søndag 23. juli 2017

China clamping down on use of VPNs to evade Great Firewall


China is tightening control over foreign companies' internet use in a move some worry might disrupt their operations or jeopardize trade secrets as part of a crackdown on technology that allows web surfers to evade Beijing's online censorship.


In a letter to corporate customers seen by The Associated Press, the biggest Chinese internet service provider says virtual private networks, which create encrypted links between computers and can be used to see sites blocked by Beijing's web filters, will be permitted only to connect to a company's headquarters abroad. The letter from state-owned China Telecom Ltd. says VPN users are barred from linking to other sites outside China, a change that might block access to news, social media or business services that are obscured by its "Great Firewall."

The growing resentment and resistance among poor Pakistanis can cost China dearly

In Pakistan, there’s no topic hotter than the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a multi-billion dollar bilateral development projectthat will officials promised in 2015, “usher in an era of unprecedented progress and prosperity.” The CPEC is not only Pakistan’s first big injection of foreign direct investment in a while, its focus on energy development is also desperately needed in a country that has suffered worsening energy shortages for two decades.

Liu Xiaobo, 1955-2017: A ChinaFile Conversation


When news this morning reached us that Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo had died, we invited all past contributors to the ChinaFile Conversation to reflect on his life and on his death. Liu died, still in state-custody, eight years into his 11-year sentence for “inciting subversion of state power” through his writing. He was suffering from late-stage liver cancer, and had requested the opportunity to travel overseas to receive treatment. Chinese authorities denied that request. This week our Conversation is an open platform for reflections on Liu’s writing, his place in history, his treatment by the Chinese state, and his legacy, as well as for reminiscences of a more personal nature.

'You would have to be a lunatic': Tourists to North Korea describe risks and rewards

James left North Korea this year with smuggled currency, stamps and a poster of “the great leader,” Kim Il Sung, that he bought on the black market. Months later, James’s fellow American, Otto Warmbier, died after suffering from a mysterious brain injury while in detention in North Korea, accused of stealing a propaganda poster from a hotel. The US State Department has long recommended against travel to North Korea, but Warmbier’s death prompted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to authorize his department to block Americans from traveling to the country. The ban was announced on Friday and could go into effect as soon as late August.

Hawaii prepares for ‘unlikely’ North Korea missile threat


Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile strike from North Korea. The state’s Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign about what to do. Hawaii lawmakers have been urging emergency management officials to update Cold War-era plans for coping with a nuclear attack as North Korea develops nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that can reach the islands.

Starting in November, Hawaii will begin monthly tests of an “attack-warning” siren the state hasn’t heard since the end of the Cold War in the 1980s. The wailing siren will be tested on the first working day of each month, after a test of an “attention-alert” steady tone siren with which residents are already familiar. Informational brochures, along with TV, radio and internet announcements will help educate the public about the new siren sound and provide preparedness guidance. “If they’re not educated, they could actually be frightened by it,” agency Executive Director Toby Clairmont said of needing several months to introduce the new siren.


US bans travel for Americans to NKorea after Warmbier death

American citizens will be barred by the U.S. from traveling to North Korea beginning next month following a prohibition on using U.S. passports to enter the country, the State Department said Friday. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson decided to impose a “geographical travel restriction” on North Korea following the death last month of American university student Otto Warmbier, who fell into a coma while in North Korean custody. The ban also comes amid heightened U.S. concern about Pyongyang’s recent advancements in its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs.
Figures on how many Americans visit North Korea are difficult for even the U.S. government to obtain. But Simon Cockerell of the Koryo Group, one of the leading organizers of guided tours to the country, said 800 to 1,000 Americans go annually and will be affected.

lørdag 22. juli 2017

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

China and the United States are headed toward a war neither wants. The reason is Thucydides’s Trap, a deadly pattern of structural stress that results when a rising power challenges a ruling one. 

This phenomenon is as old as history itself. About the Peloponnesian War that devastated ancient Greece, the historian Thucydides explained: “It was the rise of Athens and the fear that this instilled in Sparta that made war inevitable.” Over the past 500 years, these conditions have occurred 16 times. War broke out in 12 of them. Today, as an unstoppable China approaches an immovable America and both Xi Jinping and Donald Trump promise to make their countries “great again,” the 17th case looks grim. Unless China is willing to scale back its ambitions or Washington can accept becoming number two in the Pacific, a trade conflict, cyberattack, or accident at sea could soon escalate into all-out war.

In Destined for War, the eminent Harvard scholar Graham Allison explains why Thucydides’s Trap is the best lens for understanding U.S.-China relations in the 21st century. Through uncanny historical parallels and war scenarios, he shows how close we are to the unthinkable. Yet, stressing that war is not inevitable, Allison also reveals how clashing powers have kept the peace in the past—and what painful steps the United States and China must take to avoid disaster today.


Widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo ‘should be able to leave China’ if she chooses, says UN human rights chief


UN rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said Thursday he plans to meet with Chinese officials to push for assurances that the widow of late dissident Liu Xiaobo will be allowed to leave China. Zeid came under fierce criticism from Beijing for his tribute to the Nobel laureate as a “principled champion” who “was jailed for standing up for his beliefs.”

In China, Despair for Cause of Democracy After Nobel Laureate’s Death

For years, the fiery band of activists pushing for democracy in China looked to Liu Xiaobo, the jailed Nobel Peace laureate, as a source of inspiration. They created social media groups devoted to his iconoclastic poetry. They held up his photos at rallies, demanding justice and transparency. But Mr. Liu’s death last week of liver cancer, after a final, futile attempt by friends to bring about his release, has dealt a withering blow to the pro-democracy movement. Some say it is now at its weakest point since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.

China will import American rice for the first time


The world's largest rice producer is hungry for more and looking to the U.S. for supplies. China will import American rice for the first time after a new trade deal was agreed to Thursday. "The agreement with China has been in the works for more than a decade and I'm pleased to see it finally come to fruition, especially knowing how greatly it will benefit our growers and industry," said U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue in a statement. China produces 20 times more rice than the U.S., but it's also the world's biggest consumer. Recently it has been buying more rice abroad, spending way over $1 billion in some years, to feed its population.

North Korea conducts public executions for theft, watching South Korea media: report

North Korea carries out public executions on river banks and at school grounds and marketplaces for charges such as stealing copper from factory machines, distributing media from South Korea and prostitution, a report issued on Wednesday said. The report, by a Seoul-based non-government group, said the often extra-judicial decisions for public executions are frequently influenced by "bad" family background or a government campaign to discourage certain behavior.

North Korea facing its worst drought since 2001, UN warns

North Korea is heading for its worst drought since 2001, the United Nations has warned, raising the possibility of increased food shortages in the rogue state. "More rains are urgently needed to avoid significant decreases in the main 2017 cereal production season," a report by the UN Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) said Thursday. "Should drought conditions persist, the food security situation is likely to further deteriorate."

North Korea is still recovering from a deadly famine in the late 1990s, and the UN's World Food Programme estimates 70% of the country's 25 million people still don't eat a "sufficiently diverse diet."


fredag 21. juli 2017

China unveils plans for world's first pollution-eating 'Forest City'

China is no stranger to contemporary architecture that boggles the mind or appears to side-step common sense, from an LED-lit horseshoe in Huzhou to a glowing teapot in Wuxi. But in 2016, China's State Council released guidelines forbidding the construction of "bizarre" and "odd-shaped" buildings lacking character or cultural heritage, shifting their focus to the "economic, green and beautiful."

Newly unveiled plans for Liuzhou Forest City, designed by the Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti to be built in southern China, certainly seem to fit the bill. The 342-acre, self-contained neighborhood will comprise more than 70 buildings -- including homes, hospitals, hotels, schools and offices -- all of which will be covered with 40,000 trees and almost a million plants. Eventually, up to 30,000 people could call the Forest City home.

Why India and Pakistan hate each other



Every afternoon at sunset, at a point midway along the arrow-straight road between Amritsar and Lahore, rival squads of splendidly uniformed soldiers strut and stomp a 17th-century British military drill known as Beating Retreat (pictured). Barked commands, fierce glares and preposterously high kicks all signal violent intent. But then, lovingly and in unison, the enemies lower their national flags. Opposing guardsmen curtly shake hands, and the border gates roll shut for the night.

Read more

China's Belt and Road Comes to Nepal


The Belt and Road could help Nepal reduce its economic dependence on India. Read more

Kinesiska förläggare ville stoppa Gui Minhai-nominering


Den svenske författaren Gui Minhai har suttit fängslad utan rättegång i Kina sedan han greps i sitt hem i Pattaya, Thailand, hösten 2015. Gripandet sammanföll med ett tillslag mot författare och förläggare som sålt regimkritisk litteratur från en bokhandel i Hong Kong, men från kinesiskt håll menar man att Minhai självmant återvänt till landet för att sona ett gammalt brott. I juni nominerades Gui Minhai till tryckfrihetspriset Prix Voltaire, som delas ut årligen av IPA (International publishers association). Men bara timmar innan nomineringarna skulle offentliggöras krävde Kinas förläggareförening att Gui Minhais namn skulle strykas från listan.

China's navy expands reach: Ships in Baltic for drills with Russia

One of China's most-advanced warships is leading a small flotilla to the Baltic Sea, where it will engage in exercises with the Russian Navy. The Russian and Chinese defense ministries have confirmed the participation of a Chinese guided-missile destroyer in the week-long war games, the first-ever joint operation by the two powers in European waters, according to a report on the People's Liberation Army's official website. Training will include anti-submarine warfare and air defense drills, the Russian Ministry of Defense said. Russian naval facilities in the enclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between NATO allies Poland and Lithuania, have been selected as the headquarters for the exercise.

Exclusive: Jared Kushner's White House connection still being used to lure Chinese investors


Jared Kushner's status as a top aide to President Donald Trump was used to lure Chinese investors to his family's New Jersey development, even after his family's company apologized for mentioning his name during a sales pitch in May, CNN has found. References to Kushner are part of online promotions by two businesses that are working with Kushner Companies to find Chinese investors willing to invest in the 1 Journal Square development in exchange for a US visa. The promotions are posted in Chinese and refer to Kushner Companies as "real estate heavyweights," going on to mention "the celebrity of the family is 30-something 'Mr. Perfect' Jared Kushner, who once served as CEO of Kushner Companies."