Politics

Politics

China is trying to make policy moves that won't shake the world
The rise of China has been one of the defining stories of the 21st century, and the country has officially become one of the few countries where domestic changes affect the rest of the world. If China stumbles, the whole world will feel a bruise. Which is why this year’s all-important political meeting, called Lianghui or “two sessions,” which wrapped up last week, was aimed at making sure China doesn’t trip on its own shoelaces. “Whether that be dual circulation economic strategy, innovation, tech self-sufficiency and arresting China’s population aging problem, there is a palpable sense that the focus of this year’s “two sessions” is about the internal challenges faced by China,” said Adam
US-China relations: Top diplomats set to meet in Alaska next week
America’s top diplomat will hold talks with high-ranking Chinese officials next Thursday in Anchorage, Alaska, the state department announced on Wednesday.  US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan plan to discuss “a range of issues” with Yang Jiechi, China’s most senior foreign policy official, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the department said. Blinken said the meeting would not herald further high-level talks unless it could yield “tangible outcomes.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Wednesday emphasized the fact that the meeting was taking place in the US. “It was important to us that this administration’s first meeting with Chi
Americans’ unfavorable views of China hit record high, says Pew survey
Nine out of 10 Americans view China as either an enemy or competitor rather than a partner, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The perception of China in the US corresponds with the recent sharp deterioration of relations between the two countries, with a majority of those surveyed in favor of pressuring Beijing on human rights and economic issues. Around 67% of respondents in the survey, released on Thursday, reported feeling “cold” toward China this year, up from 46% in 2018. “I don’t know if it [the US-China relationship] can get any lower,” said Bonnie Glaser, director of the China Power Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “But the fact that both R
China stops 23,000 liters of Australian wine at its border
Tens of thousands of liters of wine from Australia were confiscated at the Chinese border last month amid a trade spat between the two countries.  According to the latest Chinese customs data, more than 3,000 liters of wine from Penfolds and nearly 20,000 liters from a second Australian winery, Badger’s Brook Estate, were held back by authorities over alleged labeling issues.  When asked why more liters of Penfolds were being sent to China given the ban, owner Treasury Wine Estates said it was “currently investigating the matter.” Badger’s Brook, which is based in the state of Victoria’s famed Yarra Valley, did not respond to requests for comment. China’s customs agency did not provide deta
Biden’s first China speech strikes a hawkish tone
In his first foreign policy address, US President Joe Biden on Thursday described China as the “most serious competitor” to the United States and vowed to confront Beijing on various fronts, including human rights, intellectual property and economic policy. Appearing at the State Department, Biden said his administration would “take on directly the challenges posed [to] our prosperity, security and democratic values by our most serious competitor: China.” “We’ll confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive, coercive actions, and push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property and global governance,” he said. “We’ll compete from a position of strength, by build
Communist party official fired after slapping staff in public
A high-ranking Chinese official has been fired after humiliating a subordinate by slapping him across the face in public. Zhang Zhanwei, the Communist Party chief of Jiyuan city in China’s central Henan province, was sacked on Thursday after the victim’s wife filed a complaint. She said the public shaming caused her husband to have a heart attack, according to the state-owned Xinhua news agency. The complaint letter did not specify why the official had been fired. The incident happened in November but was only filed a week ago, after Shang Xiaojuan, wife of Zhai Weidong, expressed frustration and hurt over Zhang’s lack of concern about her husband’s heart attack and subsequent month-long ho
Joe Biden told Xi Jinping that America is land of ‘possibilities’
US President Joe Biden referenced a conversation with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, when both were vice-presidents, during one of his first official acts in his new role on Wednesday. “I was asked a long time ago when I was with Xi Jinping, and I was on the Tibetan plateau with him,” Biden said as he was administering an oath of office – virtually – to nearly 1,000 of his appointees.  Xi “asked me in a private dinner, he and I, and we each had an interpreter. He said can you define America for me, and I said yes and I meant it. “I said I can do it in one word, one word: possibilities. We believe anything’s possible if we set our mind to it, unlike any other country in the world.” Bide
US brands China’s Uygur policy a ‘genocide’
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday accused China of “genocide and crimes against humanity” for the country’s treatment of Uygur Muslims in its far-western region of Xinjiang.  The statements came on his last full day as America’s top diplomat. Pompeo’s accusations include arbitrary imprisonment of more than a million Uygurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and other ethnic minority groups in Xinjiang, as well as torture and forced labor inflicted on these groups.  They are also consistent with comments President-elect Joe Biden has made. Pompeo said:  “Since at least March 2017, local authorities [in China] dramatically escalated their decades-long campaign of repression against Uygur Muslims and
The primary election that resulted in Hong Kong’s national security mass arrests
The biggest mass arrests under the national security law in Hong Kong took place on Wednesday morning as 53 former opposition lawmakers and activists were rounded up for their roles in a primary election run-off last July. Inkstone looks at the controversial democratic primary and why it triggered Beijing’s ire. What was the opposition’s primary about? The 35-plus strategy was drafted by Benny Tai Yiu-ting in March last year. Tai was an organizer of the Occupy Central protests that ground the city to a halt for 79 days in 2014.  The primaries were organized to ensure those with the best chance could win votes and achieve a majority in the 70-seat legislature (or, 35-plus). This was to preve
Trump has put spotlight on pardons. How does it work in China? 
In his final weeks in office, US President Donald Trump has issued a wave of controversial pardons to family members, close allies and Blackwater guards who killed Iraqi civilians.  United Nations experts said the pardon of four Blackwater contractors violated international laws that obligate countries to hold their war criminals accountable for their crimes.  But controversial presidential pardons are hardly unique for outgoing presidents. US President Bill Clinton pardoned 176 people on his final day in office in 2001, including his brother. He received harsh blowback for the decision.  President George W. Bush appears to have learned from Clinton’s experience and issued a limited number o