lørdag 16. juli 2016

The Specter of the Cultural Revolution

A specter is haunting China – the specter of the Cultural Revolution. As China marks the 50th anniversary of this seminal event, its supporters have begun to resurface, raising fears among some of a resurrection of this brutal episode that took or disrupted millions of lives.

Chinese leader Mao Zedong launched the Cultural Revolution in May 1966 as a series of violent political campaigns, aiming to purge his enemies and to establish a Millennium Dynasty centered on his personal cult with absolute power and absolute truth. In the tears-and-blood-shedding decade that followed, the country was turned into a meat grinder, as sanguinary as the Dark Age. The major social experiments during the time were not utopian fantasies but unforgiven crimes. Mao’s demise in September 1976 and the subsequent arrest of his wife and adherents, the “Gang of Four,” finally brought the chaos to an end. Read more

South China Sea: China's charm offensive in the foreign media

With an international court set to rule on China's territorial claims in the disputed South China Sea, Chinese ambassadors have been on a flurry of charm offensives in foreign media over the last few months. It is widely expected that the ruling in the case brought by the Philippines will go against China, but that hasn't stopped its ambassadors making a push to convince the world that China is in the right.

English-language state media has released cutesy English-language videos discussing the history of the area and has entire website sections dedicated to analysis and discussion of the issue.But over the last few months, Chinese ambassadors across the world have been targeting the foreign press as well, writing signed articles in national newspapers to put forward China's case. Read more

EU's statement on South China Sea reflects divisions

The European Union issued a statement on Friday noting China's legal defeat over the South China Sea but avoided direct reference to Beijing, reflecting discord among EU governments over how strongly to respond to the court ruling. While the European Union is neutral in China's dispute with its Asian neighbors in the South China Sea, Britain, France and Germany want to make clear that Beijing must uphold international law as it seeks a bigger global role. But speaking with one European voice has become difficult as some smaller governments, including Hungary and Greece, rely on Chinese investment and are unwilling to criticize Beijing despite its militarization of South China Sea islands. Read more

'Freed' Chinese human rights activist Zhao Wei still missing, says husband

The mystery surrounding the fate of a young Chinese activist entangled in a major human rights crackdown has grown after her husband was unable to locate her despite police claims she had been freed from detention. Zhao Wei, a 24-year-old legal assistant, was taken into secret detention in July 2015 at the start of a government offensive against human rights lawyers. On 7 July this year police said Zhao, an employee of the prominent human rights lawyer Li Heping, who was also detained last year but remains in custody, had been released on bail as a result of her “confession” to unnamed offences. Read more

South China Sea: Marise Payne says Julie Bishop right to warn Beijing

The defence minister, Marise Payne, has supported Julie Bishop’s comments that China’s reputation will suffer if it ignores an international court ruling on the South China SeaShe said the foreign minister’s assertion that the court ruling was binding was “completely consistent” with Australia’s historical position, and called on all parties involved in the dispute to “abide by the ruling”. “We regard it as final, and as binding,” Payne said on Friday. Read more

Hong Kong Says Legislative Candidates Must Endorse Chinese Ru

The Hong Kong government said on Thursday that candidates for the legislature must acknowledge the semiautonomous city as an “inalienable part” of China and faced possible criminal penalties if they did not uphold the pledge. Some scholars and lawmakers said the announcement, made days before nominations open for a legislative election in September, could harm political freedoms guaranteed under Hong Kong law. Hong Kong, a former British colony that returned to Chinese control in 1997, maintains much of its own legal and economic system. But after 2047, that model of “one country, two systems” will expire, and many worry it is already eroding under increasing pressure from mainland China. Read more

Liberal Chinese Journal, Claiming Interference by Overseers, Files Lawsuit

A liberal Chinese journal whose publisher and top editors were dismissed or demoted this week says it is fighting back with a lawsuit. On Tuesday, the Chinese National Academy of Arts, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Culture and oversees the monthly journal, Yanhuang Chunqiu, announced on the publication’s website that it was removing Du Daozheng, its founding publisher, because Mr. Du, 93, is “in his advanced years.” He will be replaced by Jia Leilei, a deputy director of the academy. The academy also demoted the journal’s chief editor, Xu Qingquan, to deputy editor and replaced him with Hao Qingjun, a deputy researcher on literature at the academy. Four other people from the academy were assigned to top editorial positions. Read more

torsdag 14. juli 2016

China Pledged to Curb Coal Plants. Greenpeace Says It’s Still Adding Them.

The Chinese government is trying to slow down the approval of new coal-fired power plants because of overcapacity, but projects already in the pipeline, as well as loopholes in policy, mean China is on track to add an average of one new coal-fired plant a week until 2020, according to a report released on Wednesday by Greenpeace East Asia.

The construction boom would result in about 400 gigawatts of excess capacity and would waste more than one trillion renminbi, or $150 billion, on building unneeded plants, the report said. China now has 910 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity and is expected to retire 70 gigawatts of that. The new construction means the country would increase capacity at a time when additional coal-fired power is not needed, Greenpeace said. Read more  Report on China's Coal Power Projects

South China Sea: China may establish air defense zone after losing court ruling

China said Wednesday it has the right to set up an air defense zone in the hotly disputed South China Sea, a day after a landmark court ruling against Beijing's claims in the contested waters. Liu Zhenmin, China's vice foreign minister, told a press conference in Beijing that China's sovereignty over the bulk of the South China Sea wouldn't be affected by a decision by the International Court for Arbitration, which went overwhelmingly in favor of the Philippines. Read more

'We won't have to live in fear anymore': readers on the South China Sea ruling

"I applaud this decision. It tosses out China’s ludicrous claim over almost all of the disputed waters and recognises the Philippines’ sovereign right to administer its own exclusive economic zone in what we call the West Philippine Sea. I worry, however, that China will become more bellicose in the wake of this decision and flex its military muscles more visibly, prompting the US to do the same, which could lead to heightened tensions in the region. I’m also concerned about Duterte’s seemingly pro-China stance and his desire to acquiesce to China’s demands for bilateral talks." Read more

South China Sea dispute: what you need to know about The Hague court ruling

Control of the South China Sea is the most contentious and explosive diplomatic issue in east Asia, with China asserting sovereignty over maritime areas that span 3.5m square kilometres but are also claimed by Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia, Brunei, the Philippines and Japan. Washington has become deeply involved, backing those against China and conducting military patrols.

Although the case was raised by the Philippines, it will affect all these countries as it effectively punches a series of holes in China’s all-encompassing “nine-dash” demarcation line, a dotted marker in Chinese maps that stretches deep into the South China Sea. It effectively declares large areas of the sea to be neutral international waters. Read more

Philippines urges Beijing to respect South China Sea ruling

The Philippines has urged Beijing to respect an international tribunal’s ruling that rejected Chinese claims to most of the South China Sea as both countries prepare to attend a regional summit. The Philippine foreign secretary, Perfecto Yasay, will attend the two-day Asia-Europe summit, known as Asem, starting on Friday in Mongolia along with the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang. Read more

onsdag 13. juli 2016

The Risks of Duterte’s China and South China Sea Policy

The real risks of Duterte’s approach towards China and the South China Sea, then, lie not in whether he talks to China or moves the Philippines closer to Beijing than under Aquino, but how he does so. Specifically, the true danger of Duterte’s approach to China and the South China Sea is that his administration will seek to engage Beijing in a way that not only undermines Philippine interests in terms of its relationship with China, but undercuts the regional unity and global solidarity needed to constrain Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea. Read more

Philippines v. China: Q. and A. on South China Sea Case

Chinese military strategists say China needs to control the sea to defend itself, to push the United States out of the Western Pacific and to become a naval power. China also depends on the shipping routes that go through the sea, and is eager to lay claim to oil and other resources to fuel its voracious economy. There are domestic political factors, too. Chinese schoolchildren are taught that the sea has belonged to China since ancient times, and President Xi Jinpinghas used the construction of artificial islands in the sea to fan nationalist sentiment and strengthen his authority over the Chinese military. Read more

Our Boat Was Intercepted by China

For four years, China has been blocking fishermen from a reef near the Philippines. Why? Read more

Editorial: Teating the Rule of Law in the South China Sea

How China reacts to the sweeping legal defeat over its claims to the South China Sea will tell the world a lot about its approach to international law, the use — measured or otherwise — of its enormous power, and its global ambitions. So far, the signs are troubling. Beijing has defiantly rejected an international arbitration court’s jurisdiction over a case brought by thePhilippines and insisted it will not accept Tuesday’s pathbreaking judgment.

The unanimous ruling, by a five-judge tribunal in The Hague, was more favorable toward the Philippines and broader in scope than experts had predicted. It said that under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, China had no legal basis to claim historic rights over most of the waterway, which is rich in resources and carries $5 trillion in annual trade. Read more

tirsdag 12. juli 2016

How to Protect Europe’s Interests in the South China Sea

In rejecting the arbitral award on the South China Sea (SCS), Beijing has made it clearer than ever that it has no intention to seamlessly integrate into the existing international order. After more than three years of deliberation, the tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague has made it remarkably clear that China’s extensive historical rights claims to maritime areas within the so-called “nine-dash line” are incompatible with the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and therefore illegitimate. The tribunal also underscored that none of the land features claimed by China qualify as an “island,” which would in turn warrant the claiming of an exclusive economic zone under UNCLOS. There can be no doubt that China has suffered a massive defeat. Read more

Tribunal Rejects Beijing’s Claims in South China Sea

An international tribunal in The Hague delivered a sweeping rebuke on Tuesday of China’s behavior in the South China Sea, including its construction of artificial islands, and found that its expansive claim to sovereignty over the waters had no legal basis. The landmark case, brought by the Philippines, was seen as an important crossroads in China’s rise as a global power and in its rivalry with the United States, and it could force Beijing to reconsider its assertive tactics in the region or risk being labeled an international outlaw. It was the first time the Chinese government had been summoned before the international justice system. Read more