søndag 18. august 2019

UK officials discussed resettling 5.5m Hong Kong Chinese in Northern Ireland

Archives reveal debate in 1983 over bizarre idea of moving millions of Chinese to Northern Ireland at height of Troubles ahead of colony’s handover to Beijing. Government officials raised the idea of resettling the entire five and a half million residents of Hong Kong in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, it has emerged in government documents that have just been released.

The extraordinary proposal was more a political in-joke than a genuine plan – but one civil servant said at the time that it should be taken seriously. It has emerged from a 1983 file released to the National Archives in Kew, in London, on Friday.

Military bases to ballistic missiles, what’s the target of Trump’s Asia strategy?

«He’s going to be a great one,» cooed US President Donald Trump in his characteristic ebullient style as he witnessed the swearing-in last month of Mark Esper, his fourth defence secretary in three years.In Asia, defence policymakers and analysts who have watched unprecedented internal turmoil unfold in the Pentagon during Trump’s tenure say they, too, hope West Point graduate and former Army Secretary Esper will bring much needed continuity to the civilian leadership of the world’s most powerful military.

For decades, countries far from the United States –from Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean to one-time US enemy Vietnam and treaty ally the Philippines in Southeast Asia – have viewed American forward deployment in the region as a fait accompli, welcoming it as a vital hedge against Beijing’s assertions in the neighbourhood.

How China’s 19th century crises shaped the Chinese diaspora in multiracial Singapore

The political convulsions that seized China in the 19th century triggered developments with ripple effects that are still being felt today. In 1842, Hong KongIsland was ceded to Britain by the declining Qing dynasty, one of the terms of the Treaty of Nanking – now called Nanjing – that concluded the first opium war.

Seeking escape from unrest and poverty, waves of emigrants from China’s southern coast set off for foreign lands. Some crossed the ocean to the United States; others stayed closer to home, heading to nearby Southeast Asia. Many of Singapore’s ethnic Chinese citizens are descendants of these immigrants and others who followed in their wake, similarly propelled by China’s shifting political tides.

lørdag 17. august 2019

One Child Nation Reveals the Human Costs of an Infamous Chinese Law

Early on in Nanfu Wang and Jialing Zhang’s new documentary, One Child Nation, an 84-year-old midwife is asked how many babies she has delivered throughout her career. She brushes the question aside and instead spills out a startling admission. “I really don’t know how many I delivered. What I do know is that I’ve done a total of between 50,000 to 60,000 sterilizations and abortions,” she says.

The scene that follows is astonishing, not only for plainly illustrating the horror and scale of the film’s subject—the far-reaching consequences of China’s one-child policy—but also for the exceptional nature of the confession. “I counted this out of guilt, because I aborted and killed babies,” the midwife, Huaru Yuan, continues. “Many I induced alive and killed. My hands trembled doing it.” Since retiring, Yuan has dedicated her life to treating families struggling with infertility, as a kind of spiritual penance. But retribution will one day come for her, she says, her voice bereft of self-pity.

The man taking on Hong Kong from deep inside China's propaganda machine

The editor of one of China's most outspoken state media outlets has doubled down on accusations that the United States is instigating a revolution in Hong Kong, as increasingly violent protests enter their eleventh weekend.

"Unrest on the street needs spiritual support, incitement and encouragement -- and that's exactly what the US and the West are offering, in a very deliberate and intense way," Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin told CNN on Thursday, in his first interview with foreign media since one of the newspaper's reporters was assaulted by protesters in Hong Kong.

A former war correspondent for the People's Daily, the ruling Communist Party's official newspaper, 59-year-old Hu has a loyal following in China, where he posts daily commentaries in writing and videos to nearly 20 million fans on Weibo, China's equivalent of Twitter. His presence on Twitter, which has long been blocked in China, is a more modest 75,400 followers.

Hong Kong Protest in Melbourne Turns Violent as Pro-Beijing Demonstrators Seek to Silence Protesters

A Hong Kong protest in Melbourne’s CBD turned violent and was cut short after pro-Beijing “thugs” sought to silence event speakers and attendees. At 7 p.m. on Aug. 16, approximately 500 pro-Hong Kong supporters stood peacefully on the steps of Victoria’s State Library in a show of support for a “Stand with Hong Kong-Power to the People” rally organized by the Victoria Hong Kong Tertiary Student Association.

In addition to the five demands from Hong Kong protesters, the rally called for two additional demands. Firstly for the UK to declare a Chinese breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a binding international treaty; and secondly for the U.S. Congress and the UK Parliament to legislate and impose Magnitsky-style sanctions upon the persons responsible for or complicit in the suppression of rights and freedom in Hong Kong.

Within minutes of starting the rally, pro-Beijing demonstrators gathered next to the group in approximately equal numbers, chanting slogans and playing music, with some demonstrators then resorting to scuffles and shoves in order to vent their frustrations on the protesters. Some members of the press were also attacked. Footage captured shows an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) cameraman attacked by a pro-Beijing demonstrator who sought to damage a camera—the demonstrator was then pulled back and restrained by bystanders.

An eye for an eye’: Hong Kong protests get figurehead in woman injured by police

Two months into Hong Kong’s political crisis, the faceless, leaderless protest movement has found a figurehead: a young woman who may be blind in one eye because of the police. On Sunday, amid clashes between police and protesters in Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon, footage emerged of a woman, believed to be a volunteer medic, lying on the ground with blood streaming from her right eye. What appeared to be a beanbag round was lodged in a set of goggles on the ground in front of her. Her injury, a symbol of what protesters say are increasingly brutal tactics against Hong Kong citizens, has galvanised the protest movement as it enters its 11th week.

Why do mainland Chinese and Hong Kong youth clash at universities abroad? History has the answer

We should not be surprised by the vociferouscounterprotests mounted against Hong Kong students abroad by mainland Chinese, particularly within Australia – but we should try to understand why they happen.In universities throughout Australia, pro-Beijing counterprotesters have confronted Hong Kong democracy advocates. At a minimum, pro-democracy posters have been torn down and replaced with messages of support for communist China. At times, violence has ensued.

Large numbers of young people from mainland China have been invited to Australia, to live, study and, of course, to spend their money. Abroad, they enjoy levels of freedom of speech unseen in the People’s Republic – so we should not be surprised when they speak freely, and speak up for China. To understand their views, we need to pay attention to history.

Putin and Xi are gambling with their countries’ futures

Continuing street protests in Hong Kong and Moscow have no doubt spooked the authoritarian duo of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Moscow protests, the largest in many years, must be keeping Mr. Putin up at night, or they wouldn’t be dispersed with such unabated brutality. Yet, rather than hold a dialogue with the people, Mr. Putin has been demonstrating that he is in control, even preening for photos in a tight leather outfit with his favourite motorcycle gang.

Nonetheless, the demonstrations have become a poignant sign of Mr. Putin’s declining popularity, including among Russian elites, whose views matter in ways that other forms of public opinion do not. For two decades, the Russian elite’s rival factions have generally seen Mr. Putin as the ultimate guarantor of their interests – particularly their financial interests. But as Russia’s economy has sunk into sanctions-induced stagnation, Mr. Putin’s leadership has started to look like more of a roadblock than a guardrail. Fewer and fewer Russians still accept that “Putin is Russia and Russia is Putin,” a mantra that one heard regularly just five years ago, following the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea.

The White House quietly appointed a new China director who could rattle Beijing and make a US-China trade deal even less likely

The White House has quietly appointed an American member of the Muslim Uighur ethnic group to manage its China policy at the National Security Council — a move that will likely rile Beijing and jeopardize the US-China trade relationship. Elnigar Iltebir started working as the National Security Council's (NSC) China director three weeks ago, Uighur activist Rushan Abbas told Business Insider.

Abbas is the executive director of the Campaign for Uyghurs advocacy group and former high school student of Iltebir's father, Abdulhekim Baqi Iltebir, a late Uighur intellectual who lived in the US. (Uyghur is an alternate spelling.)

fredag 16. august 2019

Decoding Australia’s Strange Silence Over China’s Transgressions in the South China Sea

Australia’s 2017 Foreign Policy White Paper strongly advocates the geostrategic concept of the Indo-Pacific and the global rules-based order. In its first comprehensive guide-book for international engagement in 14 years, Canberra makes the case for an Indo-Pacific of openness, prosperity, and inclusiveness. Of note, the term Indo-Pacific appears more than 70 times in the document. The White Paper signals the country’s increased engagement with the Southeast Asian region in the context of China’s assertive pursuit of regional influence and territorial ambitions in the South China Sea.

Australian policymakers have paid increased attention to developments in the South China Sea since the early 2010s. Canberra maintains that the country does not take sides in the dispute, though it quietly opposes China’s nine-dash line claim. As the White Paper clearly asserts, the stability of the South China Sea and the maritime rule-based order constitute part of Australia’s substantial interests. 

Will Beijing Use Force to End the Hong Kong Protests?

On August 13, U.S. President Donald Trump posted an ominous tweet: “Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”

His pronouncement followed widespread reports about “armored personnel carriers (APC), trucks and other vehicles of the [People’s] Armed Police [PAP]… heading in the direction of Shenzhen over the weekend.” Shenzhen, in China’s Guangdong province, is the closest city on the mainland to Hong Kong. Satellite photos released to the media of Maxar’s WorldView appear to show “500 or more” PAP vehicles parked in a soccer stadium in Shenzhen, according to the Associated Press.

Chinese state media outlets carried photographs and videos of the vehicles traveling to Shenzhen. The Global Times reported that the PAP was massing in Shenzhen “for apparent large-scale exercises” – but both it and the People’s Daily pointedly noted that “The tasks and missions of the Armed Police include participating in dealing with rebellions, riots, serious violent and illegal incidents, terrorist attacks and other social security incidents.”

Hong Kong protests: Brand 'witch hunt' takes over Chinese internet

As the protests intensify in Hong Kong, international luxury brands are getting caught in the crossfire. Global brands such as Versace, Coach, Calvin Klein, Givenchy, ASICS, and Swarovski have all become tied up in controversy on the mainland this week for listing Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as a separate countries or regions - not part of China - on their official websites or brand T-shirts.

China's state media propaganda machine is running at full speed to counter the anti-Beijing voices, and many Chinese social media users are now involved in an online hunt for international companies seemingly not abiding by the "one country, two system" principle, which states that while Hong Kong enjoys "a high degree of autonomy" it is part of China.

ndia independence day celebration takes place under strict security in Kashmir

A ceremony in Kashmir to mark India’s independence day had been held under strict security inside a heavily fortified cricket stadium while residents remained under curfew. Drones and helicopters flew overhead as Satya Pal Malik, the Jammu and Kashmir governor, unfurled an Indian flag on Thursday. The ceremony is usually watched by Kashmiri politicians, but many are reportedly under house arrest.

Hundreds of people are believed to have been arrested since the Indian government revoked Kashmir’s special status last week. Hasina, the mother of Irfan Amin Malik, a 26-year-old journalist, confirmed he had been detained. The Kashmiri politician Shah Faesal was also arrested in Delhi on Wednesday. Faesal had said before being detained that Kashmir faced an existential battle. Curfew rules affecting millions of residents were strengthened on Thursday for fear of protests, which are common in Kashmir on India’s independence day. The internet and phone lines were blocked for an 11th day.

Hong Kong protests: envoy says China has 'power to quell unrest'

China has issued its most pointed threat yet to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, warning that it has “enough solutions and enough power to swiftly quell unrest” should it deem the situation “uncontrollable”. Speaking to international media in London on Thursday, China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, also accused some British politicians of harbouring a “colonial mindset” in their interventions. On Wednesday satellite images showed hundreds of armoured paramilitary police vehicles parked in a stadium in the southern Chinese city of Shenzen, close to the Hong Kong border.

Trump's trade war with China will be worth the fight

For years, and through multiple presidential administrations — Clinton, Bush and Obama — the United States has naively looked the other way while China cheated its way to an unfair advantage in the international trade market. It took a long time to get to this point, and it's not going to turn around overnight. But with President Donald Trump's long-term approach to trade policy, the United States is in a good position to make up for the misguided policies of the past, which resulted in millions of lost jobs and thousands of shuttered factories.

A bad day or a bad week on Wall Street is not an indication that Trump's policy is failing. Market volatility is neither a surprise nor a reason to head for the lifeboats. The markets are going to react and fluctuate as the United States and China go back and forth in trade negotiations. As the US Treasury Department reported in May, there has been, and is, an "exceptionally large and widening" bilateral trade imbalance between China and the United States."

It's not as though China hasn't had a chance to change its ways. It simply chose not to by, among other things, willfully ignoring its G20 commitment to fair trade, dumping products below cost into US markets and stealing intellectual property.

US officials, lawmakers push Trump to take tougher stand on Hong Kong

President Donald Trump has been asking his advisers how unrest in Hong Kong is likely to unfold, according to senior administration officials — and some are warning that without a firmer US position there could be a bloodbath. That includes national security adviser John Bolton and senior officials at the National Security Council. The White House and Trump have also heard from lawmakers, including those close to the administration like South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham that inaction or caution in calling out China could end poorly.

Trump's response to Hong Kong's ongoing violence has remained largely muted, the officials said, in part because of concern about ongoing trade talks with Beijing. But with growing Republican frustration on Capitol Hill about his reticence, the President has shown flickering signs of adopting a firmer tone on China. On Thursday morning, Trump once again appealed to President X Jinping's pride, tweeting that "if President Xi would meet directly and personally with the protesters, there would be a happy and enlightened ending to the Hong Kong problem. I have no doubt!"

Hong Kong's police describe their side of the protests

"If they don't use violence, we don't use force." That is a senior Hong Kong police officer's response to accusations from outraged protesters that the authorities are using excessive force to quell demonstrations. Allegations of police brutality have fueled increasingly violent protests in the streets of this former British colony, prompting law enforcement to fire tear gas on an almost daily basis.

Protests were first sparked in June by widespread opposition to a now shelved extradition bill but have since expanded to include demands for full democracy amid escalating violence. Now, more than two months into the worst unrest this city has seen in decades, senior police officers invited a group of journalists to the towering police headquarters in Hong Kong's Wan Chai district. In the first face-to-face background briefing of its kind with reporters, commanders spoke at length, provided they not be named.