lørdag 23. februar 2019

US and Chinese officials say a trade war deal is ‘extremely’ likely

Washington and Beijing are likely to strike a deal that will end the trade war that has affected more than US$360 billion worth of two-way trade.US President Donald Trump and China’s Vice-Premier Liu He, who is leading a delegation from Beijing in Washington this week, both expressed optimism about an end to the stand-off, while officials involved in the talks confirmed that Liu’s delegation would remain in the US for two additional days to address all outstanding demands.

“I would say it’s probably more likely that a deal does happen,” Trump told reporters on Friday, during an Oval Office meeting with Liu and other members of both the US and Chinese trade delegations.


Banning Islamic Books, Closing Schools Comes to Hebei


Not only Muslims in Xinjiang face persecution. China cracks down on Muslims near Beijing, targets mosque for women, as faithful hide their precious books. Bitter Winter has reported repeatedly about the brutal suppression of Muslims in Xinjiang. Now reports are coming in that believers in Islam, too, are being targeted in areas far from Xinjiang. An imam in Hebei Province’s Qinhuangdao city received a notice in December 2018 from a local government department that any books without a government-approved International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN) are not allowed to be placed in mosques, they must be collected and destroyed.

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‘We’re Very Sexy People’: How the U.S. Miscalculated Its Allure to China


On February 17, 1979 a substantial Chinese military force, eventually numbering more than half a million combatants, crossed China’s border with Vietnam. The rugged terrain favored the defenders: The Chinese had to hack their way through the dense jungle in the hope of forcing a showdown with the hidden enemy. After days of heavy fighting against well-trained Vietnamese militias and battle-hardened regular troops, China’s People’s Liberation Army (P.L.A.) captured three regional capitals. On March 5, the Chinese declared victory and began to withdraw. By March 16, the brief war was over. But hostility and border tensions continued until the early 1990s.

The Sino-Vietnamese War is rarely remembered or discussed today. Compared to the earlier, much longer, and far more brutal American war in Vietnam, the month-long affair comes across as just another bizarre twist in the long, complex history of Southeast Asia. But 40 years ago, the war appeared to herald a tectonic shift in regional and global politics and helped forge a close, more trusting relationship between the leader of the free world and the world’s largest autocracy.

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Billionaire Wins Defamation Case Against Australian Media Group

A billionaire businessman won a defamation case on Friday against a media organization that he claimed had wrongly linked him to a bribery case that implicated a former president of the United Nations General Assembly.The businessman, Chau Chak Wing, a well-connected political donor in Australia, was awarded 280,000 Australian dollars ($200,000) in damages in the verdict against Fairfax Media and the journalist John Garnaut. Fairfax said it was appealing the decision.

In an October 2015 article, the Sydney Morning Herald, a Fairfax newspaper, reported Mr. Chau’s supposed connection with an international bribery scandal involving John Ashe, a former president of the United Nations General Assembly. The article was published around the time that American prosecutors charged that Mr. Ashe had accepted bribes from Chinese businessmen to support their interests at the United Nations and Mr. Ashe’s native Antigua. Mr. Ashe died in 2016.



lørdag 16. februar 2019

Picking flowers, making honey: The Chinese military’s collaboration with foreign universities.


China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is expanding its research collaboration with universities outside of China. Since 2007, the PLA has sponsored more than 2,500 military scientists and engineers to study abroad and has developed relationships with researchers and institutions across the globe.This collaboration is highest in the Five Eyes countries, Germany and Singapore, and is often unintentionally supported by taxpayer funds.2 Australia has been engaged in the highest level of PLA collaboration among Five Eyes countries per capita, at six times the level in the US. Nearly all PLA scientists sent abroad are Chinese Communist Party (CCP) members who return to China on time.

Dozens of PLA scientists have obscured their military affiliations to travel to Five Eyes countries and the European Union, including at least 17 to Australia, where they work in areas such as hypersonic missiles and navigation technology. Those countries don’t count China as a security ally but rather treat it as one of their main intelligence adversaries.


Hur Kinas militär skickar forskare till svenska universitet

I det aktuella numret av Universitetsläraren skriver jag långt om en mycket aktuell fråga. Nämligen hur Kinas militär skickar ut forskare och ingenjörer till universitet världen över, i syfte att förbättra militärens stridsförmåga med sina nya kunskaper när de väl återvänder till Kina. Detta ämne har debatterats flitigts sedan Alex Joske vid Australian Strategic Policy Institute i oktober i fjol publicerade reapporten ”Picking flowers, making honey”. Där fastslås hur Kinas militär under det senaste årtiondet skickat minst 2 500 forskare utomlands i detta syfte.

Min artikel har denna rapport som utgångspunkt, med särskilt fokus på Sverige. Förutom Alex Joske och en akademiker vid namn Kevin Carrico som följer ämnet noga, så intervjuar jag även rektorer eller andra företrädare vid Karolinska Institutet, Lund Universitet och Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan. Sverige är nämligen överrepresenterat när det gäller samarbeten med forskare från Kinas militär. Under 2017 – som är det sista helåret rapporten dokumenterar – låg svenska universitet sexa i världen vad gäller samarbete med Kinas militär.

The dawn of the little red smartphone and China’s digital dictatorship


On January 25, all seven members of China’s elite Politburo Standing Committee, including President Xi Jinping, gathered at the headquarters of the flagship People’s Daily newspaper to underline the importance of “convergence media” and digital media development as a means of strengthening the Party’s dominance of ideas and information.

Xi Jinping told those present that the Party “must utilise the fruits of the information revolution to promote deep development of convergence media.” The objective was to “build up mainstream public opinion” — meaning, of course, Party-led public opinion — and to “consolidate the shared ideological foundation underpinning the concerted efforts of the entire Party and all the Chinese people.”


China and U.S. to Continue Trade Talks Next Week


United States officials said on Friday that they had made “progress” during a week of trade talks with their Chinese counterparts, but big sticking points remain and the two sides plan to continue negotiations +next week in Washington to try to end the trade war. The United States and China are trying to reach an agreement ahead of a March 2 deadline, when President Trump has threatened to raise tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25 percent from 10 percent. On Friday, Mr. Trump suggested for the second time in a week that he would push the deadline back if the two sides were edging closer to a deal.

“There is a possibility that I will extend the date,” Mr. Trump said during remarks at the White House, noting the complexity of the negotiations. “I will do that at the same tariffs we are at now; I would not increase the tariffs.”


Top Chinese Director Zhang Yimou Withdraws Film From Berlin Festival


Acclaimed Chinese director Zhang Yimou has withdrawn his entry to the Berlin International Film Festival, amid an ever-tightening climate of censorship under the ruling Chinese Communist Party in Beijing. Zhang's latest movie, "One Second," was originally scheduled for screening on Friday, according to an announcement on the festival's official website. "Due to technical difficulties encountered during post-production, Yi miao zhong (One Second) by Zhang Yimou unfortunately cannot be presented on Feb. 15," the announcement said.

However, the movie's Sina Weibo account announced on Feb. 1 that it would be shown in China, the Global Times newspaper, sister paper to Communist Party mouthpiece the People's Daily, reported. "Many Chinese netizens were disappointed with its removal, but looking forward to its release in China," the paper said.

Sweden Replaces China Envoy After Article by Detained Bookseller's Daughter

Sweden's foreign ministry has recalled its ambassador to China after she was accused of holding a meeting with the daughter of detained Hong Kong bookseller Gui Minhai without official authorization. Ambassador Anna Lindstedt returned to Sweden to face an investigation after Angela Gui published an account of the meeting on the blogging platform Medium.com.

An interim envoy has been sent to Beijing in her stead, the ministry said in a statement. In her article, Gui recounted "a very strange experience in Stockholm" after she was contacted by Lindstedt, who set up a meeting with two unnamed businessmen to discuss her father's case. "What I thought was going to be a meeting about the Swedish government’s latest efforts to win my father’s release turned out to something quite different," she wrote, detailing a meeting in which her movements were restricted to a hotel VIP lounge.

Chinese Newspapers Fold Amid Growing Censorship, Falling Incomes

More than a dozen newspapers have shut down in China since the beginning of the year, amid falling advertising revenues and ever tightening censorship by the ruling Chinese Communist Party. At least 13 newspapers that rely on advertising revenue but are still subject to the government's strict censorship regime have folded, including the Beijing Morning Post, the Beijing Suburban Daily and the Heilongjiang Morning News, official party newspaper The People's Daily reported. The Anyang Evening News and Zhangzhou Evening News titles have also been suspended.

Analysts told RFA that as commercial newspapers are increasingly squeezed by growing controls on what they can print on the one hand, and falling revenues and competition from social media on the other, government-run media are experiencing a huge boost resulting from their whitelisted status.

Wallström: Vi hade ingen information om mötet med Kina

UD hade inget med det kontroversiella mötet mellan Sveriges Kinaambassadör Anna Lindstedt och den frihetsberövade svensk-kinesiske bokförläggaren Gui Minhais dotter Angela Gui att göra. Det sa utrikesminister Margot Wallström på fredagen.

China's most popular app brings Xi Jinping to your pocket

An app produced by the Chinese government has become the most popular in the country, rocketing up through the charts with a little help from the Chinese Communist Party. The app’s name “Study (Xi) Strong Country”, is a pun – Xuexi being the word for “study” but also containing the president’s name, suggesting users are to “study Xi”.

The little red app is all-encompassing, allowing users to see state media news reports, video chat with their friends, make a personal schedule and send “red envelopes” of money to friends. The app comes with a Snapchat-like messaging function where messages disappear after being read. But perhaps among its most important functions is that it can help users brush up on Xi Jinping’s thought.


torsdag 14. februar 2019

Torbjørn Færøvik: Styres Huawei av kommunistpartiet?


Styres Huawei, Kinas mye omtalte telegigant, av landets mektige kommunistparti? Nei, svarer selskapets ledelse. Andre er ikke fullt så sikre. Derfor sier viktige land som USA, Canada, Australia og India nei til Huawei-deltakelse i utbyggingen av sine planlagte 5G-nettverk. Tyskland og Storbritannia kan komme til å gjøre det samme, og kanskje også Norge. Svaret får vi om noen måneder.

Swedish ambassador to China under investigation after bizarre incident recounted by Angela Gui


Swedish citizen and seller of books that Chinese leader Xi Jinping doesn’t like, Guì Mǐnhǎi 桂敏海, was detained by authorities in China a little over a year ago. He was never charged with a crime, and Sweden has had no success in negotiating for his release. Recently, things got weird. Angela Gui, the detainee’s daughter, writes on Medium, “I had a very strange experience in Stockholm two weeks ago.”

According to Gui, the Swedish ambassador to China, Anna Lindstedt, appeared to commission two businessmen to negotiate Gui Minhai’s case on the Swedish foreign ministry’s behalf. Her interaction with the ambassador and the unnamed businessmen in Stockholm in late January struck her as very odd, and is described in detail in the post. “There was a lot of wine, a lot of people, and a lot of increasingly strange questions,” she comments. 

It got weirder: “When I rang up officials at the Ministry the following week, they told me they hadn’t had the slightest idea this whole affair was taking place.”

Sweden is now “reportedly investigating its ambassador” in the wake of the incident, according to Business Insider

Huawei, US-China tensions and West’s 5G fears on the agenda as Beijing joins security talks

China’s most senior diplomat is expected to try to assuage Western cybersecurity fears at a top gathering in Germany on Friday, analysts said.  State Councillor Yang Jiechi will be confronted by the US and its allies on issues including Venezuela, Iran and Chinese technology giant Huawei’s part in developing 5G networks at the three-day Munich Security Conference.

With a trade conflict and a military rivalry between Beijing and Washington simmer in the background, conference organisers expect 35 heads of government and heads of state, and 50 foreign and defence ministers, including an American delegation with Vice-President Mike Pence, to attend. Yang, a member of the Communist Party’s Politburo, will represent China at the conference, which he last attended in 2015. Last year’s conference was attended by Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Man vs machine: China’s workforce starting to feel the strain from threat of robotic automation

Around 100 million workers are employed in China’s manufacturing industry, with data from the National Bureau of Statistics showing manufacturing accounted for about 30 per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product in the first three quarters of 2018. 

As part of its effort to upgrade its manufacturing sector, the Chinese government started a campaign in 2014 with the overall aim gradually replace manual labour with robots, with the heavily industrialised provinces of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong among those introducing the new technology on a massive scale.

How the fear of losing ‘face’ can help more Chinese tourists behave better abroad

In 2017, mainland Chinese made more than 130 million outbound trips, a 7 per cent increase from 2016. The Chinese government is aware of the negative image of Chinese tourists and has become concerned about the wider impact on the image of the country. It began to roll out measures to try to change this public perception. In 2013, it issued guidelines for “civilised travel” for its citizens. In 2015, the now dissolved China National Tourism Administration published a blacklist of travellers guilty of uncivilised behaviour to name and shame them. The administration, now merged into the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, encouraged Chinese citizens to take photos or videos of any inappropriate behaviour they spotted and pass it on to the authorities.

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