U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May fired her defense secretary, Gavin Williamson, over his role in a leak of secret information regarding the role of China's Huawei in building out British 5G networks. The intrigue.
China has detained an estimated 1 to 2 million Uighur Muslims (pronounced WEE-guhr), and millions more live one step away from detention under the watchful eye of the Chinese Communist Party, Axios World editor David Lawler reports.
Why it matters: It has been two years since the internment camps came to light internationally, and a series of reports from the region of Xinjiang have made vivid the scale of the abuses. Yet foreign governments and corporations are content to pretend it isn’t happening.
"If ... any other country in the world was found to be detaining over 1 million Muslims of a certain ethnicity, you can bet we’d be seeing an international outcry,” says Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch.
"There has been this almost childlike hope that as China gets wealthier and more secure, it would" adapt to international norms, Richardson says.
Instead, China is using its economic clout and influence at the UN to undermine those norms.
China has long waged a campaign of "assimilation and cultural destruction" in Xinjiang. But under President Xi Jinping it has dramatically escalated.
China used to deny the camps existed; it now claims they're voluntary and designed to root out extremism.
Photo Jeff Widener/AP
Tomorrow and Tuesday mark 30 years since a pro-democracy protest in Beijing's Tiananmen Square ended in bloodshed.
Commemorations of the event are banned in mainland China, and those who merely discuss it are often punished by authorities.(AP)
Why it matters: The Chinese government still suppresses talk of Tiananmen Square because it recognizes that even police states can be vulnerable.
What to watch for: Will citizens in Beijing find a way to call attention to the anniversary, and how will the government react?
In the photo above, an unknown Chinese man became known as "tank man" after standing alone to block a line of tanks in Tiananmen Square.
Backstory: Early on June 5, 1989, AP photographer Jeff Widener, who had been smuggled into the Beijing Hotel by an American college exchange student, heard approaching tanks and rushed to his sixth-floor balcony.
"I started to take a photograph and a guy walks out with shopping bags and I'm thinking to myself, 'you know this guy's going to mess up my photograph,'" Widener told AP for an anniversary story.
What happened next: "The man moved at least twice to block the tanks and climbed on the turret of one to converse with a crew member. Eventually, he was whisked from the scene by two men in blue, whose identities, like that of the man himself, have never been revealed."
Below, Taiwanese take selfies yesterday with an inflatable "tank man" erected by an artist in Liberty Square, at Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall.
Chrétien is floating the idea of cancelling Meng Wanzhou’s extradition proceedings
Sources say the former Liberal prime minister has discussed a proposal that would see the Justice Minister use his legal authority to stop the U.S. extradition as a way to help free two Canadians jailed in China. (for subscribers)
Chrétien, who last week offered to serve as Canada’s special envoy to assist with the cases of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, has talked with business executives about the plan that was first raised by a University of British Columbia professor.
China has said that Meng, the CFO of Huawei, would need to be returned home if Canada wants to unfreeze diplomatic relations.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is planning to ask forU.S. President Donald Trump’s help in putting pressure on China to free Kovrig and Spavor. The two leaders will meet at the White House next week, ahead of the G20 summit in Japan where Trudeau is hoping to sit down with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
All signs point to a decades-long cold war with China, one reshaping global alliances, politics and economies, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei reports.
Why it matters: The trade war is but a very small skirmish in a much bigger and wider battle for global dominance. It’s easier to see this cold war turn hot than turn off. And, for the first time, you can see the possibility of China and America decoupling — creating two distinct, rival global systems and power structures.
The big picture: Beyond trade, the two superpowers are competing on intellectual property and technological mastery, political influence across the developing world via economic assistance (China's Belt and Road Initiative), diplomatic agreements, multinational institutions (Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank) and military sales (missiles, subs, drones, training).
Collectively, this translates to a competition of political systems — a new Cold War.
One of the clearest manifestations of this is in tech: The internet is "splitting in two," as The Wall Street Journal put it, and giant companies from the U.S. and China are racing for advantages, hidden and overt, around the world.
Between the lines ... Bill Bishop of Sinocism tells me that President Xi Jinping and his team have concluded that China is far too reliant on the U.S. for technology and agriculture.
So they have accelerated efforts to become self-sufficient, while also diversifying their reliance away from the U.S.
Even if there is a trade deal, that shift will not reverse.
Now, China is blaming Washington for its own economic and internal strains:
The N.Y. Timesreports from Beijing that "hostility toward America," by Chinese officials and state-run news organizations, "has escalated ... in tandem with two of China’s big problems: a slowing economy complicated by trade tensions and turbulence in Hong Kong that has no end in sight."
"Beijing also does not appear to see an end to its differences with Washington over the Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, which was blacklisted by the Trump administration as a security threat," The Times added.
What's next: In November, it'll be 30 years since the Berlin Wall fell on Nov. 9, 1989. For most of that time, the U.S. had no real rival for global supremacy. Now, America is in a fight it could lose.
In some cases, Chinese internet users are even discovering online chat groups to learn about, and defend, the pro-democracy movement by following the trail of pro-Beijing internet armies that have set out to smear the city’s protesters. In chats hidden from all but those who know where to look, Chinese internet users are openly siding with Hong Kong protesters, questioning the leadership of President Xi Jinping and lamenting the stiff societal controls of the Chinese Communist Party. The Globe and Mail reviewed days of chats on several groups on an encrypted messaging app called Telegram. They provided a glimpse into a much more robust debate inside China about Hong Kong than what is visible in state-controlled media, which have shed little light on the primary motivations of protesters.
After months without a top Canadian diplomat in China, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has named international business consultant Dominic Barton to the post. Barton’s resume includes a nine-year stint as a head of McKinsey & Company as well as chairing Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s economic advisory council. Barton also has extensive ties to China, most recently as board chair of a Canadian mining company partly owned by a Chinese fund.
But critics are raising concerns about his China ties and lack of diplomatic experience while two Canadians remain detained in Beijing. And when Barton was at McKinsey last year, the firm was criticized for holding a retreat just six kilometres from a Chinese detention camp for ethnic Muslims.
For its part, China showed no sign of a changed tone on Thursday, urging Canada to “reflect on its mistakes” and immediately release Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei executive whose arrest in Vancouver last December set in motion a series of hostile actions, including the arrest in China of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.