torsdag 23. november 2017

Xi Jinping breaks taboo and enters the Forbidden City

Mao Zedong, the founding father of modern China, never once set foot inside the walls of Beijing's Forbidden City. While he did sometimes stand on the rostrum of Tiananmen -- the southernmost gate of the sprawling 72-hectare complex -- including on Oct. 1, 1949, when he declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China, he intentionally avoided entering the former home of emperors.

Perhaps it was due to his belief that as the head of the Chinese Communist Party, a party that clenched power by opposing the feudal system of government, he should not be seen admiring the imperial sites. Since then, it has been somewhat of a taboo for China's top leader to walk inside the palace, although the leaders' office, Zhongnanhai, lies next door. Earlier this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping shattered that tradition.

‘Every case of pollution is a case of corruption’: Farmer turned eco-warrior takes on China’s largest chemical firm

Wang Enlin, an elderly farmer who left school when he was 10 years old and taught himself law armed with a single textbook and dictionary, makes for an unlikely eco-warrior. Yet the 64-year-old is determined to reap justice as he readies for a fresh battle in his war with a subsidiary of China’s largest chemical firm, which he accuses of polluting and destroying his farmland.

Skype yanked from app stores in China

China is cracking down on Skype. Apple has yanked the online video calling app and other voice over internet protocol (VoIP) products from its App Store in China."We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of VoIP apps do not comply with local law, therefore these apps have been removed from the App Store in China," Apple said in a statement on Wednesday. "These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business."

The video chat and messaging app is also unavailable on major third-party Android app stores, like the ones run by Chinese smartphone makers Huawei and Xiaomi. The New York Times was the first to report the news.

What parasitic worms in defector reveal about conditions in North Korea

Parasitic worms and a chronic liver infection identified in a North Korean soldier who dramatically defected are providing clues into health conditions inside the secretive rogue state, experts said Wednesday. The soldier was shot up to five times November 13 while making a run for the South Korean side of the border through the heavily fortified Demilitarized Zone, according to dramatic security video released this week.

China and Vatican to exchange artworks in bid to boost relations

The Vatican is to send 40 works of art to China in a cultural exchange amid signs that attempts at rapprochement between the two powers are faltering. The Vatican museums, home to the Sistine chapel and countless other works of importance, and the China Culture Industrial Investment Fund (CCIIF) announced the exchange initiative in Rome this week. Simultaneous exhibitions will open in March in the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Vatican’s Anima Mundi Museum.

The Vatican is sending 39 works from its collection of Chinese art to be selected by curators. The 40th object, which has yet to be chosen, will be western European Christian. Beijing is offering paintings from the contemporary Chinese artist Zhang Yan among the 40 works it is contributing. It is the first time the Vatican museums and a Chinese cultural institution have collaborated.

China’s Flashy Ex-Internet Censor Faces Corruption Investigation

The former Chinese official in charge of internet censorship, who hobnobbed with top executives from Facebook, Apple and Amazon and flatly denied that his government engaged in censorship, has been put under investigation by the Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency, state media reported on Tuesday. The downfall of the censorship official, Lu Wei, was a long time coming. He once held a cluster of titles that gave him formidable influence over internet policy. But he was removed from many posts last year, suggesting that his career was under a cloud.

onsdag 22. november 2017

China was the world’s worst abuser of internet freedom for the third consecutive year

New regulations increased pressure on companies to verify users’ identities and restrict banned content and services. Meanwhile, users themselves were punished for sharing sensitive news and commentary, with prison terms ranging from five days to eleven years. The government tightened online controls in advance of the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in October 2017, at which President Xi Jinping, the party’s general secretary, cemented his leadership for the next five years.

Australian Furor Over Chinese Influence Follows Book’s Delay

The book was already being promoted as an explosive exposé of Chinese influence infiltrating the highest levels of Australian politics and media. But then, months before it was set to hit bookstore shelves, its publisher postponed the release, saying it was worried about lawsuits.

The decision this month to delay the book, “Silent Invasion: How China Is Turning Australia into a Puppet State,” has set off a national uproar, highlighting the tensions between Australia’s growing economic dependence on China and its fears of falling under the political control of the rising Asian superpower. Critics have drawn parallels to decisions this year by high-profile academic publishers in Europe to withhold articles from readers in China that might anger the Communist Party.

U.S. Bribery Case Sheds Light on Mysterious Chinese Company

Patrick Ho flew to New York in fall 2014. His intention, according to the Justice Department, was to bribe African officials on behalf of a private Chinese conglomerate with global ambitions and enormous wealth. In meetings at the United Nations, Mr. Ho, a former Hong Kong civil servant, laid the groundwork for millions of dollars of payments to the president of Chad and Uganda’s foreign minister in exchange for oil rights in the two countries, federal prosecutors say.

The accusations against Mr. Ho, detailed in a criminal complaint filed in Manhattan, became public this week after officials charged him and Cheikh Gadio, a former Senegalese official who acted as a fixer for Mr. Ho, with international money laundering and violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Mr. Gadio was arrested on Friday and Mr. Ho on Saturday, the Justice Department said.

What is the extent of China's influence in Zimbabwe?

A trip to Beijing by Zimbabwe's military chief was a "normal military exchange", China's foreign ministry said after the army seized power in Harare. How deep are relations between China and Zimbabwe really? The news that General Constantino Chiwenga had visited China only a few days before the military takeover in Zimbabwe was a coincidence that did not go unnoticed. There was also speculation after China said it was closely watching developments, but stopped short of condemning President Mugabe's apparent removal from power.

Friends fear for well-being of Nobel laureate’s widow Liu Xia; urge China to let her leave country

Fears for the well-being of the poet Liu Xia – widow of Nobel laureate Liu Xiaobo – are growing after her friends revealed that she recently underwent surgery. Liu has been under house arrest for years since her husband was jailed in 2008 after co-writing the Charter 08 manifesto, which called for democratic reforms. He died in July at a hospital while under surveillance. Liu Xia was last seen in public on July 15 at a memorial service for her husband. Friends and supporters have been prevented from meeting her. According to her friend, Beijing activist Hu Jia, Liu underwent uterine fibroid treatment around a month ago – the illness involves usually-benign muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus.

søndag 19. november 2017

Xi Jinping's eyes were fixed on Trump's visit to emperor

In China, a pair of eyes might have been aching to take a peek at Donald Trump last week while the U.S. president was meeting with Japanese Emperor Akihito -- those of Chinese President Xi Jinping. Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko on the morning of Nov. 6 greeted Trump and his wife, Melania, at the entrance of their residence inside the Imperial Palace. Trump was making his first visit to Japan since taking office in January. One reason Xi would have liked to have kept tabs on the meeting is because he is considering his own visit to Japan.

If Xi were to meet with Emperor Akihito, it would be the second time for the two to sit down together. Xi's first visit to the Imperial Palace came in December 2009, when Xi was vice president.

Strapped into chairs and electrocuted: How LGBT Chinese are forced into 'conversion therapy'

Liu Xiaoyun had no idea what was about to happen to him.The helmet he was wearing was wired to a machine; when the machine was turned on, a weird feeling of numbness washed across his scalp. The doctor turned a dial and that feeling was replaced by pain, as if he was being pinched all over, or stabbed by needles. After a few minutes, his body began trembling. It was not until afterward he realized he had been shocked.

Chinese Premier: China-Philippines Relations as Warm as Manila’s Weather

The China-Philippines relationship has completely thawed,becoming as warm as Manila’s weather, according to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. Li paid an official visit to the Philippines from November 15 to 16, after the country concluded its hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Manila. Li was the first Chinese premier in ten years to visit the Philippines. As The Diplomat reported earlier, China’s foreign ministry attached great important to Li’s visit, issuing a round of publicity ahead of the trip and praising the warming relationship on multiple occasions.

The Real Source of China's Soft Power

In an era of economic uncertainty, declining social mobility, economic inequality, rising unemployment, and casualization, the American model looks increasingly less appealing. If the election of Donald Trump is symptomatic of these problems, then it is little wonder that people are looking to other countries to emulate. On the other side of the Pacific, China continues to grow in stature and appears to be a paradigm of stability and prosperity. China’s success is of course not guaranteed, but in a world of economic uncertainty, the China model increasingly looks more attractive than Pax Americana.

In China, an Education in Dating

Zhang Zhenxiao is 27 years old. He has never been in a relationship. He has never kissed a woman.Now, Mr. Zhang is ready for love — but like many men in China, he doesn’t know where to begin.

So Mr. Zhang turned to a dating coach. The “Fall in Love Emotional Education” school, which caters to straight men, has taught him how to groom himself, approach a woman and flirt his way into her smartphone contacts. “There are many people who lack the ability to have a relationship,” said Mr. Zhang, who enrolled in a three-day course during a weeklong holiday in October. “Many times, it’s not that there’s something wrong with us. It’s that we don’t know what details to pay attention to.”

lørdag 18. november 2017

Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, on "Xi Jinping and his era"

On the morning of Oct. 18, Xi Jinping, standing behind a lectern in the Great Hall of the People, delivered a report to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The 32,000-character report, the most significant of its kind in recent decades, drew more than 70 rounds of applause from delegates. In the report, Xi said socialism with Chinese characteristics had crossed the threshold into a new era. "This is a new historic juncture in China's development," he stated.

The report has been translated into 10 foreign languages. Most of the translators and foreign linguists involved used the word "powerful" to describe their first impressions.

Hong Kong football fans take a stand as Chinese anthem law looms

Dressed in red and armed with flags, fans of Hong Kong's national football team politely applauded the Lebanese anthem while they waited to seize their moment. As the Chinese national anthem "March of the Volunteers" boomed from the loudspeakers at Hong Kong Stadium, fans erupted into full-throated boos, some waving flags, others covering their faces. Jeering the anthem has become almost routine at Hong Kong international matches since pro-democracy protests in 2014, but now with the prospect of a law that could bring a prison sentence, it's becoming a more dangerous -- and pointed -- protest.