torsdag 18. januar 2018

India Tests Ballistic Missile, Posing New Threat to China

India tested a long-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear weapons on Thursday, paving the way for membership to a small list of countries with access to intercontinental missiles and putting most of China in its reach. The ballistic missile, called Agni 5, was launched from Abdul Kalam Island, off Odisha State in eastern India on Thursday morning, traveling for around 19 minutes and 3,000 miles. In a statement, the Indian Ministry of Defense said that all objectives of the mission had been “successfully met.”

India tests-fires Agni-V, a nuclear-capable ICBM

India has successfully test-fired a long-range intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), the country's Defense Ministry said Thursday. The nuclear-capable Agni-V is believed to be India's most advanced ICBM. It was fired Thursday morning India time from Abdul Kalam island off the coast of the eastern state of Odisha, the ministry said in a tweet. It called the test a "major boost" to the country's defense capabilities.

China's economy grows by 6.9% in 2017

China's economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data - the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing's official annual expansion target of about 6.5%.

China is a key driver of the global economy and so the better-than-expected data is likely to cheer investors around the world. But many China watchers believe the GDP numbers are much weaker than the official figures suggest. This month alone, the governments of Inner Mongolia and of the large industrial city of Tianjin have admitted their economic numbers for 2016 were overstated.

Italy arrests 33 'Chinese mafia' members

Thirty-three people have been arrested in Italy on suspicion of being members of the Chinese mafia, police say. The early morning raids targeted a group accused of controlling the transport across Europe of products made in China and by Chinese in Italy. The "China Truck" operation was part of an investigation which started in 2011. The arrested suspects are accused of links to a criminal organisation. Police say 21 other people are under investigation.

China testing facial-recognition surveillance system in Xinjiang – report

Chinese surveillance chiefs are testing a facial-recognition system that alerts authorities when targets stray more than 300 metres from their home or workplace, as part of a surveillance push that critics say has transformed the country’s western fringes into a high-tech police state. Authorities in Xinjiang, a border region that is home to China’s largely Muslim Uighur minority, have been experimenting with the “alert project” since early 2017, according to Bloomberg.

onsdag 17. januar 2018

China rights lawyer Yu Wensheng loses licence

A Chinese human rights lawyer says his licence has been revoked three months after he wrote an open letter criticising the ruling Communist Party. Yu Wensheng, 50, received the news in a letter from Beijing's Bureau of Justice on 15 January, a photo of which he has since tweeted (in Chinese).

Mr Yu has long been a frequent and vocal critic of the government. He is among hundreds of human rights lawyers who have recently been detained and interrogated by authorities.According to the letter, Mr Yu's licence was cancelled because he had not been employed by a licensed legal firm in the past six months.

lørdag 6. januar 2018

Torbjørn Færøvik: En frihandelsavtale med Kina er ikke fri

Mens folk flest hilser det nye året, fortsetter Norge og Kina forhandlingene om en frihandelsavtale. Hva vil en avtale bety for norsk økonomi, for miljøet og deg og meg? Spørsmålene tårner seg opp, men få later til å bry seg. Aviser som får millioner i statlig pressestøtte, er mer opptatt av Petter Northugs formkurve, og NRK - som aldri har prioritert økonomisk journalistikk - er helt fraværende.

China's Class of 1977: I took an exam that changed China

Forty years ago China reinstated its all-important college entrance exam after a gap of more than a decade when the country was plunged into the chaos of the Cultural Revolution. More than five million people sat the exams in the hope of securing a university place. The BBC's Yuwen Wu describes what it was like to be among them.

On 10 December 1977, I took a bus to No 35 Middle School in the West City District of Beijing to do something young people in China hadn't done for more than 12 years.I was taking part in the first college entrance examination since 1965. There was subdued yet palpable excitement and expectation in the cold winter air, because for the first time in years we had our destiny in our own hands. In my pocket I clutched a bar of chocolate from my father. It was his way of supporting me - I'd never tasted chocolate before.

During the Cultural Revolution, normal learning at schools and universities was interrupted, teachers and intellectuals found themselves publicly humiliated and beaten; some were driven to suicide. It was not a good time for those who valued a formal education.

Reality Check: How much plastic do we send to China?

China has changed its rules on importing waste to be recycled, which means the UK won't be able to send some grades of waste plastic there any more. How big a problem is that? It's a bit hard to tell precisely because a lot of different bodies produce a lot of different figures.

But let's start with how much plastic waste is generated in the UK. The trade organisation Plastics Europe estimated in 2014 that 3.7 million tonnes of plastic was being used per year in the UK. There are no official figures for the amount of plastic waste generated, but the anti-waste charity Wrap used the Plastics Europe figure to claim that there would have been 3.7 million tonnes of waste.

China hails 'first Antarctica flight' for its tourists

According to Chinese media, the country's first commercial flight to Antarctica brought 22 lucky tourists to the exotic destination this weekend. The trip is hailed as a milestone - but is it really? And what does it tell us about China's geopolitical ambitions in the region? Described in Chinese papers as the beginning of a new era in the country's tourism to Antarctica, the trip took the select few from Hong Kong all the way to the actual South Pole.

That meant a 15-hour flight to South Africa, refuelling in Cape Town and then another 5.5 hours to Antarctica. From there, it's another five to six hours to the pole, where the flight landed on a 2.5-km (1.5-mile) runway carved into the ice. The Chinese tour operator describes the trip as a milestone, saying it means Chinese tourists no longer have to book via foreign agencies.

Selvutslettelsens triumf: De siste dagene i Chibati

Den franske regissøren Hendrick Dusolliers første dokumentarfilm skildrer de siste dagene til Shibati, den eneste gjenværende gamle bydelen i den kinesiske byen Chongqing. Mange i Europa har nok aldri hørt om dette stedet, men Chongqing er en av de største byene i verden med sine over 30 millioner innbyggere – seks ganger Norges befolkning – innenfor ett urbant område.

Selv ikke kunstnere får snakke om Liu Xiaobo i Kina

I desember forsvant et fransk-kinesisk kunstnerpar fra en arkitekturbiennale i den kinesiske storbyen Shenzhen. De ble ført bort, hver for seg, angivelig av sivilkledde politifolk. Bare timer før hadde de avduket sitt bidrag til utstillingen, et fresco-maleri i tre deler. Motivet i midten var et rom med en tom blå stol. I bakgrunnen stengte et gitter for et tradisjonelt kinesisk landskapsmaleri.

Maleriet ble raskt dekket til. Kinesiske myndigheter tillater ingen henvisninger til historien om den nå avdøde fredsprisvinneren Liu Xiaobo. Han har ingen grav som sympatisører kan oppsøke. Da han døde i fangenskap av leverkreft i juli i fjor, ble han raskt kremert og asken spredt på havet. De kinesiske tegnene for tom stol blir regelmessig sensurert på sosiale medier. Liu Xiaobo skal retusjeres bort fra kinesisk historie.

Will #MeToo spread in China?

On New Year's Day, China finally had its own #MeToo moment. Luo Xixi, an academic with a PhD from the prestigious Beihang University in Beijing, said she was sexually harassed by one of her professors when she was studying there 12 years ago.She recounted her experience on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, and said she was still haunted by the experience. Her post gained more than three million views within a day, triggering a heated debate online about sexual harassment.

Shortly afterwards, Beihang University announced that the professor in question had been suspended from his duties, and that an investigation was under way. The professor has denied the allegations.

Reality Check: Does China's Communist Party have a woman problem?

At the end of the Chinese Communist Party's 19th Congress, the new Politburo Standing Committee was revealed: seven middle aged men in dark suits, without a woman to be seen. There has never been a female member of the Standing Committee. Of the 2,280 delegates at that Congress, fewer than a quarter were women. That's got some people asking whether the party should take gender equality more seriously. The New York Times wrote of women being "shut out" - but does the Chinese Communist Party have a woman problem? Of the 89.4 million members of the Chinese Communist Party, just under 23 million are women - that's 26%.

onsdag 3. januar 2018

The Chinese Communist Party is determined to establish the National Supervision Commission, despite strong opposition.

After 13 years, China is planning to amend its constitution again. China’s state news agency, Xinhua, announced that the 25-member Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) — China’s top decision-making body — has decided to discuss a proposal about amending China’s constitution in January 2018.

China’s constitution was last amended in 2004, under then-President Hu Jintao’s administration. According to Xinhua’s latest statement, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who also holds the position of general secretary of the CCP Central Committee, presided over the Politburo meeting on December 27. The meeting decided to hold the second plenary session of the 19th CCP Central Committee — which is composed of the party’s 200 most powerful officials — in January, 2018.

“The main agenda [of the second plenary session] will be to discuss proposals about amending the constitution,” Xinhua said, without giving any detail about what the constitutional amendment will involve, exactly.

What Does France's President Want to Achieve in China?

President Emmanuel Macron has chosen: He will go to China for his first visit to Asia. To those around him, who argue for a strengthening of ties between Paris and Beijing, it is an obvious choice. China is the second largest economy in the world; its overwhelming “Belt and Road” project seems to offer unlimited opportunities. And of course, for France, which has the ambition to play a global role on the international scene, China seems to be the right partner: a nuclear power and permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, with a veto right that weighs on all major decisions. Moreover, for a French president who wants to assert himself as the antithesis, if not the equal of U.S. President Donald Trump, “mighty China” offers the opportunity to play that role.

China’s Belt and Road in Myanmar

More than four years have passed since China formally introduced the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI), President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy project, in September 2013. In the past few years, China has dedicated significant political and economic resources to ensure the friendly reception of the BRI by the world.

Situated in the junction between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and between the Indian Ocean and China’s landlocked southwestern Yunnan province, Myanmar occupies a rather unique position in the Belt and Road Initiative. Most notably, Myanmar is seen as a link that connects both the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road and the Silk Road Economic Belt, making it an integral component of both. From a strategic perspective, Myanmar is one of the two direct access points to the Indian Ocean for China – the other being Pakistan, although that route and the politics surrounding it are both arguably more strenuous.

tirsdag 2. januar 2018

China’s Communist party raises army of nationalist trolls

Dark Sunshine is proud of his country — and keen to take on its detractors. “China has become a strong nation and I want the whole world to see this,” says the 23-year-old recent graduate, one of millions of young nationalists who prowl social media to rebut criticism of their homeland. He would only use his online moniker. While Russia has traditionally relied on bots to push its agenda online, China’s Communist party has raised a volunteer troll army of real people, most of them young men, to go online and attack its enemies.