Keegan Elmer

Keegan Elmer

Keegan is a contributor to Inkstone. He is a reporter at the South China Morning Post covering China in world affairs.

China says it will move to “normalize” internment camps in Xinjiang
China will move to “normalize” mass internment facilities in Xinjiang and open what Beijing calls education facilities in the region in the future, amid rising US-China clashes over the treatment of ethnic minorities in the western region. In a press conference on Monday, Shohrat Zakir, chairman of the Xinjiang government, took aim at foreign media and western governments, blaming them for distorting the image of China’s controversial counter-terrorism efforts in the predominately Muslim region, in particular its mass detention of Uygurs accused of harboring extremist ideas by the authorities. “The US is getting restless and has launched a smear campaign against Xinjiang,” he said. “But no f
China says it will move to “normalize” internment camps in Xinjiang
Chinese professor accused of spying banned from entering 26 Europe states
A Chinese professor who headed a Confucius Institute in Brussels has been barred from entering the 26 European countries that make up the Schengen zone for eight years after being accused of espionage, amid growing scrutiny of the Beijing-run cultural offices that have been established at universities around the world. Song Xinning, former director of the institute at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), said he had been accused by authorities in Belgium of supporting Chinese intelligence activities in the city – an accusation he denied. The Belgian newspaper De Morgen reported on Tuesday that VUB had ignored a warning from the State Security Service about the institute’s activities. The ar
Chinese professor accused of spying banned from entering 26 Europe states
Poorly organized and tightly controlled: inside China’s Belt and Road party
Trying to dispel foreign skepticism over its Belt and Road initiative, Beijing held a three-day summit last week gathering foreign leaders and delegates from 150 countries. But traffic woes, poor organization and tight media control during the forum – China’s most important diplomatic event of the year – have raised questions over its ability to project soft power. Poor organization Lack of a clear schedule often left attendees either waiting for hours on end or scrambling to catch up after an event started suddenly. One delegate from a European country complained that the forum was chaotic, saying there was no clear agenda provided – only a schedule giving time slots for speakers. Televisio
Poorly organized and tightly controlled: inside China’s Belt and Road party
Why the European Union nearly walked out on its talks with China
Two days before Chinese Premier Li Keqiang set off for Brussels to attend Tuesday’s summit with European Union leaders, Chinese diplomats were getting desperate. They were struggling to get their EU counterparts back to the table to agree on a joint statement to be released at the end of the meeting between Li and EU leaders. The two sides were able to draft a statement at the last minute, but not before European negotiators initially threatened to walk out from the discussions. The rare show of hostility, diplomats said, reflected the EU’s impatience with China’s lack of solid promises or follow-through on when and how it would deliver the market reforms the bloc had been waiting for years
Why the European Union nearly walked out on its talks with China
Why China is cozying up to Europe
As China finds itself locked in a trade war with the world’s No 1 economy, there are perhaps few partners more important than the No 2. As a bloc of 28 countries, the European Union is the world’s second-biggest economy, sitting between the United States and China. The significance of staying close with the EU will not be lost on China’s president Xi Jinping. Having landed in Rome on Thursday, Xi will use his next three days in Europe to try to ease fears that Beijing has become a threat to the EU. Major members of the bloc have expressed concern that China is trying to sway central and eastern European nations with promises of investment so that they will cut Beijing some slack on issues s
Why China is cozying up to Europe
China’s push into Europe is looking like a rough ride
When the leaders of China and 16 countries in central and eastern Europe gather in southern Croatia early next month, Beijing will be looking to one project as a symbol of what they can achieve. The project, the Peljesac Bridge, is funded by the European Union and is being built by a Chinese state-owned firm. When completed, it will be the longest bridge in Croatia, with the second-longest span in Europe. The bridge exemplifies the strategy that China has promoted under the country’s trade push into Europe, commonly known as the “16 + 1” initiative. But with few other signs of progress for the 16 European players, participants are questioning whether the strategy is wishful thinking. The br
China’s push into Europe is looking like a rough ride
Beware the ‘Chinaman’ with the sausage in his briefs, says Aussie senator
What the biggest threat to Australia’s lush, diverse ecosystem? Start with the “bloody old Chinaman” with a sausage hidden in his underwear, according to Australian politician Barry O’Sullivan. The Aussie senator has been criticized for making racist comments on Tuesday in the Australian Senate during a debate about risks to the country’s agriculture and food safety. The Chinese embassy in Australia has protested the remarks as racist. And Chin Tan, the Australian Race Discrimination Commissioner, described them as “racially derogatory,” according to SBS News. The Australian senator’s racial comments come as ties are strained between the two countries, with recent contentious issues includi
Beware the ‘Chinaman’ with the sausage in his briefs, says Aussie senator
He built a career on North Korea. Now China’s come for him
As a young man from Alberta on a trip to Seoul in the late ’90s, Michael Spavor picked up a Lonely Planet travel guide and came across a few pages about North Korea in the back of the book. He was instantly hooked. “It was the most interesting part of the whole book,” he told current affairs magazine Maclean’s in an interview in 2013. Spavor set out to find out more. He not only learned fluent Korean, but also spent more than a decade living in and around North Korea. His cultural exchange business took visitors from around the world – including ex-NBA star Dennis Rodman – to the isolated northeast Asian country. And he even became personal friends with Kim Jong-un, the leader of the hermit
He built a career on North Korea. Now China’s come for him
Is China detaining a Canadian ex-diplomat as political payback?
A former Canadian diplomat has been detained in China, Canadian officials have confirmed. Michael Kovrig, a senior adviser at the International Crisis Group, was seized and detained on Monday night in Beijing by Chinese state security, the nongovernmental organization said. His detention came nine days after Canadian authorities arrested a Chinese executive at the request of the US government, raising tensions between Canada and China.   Before the executive, Sabrina Meng, the chief financial officer of telecoms giant Huawei, was freed on bail of $7.5 million on Tuesday, Beijing had demanded her release and warned Canada of “grave consequences.” On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry did no
Is China detaining a Canadian ex-diplomat as political payback?
China keeps German officials out of Xinjiang
China has rejected Germany's request to travel to Xinjiang, where an increasing body of evidence suggests Muslim minorities are being held in vast numbers. German Human Rights Commissioner Bärbel Kofler said on Tuesday that the travel request to the far western region was made as part of preparations for an annual meeting on human rights between German and Chinese officials this week in Tibet. “I am shocked by reports of the treatment of the Turkic Uygur minority, more than one million of whom are estimated to be imprisoned in internment camps in Xinjiang,” Kofler said, adding that she would continue to seek permission to travel to Xinjiang. A United Nations panel cited reports in August th
China keeps German officials out of Xinjiang