Category Archive : China

China defends Tiananmen Square crackdown as ‘fully correct’

Protesters take part in a candlelight vigil to mark the 31st anniversary of the crackdown of pro-democracy pro…Read More

BEIJING: China on Thursday put up its customary defence of the ruling Communist Party’s massive crackdown on students’ protests in Beijing‘s iconic Tiananmen Square in 1989 in which hundreds were killed as “fully correct” and said the socialist political model it pursued is the “right choice”.
Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters are believed to have been killed on June 4, 1989 in and around Tiananmen Square in the Chinese military’s brutal crackdown to quell the demonstrations against the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC).
The massive square where the foreign journalists were turned away on Thursday became famous all over the world with an iconic picture of a young man standing before a row of battle tanks in a bid to stop them.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with some of the survivors of the Tiananmen Square crackdown in Washington ahead of the 31st anniversary.
Pompeo met with four Tiananmen protest participants – Wang Dan, Su Xiaokang, Liane Lee and Henry Li – in a closed-door meeting at the State Department in Washington, Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Answering a spate of questions on the protests, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian termed the Tiananmen Square protests as a “political disturbance”.
“The Chinese government has clearly drawn a conclusion on the political disturbance that took place at the end of 1980s. After the founding of the People’s Republic of China the past 70 years witnessed great achievements in China which is a full testament to the fact that our development path is the right choice that suits our national conditions and has been endorsed by the Chinese people,” he said.
“We will stay committed to socialism with Chinese characteristics”, he said.
He asked the US to “reject the ideological bias, correct mistakes and stop interfering in China’s domestic affairs in any form”.
The US State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, said in a statement that “thirty-one years later, the total number of missing or dead Tiananmen protesters is still unknown. We reiterate our call for a full, public accounting of those killed or missing”.
Asked whether there is any addition to the earlier official announcement that 319 people were killed in the crackdown, Zhao said that he has no information to offer.
“China’s great achievement of development shows that Chinese government’s action is fully correct, which upholds the development and the progress of the Chinese nation,” he said.
To another question that if it’s a fully correct decision, why China has blocked the Tiananmen Square protests on the internet, he said China handles the internet according to the relevant laws.
This year’s Tiananmen Square protests have political significance for Hong Kong as it is for the first-time that the people of the former British Colony were barred from observing the anniversary with participation of thousands.
China last month passed a new security law under which it could open its security agencies offices in Hong Kong. The administration in Hong Kong for the first time barred the Tiananmen Square protests.
“For the first time since 1990, there will be no mass June 4 vigil at Victoria Park to commemorate the military crackdown on students-led democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989 that left hundreds, perhaps thousands, dead,” the South China Morning Post said in its editorial.
“Police have refused permission to ensure compliance with coronavirus restrictions on social gatherings. But what happens still matters”, it said.
“There may be no headcount on the 31st anniversary to compare with past observances as a measure of the relevance of the tragedy to Hong Kong’s identity and a whole new generation. But the organisers have vowed to adapt to the times” with candlelight protests across Hong Kong, it said.

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At least 39 injured in knife attack at China kindergarten

BEIJING: State media report at least 39 people were injured in a knife attack on a kindergarten in southern China Thursday morning.
The attack was an eerie throwback to deadly attacks at schools in China over past years that prompted security upgrades.
The local government in the Guangxi region’s Cangwu county said 37 students and two adults suffered injuries of varying degrees in the attack.
Chinese state media identified the attacker as a security guard at the school surnamed Li. No motive was known and the suspect had been detained while an investigation was underway, they said.
State broadcaster CCTV said 40 had been injured, three seriously, including the head of the school, another security guard and a student.

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Tiananmen anniversary marked by crackdown, Hong Kong vigil ban

BEIJING: China tightened controls over dissidents while pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong and elsewhere sought ways to mark the 31st anniversary Thursday of the crushing of the pro-democracy movement centered on Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
That came after authorities in Hong Kong took the extraordinary move of canceling an annual candlelight vigil in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory for the first time in 30 years.
Authorities cited the need for social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak, despite the recent reopening of schools, beaches, bars and beauty parlors. Hong Kong has had relatively few cases of the virus and life has largely returned to normal in the city of 7.4 million.
However, China has long detested the vigil, the only such activity allowed on Chinese territory to commemorate victims of the crackdown, which remains a taboo subject on the mainland. Hundreds, possibly thousands of people were killed when tanks and troops assaulted the center of Beijing to break up weeks of student-led protests seen as posing a threat to authoritarian Communist Party rule.
The cancellation also comes amid a tightening of Beijing’s grip over Hong Kong, with the National People’s Congress, China’s ceremonial parliament, moving to pass national security legislation that circumvents Hong Kong’s local legislature and could severely limit free speech and opposition political activity.
In Hong Kong, a law is being passed to make it a crime to disrespect China’s national anthem and 15 well-known veteran activists were arrested and charged with organizing and taking part in illegal demonstrations. Those actions are seen as part of a steady erosion of civil rights Hong Kong was guaranteed when it was handed over from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
“The ban comes amid an alarming acceleration of attacks on the autonomy of Hong Kong and the undermining of the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people guaranteed under Hong Kong and international law” Sharon Hom, executive director of Human Rights in China, said in a statement.
Despite the ban on the vigil, the Asian financial hub was bracing for “pop-up” protests of the type that raged around the city during months of anti-government protests last year that often led to violent confrontations between police and demonstrators.
Thousands have been arrested over the demonstrations, which were sparked by proposed legislation that could have seen suspects extradited to mainland China where they could face torture and unfair, politically biased trials.
The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic and Democratic Movements of China that organizes the annual vigil has called on people around the city to light candles at 8 p.m. (1200 GMT) and plans to livestream the commemorations on its website
Other vigils, virtual and otherwise, are planned elsewhere, including in Taiwan, the self-ruled island democracy whose government called again this year for Beijing to own up to the facts of the crackdown.
That drew a strong response from Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian, who called the statement “complete nonsense.”
“As to the political disturbance that occurred in the late 1980s, the Chinese government has had a clear conclusion. The great achievements that we have achieved … have fully demonstrated that the development path China has chosen is completely correct, which conforms to China’s national conditions and has won the sincere support of the Chinese people,” Zhao told reporters at a daily briefing.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo marked the crackdown anniversary on Tuesday, a day after federal forces used tear gas to clear peaceful protesters from a park in front of the White House.
Pompeo tweeted criticism of China and Hong Kong for banning the vigil before meeting privately with a group of Tiananmen Square survivors at the State Department. That too drew criticism from China.
Alongside the exchanges of rhetoric, China’s small, beleaguered dissident community has again come under greater scrutiny from the authorities. Many have been placed under house arrest and their communications with the outside world cut off, according to rights groups.
China has released the last of those arrested for directly taking part in the Tiananmen demonstrations, but others who seek to commemorate them have been rearrested for continuing their activism.
They include Huang Qi, founder of website 64 Tianwang that sought to expose official wrongdoing. Reportedly in failing health, he is serving a 12-year-sentence after being convicted of leaking state secrets abroad. (AP)

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China jibes US on human rights ahead of June 4 anniversary

BEIJING: Chinese state media has been revelling in days of chaotic protests in the United States and highlighting President Donald Trump‘s threat to use troops, even as the anniversary looms of its own military crackdown on demonstrators 31 years ago.
For days, Chinese media has prominently covered the protests in the aftermath of the Minnesota police killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, contrasting it with support from US politicians for pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.
Last year’s Hong Kong protests, which sometimes turned violent, prompted Beijing last month to announce it would impose national security legislation on the former British colony.
Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid published by the ruling Communist Party’s People’s Daily, said the United States was marking the Tiananmen anniversary “in a unique way”.
“US military is being dispatched to the cities and police are opening fire. The US is proving the importance for China to restore order in 1989. But back then, the destruction of China’s order was much worse than US now,” he said in English on Twitter.
The June 4 anniversary of the shooting by troops of student demonstrators in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989, which rights groups and witnesses say may have killed thousands, is not publicly observed in the mainland and state media rarely mentions it in Chinese.
On Monday, Trump vowed to use military force if the US violence was not quelled.
“China has shown patience toward the Hong Kong riots,” the Global Times wrote in an editorial, citing the security legislation as key to resolving the issue there.
“Does the White House believe that deploying the military can solve its deep-seated problems?”
China’s tradition of “magnifying social malaise” in the West comes amid heightened US-China tension, said Yuan Zeng, a lecturer in Media and Communications at the University of Leeds.
“You can clearly see Chinese state media are using US unrest to justify China’s move on HK National Security Law and to bash criticism from US,” she said in a text message.
A cartoon posted by the People’s Daily on social media depicted a policeman breaking off a Statue of Liberty cloaking, the sky in flames and the White House beneath him, under the Chinese caption “Human Rights”.
China has long been criticised by the United States and others over human rights, including its treatment of Tibetans and ethnic Uighur Muslims.
In April, several African ambassadors complained to Beijing over “inhuman” treatment of Africans in the city of Guangzhou during coronavirus containment.
“We always oppose racial discrimination,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a Wednesday media briefing.
“We hope the US government will take concrete measures to fulfil its obligations under the international convention on the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination to protect the legal rights of ethnic minorities,” he said.

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Situation at Sino-India border stable, no need for ‘third party’ intervention: China

PTI Photo

BEIJING: China on Wednesday emphasised that there was no need for the intervention of a “third party” to resolve its current standoff with India as the two neighbours have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and communication channels to sort out their differences through dialogue.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing here that China’s position on the border issue with India was “consistent and clear” and both the countries have “earnestly” implemented the important consensus reached between their leaders.
Zhao was replying to a question about the phone call between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump during which the two leaders also discussed the border standoff between India and China.
“Now the situation there (at India-China border) is overall stable and controllable. China and India have full-fledged border-related mechanisms and communication channel. We have the capability to resolve the issue through dialogue and negotiation,” Zhao said.
“There is no need for the intervention of a third party,” he emphasised, in what is China’s first official reaction to the discussion on the border tensions between Modi and Trump.
President Trump last week said he was “ready, willing and able to mediate” between the two countries. “We have informed both India and China that the United States is ready, willing and able to mediate or arbitrate their now raging border dispute,” Trump said in a tweet.
Both India and China have rejected Trump’s offer of mediation.
“China’s position on the border issue is consistent and clear,” Zhao said and reiterated that the two neighbours have “earnestly implemented the important consensus” reached between their leaders.
The troops of India and China were engaged in a 73-day stand-off in Doklam tri-junction in 2017 which even triggered fears of a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbours.
Prime Minister Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first informal summit in April 2018 in the Chinese city of Wuhan, months after the Doklam standoff.
In the summit, the two leaders decided to issue “strategic guidance” to their militaries to strengthen communications so that they can build trust and understanding.
Modi and Xi held their second informal summit in Mamallapuram near Chennai in October last year with a focus on further broadening bilateral ties.
“We have strictly abided by the relevant treaty between China and India and committed to upholding national territorial and sovereignty and security as well as upholding peace and stability in the border region,” Zhao said.
His remarks came in the backdrop of the continuing standoff between the militaries of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
Indian and Chinese troops were engaged in a bitter standoff in several areas along the Line of Actual Control in mountainous eastern Ladakh for close to four weeks. Both the countries are holding talks at military and diplomatic levels to resolve the dispute.
On May 5, the Indian and the Chinese army personnel clashed with iron rods, sticks, and even resorted to stone-pelting in the Pangong Tso lake area in which soldiers on both sides sustained injuries.
In a separate incident, nearly 150 Indian and Chinese military personnel were engaged in a face-off near Naku La Pass in the Sikkim sector on May 9.

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China Hong Kong News: China warns Britain interfering in Hong Kong will ‘backfire’ | World News

BEIJING: China warned Britain on Wednesday that its interferences in Hong Kong’s affairs will “definitely backfire” after London criticised plans for a national security law in the former colony.
“We advise the UK to step back from the brink, abandon their Cold War mentality and colonial mindset, and recognise and respect the fact that Hong Kong has returned” to China, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a regular briefing.
Zhao said London must “immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong’s affairs and China’s internal affairs, or this will definitely backfire.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said Tuesday that Beijing still has time to “reconsider” the proposal, which China plans to enact in response to pro-democracy protests in the semi-autonomous city.
Raab also told the British parliament he has spoken to “Five Eyes” Western intelligence allies about potentially opening their doors to Hong Kongers if Beijing’s plans spark an exodus.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would offer millions of Hong Kongers visas and a possible route to UK citizenship if China persists with its national security law.
Opponents fear the legislation will lead to political oppression in the financial hub, eroding freedoms and autonomy supposedly guaranteed in Britain’s 1997 handover of the colony back to China.

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Armies of India and China to hold Lt Gen level talks on June 6 to resolve Ladakh crisis

Indian and Chinese flags. (PTI)

NEW DELHI: India and China will hold Lieutenant General level talks on June 6 to address the ongoing dispute in Eastern Ladakh over the massive military buildup along the Line of Actual Control by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China.
Indian Army sources said that the Leh-based 14 Corps Commander Lt Gen Harinder Singh is scheduled to hold talks with his Chinese counterpart to resolve the matter.
Armies of both countries had held talks on Tuesday as well to resolve the crisis.
“There have been more than 10 round of talks held already between the two sides. On Tuesday also, officers from both sides held talks to resolve the crisis,” Army sources had said.
They had said it seemed that the talks have not been able to make headway as there has been not much change in the ground position of both sides.
India and China have been locked in a dispute over the heavy military build-up by People’s Liberation Army where they have brought in more than 5,000 troops along the Eastern Ladakh sector.
In some areas, they are inside the Indian territory but their intent to carry out deeper incursions was checked by the Indian security forces by quick deployment. The Chinese have also brought in heavy vehicles with artillery guns and infantry combat vehicles in their rear positions close to the Indian territory.

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British PM Boris Johnson offers visas for millions in Hong Kong

Britain PM Boris Johnson (File Photo)

LONDON: British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Tuesday he would offer millions of Hong Kongers visas and a possible route to UK citizenship if China persists with its national security law.
“Many people in Hong Kong fear their way of life – which China pledged to uphold – is under threat,” he wrote in an article for The Times newspaper and the South China Morning Post.
“If China proceeds to justify their fears, then Britain could not in good conscience shrug our shoulders and walk away; instead we will honour our obligations and provide an alternative.”
About 350,000 people in Hong Kong currently hold British National (Overseas) passports, which allow visa-free access to Britain for up to six months, Johnson wrote.
Another 2.5 million people would be eligible to apply for one.
“If China imposes its national security law, the British government will change our immigration rules and allow any holder of these passports from Hong Kong to come to the UK for a renewable period of 12 months and be given further immigration rights, including the right to work, which could place them on a route to citizenship,” he wrote.
The new law was brought in after a wave of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, and approved by Beijing’s rubber-stamp parliament as necessary to tackling “terrorism” and “separatism”.
Opponents fear it will lead to political oppression in the financial hub, eroding freedoms and autonomy supposedly guaranteed in the 1997 handover from Britain to China.
Johnson said the Hong Kong law would “curtail its freedoms and dramatically erode its autonomy”.
If implemented, “Britain would then have no choice but to uphold our profound ties of history and friendship with the people of Hong Kong”, he wrote.
London has already announced plans to extend visa rights to those eligible for BN(O) passports and joined international condemnation of Beijing.
But Johnson’s personal intervention significantly ups the pressure.
“I hope it will not come to this,” he wrote, insisting that “Britain does not seek to prevent China’s rise”.
“It is precisely because we welcome China as a leading member of the world community that we expect it to abide by international agreements,” he wrote.
He rejected as “false” claims that London organised the protests, adding: “Britain wants nothing more than for Hong Kong to succeed under ‘one country, two systems’.
“I hope that China wants the same. Let us work together to make it so.”

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Tensions simmer in Hong Kong as controversial anthem law back up for debate

HONG KONG: Hong Kong lawmakers are set to resume a debate on Wednesday over a controversial bill that would make disrespecting China’s national anthem a criminal offence, as the city ramps up for fresh protests amid simmering anti-government tensions.
An annual vigil to mark the June 4, 1989, anniversary of Chinese troops opening fire on pro-democracy students in and around Tiananmen Square has been cancelled for the first time ever due to the coronavirus but activists still plan to rally.
The ban comes on the heels of China’s plan to directly impose national security laws on Hong Kong, a move that has drawn international condemnation and revived anti-government demonstrations in the former British colony.
On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Beijing’s decision would “dramatically” erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and the United Kingdom is prepared to change its immigration rules to accommodate Hong Kong residents.
Even before China announced its plan for the security law, there was a surge in renewals of British National Overseas Passports by Hong Kong residents, while immigration consultants have reported a rush of inquiries from people looking to move overseas.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam accused foreign governments on Tuesday of “double standards” in their reaction to Beijing’s plans. Lam, along with officials from the justice and security departments, arrives in Beijing on Wednesday to discuss the new legislation.
Some companies, including HSBC Holdings, have come under pressure to support the national security law, with former Hong Kong leader Leung Chun-ying calling out the global bank for not making its “stance” clear on the legislation.
On Wednesday, Jardines Group, one of Hong Kong’s original foreign trading houses, published a full-page statement in pro-Beijing newspaper Ta Kung Pao saying it was important to enact a legal framework to safeguard the city’s national security.
“It can ensure that Hong Kong continues to absorb investment, increase job opportunities and guarantee people’s livelihood,” Jardines said in the statement.
The group’s flagship company, Jardine Matheson Holdings , is listed in Singapore.

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‘China delayed in giving corona info, frustrating WHO’

Throughout January, the WHO publicly praised China for what it called a speedy response to the new coronavirus. It repeatedly thanked the Chinese government for sharing the genetic map of the virus “immediately”.
But behind the scenes, it was a much different story. Despite the plaudits, China in fact sat on releasing the genetic map, or genome, of the virus for more than a week after three different government labs had fully decoded the information. Tight controls on information and competition within the Chinese public health system were to blame, according to dozens of interviews and internal documents.
Chinese government labs only released the genome after another lab published it ahead of authorities on a virologist website on January 11. Even then, China stalled for at least two weeks more on providing WHO with detailed data on patients and cases, according to recordings of internal meetings held by the UN health agency through January.
WHO officials were lauding China because they wanted to coax more information, the recordings obtained by AP suggest. Privately, they complained. “We’re going on very minimal information,” said US epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove, now WHO’s technical lead for Covid-19, in one internal meeting. “We’re currently at the stage where yes, they’re giving it to us 15 minutes before it appears on CCTV,” WHO’s top official in China, Gauden Galea, referring to the state broadcaster, said in another meeting.
Between the day the full genome was first decoded by a government lab on January 2 and the day WHO declared a global emergency on January 30, the outbreak spread by a factor of 100 to 200 times, according to data from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. WHO and its officials named declined to answer questions asked without audio or written transcripts of the recorded meetings, which AP was unable to supply to protect its sources. China’s National Health Commission had no comment.

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