National China News

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]

Following our earlier look ahead to 2020, four more commentators offer their predictions for the trends likely to impact the region in the year ahead

South China Morning Post
Date: 29 Dec, 2019
By: EZRA VOGEL, Professor emeritus at Harvard University

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hand with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Xi’s planned spring visit to Japan provides an opportunity to contain mutual hostility and expand relations. Photo: DPA

Unrest in Hong Kong, tensions between the United States and China over technology and trade, resurgent Hindu nationalism in India, and frictions in the South China Sea are just some of the issues that shaped Asia in 2019.Following our earlier look ahead to 2020, four more commentators, including the editor of This Week in Asia, offer their predictions for the trends likely to impact the region in the year ahead.

Chinese President Xi Jinping announced he plans to visit Japan in 2020 when the “cherry blossoms bloom”. This will be the first visit by a Chinese leader to Japan since the 2008 to 2014 period, when relations between the two reached their lowest point since being normalised in 1972.Chinese attitudes towards Japan had grown worse in the 1990s. After the Tiananmen Square crackdown

 in 1989, the Chinese government launched a patriotic education campaign to gain the loyalty of Chinese youth. China produced many World War II movies featuring heroic Chinese fighting against vicious Japanese. In turn, Japanese became angry after they saw film clips of Chinese attacking Japanese-owned stores in China, and the Chinese military threatening the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China. Nearly 90 per cent of the public in both countries viewed each other negatively.China and Japan should not see each other as a threat, says Xi24 Dec 2019

From 1895, when Japan won the First Sino-Japanese War, until 2008, Japan enjoyed the upper hand in relations with China. But in 2008, China began to pull ahead after the Lehman shock and the Beijing Olympics. In 2010, the World Bank announced that the size of the Chinese economy had surpassed Japan’s.    [FULL  STORY]

Date: December 19, 2019
By: Justin Rohrlich

Among the bogus items were ballistic vests for the US Navy.
Feds say the US military was duped into buying “American-made” equipment from China
By Justin RohrlichDecember 19, 2019

A military contractor sold hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of Chinese ballistic vests, helmets, and riot gear to the US government while falsely claiming they were made in America. That’s according to a newly-unsealed criminal complaint obtained by Quartz.

On Tuesday, federal agents arrested Arthur Morgan, the founder and CEO of Virginia-based Surveillance Equipment Group (SEG Inc.), on charges of wire fraud. Investigators say the company’s president, Samuel Jian Chen, also appeared to be involved in the alleged fraud.

SEG has been supplying the federal government with law enforcement and security equipment since 2003. On at least 10 occasions, prosecutors say, Morgan submitted sworn declarations that the products he sold the US government were made in the United States or another authorized country, which would specifically exclude China.

The case comes just six weeks after the federal government accused a New York tech firm of fraudulently providing Chinese-made night vision devices and body cameras to the US military that it similarly claimed were manufactured in the United States. And in September, an 82-year-old arms dealer was arrested for selling “blatantly defective replacement parts for US military weapon systems” to the Pentagon over the course of two decades. A number of those components were reportedly sourced from China as well.

The danger in sourcing equipment from China and elsewhere is that unauthorized, cut-rate items sold to the US government may not meet established quality standards, thus putting US and allied personnel at unnecessary risk. This sort of case is “a far more common phenomenon than we generally acknowledge,” Cedric Leighton, a former US Air Force colonel who now works as a private sector risk consultant, told Quartz.    [FULL  STORY]

Beijing's rise as a major armaments exporter is a double-edged sword for Moscow

Nikkei Asian Review
Date: December 20, 2019
By: Dimiri Simes

China purchased 24 Russian Su-35 fighter jets in 2015. Moscow considers Beijing’s technology theft as just another cost of doing business with its cash-flush southern neighbor.   © Getty Images

MOSCOW — In a rare public display of frustration between Moscow and Beijing, Russian state defense conglomerate Rostec accused China of illegally copying a broad range of Russian weaponry and other military hardware.

"Unauthorized copying of our equipment abroad is a huge problem. There have been 500 such cases over the past 17 years," said Yevgeny Livadny, Rostec's chief of intellectual property projects on Dec. 14. "China alone has copied aircraft engines, Sukhoi planes, deck jets, air defense systems, portable air defense missiles, and analogs of the Pantsir medium-range surface-to-air systems."

Rostec's complaint about Chinese reverse engineering comes at a time when the arms trade between the two countries is thriving. According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia was by far China's largest weapons supplier between 2014 and 2018, accounting for 70% of Beijing's arms imports during that period.

Even Russia's most advanced weaponry is not off-limits. Russia sold six of its S-400 anti-aircraft systems and 24 of its Su-35 fighter jets to China in 2015 for $5 billion.

Despite Moscow's ire over Beijing's theft of technology, it is unlikely to cut back arms exports to China anytime soon. Geopolitical and economic interests provide Russia with a strong incentive to downplay Chinese reverse engineering, experts say.    [FULL  STORY]

The Faroe Islands have become perhaps the most unexpected place for the United States and China to tussle over the Chinese tech giant Huawei.

The Ne5w York Times
Date: Dec. 20, 2019
By: Adam Satariano

Salmon farms belonging to Hidden Fjord seen from the island of Streymoy with the island of Hestur behind.Credit…Ben Quinton for The New York Times

TORSHAVN, Faroe Islands — The mere existence of the Faroe Islands is a wonder. Tall peaks of snow-patched volcanic rock jut out from the North Atlantic Ocean. Steep cliffs plunge into the deep waters of narrow fjords.

The remote collection of 18 small islands, which sit between Iceland and Norway, is known for a robust puffin population and periodic whale hunts. The semiautonomous Danish territory also has a thriving salmon industry.

Technology is not a common conversation topic among its 50,000 residents. Yet in recent weeks, the Faroe Islands have turned into a new and unlikely battleground in the technological Cold War between the United States and China.

The dispute started because of a contract. The Faroe Islands wanted to build a new ultrafast wireless network with fifth-generation technology, known as 5G. To create that new network, the territory planned to award the job to a technology supplier.

That was when the United States began urging the archipelago nation not to give the contract to a particular company: the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. American officials have long said Huawei is beholden to Beijing and poses national security concerns.

Then Chinese officials got involved. A senior Faroe Islands government official was recently caught on tape saying that the Chinese had offered to boost trade between the territory and China — as long as Huawei got the 5G network assignment.

“Commercially, the Faroe Islands cannot be very important to Huawei or anybody else,” Sjurdur Skaale, who represents the territory in the Danish parliament, said over breakfast in the capital of Torshavn this week. “The fact that the Chinese and American embassies are fighting over this as hard they are, there is something else on the table. It is about something else than purely business.”

The Faroe Islands has more sheep than people.Credit…Ben Quinton for The New York Times

Sjurdur Skaale, a member of the Danish parliament who represents the Faroe Islands, with the Faroese government buildings behind him.Credit…Ben Quinton for The New York Times

No location is now too small for the United States and China to focus on as they tussle over the future of technology. The Faroe Islands, whose proximity to the arctic gives it added military importance, joins countries across Europe caught in the middle of the two superpowers over Huawei, the crown jewel of the Chinese tech sector.

For more than a year, American officials have applied pressure on Britain, Germany, Poland and others to follow its lead in banning Huawei from new 5G networks. They argue the company can be used by China’s Communist Party to spy or sabotage critical networks. Huawei has denied that it helps Beijing.

But if the European nations side with Washington, they risk harming their economic ties to China, which has a growing appetite for German cars, French airplanes and British pharmaceuticals.

Xi Jinping celebrated the 20th anniversary of the return of Macau to Chinese rule and said Beijing would brook no challenges to its sovereignty.

The New York Times
Date: Dec. 20, 2019
By: Steven Lee Myers

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, hailed Macau’s achievements — and its loyalty to Beijing.Credit…Carmo .Correia/EPA, via Shutterstock

BEIJING — China’s leader, Xi Jinping, praised the Chinese gambling hub of Macau on Friday for its patriotism and delivered a veiled rebuke to nearby Hong Kong that Beijing would not allow challenges to its sovereignty or the interference of “external forces.”

Mr. Xi spoke on the 20th anniversary of the return of Macau to Chinese rule, a significant event for Beijing as it wrangles with protests in nearby Hong Kong that have evolved into the most direct challenge to Communist Party rule in decades.

The handover of Macau, the former Portuguese colony, in 1999 took place two years after Britain ceded sovereignty of Hong Kong. In the years since, the two cities have functioned as semiautonomous territories with greater economic and political freedoms — up to a limit, Mr. Xi made clear.

Mr. Xi’s remarks amounted to a warning for Hong Kong, where protests and clashes with the police have convulsed the city since June. Macau, he said, provided “a gorgeous chapter” in the history of the arrangement China calls “one country, two systems” by demonstrating its fealty to the central authority in Beijing.

“The long-term prosperity and stability of Macau will, with firm determination, never be shaken by temporary twists and turns,” he said in televised remarks at the East Asian Games Dome, an indoor stadium near Macau’s glittering casino hub, the Cotai Strip.

He warned that “external forces” sought to challenge China’s governance of the two territories. Officials have blamed the United States, Britain and others in the West for fomenting the unrest in Hong Kong as a way to undermine China.

“The will of the Chinese government and the Chinese people to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests is as firm as a rock,” he said. “We will never allow any external forces to interfere in Hong Kong and Macau affairs.”

Mr. Xi’s speech capped a three-day visit surrounding Friday’s anniversary and the swearing in of a new government for the territory. The new chief executive, Ho Iat Seng, who was elected in October by an unanimous vote of an electoral committee, returned the praise for Mr. Xi and the central government, saying Chinese rule was the foundation of Macau’s fortune.

Macau’s new leader, Ho Iat Seng, was elected in October by an electoral committee. He praised the central government, saying it was the foundation of Macau’s fortune.Credit…Jason Lee/Reuters

Macau’s new leader, Ho Iat Seng, was elected in October by an electoral committee. He praised the central government, saying it was the foundation of Macau’s fortune.Credit…Jason Lee/Reuters

“The great motherland will always strongly back Macau,” Mr. Ho said.

The pomp and circumstance surrounding the anniversary underscored the heavy symbolism China invests in Macau and Hong Kong: territories that it feels were humiliatingly carved off by Western imperial powers and only returned to their rightful place in the motherland under the rule of the Communist Party.    [FULL  STORY]