G20 summit, alarm over new Huawei phone, iPhone ban
+ Hong Kong, Shenzhen deluged by historic rains
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PHOTO OF THE WEEK
[…] off the main tourist trail, in the mostly Uyghur town of Yengisar, AFP reporters saw a sign in a cemetery prohibiting Islamic "religious activities" such as kneeling, prostrating, praying with palms facing upwards and reciting scripture.
The same sign permitted certain offerings for the Qingming Festival, typically observed by Han but not Uyghurs.
Around a dozen mosques in other towns and villages around Kashgar were found locked and rundown.
Some appeared to have had minarets and other Islamic markings removed, and many bore the same government slogan: "Love the country, love the party".
After years of assault on Uyghur traditions and ways of life, the Chinese government is pumping cash into repackaging a state-approved version of Uyghur culture to attract domestic and foreign travellers. Photographer Pedro Pardo visits the tourist area in Old Kashgar
Homes of people who went missing in China's crackdown on its Muslim minorities stand locked and silent in Xinjiang's rural heartland.
Others lie dilapidated or abandoned, and locals chase out AFP reporters seeking to find out the fates of the detained.
The Chinese government began rounding up Uyghurs in the northwestern region in large numbers from 2017 under what it calls an anti-terrorism policy.
Over one million people were allegedly detained, with reports surfacing of widespread abuses, including violence, rape and political indoctrination.
A policeman waves reporters away from a desert prison in Xinjiang, part of a network of detention facilities transformed by China's shifting policies in the northwestern region.
Since 2017, more than a million Uyghurs and other Muslims have been swept into internment camps where human rights abuses are commonplace, researchers, campaigners and members of the diaspora say.
Beijing says the facilities were voluntary centres for teaching vocational skills, closed years ago after their inhabitants "graduated" into stable employment and better lives.
Analysts counter that some camps have been refitted as others have shut down.
Social reengineering in the name of security in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region – Melbourne Asia Review
While the initial impetus for the erection of the security state in the region derived from fears of terrorism, it is now clear that the Party-state believes that the policies of ‘re-education’ and systematic surveillance that have followed in its wake provide the means through which to achieve a lasting transformation of Xinjiang and its Turkic Muslim population. The key, as Xi himself stated during his visit, is to reshape what he defined as ‘the deepest level of identity’ – ‘cultural identity’.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
In a major overhaul of its code of conduct, the Chinese Academy of Sciences has barred academicians from making comments outside their areas of expertise and misusing their titles for undue benefits.
Proposed changes to a Chinese public security law to criminalise comments, clothing or symbols that “undermine the spirit” or “harm the feelings” of China have triggered the concern of legal experts, who say the amendments could be used arbitrarily.
The changes were first made public last week as part of a mandatory “soliciting opinion” process, as concerns mount about the increasingly authoritarian and nationalistic rule of China’s president, Xi Jinping.
This week, several legal scholars and bloggers wrote editorials and social media posts calling for the removal of certain articles in the draft.
“Why would Chinese banks be studying Xi Jinping Thought? I think one reason is that Xi Jinping Thought is, of course, a political ideology, but it may even be deeper and broader than that,” Mok told Al Jazeera. “It is actually a philosophy of life.”
But Holz said the rise of Xi Jinping Thought could be seen as a symptom of the Chinese leader’s drive to consolidate power and control to a degree not seen since Mao Zedong.
“I interpret these study sessions as rituals. These rituals primarily serve the purpose of ensuring continued loyalty to the regime leader,” Holz said.
“They also help protect against independent thinking in that brain capacity is preoccupied with the leader’s dogma, and any interest in intellectual debate is stifled by the need to appear to fall in line with the leader’s dogma.”
Beijing has made the unprecedented decision to allow some cases against foreign states in Chinese courts, a move that will align its take on "foreign state immunity" with mainstream Western practices.
China has long taken the stance that states and their property are immune from the jurisdiction of the courts of other states. Previously, it has never allowed a case where a foreign state or government was sued, nor has it allowed any claim involving a foreign state or their property.
But the Foreign State Immunity Law, adopted by the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress on Friday [September 1], will remove such immunity from next year.
As part of its continuing efforts to address demographic challenges, China has updated its family planning guidelines, which will now permit military personnel to have up to three children, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported Thursday.
This revised guideline aligns with the national Population and Family Planning Law’s 2021 amendment, which ushered in the three-child policy. And until now, only service personnel meeting certain requirements could have a second child.
China’s third and most advanced aircraft carrier is close to undergoing its first sea trials, latest photos posted online by military buffs suggest, taking the giant warship a step closer to becoming an actual combat platform.
The pace of progress indicates that the Fujian, a 1,037-foot (316m) supercarrier, is ready to test its aircraft launch systems and will join the Chinese navy in 2025 as scheduled, military experts said.
Images posted by military enthusiasts on Chinese microblogging site Weibo earlier this week showed the covers had been removed from all three advanced electromagnetic catapults on the deck of the Fujian – offering outsiders a glimpse of its entire aircraft launch system for the first time.
Women have long been under pressure to act in certain ways in the workplace: dress well, wear full makeup, and never challenge their male peers. Nowadays, that pressure often extends to social media. As one of my interviewees noted, “It’s tiring enough having to behave like a meek woman at work, but now I’m hunted down on WeChat and have to carry on performing there.”
Using memes and anime, profile photos have become the new canvas for Chinese youth, serving as both an outlet for their frustrations and subtle resistance against the pressures of work culture.
Research suggests that, as living standards improve, more and more people are facing the obesity problem.
China’s national standards on physical wellbeing are based on the body mass index, which is calculated by dividing a person’s weight by the square of his or her height. Someone with a BMI of 24 is classified as “overweight.” Once it reaches 28, they are “obese.”
Using this criterion, a research paper published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity, and Metabolism recently estimated that 34.8% of the population is overweight and 14.1% is obese.
Amid a social media surge, a Taoism college is drawing record applications this year. But getting in and sticking it out requires more than just passion.
Luckin Coffee has joined forces with Kweichow Moutai, the maker of China’s fiery national liquor baijiu, for an unusual offering: alcoholic lattes.
The popular Chinese coffee chain rolled out the so-called “sauce-flavored latte” with a jolt of liquor for 38 yuan ($5.20) on Monday. Customers who order with an online coupon will be able to receive 50% off for a limited time, it said.
The “sauce” in the name is an apparent reference to the slightly savory notes of Moutai’s liquor that has been compared by some drinkers to soy sauce.
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