Xi, Blinken agree to stabilise US-China ties, Li Qiang visits Europe, and historic heatwave hits China
+ Taiwan on alert for election interference and US files charges against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers
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
Volkswagen denies it has ever utilized forced labor in Xinjiang. But it has been less willing to grapple with the broader accusation: That by maintaining the facility at the request of Beijing, the company — and by extension the German government, which supported the carmaker's investments in China — is providing political cover for crimes against humanity.
Three Uyghur brothers who escaped from China’s far western Xinjiang province a decade ago – and have been detained in India ever since – are aiming to seek asylum in Canada, their lawyer said.
After 10 years of being detained in India and unsuccessfully seeking asylum there, they face the growing prospect of being deported to China, said their lawyer, Muhammed Shafi Lassu.
New Report Offers Little New Intelligence on Covid Origins and Wuhan Lab Leak Theory – The New York Times
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence released a long-awaited declassified report, which included spy agencies’ findings on the so-called lab leak theory, but the material is unlikely to satisfy many people who have been wrestling with the unanswered questions on the origins of the Covid outbreak.
The 10-page report said scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology did conduct research on coronaviruses, in some cases had inadequate safety measures and had genetically engineered coronaviruses. But the intelligence agencies said they have found nothing that tells them that work at the laboratory caused the pandemic.
POLITICS & SOCIETY
Chinese police arrested four people on Saturday linked to a restaurant explosion that killed dozens, state media reported.
At least 31 people were killed and seven others injured when a gas explosion ripped through a barbecue restaurant in the northwestern city of Yinchuan on Wednesday.
It happened on the eve of the three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday when many in China go out and socialize with friends.
China’s top military body has issued a new set of rules controlling the social activities of serving and retired senior officers from the People’s Liberation Army.
The new rules, recently approved by the Central Military Commission chaired by President Xi Jinping, were jointly promulgated by the political and disciplinary departments of the PLA in what analysts described as an effort to further tighten control.
Li’s choice of flight is a gesture to “give prominence to Xi’s core status” in the Communist Party leadership, according to Xie Maosong, a senior fellow at the Taihe Institute and senior researcher at the National Institute of Strategic Studies at Tsinghua University.
“Being the party’s number two official, he is leading by example to live up to the ‘two upholds’,” Xie said.
He was referring to a political slogan that essentially requires all party members to uphold Xi’s leadership and authority over the whole party and to follow his directions resolutely.
"The government sees strengthening the national power, the national rejuvenation, as the most important thing," said Hongwei Bao, a researcher in LGBTQ visual and performance culture at the University of Nottingham.
"That disconnects from younger people's desire to express themselves freely, to pursue their lifestyles, personalities, and individualities."
Such campaigns render the existence of voguing in Shanghai both more precarious and more vital in the community.
"I really don't know about the future," VJ said. "I still have hope that society can become more tolerant and more accepting."
Authorities in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region recently reported that 53 people died in an unspecified incident this year, with evidence pointing to the open-pit coal mine collapse in February, making it the deadliest such incident in China in more than seven decades.
China’s state-run lotteries are enjoying a renaissance in 2023. Once considered hopelessly uncool, the games are suddenly winning over legions of young Chinese who are seeking cheap thrills and get-rich-quick solutions amid a tough economy.
Gallery: A Rail Adventure – Caixin
More than 200 travelers rode Heilongjiang province’s first high-end tourist train on Sunday on a rail tour of the province’s natural attractions. The train, named the Lindu, runs between Harbin and Yichun, and consists of 15 cars equipped with facilities including a playroom, bar, restaurant and sleeper compartments. Luxury train tours in China have emerged in recent years as local governments look for new ways to attract tourists.
Coming up next:
US and China pledge to stabilise relationship
Chinese Premier Li Qiang opposes decoupling in visit to Europe
China issues heatstroke alert amid historic heatwave
Taiwan on alert for election interference
US files charges against Chinese fentanyl manufacturers
Zambia reaches deal with China to restructure loans
And so much more…
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