Secretary Wilbur Ross Discusses Tech and Structural Confrontation with Beijing -WeChat and TikTok…

When Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appears… PAY ATTENTION.  In this interview Secretary Ross outlines an announcement today [LINK HERE] about the U.S. will block Chinese owned WeChat, and additional security measures against TikTok. COMMERCE – […] While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP. This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security. (more) [embedded content] Additionally, Secretary Ross discusses sector-specific relief for the airline industry and U.S. farmers. On the farmer side we should all remember any confrontation with Beijing could lead to China pulling back from purchase agreements. China cannot feed itself and is dependent on imported food products, so the scale of any pull-back is not known. DETAILS – In response to President Trump’s Executive Orders signed August 6, 2020, the Department of Commerce (Commerce) today announced prohibitions on transactions relating to mobile applications (apps) WeChat and TikTok to safeguard the national security of the United States. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has demonstrated the means and motives to use these apps to threaten the national security, foreign policy, and the economy of the U.S. Today’s announced prohibitions, when combined, protect users in the U.S. by eliminating access to these applications and significantly reducing their functionality. “Today’s actions prove once again that President Trump will do everything in his power to guarantee our national security and protect Americans from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party,” said U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross. “At the President’s direction, we have taken significant action to combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data, while promoting our national values, democratic rules-based norms, and aggressive enforcement of U.S. laws and regulations.” While the threats posed by WeChat and TikTok are not identical, they are similar. Each collects vast swaths of data from users, including network activity, location data, and browsing and search histories. Each is an active participant in China’s civil-military fusion and is subject to mandatory cooperation with the intelligence services of the CCP.  This combination results in the use of WeChat and TikTok creating unacceptable risks to our national security. As of September 20, 2020, the following transactions are prohibited: Any provision of service to distribute or maintain the WeChat or TikTok mobile applications, constituent code, or application updates through an online mobile application store in the U.S.; Any provision of services through the WeChat mobile application for the purpose of transferring funds or processing payments within the U.S. As of September 20, 2020, for WeChat and as of November 12, 2020, for TikTok, the following transactions are prohibited: Any provision of internet hosting services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.; Any provision of content delivery network services enabling the functioning or optimization of the mobile application in the U.S.; Any provision directly contracted or arranged internet transit or peering services enabling the function or optimization of the mobile application within the U.S.; Any utilization of the mobile application’s constituent code, functions, or services in the functioning of software or services developed and/or accessible within the U.S. Any other prohibitive transaction relating to WeChat or TikTok may be identified at a future date. Should the U.S. Government determine that WeChat’s or TikTok’s illicit behavior is being replicated by another app somehow outside the scope of these executive orders, the President has the authority to consider whether additional orders may be appropriate to address such activities. The President has provided until November 12 for the national security concerns posed by TikTok to be resolved. If they are, the prohibitions in this order may be lifted. The notices for these actions will be posted on the Federal Register at approximately 8:45AM EDT on Friday, September 18, 2020. Background: On August 6, 2020, President Trump signed Executive Orders (E.O.) 13942, Addressing the Threat Posed by TikTok, and E.O. 13943, Addressing the Threat Posed by WeChat. In the E.O.s, the President determined that the apps capture vast swaths of information from U.S. users, leaving the data vulnerable to CCP access for nefarious purposes. Commerce, at the Direction of the President, was required to identify transactions within 45 days to protect national security and the private data of millions of people across the country. Today’s announced prohibitions fulfill the President’s direction and mitigate national security risks. (link) Share this: Like this: Like Loading...

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Hong Kong Finds Untraced Cases as Mass Coronavirus Testing Ends

Hong Kong authorities on Thursday said they had discovered nine new cases of coronavirus, three of which came from unknown sources in the community, despite a controversial mass testing program since the start of September.The city's Centre for Health Protection said the nine additional confirmed cases had brought the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 4,994, while only three of the cases had a travel history.Authorities in Mong Kok district have quarantined staff at a dim sum restaurant who may have interacted with one of the cases, while colleagues of an office worker in Kwun Tong were also being tested.Contacts of the third case, an unemployed man, couldn't be traced, government broadcaster RTHK reported, adding that the three remaining local cases were contacts of known cases.Secretary for the civil service Stephen Nip said on Tuesday that a two-week U.S.$68 million mass testing program carried out by mainland Chinese company Sunrise Diagnostic Centre had achieved its policy objective, despite only detecting 32 new coronavirus cases.Nip said a total of 1.8 million people were tested, in spite of calls for a boycott from pro-democracy activists, who feared the data gathered could be misused by the mainland Chinese authorities.The testing program was also criticized for encouraging people to gather around district clinics and test centers near residential areas, which local people feared would fuel the spread of cases in their area.Meanwhile, Sunrise's parent company BGI Genomics will stop providing new local clients with an unrelated controversial DNA sequencing service after becoming embroiled in an intellectual property lawsuit.U.S.-based Illumina Cambridge last month applied for a court injunction to prevent BGI selling test kits and reagents for which Illumina holds a Hong Kong patent.The High Court ordered BGI to retrieve and destroy all sold test kits, and pay compensation to Illumina and to provide an explanation.Surge of new casesHong Kong saw a sudden surge in new coronavirus cases in early July, partly linked to quarantine exemptions for airline staff, truck drivers from mainland China, and sailors on cargo ships.At one point, the city was reporting more than 100 locally transmitted cases a day, although daily numbers have since dwindled to single digits.The coronavirus testing program had sparked concerns that the DNA of Hongkongers would be sent to mainland China, potentially for law enforcement and surveillance purposes, prompting pro-democracy activists to advise boycotting the program.Meanwhile, researchers on the democratic island of Taiwan said they had developed a rapid COVID-19 test kit that can deliver results in about 15 minutes with an accuracy rate of 80-90 percent, the island's Central News Agency reported.A team of researchers from the National Defense Medical Center (NDMC) and the National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) said several biopharmaceutical companies are now working on the kit, which should be ready to go to market by the end of the year.Reported by Wu Hoi-man and Lau Siu-fung for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Family of Detained Hong Kong Teen Face Obstacles At Every Turn

The family of a Hong Kong teenager detained in mainland China after he tried to flee to the democratic island of Taiwan says he hasn't been allowed to see a lawyer, and that they have had scant assistance from the Hong Kong authorities.Cheng Tsz-Ho, 18, is among 12 Hongkongers aged 16 to 33 being held on suspicion of "illegal immigration"  at the Yantian Detention Center in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.They were intercepted by the China Coast Guard after they tried to escape by speedboat to the democratic island of Taiwan last month.All 12 are suspected of committing crimes in Hong Kong, according to the city's security bureau, with 10 of them wanted for manufacturing or possessing explosives, arson, rioting, assaulting police officers, or possession of offensive weapons.Cheng didn't tell his family where he was going when he joined the speedboat in a bid to smuggle himself illegally into Taiwan, and the first his family knew of his plight was from a police officer who informed them of his detention, passing on a photocopied certificate of detention "on suspicion of illegally crossing the border" on Aug. 23."I don't think the Hong Kong government has offered any assistance at all," Cheng's sister told RFA in a recent interview. "My father did receive several phone calls from the government, asking if they could send someone to visit my brother.""My father asked what they could do to help, but they couldn't answer that, and they had a pretty casual attitude," she said, adding that the lawyer they tried to hire to represent her brother has been dismissed by the mainland authorities.Detention center staff in Yantian have claimed that they are unable to verify the credentials of several lawyers hired by families in Hong Kong, and have denied them access to their clients.At least four lawyers have been forced to relinquish their instructions in this way, RFA has learned, and not one has been allowed to meet with a client."Political tensions are rising in mainland China and it's getting harder and harder to find a lawyer," Cheng's sister said. "I got a lawyer, but then he quit under political pressure and referred me to a different lawyer."Cheng said she is pursuing every avenue to keep the lawyer she hired, but expects her application to be rejected on the grounds that her brother has already been allocated a lawyer by the authorities.Cheng's family was among several who attended a news conference to hit out at the authorities for their lack of support for the 12 detainees.Chief executive Carrie Lam and her officials have said it is entirely appropriate to allow the mainland authorities to process their cases "according to law," given that many had "absconded" after facing criminal charges linked to the pro-democracy and anti-extradition protests.Concerns over lack of helpBut while the families have called for the return of the detainees, they have also raised concerns over the lack of assistance for those who need medical treatment, as well as the lack of visits by lawyers or relatives.Incommunicado detention is a known risk factor for torture and other forms of mistreatment in detention, and has been linked to several high-profile torture cases in mainland China in recent years."It is normal for the families [of detainees] to appoint the lawyers and it is also our right," Cheng's sister said. "I don't think this counts as interfering with mainland Chinese law enforcement; that is irrelevant.""What worries me the most is that he will be charged with separatist activity [under the new National Security Law for Hong Kong] and won't be allowed to come back here for as long as he lives," she said.Cheng said the normally happy family is distraught and constantly on edge, waiting for news."I fear that there will never come another day when the whole family gathers to eat our meals together," she said."Sometimes I burst out crying when I see my parents," she said. "I don't even know if my brother has enough to eat.""My mom cries a lot and has difficulty sleeping. I often dream about my brother, that he has gotten thin and has been hurt," she said. "He is 18 years old. He usually spends all of his time studying or having fun.""I don't know how he will cope in a detention center," she said. "I am giving more media interviews so more people will know about these cases, and to stop my brother getting 'disappeared'.""Right now, we can only take one day at a time," she said. "If the government won't help us, we will have to support ourselves."Thousands arrested, hundreds prosecutedAuthorities in Hong Kong are bringing hundreds of protest-related prosecutions dating from the anti-extradition and pro-democracy protests that began in June 2019 on a range of charges including unlawful assembly, assault, arson, and rioting.While thousands of people have been arrested since the movement began, a U.S. State Department report warned in March that the prosecutions of activists had infringed on the rights of Hongkongers to peaceful assembly and protest.A Hong Kong court on Thursday convicted a man of "rioting" and common assault in connection with the siege by unarmed protesters of the Hong Kong police headquarters in June 2019.Prosecutions under a draconian national security law imposed on Hong Kong by the ruling Chinese Communist Party on July 1 are also gathering pace.U.S.-based pro-democracy group Freedom House on Thursday said the Hong Kong protest movement was among the recipients of its 2020 Freedom Award."As the Chinese government has heightened repression at home and expanded efforts to export its authoritarianism abroad, Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement — a leaderless, people-led effort —has inspired the world," the group said in a statement announcing the awards."Beijing’s sudden imposition of a repressive new national security law has made these efforts tremendously dangerous," it said. "Yet the people of Hong Kong remain committed to defending their rights for future generations in new and creative ways."Reported by Gigi Lee for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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US Issues Hong Kong Travel Warning Linked to National Security Law

The U.S. State Department has warned Americans that they should reconsider any travel plans to Hong Kong in the wake of a draconian national security law imposed on the city by Beijing, citing a risk of arbitrary arrest on vaguely-defined offenses under the law."Since the imposition of national security legislation on July 1, [China] unilaterally and arbitrarily exercises police and security power in Hong Kong," the State Department said in updated travel advice on its official website.It said the ruling Chinese Communist Party has a "broad range of activities" it defines as separatist, subversive, terrorist, and as collusion with foreign powers.The National Security Law for Hong Kong also applies to words and actions by non-residents of Hong Kong anywhere in the world, it warned."[This] could subject U.S. citizens who have been publicly critical of [China] to a heightened risk of arrest, detention, expulsion, or prosecution," the advisory warned."[Chinese] security forces, including the new Office for Safeguarding National Security, now operate in Hong Kong," it said.The advisory also warns U.S. citizens in Hong Kong to avoid demonstrations, as perceived participation can also be deemed an act of separatism, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign power under the new law."On July 1, 2020, as part of its color-coded system of warning flags, the Hong Kong police unveiled a new purple flag, which warns protesters that shouting slogans or carrying banners with an intent prohibited by the law could now bring criminal charges," it said.The new advisory on Hong Kong brings it into line with current advice on travel to mainland China, which the State Department said "arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law."It said U.S. citizens traveling or residing in mainland China or Hong Kong could be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime.They could also be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention without due process of law, the advisory warned."Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the [Chinese] government," it said.The advisory came as news emerged that key figures in Hong Kong's democracy movement have fled overseas.Fears for safetyPro-democracy activist Sunny Cheung, 24, said he left Hong Kong in August after beginning to fear for his safety."As the situation between the US and China began to heat up, a pattern of hostage diplomacy [by China] started to emerge," Cheung said from the U.K., via his Facebook page. "I was being followed more frequently, and my partner and family were being constantly harassed.""I felt the situation was escalating and so I took the advice of many and left Hong Kong unwillingly in August due to safety concerns," Cheung wrote.Cheung was among two dozen Hong Kong pro-democracy activists prosecuted for participating in an "illegal assembly" on the anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre on June 4, 2020, the first time the candlelight vigil was banned in Hong Kong since the 1997 handover to Chinese rule.Twenty-six activists face charges linked to the event, including 2014 student leader Joshua Wong, media tycoon Jimmy Lai, and Nathan Law, who has also left Hong Kong due to the national security law.Lee Cheuk-yan, who organizes the annual vigil in Hong Kong and is among those facing charges, told journalists that the court had recorded Law's departure from the city as being on June 27, before the summons was issued.Lee said there was no crime in attending the vigil."It's ridiculous," he said. "It seems that the powers-that-be in Hong Kong have decided that we are all supposed to know this. Well, we didn't.""It is not a crime to mourn. Is it likely that tens of thousands of people would all stand there holding a candle in the full knowledge that they were breaking the law?"The defendants -- barring Cheung and Law -- appeared in West Kowloon Court on Tuesday, charged with organizing, inciting others to join, or taking part in an illegal assembly at Victoria Park, where thousands of people defied a police ban on public gatherings to commemorate those who died in 1989.The case has been adjourned until Oct. 15.Reported by Lau Siu-fung for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Cypriot Passport Bought by Shadowy Ally of Cambodian Interior Minister

A mysterious Chinese-Cambodian tycoon with ties to Interior Minister Sar Kheng purchased Cypriot citizenship in 2018, according to documents shared exclusively with Radio Free Asia by Al Jazeera as part of their Cyprus Papers investigation. With a goatee beard and an impish demeanor, 33-year-old Chen Zhi makes for an unlikely “oknha,” the honorific title bestowed on businessmen who donate at least $500,000 to public works approved by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party. Such sums are pocket change to the likes of Chen, one of a growing class of tycoons capitalizing on China’s Belt and Road Initiative, or BRI, which aims to improve commercial infrastructure linking China with the rest of the world. Chen’s Prince Group of companies have invested more than $1 billion into corporate ventures across Cambodia, according to media reports. Evidence uncovered by RFA suggests he’s leveraged political connections in both Cambodia and his native China to make that happen. Originally hailing from the Chinese city of Fujian, Chen became a naturalised Cambodian citizen in February 2014. The timing was perfect. Just five months earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping had launched BRI, which unleashed a flood of Chinese capital into Cambodia, inflating a real estate bubble that has yet to burst. A powerful friend in the shadows Foreigners constitute the vast majority of buyers for condo units in the high-rises that have sprouted in Cambodian cities – many of them Chinese. While non-citizens are forbidden by law from buying land in Cambodia, Chen’s naturalized status means that his Prince Real Estate (Cambodia) Group has been able to make a fortune building and selling such units. Evidence uncovered by RFA suggests Chen had a powerful silent partner in China involved the venture. Marketing materials used by Prince Real Estate when it first set up shop in Cambodia point to a now-mothballed website that promoted its real estate offerings in the country from 2015 to 2018. Archived versions of the site show in the bottom-left hand corner an Internet Content Provider, or ICP, license number. (Any website wishing to operate within China is required under Chinese law to apply for a unique ICP number from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology or else find themselves blocked). A search of the ministry’s official database revealed that the Prince Group’s domain name and ICP number matched. However, the database recorded them as having been registered by Chongqing Qijiang District Julong Industry, a construction and real estate company owned by Zhao Mozhang, a municipal official in the western Chinese metropolis of Chongqing. A Phnom Penh proxy? Born in 1943 and an engineer by training, local press reports describe Zhao as having made his fortune after communist China eased restrictions on private business from the late 1970s. He was reportedly first elected to a local People’s Congress in 1990 and has maintained parallel careers in construction, real estate and politics ever since. In March 2014, a Chinese real estate company wholly owned by Zhao became a founding partner in a newly formed Chinese firm: Chongqing Phnom Penh Trading Company. The new company’s name seems to imply Zhao was eyeing business opportunities in Cambodia’s capital. The management of his shareholding in it through his pre-existing real estate firm suggests it was bricks and mortar he was interested in. Zhao Mozhang, a municipal official in western China’s Chongqing metropolis and founding partner of the Chongqing Phnom Penh Trading Company. Credit: Chongqing Morning Post But without Cambodian citizenship, Zhao would be unable to buy land there. China’s laws prohibit its citizens from holding dual nationality. While the legislation is sometimes loosely enforced, it is unlikely an elected official like Zhao taking a second citizenship would go unnoticed. Conveniently, Chen was awarded Cambodian citizenship less than one month before Zhao’s real estate company became a founding partner in Chongqing Phnom Penh Trading Company. Chen did not respond to a detailed request for comment, including questions about the nature of the relationship between the Prince group of companies and those of Zhao, who reporters were also unable to reach for comment. Joining the Cambodian elite Chen certainly enjoys high-level political connections in Cambodia. In July, King Norodom Sihamoni designated him “neak oknha,” an honorific political scientists say indicates a track record of extensive generosity towards the ruling CPP. Chen was subsequently appointed personal advisor to Cambodian Interior Minister Sar Kheng, for whose ministry he has already served as an unsalaried advisor since February 2017 -- a position with equal status to an undersecretary of state. Interior Minister Sar Kheng, shaking hands with National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun, May 16, 2020. Credit: Chen’s association with Sar Kheng extends to business ties his son, Sar Sokha. Two weeks after Chen’s appointment as a ministerial advisor in 2017, Chen and Sar Sokha established Jinbei (Cambodia) Investment. While the company’s precise activities are unclear, it is likely connected to Chen’s Jin Bei Group, which owns a casino in the Cambodian resort city of Sihanoukville, a magnet for Chinese gamblers. Sar Sokha, who did not respond to a request for comment, is also a secretary of state at the Ministry of Education. But that didn’t stop him participating in a showy Prince Real Estate public relations exercise in Sihanoukville in April 2017. For many years, Sar Kheng has been widely perceived as a moderate, reformist alternative to Prime Minister Hun Sen. According to Sebastian Strangio, author of “Hun Sen’s Cambodia,” the overlapping of the political and business links between Chen and the Interior Minister undermine this narrative. “It shows that he continues to play the same sort of patronage politics that Hun Sen does in a similar sort of way,” Strangio told RFA. “I think this is evidence of just that.” Jin Bei Casino in the southern resort city of Sihanoukville, a magnet for Chinese gamblers visiting Cambodia. The casino is owned by Chen Zhi’s Jin Bei Group. Credit: Jin Bei Casino's Facebook page Following the Khmer Riche to Cyprus In early 2018, Sar Sokha divested his shares in Jinbei (Cambodia) Investment, according to Cambodian Ministry of Commerce records. Meanwhile, Chen had been busy procuring one of the ultimate status symbols among Cambodia’s political and business elite: a Cypriot passport, which allows ease of travel and doing business across the European Union. Over the last year, the government of Cyprus has come under increasing pressure from opposition lawmakers, NGOs and the European Commission to reform its highly lucrative citizenship-by-investment scheme. Under the scheme, persons wishing to obtain a Cyprus passport are required to invest $2.5 million in businesses or real estate on the island nation. A Reuters investigation last November revealed that more than a dozen politically connected Cambodians had obtained Cypriot passports through the scheme. The government in Nicosia reacted by announcing that it would revoke the citizenship of eight of those Cambodian-Cypriots, although they would have to rewrite the scheme’s legislation to do so. Today, almost a year later, the eight are yet to lose their passports. As previously reported by RFA, they include National Police Commissioner Neth Savoeun, who in January 2018 joined Chen at a ceremony to mark a donation by the Prince Group of 13 transport trucks to the Cambodian police. This August, another damning leak of documents from the scheme was made available to Al Jazeera. Dubbed the Cyprus Papers, they contained details of 2,500 people who had paid for a Cypriot passport. Documents shared with RFA by Al Jazeera reveal that Chen Zhi was among those 2,500. His application, submitted in 2017, was approved by the Cyprus Ministry of Interior in May 2018. Chen Zhi pictured (right), visiting a Prince Group construction site in Sihanoukville, accompanied by company vice president Qiu Guo Xing (left), in an advertorial in the Phnom Penh Post April 27, 2017 Credit: Phnom Penh Post Mystery millions Neither Chen nor the Cyprus Ministry of Interior official who signed off on his citizenship application responded to questions about what investments the young Chinese-Cambodian-Cypriot made in order to obtain his latest passport. A similar shroud of mystery hangs over much of the oknha’s wealth. He is listed as a director of 10 Hong Kong companies. In many of those cases he is the sole listed director and the companies’ shares are held by shell companies in offshore secrecy jurisdictions such as the British Virgin Islands, making it impossible to know who truly owns the Hong Kong firms. So where exactly Chen’s money came from is unclear – as is how he transformed from a 27-year-old nobody into one of Cambodia’s most successful tycoons in just six years. One thing is clear, however: whether in China or Cambodia, Chen has not been shy of cosying up to the politically connected – a quality that has brought commercial success for many Cambodian tycoons before him. RFA's Mandarin Service contributed to this report.

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U.S. Warns Against Travel to China and Hong Kong

A new travel advisory from the State Department upgraded the warning for American citizens traveling to China and Hong Kong, warning of "arbitrary detention" from the Chinese government. Changing the advisory level from level two, which urges Americans to "exercise increased caution," to level three, which warns Americans to "reconsider travel," the document lists operations of the Chinese Communist Party that stand to endanger Americans. Recent Stories in National Security "The PRC government arbitrarily enforces local laws, including by carrying out arbitrary and wrongful detentions and through the use of exit bans on U.S. citizens and citizens of other countries without due process of law," the advisory explains. Some of these operations and actions include arbitrarily enforcing local laws and detaining foreign citizens for private or digital correspondence criticizing the Chinese government. Beijing does this not just to maintain a secure regime free of dissent, but also "to gain bargaining leverage over foreign governments," the report reads. Such actions have already occurred, troubling nations allied with Washington. Two Australian journalists evacuated from China last week, citing late-night visits and intimidation from CCP authorities. Australian journalist Cheng Lei has been detained within China with minimal access to diplomatic aid since mid-August.  The advisory also warns of unusually high levels of police surveillance and pressure in places where human-rights abuses are occurring, such as Tibet and Xinjiang province. CCP officials challenged the basis of the new travel advisory. Washington should "fully respect the facts and should not engage in unwarranted political manipulation," Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said. "China has always protected the safety and legal rights of foreigners in China in accordance with law. China is one of the safest countries in the world," Wang added. "Of course, foreigners in China also have an obligation to abide by Chinese laws."

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Twelve Hong Kong Detainees 'Not Oppressed' in Chinese Detention Center: Carrie Lam

Twelve Hongkongers who fled the city amid an ongoing crackdown on participants in last year's protest movement weren't "democracy activists being oppressed," the city's leader Carrie Lam told journalists on Tuesday.While Lam said her government would provide the detainees and their families with the "needed and feasible" assistance, she said their treatment by the mainland authorities was entirely appropriate."Twelve Hong Kong residents were suspected of illegally entering mainland China ... and so they were detained by mainland Chinese law enforcement," Lam told a regular news briefing. "It is obvious that this case falls within mainland China's jurisdiction."She added, in comments reported by Reuters: "The reason for them leaving Hong Kong seems to be that they were running away from legal responsibility.""I want to set the record straight, because certain local and overseas individuals tried to shift the attention, describing them as democracy activists being oppressed," she said.While the Hong Kong authorities have called on other jurisdictions not to "harbor" people wanted on criminal charges in Hong Kong, they have repeatedly said they won't "interfere" in the cases of the 12 Shenzhen detainees."All 12 are suspected of committing crimes in Hong Kong, according to the city's security bureau, with 10 of them wanted for manufacturing or possessing explosives, arson, rioting, assaulting police officers, or possession of offensive weapons.Hong Kong arrests, prosecutionsAuthorities in the city are bringing hundreds of protest-related prosecutions dating from the anti-extradition and pro-democracy protests that began in June 2019 on a range of charges including unlawful assembly, assault, arson, and rioting.Thousands of people have been arrested since the movement began. A U.S. State Department report warned in March that the prosecutions of activists had infringed on the rights of Hongkongers to peaceful assembly and protest.The 12 Hongkongers are aged 16 to 33, and are being held on suspicion of "illegal immigration"  at the Yantian Detention Center in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, which borders Hong Kong.They were intercepted by the China Coast Guard after they tried to escape by speedboat to the democratic island of Taiwan last month.Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, who referred to the 12 on Twitter as "elements attempting to separate Hong Kong from China," said on Tuesday that only one is suspected of "colluding with foreign powers" under a draconian national security law imposed by the ruling Chinese Communist Party on Hong Kong from July 1.The family members of six of the detainees held a press conference on Saturday, calling on the Hong Kong authorities to bring them back to the city as soon as possible.Growing concernsConcerns are growing over the lack of access to lawyers hired by their families and to adequate medical care.Pro-democracy lawmaker James To accused Lam's administration of operating a "double standard" when it came to Hong Kong detainees overseas."If the Hong Kong government believes that these 12 people have broken Hong Kong laws, shouldn't they be requesting that mainland China return them?" To said."[They] have already said that the five Hongkongers held in Taiwan [for illegal immigration] should be returned."He called on the Hong Kong authorities to do more to support the 12 detainees."The family members would like the Hong Kong government to show more concern, and to protect their rights and interests," To said.Reported by Gigi Lee for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Trump Administration Announces “Withhold Release Orders” Targeting China’s Use of Forced Labor in Xinjiang Region…

Those who have followed the Trump administration’s decoupling strategy will note the potential conflict from within this approach is a ‘nothing to lose’ proposition from Donald Trump’s perspective. The Trump administration announced today the Department of Homeland Security, via U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, are about to start blocking the import of products from five specific entities in western China’s Xinjiang region.  The objective is to block products that come from forced Uighur labor in Xinjiang, China. The authority comes from U.S. “Withhold Release Orders” (WRO’s) that allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection to detain shipments based on suspicion of forced-labor involvement under long-standing U.S. laws to combat human trafficking, child labor and other human rights abuses.  Ken Cuccinelli explains to Lou Dobbs. [embedded content] . At first blush this might seem detrimental to the objectives of the U.S-China Phase-One trade deal. However, if you have followed the decoupling process closely; including the warnings given by Trump to U.S. multinationals; you will note there is no specific downside to this confrontation. Wall Street, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the multinationals represented by K-Street lobbyists in DC will obviously go bananas; however, at this point in the 2020 election -and I swear this is incredibly astute and strategic timing- there’s no political value in attacking President Trump over a policy against forced labor. Think about it…. Are the democrats or their allies on Wall Street really going to start demanding that President Trump’s global trade policy include accepting forced labor, slavery and child exploitation?  A democrat campaign message to “make slavery great again”? Of course not…. ergo, strategic brilliance. A brilliance that actually circles directly back to the longer-term goal of decoupling from Beijing. wASHINGTON – DHS said Xinjiang entities whose products will be blocked from entering the United States include all products made with labor from the Lop County No. 4 Vocational Skills Education and Training Center; hair products from the Lop County Hair Product Industrial Park; apparel produced by Yili Zhouwan Garment Manufacturing and Baodung LYSZD Trade and Business Co.; cotton produced and processed by Xinjiang Junggar Cotton and Linen Co. Ltd; and computer parts made by Hefei Bitland Information Technology Co. Ltd. President Donald Trump’s administration is ratcheting up pressure on China over its treatment of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, where the United Nations cites credible reports that about 1 million Muslims held in camps have been put to work. China denies mistreatment of the Uighurs and says the camps are vocational training centers needed to fight extremism. Share this: Like this: Like Loading...

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China Says 12 Fleeing Hongkongers Held in Shenzhen Are 'Separatists'

Twelve activists detained in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen after they tried to flee Hong Kong in a speedboat have been accused of "separatism" by a foreign ministry spokeswoman in Beijing."The 12 people were arrested for illegally crossing the border," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said via Twitter."They are not democratic activists, but elements attempting to separate #HongKong from China," Hua wrote in response to a tweet from U.S. State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus, who condemned the detention of the 12 Hongkongers."Legitimate governments do not need to wall their countries in and prevent their citizens from leaving," Ortagus had tweeted."The arrest of 12 Hong Kong democracy activists is another sad example of the deterioration of human rights in Hong Kong," he wrote on Saturday.The family members of six of the detainees held a press conference on Saturday, calling on the Hong Kong authorities to bring them back to the city as soon as possible.Concerns are growing over the lack of access to lawyers hired by their families and to adequate medical care in Shenzhen's Yantian Detention Center.The 12 Hongkongers are aged 16 to 33, and were held on suspicion of "illegal immigration" after they tried to escape by speedboat to the democratic island of Taiwan last month.Hong Kong activist Andy Li – who was arrested and released on bail earlier this month by Hong Kong for alleged national security law violations – was among them, sources told RFA at the time.The Shenzhen police department confirmed for the first time on Sunday that 12 Hong Kong citizens were under criminal detention on suspicion of illegally crossing the border, and that investigations are ongoing."Police will protect the legitimate rights and interests of criminal suspects in accordance with law," the department said via its official social media account on Weibo.Lawyer turned awayBut defense lawyer Lu Siwei, who was recently hired by the family of one of the detainees, told RFA he had been turned away from the detention center on several occasions after he went to request a meeting with his client.The mother of one detainee, Tang Kai-yin, said she didn't know whether he was alive or dead.Tang's brother said he was concerned about his brother's health in detention.Hong Kong's Immigration Department has since said the 12 are in good health, and they have got lawyers to represent them.But relatives of the detainees told reporters at the weekend that they had been given no information on the charges against their loved ones, and said assistance offered by the Hong Kong authorities was inadequate.Hong Kong Secretary for Security John Lee declined to intervene on behalf of the 12 detained in Shenzhen, saying only that the Hong Kong authorities will keep track of their case."People should respect the local law wherever they are and take responsibility for their own actions, including criminal liability," Lee said."Governments respect different jurisdictions operating according to their own laws," he said.Bargaining chipsCouncil Front lawmaker Chu Hoi-dick said the 12 could now be used as bargaining chips by the ruling Chinese Communist Party."The moment family-appointed lawyers were denied to see some of the detainees, it could be expected that the Chinese Communist Party has designated the 12 people as highly sensitive cases," government broadcaster RTHK quoted Chu as saying in a statement.Meanwhile, Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA) quoted a source on Sunday as confirming reports that five Hongkongers who attempted to reach the island by boat have been detained there.Taiwan journalist Edd Jhong, who says he helped them get to Taiwan, has claimed that the former anti-government protesters had not been allowed to contact their families or lawyers.CNA's source on Sunday confirmed the detentions, denied they were under "house arrest," but gave no timeline for their release.It said five had been granted access to lawyers, and were not being held incommunicado.Hong Kong security chief John Lee said the city's government had received no information on the five.'Taiwan must be cautious'Taiwan Protestant pastor Hwang Chun-sheng, who has helped Hongkongers fleeing to Taiwan following a city-wide crackdown on the protest movement that has intensified under a draconian national security law since July 1, said Taiwan has helped many people from Hong Kong."But Taiwan has to be very cautious, because China and the U.S. are in a state of quasi-war," Hwang told RFA. "People who know about these things can't talk too much about them."He said all five Hongkongers had been in touch with their families via officials, to let them know they are safe.Yang Sen-hong, president of the Taiwan Association for China Human Rights, said it is unclear who the five Hongkongers are.He called on the Taiwanese government to pass a refugee law setting out how asylum-seekers are to be treated."Only then will we have a legal framework to avoid the issue of illegal immigration," Yang said. "Otherwise, people who enter Taiwan will be dealt with under current law [as illegal immigrants]."Reported by Hwang Chun-mei for RFA's Mandarin Service, and by the Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Hong Kong Catholics 'Divided' Over Response to National Security Crackdown

Catholic priests in Hong Kong have been asked to avoid "instigating hatred and social disorder" by their bishop, as the local Catholic diocese appeared to signal it wouldn't oppose a draconian national security law imposed on the city by Beijing.A letter issued to priests by Cardinal John Tong Hon, the current administrator of the Hong Kong diocese, said priests should not use sermons to "convey the preacher’s personal views  (such as his own view on a social or political issue) but God’s message," the Catholic newspaper The Tablet reported."In a critical time like today, our faithful are hoping to hear something comforting, constructive and encouraging from the preachers during the liturgy," the paper quoted the letter as saying.The letter came after a group of Hong Kong Catholics dropped a planned fundraising campaign to buy advertising space to print a prayer for democracy in a local newspaper, after pressure from church leaders.Catholic Benedict Rogers, a human rights activist with the U.K.'s ruling Conservative Party and the founder of the rights group Hong Kong Watch, hit out at the Catholic Church's response to an ongoing crackdown on dissent in Hong Kong."While many Catholics, and Christians of other traditions, have played leading roles in Hong Kong’s movement for democracy, it is by now clear that the hierarchy in Hong Kong has kowtowed to the Chinese Communist Party," Rogers wrote in an op-ed for the Hong Kong-based Catholic UCA News website."There is a shocking divide between those who would kneel and bow in prayer to God before fighting for justice, freedom and human dignity, and those who instead kneel and bow to Beijing," the article said.Church in Hong Kong dividedThe national security legislation, which was imposed by Beijing on the city without recourse to its Legislative Council (LegCo), has divided the Catholic Church in Hong Kong, The Tablet reported.While some figures like Cardinal Joseph Zen have spoken out against the law, which criminalizes speech and peaceful dissent, and said they are willing to risk arrest and prison, the diocese, which ministers to more than 500,000 Hong Kong Catholics, appears anxious to avoid offending Beijing, and has urged its schools to embrace China's insistence on "patriotic education."Ying Fuk-tsang, director of Christian Study Center on Chinese Religion & Culture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the new law has sparked a culture of fear and denunciation in Hong Kong."Now it's all about intimidation, or maybe naming or criticizing to make you feel that you should be afraid," Ying told RFA."In the past, naming names wouldn't have mattered, because the national security law didn't exist," he said. "But now, it's pretty easy to accuse someone of breaching the law, and that's a pretty serious accusation."Not optimisticProtestant pastor Yuen Tin-Yau, former chairman of the Hong Kong Christian Council, said he isn't optimistic about the future of religious freedom in Hong Kong."The Chinese Communist regime in mainland China doesn't have religious beliefs; totalitarian regimes usually don't," Yuen said. "There will be no problem as long as you don't oppose them, but if you criticize them, I don't think they will accept that."I don't know how things will turn out in the future," he said, and urged caution, to avoid provoking the authorities."I think that if you have something to say, you should of course say it; there is no need to avoid that," Yuen said. "But you should be very careful what you say."The Protestant Hong Kong Pastors' Network has been outspoken in its opposition to the national security law, and has already been accused of "secession and subversion of state power" by Beijing-backed newspapers the Wen Wei Po and the Ta Kung Pao, and at least two of their members have now reportedly fled the city.Article 32 of Hong Kong's mini-constitution, the Basic Law, states that Hong Kong residents shall have freedom of conscience, as well as freedom of religious belief and freedom to preach and to conduct and participate in religious activities in public.Reported by Man Hoi-tsan for RFA's Cantonese Service. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

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Why Foreign Nations Seeking Freedom Love Trump’s Foreign Policy

In parts of the world where people are fighting for their lives and liberty against authoritarianism, the view of Donald Trump’s presidency is positive. Pro-democracy Hong Kongers and Taiwanese have come out strongly in support of a second term for President Trump. A recent op-ed published in Apple Daily, the publication of prominent Hong Kong democracy activist and opponent of China’s crackdown Jimmy Lai, argued that Hong Kongers should hope for Trump’s re-election. Treating China like the Nazis in history, joining forces with English-speaking countries and Japan are the main course, the real deal. Neighbors like the Philippines and Vietnam, or going as far as the Czech Republic and Norway, countries have noticed that there is an obvious change in the situation, and they have, one by one, stood up against the ‘Strong Country.’ The Taiwan Solidarity Union urged Taiwanese-Americans to vote for Trump’s re-election. “From the many policies implemented by his administration that benefit Taiwan and boost bilateral relations, it is very clear that Trump has been the most Taiwan-friendly U.S. leader since World War II,” said interim Chairwoman Chou Ni-an. This praise might seem curious considering Trump’s reputation as a transactionalist and his hesitation to constantly and forcefully use the bully pulpit to condemn authoritarianism and cheer the spread of democracy. This has led the president’s political opponents to assail him for eroding America’s “standing” on the world stage and for ambivalence toward American “values.” How does one square this with the sentiments of the Hong Kongers and Taiwanese? Trump’s instincts go against the last three decades of American foreign policy. He is, to put it mildly, unsympathetic to the leftist internationalist vision of a supranational-managed, borderless global order. His advisers over the last four years have taken his instincts to develop a coherent view of international relations, one that better grapples with the reality that rough adversaries are threatening to weaken and even invade democratic nations. Exit Poor International Agreements First, Trump’s foreign policy is premised on the reality that nation-states — not international organizations or supranational terror organizations — are the primary actors in the world. To better position the United States militarily and economically, Trump has yanked it from certain international agreements and treaties that were either irredeemably flawed from the start or that no longer served their original purpose. We exited the Iran deal, which dangerously enriched the Islamic republic; we left the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, on which Russia was cheating, and now we are freed to deploy missiles previously prohibited in the Asian theater to deter China; and Trump diplomats are wisely refusing to automatically extend the flawed New START Treaty, unless Russia makes changes that will increase trust and stability. Likewise, the United States is no longer participating in the dishonest and corrupt World Health Organization nor the Israel-bashing United Nations Human Rights Council. Bolster Military Advantages Second, the Trump administration holds that the United States must maintain, and in some areas regain, the military advantage over our most dangerous adversaries. U.S. hard power — and the economic power that enables it — are necessary to compete with the most powerful foes. Without a robust, modernized military, diplomacy will be feeble and ineffective. In the last four years, the Trump administration has sought to undo the negative effects of President Barack Obama’s defense cuts and to prioritize major powers rather than terrorist groups in the Middle East as the most important threats to U.S. security. The Trump budget, while still not sufficient to meet its stated requirements, sought to right those deficiencies. It has made investments to recapitalize aging weapons platforms, greatly valued and adapted America’s nuclear deterrent, and has emphasized the need to regain the lead in advanced technologies, including hypersonic weapons, artificial intelligence, microelectronics, and 5G. Call Out China’s Threat Third, the Trump administration has ushered in a seismic shift in U.S.-China relations by identifying the Chinese Communist Party-led China — not nonstate terrorist actors — as the primary threat to America’s security and way of life. President Bill Clinton’s dewy-eyed idealism ushered in China’s permanent normal trade relations, effectively backing Beijing’s bid to join the World Trade Organization. The new approach has upended decades of eager U.S. engagement with China that was sapping the United States of its sovereignty, economic horsepower, technological supremacy, and strategic military dominance. Under Trump, the United States has cracked down on Chinese economic espionage, shut down the den of spies that was the Chinese consulate in Houston, gone after U.S. tech companies Attorney General William Barr has called “pawns of Chinese influence,” and stopped issuing visas to students with connections to the People’s Liberation Army. China’s behavior during the COVID-19 pandemic has turbo-charged the Trump administration’s and ally efforts to cooperatively deter Chinese aggression. The United States is working to foster a more formal alliance bloc in Asia, beginning with the Quad, which is the United States, India, Australia, and Japan. While keeping expectations reasonable, and initial goals modest about the developments toward a more formal alliance in Asia, Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun recently said, “And so at its core, what the Quad is is a combination of democracies. But I think what also illuminates those four parties is a sense of responsibility and willingness to uphold the responsibilities, to extend the benefits of democracy, extend the benefits of economic development, and extend the benefits of security throughout the region.” He went on to praise other regional allies South Korea, Vietnam, and New Zealand. Strengthening these bonds is necessary to contain and deter China. The United States must still lead but cannot do it alone. The tip of the spear in deterring Chinese military aggression is bolstering Taiwan. It does not take much imagination to see that China’s swallowing up of Hong Kong could also happen there. To protect Taiwan and deter aggression, the Trump administration has been working to bolster diplomatic cover and military strength for democratic Taiwan. Just this month, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar visited the island country, making him the highest-level U.S. official to visit Taiwan since formal diplomatic relations between the United States and Taiwan were severed in 1979 in deference to China. Isolate Iran, Strengthen Israel Fourth, the Trump administration has taken a different tack in the Middle East. Rather than seeking engagement with Iran through the nuclear deal, with the hope that it would bring a political liberalization (we have heard this before), it has sought to isolate Iran economically and diplomatically, while strengthening Israel. This approach has yielded positive results. Following the law rather than using a waiver as every preceding American president has, Trump moved the U.S. embassy to the Israeli capital of Jerusalem and recognized the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. None of these bold moves brought the sky crashing down. On the contrary, the United Arab Emirates and Israel have normalized relations, a breathtaking development. Days later, Kosovo said it will recognize Israel, Serbia will move its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem, and Kosovo and Serbia will normalize economic relations. Despite a strong desire to narrow the scope of mission in the Middle East, the Trump administration has been willing to employ military force — and ferociously. Trump amended the rules of engagement, empowering the military to lead coalition efforts to destroy the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria. At the president’s direction, our warfighters hunted down and killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and killed terrorist mastermind Qasem Soleimani, an Iranian major general in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. An often-overlooked event was when the U.S. military annihilated more than 100 Russian mercenaries threatening to attack U.S. and coalition forces. Defending the standard that chemical weapons must never be normalized and warrant punishment, Trump directed the launch of 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Syria in retaliation for Bashar al-Assad’s gross and barbaric use of chemical weapons. Maintain Strong Sovereign Allies Fifth, the Trump administration has promoted strong sovereign allies. Even if the United States fights to regain the strategic advantage militarily and pulls away from China economically, we cannot deter and contain China alone. The United States cannot deter Russia alone, nor can we ensure terrorist groups do not destabilize nations across the Middle East and Africa without the help of partners. We must have cooperation and support from strong, sovereign democratic allies and partners who broadly share our mores and prefer open democratic systems to closed, opaque, authoritarian, and often imperialistic ones. That means Trump has publicly and harshly criticized North Atlantic Treaty Organization members who, while rich, do not invest sufficiently in collective defense. The result has been greater commitments to collective defense. Much to the consternation of those who would like to insist Trump is weakening the alliance, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Trump’s approach has had a positive effect. “We agreed to do more to step up — and now we see the results,” Stoltenberg said. “By the end of next year, NATO allies will add $100 billion extra toward defense. … So we see some real money and some real results. And we see that the clear message from President Donald Trump is having an impact.” It isn’t just about money, either. Trump has lambasted Germany’s decision to pursue the Nord Stream 2, which strengthens Russia, and ordered U.S. forces to draw down from Germany. But many of those troops will move to other nations, including Poland, which is on the front lines of Russian revanchist expansion and has shown a willingness to make the needed investments and right policies to defend itself. Trump said of the move to strengthen U.S. defense cooperation with Poland, “I think it sends a very strong signal to Russia.” Indeed, it does. Disrupt in Order to Achieve Despite the successes of the new approach, there have been shortcomings. As mentioned above, while certain allies are eager to see Trump re-elected, others, especially in Western Europe, are less so. The U.S. decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord and the Iran deal will likely continue to frustrate them. Still, anti-terrorism efforts, as well as deterring major powers China and Russia and trying to split their growing alliance against the West, will require diplomatic heavy-lifting. After a first term of public criticisms of some of our allies and strong private collaboration, it’s time to reverse those, move blunt and righteous public criticisms to private conversations, and present a united front in defense of our shared interests to deter our common adversaries. The public criticisms have brought successes, but too much of that runs the risk of damaging efforts that are of greater national importance than financial burden-sharing. The Trump administration has disrupted international affairs, but that disruption has brought significant achievements. Apart from those achievements, less powerful democratic peoples would have far less hope of surviving the rise of China and other authoritarian nations. Building on those successes will require knowing what they are and how the United States was able to spur them along. To do that will require looking at the policy and the results of the administration’s efforts, as others in Hong Kong and Taiwan have done.

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Strategic Winning – Samsung and HK Hynix Stop Next-Gen Chip Sales to Huawei…

A few days ago Samsung announced they would stop production and manufacturing of Televisions in China by November.  Today they announce they will stop the sales of high-tech chips to Chinese owned Hauwei. ANDROID HEADLINES – In the latest blow to Huawei, South Korean chip manufacturers Samsung and HK Hynix will reportedly cease all trades with the Chinese company beginning next week. This comes after the US Department of Commerce last month announced an amendment to the trade restrictions it imposed on Huawei back in May. According to reports from various Korean news outlets, the companies will suspend trade on September 15th. That’s when the new set of rules come into effect. The rules bar any American or non-American company that uses a US-origin software or technology from selling components to Huawei. Any such trade would require the companies to obtain special approval from the American government. TSMC has reportedly already suspended trades with Huawei following the first round of restrictions in May. With Samsung and HK Hynix also now forced to stop selling components to the Chinese giant, it poses a serious threat to the company’s smartphone business. (READ MORE) Not coincidentally in May Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) announced they were going to invest in a new high-tech center in Arizona.   A manufacturing facility for advanced 5 nanometer chip manufacturing is a steep investment decision costing around $12 billion.  The primary use of the chips would be for Apple Inc. These moves are a direct result of President Trump playing the economic long-game with an assembly of interests… three results, all connected within a much bigger picture. President Trump has been creating a dual position for several years; this is very unique because it is the same strategy used by China.  By expressing a panda mask, yet concealing the underlying dragon, President Trump’s policy to China is a mirror of themselves. Historic Chinese geopolitical policy, vis-a-vis their totalitarian control over political sentiment (action) and diplomacy through silence, is evident in the strategic use of the space between carefully chosen words, not just the words themselves. Each time China takes aggressive action (red dragon) China projects a panda face through silence and non-response to opinion of that action;…. and the action continues. The red dragon has a tendency to say one necessary thing publicly, while manipulating another necessary thing privately.  The Art of War. President Trump is the first U.S. President to understand how the red dragon hides behind the panda mask. First he got their attention with tariffs.  Then… On one hand President Trump has engaged in very public and friendly trade negotiations with China (panda approach); yet on the other hand, long before the Wuhan virus, Trump fractured their global supply chains, influenced the movement of industrial goods to alternate nations, and incentivized an exodus of manufacturing (dragon result). It is specifically because he understands that Panda is a mask that President Trump messages warmth toward the Chinese people, and pours vociferous praise upon Xi Jinping, while simultaneously confronting the geopolitical doctrine of the Xi regime. In essence Trump was mirroring the behavior of China while confronting their economic duplicity. There is no doubt in my mind that President Trump has a very well thought out long-term strategy regarding China. President Trump takes strategic messaging toward the people of china very importantly. President Trump has, very publicly, complimented the friendship he feels toward President Xi Jinping; and praises Chairman Xi for his character, strength and purposeful leadership. To build upon that projected and strategic message – President Trump seeded the background by appointing Ambassador Terry Branstad, a 30-year personal friend of President Xi Jinping. To enhance and amplify the message – and broadcast cultural respect – President Trump used Mar-a-Lago as the venue for their first visit, not the White House.  And President Trump’s beautiful granddaughter, Arabella, sweetly serenaded the Chinese First Family twice in Mandarin Chinese song showing the utmost respect for the guests and later for the hosts. All of this activity mirrors the duplicity of China.  From the November 2017 tour of Asia to the January 2020 China phase-1 trade deal, President Trump has been positioning, for an economic decoupling and a complete realignment of global trade and manufacturing. The announcements by TSMC, HK Hynix and Samsung are one part of a much bigger economic reset currently underway.  Beijing isn’t stupid, they can see themselves being outwitted and outplayed.  President Trump is winning. Share this: Like this: Like Loading...

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Vietnam’s Vulnerable Asiatic Black Bears Get Some Celebrity Help

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Milk Tea Alliance Takes on China’s Little Pinks in Meme War

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