biggest manufacturer of smartphones, to a list of banned companies.

tirsdag 21. mai 2019

The high price of denial: the cost to China of sweeping the Tiananmen crackdown under the carpet

When You Weijie’s husband was killed in the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, the only official acknowledgement she received was a small cash payment from her work unit. You’s husband, 42-year-old patent office worker Yang Minghu, was caught in gunfire on a Beijing street as the military advanced to the square to enforce martial law.

Yang was sympathetic to the pro-democracy protesters and left his home early on June 4 to check on their safety. He was struck by a bullet as troops fired into a crowd, becoming one of the hundreds, perhaps more than 1,000, who died as troops quashed protests that the national leadership saw as a threat to Communist Party rule.

Aftenposten A-cast: En million uighurer i interneringsleirer

Tragedien i Xinjiang-regionen i Kina utspilles i skyggen av andre begivenheter, som Brexit og handelskrigen mellom USA og Kina. Rundt en million uighurer antas å være innesperret i regimets interneringsleire.