Politics

Politics

Did China just acknowledge the scale of its Xinjiang camps?
China released a white paper on Thursday claiming that its far-western region of Xinjiang has provided “vocational training” to nearly 1.3 million workers every year on average from 2014 to 2019. It comes as Beijing is facing mounting criticism from Western countries and human rights groups over its policies in the region, where it is believed to have detained at least 1 million Uygurs and other ethnic Muslim minorities in internment camps. China has been accused of subjecting detainees to political indoctrination and forced labor in the camps, but it has denied the allegations and insisted they are “vocational training centers” where people learn language and job skills. Observers said the
Trump and Biden both vow to reduce reliance on China, but methods will be ‘night and day’
In his Mexico City office, while the coronavirus pandemic has raged, Samuel Campos’s phone has been ringing off the hook with firms looking to move their manufacturing to Mexico. “Since the trade deal this year, I think our volume is up around 30% to 40%,” said Campos, managing director at commercial real estate advisory firm Newmark Knight Frank, pointing to the revamped US-Mexico-Canada Agreement that went into effect in July. The callers used to be mainly European and American, looking to escape China to avoid trade war tariffs or to be closer to their consumer markets. But in recent months, Chinese firms have been calling too – all keen on managing the costs and volatility that come with
China-India border dispute: Beijing raised combat readiness to the highest level since 1987
Chinese troops on the country’s disputed border with India raised their combat readiness to the second-highest possible last week after an exchange of gunfire, but the alert was lowered after a meeting of the nations’ foreign ministers, military sources said. The increase, to second level, meant more weapons and troops were deployed to the front line, and training exercises were ramped up for commanders, officers and soldiers, a military source told the South China Morning Post. The last time such a high level was employed by troops in the restive region was in 1987, when a skirmish in the Sumdorong Chu valley pushed the two sides to the brink of war, said the person, who asked not to be nam
US sanctions Chinese firm for ‘seizure’ of Cambodian land
The US Treasury Department issued sanctions on Tuesday against a Chinese company developing a sprawling tourism zone in Cambodia. It is the latest sign that Washington’s increasingly heated competition with Beijing has now spread to Southeast Asia. The Treasury Department accused Union Development Group (UDG) of “seizure and demolition of local Cambodians’ land” for the construction of Dara Sakor, a coastal resort area that is planned to include golf courses, casinos, luxury housing, an airport, and a port large enough for cruise ships. In announcing the sanctions, the US cited reports that Dara Sakor could be converted to host Chinese military assets, which could “threaten regional stabilit
US presidential election: China, Trump and red lines on Taiwan
For Beijing, there is one very clear red line on Taiwan. If the self-ruled island moves toward independence, Beijing has said that it would be justified in “reunifying” Taiwan with the mainland by force, a position it spelt out 15 years ago in its Anti-Secession Law. Despite dramatic lows and opposing stands in their relationship, both sides of the Taiwan Strait have so far managed to avoid crossing that line and engaging in a direct confrontation. But in the last few months, in the lead-up to the US presidential election, Washington has tried to capitalize on anti-China sentiment by offering strong support for the island. Beijing has branded the actions “US provocations” and promised to def
The downward spiral of Australia-China ties
Every Tuesday and Thursday, Inkstone Explains unravels the ideas and context behind the headlines to help you understand news about China. The relations between Australian and Chinese governments have gone into a downward spiral in 2020. Over the course of less than a month in the summer of 2020, Beijing announced its second inquiry into Australian wine imports, suspended barley imports from the country’s largest grain exporter and confirmed the detention of a prominent Australian journalist. Then, the Communist Party-run tabloid Global Times on August 31 borrowed late Singapore leader Lee Kuan Yew’s words to warn Australia that it risked becoming the “poor white trash of Asia” if it decoupl
China and India vow to back off from each other after deadly border clash
China and India have reached their first agreement to ease tensions along their disputed borders since a stand-off turned deadly in June and raised fear of a broader confrontation. Their top diplomats met on Thursday for the first time after the June fighting, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead and an unknown number of casualties on the Chinese side. In a joint statement, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said the stand-off was “not in the interest of either side.” The worst border dispute between the two countries in four decades has escalated in recent months.  Earlier this week, both sides have accused each other of firing shots in the di
Tycoon who criticized China’s ‘emperor’ faces corruption trial
Ren Zhiqiang, a prominent real estate tycoon and a vocal critic of the Communist Party leadership, has been put on trial in Beijing for alleged corruption. A member of the party, Ren was a long-standing critic of China’s leadership, earning him the nickname Ren the Big Cannon. His most recent article, circulating online since March, was critical of the authorities’ initial missteps in handling the coronavirus, Beijing’s attempts to promote its successes in containing the outbreak and President Xi Jinping’s expansion of power. Although Ren did not mention Xi by name, he made references in his article to an “emperor” and a “clown” who personally directed China’s fight against Covid-19. Ren ha
Chinese cotton ban set to shake up global fashion trade
US apparel groups are expecting a Trump administration decision as early as this week blocking imports of Chinese-made textile and apparel products, according to textiles industry sources and a former Trump White House trade official. The decision is expected to be made on the grounds that the products were made with forced labor in the Xinjiang region of China.  Such a move has the potential to affect tens of billions of dollars of US textile and clothing imports that contain cotton, yarn or fabric produced in the far-western region. It also could boomerang back on US cotton producers if Beijing retaliates. The US has accused the Chinese government of engaging in “widespread forced labor,”
Australian and Chinese journalists find themselves caught in diplomatic storm
Chinese state media has claimed that Australian intelligence agents raided the homes of Chinese journalists based in Australia as the escalating diplomatic spat between Beijing and Canberra widened into the media sphere.  The reports about the alleged June 24 searches were published hours after China’s foreign ministry confirmed that Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist working for Chinese state broadcaster CGTN, was detained on suspicion of “endangering China’s national security.” Cheng has been detained since August 14. Two other Australian journalists – Bill Birtles from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Michael Smith from the Australian Financial Review (AFR) – fled China