søndag 20. august 2017

Chinese state media revel in Donald Trump's Charlottesville woes

Donald Trump swept to power vowing to make America not only great again but also strong, wealthy, proud and safe.  Pick up a Chinese newspaper this week, though, and you will find the state of Trump’s nation being described in rather less triumphalist terms. Since the deadly terrorist attack on anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville, coverage of the US in China’s Communist party-controlled press has been peppered with four words: turmoil, chaos, mayhem and conflict.

“We are not China’s colony” says Botswana over a controversial Dalai Lama visit

Botswana president wants you to know that he is not intimidated by China. Ian Khama, president of the diamond-rich nation of less than two million people, stood up to the global power over the Dalai Lama’s planned visit to his county this week. “We are not your colony,” was the money quote of Khama’s account of his diplomatic standoff with China in recent weeks. The Dalai Lama was set to visit the capital Gaborone for Aug. 17 to 19, as part of what Botswana officials dubbed a “purely private” visit organized by the NGO Mind and Life Institute and the Botho University. Still, Khama was set to meet with the spiritual leader, riling the Chinese.

Censorship and China Studies

Academics involved with the China Quarterly (CQ), and colleagues in the China Studies field, are aghast at the demands from the Chinese authorities to remove published academic content from the Cambridge University Press (CUP) website in China. In my opinion, it is a needless overreach of the country’s authoritarian information order. My view is also that CUP’s decision to accede to the demands is a misguided, if understandable, economic decision that does harm to the Press’ reputation and integrity (whether there is any integrity in the business of academic publishing is another story).

A new torture in China

In China, we say that for a person meditating in a cave, a day passes as though it were a thousand years; it is like paradise. And where did I experience paradise? In there in the detention centre, being tortured. A day was like a thousand years. That’s how it felt. The disturbingly aged and altered face of the human rights lawyer sharing this observation gave me a sense of what he had been through during his most recent detention, and what colleagues who remained ‘in there,’ including Jiang Tianyong and Wang Quanzhang, might still be suffering.

What the Djibouti military base tells us about China’s growing role in Africa

China hasn’t been known for establishing military bases in Africa – or even beyond its immediate sphere of influence. This is changing following its decision to build a military base in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. The base will be next door to the United States Africa Command. China will be able to use the base to improve the way it manages its peacekeeping operations and humanitarian efforts in Africa, as well as its regional maritime operations.
How should this be understood in terms of China’s global positioning? And what are the implications of its expanding military footprint in Africa? The brief answer is that there has not been a sudden change in China’s role and foreign policy profile on the continent. Instead, the change has been gradual and incremental. This is particularly evident from an international peacekeeping perspective.

lørdag 19. august 2017

Indian video mocks Xi Jinping after Chinese state media posts 'racist' clip

It's a sight you'd expect to see in a colonial-era comedy act or a bad improvisation on the darkest corners of YouTube. A video of a man wearing a turban and fake beard attempting a crude impression of an Indian was posted Wednesday on several verified social media channels operated by official Chinese news agency Xinhua News. Entitled "7 Sins of India," the 3 minute 20 second clip appears intended to attack India's actions in an ongoing border dispute between the two neighboring countries. Retaliation from across the border was quick -- Indian media released its own video Friday, an animation showing Chinese president Xi Jinping dancing to Gangnam Style while dressed as Winnie the Pooh.

Indians decry 'racist' Chinese video on Bhutan border standoff

Indians have reacted with bemusement and outrage at a “racist” video posted online by Chinese state media, as a highly charged border dispute between the two countries enters its third month. The Chinese state broadcaster Xinhua published a video on Wednesday highlighting India’s “seven sins” in relation to a standoff between the countries’ armies at the Bhutan-China border. The turbaned character in the video mocks India’s reaction to the Chinese roadwork, which he likens to someone “building a path in his garden”. It portrays Bhutan, which asked Delhi for military assistance to repel the Chinese, as an unwilling participant in the conflict and a victim of Indian bullying.

Hong Kong urged to free jailed pro-democracy protesters in open letter

Prominent political and legal figures around the world have condemned the “outrageously unjust” imprisonment of three of Hong Kong’s best-known pro-democracy activists, calling on China to immediately free the “political prisoners”. Joshua Wong, Nathan Law and Alex Chow – three leaders of 2014’s umbrella movement demonstrationswere jailed for between six and eight months on Thursday for their involvement in an “unlawful assembly” at the start of that historic 79-day civil disobedience campaign.

Liu Xia appears for first time since husband Liu Xiaobo's funeral

The widow of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo has appeared for the first time since her husband’s funeral in an online video in which she said she was recuperating and asked for time to mourn. Liu Xia had been under effective house arrest since her husband, a prominent dissident since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, won the Nobel prize in 2010. He died on 13 July after being denied permission to leave the country for treatment of late-stage liver cancer.

Harald Stanghelle: Denne grå sommeren har vi mistet noe av oss selv. Vi er skremt til taushet

Under et pressetreff på Restaurant Blom på østsiden av Pollen, ville Dagens Næringsliv vite hvordan Solberg syntes det fremsto at hun hadde gjort seg svært så tilgjengelig med pressetreff utenfor statsministerboligen da favorittartisten Prince døde ifjor sommer, mens hun var ganske så utilgjengelig da verden ble en fredsprisvinner fattigere ved Liu Xiaobos død. «Å feriere synes jeg er en menneskerett også for norske politikere», var Erna Solbergs forsvar for tausheten. Menneskerett, javel, men hva da med de menneskerettene Kina nektet Liu Xiaobo på dødsleiet, ble statsministeren videre spurt.

Det beste som kan sies om Erna Solbergs svar, er at det var en tåkefyrste verdig. Meget omhyggelig passet statsministeren på ikke å ta Liu Xiaobos navn i sin munn. Han er blitt en ikke-person for den norske regjeringen. Lik den onde fyrst Voldemort i Harry Potter-universet er den døde demokratikjempen blitt «Han-hvis-navn-ikke-må-nevnes».

Cambridge University Press accused of 'selling its soul' over Chinese censorship

The world’s oldest publishing house, Cambridge University Press, has been accused of being an accomplice to the Communist party’s bid to whitewash Chinese history after it agreed to purge hundreds of politically-sensitive articles from its Chinese website at the behest of Beijing’s censors. The publisher confirmed on Friday that it had complied with a Chinese request to block more than 300 articles from the China Quarterly, a leading China studies journal, in order “to ensure that other academic and educational materials we publish remain available to researchers and educators” in China.

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Cambridge University Press limits access to articles in China
Forced to comply or shut down, Cambridge University Press’s China Quarterly removes 300 articles in China

Revealed: Wen Jiabao's family is behind Cambridge University professorship

A charity that gave £3.7 million to Cambridge University to endow a professorship for Chinese development studies is run by members of the family of the country’s former prime minister, Wen Jiabao, according to a well-placed source in Beijing. The donation from the Chong Hua Foundation in January 2012 raises serious questions over whether Beijing is buying influence at one of Britain’s most important universities, with one academic accusing it of allowing the Chinese government “to appoint a professor at Cambridge”.

Cambridge University had previously denied that Chong Hua has links to the Chinese government, but new information recently received by The Telegraph indicates that the foundation is controlled by Wen Ruchun, the daughter of China’s former prime minister.

fredag 18. august 2017

Do US-South Korean war games risk escalating North Korea crisis?

To critics, they're a needless provocation. To advocates, an essential way to get troops combat ready. The US and South Korean militaries begin war games next week at a time of unprecedented tensions with North Korea. The exercises are held twice yearly, typically incurring the wrath of Pyongyang, which views them as a show of aggression. Kim Jong Un appeared to reference the joint drills Tuesday, saying he would "watch" US actions "a little more" before making a decision whether to launch missiles into the waters around Guam -- a plan that was outlined last week as US and North Korea traded increasingly hostile rhetoric.

Trump has a small window to deal with North Korea

How did it come to this? Kim Jong Un, an unstable and unpredictable dictator, is able to threaten the United States of America with what appears to be a viable nuclear weapon. Is this a failure of intelligence? Or is it a failure of world leaders, the United Nations and the UN Security Council in stopping nuclear proliferation? Whatever the reason, it has set an alarming precedent and does not bode well for those who fear Iran and other global "destabilizers" obtaining "the bomb".

China moves to curb overseas acquisitions as firms' debt levels rise

The Chinese government has served notice on the country’s foreign investment spree in football clubs, skyscrapers and Hollywood as it moves to curb rising levels of debt among domestic companies. The announcement of restrictions in a range of sectors follows a buying spree around the globe during which Chinese firms and business tycoons have taken control of assets including Legendary Entertainment, the US film producer behind Jurassic World and Warcraft, buildings such as the Cheesegrater in London, and English football clubs including Southampton and Aston Villa.

The curbs were announced in a document released on Friday by the state council, China’s cabinet, in the latest move to halt a string of foreign acquisitions. This week the International Monetary Fund described China’s credit-fuelled economic strategy as dangerous, in a strongly worded statement warning that the country’s approach risks financial turmoil.

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Hong Kong jailings could lend democracy cause greater legitimacy

For Hong Kong’s embattled democracy movement the 20th anniversary of the UK’s handover to China has been nothing short of an annus horribilis. But on Thursday afternoon, just minutes after the former British colony’s high court had transformed him into one of the city’s first prisoners of conscience, Joshua Wong struck a decidedly an upbeat tone. “See you soon,” the 20-year-old protest leader tweeted after he and two friends, Nathan Law and Alex Chow, were jailed for their role in launching 2014’s umbrella movement, a historic 79-day occupation that drew hundreds of thousands of young people out on to the streets.

Hong Kong democracy campaigners jailed over anti-China protests

Hong Kong’s democracy movement has suffered the latest setback in what has been a punishing year after three of its most influential young leaders were jailed for their roles in a protest at the start of a 79-day anti-government occupation known as the umbrella movement.

torsdag 17. august 2017

Torbjørn Færøvik: To lands smertefulle fødsel

Jubileer kan være så smertefulle at de pisker opp gammelt hat. Som når India og Pakistan denne uka markerer sine første 70 år som frie land. Igjen går politikere og andre på barrikadene, og fortidens skrekkbilder flimrer på TV-skjermene fra Peshawar i vest til Calcutta i øst.

India og Pakistan ble uavhengige natten til den 15. august 1947. I New Delhi holdt statsminister Jawaharlal Nehru en tale som ennå siteres: «På slaget midnatt, mens verden sover, skal India våkne til liv og frihet … En ny stjerne reiser seg, en frihetens stjerne i Østen, et nytt håp fødes, en lenge etterlengtet drøm blir virkelighet.»

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