mandag 24. juni 2019

Hong Kong protests: How tensions have spread to US

The protests in Hong Kong have heightened tensions between the territory and China, and generated headlines the world over. They have also deepened unease many thousands of miles away - on US campuses. "I am from a city owned by a country that I don't belong to."

So began a column written by a 19-year-old Hong Kong student at a university in Boston. The piece, entitled "I am from Hong Kong, not China", in a student paper at Emerson College placed its author Frances Hui at the centre of a storm.  Soon after publication in April, well before the protests in Hong Kong erupted, Hui's social media accounts were on fire. She received overwhelming support, including from Joshua Wong , Hong Kong's most prominent student activist who liked Hui's post. But the support was joined by a wave of criticism from mainland Chinese students at Emerson.

Protests in Hong Kong Unlikely to Yield Results

The leadership in Beijing sees Hong Kong as a part of China that must be joined with the motherland both politically and legally -- slowly, for economic reasons, but surely. The Communist Party knows that on the long-term, it holds the best cards. At the beginning of this year, the government announced its plan for the "Greater Bay Area," which envisions integrating 11 cities in the Pearl River Delta into a single metropolitan region. If it comes to pass, Hong Kong will be just another Chinese city among many others -- a small part of a much larger metropolitan region.

Many in Hong Kong are opposed to that vision. But there is nothing to indicate that the Chinese leadership might meet the demands of the Hong Kong opposition. Doing so would contradict the Communist Party's claim to power as well as that of its leader, Xi Jinping, who has been named president for life. It would also establish a precedent with domestic political implications that Beijing could never accept. In early October, the party will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic, a patriotic demonstration of power that, from Beijing's perspective, would be difficult to square with concessions made to a democratically minded citizens' movement.

From a Tibetan Filmmaker, an Unvarnished View of His Land

Pema Tseden, the Tibetan filmmaker and writer, felt ashamed. For years, he had written stories and screenplays switching between Chinese and his native Tibetan with a nimble linguistic ambidexterity. But lately, grueling filming and publicity schedules had worn him down, leaving him with the time to write only in Chinese, his second and sometimes preferred working language.

The feeling that he was neglecting his native tongue peaked recently when he found himself at an event to introduce a Tibetan edition of his book “Tharlo,” which had been translated from the original Chinese. “Someone else had to translate my own novel into my native language,” the soft-spoken director of critically acclaimed films like “Jinpa” and “Tharlo” said in a recent interview. “It felt a bit absurd.”

China will not allow G20 to discuss Hong Kong, says foreign minister

China has said it will not allow the G20 nations to discuss the Hong Kongissue at its summit this week, assistant foreign minister Zhang Jun said on Monday. Millions of people demonstrated on the streets of the city this month against a bill that would allow people to be extradited to the mainland to face trial in courts controlled by the Communist party. It triggered the most violent protests in decades when police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowds. The extradition bill and police reaction to the protests drew international criticism from rights groups.

New satellite images may reveal China's next aircraft carrier

New satellite images published by a US think tank may provide the world's first look at China's next aircraft carrier, as construction progresses on a mysterious large vessel in a shipyard outside Shanghai. Significant new activity at the Jiangnan Shipyard was captured in satellite images from April, published by Washington-based think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

According to CSIS, they show a massive bow and main hull section of a large vessel under construction. At points, the hull section is as wide as 40 meters (131 feet). Experts said while it was difficult to be sure, the size and scale of the new vessel strongly suggested China's much-anticipated new aircraft carrier, referred to as Type 002.

A Chinese invasion of Taiwan would be a bloody, logistical nightmare

Roaring out of the sky, an F-16V fighter jet lands smoothly to rearm and refuel on an unremarkable freeway in rural Taiwan, surrounded by rice paddies. In different circumstances, this could be alarming sight. Taiwan's fighter pilots are trained to land on freeways between sorties in case all of the island's airports have been occupied or destroyed by an invasion.

Luckily, this was a training exercise. There's only really one enemy that Taiwan's armed forces are preparing to resist -- China's People's Liberation Army (PLA). And as China's reputation as an economic and military superpower has grown in recent years, so too has that threat of invasion, according to security experts.

Stormaktsrivaliseringens konsekvenser for Norge

Kinas enorme økonomiske, militære og teknologiske vekst gjør at landet nå har blitt en supermakt som utfordrer USA. Blant ledende forskere fra Kina og USA er det få som ser noen ende på den økende rivaliseringen mellom landene. Årsaken er enkel: USA og Kina har grunnleggende motstridende interesser. Kina vil dominere sin region og ønsker å utfordre USA globalt. USA ønsker å hindre Kina i å bli dominerende i Øst-Asia og vil dessuten ivareta sin posisjon som nummer én globalt. 

På alle områder, fra verdier og styresett, til institusjoner, teknologi, sikkerhet og økonomi, er USA og Kina på kollisjonskurs. Selv om landene skulle finne en midlertidig løsning på den pågående handelskrigen, vil den underliggende konflikten vedvare.

Dialogue with Hong Kong government over extradition bill ‘not realistic’, Joshua Wong and fellow student leader say

Student leaders have dismissed calls for talks with Hong Kong officials over the extradition bill crisis, saying protesters instead wanted their demands, including bill’s withdrawal, to be met. Joshua Wong Chi-fung, secretary general of pro-democracy party Demosisto, told a radio programme on Monday it would be regressive to start talks with the government regarding the bill, in light of recent protests.

“I do not think that I, or any political figure or group, can represent 2 million protesters,” he said. Wong was referring to the record-breaking number of protesters who took to the streets on June 16 against the bill, four days after police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and beanbag rounds into crowds surrounding the legislature.

Is the G20 destined to fade into irrelevance in a leaderless world – courtesy of Donald Trump?

At the last Group of 20 summit, rivalry between the United States and China hijacked what was supposed to be a forum for international cooperation and multilateral diplomacy. While there was a joint communique at the end of the talks in Buenos Aires, and agreement on the need for WTO reforms, there was little progress on how to deliver as tensions flared.

But any progress made in Argentina was short-lived, and although a 90-day trade war truce was agreed between Washington and Beijing, soon after it expired US President Donald Trump doubled down on tariffs against Chinese imports and banned Huawei, the crown jewel of China’s tech industry.

China thinks it can weather Trump’s trade storm. It can, but not for long. Likewise the US

When  Donald Trump and Xi Jinping get together at the end of this week for their “extended meeting” on the fringes of the Osaka G20 summit, there will be little hope on either side for a peace deal to end the US-China trade war any time soon. For both leaders, domestic politics makes an early deal unlikely. But if the hopes for peace on either side are slight, so too are the fears of a protracted conflict that threatens to drag on into the next year. Policymakers in both Washington and Beijing believe their economies are well placed to ride out a continued trade storm.

søndag 23. juni 2019

World’s Autocrats Face Rising Resistance

In some ways this is a dark time for human rights. Yet while the autocrats and rights abusers may capture the headlines, the defenders of human rights, democracy, and the rule of law are also gaining strength. The same populists who are spreading hatred and intolerance are spawning a resistance that keeps winning its share of battles. Victory in any given case is never assured, but it has occurred often enough in the past year to suggest that the excesses of autocratic rule are fueling a powerful counterattack.

Unlike traditional dictators, today’s would-be autocrats typically emerge from democratic settings. Most pursue a two-step strategy for undermining democracy: first, scapegoat and demonize vulnerable minorities to build popular support; then, weaken the checks and balances on government power needed to preserve human rights and the rule of law, such as an independent judiciary, a free media, and vigorous civic groups. Even the world’s established democracies have shown themselves vulnerable to this demagoguery and manipulation.

'Uncle Petrov' is the ethnic Russian streaming star making China question what it means to be Chinese

With bright blue eyes, fair skin and bushy brown hair, Peter Petrov doesn't look like a typical Chinese man. That's because Petrov, whose legal name is Dong Desheng, lives in his birthplace of Heilongjiang province and is an ethnic Russian, one of China's 55 officially recognized minority groups. 

In a country where the predominant ethnic group, Han Chinese, accounts for 92% of the population -- or 1.2 billion people -- Petrov, 44, says his appearance and heritage makes him stand out. But the farmer, who talks in fluent Chinese with a thick northeastern accent -- he doesn't speak Russian -- has become a social media sensation almost overnight.

Hong Kong’s elite fear extradition law could harm their reputation

Days after Hong Kong’s first major protest against its stalled extradition law, a property firm decided to take a £2.5m hit and abandon an option to develop a slice of prime city land, blaming “social contradiction and economic instability”. The decision by Goldin Financial Holdings was made after one of its directors, a pro-Beijing lawmaker called Abraham Shek Lai-him, called an urgent meeting to discuss whether to go ahead with the project on part of the old city airport. Shek had played a key role dragging the extradition law through parliament. He insisted after the vote that Goldin had a positive view of the extradition bill.

Hong Kong mob rule in motion

When an estimated 2 million people marched peacefully on the streets earlier this month, it was an impressive display of people power. The takeover of roads and government buildings on Friday was mob rule in motion. There is a distinct line between the two and some of these youngsters are blurring it.

Hong Kong tense but calm as government officials dig in and anti-extradition bill protesters plan their next moves

Hong Kong police have vowed to pursue anti-government protesters for the 15-hour siege of their headquarters as demonstrators retreated to map out their next steps to keep public opinion on their side after a tense week in the city.

The only public gathering on Saturday was a small pro-police rally of 300 people in Central. The officers’ biggest defender in the aftermath of the unprecedented blockade that ruined the facade of the building and dealt a blow to police morale was their former chief, Andy Tsang Wai-hung. Tsang maintained that police actions against protesters – using tear gas and rubber bullets during the clashes on June 12 – were “necessary and restrained”.

Canada ‘will join US’ in speaking out for rules-based global order against China

Canada will join the United States in seeking to uphold the rules-based international order after the saga over Chinese tech giant Huawei has pushed relations between Ottawa and Beijing to “a turning point”, a former Canadian ambassador to China says.

David Mulroney, Canada’s envoy to China from 2009 to 2012, made the comment amid deteriorating relations between the two countries since December, when Huawei executive Sabrina Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Vancouver at the request of the US over an alleged breach of sanctions on Iran. China has since detained two Canadians on espionage charges, sentenced another two Canadians to death and blocked imports of pork and canola from the country.

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China likely to tread carefully on North Korea as power dynamic shifts

China has given its strong backing to Pyongyang in a move that could alter the power dynamic on the Korean peninsula, but analysts say Beijing should be cautious about using its neighbour as leverage with Washington.Beijing’s influence on the peninsula was on display last week during President Xi Jinping’s first state visit to Pyongyang, where he said China’s commitment to assist  North Korea would not change, and called for dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

Analysts said pledges made by Xi during the visit – after talks collapsed in February between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump – were a sign that Beijing and Pyongyang, as well as Moscow, were becoming more aligned against Washington. But the approach, ahead of planned talks between Xi and Trump this week, could backfire on China, they said.

lørdag 22. juni 2019

Tverrpolitisk støtte fra stortingspolitikere til Hongkong-demonstranter

Mens tusenvis av demonstranter samlet seg utenfor regjeringskontorene og politihovedkvarteret i Hongkong, ble et brev fra norske politikere sendt til myndighetene i Hongkong og Kina. Stortingsrepresentant Guri Melby (V) har tatt initiativet til å gi sin støtte til demonstrantene i Hongkong. Brevet er undertegnet av representanter fra seks partier på Stortinget: Venstre, KrF, Høyre, Rødt, SV og MDG.

– Jeg ville se om det var mulig å få til et tverrpolitisk samarbeid. Jeg hadde håpet å få med Arbeiderpartiet også, men de har jeg ikke hørt noe fra. Likevel er jeg fornøyd med oppslutningen, sier hun.