National China News

​Hint: it involves these missiles. 

The National Interest
Date: September 11, 2019
By: Michael Peck

Key Point: Here’s another American solution to China’s claims over the South China Sea: offer long-range rockets to the Philippines.

The United States and the Philippines have been discussing whether the Filipino military should buy the High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), a multiple rocket launcher used by the United States and other nations, according to the South China Morning Post.

“If deployed, the long-range, precision-guided rockets fired by the system would be able to strike Chinese man-made islands on reefs in the Spratly chain,” the newspaper said. HIMARS is a lighter, more mobile six-barreled version of the U.S. Army’s M270 multiple rocket launch system (MLRS). It can shoot rockets out to 70 kilometers (43 miles) and GPS-guided ballistic missiles out to 300 kilometers (186 miles).

However, funding from the cash-strapped Philippines is a hurdle. “The two sides have been unable to reach a deal because HIMARS could be too expensive for Manila given its tight defense budget,” said the newspaper.

Exactly how much does HIMARS cost? Manufacturer Lockheed Martin refused to give cost estimates, instead referring queries to the U.S. Army’s Aviation and Missile Command, which didn’t respond to questions from TNI. The cost of HIMARS is split between the launcher itself and separate contracts for various munitions including guided and unguided rockets, the longer-range Army Tactical Missile System (ATACMS) missiles, and weapons under development such as extended-range rockets and the Precision Strike Missile.

Some estimates put the cost of a HIMARS guided rocket at $100,000 to $200,000 apiece, or an ATACMS at more than $700,000 apiece. Another clue is that Poland recently signed a $414 million contract for eighteen launchers plus support and training. With the 2019 Philippines defense budget at only $3.4 billion, a big HIMARS purchase would be a strain.

Yet HIMARS is still a cheaper option than, say, a $1.4 million Tomahawk cruise missile. And the Philippines had already had a taste of HIMARS. The weapon was deployed there by U.S. Marines in 2016 during the joint U.S.-Philippines Balikatan exercises. Collin Koh Swee Lean, a Singaporean defense analyst, told the South China Morning Post that “there were two possible locations for the system: Palawan province in the Philippines and Thitu, or Zhongye in Chinese—the largest island held by Manila in the disputed Spratly chain. From Palawan, HIMARS could launch a missile at its maximum range to hit China’s man-made island at Mischief Reef, Koh said. But Thitu island would also be vulnerable to PLA air and missile strikes because it is only about 22 kilometers (14 miles) from China-occupied Subi Reef, and within striking range of missiles originating from the Paracel Islands and Hainan.”

The cheaper price tag of HIMARS compared to other weapons does make it attractive. “The idea of purchasing HIMARS systems may be one of the few viable options in response to China's artificial islands and continuing and increasingly provocative actions in the SCS [South China Sea],” says Jay Batongbacal, director of the Philippines-based Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea.    [FULL  STORY]

The Washington Post
Date: September 6, 2019
By Shibani Mahtani, Gerry Shih and Tiffany Liang

Students gather Sept. 2 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for anti-government protests, which have continued in Hong Kong since June. (Laurel Chor/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

HONG KONG —  When Bella, a mainland Chinese student, returned home after a week-long program in Hong Kong, it didn’t occur to her to take any special precautions. She hadn’t ventured near the protests that have rocked the city.

Approaching the mainland border point last month, the 21-year-old was pulled aside along with several others. Officers combed her phone, discovering Facebook and its Messenger app, both banned in China. She said her entry permit — a card used by mainland Chinese to travel to and from Hong Kong — was briefly confiscated while officers questioned her and accused her of deleting messages to hide unspecified evidence. 

“I was shocked that they would do that without reason,” said Bella, who gave only her first name for fear of reprisal, explaining that she had downloaded Facebook to follow fan pages of her musical idol, David Bowie. “I kept trying to explain, but the officers wouldn’t believe me.”     [FULL  STORY]

The News Lens
Date: 2019/08/30
By: Dinah Gardner

Photo Credit: Reuters / 達志影像

On the International Day of the Disappeared, China is seen as the worst perpetrator of state-sanctioned enforced disappearances this year.

August 30 is the Day of the Disappeared. You’d be forgiven for thinking it was the name of a horror film. Indeed, what it commemorates is horrific.

The International Day of the Disappeared, on every August 30, was created to draw the world’s attention to the victims of state-sanctioned enforced disappearances. Every day countless numbers of people are snatched up into secret imprisonment, and their families are left to wonder where they are and whether they’ll ever see each other again.

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) loves to argue it is the biggest and best at everything. Here’s another statistic it can boast of: it is now a world leader in enforced disappearances. Since 2012, when Xi Jinping (習近平) took the helm of the CCP, the party has launched several new mechanisms for vanishing people. The victim base has expanded from rights lawyers, journalists and dissidents to foreigners kidnapped for hostage diplomacy, celebrities, and businesspeople.

Photo Credit: AP / TPG Images

Taiwanese are at risk of being disappeared, too. Although official figures are hard to come by, some estimated between 1 and 3 million Taiwanese nationals residing in China. Considering China’s pattern of bullying the island nation, Taiwanese citizens are particularly vulnerable targets.

On the Day of the Disappeared this year, a large group of international human rights NGOs including Safeguard Defenders are speaking out against China, the worst perpetrator of state-conducted disappearances in the world. Here are the three main systems for enforced disappearances in China:

The CCP has placed over 1 million Uyghurs into "re-education camps" in Xinjiang.

CCP authorities terrorize human rights defenders and lawyers by swallowing them up into a system of secret detention called “Residential Surveillance at a Designated Location (RSDL)."

In 2018, the CCP launched its fearsome anti-corruption watchdog, the National Security Commission (NSC). The Commission, which operates outside the country’s judicial system, has the power to disappear both party members (that’s over 90 million people), anyone working for the Chinese state (many millions more, theoretically including nurses, kindergarten teachers, etc) and anyone from anywhere who is connected to an NSC investigation. The detention system called Liuzhi (留置) works like RSDL — it spirits detainees off to a secret location for intense interrogation in isolated cells for up to six months.

All victims who are trapped in China’s ever-growing ecosystem of enforced disappearances are extremely vulnerable to physical and mental torture. A few of them won’t make it out alive.    [FULL  STORY]

GROWING THREAT: The defense ministry said that the PLA has been expanding its arsenal to achieve its strategic goals and increase its force projection in the region

Taipei Times
Date: Aug 31, 2019
By: Aaron Tu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Chinese armed forces could soon have full-fledged “tactical nuclear power” to counter any major nuclear-armed

A Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Xian H-6 bomber flies outside Taiwan’s air defense identification zone on Dec. 18 last year.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of National Defense
nation, according to the Ministry of National Defense’s People’s Liberation Army Report for this year.

Such capabilities could allow China to attain its strategic goals of ending calls for independence within and outside of its borders; combating hegemony; establishing control of its border with India; and stabilizing its frontiers, said the report, which was delivered to the Legislative Yuan yesterday.

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) could by next year establish an arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons sizeable and powerful enough to deter a nuclear war and protect China’s borders, it said.

By 2050, China could complete the infrastructure necessary to launch nuclear-armed aircraft for strategic bombing, it added.    [FULL  STORY]

NPR
Date: August 1, 2019
By: Emily Feng

People cycle past a building at Peking University in Beijing in 2016. The university hosts Yenching Academy, a prestigious graduate studies program.
Thomas Peter/Reuters

A sudden knock at one's door. An unexpected call to meet off campus. Surreptitious visits to family members.

American graduates of the prestigious Yenching Academy, a one- to two-year master's degree program housed at Beijing's elite Peking University, are being approached and questioned by the FBI about the time they spent in China. In the last two years, at least five Yenching graduates have been approached by agents to gather intelligence on the program and to ascertain whether they have been co-opted by Chinese espionage efforts.

Brian Kim is one of them. Five months ago, Kim received a call from an unfamiliar number. "It was a person who claimed to be an FBI agent, and I immediately thought it was a scam call," Kim recalls.

Now beginning his second year at Yale Law School, Kim was able to verify the agent's identity with the local FBI office in New Haven, Conn., the next day. He arranged for two FBI agents to meet him at a coffee shop near Yale's campus, where, over the next hour, they grilled him on his personal and academic history.

"It became clear to me, maybe three-quarters of the way through, that they were actually most interested in China," Kim says.

One of the agents asked if anyone in China had tried to recruit Kim for espionage efforts. Who had encouraged Kim to apply for the Yenching program in the first place?

"I literally told them the Princeton fellowship office" had recommended he apply, says Kim, who has a bachelor's degree from Princeton University. "There was a moment of levity where we're just both treating this experience like, are we doing this right now?"

Fears of Chinese espionage

The mistrust of Yenching Academy, dubbed the "Rhodes Scholarship of China," illustrates just how far fears of Chinese espionage have permeated among the U.S. defense and intelligence establishment.

Once cast as a way for America's best and brightest to build relationships with and improve understanding of China, academic programs and collaborations are now falling under scrutiny. FBI agents have been lobbying U.S. university administrators to monitor Chinese researchers and students working in certain science and technology fields. Federal funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health are also investigating academics for not properly disclosing Chinese funding or research done with Chinese institutions.    [FULL  STORY]

Beijing uses student and professional associations to try to influence not just Chinese citizens abroad, but outsiders, too.

The Atlantic
Date:  Jul 12, 2019
By: Didi Kirsten Tatlow

In centuries past, Prussian, Napoleonic, Nazi, and Allied soldiers all tramped the Strasse des 17. Juni, an east–west boulevard traversing Berlin’s leafy Tiergarten park, over which soars a winged, golden statue of the Roman goddess Victoria.

More recently, in the auditorium of the Technische Universität Berlin, which lies along the thoroughfare, a thousand patriotic voices swelled in song for a different rising power: China.

“Though I live in a foreign country, I cannot change my Chinese heart,” the mostly doctoral-level science students chorused to images of the Great Wall rolling onstage in a karaoke version of “My Chinese Heart,” a Chinese Communist Party–approved classic. “My ancestors long ago branded ‘China’ on everything in me!” they sang.

The Lunar New Year gala, in late January, was a glitzy, occasionally ear-splitting affair organized by half a dozen Chinese student associations at top universities in Berlin and Brandenburg state, which encircles it. On the program: Dance, music, kung fu, jokes about the German weather (too gray and wet), prizes (Huawei electronics and bottles of baijiu, a strong Chinese liquor)—and a message from Shi Mingde, the outgoing Chinese ambassador to Germany.    [FULL  STORY]

Fox News
Date: Jul 13, 2019
By: Ben Evansky, Adam Shaw | Fox News

UNITED NATIONS – The recent election of a Chinese official to a top U.N. organization is the latest sign of a steadily growing influence of China at the world body — something the U.S. is viewing as a “concerted push” by China to advance its interests and authoritarian agenda abroad.

Qu Dongyu, a Chinese government official, was elected as the next director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization last month, meaning that Chinese officials now run four out of 15 specialized U.N. agencies. The U.S. does not head any of the 15 agencies, although it does lead related funds, such as UNICEF and the World Food Programme (WFP).

STATE DEPARTMENT SAYS SENIOR UN OFFICIAL'S VISIT TO CHINA 'HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE'

"I'm very grateful to my motherland, without 40 years of successful reform and an open door policy I would not have been who I am,” Qu Dongyu said after his election.

Dongyu’s victory at the FAO now sees Chinese officials heading the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO,) the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) that deals with information and communication technologies, and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), which is responsible for development goals.

“China is definitely being more assertive at the U.N., in line with its status as the second biggest payer,” one U.N. diplomat told Fox News. “They use their partnership with developing countries to try to knock down what they don’t like, especially on human rights.

"Along with Russia, they challenge the rules-based international order which most of the world believes has made us safe and prosperous. So most of the world needs to be ready to push back. “
[FULL  STORY]

International solidarity with the struggle in Hong Kong against the extradition law and police brutality!  反對習近平稱帝 Against Xi Jinping becoming emperor

Taipei Times
Date: Jun 05, 2019 
By: AFP, BEIJING

Beijing yesterday marked 30 years since the Tiananmen Square Massacre with a wall of silence

A paramilitary police officer stands guard at Tiananmen Square in Beijing yesterday on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
Photo: EPA-EFE

and extra security.

Police checked the identification cards of every tourist and commuter leaving the subway near Tiananmen Square, the site of the pro-democracy protests that were brutally extinguished by tanks and soldiers on June 3 and 4, 1989.

Foreign journalists were not allowed onto the square at all or warned by police not to take pictures.

Officials told one reporter that “illegal media behavior” could affect visa renewals.

Meanwhile, Washington marked the occasion by hailing the “heroic” movement of 1989.

The Chinese Communist Party detained several pro-democracy advocates in the run-up to yesterday, while popular livestreaming sites conspicuously shut down for “technical” maintenance.

Searches for the term “Tiananmen” on the Sina Weibo platform yesterday displayed the official logo of the 70th anniversary of the founding of communist China.

Over the years, the party has censored any discussion of the protests and crackdown, which left hundreds, possibly more than 1,000 people, dead — ensuring that people either never learn about what happened or fear to discuss it.    [FULL  STORY]

CNN
Date: 4th June 2019
By: James Griffiths, CNNHong Kong

Credit: Badiucao

For years, Chinese artist Badiucao has operated anonymously, wearing a mask whenever he appears in public. But now, on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, he has revealed his face for the very first time.

Badiucao's name is a pseudonym adopted years ago, when he began posting caustic political cartoons lampooning the Chinese Communist Party online. He was quickly banned from Chinese social media and forced to operate outside the Great Firewall, China's vast online censorship apparatus.

In 2009, Badiucao moved to Australia, where he has since become a citizen, renouncing his Chinese passport. But even then, he did not reveal his identity. Like the UK-based graffiti artist Banksy, he operated in the shadows, carrying out most of his work online or on the streets, and only appearing at exhibitions in heavy disguise.

During the filming of a documentary about his work — which aired Tuesday night on Australian television — Badiucao and director Danny Ben-Moshe initially went to extreme measures to maintain this secrecy. At home in Melbourne and during a year working with world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Berlin, Ben-Moshe filmed Badiucao from behind, or in disguise, taking care to avoid anything that could be used by the Chinese authorities to identify him.

Chinese dissident artist's Hong Kong show canceled over 'safety concerns'
"Most of the shots were of my back, avoiding showing the shape of my body," Badiucao told CNN in a phone interview. "We were also aware of showing my fingerprints or the shape of my ear. AI technology has evolved so much that I was worried even a bit of my body could compromise my identity."    [FULL  STORY]