National China News

The New York Post
Date: February 19, 2020
By: Post Editorial Board

AFP via Getty Images

Kudos to Team Trump for calling out some of China’s US-based media outlets for what they essentially are: state-sponsored propaganda.

On Tuesday, the State Department announced that the US operations of five Chinese entities — Xinhua News Agency, China Radio International, China Global Television Network and the distributors of China Daily and People’s Daily — will now be considered foreign missions.

That means that, effective immediately, the agencies are covered by the Foreign Missions Act of 1982, which requires them to report all personnel to the State Department and register any property holdings.

This should give the feds a better a grasp of Beijing’s operations (espionage as well as propaganda) and allow more effective counteraction.

The move is “long overdue,” said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “For years, these so-called media outlets have been mouthpieces of the Chinese Communist Party, and these Chinese outlets are becoming more aggressive.”    [FULL  STORY]

China’s Foreign Ministry says move was punishment for a recent opinion piece published by the Journal

The Wall  Street Journal
Date: Feb. 19, 2020


China revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters based in Beijing, the first time the Chinese government has expelled multiple journalists simultaneously from one international news organization since the country began re-engaging with the world in the post-Mao era.

China’s Foreign Ministry said the move Wednesday was punishment for a recent opinion piece published by the Journal.

Deputy Bureau Chief Josh Chin and reporter Chao Deng, both U.S. nationals, as well as reporter Philip Wen, an Australian national, were ordered to leave the country within five days, said Jonathan Cheng, the Journal’s China bureau chief.

The expulsions by China’s Foreign Ministry followed widespread public anger at the headline on the Feb. 3 opinion piece, which referred to China as “the real sick man of Asia.” The ministry and state-media outlets had repeatedly called attention to the headline in statements and posts on social media and had threatened unspecified consequences.

“Regrettably, what the WSJ has done so far is nothing but parrying and dodging its responsibility,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily news briefing Wednesday. “The Chinese people do not welcome those media that speak racially discriminatory language and maliciously slander and attack China.”

The three journalists work for the Journal’s news operation. The Journal operates with a strict separation between its news and opinion staffs.    [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/02/01
By:  Associated Press

(AP photo)

BOSTON (AP) — A Harvard University professor charged with lying about his role in a Chinese talent recruitment program was released from custody Thursday and ordered to post a $1 million cash bond.

Charles Lieber appeared in Boston's federal court wearing orange jail garb and chains around his ankles two days after his arrest at his Ivy League university office, where he was chair of the chemistry and chemical biology department.

Lieber is accused of lying about his participation in China's Thousand Talents Plan, which targets overseas scientists and researchers willing to bring their expertise to China in exchange for things like research funding and lab space.

Prosecutors had proposed setting bond at $1.5 million secured by Lieber's suburban Boston home. But Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler instead ordered Lieber to post a $1 million cash bond by next Thursday.

Lieber did not comment as he left the courthouse with his wife amid a throng of reporters after the hearing. His lawyers also declined to comment.

Lieber is required to give up his passport and disclose any foreign bank accounts and is barred from talking to any potential victims or witnesses in the case, among other restrictions. His wife will also hand over her passport after prosecutors raised concerns that she could move cash to another country.    [FULL  STORY]

Response to crisis exposes disadvantages of Xi Jinping’s highly centralised administration 1

Financial Times
Date: Jan 29, 2020
By: Christian Shepherd in Beijing and Sue-Lin Wong in Shenzhen

Xi Jinping has centralised power more than any other Communist leader of the past few decades © AP

When the mayor of Wuhan was asked on China’s state broadcaster why he had not disclosed the severity of the coronavirus outbreak in his city, he replied that his hands were tied by laws that required him to seek authorisation from Beijing.

“I hope everyone can understand why there wasn’t timely disclosure,” Zhou Xianwang said in the unusually frank interview this week. “After I received information, I needed authorisation before making it public,” he explained.

In a country that insists on political unity, the interview stands as a rare example of stresses between central and local government breaking into the open, as China’s response to the deadly respiratory virus becomes one of the biggest challenges to Xi Jinping’s presidency since he took power in 2012.

While the first cases of workers and shoppers contracting pneumonia in a market in the Chinese city emerged in early December, Beijing waited several weeks before issuing orders to curb the virus’s spread. Since then, 170 people have died and at least 7,711 have been infected.   [FULL  STORY]

Date: January 30, 2020
By: Stanley Widianto, Khanh VU

People wearing face masks carry their luggage as they walk outside Beijing Railway Station as the country is hit by an outbreak of the new coronavirus, in Beijing, China January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

JAKARTA/HANOI (Reuters) – The coronavirus outbreak has stoked a wave of anti-China sentiment around the globe, from shops barring entry to Chinese tourists, online vitriol mocking the country’s exotic meat trade and surprise health checks on foreign workers.

The virus, which originated in China, has spread to more than a dozen countries, many of them in Southeast Asia which has sensitive relations with China amid concerns about Beijing’s vast infrastructure spending and political clout in the region and sovereignty disputes in the South China Sea.

Authorities and schools in Toronto, Canada, were moved to warn against discrimination towards Chinese Canadians, while in Europe there was anecdotal evidence of Chinese residents facing prejudice in the street, and hostile newspaper headlines.

“Orientalist assumptions plus political distrust plus health concerns are a pretty powerful combination,” said Charlotte Setijadi, and anthropologist who teaches at Singapore Management University.

Chinese authorities have said the virus emerged from a market selling illegally traded wildlife, giving rise to widespread social media mocking of China’s demand for exotic delicacies and ingredients for traditional medicine.    [FULL  STORY]

A new set of laws from CCP set out to exert further control in Tibet under guise of 'ethnic unity'

Taiwan News
Date: 2020/01/16
By: Chris Chang, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Fewer Tibetan children have chance learning Tibetan language (Unsplash photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A new law passed by China's leaders in Tibet that systemizes ethnic unity in the region has drawn concerns about the future of Tibetan culture and identity.

"Regulations on the Establishment of a Model Area for Ethnic Unity and Progress in the Tibet Autonomous Region" (Regulations), will go into effect on May 1. The law lists the duties of officials, schools, and social groups in the region to promote ethnic unity; as well as the penalties for separatists.

The regulations state: "Tibet has long been an unsplittable part of China and the country will insist on ethnic equity for the entire nation while using the correct methods to fix any ethnic conflicts in a Chinese way."

In response, Kunga Tashi, Chinese Communication and Outreach Officer for the New York-based Tibet Fund, told RFA on Tuesday: "China’s new law masks the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) hidden agenda to completely wipe out Tibetan culture and ethnicity.”

To achieve this, the authorities require, "Religious groups and schools to 'Chinalize' the religions and integrate ethnic unity into the doctrines to develop a religious culture that contributes to social development and harmony," Article 19 says.

Schools and officials should also enhance the promotion of socialism with Chinese characteristics and the "China Dream." Any organizations or individuals that "produce or disseminate ideas which damage ethnic unity" and "encourage separatism and influence social stability" will be reeducated or face criminal charges.    [FULL  STORY]

  • Zdenek Hrib explains decision to end sister city arrangement with the Chinese capital saying he would not sign deal that forced his city to ‘speak out against independence of Tibet and Taiwan’
  • Mayor tells German newspaper that China is ‘full of resentment’ and is trying to sway public opinion in the Czech Republic

South China Morning Post
Date: 12 Jan, 2020
By: Agence France-Presse

Prague cancelled a sister cities agreement with Beijing over the one-China policy. Photo: AP

The mayor of Prague condemned China as an “unreliable partner” on Sunday and told a German newspaper his city will sign a twinning agreement with Taipei.

In guest commentary for the weekly paper Welt am Sonntag, Zdenek Hrib, from the Czech Pirate Party, said China was “full of resentment” and was trying to influence Czech public opinion.

The 38-year-old mayor, who has been running Prague since November 2018, sought to explain his administration’s decision to cancel a sister city agreement with Beijing in October.

The decision has soured relations between China and the Czech Republic despite President Milan Zeman’s efforts to build closer ties between the two countries.

The deal was agreed in 2016, but later torn up after Zdenek’s administration backed out of a controversial clause concerning the one-China policy.

Zdenek wrote that he could not sign an agreement that forced Prague to “speak out against the independence of Tibet and Taiwan”.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: January 3, 2020
By: By Jane Li

It was supposed to be a good wish to ring in the new year but for many web surfers in China there were bad vibes about the message posted on a popular Chinese social network by the embassy of the Netherlands in Beijing.

The message, which emphasized the importance of human rights, contained a screenshot of the Chinese court document (link in Mandarin) that sentenced a Chinese Christian pastor to nine years in prison.

The message was posted by the embassy on its official Weibo account on New Year’s Day. “One of the wishes for 2020 that the Netherlands has is for all countries globally to implement the Universal Declaration of Human Rights unconditionally,” it said. “Today, we would like to reiterate the article 18 of the declaration: everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

The attached screenshot was about Wang Yi,  a Christian pastor who founded  Early Rain Covenant Church,  one of China’s largest underground churches. Wang was sentenced to nine years in prison for subversion of state power and illegal business operations on Dec. 30. Wang, who was known for his open criticism of Chinese leaders including president Xi Jinping, was detained in December 2018, along with his wife and a dozen other churchgoers and church leaders. Most of the detainees have since been released, but there has been no news of Wang until his sentencing.

China requires churches and all places of worship to register with the government but Wang did not. His Protestant church met secretly, possibly in places such as hotel conference rooms and cafes.


The Daily Beast
Date: Jan. 03, 2020
By: Nanfu Wang

Nanfu Wang, who co-directed the doc “One Child Nation” exploring China’s one-child policy, writes about how state media has scrubbed mentions of her film.

Courtesy Amazon Studios
Courtesy Amazon Studios[/caption]
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about an experience I had as a 13-year-old vocational school student in China. Each night, every class in the school would have to watch Xinwen Lianbo, a daily news program produced by the state-run broadcaster, China Central Television. The same program was broadcast in every city in China, and in schools like mine, it was required viewing for everyone. 

To ensure that each student actually paid attention to the broadcast, we were required to write down 20 of the news stories mentioned during the program—10 domestic and 10 international. At the end of the week, every student’s news notebook would be carefully inspected, and anyone who failed to properly record the news reports would be publicly shamed on “Notice of Criticism” billboards positioned around main pathways throughout the campus. I remember being very afraid of seeing my name on those billboards. 

My news notebook became a fixation for me; it became a point of pride. I was proud of my meticulous reporting, the neatness of my handwriting, and the speed at which I could copy every detail. I memorized the format of the broadcasts—first 10 minutes: national leaders are having important meetings. Second 10 minutes: everyone in China is living a happy, prosperous life. Final 10 minutes: outside of China there are gunshots, misery, natural disasters, and Western anti-China forces are relentlessly trying to destabilize China and induce chaos in Chinese society. I carefully wrote it all down. 

The broadcasts became the lens through which I saw my country. It was my responsibility to internalize them, and I did. So did my friends, so did my family. Years later, I left China and began a reckoning with the image of China that had been presented to me. After studying abroad for a few years, I returned to China to make my first documentary Hooligan Sparrow, and in the process I was personally subjected to interrogations, police harassment, and physical threats. In subsequent years my family in China has withstood repeated inquiries from national security agents about me and my work.

Naturally, my perception of China has changed since the days when I copied down those nightly news broadcasts. The memory of those days has resurfaced recently, I suppose, because of my experience reckoning with the Chinese news media’s coverage of my most recent film, One Child Nation, a documentary about China’s one-child policy.

Most of China’s major entertainment publications thoroughly cover the Oscars each year, so when the Academy announced its 15 shortlisted films for the 2020 Best Documentary Feature award, many Chinese publications covered it. But each paper had a peculiarity in common: they each listed only 14 films.

One Child Nation, the documentary about China’s one-child policy that I co-directed with my friend Jialing Zhang, is included in this year’s shortlist, but no Chinese publication has made any mention of it. Any person living in China who might be following the Oscars would have no way of knowing that a Chinese film is a contender in this year’s documentary category. Even for people who have heard of the film, searching for the Chinese translation of the film’s title (独生子女国度 or 独生之国) within China generates no results, except for this message: “the result of this search cannot be displayed because it violates related laws and regulations.” 

This is nothing new. Several weeks ago, when the Producers Guild announced its seven nominees for Best Documentary Feature, Chinese media reported that six films had been nominated. And at the beginning of 2019, Chinese entertainment media’s coverage of the Sundance Film Festival awards excluded the detail that One Child Nation had won the Grand Jury prize for Best U.S. Documentary. 

In my work as a filmmaker, I’ve become familiar with the startling and perplexing reality of how carefully shaped and managed the flow of information is within China, so the censorship of my film wasn’t particularly surprising to me. The real surprise came when I posted about it on Chinese social media.

I took a screenshot of the 14 shortlisted films reported in Chinese publications. I posted the screenshot on my WeChat account (WeChat is a Chinese messaging app with more than 1 billion monthly active users) and wrote a caption, “15 films were on the short list, but one doesn’t exist in China.” A few minutes after I posted the screenshot, a good friend commented on the post, “Chinese documentaries about our fight against Uighur terrorists don’t exist on YouTube.” 

It took me a minute to make sense of what he said. Then I realized that he was referring to two documentaries, Fighting Terrorism and Black Hand, produced by China Global Television Network. I was surprised that my friend brought up these films, so I looked into them more deeply. 

The documentaries were released in late 2019 and show graphic images of terrorists in Xinjiang to justify China’s crackdown on Uighurs. The films were widely promoted online, and Chinese news media denounced how Western media had “censored” them. 

I’ve become familiar with the startling and perplexing reality of how carefully shaped and managed the flow of information is within China, so the censorship of my film wasn’t particularly surprising to me. The real surprise came when I posted about it on Chinese social media.

On Global Times, an English-language Chinese newspaper controlled by the state-run People’s Daily, an article appeared with the title: Xinjiang Documentary released, Western media collectively chose to be silent. It said, “Western media did not refute our facts, but downplayed and marginalized the film, preventing mainstream western audiences from hearing the Chinese voice. We must now break through this strategy of the western media and have our own independent channels to report these facts …”

In a video on Global Times, the spokesperson for the foreign minister address6ed Western media: “What I want to emphasize is that whether you report it or not, whether you want to report it or not, the facts and truths about Xinjiang are there, and the evidence is strong. Lies can’t cover the truth, just like dark clouds can’t cover the sun after all. I think as the media, you have such a social responsibility to present the most basic facts and truths to the readers objectively and fairly, rather than preconceived and selective deafness and blindness, misleading the audience.”

After reading about these two documentaries justifying China’s treatment of Uighurs, my friend’s point became evident to me: sure, Chinese media were complicit in the censorship of One Child Nation, but Western media are guilty of the same kind of censorship.     [FULL  STORY]

Taiwan News
Date: 2019/12/30
By: Ching-Tse Cheng, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Uyghur children are being taken from their families by Chinese authorities. (Pexels photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The New York Times reported on Saturday (Dec. 28) that nearly 500,000 Uyghur children in Xinjiang had been spirited to state-run facilities after being taken from their families.

Based on a planning document published by the Chinese Ministry of Education, children as young as eight years old are being put in state-run boarding schools by Chinese authorities to erase their Muslim values and beliefs. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) argues that the schools serve as a way to fight poverty and that the government has improved Uyghur children's access to education.

The document also said that CCP Secretary General Xi Jinping (習近平) deems education as an important tool in fully eradicating violent extremism as well as governing Xinjiang. It added that the new generation of secular Uyghur youth would be given the privilege of cultivating their patriotism and love for the party.    [FULL  STORY]