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Chinese President Xi Jinping’s speech on the opening day of this week’s ruling party meeting charts a course for ongoing tense relations with the U.S. hinged to a dark vision of a China beset by “external attempts to suppress and contain” it. Xi outlined an aggressive foreign policy on Sunday as he detailed his “work report,” a document that sets out domestic and foreign policy priorities for the Chinese Communist Party for the next five years. “We will resolutely safeguard the security of China’s state power, systems and ideology — and build up security capacity in key areas,” Xi said. “We will crack down hard on infiltration, sabotage, subversion, and separatist activities by hostile forces.”
The head of the US Navy has warned that the American military must be prepared for the possibility of a Chinese invasion of Taiwan before 2024, as Washington grows increasingly alarmed about the threat to the island. Admiral Mike Gilday, chief of naval operations, said the US had to consider that China could take action against Taiwan much sooner than even the more pessimistic warnings. The debate in the US about when China might invade Taiwan has intensified since Admiral Philip Davidson, then-head of Indo-Pacific Command, told Congress last year that the Chinese military could take action against Taiwan before 2027. Davidson’s warning was partly downplayed at the time, but officials have intensified their warnings over the past year.”
China’s top technology overseer convened a series of emergency meetings over the past week with leading semiconductor companies, seeking to assess the damage from the Biden administration’s sweeping chip restrictions and pledging support for the critical sector. The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has summoned executives from firms including Yangtze Memory Technologies Co. and supercomputer specialist Dawning Information Industry Co. into closed-door meetings since Washington unveiled measures to contain China’s technological ambitions. MIIT officials appeared uncertain about the way forward and at times appeared to have as many questions as answers for the chipmakers, people familiar with the discussions said.
The defect rate of China’s semiconductor exports to Russia surged after the country invaded Ukraine in March, when Western sanctions forced Russian companies to source electronics from new suppliers, according to the local news outlet Kommersant. Since the unprecedented wave of sanctions on Russia, 40 per cent of chips imported from China have been defective, while the rate before March was just 2 per cent, Kommersant reported, citing an anonymous source. The report did not name any Chinese suppliers. Russia’s Ministry of Industry and Trade told Kommersant that it had not received any information about an increase in defective shipments.
The EU is aiming to pull 10 south-east Asian states into the Western camp on Russia and China when they meet for their first-ever summit in Brussels on 14 December. “We strongly condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which violates international law and call on Russia to immediately and unconditionally cease its military invasion and withdraw all forces and military equipment from the entire territory of Ukraine,” EU and ASEAN leaders plan to say in a joint declaration.
Russia faces a sharp and prolonged slump in its real income as international sanctions over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine leave deep scars on its economy, according to a study by two Chinese academics. The severing of trade links and access to multinational production may cut real income by almost 12% and result in a “permanent decline in real gross domestic product” for Russia, Xiayi Du and Zi Wang from Shanghai University of Finance and Economics said in the study published in the journal Economics Letters. “This welfare loss is mainly due to losing access to foreign final goods and intermediates,” they said.
CCP Foreign Influence
Germany’s intelligence service chiefs warned on Monday that China could use stakes in critical infrastructure as leverage to pursue political aims amid a debate in Berlin over whether to let Chinese shipping company Cosco invest in Hamburg port. Germany’s Greens-run economy ministry wants to veto Cosco’s bid to buy a stake in one of the three terminals in Germany’s most important port, while the Social Democrat (SPD)-run chancellery is more in favour, according to government sources.
China’s President Xi Jinping recently signed an order to establish a legal framework for conducting “non-war military operations” – more commonly known as “military operations other than war” (MOOTW) – with the primary goals of preventing challenges to China’s interests from emerging, maintaining national sovereignty and regional stability, and creating standard procedures for regulating the PLA’s (People’s Liberation Army) conduct of these operations. PLA strategists have described China’s non-war military operations abroad as the “soft use” of “hard power.”
In 2019, when my Human Rights Watch colleagues visited Indonesia’s capital, Jakarta, they sought meetings with government officials and opinion leaders to encourage them to speak up against the discrimination and abuses suffered by Uyghurs and other Muslims in Xinjiang, China. Instead of an enthusiastic reception, they encountered a wall of silence. While civil society activists expressed concern about Chinese government human rights violations, some Indonesian Muslim leaders criticized the “American media” or “Western organizations” for mischaracterizing the situation in Xinjiang. Indonesian government officials also didn’t want to address the issue, insisting that what happens to the Uyghurs is a domestic matter for the Chinese authorities. Now this disregard for the Uyghurs has gone from bad to worse.
Reports that a 16-year-old girl has died in a Covid quarantine centre after pleas from her family for medical help were ignored have caused anger in China, where ongoing tight pandemic controls have started to take their toll on a weary population. The video comes as Communist leaders are meeting in Beijing for their party congress – the most important meeting of China’s five-year political cycle. Authorities have been under pressure to ensure there are no signs of unrest during the meeting but frustration has broken through. Last week, in a rare protest in Beijing, incendiary slogans against Xi Jinping, including references to anger at strict Covid policies, were hung from a central overpass. The same slogans have begun to appear in other locations.
In many parts of Xi Jinping’s China, state surveillance and Covid-19 controls begin the moment you step out the door in the morning. The day might start with a government-mandated Covid test from workers in white hazmat suits. Without proof of a negative result, public spaces are off limits, including office buildings, grocery stores and parks. Surveillance cameras keep watch over the city streets. In a cab on the way to work, the driver requires you to scan a QR code for a government database tracking people’s movements. Scan again when stopping by Starbucks for coffee and then again at the office. If the database shows you’ve crossed paths with someone infected by the virus, you’ll likely be forced into quarantine.
The treatment of a Hong Kong protester in Britain who was seen being dragged into the Chinese consulate in Manchester and beaten on Sunday has raised concerns about the quashing of dissent outside of Chinese borders. The episode was “absolutely unacceptable” as the protests were “peaceful and legal,” Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told Sky News. “They were on British soil.”
The Biden administration is considering a plan to jointly produce weapons with Taiwan, according to three people familiar with the plan. It aims to increase production capacity for U.S.-designed arms, speed their transfer and strengthen deterrence toward China. “There has been a change in the approach from Beijing toward Taiwan in recent years,” said U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at an Oct. 17 event in California. “A fundamental decision [has been made] that the status quo was no longer acceptable, and that Beijing was determined to pursue reunification [with Taiwan] on a much faster timeline.” Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to receive an unprecedented third term as leader at the Communist Party’s 20th National Congress, which will continue until Oct. 22, and he may further ratchet up military pressure on Taiwan.
The Chinese government won an important victory at the U.N. Human Rights Council on October 6, using its political and economic influence to defeat a motion that called for debate on the human rights situation in Xinjiang. The motion failed by a margin of two votes, paving the way for a smooth opening for the Chinese Communist Party’s 20th National Congress on October 16. To further shield itself from accountability for the atrocities being committed in Xinjiang, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has worked vigorously to reshape media narratives around the world. Beijing’s efforts to influence media coverage of its human rights violations in Xinjiang include disseminating propaganda through traditional channels like Chinese state media and its diplomats’ social media accounts, but it has also adopted more covert and coercive tactics, including the laundering of its propaganda through more credible local outlets.
British authorities are being taken to court this month after campaigners took legal action over their failure to block imports of cotton made with forced labour in the Xinjiang region of China. The judicial review, being brought by two groups – Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and World Uyghur Congress (WUC) – and paid for by crowd-funding, is due to be heard in the High Court on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th October.
The company that built the venue for the Qatar 2022 World Cup final also constructed a prison used in China’s mass detention of Uighurs in Xinjiang province, The Times can reveal. Documents show that China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), the joint venture partner with Qatar in building the showpiece Lusail stadium, previously worked for the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps.
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