fredag 12. oktober 2018

Torbjørn Færøvik: Til Kina for å gjøre seg fet

Mens Kina internerer flere hundre tusen muslimer, fengsler dissidenter og menneskerettighetsadvokater, kidnapper utenlandske statsborgere på fremmed jord, annekterer Sør-Kina-havet, praktiserer utstrakt tortur, henretter tusenvis av mennesker hvert år og tar i bruk historiens mest skremmende overvåkingssystem – ja, mens alt dette skjer – ivrer norske politikere for enda mer samarbeid med verdens farligste diktatur.

Hong Kong to Continue Crackdown on Separatism Using Existing Laws: Lam

Hong Kong's chief executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday warned that the government would act "fearlessly" against anyone advocating independence for the city under Chinese rule, as pro-democracy politicians protested ever-diminishing freedoms in the former British colony. As Lam began her policy address speech to the city's Legislative Council (LegCo), four opposition lawmakers were removed from the chamber by security guards, while a further eight walked out.

US, Philippines tacitly realign against China

US-Philippine strategic interests are now strongly, if not quietly, realigning as the Trump administration takes a seemingly tougher stand in the South China Sea and steps up his country’s naval diplomacy in the region to contain China’s ambitions America’s proposed show of force in the waterway notably coincides with recent ramped up joint exercises with the Philippines, including the week-long “Cooperation of Warriors at Sea” drills which wrapped up on October 10.

Are European populists friends or foes of China?

Populist forces in Europe have built their success on the demonization of the EU’s political-bureaucratic establishment, accused of favoring big corporations over common people and blamed for not doing enough to tackle illegal immigration from Africa and the Middle East. Paradoxically, populist-nationalist governments, such as those in Italy and Hungary, are ready to deepen relations with China despite President Xi having practically become the standard-bearer of the “globalist party of Davos.”

At the same time, however, Italian and Hungarian leaders sympathize with Stephen K Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, and his Brussels-based “The Movement,” a political platform aiming to unite ultra-conservative populist forces in Europe.

Former Interpol chief 'held in China under new form of custody'

Meng Hongwei, the former Interpol president being investigated for bribery in China, seems to have been detained under a new form of custody called “liuzhi”. Liuzhi, or “retention in custody”, is used by the National Supervisory Commission (NSC), China’s new super-agency charged with investigating corruption throughout the government. Detainees can be denied access to legal counsel or families for as long as six months under liuzhi.

It is meant to be an improvement on the previous shuanggui system, a disciplinary process within the ruling Chinese Communist party known for the use of torture and other abuses. Under liuzhi, family members are supposed to be notified within 24 hours if a relative has been taken into custody.

Opinion: How China Challenges America's World Leadership

Chinese President Xi Jinping is ready for a change — specifically the transformation of the international system and China's role within it. In a 2016 speech before government ministers and provincial leaders, Xi provided an early signal of his intent: "China has become a major factor in changing the world political and economic landscapes. ... We need to work harder to turn our economic strength into international institutional authority."

To date, however, Xi has avoided taking the United States head-on in competition for global leadership. There is little evidence that he desires the responsibility such leadership entails; the world has yet to hear, for example, a Chinese proposal to meet the challenge of global terrorism, the refugee crisis or even climate change.

Read more

torsdag 11. oktober 2018

China's paranoia and oppression in Xinjiang has a long history

China finally admitted this week what had been widely reported: that it is interning thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people in "re-education camps" in the far-western region of Xinjiang. Human rights groups previously estimated that as many as one million people have been held in the camps, which satellite photos show have sprung up across the region in recent months.

Along with restrictions on halal food, Islamic dress, and general religiosity, the ongoing crackdown has primarily affected the Uyghurs, a predominantly Muslim ethnic group who historically were the majority in the region. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang defended recent measures at a press briefing Thursday, saying "taking measures to prevent and crack down on terrorism and extremism have helped preserve stability, as well as the life and livelihood of people of all ethnicities in Xinjiang."

Harald Bøckman: Skandale om uigurenes situasjon ikke tas opp av den norske delegasjonen

Det forestående norske statsbesøket i Kina innledes med et besøk til verdensarvstedet Dunhuang i Gansu-provinsen i Nordvest-Kina. Det er et godt valg. De buddhistiskinspirerte freskene på veggene i Mogao-grottene, som skriver seg fra det fjerde til det fjortende århundret, og viser et kosmopolitisk og tolerant Kina. Hvis kongeparet hadde fortsatt sin reise lenge vestover, inn i Øst-Turkestan eller Xinjiang, ville de ha støtt på en helt annen virkelighet.

Henning Kristoffersen: Norske politikere kan og bør utfordre Kinas ledere

Kongen og dronningen er på vei til Kina med en stor delegasjon fra næringslivet. Med dette statsbesøket sementeres den såkalte normaliseringen av forholdet mellom våre to land. Det er snart to år siden inngåelsen av den berømte avtalen som markerte slutten på den seksårige politiske konflikten mellom Norge og Kina. I avtalen lover den norske regjeringen fullt ut å respektere Kinas utvikling og sosiale system, og den norske regjeringen skal heller ikke støtte noe som underminerer Kinas kjerneinteresser.

onsdag 10. oktober 2018

The Dalai Lama: Intimate portrait of a spiritual leader

A new book by acclaimed Indian photographer Raghu Rai offers an unprecedented glimpse into the life of one of the world's leading religious figures. A God In Exile is the result of a photographer's decades-long insight into his muse. Rai took his first picture of the iconic Tibetan spiritual leader in 1975. He recalled being stopped by the Dalai Lama's security. "I somehow managed to make eye contact with His Holiness and asked him if I could take some photos of him. He smiled and said yes," Rai told the BBC.

Leak chips away at Google's secrecy on China

Last month, at Google’s 20th anniversary event, the company's head of search quickly shut down my question about the firm's ambitions in China. We'd heard, thanks to a slew of credible leaks, that the firm was developing a search engine for the country, one that would toe Beijing's line on censorship. "Right now all we've done is some exploration, but since we don't have any plans to launch something there's nothing much I can say about it," Ben Gomes said. He was repeating the company line on the project, codenamed Dragonfly, which was made public thanks only to various leaks, some high profile resignations and a petition signed by hundreds of Google employees protesting the idea.

Now, a freshly leaked transcript of Mr Gomes addressing employees suggests he perhaps wasn't being entirely forthcoming in our interview. Published by The Intercept on Tuesday, his words suggest an enthusiasm and readiness that arguably goes well beyond "exploration".

China accuses detained Interpol chief of bribery

China has accused the missing ex-Interpol president Meng Hongwei of bribery, as the case continues to tarnish Beijing’s image as a rising power and responsible member of international organisations. In a terse statement on Sunday evening, the Chinese authorities admitted they were holding Meng and China’s ministry of public security said on Monday that the Interpol chief, who was reported missing in France at the weekend, was being investigated for accepting bribes.

“The inspection and investigation of Meng Hongwei … is very timely, totally right, and very wise,” it said in a statement on its website. Claiming Meng, who is Chinese, “only had himself to blame”, the ministry added: “There is no exception in front of the law. Anyone will be strictly investigated and punished.”

Hong Kong leader defends journalist's expulsion as FT says will appeal

The Financial Times says it will appeal the controversial refusal of a working visa to one of its journalists in Hong Kong, as the city's leader continued to refuse to explain her government's decision.On Sunday, the FT's Asia editor Victor Mallet was given seven days leave to remain in Hong Kong after his application for a routine extension of his work permit was denied, months after he hosted a talk by a pro-independence activist at the Foreign Correspondent's Club.

"In the absence of an explanation from the Hong Kong authorities, the FT is appealing the recent rejection of a renewed work visa for Victor Mallet," the newspaper said in a statement. That move came amid growing criticism of Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam by media and business groups, and the scandal threatens to overshadow her annual policy address Wednesday.

Interpol chief's arrest shows one-party rule is the only important thing to China

Beijing's forced disappearance of one of China's most prominent international officials shows the government appears ready to sacrifice anything, including its international reputation, to safeguard the Chinese Communist Party.

Meng Hongwei, head of the international policing organization Interpol, vanished after he flew back to China in late September, only for Beijing to announce in recent days he was being held for corruption. The first Chinese official to reach the top of Interpol, Meng's appointment just two years ago had been seen as a victory for Beijing and was widely celebrated in state media. "You've got the head of Interpol being arrested at home on corruption, so that's pretty embarrassing," Richard McGregor, senior fellow at Sydney's Lowy Institute, told CNN.

Kong Harald og dronning Sonja vender torsdag tilbake til Kina for fjerde gang

Den aller første kineser kong Harald noen gang møtte, var nasjonalistlederen Chiang Kai-shek, som rømte med sine styrker til Taiwan da kommunistene vant borgerkrigen i 1949. Det fortalte kongen selv i et intervju med Folkets Dagblad i forbindelse med forrige statsbesøk i 1997. Chiang Kai-shek bodde nemlig i samme hus som den norske kongefamilien i Washington under krigen, ifølge kongen.

Mange år senere, i 1985, dro Harald og Sonja på sin første tur til Kina – den gang som kronprinspar som skulle åpne dørene for norsk næringsliv. Nesten ti år var da gått siden Mao Zedongs død, og landet var sakte, men sikkert i ferd med å åpne seg opp for verden.

tirsdag 9. oktober 2018

Torbjørn Færøvik: Hva skal Kina gjøre nå?

For halvannet år siden ga de inntrykk av å være verdens beste venner. Presidentene Trump og Xi smilte og lo i samme dype sofa, og Trump roste sitt nye bekjentskap opp i skyene. ”Vi vil i det lange løp utvikle et fantastisk samarbeid”, sa han til Xi og ristet hånden hans med voldsomme bevegelser.

Det historiske møtet fant sted på Trumps landsted i Florida. Et halvt år senere reiste Trump på offisielt besøk til Kina, hvor stemningen lot til å være like god. Men nå har pipen fått en annen lyd. ”Jeg vet ikke om jeg lenger skal kunne kalle president Xi min venn”, sa han forleden. I forrige uke fulgte visepresident Pence opp med å avfyre en bredside mot Kina som skapte avisoverskrifter over hele verden. Han anklaget landet for å undergrave amerikansk økonomi, for spionasje og militær aggressjon, og for forsøk på å påvirke de forestående mellomvalgene i USA: ”For å si det rett ut … Kina ønsker en annen amerikansk president”.

China Reshapes The Vital Mekong River To Power Its Expansion

Chinese tourists account for more visitors to Thailand — and much of Southeast Asia — than from any other country. The Thai village of Sob Ruak, at the heart of the Golden Triangle region where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet, is no exception. Tour buses routinely disgorge thousands of Chinese tourists to buy trinkets, snap selfies and tour the nearby Hall of Opium Museum. And it's not just tourists coming from China.

About every month, a few Chinese gunboats cruise down the Mekong River through Myanmar and Laos from China's Guanlei port. They announce their arrival with a barrage of horns, then begin a long, sweeping turn back upriver just short of Thai waters, their propellers churning the mocha-brown water. Thai patrol boats sit bobbing gently, watching. As the Chinese border patrol boats leave, they let off one more long, loud burst of horns before heading back upriver, sometimes accompanied by a Lao gunboat.

Is this just the beginning of ‘belt and road’ disputes between China and its partners?

Be prepared to see a lot more business disputes on projects linked to China’s “Belt and Road Initiative”, warns Sarah Grimmer, secretary general of Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC). Five years after Beijing rolled out its ambitious plan to improve regional and transcontinental connectivity, the time is ripe for disputes to arise as contracts mature, she said.

“Typically, we see a deal struck one year and, between two and five years later, that’s when we see disputes, so that’s when we start to see the cases come out of these transactions,” Grimmer said.