onsdag 8. juli 2020

Taiwan says Dalai Lama welcome to visit

Taiwan would welcome a visit by exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, its foreign ministry said on Monday, a trip that would infuriate Beijing which views him as a dangerous separatist. The Dalai Lama has not visited the Chinese-claimed, democratic island under the administration of President Tsai Ing-wen, who first took office in 2016. He last came in 2009.

In a birthday message via video link to supporters in Taiwan on Sunday, the Dalai Lama said he would like to visit again. “As the political scenario changes, it may be that I’ll be able to visit you in Taiwan again. I hope so. Whatever happens I’ll remain with you in spirit,” he said on his website. Taiwan Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Joanne Ou said the government had not yet received an application for him to travel to the island but would handle it under “relevant rules” if one came.

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Hindustan Times: India must stand up for Tibet

The Dalai Lama marked his 85th birthday on Monday. He has now lived for 61 of those 85 years as a treasured guest of India, and has added value, in both tangible and intangible ways, to Indian public life, its soft power and its global reputation. The Dalai Lama is a symbol of an oppressed community which had to flee its homeland because of China’s territorial aggression; he is representative of the great Gandhian tradition of non-violence; he is a religious and spiritual icon who has inspired hundreds of thousands of people, outside his own community, to seek the true meaning of life; and he is a living reflection of the shared Buddhist heritage of India and its independent neighbour for centuries, Tibet.

But it is equally true that India’s hospitality has been often tempered with geopolitics. The fear of antagonising China has often meant that Indian governments — including the current dispensation — have been inconsistent in their approach to Tibet. From recognising Chinese suzerainty over Tibet to giving the Dalai Lama a home and collaborating with the United States in encouraging a rebellion, from deploying the “Tibet card” sporadically to refusing to even engage with the Tibetan leader, India’s approach, to Tibet, has, for too long, been subject to its dynamic with China at any particular point.

Foreign firms in Hong Kong face ‘huge insecurity’ over national security law

Foreign companies operating in Hong Kong are facing a dilemma as they digest the details of the city’s controversial new national security law: abide by the rules or support US sanctions against China for imposing the legislation.

Company insiders and diplomatic sources said it was too early to assess the impact of the law on business in the financial hub. But its vague language and broad provisions have stoked fears and may result in “huge insecurity” for foreign firms – particularly a clause stating any person or organisation that imposes sanctions could be punished. They said the legislation could be a wake-up call for businesses to re-evaluate their engagement with China, and it may further complicate Beijing’s diplomatic relations with the West.

Beijing imposed the sweeping law on Hong Kong a week ago, after a year of anti-government protests in the city. It targets acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with a maximum sentence of life in prison.

In Australia, concerns mount that China could use TikTok to spy on users

In an age of isolation, video-sharing platform TikTok has emerged as a bonding force for many. But recent headlines allege the service, owned by Beijing-based company ByteDance, is feeding users’ data to the Chinese Communist Party.

An Australian newspaper, the Herald Sun, this week reported that an unnamed federal MP was pushing for the app to be banned. Following suit, Liberal Senator Jim Molan said TikTok was being
“used and abused” by the Chinese government, while Labor Senator Jenny McAllister called on TikTok’s representatives to face the Select Committee on Foreign Interference Through Social Media.
TikTok has denied the accusations and rebuffed suggestions it should be banned in Australia. But why is the federal government examining this app so closely? And could it really be a tool used by the Chinese government to spy on Australians?

Like a signal No 8 typhoon, the national security law directly hit Hong Kong just before midnight on July 1, leaving us to pick up the pieces. One of those pieces is its interpretation. Some have asked why bother as it is like other Chinese laws – vague and open to manipulation through interpretation by the authorities. Only the National People’s Congress Standing Committee appears to have the
power to interpret the law. Let the political struggle continue, they say.

As a law professor and practitioner, I find such a defeatist attitude unhelpful. Cases under the new law
have commenced. Lawyers need to advise on it and courts must apply it in adjudicating cases. The law is upon us and we cannot sit idle in fear, waiting for some authority to tell us what it means. In affirming our autonomy, questions of interpretation should be carefully considered on our own in accordance with existing legal practices and principles.

Hong Kong police given sweeping powers under new security law

Hong Kong police have been granted sweeping new powers, including the ability to conduct raids without a warrant and secretly monitor suspects, after controversial security laws were imposed on the city by the Chinese central government. The powers allow for the confiscation of property related to national security offences, and allow senior police to order the takedown of online material they believe breaches the law. The city’s chief executive can grant police permission to intercept communications and conduct covert surveillance. Penalties include HKD$100,000 (£10,300) fines and up to two years in prison.

They also allow police to enter and search premises for evidence without a warrant “under exceptional circumstances”, to restrict people under investigation from leaving Hong Kong, and to demand information from foreign and Taiwanese political organisations and agents on their Hong Kong-related activities.

Hongkongers face a Kafkaesque reality as censors outlaw the words of protest

Writing about the protest movement in Hong Kong, I began to notice the absences everywhere I went. A moving patchwork of white, black and grey squares decorated walls and pavements, as more and more protest slogans were erased from the public gaze. Now, with Beijing’s enactment of national security legislation in Hong Kong, that void has suddenly gaped wider, swallowing words, ideas, open discussion, and even people from public view.

The legislation bans secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces. The first sight of it for Hongkongers was the moment that it came into effect on Tuesday at 11pm, ahead of the annual 1 July protest march, which itself had been declared illegal.

In one fell swoop, the new law pushed through many of the changes most feared by Hongkongers, by giving mainland legal bodies jurisdiction over some cases inside the territory, allowing the mainland security services to establish offices in the territory, permitting rendition to China and implementing national security education in local schools.

'Our spirit will never be crushed': Hong Kong activists vow to keep fighting despite new laws

For Joshua Wong, Lee Cheuk-yan and James To – three of Hong Kong’s highest profile pro-democracy activists – the possibility of going to jail in China has never been more real. The national security law passed in Beijing and enacted in Hong Kong on 1 July appears to be tailor-made for them in many ways.

In less than a week Hong Kong’s atmosphere has changed dramatically. People have been arrested for possessing materials deemed “subversive”. Colourful “Lennon walls” with pro-democracy messages have been torn down or replaced by blank notes after police warnings. Political groups have disbanded. Authorities have ordered schools to remove books that might “endanger” national security while public libraries have pulled sensitive books. Police no longer need search warrants for national security cases. A hotel in Hong Kong’s Causeway Bay has been turned into the national security office and opened on Wednesday.

tirsdag 7. juli 2020

Chinese Border Aggression Against India Likely Unrelated to Pandemic

As the China-India military standoff along their disputed land border heads into its third month, questions and theoriescontinue to swirl about Beijing’s motivation for taking such aggressive action at this time. Since the violence began in early May, China has reportedly amassed thousands of troops with armored vehicles and towed artillery at multiple points near the Line of Actual Control (LAC) where the Indian union territory of Ladakh borders Tibet — representing the most significant military escalation in border tensions in over a half century.

But why now? There are many potential explanations, ranging from Chinese disgruntlement over Indian infrastructure upgrades near the LAC, to anger at India’s rejection of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), to retaliation for New Delhi’s decision to limit Chinese investment in India, among others. One potential explanation that certainly has gained currency in mainstream media is that Beijing is attempting to exploit the ongoing coronavirus pandemic for geopolitical gain.

What a survey of Chinese business leaders tells us about China’s post-COVID economy – and the future of U.S.-China economic relations

China was the first country to experience the ravages of COVID-19, having lost 4,634 people to the pandemic with 83,565 confirmed cases to date. Draconian measures were used to bend the curve and essentially stop the spread of the disease, although reports indicate that recently new cases have emerged, including those stemming from a Beijing market. For the most part, however, China has loosened restrictions and re-opened large parts of its economy. Individuals scan government-mandated QR health codes with their smartphones, and daily life has been restored to some sense of normalcy with restaurants serving customers and retail shops open to shoppers.

In this pivotal and important time, with streams of foreign policy arguments and opinion pieces sharply analyzing current U.S.-China geopolitical tensions continuing to pour forth, we at the Stanford China Program wanted to take stock of how businesses and the overall economy are coping as China tries to reopen its businesses and reboot its economy. Toward this effort, we conducted a collaborative survey of 135 senior executives in China from May 13-26.

Viral Alarm: When Fury Overcomes Fear - An Essay by Xu Zhangrun

In July 2018, the Tsinghua University professor Xu Zhangrun published an unsparing critique of the Chinese Communist Party and its Chairman of Everything, Xi Jinping. Xu warned of the dangers of one-man rule, a sycophantic bureaucracy, putting politics ahead of professionalism and the myriad other problems that the system would encounter if it rejected further reforms. That philippic was one of a cycle of works that Xu wrote during a year in which he alerted his readers to pressing issues related to China’s momentous struggle with modernity, the state of the nation under Xi Jinping and the mixed prospects for its future. Those essays will be published in a collection titled Six Chapters from the 2018 Year of the Dog by Hong Kong City University Press in May this year.

Although he was demoted by Tsinghua University in March 2019 and banned from teaching, writing and publishing, Xu has remained defiant. His latest polemical work—“When Fury Overcomes Fear”—translated below, appeared online on February 4, 2020 as the coronavirus epidemic swept China and infections overseas sparked concern around the world.

FBI director unleashes on China in speech

Chinese hackers have moved swiftly to target US pharmaceutical and research institutions making progress in the fight against coronavirus, FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday in a wide-ranging speech that included some of the agency's starkest accusations about the country's threat to the US to date.

Speaking for nearly an hour at a think tank in Washington, DC, Wray called China the "greatest long-term threat to our nation's information and intellectual property and to our economic vitality" and noted the FBI has more than 2,000 open investigations that tie back to the Chinese government.

He asserted that Chinese President Xi Jinping has "spearheaded" a campaign to intimidate dissidents living abroad. And as the coronavirus pandemic continues to multiply in hotspots across the US, he described how the Chinese government has moved to pressure American officials to support its response while simultaneously working to steal research on the virus.

"The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency," Wray said. "They're calculating, they're persistent, they're patient and they're not subject to the righteous constraints of an open democratic society or the rule of law."

Coronavirus: China's workers and graduates fear for their future

An impending unemployment crisis is the stuff of nightmares for China's leaders. The ruling Communist Party worries incessantly about the effects on social stability. Small but visible protests sprang up in Wuhan in April. Workers in a shopping centre gathered to demonstrate against rents they could no longer afford. The official jobless total in China's cities has already hit the government's target. There are independent forecasts that it could go much higher.

China's number two politician, Premier Li Keqiang, acknowledged the scale of the problem last month when he said: "The truth is that in April that figure already hit 6%... Employment is the biggest concern in people's lives. It is something of paramount importance for all families."

Microsoft and Zoom join Hong Kong data 'pause'

Microsoft and Zoom have said they will not process data requests made by the Hong Kong authorities while they take stock of a new security law. They follow Facebook, Google, Twitter and the chat app Telegram, which had already announced similar "pauses" in compliance over the past two days. China passed the law on 30 June, criminalising acts that support independence, making it easier to punish protesters.

Apple says it is "assessing" the rules. If the tech firms make their non-compliance policies permanent, they could face restrictions or a ban on their services in the semi-autonomous region. And while Facebook, Google, Twitter and Telegram's services are blocked in mainland China, the same is not true of Microsoft, Zoom and Apple.

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TikTok to exit Hong Kong 'within days'

TikTok has said it will quit Hong Kong after China imposed a new security law on the city. "In light of recent events, we've decided to stop operations of the TikTok app in Hong Kong," a spokesman told the BBC.

The company's exit from the city will come "within days," according to the Reuters news agency. Facebook and Twitter said this week they were "pausing" co-operation with Hong Kong police over user information. The short-form video app was launched by China-based ByteDance for users outside mainland China as part of a strategy to grow its global audience. The tech company operates a similar short video sharing app in China called Douyin.

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The United States is 'looking at' banning TikTok and other Chinese social media apps, Pompeo says

The United States is "looking at" banning Chinese social media apps, including TikTok, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday. Pompeo suggested the possible move during an interview with Fox News' Laura Ingraham, adding that "we're taking this very seriously."

Pompeo was asked by Ingraham whether the United States should be considering a ban on Chinese social media apps, "especially TikTok." "With respect to Chinese apps on people's cell phones, I can assure you the United States will get this one right too, Laura," he said. "I don't want to get out in front of the President [Donald Trump], but it's something we're looking at."

China to criminalise college exam fraud after identity thefts

Chinese lawmakers are seeking to criminalise identity theft in college entrance exams, after revelations that hundreds of students in a single province had their scores stolen or used by others. This year more than 10 million students will sit China’s gaokao, a state-level exam for entering college widely seen as a key path to higher education for students from underprivileged homes.

Exiled Uighurs call on ICC to investigate Chinese 'genocide' in Xinjiang

A group of Uighurs in exile has submitted evidence to the international criminal court, calling for an investigation into senior Chinese officials, including Xi Jinping, for genocide and crimes against humanity. The submission made on Monday by lawyers based in London on behalf of two activists groups marks the first time advocates have attempted to use international law against China over allegations of widespread human rights violations in Xinjiang, the far north-western territory of China where Uighur and other minority groups are detained and surveilled en masse.