Qin Gang's removal, China secretly sends gear to Russia, and negative views rise over foreign policy
+ 2023 Women's World Cup: China beats Haiti 1-0 and France-born panda arrives in Chengdu
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
PRC police use racial video analytics to track Uyghurs and distinguish them from the PRC's Han ethnic majority, with The New York Times calling this "a new era of automated racism". Uyghur analytics are widespread across the PRC with IPVM finding deployments in 12 different provinces and Hikvision listing a Uyghur-detecting camera in 2019.
Let the Tragedy in My Homeland Be a Lesson – The New York Times
The defense of Uyghurs’ human rights is the defense of human rights everywhere. If repression can be contagious, so can justice. Humanity’s shared values have a broader reach than any autocrat.
I urge you: Do not ignore the signs of creeping authoritarianism. Do not make the mistake of thinking that something like what has happened to my people couldn’t happen elsewhere, that it couldn’t happen in your country. It can.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
The mystery surrounding the fate of China’s former foreign minister has intensified, as references to him that had previously been scrubbed from the foreign ministry’s website started to reappear.
Qin Gang's Removal Puts the Focus on Xi Jinping's Leadership – Council on Foreign Relations
Qin’s departure will mean little to China’s foreign policy; foreign ministers are career civil servants who carry out decisions made by the party. Rather, the key point is that Xi Jinping has suffered yet another embarrassingly public setback, one in a string that calls into question his judgment as he now rules alone at the top of the party.
Mourning continues for eleven people—a coach and ten members of a girls’ volleyball team in Qiqihar, Heilongjiang province—who perished when the roof of their junior high school gymnasium caved in on Sunday. Recent photos, videos, articles, and social media posts have shed more light on various aspects of the tragedy, including attempts by government officials to intimidate grieving parents into signing away their rights before they were allowed to identify their children’s bodies at a hospital.
[…] there is far less information from inside the TAR compared with other targeted regions such as Xinjiang, which analysts say is due to extraordinary controls on travel, communication and information, as well as a waning international focus on the government policies of control and oppression.
While researchers are confident there is continued and – according to the study – probably increased use of high-security detention facilities, the details of who is in there and why, and the conditions they face, remain unknown.
“Tibet remains an information black hole and any attempt to understand the security landscape there is fraught with difficulty,” Ruth Harris, the director of defence and security at Rand Europe, told the Guardian.
“Foreign researchers are blocked from accessing many Chinese sources and find much available data unreliable,” she added.
An amendment to the country’s Criminal Law introduced by China’s top legislative body would intensify a crackdown on internal corruption in private enterprises by imposing heavier penalties on such individuals.
The proposed amendment is part of Beijing’s attempts to implement a more comprehensive approach to fighting corruption – shifting the focus from people receiving bribes to those paying them.
China launched a national platform for qualified after-school tutoring services, putting the sector under closer scrutiny after a two-year crackdown that wiped off billions of dollars from the industry.
The Ministry of Education online platform hosts more than 111,000 tutoring institutions approved by regulators, according to the ministry. The institutions have passed muster with local regulators on qualifications, capital, personnel, venue and courses.
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Days after unveiling a new booking option that offered women-only compartments on sleeper trains, Trip.com, China’s largest online travel company, has seemingly discontinued the service on Thursday.
While some had praised Trip.com’s initiative for offering a more secure environment for women, many netizens emphasized the importance of addressing broader issues of safety and gender equality in public spaces without resorting to segregation.
A 36-year-old mother and career woman describes her struggle in balancing these two roles in China in the new nonfiction book “A Room Facing South” that shares memoirs by 22 women.
Zhang is among a growing number of young Chinese moving overseas not necessarily because of ideological reasons but to escape the country’s ultra-competitive work culture, family pressures and limited opportunities after living in the country under the strict pandemic policies for three years. Southeast Asia has become a popular destination given its proximity, relatively inexpensive cost of living and tropical scenery.
With scalpers emerging to sell slots at inflated prices, genuine visitors are turning to social media and searching for tips and strategies on how to secure reservations for university visits
Authorities in Chengdu, a city of 21 million people in southwest China’s Sichuan province, have told officials to block Teslas from some areas related to the event and Xi’s visit, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public.
Teslas have been prevented from entering Chinese military complexes and housing compounds in recent years, as well as facing bans from a district that hosts Communist Party summer retreats. The curbs stem from concerns about sensitive data being collected by cameras built into the vehicles, though Tesla and Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk have vowed to follow local data rules.
HONG KONG & MACAO
Hong Kong's High Court on Friday rejected a government bid to ban the protest song "Glory to Hong Kong", saying it could undermine freedom of expression and cause potential "chilling effects".
A Hong Kong pollster said it would no longer publish the results of surveys on ten sensitive topics and would stop asking some questions, including those concerning the human rights situation in China.
The announcement was the latest by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute (PORI) . Last month the institute said it had cancelled the release of a survey on Hongkongers’ views of the 1989 Tiananmen crackdown, citing “suggestions” made by “relevant government department(s).”
Hong Kong’s chief executive has appealed to the United States to stick to established rules to invite leaders to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in San Francisco after a newspaper reported that Washington had decided to ban him.
Hong Kong national security police have reportedly detained the daughter, son, and daughter-in-law of a wanted activist, in the latest move targeting the families of pro-democracy figures in exile.
Hong Kong public broadcaster RTHK is pulling the plug on the city’s first and only LGBTQ radio programme after 17 years, a move some in the community have called a step backward.
The broadcaster gave no reasons for ending its long run from Sunday, with a spokesman telling the Post it was cancelled because of “programming strategies”.
For years, Calvin Lo has relentlessly pitched himself as a globetrotting billionaire-financier-cum-philanthropist with a world class collection of champagne, homes on three continents, a fleet of exotic supercars and investments in a five-star hotel and an F1 team. Great story—too bad it’s (mostly) fiction.
Despite the hugely disproportionate scale of China's economic and military strength, the psychological pressure does not seem to be working. More than 70% of Taiwanese now say they would fight to defend their island home. So far they do not believe resistance is futile.
The White House has announced a landmark US$345 million military aid package for Taiwan, allowing weapons to be draw directly from US stockpiles and sent to the island.
It is the first package of its kind since Washington switched official recognition to Beijing from Taipei in 1979 and follows repeated requests by Congress in the past few years.
The U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation aimed at countering efforts by China to exclude Taiwan from participating in international organizations.
It is not the job of American officials to determine Taiwan’s future. The people of Taiwan have voice to insist that Taiwan be respected as a vibrant democracy and key partner of the United States, and not merely as a pawn in a great power contest.
Women in Taiwan Are Tired of Being Nice – The New York Times
In a collectivist culture like ours, the burden of being nice and preserving group harmony falls on those with less power and authority, and that can mean male victims, too. According to a Taiwan media report that cited statistics from the Ministry of Education from 2022, 24 percent of campus sexual harassment survivors were men, and some of the survivors who have come forward in recent weeks have been men. As it’s been said, sexual violence isn’t only about sex; it’s also about power.
Since Taiwan’s #MeToo moment started, I’ve had multiple conversations with friends of all genders, sharing survivor stories, sometimes still wondering out loud, “Does this count? Or am I overreacting?” Being nice is so ingrained in us that it’s not going to be undone in a few weeks.
Coming up next:
China helps Russia
Negative views of China rise over foreign policy
Presidents of Indonesia and China meet
Is China building a military base in Cambodia?
Alibaba to support Meta's AI model Llama
And so much more…