But senior military officers and officials in the Philippines have been pressing internally to retain the VFA, and Mr Duterte subsequently suspended the process of termination no fewer than three times as negotiations over the agreement dragged on.
Analysts said Mr Duterte hesitated to sever military links with the US, in part because of rising tensions between China and the Philippines over contested waters in the South China Sea.
The military in the Philippines remains anxious about China’s rapidly growing naval strength and sees the VFA — which provides rules for the rotation of thousands of US troops in the country for war exercises — as a bulwark against Chinese military aggression in the South China Sea.
The dispute over the VFA also took on powerful symbolism as strategic competition between the US and China intensifies in the region.
Earlier in the year, Mr Duterte declared that the US must “pay” more in order to preserve the agreement and demanded the Biden administration provide more vaccines to the Philippines.
Last month, the Biden administration delivered more than 3 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to the country.
Hunter Marston from the ANU’s Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs said the declaration that the VFA would be restored “caps a dramatic year and a half for the US-Philippines alliance”.
“Duterte’s threat to scrap VFA would have rendered the alliance all but symbolic and significantly hampered Washington’s military presence in the region as it struggles to roll back China’s expansion in the South China Sea,” he said.
“The restoration of the VFA does not preclude future policy reversals from the unpredictable Duterte, but for the time being at least, this was a very good week for the bilateral alliance.”
#AceNewsReport – July.30: Barely 48 hours before the arrival in China of one of Biden’s most-trusted diplomats, Beijing has announced its decision to impose counter-sanctions on seven American citizens and entities, including former commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, in retaliation against Washington’s earlier sanctions on Chinese officials over Hong Kong crackdowns….
On July 13, 2021, the U.S. Department of State, alongside the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Labor issued an updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory to highlight the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang, given the entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses there and throughout China. This updates the original Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory issued by U.S. government agencies on July 1, 2020.
It is not the first time Washington and Beijing have imposed mutual sanctions, but the latest round marks the first time China has done so using its new anti-foreign sanction law, which was passed in June.
Others affected in Beijing’s “reciprocal counter-sanctions” are the current or former heads of a range of US organisations, including the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the International Republican Institute, Human Rights Watch (HRW), and the Washington-based Hong Kong Democracy Council.
In response to Beijing’s counter sanctions, one of the affected US citizens, HRW’s China director Sophie Richardson tweeted, sarcastically: “thanks, for the extra motivation!” She added in another tweet, in reply to Jo Smith Finley, a British Xinjiang expert who was sanctioned by Beijing in March: “Seriously: so much work to do! And this ain’t about us.”
Since the enactment of the anti-foreign sanctions law last month, Beijing’s decision to impose counter-sanctions has been expected, but the timing of it is indicative of the deteriorating US-China relations. It also comes just less than 48 hours before US deputy secretary of state Wendy Sherman’s China visit on Sunday.
“Washington has reiterated that Sherman’s visit and talk with the Chinese side will be from ‘a position of strength’, but Beijing may want to remind [the Biden administration] that they are equals,” said Ma Ji, a senior CV Starr lecturer at Peking University’s school of transnational law.
Ma added: “Of course, none of those targeted are in Biden’s inner circle, which means that Beijing still wants to continue the conversation with Washington. But by issuing this list shortly before Sherman’s visit, Beijing clearly intends to reduce her expectations.”
#AceNewsReport – July.29: The index has now plummeted by more than 45% since hitting a record high in February: The slump comes after a series of crackdowns by Beijing on its technology and education industries.
#AceDailyNews says that China stocks see biggest slump in US since 2008 financial crisis in The Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index, which follows the 98 biggest US-listed Chinese stocks, has fallen by almost 15% in the last two trading sessions according to BBC Business News
This has led to around $770bn (£556bn) being wiped off the value of US-listed Chinese stocks in the last five months alone: The latest blow came as Beijing unveiled a massive overhaul of China’s $120bn private tutoring sector, under which all institutions offering tuition on school curricula will be registered as non-profit organisations.
The new rules also said: “Curriculum subject-tutoring institutions are not allowed to go public for financing; listed companies should not invest in the institutions, and foreign capital is barred from such institutions.”
That pushed down the stock market value of private education firms in the US, Hong Kong and mainland China.
Chinese authorities are also cracking down on a wide range of online services from food delivery apps to music streaming platforms.
On Monday, China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) issued new rules aimed at improving the employment conditions of delivery workers.
The SAMR called for delivery workers to be paid at least the minimum wage, have their workload eased, and be given better training.
Meituan, which runs one of China’s biggest food delivery apps, saw its shares lose a record 17.6% on Tuesday in Hong Kong trade, on top of a 14% slide the previous day.
Shares in Tencent fell by another 9% on Tuesday in Hong Kong after China ordered the technology giant to end exclusive music licensing deals with major record labels around the world.
Regulators said the move was aimed at tackling the company’s dominance of online music streaming in the country.
And earlier this year, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba accepted a record $2.8bn fine after an official investigation found that it had abused its market position for years.
#AceNewsReport – July.29: He was found guilty of “picking quarrels and provoking trouble” – a charge often used against activists….
#AceNewsDesk says that outspoken billionaire Sun Dawu 67 jailed for 18 years in China and runs one of the country’s largest private agricultural businesses in the northern province of Hebei but has in the past spoken out about human rights and politically sensitive topics.
Other charges against him include illegally occupying farmland, assembling a crowd to attack state agencies and obstructing government workers from performing their duties. He was also fined 3.11 million yuan ($478,697; £343,227).
Sun’s company is among China’s biggest, with businesses ranging from meat processing and pet food to schools and hospitals.
He was reportedly detained last year, along with 20 relatives and business associates, over a land dispute with a government-run farm.
At the time, he said dozens of his employees were injured in an incident with police related to the dispute, according to an AFP report.
Sun is said to be close to some prominent Chinese political dissidents and has in the past criticised the government’s rural policies.
He was one of the few people to openly accuse the government of covering up an African swine flu outbreak, which affected his farms in 2019, and later devastated much of the country’s industry.
He also was sentenced to prison in 2003, for “illegal fundraising” but the case was overturned after an outpouring of support from activists and the public.
Sun reportedly denied many of the accusations against him in a pre-trial hearing, describing himself as an “outstanding Communist party member”.
He did however reportedly admit to making mistakes, including posting messages online.
“The way they’re investigating me now is making those close to us suffer and those who hate us rejoice. I wish to take the charges upon myself, even if they’re severe, in exchange for the release of others. We are people who have made contributions to society,” he said.
China has been cracking down on businesses and entrepreneurs in the country. Major technology companies including Alibaba, Didi and Tencent are being investigated for a range of regulatory issues.
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#AceNewsReport – July.28: US defence officials have expressed concern about China’s nuclear build-up: It is the second new silo field reported to be under construction in western China in the last two months.
#AceNewsDesk says according to BBC Asia …China is building a nuclear missile silo field, scientists say Satellite images from Xinjiang province suggest the site could house about 110 silos when it is finished, says the report from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
The FAS said in its report on Monday that the new site at Hami, about 380 km (240 miles) north-west of Yumen, was at a much earlier stage of development.
In 2020 the Pentagon said China was set to double its stockpile of nuclear warheads, from a low base.
The news comes as the US and Russia prepare for arms control talks.
The talks, between US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, are being seen as a first step towards reviving stalled negotiations on reducing nuclear arms.
But China has so far not taken part in arms control negotiations.
#AceNewsReport – July.24: This is one of an estimated 240 cells in just one section of Urumqi Number 3 detention centre in Dabancheng, seen by Associated Press journalists granted extraordinary access during a state-led tour to China’s far-west Xinjiang region.
CHINA: The Uyghur inmates sat in uniform rows with their legs crossed in lotus position and their backs ramrod straight, numbered and tagged, gazing at a television playing grainy black-and-white images of Chinese Communist Party history.
The detention centre is the largest in the country and possibly the world, with a complex that sprawls over 220 acres, making it twice as large as Vatican City.
A sign at the front identified it as a “kanshousuo”, a pre-trial detention facility.
Chinese officials declined to say how many inmates were there, saying the number varied.
But the AP estimated the centre could hold roughly 10,000 people and many more if crowded, based on satellite imagery and the cells and benches seen during the tour.
This site suggests that China still holds and plans to hold vast numbers of Uyghurs and other mostly Muslim minorities in detention.
Satellite imagery shows that new buildings almost 1.6 kilometres long were added to the Dabancheng detention facility in 2019.
China has described its sweeping lockup of a million or more minorities over the past four years as a “war against terror,” after a series of knifings and bombings by a small number of extremist Uyghurs native to Xinjiang.
Among its most controversial aspects were the so-called vocational “training centres” – described by former detainees as brutal internment camps surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards.
But the AP’s visit to Dabancheng, satellite imagery and interviews with experts and former detainees suggest that while many “training centres” were indeed closed, some like this one were simply converted into prisons or pre-trial detention facilities.
A new 85-acre centre has been built down the road from Number 3 in Dabancheng, satellite imagery shows.
The changes seem to be an attempt to move from the makeshift and extrajudicial “training centres” into a more permanent system of prisons and pre-trial detention facilities justified under the law.
However, researchers say many innocent people were often thrown in detention for things like going abroad or attending religious gatherings.
Darren Byler, an anthropologist studying the Uyghur people at the University of Colorado, noted that many prisoners have not committed “real crimes by any standards”, and that they go through a “show” trial without due process.
“We’re moving from a police state to a mass incarceration state. Hundreds of thousands of people have disappeared from the population,” Mr Byler said.
“It’s the criminalisation of normal behaviour.”
During the April tour of Number 3 in Dabancheng, officials repeatedly distanced it from the “training centres” that Beijing claimed to have closed.
“There was no connection between our detention centre and the training centres,” Urumqi Public Security Bureau director Zhao Zhongwei said.
They also said the Number 3 centre was proof of China’s commitment to rehabilitation and the rule of law, with inmates provided with hot meals, exercise, access to legal counsel and televised classes lecturing them on their crimes.
Officials said rights were protected and only lawbreakers needed to worry about detention.
“See, the BBC report said this was a re-education camp. It’s not — it’s a detention centre,” Liu Chang, an official with the foreign ministry, said.
However, there is some evidence that Number 3 was indeed an internment camp.
A Reuters picture of the entrance in September 2018 shows the facility used to be called the Urumqi Vocational Skills Education and Training Centre.
Publicly available documents collected by Shawn Zhang, a law student in Canada, confirm a centre by the same name was commissioned to be built at the same location in 2017.
Records also show that Chinese conglomerate Hengfeng Information Technology won an $US11 million ($14.9 million) contract for outfitting the Urumqi “training centre”.
A man who answered a phone number for Hengfeng confirmed the company had taken part in the construction of the “training centre”, but Hengfeng did not respond to further requests for comment.
A former construction contractor who visited the Dabancheng facility in 2018 told the AP that it was the same as the Urumqi Vocational Skills Education and Training Centre, and had been converted to a detention facility in 2019, with the nameplate switched.
He declined to be named for fear of retaliation against his family.
“All the former students inside became prisoners,” he said.
The vast complex is ringed by 7.6-metre blue concrete walls, watchtowers, and humming electric wire.
China claims measures are a ‘war against terror’
Officials led AP journalists through the main entrance, past face-scanning turnstiles and rifle-toting guards in military camouflage.
In one corner of the compound, masked inmates sat in rigid formation. Most appeared to be Uyghur. Zhu Hongbin, the centre’s director, rapped on one of the cell’s windows.
“They’re totally unbreakable,” he said, his voice muffled beneath head-to-toe medical gear.
At the control room, staff gazed at a wall-to-wall, God’s-eye display of some two dozen screens streaming footage from each cell.
Guidelines hanging on the wall instruct staff on the proper protocol to deal with sick inmates – and also to force-feed inmates on hunger strikes by inserting tubes up their noses.
Mr Zhao, the other official, said inmates were held for up to one year before trial depending on their suspected crime, and the legal process was the same as in the rest of China.
He said the centre was built to house inmates away from the city because of safety concerns.
Urumqi Number 3 detention centre is comparable in size to Rikers Island in New York City, but the region serves less than four million people compared to nearly 20 million for Rikers.
At least three other detention centres are sprinkled across Urumqi, along with ten or more prisons.
The Number 3 centre did not appear to be at full capacity; one section was closed, officials said, and six to ten inmates sat in each cell, taking up only half the benches.
But the latest official government statistics available, for 2019, show that there were about twice as many arrests in Xinjiang than before the crackdown started in 2017.
Hundreds of thousands have been sentenced to prison, many to terms of five years or more.
Xu Guixiang, a Xinjiang spokesperson, called the higher incarceration rates “severe measures” in the “war against terror”.
“Of course, during this process, the number of people sentenced in accordance with the law will increase,” he said.
“This is a concrete indication of our work efficiency.
“By taking these measures, terrorists are more likely to be brought to justice.”
Claims inmates tortured with electric batons
Many relatives of those imprisoned say they were sentenced on spurious charges, and experts caution that the opacity of the Xinjiang legal system is a red flag.
Although China makes legal records easily accessible otherwise, almost 90 per cent of criminal records in Xinjiang are not public.
The handful that have leaked showed some were charged with “terrorism” or “separatism” for acts like warning colleagues against watching porn and swearing, or praying in prison.
Researcher Gene Bunin found that Uyghurs were made to sign confessions for what the authorities called “terrorist activities”.
Some were subsequently released, including one detained in the Dabancheng facility, a relative told the AP, declining to be named to avoid retribution against the former detainee.
Others were not.
Police reports obtained by The Intercept detail the case of eight Uyghurs in one Urumqi neighbourhood detained in the Dabancheng facility in 2017 for reading religious texts, installing filesharing applications, or simply being an “untrustworthy person”.
In late 2018, the reports show, prosecutors summoned them to makeshift meetings and sentenced them to between two and five years of “study”.
As people shared tales of horror and pleaded for help online, thousands of social media users responded by redirecting their Weibo posts to emergency rescue teams so that they knew where to go.
For instance, as news emerged that various trains were being stranded after rail lines got submerged, people put together lists of each train number and the resources its passengers needed.
Some put together text-only versions of critical contact lists, after discovering that people in some areas could not download images because heavy rains had affected internet speeds.
Netizens also helped to organise streams of information so that it was up-to-date and clear.
According to local media reports, residents living near the Tielu Railway Station also delivered food and bottled water to passengers stuck in a train after the hashtag “K226 call for emergency rescue” was viewed more than 800 million times. Video showed floodwater rising on a busy commuter train
While some focused on giving emergency rescue advice, others shared information on mental health support and personal hygiene tips.
A hashtag related to menstruation amid the floods had more than 200 million views, as doctors and social workers reminded women to change their sanitary pads frequently to avoid the risk of infection. Others posted addresses to locations where women could collect free sanitary products.
As floodwater crashed through a busy subway station in China on Tuesday, desperate passengers tried to flee while others were swept helplessly off platforms.
In one train carriage, water seeped in and rose from ankle, to waist, to neck-height. Panicked commuters stretched upwards to breathe, while others lifted shorter people into the shrinking air pocket above.
In terrifying videos shared on social media, some passengers can be seen standing on chairs and clinging to the ceiling as the floodwater creeps upwards. One tried to smash a window, before realising that there was even more water outside the carriage.
Some filmed the unfolding tragedy, while others called loved ones or posted pleas for help. “I can’t speak any more,” one woman wrote on the social media site Weibo. “If no rescue comes in 20 minutes, hundreds of us will lose our lives.”
“We were all standing on the seats, and the water was already on our knees,” a woman who gave her name as Ms Li told Elephant News.
“Some shorter passengers had water up to their necks,” she said, adding that as time went on the air supply began to diminish.
After about an hour, the train carriage was plunged into darkness and the oxygen level waned further. “I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the diminishing air supply,” one person told Reuters news agency.
After several hours of fear and uncertainty, rescuers were able to gain access through the roof of the carriage and pulled people out. “We knocked on the glass a bit [on the ceiling]. Then suddenly there was air,” an unnamed woman told state broadcaster CCTV.
Hundreds of people were eventually saved from the flooded subway tunnel in Zhengzhou, a city of 12 million people that sits on the banks of the Yellow River in central Henan province.
But at least 12 are known to have died and five were injured in the subway disaster, which came after the region saw more rainfall in three days than it usually would in a year.
This is a rainy time of year in China and floods happen annually. However, Chinese scientists say global warming has made the situation more dangerous and warn that extreme weather could become more frequent in the future.
In Henan, at least 33 people have died and more than 200,000 have been evacuated. Major roads have been turned into rivers, with cars and debris being swept along by fast moving currents.
Harrowing accounts of the subway tragedy, and of the dramatic flooding around the province, are continuing to emerge, with witnesses describing scenes of fear and chaos.
“At the start there wasn’t much water, then it was like it all started coming at once,” one woman who was on the flooded subway train told the news outlet Pear Video.
“Within about 30 minutes it was up to my shoulders,” she said. “It was hard to breathe. A lot of people fainted.”
The woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she was trapped for more than four hours and cried when she was finally rescued.
“There was so much water on the platform, and there was water streaming out of the cracks in the subway doors,” another passenger told Jiupai News.
“I’m quite tall, but after about five minutes, the water was already at my chest,” he said. “Tall people helped short people and children up onto the seats. I was holding someone’s child.”
In one post on Weibo, a woman described the panic in the carriage. “Many people started to suffer breathing difficulties,” she wrote. “I heard a nearby passenger on her phone, giving her bank account details to her family, and thought I should do the same.”
“Water was leaking from the cracks in the door, more and more of it, all of us who could, stood on the subway seats,” another post read.A woman was filmed being swept down the street amid the extreme flooding
Dramatic images have also been shared of rescues above ground. Emergency workers have used long ropes to pull people to safety as they were dragged along by gushing currents.
“I’ve contacted all of my family and luckily they’re all safe. “There’s a lot of damage around us. I can see the floods everywhere, lots of cars and water everywhere,” she said.
Rescue efforts are continuing around the province, while further downpours have been forecast for the rest of the week.
“We’re all waiting to see if everything will be OK soon,” Ms Wang said. “We’re very scared.”
Additional reporting by Kerry Allen and Gareth Evans
#AceHealthReport – July.21: The veterinarian, 53, suffered severe nausea and a fever two months after dissecting two monkeys at a breeding research institute in Beijing and died on May 27, according to the Washington Post……
#AceDailyNewssays China first human case of Monkey B virus after veterinarian’s death who has become the first person in the country to contract and die of the extremely rare virus according to Chinese officials who said last weekend, according to reports
The Monkey B virus, also known as the Herpes B virus, usually comes from contact with a macaque monkey and can cause severe brain damage or death, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus attacks the central nervous system and has about an 80% fatality rate if untreated, the Post reported, citing infectious disease expert Kentaro Iwata of Japan’s Kobe University.
The CDC says there is only one documented case of the virus spreading from person to person.
A U.S. resident who had visited Nigeria was diagnosed with monkeypox last week after returning to Texas, according to the CDC.
Monkeypox is a completely different virus – it causes flu-like symptoms and a rash and is linked to smallpox – but both viruses can be contracted through contact with animals.
After the Chinese veterinarian’s blood and saliva samples tested positive for Monkey B virus, two of his colleagues tested negative, according to the Post.
The virus was first detected in 1932 and since there have been fewer than 100 diagnosed human cases, the newspaper reported.
American primate researcher Elizabeth R. Griffin died in 1997 at 22 years old six weeks after a macaque monkey threw infected liquid into her eye. Griffin’s infection was preventable and her diagnosis and treatment were delayed, her biography on the Elizabeth R. Griffin Research Foundation’s website says.
Her family later founded the organization in her honor, which focuses on prevention through biosafety training.
Chinese health authorities said it’s necessary to “strengthen surveillance in laboratory macaques and occupational workers,” the Post reported.
#AceNewsReport – July.21: The prominence of China in the global economy has changed markedly over the last 20 years. China’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) has been growing by around 10% a year between 1993 and 2013, compared with the global average of 2.8%. The GDP of China has increased from $0.44 trillion to $9.24 trillion in 2013.
#AceFinanceDesk reports from ONS on how important is China to the UK economy, employment and global trading on import & export ..and the figures below are staggering and coming out of a pandemic would stopping trading with one of the U.K.’s second largest economy be the right move …as much as abuse of peoples is so wrong …..
China has become the world’s second largest economy as a proportion of global GDP
Its share of global GDP rose from 1.7% to 12.2% between 1993 and 2013. The US is still the world’s largest economy but its share of the global economy has fallen, along with Europe’s. Over this period of growth, it’s important to consider how key is China as a trading partner to the UK today?
Proportion of world GDP by selected parts of the world, 2004 to 2013
China is the UK’s second largest non-EU import partner, just behind America
The importance of China to the UK economy as a trading partner has increased consistently since 2004, with both imports and exports increasing. China has become the UK’s second largest non-EU import partner behind America, accounting for 7% of UK imports in 2014 compared with 3.3% in 2004. Trade in goods dominates UK trade with China, which has accounted for over 95% of all UK trade imports from China per year since 2004.
Imports from China up £26.3 billion in the past decade
Goods and services exports and imports with China, 2004 to 2014
Imports of goods and services from China have grown from £11.3 billion in 2004 to £37.7 billion in 2014. Exports have grown at a slower rate, from £4.0 billion to £18.2 billion, but still accounted for 3.6% of UK exports. Due to imports growing at faster rate than exports, the UK’s trade deficit with China has also grown. Our trade deficit stood at £19.5 billion in 2014, the second highest behind Germany.
China is now the UK’s 6th biggest destination for UK goods exports
Percentage of UK total goods exports by selected country, 2004 to 2014
China’s economy has had a notable impact on UK exports and imports over the past 20 years. Our trade is typically heavily dominated by the US and a range of European countries, where the UK has always had strong political and geographical links. However, in the past 20 years China has to become our 6th biggest destination for UK goods exports.
2.8% of UK business abroad operated in China
In 2012, there were 654 UK owned businesses operating in China. These UK owned businesses employed 148,822 people and had a turnover of £13.4 billion. Of this, £6.0 billion came from manufacturing and £6.7 billion from services, of which £3.9 billion was financial and insurance activities. These businesses account for 2.8% of UK owned enterprises abroad, 1.1% of the turnover, and 3.0% of the employment.
UK citizens invested £6 billion in China in 2013
UK citizens invested £6.0 billion in China in 2013, up from £1.9 billion in 2004. In comparison, Chinese citizens invested significantly less in the UK, £950 million in 2014, up from £119 million in 2004. However, China only account for a small amount on inward (0.1%) and outward (0.6%) investment, compared with Europe and the US. The US and Europe account for 74.4% of the UK’s outward investment and 83.1% of the UK’s inward investment.
Tuesday, 20 July 2021 6:23 AM [ Last Update: Tuesday, 20 July 2021 9:46 AM ]
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian hit back at Washington on Tuesday, calling the US the “world champion” of cyber-attacks.
“The US has mustered its allies to carry out unreasonable criticisms against China on the issue of cybersecurity,” he said. “This move is fabricated out of nothing.”
In a coordinated move, Washington and several allies in Europe and Asia publicly accused Beijing of hacking the Microsoft Exchange Server software in March. Microsoft Exchange is an email platform used by corporations around the world.
Senior US officials claimed that hackers tied to China’s Ministry of State Security carried out the unusually indiscriminate hacking. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday that Washington and “countries around the world” are holding China “accountable for its pattern of irresponsible, disruptive, and destabilizing behavior in cyberspace, which poses a major threat to our economic and national security.”
Japanese government spokesperson Katsunobu Kato followed suit on Tuesday, saying that Japanese companies had been targeted by a hacking group called APT40. He alleged that “the Chinese government is highly likely” behind the attack.
Earlier, China’s diplomatic missions around the world reacted to the charges.
The Chinese Embassy in New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, said the accusations were “totally groundless and irresponsible” and a “malicious smear.”
“Given the virtual nature of cyberspace, one must have clear evidence when investigating and identifying cyber-related incidents,” said the embassy.
The Chinese mission in Canberra said Australia was “parroting” US rhetoric. It also described the US as “the world champion of malicious cyber-attacks.”
The United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) also joined the others in accusing China of carrying out hacking attacks, which they alleged to have targeted an estimated hundreds of thousands of mostly small businesses and organizations.
The Chinese Embassy in Norway also reacted to the allegations made by Oslo, saying that Beijing was a staunch defender of cyber security and was resolutely opposed to any form of cyberattacks.
“It is reasonable to question and doubt whether this is a collusively political manipulation,” it said, demanding that Oslo provide evidence for the claims. The embassy said that Beijing was “willing to cooperate with all relevant parties, based on facts and evidence, to jointly combat illegal activities in cyber space.”
The US-led global campaign against China is an apparent move to open a new front in cyber offensive following years of blaming Russia for cyberattacks against American organizations. Moscow time and again denied involvement.
#AceNewsReport – July.20: Four Cabinet agencies — the departments of State, Treasury, Commerce and Homeland Security — released the nine-page advisory that alerts companies about the shifting legal landscape in Hong Kong and the possibility that engaging with Hong Kong business could incur reputational and legal damages.
#AceDailyNews says that Biden has warned US companies about doing business in Hong Kong as control by China over political and economic freedoms
China News: July: 17, 2021
People visit the annual book fair in Hong Kong
At the same time, Treasury announced sanctions against seven Chinese officials for violating the terms of the 2020 Hong Kong Autonomy Act, which calls for asset freezes and other penalties against those who participate in the crackdown.
President Joe Biden had previewed the new advisory Thursday, telling reporters at the White House that the business environment in Hong Kong is “deteriorating” and could worsen.
“Businesses, individuals, and other persons, including academic institutions, research service providers, and investors that operate in Hong Kong, or have exposure to sanctioned individuals or entities, should be aware of changes to Hong Kong’s laws and regulations,” said the notice, which is titled “Risks and Considerations for Businesses Operating in Hong Kong.”
“This new legal landscape … could adversely affect businesses and individuals operating in Hong Kong. As a result of these changes, they should be aware of potential reputational, regulatory, financial, and, in certain instances, legal risks associated with their Hong Kong operations,” it said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken highlighted the advisory in a statement marking the one-year anniversary of the passage of China’s new national security law that he said had a profoundly negative effect on Hong Kong.
Blinken said the risks to business include “potential electronic surveillance and lack of data privacy, reduced access to information, and potential retaliation against companies for their compliance with U.S. sanctions.”
“The business advisory outlines these emerging risks to inform U.S. individuals and businesses and recommends increased awareness and due diligence,” he said.
Hong Kong’s government responded with a statement calling the U.S. advisory “totally ridiculous and unfounded fear-mongering” driven by ideology. “The main victims of this latest fallout will sadly be those U.S. businesses and U.S. citizens who have taken Hong Kong as their home,” the statement said.
The American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, meanwhile, responded to the advisory by acknowledging the business environment “is more complex and challenging” but saying that it would continue its work.
“We are here to support our members to navigate those challenges and risks while also capturing the opportunities of doing business in this region,” it said in a statement. It added that “Hong Kong remains a critical and vibrant facilitator of trade and financial flow between the East and West.”
The United States under both the Trump and Biden administrations has determined that since the passage of the national security law, Hong Kong no longer enjoys the significant autonomy from mainland China that Beijing had pledged to respect for 50 years when it assumed control of the former British colony in 1997.
As such, Hong Kong no longer enjoys preferential U.S. trade and commercial privileges and certain officials in Hong Kong have been hit with U.S. sanctions for their actions in cracking down on democracy.
China is one of the rare areas in which the Biden administration has largely hewed to Trump’s policies.
Friday’s warning came on the heels of a similar advisory issued earlier this week reminding American companies about potential sanctions liability if they engage in business with Chinese entities that operate in the western Xinjiang region, where China is accused of widespread repression of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities.
The seven officials targeted for sanctions are Chen Dong, He Jing, Lu Xinning, Qiu Hong, Tan Tieniu, Yang Jianping and Yin Zonghua. All seven serve as deputy directors of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, an agency the U.S. accuses of repeatedly undermining Hong Kong’s autonomy.
#AceNewsReport – July.18: The Chinese leadership has set out to replace the international rules bases order, a former US intelligence analyst has warned. Nicholas Eftimiades, an expert on China, has warned that Xi Jinping’s regime believes western democracy has “failed.” He argued that China intends to establish the Chinese Communist Party regime as an alternative model of governance for the rest of the World.
#AceDailyNews says that Mr Eftimiades told Express.co.uk: “China has said itself that its goals and intentions are to change the world order and targets overthrow of global order as expert warns of ‘brutal authoritarianism’ rise
China accused of looking to impose own vision on the global order
“To change from this liberal democratic rule by law to something that is more amenable to its system.
“They are not you know covert about this or secretive in any way, they say this is their plans and intentions.
“It is a different perspective and they say that Western democracy has failed, this is why we would replace it.”
Former CIA officer Nicholas Eftimiades discusses the ‘brutal authoritarianism rising’ in China
China accused of looking to impose own vision on the global order (Image: GETTY)
“From our perspective looking at them, it is a more authoritarian structure.
“Government rules, freedoms are cut but they get things done,” continued the security expert.
“No one can argue I mean look at the building they have done in 20 years.
“Extraordinary building in China an extraordinary power base.
“Most people and politicians don’t see this as an immediate threat.
“Certainly not an immediate through over the next year or two.
“So it is hard to put this in the context of a strategic threat the way we in the West are used to defining it.
He added: “What does it mean when you have a brutal brutal authoritarian regime rising and people are still eager and willing to try to bury and ignore that to do business with them?”
#AceNewsReport – July.17: Treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang province. Khan, a fierce critic of Islamophobia, said China’s version of bringing “improvement in the society” was much better than the model followed by the western democracies. He, in fact, hailed the Chinese Communist Party for it.
#AceDailyNews says that China invests $1.3 trillion & Counting: The Cost That Keeps Muslim Countries Quiet on China’s Uyghur Genocide,” by Santosh Chaubey, News18, July 8, 2021: after China has been calling the mass detention camps where Uyghur and other ethnic minorities are transferred as “vocational education and training centers”
However, the US, the European Union and the United Nations have called these centres as detention camps, which has almost two million Uyghur Muslims, according to different research reports, and accuse China of committing genocide and forcefully assimilating Uyghurs by banning its religious practices and restricting its population growth.
China is also accused of using forced sterilisation techniques on Uyghur women and separating Uyghur children from their families. They are forced to learn Mandarin and are kept away from practicing religious practices. Many investigative reports using satellite imagery have also found that China is destroying Uygur mosques.
Also, as detailed in many reports, China has been using Uyghurs Muslims as forced labour. Yet, the Pakistani PM and other Muslim countries laud this model.
In 2019, nearly 37 nations, in a letter sent to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, defended the China’s Xinjiang policy. The letter charged the Uyghur Muslims with spreading terror and extremism and justified China’s actions as counter-terrorism measures aimed at deracializing Uyghur Muslims.
Notably, 16 of the 37 countries have large Muslim population, including Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Turkmenistan, Oman, Qatar, Syria, Kuwait, Somalia and Sudan. The countries are also the members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), representing 1.9 billion Muslim people. That explains why even OIC is silent on the Uyghur genocide.
Malaysia in the past has defied requests to extradite Uyghurs back to China and promises to continue with the policy but the government there has seldom been vocal about the Uyghur genocide happening in China. Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir bin Mohamad, again a ‘fierce’ Islamophobia critic, has avoided criticising China on the issue.
Turkey, that has around 50,000 Uyghurs from China has over the years, has changed its Uyghur policy to become pro-China. According to the Stockholm Center for Freedom, Turkey was a safe haven for Uyghur refugees in the past but not anymore. Though Turkey’s extradition treaty signed with China is awaiting a final approval, it has already started detaining Uyghurs and putting them under strict surveillance. It has allegedly started deporting Uyghur refugees to China via third countries like Tajikistan — a Muslim majority nation.
But why are these Islamic nations silent on China’s repression of Uyghurs in Xinjiang? It is perhaps due to Chinese investments and loans into those countries.
China has roughly invested $1.3 trillion in Muslim majority countries if we add up the investments done in the last 15 years and the current and future economic deals. Also, the calculation here does not include secret loans given by China which borrowers are forced not to reveal, obviously by a confidentiality clause, as shown in a study from Georgetown University….
#AceNewsReport – July.15: Security guards stand at the gates of what is officially known as a vocational skills education center in Huocheng County in Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region
WASHINGTON: U.S. Senate passes bill UNDER ‘The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’ that would create a “rebuttable presumption” assuming goods manufactured in Xinjiang are made with forced labor and therefore banned under the 1930 Tariff Act, unless otherwise certified by U.S. authorities.
Issuance of the Updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory
The U.S. Department of State, alongside the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, and the U.S. Department of Labor, issued an updated Xinjiang Supply Chain Business Advisory in response to the government of the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang and the growing evidence of its use of forced labor there. The updated Advisory highlights the heightened risks for businesses with supply chain and investment links to Xinjiang given the entities complicit in forced labor and other human rights abuses there and throughout China.
Among other elements, the updated Business Advisory:
Includes information from the Department of Labor and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, which are now co-signatories;
Notes that the PRC government is perpetrating genocide and crimes against humanity in Xinjiang;
Provides specific information regarding risks related to investment in PRC companies linked to surveillance and forced labor in Xinjiang;
Strengthens recommendations for businesses regarding the risks and potential exposure related to supply chains and investment links to Xinjiang, including but not limited to surveillance;
Updates the list of U.S. government enforcement actions in and in connection to Xinjiang;
Adds information on silicon and polysilicon supply chains linked to Xinjiang; and
Provides a list of other countries’ relevant regulatory provisions and information on forced labor in supply chains.
The United States will continue to promote accountability for the PRC’s atrocities and other abuses through a whole-of-government effort and in close coordination with the private sector and our allies and partners.
Passed by unanimous consent, the bipartisan measure would shift the burden of proof to importers. The current rule bans goods if there is reasonable evidence of forced labor.
The bill must also pass the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the White House for President Joe Biden to sign into law. It was not immediately clear when that might take place.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio, who introduced the legislation with Democrat Jeff Merkley, called on the House to act quickly.
“We will not turn a blind eye to the CCP’s ongoing crimes against humanity, and we will not allow corporations a free pass to profit from those horrific abuses,” Rubio said in a statement.
“No American corporation should profit from these abuses. No American consumers should be inadvertently purchasing products from slave labor,” Merkley said.
Democratic and Republican aides said they expected the measure would get strong support in the House, noting the House approved a similar measure nearly unanimously last year. read more
The bill would go beyond steps already taken to secure U.S. supply chains in the face of allegations of rights abuses in China, including existing bans on Xinjiang tomatoes, cotton and some solar products. read more
The Biden administration has increased sanctions, and on Tuesday issued an advisory warning businesses they could be in violation of U.S. law if operations are linked even indirectly to surveillance networks in Xinjiang. read more
Rights groups, researchers, former residents and some Western lawmakers and officials say Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labor by detaining around a million Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim minorities since 2016.
Reuters: Reporting by Michael Martina; additional reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Leslie Adler
#AceNewsReport – July.15: Inspector General Moazzam Jah Ansari, the top police official of Khyber-Paktunkhwa, the province where the incident occurred, said two soldiers and two locals were also among the dead and several people were injured.
#AceDailyNews says that Pakistan bus blast has killed at least-13, including 9 Chinese CPEC workers – China demands further details but it is not yet clear whether the explosion was a targeted attack or an accident, as conflicting reports emerged.
Pakistani authorities present conflicting reports about whether the incident was an attack or an accident
The Chinese government is calling it an “attack” and demands punishment for the assailants
The Chinese nationals were traveling to Dasu dam, a part of the CPEC project that is controversial among locals
“The bus plunged into a deep ravine after the blast and caused heavy losses. The rescue operation is launched and the entire government machinery has been mobilised to rescue the injured by air ambulance,” a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Mr Ansari told Reuters that police were investigating.
“Looks like sabotage,” Mr Ansari said as he left on a helicopter for the site.
At least three other officials had confirmed to Reuters that a blast hit the bus.
Meanwhile, Asim Abbasi, an assistant commissioner in Kohistan, told AP that authorities believe the incident was an accident but were investigating whether there was some type of explosion in the bus.
He said a gas cylinder may have exploded and it was possible that explosive material was in the vehicle; explosives are often used by engineers in construction projects.
A senior administrative officer of the Hazara region told Reuters the bus was carrying more than 30 Chinese engineers to the site of the Dasu dam in Upper Kohistan.
The Dasu hydroelectric project is part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a $65 billion investment plan under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative that is aimed at connecting western China to the Gwadar sea port in southern Pakistan.
Chinese engineers and Pakistani construction workers have been working on the Dasu hydroelectric project and several others for several years in the region where the blast took place.
China demands punishment
The Chinese Embassy in a statement called the incident an “attack.”
“Recently, our workers at a business on a certain project in Pakistan were attacked and have suffered deaths and injuries,” the statement said.
“We have notified Chinese citizens in Pakistan to avoid venturing outside unless required by work or business and pay special care to their safety.”
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said China was “shocked by and condemns the bomb attack in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.”
“We mourn over the Chinese and Pakistani personnel killed in the attack and express sympathies to bereaved families and the wounded,” Mr Zhao said at a daily news briefing.
“We have demanded the Pakistani side get to the bottom of the incident, arrest and strictly punish the assailants as soon as possible, and earnestly protect the safety of Chinese personnel, institutions and projects in Pakistan,” he continued.
Chinese nationals targeted in the past
In April, the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for a deadly suicide blast at a luxury hotel hosting the Chinese ambassador, who escaped unhurt, in southwest Balochistan.
The group has recently claimed a string of attacks not only in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas along the Afghanistan border but also in the country’s cities, including the capital Islamabad.
Beijing has poured billions of dollars into Pakistan in recent years to boost the country’s infrastructure.
But Chinese-funded projects have sparked resentment, particularly among separatist groups, who say locals see little benefit, with most jobs going to outsiders.
In 2019, gunmen stormed a luxury hotel in Balochistan overlooking a flagship Chinese-backed project – the deep-water seaport in Gwadar that gives China strategic access to the Arabian Sea – killing at least eight people.
And last June, Baloch insurgents targeted the Pakistan Stock Exchange in the commercial capital of Karachi, which is partly owned by Chinese companies.
#AceNewsReport – July.13: City authorities issued warnings to residents to stay home as the Chinese capital faced its biggest storm this year.
#AceDailyNews says BEIJING: Flights Cancelled, Schools Closed as Storm Shuts Down Capital: With as much as 100mm of rain is predicted through the day in some areas, and aviation tracker VariFlight recorded some 700 flights cancelled at the city’s two airports according to AFP
People wear raincoats as they ride electric scooters during a rainy day in Beijing, on July 12, 2021.PHOTO: REUTERS
Singapore Airlines Flight SQ801 from Beijing to Singapore experienced a slight delay, but none of its flights were cancelled. SIA only operates cargo flights to the destination, and Scoot does not fly to Beijing, according to a company statement.
China’s weather authorities warned of “extreme rainstorms” plus thunder and lightning from late Sunday to Monday evening in Beijing and neighbouring areas.
CHINA: With Swarms of Ships, Beijing Tightens Its Grip on South China Sea as their ships settled in like unwanted guests who wouldn’t leave to press other countries according to NY Times
Published April 3, 2021Updated May 3, 2021
As the days passed, more appeared. They were simply fishing boats, China said, though they did not appear to be fishing. Dozens even lashed themselves together in neat rows, seeking shelter, it was claimed, from storms that never came.
Not long ago, China asserted its claims on the South China Sea by building and fortifying artificial islands in waters also claimed by Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia. Its strategy now is to reinforce those outposts by swarming the disputed waters with vessels, effectively defying the other countries to expel them.
The goal is to accomplish by overwhelming presence what it has been unable to do through diplomacy or international law. And to an extent, it appears to be working.
“Beijing pretty clearly thinks that if it uses enough coercion and pressure over a long enough period of time, it will squeeze the Southeast Asians out,” said Greg Poling, the director of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, which tracks developments in the South China Sea. “It’s insidious.”
China’s actions reflect the country’s growing confidence under its leader, Xi Jinping. They could test the Biden administration, as well as Beijing’s neighbors in the South China Sea, who are increasingly dependent on China’s strong economy and supply of Covid-19 vaccines.
The latest incident has unfolded in recent weeks around Whitsun Reef, a boomerang-shaped feature that emerges above water only at low tide. At one point in March, 220 Chinese ships were reported to be anchored around the reef, prompting protests from Vietnam and the Philippines, which both have claims there, and from the United States.
The Philippine defense secretary, Delfin Lorenzana, called their presence “a clear provocation.” Vietnam’s foreign ministry accused China of violating the country’s sovereignty and demanded that the ships leave.
By this past week, some had left but many remained, according to satellite photographs taken by Maxar Technologies, a company based in Colorado. Others moved to another reef only a few miles away, while a new swarm of 45 Chinese ships was spotted 100 miles northeast at another island controlled by the Philippines, Thitu, according to the satellite photos and Philippine officials.
“The Chinese ambassador has a lot of explaining to do,” Mr. Lorenzana said in a statement on Saturday.
The buildup has inflamed tensions in a region that, along with Taiwan, threatens to become another flash point in the intensifying confrontationbetween China and the United States.
Although the United States has not taken a position on disputes in the South China Sea, it has criticized China’s aggressive tactics there, including the militarization of its bases. For years, the United States has sent Navy warships on routine patrols to challenge China’s asserted right to restrict any military activity there — three times just since President Biden took office in January.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken expressed support for the Philippines over the presence of the Chinese vessels. “We will always stand by our allies and stand up for the rules-based international order,” he wrote on Twitter.
The buildup has highlighted the further erosion of the Philippines’ control of the disputed waters, which could become a problem for the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte.
The country’s defense department dispatched two aircraft and one ship to Whitsun Reef to document the buildup but did not otherwise intervene. It is not known whether Vietnamese forces responded.A satellite image over Whitsun Reef on March 23.Maxar TechnologiesA satellite image over Whitsun Reef on March 28.Maxar Technologies
Critics say China’s disregard for the Philippine claims reflects the failure of Mr. Duterte’s efforts to cozy up to the Communist Party leadership in Beijing.
“People need to hear from the commander in chief himself, a coward to China but a bully to his own people,” said Mr. Duterte’s staunchest political opponent, Senator Leila de Lima. Mr. Duterte has not publicly addressed the matter, though his spokesman suggested that quiet efforts to defuse the situation were underway.
China has brushed off the protests. A spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, Hua Chunying, said that Chinese fishermen “have been fishing in the waters near the reef all along.” Officials in the Philippines and experts said there was no evidence of that.
Whitsun Reef is part of an atoll known as Union Banks, about 175 nautical miles from Palawan, a Philippine island. The Philippines, China and Vietnam each claim that the atoll lies within their country’s exclusive economic zones, but only China and Vietnam have established a regular physical presence there, giving each a secure, if not legal, advantage in asserting control.
Vietnam has occupied four islets in the atoll since the 1970s, while China has built two outposts on previously submerged reefs as part of its program, underway since 2014, to dredge up seven artificial islands. Two of the outposts — Grierson Reef, occupied by Vietnam, and Hughes Reef, occupied by China — are less than three nautical miles apart.Filipino fishermen in 2016 near Scarborough Shoal, a reef that China and the Philippines both claim.Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times
An international tribunal convened under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea ruled in 2016 that China’s expansive claim to almost all of the South China Sea had no legal basis, though it stopped short of dividing the territory among its various claimants. China has based its claims on a “nine-dash line” drawn on maps before the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
A Philippine patrol first reported the large number of ships at Whitsun Reef on March 7. According to Mr. Poling, satellite photographs have shown a regular, though smaller, Chinese presence over the past year at the reef.
By March 29, 45 ships remained at Whitsun, according to a statement on Wednesday by the National Task Force-West Philippines Sea, an agency that reports to the Philippine president’s office. The task force counted 254 ships as well as four Chinese warships that day in the Spratlys, an archipelago of more than 100 islands, cays and other outcroppings between the Philippines and Vietnam.
The task force said the 254 ships were not fishing vessels, as Beijing claimed, but part of China’s maritime militia, an ostensibly civilian forcethat has become an integral instrument of China’s new maritime strategy. Many of these boats, while unarmed, are operated by reservists or others who carry out the orders of the Coast Guard and People’s Liberation Army.
“They may be doing illicit activities at night and their lingering (swarming) presence may cause irreparable damage to the marine environment,” the task force’s statement said.Aboard a U.S. Navy reconnaissance plane in 2018 as it observed the buildup of islands by China in the South China Sea.Adam Dean for The New York Times
The presence of so many Chinese ships is meant to intimidate. “By having them there, and spreading them out across these expanses of water around the reefs the others occupy, or around oil and gas fields or fishing grounds, you are steadily pushing the Filipinos and the Vietnamese out,” Mr. Poling said.
“If you’re a Filipino fisherman, you’re always getting harassed by these guys,” he said. “They’re always maneuvering a little too close, blowing horns at you. At some point you just give up and stop fishing there.”
Patrols and statements aside, Mr. Duterte’s government does not seem eager to confront China. His spokesman, Harry Roque, echoed the Chinese claims that the ships were merely sheltering temporarily.
“We hope the weather clears up,” he said, “and in the spirit of friendship we are hoping that their vessels will leave the area.”
The Philippines has become increasingly dependent on Chinese trade and, as it fights the pandemic, largess.
On Monday, the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines arrived in Manila from China with great fanfare. As many as four million doses are scheduled to arrive by May, some of them donations. China’s ambassador, Huang Xilian, attended the vaccines’ arrival and later met with Mr. Duterte.
“China is encroaching on our maritime zone, but softening it by sending us vaccines,” said Antonio Carpio, an outspoken retired Supreme Court justice who is expert in the maritime dispute. “It’s part of their P.R. effort to soften the blow, but we should not fall for that.”
#AceNewsReport – July.05: China’s internet regulator ordered app stores to stop offering Didi’s app on Sunday: It says the firm illegally collected users’ personal data.
CHINA: Didi says removal of app will affect business company after it was removed for illegally collecting ‘personal data’ will strive to rectify any problems, improve its risk prevention awareness and technological capabilities, protect users’ privacy and data security, and continue to provide secure and convenient services to its users,” Didi said in a statement.
It comes just days after the tech giant began selling shares on the New York Stock Exchange: The removal does not affect existing users, but will prevent new users registering on the country’s biggest ride hailing platform.
That came after the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) said: “After checks and verification, the Didi Chuxing app was found to be in serious violation of regulations in its collection and use of personal information.”
Two days earlier, the CAC announced it was investigating the firm to protect “national security and the public interest”, prompting Didi’s shares to drop by 5.3%.
Didi gathers vast amounts of real-time data every day. It uses some of the data for autonomous driving technologies and traffic analysis.
Last week, China’s answer to Uber made its debut on the New York Stock Exchange and at the end of Friday’s trading had a market valuation of almost $74.5bn (£53.9bn).
The company raised $4.4bn in the Initial Public Offering (IPO), in what was the biggest listing in the US by a Chinese company since Alibaba’s debut in 2014.
Karishma Vaswani, Asia Presenter: Didi’s troubles are just the start I spoke to Didi Chuxing’s founder Cheng Wei in 2018, the one thing that was apparent was that this was a man on a mission.He wanted to take the Chinese firm global, and to offer a new vision of what a company driven by data could make possible.”We were born in China,” he told me at his offices in Beijing during an interview for the BBC series, Asia’s Tech Titans.”But we hope to be a global company. We hope to be able to solve traffic and transportation problems for the world.”
The huge ambition Cheng Wei displayed to me on the rooftop of his sprawling Beijing campus manifested itself in Didi’s much-anticipated US IPO last week. But the environment in China today is very different from when I spoke to the Didi founder just a few years ago. There’s tighter scrutiny now both inside and outside of China on Chinese tech firms. And Didi’s troubles come against the backdrop of a broader crackdown on Chinese tech by regulators in the country – a crackdown, that some analysts have said, could be politically motivated as Beijing attempts to impose more control on the dynamic sector.
What this means for both Didi and other Chinese tech firms is that this is likely to be just the start of their troubles. For those looking to list in the US – there will be more questions from investors on the regulatory outlook – which could mean a difficult and uncertain time going forward.Didi Chuxing, a platform similar to Uber or Lyft, arranges more than 20 million rides in China every day, on average.
Founded in 2012, it is particularly popular in China’s crowded cities. But it has expanded beyond China into 15 other markets.In June, the company reported revenue of about 42.2bn yuan ($6.52bn)for the three months to the end of March, with the vast majority of that coming from its China mobility business.China has recently moved to tighten up regulation of the country’s large tech firms.
The investigation follows regulatory crackdowns on other tech firms, from Alibaba to food delivery service Meituan.On Monday, the CAC also said that it plans to investigate the Chinese truck-hailing firm Full Truck Alliance (FTA). Like Didi, FTA recently made its New York Stock Exchange debut, raising $1.6bn. It had a market valuation of more than $20bn at the end of trading on Friday.You may also be interested in:How a little Ant became a financial giant
#AceNewsReport – July.05: According to his plea agreement, Cai conspired to import batteries, labels for batteries in laptop computers, cellphones, and other electronics from China to the United States.
As a result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Los Angeles with assistance from the brand-holding companies, Zoulin Cai, a.k.a. “Allen Cai,” 29, of La Puente, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Cai then sold and shipped the counterfeit batteries to unsuspecting individual buyers via eBay and Amazon, falsely advertising them as brand-name new, genuine, original, or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) products. Those batteries bore counterfeit trademarks of companies such as Apple, Dell, HP and Toshiba, as well as counterfeit certification marks of UL, a company that tests and certifies the safety of electronic products.
Counterfeit lithium-ion laptop batteries pose significant safety risks – including the risk of extreme heat, fire and explosions – and the batteries that Cai and his co-conspirators shipped frequently lacked required and essential internal safeguards.
Cai and his co-conspirators established numerous U.S.-based corporations to facilitate the importation and sale of counterfeit lithium-ion batteries and other electronic accessories for laptop computers and cellular telephones.
Co-conspirators in China packaged counterfeit batteries and electronics and shipped them to the United States, sometimes covering the trademarks with black tape or a similar material, so that a quick inspection of the items by customs officials would not reveal the trademark. The counterfeit batteries were imported, sold and shipped from Cai-controlled warehouses in La Puente.
In December 2019, Cai’s warehouse (including containers on the premises) contained approximately 44,000 batteries, as well as approximately 175,000 labels, bearing the counterfeit marks of multiple companies, including Apple, Dell, HP, Toshiba, Lenovo, Asus, Acer and Samsung.
Cai admitted that from March 2014 to June 2019, he and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained approximately at least $3.5 million and as much as $23,831,668 from the sale of laptop batteries through eBay and Amazon. During that time, Cai and his co-conspirators sent approximately $18,094,960 through wire transfers from U.S.-based bank accounts that they owned and controlled directly to Chinese bank accounts.
U.S. District Judge John F. Walter has scheduled an October 4 sentencing hearing, at which time Cai will face a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.
The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California’s General Crimes and Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Sections.
HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 7,100 Special Agents assigned to 220 cities throughout the United States, and 80 overseas locations in 53 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.
#AceNewsReport – July.02: China’s President Xi Jinping has warned that foreign powers will “get their heads bashed” if they attempt to bully or influence the country.
#AceDailyNews says President Xi Jinping tells Chinese Communist Party 100th anniversary ‘foreign power’ won’t be allowed to ‘bully’ China and they will take back Taiwan check out his speech in full below:
Much of the language in Xi’s speech today was familiar, but a few things worth noting:
1.Xi had an announcement: “China has accomplished building a moderately prosperous society in all respects” Like his anti-poverty goal, this was always going to be announced as accomplished no matter the reality on the ground, but he clearly feels the country is at a level of wealth now where declaring this to a domestic audience seems reasonable. Stating it now allows Xi and the Party to declare China has done away with its poor past, and from now on it’s wealthier and more confident.
2.The language directed at the West: “We will never allow any foreign force to bully, enslave or subjugate us. Anyone who does will find themselves in a collision course with a great wall of steel forged by 1.4 billion people.” This comment received the biggest cheer of the entire event. Nationalism is in overdrive in China, and Xi is milking it ruthlessly to shore up his own popularity. He also delivered a warning to countries like Australia that raise concerns about human rights in China: ‘We will not accept sanctimonious preaching from those who feel they have the right to lecture us’. This stuff plays well at home but it also is a sign that speaking hard truths about China will be met with even more diplomatic blowback in future.
3.One final quote: “The patriotic United Front is an important means for the Party to unite all the sons & daughters of the Chinese nation, those at home and abroad for the great rejuvenation”. This sort of comment is boilerplate, but it’s worth noting that the Party’s United Front organisation is at the heart of so much of the problems between Australia and China. It directs groups and organisations to push China’s interests abroad, often covertly, and judging from Xi’s language, the Chinese government sees no problem with that. The ‘sons and daughters’ wording also blurs the line between Chinese citizenship and ethnicity – creating a desire to instil patriotism and even loyalty among people of Chinese descent even if they’re citizens of other countries. It doesn’t bode well for any improvement in relations with the West, nor for the pressure some Chinese-Australians feel to have to declare loyalty to Australia.
Does President Xi have a successor?
Does President Xi Jinping have a successor? What is the gov structure there because I have only ever heard his name (in recent times), there have to be other people working with him, anyone notable? Maybe names/ positions of those who flanked him as he arrived today?
Here’s Bill Birtles:
“Xi does not have an obvious successor — that’s part of why Xi looms larger than any of his immediate predecessors. He’s managed to engineer a prolonged stay in power beyond the recent norm of a decade, and he’s also seemingly knocked off credible rivals or suppressed younger successors.
“He does appear to have favourites who he elevated at the last party Congress, but they’re not expected to replace him anytime soon. The seven men who share the top podium with him are a mix of Party ideologues (Wang Huning), experienced older hands (Wang Qishan) and others who have worked their way up as provincial Party bosses (Li Keqiang, Wang Yang, Han Zheng).
“What more do we know about them? Well, not much, as these blokes rarely do interviews, their public ideological positions generally follow the party line and the leadership is so secretive that you never get any gossipy leaks to domestic or foreign media about factional rivalry or tensions. It’s extraordinary how well the communist leadership guards its secrets, given the number of people involved at the top and the personal ambitions many of them must hold.
“The penalties for ‘leaking’ information must be dire. Among his top leadership group, one was rumoured to have secret family ownership or a stake in a huge Chinese conglomerate. The daughter of another one Li Zhanshu, China’s 3rd-ranked leader, owns a 15 million dollar apartment in Hong Kong, according to the New York Times.
“Worth noting too that despite all the nationalism and his feisty rhetoric about the US, Xi Jinping sent his daughter Xi Mingze to Harvard for her university studies. But that was before he rose to China’s top job. These days, I doubt any top leaders would dare send their kids to the US given the rising tension and the hyper nationalism that Xi has fostered.”
And here’s Stan Grant:
“Xi Jinping has torn up the order of succession. He has rewritten the constitution and is now president for life. This is dangerous and worries people in China. It does not mean he cannot be overthrown. There is still a ruling Politburo.
“There are still significant figures like Premier Li Keqiang. China has a history of brutal power struggle. Xi himself has used his power to silence and oust others who may have been a threat to him. He is walking a high wire: it is all or nothing for Xi.”
He delivered a defiant speech at an event marking the centenary of the ruling Communist Party on Thursday.
Mr Xi also said Beijing would not allow “sanctimonious preaching”, in remarks widely seen as directed at the US.
It comes as China faces criticism over alleged human rights abuses and its crackdown in Hong Kong.
Relations between the US and China have worsened in recent times over trade, espionage and the pandemic.
The issue of Taiwan is also a major source of tension. While democratic Taiwan sees itself as a sovereign state, Beijing views the island as a breakaway province.
The US, under its own laws, is required to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself should Beijing use force to take the island back.
On Thursday Mr Xi said China maintains an “unshakeable commitment” to unification with Taiwan.
“No one should underestimate the resolve, the will and ability of the Chinese people to defend their national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he said.
Getty ImagesMilitary aircraft flew in formation to mark the 100th anniversary
The 100th anniversary celebrations on Thursday morning saw military jet fly-pasts, cannon salutes and patriotic songs played.
A carefully vetted crowd were in attendance in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, many of whom were not wearing masks.
The country has seen a media blitz in recent weeks promoting a party-approved version of China’s history.
Hong Kong is also marking its handover anniversary on the same day.
Getty ImagesPeople in the streets of Beijing waving at planes flying in formation to Tiananmen Square
What stood out in Xi’s message?
Mr Xi, who spoke for around an hour, reiterated the role of the party in modern China, saying that it has been central to the country’s growth and that attempts to separate it from the people would “fail”.
“Only socialism can save China, and only socialism with Chinese characteristics can develop China,” he said.
He added that “we will never allow anyone to bully, oppress or subjugate China”.
“Anyone who dares try to do that will have their heads bashed bloody against the Great Wall of Steel forged by over 1.4 billion Chinese people,” he said.
Getty ImagesThe celebrations at Tiananmen Square saw massive crowds
China has repeatedly accused the US of trying to curb its growth – and these comments are also seen as a reference to Washington.
On Hong Kong and Macau – which he said both retain a “high degree of autonomy” – they should “accurately implement the principles of ‘One Country, Two Systems”.
Xi Jinping, modern China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, wore a light grey suit which appeared to be identical to the one worn by the Communist Party founder in the famous portrait that adorns one side of Tiananmen Square. Mr Xi praised his people for the “new world” he said they had created. What he was also saying was that this is a world that could not have come into being without the Party.
At one point military jets flew over the crowd in formation of the number 100; flown by pilots loyal to the Party and the people.It’s easy to forget when you live here but a key part of the Communist Party strategy has been to try to morph the Party and the machinery of government and the perception of the nation of China into one.
They attribute any success, progress, advancement – and there has been phenomenal economic advancement – to the people and the government but most of all the Party. Just to make sure the message went out loud and clear, at the end of the ceremony, the crowd sung a song called “
Without the Communist Party There Would Be No New China”.How did China prepare for this anniversary? The Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which was founded in 1921, came to power 72 years ago after a long civil war. In that time the country has undergone massive changes – but some of these milestones were conspicuously missing in the propaganda drive. How to handle the China Communist Party at 100
On Monday, an art performance titled The Great Journey was staged at the Bird’s Nest stadium in Beijing, where performers put on extravagant set-pieces detailing the history of the party and country. But significant events such the Cultural Revolution purges, the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, and the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong were missing, reported AFP news agency.Getty ImagesThe Great Journey showcased party history highlights, but some chapters were reportedly omitted.
A segment of Monday’s show was dedicated to how China beat Covid-19 since April, Chinese cinemas were ordered to screen propaganda films, known as “red films”, at least twice a week: A song, called 100%, that praised China’s achievements and featured 100 rappers was also released.”Red tourism” has also become popular, with travel companies such as Ctrip launching 100 unique routes for “red pilgrims”.
Tourists have been thronging “red tourism” sites such as the Memorial of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China in ShanghaiBut not all were pleased with the propaganda. “Now when I turn on the TV at night, dozens of stations are airing dramas about revolutionary wars,” a Beijing resident told BBC Chinese.
ABC/Reuters/Additional Reporting by Waiyee Yip and BBC Chinese