onsdag 2. desember 2020

China Media Turns Fire on Jacinda Ardern's New Zealand Over Australia Feud

China's state-controlled media took a swipe at New Zealand on Tuesday, after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern voiced support for Australia in its latest row with China over a hawkish diplomat's controversial tweet. Communist Party newspaper Global Times noted that the PM's criticism of Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian's tweet was "restrained"—likely due to political considerations, including China's roles as New Zealand's largest trading partner.

The newspaper's views, which are best described by the government's recent "Wolf Warrior" approach to diplomacy, nonetheless lashed out at Wellington in an editorial titled: "Kiwis bleat like Aussie sheep but don't condemn Afghan killings."

China faces uphill struggle to win over Mekong neighbours

China has tried to calm the dispute about dam-building and water resources management along the Mekong with a number of conciliatory gestures, but observers say it faces an uphill struggle to win over its neighbours. The move follows efforts by the US to build a strategic partnership with other countries that share the waterway, an intervention that highlights the challenges China faces in winning over the five Southeast Nations after serious droughts, according to one diplomatic observer.

On Monday, Luo Zhaohui, the foreign vice-minister responsible for Asian affairs, accused external powers of interfering in China’s dispute with the countries and instead appealed to Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia to side with Beijing to “build and safeguard our common home”.

“Some countries outside the region have used the Mekong’s water resources repeatedly for political purposes to spread rumours and exaggerate China’s threats, in a bid to sow discord and undermine cooperation between countries in the region,” he said, without naming the United States and its allies.

Why New Zealand is ideally placed to broker a truce between China and the Five Eyes alliance

With tension escalating between China and members of the Five Eyes security alliance, most recently over a Chinese tweet that used a doctored image to attack Australia, New Zealand is arguably in a prime position to broker a kind of truce. Someone needs to take the initiative. Right now, things are deteriorating, as the trade stand-off with Australia demonstrates.

With China having already reacted to Five Eyes criticism of its Hong Kong policies by threatening that “their eyes will be plucked out”, the situation is combustible: a large, tinder-dry pile of disputes, with both sides flicking matches of angry rhetoric at each other. On one side we have the Five Eyes allies — America, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In the minds of many in the West, this is a family of nations in which peoples, culture and values are tightly interwoven.

What’s behind China’s bullying of Australia? It sees a soft target — and an essential one

As the diplomatic fallout continues over the digitally altered war crimes tweet sent by China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, Zhao Lijian, earlier this week, it’s important to note this inflammatory and offensive post is not an isolated case.

Zhao and other Chinese officials and diplomats have made many outrageous attacks on Australia and the US in recent years. Zhao himself was probably best known before this week’s tweet for his official promotion of a conspiracy theory that the US military was responsible for bringing the coronavirus to China.

Hu Xijin, the editor in chief of the Global Times, an official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, is another vocal critic of Australia. Four years ago, the newspaper published a scathing editorial directed at Australia after Canberra said China must abide by an international tribunal ruling on the South China Sea. It called Australia a “paper cat” with an “inglorious” history, and said, “If Australia steps into the South China Sea waters, it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike.”

China lands probe on surface of the moon and collects lunar soil

China has successfully landed a lunar probe on a previously unexplored area of the moon. The robotic spacecraft, named Chang'e 5 after the mythical Chinese goddess of the moon, drilled into the surface of the moon to collect soil early Wednesday. It will remain on the moon collecting soil and rock samples until Thursday, guided by mission control on the ground, China's state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
It's the first attempt to collect rocks from the moon by any country since the 1970s.

The samples, expected to weigh about 2 kilograms (4.5 pounds), will be sealed into a container in the spacecraft.If successful, the mission will make China only the third country to have retrieved lunar samples, following the United States and the former Soviet Union decades ago.

Astronauts from the United States brought back 382 kilograms (842 pounds) of rocks and soil between 1969 and 1972 during the Apollo program, while the Soviet Union collected 170.1 grams (6 ounces) of samples in 1976. When the samples are returned to Earth, scientists will be able to analyze the structure, physical properties and material composition of the moon's soil, China's space agency said.

Has Taiwan Always Been Part of China?

In early November, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo caused quite an uproar, when, in an interview with the Hugh Hewitt Show, he stated that “Taiwan has not been a part of China, and that was recognized with the work that the Reagan administration did to lay out the policies that the United States has adhered to now for three and a half decades, and done so under both administrations.”

From the context of the remarks it is clear that Pompeo refers to the fact that since its founding in 1949, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government in Beijing has never had any sovereignty over Taiwan. It has always been ruled independently: first, of course, by the regime of Chiang Kai-shek, who wanted to “recover the mainland.” But since the early 1990s Taiwan has been a vibrant democracy that wants to be accepted as a full and equal member in the international family of nations.

In ’76 Days’, a Documentary Portrait of Lockdown in Wuhan

“Papa!” screams a hospital worker, covered from head to toe in a Hazmat suit and PPE, in the opening moments of the documentary “76 Days.”

This is in the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan, back in January and February when the city of 11 million went into a 2 1/2-month lockdown and hospitals were overrun. The health worker’s father has just died, and her agony at not being able to sit by his side is overwhelming. Her colleagues restrain her as she sobs, moaning, “Papa, you’ll stay forever in my heart.”

“76 Days,” shot in four Wuhan hospitals, captures a local horror before it became a global nightmare. Given the constraints at the time on footage and information from Wuhan, it’s a rare window into the infancy of the pandemic. The film is directed by the New York-based filmmaker Hao Wu, who worked with two Chinese journalists — one named Wiexi Chen, the other is remaining anonymous — to create of a portrait of the virus epicenter.

Chang’e-5: why has China sent a probe to the moon?

China has successfully landed a probe on the moon. There, the unmanned Chang’e-5 will prepare to collect the first lunar samples gathered since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976. Here is everything you need to know:

Beijing wants to become a space superpower alongside the US and Russia, the only two countries to have so far collected lunar samples. President Xi Jinping hopes to operate a permanent space station called Tiangong (heavenly palace) – planned for as early as 2022 – and send astronauts to the moon, as part of what he calls the country’s “space dream”. The first prototype, Tiangong-1, was launched in 2011 and completed its mission before China lost control of the craft and it crashed into the ocean in 2018. A space laboratory called Tiangong-2 launched in 2016 and made a controlled re-entry in 2019.

As part of China’s space plans, it launched a new rocket and prototype spacecraft in May, called the Long March 5B. China hopes that one day craft like these will take a crew of six to the space station. The Chang’e-5 mission provides an opportunity to test equipment and procedures before the next Tiangong phase.

India farmers: The viral image that defines a protes

A photograph of a paramilitary policeman swinging his baton at an elderly Sikh man has become the defining image of the ongoing farmers' protest in India. The photograph, taken by Ravi Choudhary, a photojournalist with Press Trust of India (PTI), has gone viral on social media.It has also resulted in political wrangling - with opposition politicians using the image to criticise the way the protesters are being treated and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claiming - falsely - that the farmer was not hit.

Hundreds of thousands of farmers have laid siege to Delhi for the past few days, choking almost all the entry points to the national capital. They are protesting against a recent law that they say is against their interests. The government says the reforms, which open the farming sector to private players, will not hurt farmers. Unconvinced, thousands of them have marched upon Delhi, where they were met by barricades at the border.

China #MeToo: Court to hear landmark case of intern versus TV star

Six years after the alleged incident, a Chinese court on Wednesday is hearing a landmark case that analysts say could define the future of the country's #MeToo movement. Zhou Xiaoxuan - also known online by her nickname Xianzi - has taken one of the country's most prominent TV hosts to court, accusing him of sexually harassing her in 2014. He denies all wrongdoing and has in turn sued her and her supporter for damaging his reputation as well as mental wellbeing.

It is rare in China for such cases to even get to this stage and the stakes are high, analysts say. Ahead of the hearing, which will not be public, Xianzi told the BBC that whatever happens, she will have no regrets. "If I win, this will encourage many women to come forward and tell their stories; if I lose, I'll keep appealing until justice is served."

Hong Kong: Joshua Wong and fellow pro-democracy activists jailed

Hong Kong democracy activists Joshua Wong, Agnes Chow and Ivan Lam have been sentenced to jail for their involvement in mass protests last year. The trio had been found guilty of unlawful assembly. The pro-democracy movement has been stifled since Beijing introduced a controversial security law with harsh punishments. But as their offences took place before the law's enactment, the activists have avoided a potential life sentence.

Wong has received a sentence of 13.5 months in jail, while Chow and Lam will be imprisoned for 10 and seven months respectively. The activists were remanded in custody until today's sentencing, with Wong placed in solitary confinement.

tirsdag 1. desember 2020

Torbjørn Færøvik: Kan Biden gjenreise USAs rolle i Asia?

Jeg er stamgjest på et nettsted hvor jeg kan følge befolkningsveksten i verden fra sekund til sekund. Tallene som ruller over skjermen, er til å bli svimmel av. I går konstaterte jeg at kloden vår nærmer seg 8 milliarder mennesker. Av disse bor 4,5 milliarder i Asia.

Vi hører til stadighet at Asia er i ferd med å bli verdens tyngdepunkt. Men hvem skal lede verdensdelen i det 21. århundre? USA, sier påtroppende president Joe Biden, som lover at Guds eget land skal gjeninnta sin plass «øverst ved bordet». Til å hjelpe seg har han utpekt den erfarne Antony Blinken til utenriksminister. 58-åringen får et godt skussmål av de fleste og var viseutenriksminister i to år under president Obama.

Min nye bok: «Kina på 200 sider»

Den nye boken min er på plass i bokhandlene og bibliotekene over hele landet. Og tenk, «Kina på 200 sider» er akkurat så lang - eller kort - som tittelen lover. Kagge forlag ba meg videreføre suksessbøkene til avdøde professor Frank Aarebrot. Jeg takket ja, men som alle vet: Det er ikke lett å hoppe etter Wirkola.

Målet med bokserien er å gjøre vanskelige temaer forståelige for folk flest. I høst bidrar også Odd Karsten Tveit med sin bok om Midtøsten.

Å skrive kort kan være like vanskelig som å skrive langt. Det har også jeg erfart. Som jeg påpeker i forordet: Mange av Kinas keisere ville nok ha blitt dypt fornærmet om de visste at de ikke er nevnt i boken min. I verste fall ville de ha gjort meg et hode kortere eller sendt meg i «indre eksil». Men de viktigste er omtalt, likeså mange andre som bidro til å forme det store landet i øst.

For et par uker siden ble jeg spurt av en journalist om hvilken enkeltperson som har hatt størst betydning for det Kina vi ser i dag. Jeg svarte Deng Xiaoping, han som grep roret etter Maos død. Deng klarte å trekke landet opp av grøfta og lede det inn på et nytt spor. Kinas virkelige revolusjon begynte under ham. Han var selvfølgelig ikke alene om å realisere den, for vanlige kinesere bidro så det monnet. De ønsket et bedre liv, mer ris i bollene og større politisk frihet. Det første har de fått, men svært mye gjenstår på det politiske området. Xi Jinpings regime er nådeløst og straffer enhver som våger å tale Beijing midt imot. Også lille Norge.

Noen elsker Kina, stakkars dem. Andre hater det. Meningene er mange. Uansett må vi forholde oss til landet i årene som kommer. Det nytter ikke å late som om det ikke eksisterer. Derfor er det så viktig å følge med. God lesning - eller god lytting! «Kina på 200 sider» er også tilgjengelig som lydbok.

Chinese embassy accuses Australia of 'rage and roar' over tweet

China's embassy has reignited its dispute with Australia hours after Prime Minister Scott Morrison called for calm, accusing the Australian government of stoking nationalism through its attacks on China's Foreign Affairs Ministry.

In another breach of diplomatic protocol, the Chinese embassy on Tuesday revealed details of a private call between Department of Foreign Affairs secretary Frances Adamson and ambassador Cheng Jingye. The embassy said Australia's top diplomat had made "absolutely unacceptable" allegations over a tweet issued by Beijing's foreign affairs spokesman Zhao Lijian that used a fabricated image to accuse Australian soldiers of murdering Afghan children.

The Australian government on Tuesday escalated its concerns over the tweet to Twitter's San Francisco headquarters, after the company's local office ignored its pleas to take the image down.

'Will not be bullied': citizens around the world told to buy Australian wine in stand against China

Millions of people around the world are being urged to buy an Australian bottle of wine or two, as a way of showing Chinese President Xi Jinping that the world will not be intimated by his "bullying of Australia". The Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), comprising more than 200 MPs from a range of political parties and representing 19 country legislatures, has launched a campaign to convince people to buy and drink Australian wine in December, as a show of solidarity. It comes after China slapped tariffs of up to 212 per cent against Australian wine producers, which Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said would spell a "hellishly tough time for Australia’s winemakers."

The global alliance of cross-party representatives, who have banded together to try to counter China's increasing aggression particularly against Australia, released a video in which MPs from Japan, Italy, Germany, the United States and even Australia's wine-producing rival New Zealand, among others, urge their citizens to enjoy an Australian drop. The video is subtitled in Chinese and English.

China refuses to apologise to Australia for fake soldier image

China has accused Australia of trying to "deflect public attention" from alleged war crimes by its soldiers in Afghanistan after Canberra expressed outrage over a "repugnant" tweet. Australia has demanded an apology for sharing the fake image of an Australian soldier killing an Afghan child.

Beijing has now said that Australia was trying to "blame China for the worsening of bilateral ties". Relations between the two nations have plummeted to a new low in recent days. The tweet with the fake image was posted in response to a damning report last month about alleged Australian war crimes.

The Australian Defence Force said it had found "credible information" that 25 Australian soldiers were involved in the murders of 39 Afghan civilians and prisoners between 2009 and 2013. On Monday, China joined in the widespread condemnation of the findings - now under police investigation - but the graphic doctored image shared by foreign ministry spokesman Lijian Zhao has triggered furious reactions in Canberra and beyond.

'Stealing our culture': South Koreans upset after China claims kimchi as its own

Social media users in China and South Korea are embroiled in another row, this time over the provenance of kimchi, the fermented cabbage dish that most people recognise as an essential part of the Korean diet. Not, though, in China, where state media have sparked an online backlash after one of the country’s fermented dishes received certification from the International Organisation for Standardisation [ISO].

ISO status, the Global Times newspaper reported, was an “international standard for the kimchi industry led by China”. The very mention of the word kimchi triggered angry accusations among South Koreans that China was attempting to claim kimchi as its own, when in fact the award covered only pao cai – a type of pickled vegetable often found in Sichuan cuisine.

“Its total nonsense, what a thief stealing our culture!” a South Korean netizen wrote on Naver, a widely popular web portal. Seoul resident Kim Seol-ha said: “I read a media story that China now says kimchi is theirs, and that they are making international standard for it. It’s absurd.”

The Wuhan files: Leaked documents reveal China's mishandling of the early stages of Covid-19

A group of frontline medical workers, likely exhausted, stand huddled together on a video-conference call as China's most powerful man raises his hand in greeting. It is February 10 in Beijing and President Xi Jinping, who for weeks has been absent from public view, is addressing hospital staff in the city of Wuhan as they battle to contain the spread of a still officially unnamed novel coronavirus.

From a secure room about 1,200 kilometers (745 miles) from the epicenter, Xi expressed his condolences to those who have died in the outbreak. He urged greater public communication, as around the world concerns mounted about the potential threat posed by the new disease. That same day, Chinese authorities reported 2,478 new confirmed cases -- raising the total global number to more than 40,000, with fewer than 400 cases occurring outside of mainland China. Yet CNN can now reveal how official documents circulated internally show that this was only part of the picture.