Blinken's high-stakes China trip, Premier Li to visit Germany and France, and stimulus expected as economy slows
+ Taiwan sees MeToo wave of allegations and Messi's presence at Beijing's Workers' Stadium sends fans into a frenzy
Welcome to another edition of What’s Happening in China, a weekly newsletter that curates the latest and most important news and developments from the country.
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wrapped up a trip to China Friday after seeking economic aid and voicing support for Beijing’s repressive policies toward Muslim minorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang.
Products made in China’s western province of Xinjiang are being sold to US consumers through the online shopping platform Temu, in breach of a US ban that forbids goods from the region due to links to forced labor, according to research by a global supply chain verification firm.
Perhat Tursun and the Plight of Uyghurs in Xinjiang – The Nation
Like 92 percent of the Chinese population, my family and I are Han. Before I moved to the United States for graduate school in 2009, I had never thought much about my ethnicity, or about race in general. Xinjiang had only come up in conversation when neighbors complimented my mother’s beauty: Her wide eyes and high nose “looked Uyghur”; too bad I had inherited none of those coveted features.
But these days, my mother brings up Xinjiang often. She has shared anecdotes from her friends who’ve traveled to the region and her impressions of a Uyghur student she once met at a bus stop. The stories are always punctuated by a warning: I must not allow myself to be “brainwashed” by anti-China rhetoric in the West, where fictitious charges of the ethnic oppression of the Uyghurs are being drummed up. However, according to the United Nations human rights commission, that is what’s happening in Xinjiang: The abuses inflicted on the region’s Turkic Muslim population “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” I do not want to upset my mother or cause her any trouble, so I bite my tongue and clench my teeth. A schism widens in the silence, not only between my mother and me but also between the Han and Uyghur peoples—whether in Xinjiang, the rest of China, or overseas.
China has dropped the number of cremations held last winter from a quarterly report, withholding a key indicator of the pandemic death toll during the country’s largest Covid wave.
The Chinese Ministry of Civil Affairs released summary statistics on marriage and social welfare for the fourth quarter of 2022 last Friday, after months of unexplained delays, which had prompted speculation that the country was not able to track the relevant data.
Missing from the quarterly report was the number of cremations held across the country – a figure the ministry has made public since 2007.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
China’s new marriages dropped to a 37-year low in 2022, increasing the likelihood that the population of the world’s second-largest economy will continue to fall.
About 6.8 million couples registered marriages in China last year, down 11% from 2021 and the lowest number since 1985, when available government data begins. The data shows the number of unions peaked in 2013 and has rapidly declined since.
China’s economy faces pressure as people grow older and births fall. The drop in marriages is most likely attributable to a decline in the number of young people as well as couples choosing to get married later, changing attitudes toward marriage and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Beijing's government on Thursday announced that it would cover 16 types of assisted reproduction technology under the city's health care system from July 1, the latest move by authorities to boost China's flagging birth rate.
In-vitro fertilisation, embryo transplantation, freezing and storing semen are some of the treatments that would be included under basic insurance, said Du Xin, deputy director of Beijing's Municipal Medical Insurance Bureau.
The measure comes as China grapples to stem a decline in births after posting its first population drop in six decades. The number of newborns dropped to a record low of 6.77 per 1,000 people last year and is expected to decline further in 2023.
China is betting big on robots to care for its ballooning elderly population. As Chinese society rapidly ages, the country plans to deploy technology on a massive scale to plug a critical shortage of health and social care workers.
Following the death of a young influencer, experts are raising serious concerns regarding the safety, effectiveness, and long-term impact of such camps.
Coming up next:
Blinken’s China trip
Taiwan’s MeToo wave of allegations
Canada freezes ties with Chinese bank AIIB
Germany says China poses a growing threat to global security
China’s State Council fans economic stimulus hopes
And so much more…
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