Politics

Politics

China’s security law in Hong Kong: What you need to know
A controversial national security law concerning Hong Kong is expected to be on the agenda as China’s rubber-stamp legislative body, the National People’s Congress, began its most important annual meeting on Friday.  The law would ban all seditious activities aimed at toppling the central government and external interference in the city’s affairs, as well as target terrorist acts in Hong Kong. Beijing’s plan to make the law was announced less than a year after a proposal to allow extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China sparked months of street unrest. Chinese officials have blamed foreign interference for fueling the protests. Critics of the expected legislation, including Hong Kong’s
‘Two sessions’ explained: China’s most important political meetings of the year
China normally holds its most important annual political meetings in March, when the top political advisory body and national legislature gather. But in 2020, the meetings were postponed to May 22, 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Although the “two sessions” take place only days apart on the political calendar, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Congress (CPPCC) and the National People’s Congress (NPC) are two very distinct gatherings. Here’s a closer look at how the two sessions, known as lianghui in Chinese, shape the nation’s policies.
Inevitable war? China, America and their next battlegrounds
When thousands of China’s elites flock to Beijing for the delayed national legislative session starting on Friday, they will face a renewed debate about relations with the US. Specifically, can armed conflict between the two economic superpowers be avoided?  The question has taken a new urgency as acrimony escalates between Washington and Beijing amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The question is also known as the Thucydides trap: an ancient Greek analogy that Harvard professor Graham Allison has popularized. In his 2017 book, Allison argued that wars were often unavoidable when a rising power challenges a ruling power. While observers mostly agree that an all-out war between the nuclear-armed nati
China’s military is asking for an even bigger budget. Here’s why
China’s military leaders are fighting for a substantial increase in their budget to be announced at an upcoming parliamentary session, arguing that the world’s largest standing army needs more resources to cope with volatile challenges at home and overseas.  At the top of the list is the growing confrontation with the United States. China-US relations have hit a low point amid a trade war, spats over civil liberties and Taiwan, and conflicts over Beijing’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. Disputes between Washington and Beijing over the origins of the coronavirus have added to the toxic brew. From Beijing’s viewpoint, the military threats are on its doorstep with US bombers runnin
US blasts ‘spiteful’ decision to freeze Taiwan out of WHO
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has slammed the “spiteful” rejection of Taiwan’s bid to attend the World Health Organization’s annual meeting as an observer despite its success in tackling Covid-19. Beijing has insisted that Taiwan, a self-ruled island democracy that it claims as its own territory, be excluded from the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body. It added that the previous inclusion of Taiwan should not count as a precedent, as the current Taiwanese government no longer recognized the one-China principle (under which both Taipei and Beijing agree there is only one China, but differ on how it is interpreted). “The United States condemns Taiwan’s exclusion from th
China to investigate ambassador’s death in Israel
China is sending a team of investigators to Israel to probe the death of Du Wei, its ambassador to the country, whose body was found at his residence in Tel Aviv on Sunday. The team, accompanied by a member of Du’s family, will handle arrangements for the remains, as well as conducting its own internal investigation, according to Israeli newspaper Haaretz. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said Du, 57, died unexpectedly “of health reasons.” Du was last seen in public on Tuesday in a video conference with an official from Israel’s foreign affairs ministry, according to the embassy website. Du was assigned to serve in Israel in February, when China was in the throes of the corona
Trump says he ‘doesn’t want to speak’ to Xi
President Donald Trump expressed doubts over his recent trade agreement with Beijing because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  He also suggested that America would save $500 billion if Washington “cut off” the bilateral relationship. Speaking about a wide range of grievances with China in a pre-recorded Fox Business Network interview, Trump said: “I have a very good relationship [with China’s President Xi Jinping], but I just, right now I don’t want to speak to him.” “They should have never let [the pandemic] happen. So I make a great trade deal and now I say this doesn’t feel the same to me,” Trump said. “I’m very disappointed in China.” The relationship between the US and China has soured over r
Boy, 12, went to report on a Hong Kong protest. The police detained him
Hong Kong police held a 12-year-old boy who was reporting for a student news service as anti-government protests returned to the city’s streets over the weekend.  The boy was released without charge on Sunday evening, but his mother later said police had threatened to arrest her if the boy was spotted at future protests. The Hong Kong protest movement was largely subdued by the coronavirus pandemic, but with the city reporting no local cases for 23-straight days, anti-government demonstrators have recently become more active. On Mother’s Day, crowds gathered at malls to chant slogans and sing protest songs while others tried to block roads with burning trash cans. Hong Kong police made a mas
China issues 11,380-word rebuttal to US coronavirus claims
China has issued a lengthy rebuttal dismissing claims it mishandled the Covid-19 pandemic and denying claims that there had been safety problems at a virology lab in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The 11,380-word rebuttal follows an escalating war of words between China and the United States over the origin of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19. The statement was posted on the Chinese foreign ministry’s website on Saturday and has been published by state media outlets. Last week, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was evidence that linked the secure facility to an accidental leak of the pathogen, although Pompeo later changed his tune and said it “could be wr
US ‘suspected of dossier leak’ as Australia cools on Wuhan lab theory
There are signs of a growing split between Australia and the United States over an unproven theory that the coronavirus came from a Wuhan laboratory, amid claims the US embassy may have leaked a dossier linked to the allegations. According to Australian newspaper The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), Australia’s government fears the Donald Trump administration’s promotion of the lab theory could undermine its call for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic and a ban on the sale of exotic live animals. “The Americans pushing the lab theory kind of discredits that initiative,” said Richard McGregor, a senior fellow at the Lowy Institute in Sydney. “It prejudges it, which in a way c