Archive for ‘Beijing’

17/02/2019

Li Rui: The old guard Communist who was able to criticise Xi Jinping

Li RuiImage copyrightAFP
Image captionLi Rui remained an activist and idealist until his death

“We are not allowed to talk about past mistakes.”

Li Rui said this in 2013, while reflecting on the similarities between China’s then-new leader Xi Jinping and the founding father of Communist China, Mao Zedong.

Mr Xi, he warned, was echoing Mao’s suppression of individual thought, and was trying to build a similar cult of personality – both things he had experienced at first hand.

Li Rui joined the Communist Party in 1937, at the start of the brutal Sino-Japanese war, and 12 years before the party won the civil war that established the People’s Republic. He was hand-picked by Mao to become his personal secretary in 1958.

But he was also imprisoned soon afterwards for criticising Mao’s Great Leap Forward, the failed modernisation programme now thought to have killed between 30 and 60 million people through torture and starvation.

Despite this turbulent history with the party, the fact that Mr Li was one of the original revolutionaries meant that he occupied a special place in contemporary China – one that allowed him a degree of freedom to talk about the ruling party’s many issues, and how he felt things should be done differently.

People may not be allowed to talk about past mistakes, but Mr Li did it anyway – and his work has helped historians understand the truth and scale of Mao’s atrocities.

Li Rui died in Beiijng on Saturday, aged 101.

An underground revolutionary

As a university student, Mr Li joined a group of idealistic Communist activists protesting against Japanese occupation. Shortly afterwards, at the age of 20, he officially joined the party. He was tortured for his communist activism.

But things changed when the party came into power in 1949, and by 1958 Mr Li had become the youngest vice minister in China.

It was also that year that he had a meeting with Mao that would change the course of his life. Mao, having seen Mr Li argue passionately against building the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River, chose him to be his personal secretary.

Their relationship didn’t last long.

‘Mao put no value on human life’

In 1959, Mr Li openly criticised Mao’s Great Leap Forward – a policy that was supposed to boost China’s economic output, but instead unleashed widespread famine across the country.

For this transgression Mr Li was expelled from the Communist Party, and he was imprisoned for eight years in Qincheng, maximum security prison built for the detention of disgraced senior party officials.

“Mao’s way of thinking and governing was terrifying,” he would tell the Guardian newspaper many years later. “He put no value on human life. The deaths of others meant nothing to him.”

Mao ZedongImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionLi Rui said Mao Zedong, pictured, “put no value on human life”

Following Mao’s death, the more pragmatic Deng Xiaoping came to power in 1978 and Mr Li was rehabilitated and allowed back into the party. He then became a strong advocate for political reform, and in his later years, threw himself into calling for China to move further towards a European socialist-style system.

He wrote five books on Mao, all of which were published overseas and banned in mainland China. His last book, published in 2013, called for the current “one-party, one-leader and one-ideology regime” to be overhauled. His daughter, Li Nanyang, has spoken of having her copies of his memoir confiscated at Beijing’s airport.

Aside from writing books, he worked right into his 90s as a patron of the reformist magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu – roughly translated as “China through the ages”.

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The magazine was taken over in 2016. Its editor Wu Si was forced out, and its former staff released a statement warning that “anybody who publishes any periodicals with the title of Yanhuang Chunqiu will be nothing to do with [them]”.

Professor Steve Tsang, director of SOAS’s China Institute, tells BBC News that this affected Li Rui deeply.

“The single most important thing that Li Rui had, was the patronage that he gave to the magazine Yanhuang Chunqiu,” Professor Tsang says. “It does still exist, but it’s been completely changed it terms of management and focus. It’s practically a different magazine.”

The last idealist

But even though his writing was censored, Mr Li was not a dissident – he remained a party member until his death. And the fact that he was left to compose his memoirs from a prestigious apartment block in Beijing shows how, despite his outspoken criticism of the current leadership, he continued to be revered for his role as one of the country’s original revolutionaries.

But with Mr Li dies the idealism of the activist who joined his party eight decades ago, and spent the years since vigorously rebelling against leaders who abused their power.

“He was among the last of that generation of idealists who joined the Communist Party at the beginning, and who tried to hold the Communist Party to the rhetoric [they heard] when they were being recruited,” Prof Tsang says.

“There is probably nobody else who will hold the party now to what the party had originally said it was meant to do.”

Source: The BBC

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16/02/2019

As the clock ticks, there’s a path to a ‘win-win’ outcome in US-China trade talks

  • Ankit Panda writes that a meeting between Donald Trump and Xi Jinping could result in a way out of the impasse, at least temporarily
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 February, 2019, 6:02pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 February, 2019, 6:04pm

The usual cast of characters were back at the negotiating table, trying to find a way to stem another round of US tariff increases that were stayed in December after the Buenos Aires G20 meeting between US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer were back in Beijing, where they again sat across the table from Vice-Premier Liu He, China’s lead trade negotiator. The US delegation also met Xi himself at the end of the talks on Friday.

Both nations said they had made progress to settle their disputes, but admitted there were still difficult issues to deal with. Negotiators will continue the talks in Washington next week.

The stakes are clear and the clock is ticking. The two sides need to arrive at an understanding by March 2, the day on which Trump has said he will move forward with an increase in tariffs.

At least that was the idea. In recent days, Trump has made multiple remarks that suggest the March deadline is anything but absolute. He has hinted he would be open to pushing it back if he sensed that a deal was around the corner. Reports have even suggested the White House is considering another 60-day extension of the tariff truce.

“They’re showing us tremendous respect,” Trump said of China’s attitude in the negotiations, adding that talks were “going along very well”. With Trump slated to travel to Asia at the end of the month for a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, the prospect of a second meeting between him and Xi – right before the anticipated deadline – is very real. What’s slowly slipping through the cracks in this process is a sustainable and long-term agreement on structural reform in China, which is what’s been at the centre of the Trump administration’s trade grievances.

Already articulated US concerns cover a broad range of Chinese practices. The ideal short-term measures the American side would like to see include unconditional market access for US firms in China; a less insulated environment for state-owned enterprise decision making; greater regulatory transparency; and fairer legal protections for American businesses in China.

As with so many aspects of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, the US president’s personality is taking over the process, leaving his deputies who are doing the negotiating in a disadvantageous position. For China, the obvious answer then becomes not to discuss the nuances of what kinds of structural reform might be necessary with Lighthizer, but to simply get Xi in the room with Trump.

This mirrors the lesson that North Korea’s Kim has taken away over the course of nearly a year of negotiations with the US. Instead of expending any serious diplomatic capital in a detail oriented negotiation with the secretary of state or the president’s special representative, the key is to simply meet Trump and work out high-level arrangements mano a mano.

In this climate, we can’t expect a real resolution on the core issues. Everything from American misgivings about Beijing’s interventionist industrial policies that protect Chinese enterprises to broader structural shifts in the nature of the US-China economic relationship since the turn of the century are on the table today – and they’ll stay there.

Xi and Trump may well find a temporary way out of the impasse, giving global investors the runway necessary to avert the panic that would likely ensue if the US pushed ahead with a tariff increase on US$200 billion in Chinese goods. Even if China doesn’t quite give the United States a down payment on structural reforms, Xi can promise Trump that he will chip away at the trade deficit while leaving untouched the issues that a more detail oriented negotiator like Lighthizer might zero in on.

If there is a “win-win” outcome here, it would be for Trump and Xi to find an agreeable arrangement that would allow the US president to walk away looking tough to his base while leaving China’s core, long-term industrial policy trajectory unharmed. That would strip away any remaining negotiating leverage the US side might have within the trade war, and it’s not unlikely.

Source: SCMP

15/02/2019

Beijing unveils plan to transform vacated “Steel City”

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — The Beijing municipal government has published a plan to transform a vacated industrial site in its western suburb into a city landmark by 2035, as part of the preparation for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

The new area, on the basis of the Shougang Park, a former steel plant relocated to neighboring Hebei Province in 2010, covers an area of 22.3 square km, according to the plan released Wednesday by the city’s development and reform commission.

“Building on the existing facilities, we will create a distinct community composed of museums, industrial incubators and leisure facilities,” said Hong Jiyuan, deputy director of the commission.

Sports facilities including a ski site and a training center are under construction in the park for the Winter Olympics. The facilities will be used after the Games to host international events and exhibitions, according to the plan.

Beijing is also building more lakes, forest parks and waterscapes in the area to create an eco-friendly demonstration space.

Shougang Group will cooperate with enterprises both at home and abroad to rejuvenate the old industrial area, said Wang Shizhong, deputy general manager of the company, adding that Beijing’s first 5G network and an artificial intelligence industrial park will be established there.

Source: Xinhua

15/02/2019

Snow hits parts of north China

BEIJING, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — Parts of north China including Beijing, Hebei Province and Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region saw heavy snow on Thursday.

The snow started at around 5 a.m. in Beijing Thursday, following snow on Tuesday.

It started from the western and northern mountain areas, and gradually reached most parts of the city. It is expected to last until Thursday night, with a maximum precipitation of 4 mm in the western and northern mountain areas, and an average precipitation of 1 mm in downtown areas, according to the Beijing meteorological bureau.

The bureau has issued an alert for icy roads as of this morning.

More than one hundred bus lines were affected, and flights have been delayed and canceled at Beijing International Airport due to the snow.

According to the National Meteorological Center, north China is experiencing this winter’s largest and heaviest snow on Thursday, with estimated accumulations of as much as 2.5 centimeters.

Snow and low temperatures have hit most parts of the neighboring Hebei Province since Wednesday. The provincial government has issued emergency notices to require departments of heating, transportation, public security and city management to make preparations for the lingering snow and low temperatures in the following days.

Local power supply companies have strengthened patrols to ensure stable power supply.

Many parts of Inner Mongolia also saw snow early Thursday morning. The capital city Hohhot was covered with snow by 8:00 a.m.

“Although the heavy snow is inconvenient, it is very exciting. Only snow can make the winter feel real,” said Wei Qiang, a resident of the city.

The region has embraced a dry winter with the capital city receiving no prior snowfall. But a round of snow, strong winds and cool weather will continue to batter most parts of the region until Friday, according to the local meteorological observatory.

So far, local traffic and agricultural facilities have been affected by the snowy weather. Relevant departments have been ordered to take precautionary measures and solve problems in a timely manner.

Source: Xinhua

14/02/2019

Sweden replaces China envoy in furore over dissident bookseller

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Sweden said on Thursday it had replaced its ambassador to China after her “incorrect” handling of unauthorized meetings intended to help free dissident bookseller Gui Minhai.

The Hong Kong-based, Swedish publisher of books critical of China’s communist leaders was abducted in Thailand in 2015 and later appeared in custody in mainland China.

His daughter Angela Gui said this week she had met ambassador Anna Lindstedt and two businessmen in Stockholm in January, where she was advised to keep quiet about her father’s case while negotiations were proceeding.

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry said that was not an official meeting, and Lindstedt had now returned to Sweden with an interim envoy sent to Beijing during an inquiry.

“Neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Foreign Minister were informed until after the event,” ministry spokesman Rasmus Eljanskog said in an emailed statement.

“As a consequence of the incorrect manner in which the said meetings were handled, we are now conducting an internal investigation.”

Gui, 54, became a Swedish citizen after studying there in the 1980s. After the abduction, he was released in October 2017, but his whereabouts were unclear until January last year when his daughter said he was seized by Chinese agents on a Beijing-bound train in the presence of Swedish diplomats.

China later confirmed it had detained him again.

In her blog, Angela Gui said Lindstedt invited her to Stockholm to meet two businessmen who could help secure her father’s release.

“OUTRAGEOUS SCANDAL”

“The businessman said, ‘you care about Anna (Lindstedt), right? If you keep talking to the media it’ll damage her career. You don’t want her to come to any harm, do you?’”, she said in the post on blog portal Medium.

“In order for this to happen (negotiations), I was told I needed to be quiet. I wasn’t to tell anyone about this, or say anything publicly about the case,” she added.

“I’m not going to be quiet in exchange for … an arbitrary promise that my father ‘might’ be released. Threats, verbal abuse, bribes, or flattery won’t change that.”

China’s Foreign Ministry declined comment, with spokeswoman Hua Chunying saying she knew nothing about Gui’s latest situation. On its website, China’s embassy in Stockholm said it had not authorized anyone to “engage” with Gui’s daughter.

“The Chinese side handles the Gui Minhai case in accordance with law and legal procedure,” it said.

Gui’s original abduction – along with four others in the Hong Kong book trade – fed worries about interference from Beijing despite guarantees of wide-ranging freedoms for the former British colony which returned to Chinese rule in 1997.

The four others have since returned to Hong Kong. The United States and European Union have urged Gui’s release.

Sweden said it was continuing to seek Gui’s freedom, as Lindstedt faced scathing criticism for what the leader of Sweden’s Left Party called an “outrageous scandal”.

“A Swedish ambassador has done the bidding of a dictatorship and tried to silence the daughter of a Swedish political prisoner in China,” Jonas Sjostedt told local TV.

“I don’t think we have seen a worse scandal in Swedish foreign administration for decades.”

Lindstedt could not immediately be reached for comment.

Source: Reuters

13/02/2019

No talks between China and Venezuela opposition Beijing says, instead it’s ‘fake news’

  • Wall Street Journal report dismissed as false
  • Chinese spokeswoman repeats call for dialogue to resolve the Venezuelan crisis
PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 February, 2019, 5:57pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 February, 2019, 5:57pm

China has dismissed a newspaper report that its diplomats held talks with the political opposition in Venezuela to protect its investments in the Latin American country as “fake news”.

The Wall Street Journal said the diplomats, concerned about oil projects in Venezuela and almost US$20 billion that Caracas owes Beijing, had held talks in Washington with representatives of Juan Guaido, the opposition leader heading US-backed efforts to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

 

“In fact the report is false. It’s fake news,” Hua Chunying, spokeswoman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told reporters on Wednesday when asked about the article.

Venezuela’s “affairs” should be resolved via dialogue, Hua said, reiterating China’s previous stance.

Guaido invoked a constitutional provision to assume the presidency three weeks ago, arguing that Maduro’s re-election last year was a sham.

Most Western countries, including the United States, have recognised Guaido as Venezuela’s legitimate head of state, but Maduro retains the backing of Russia and China as well as control of state institutions including the military.

China has lent more than $50 billion to Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements over the past decade, securing energy supplies for its fast-growing economy.

 

A change in government in Venezuela would favour the country’s two main foreign creditors, Russia and China, Guaido said in an interview last month.

Source: SCMP

12/02/2019

Trade talk hopes and shutdown deal buoy stocks

LONDON (Reuters) – World shares and bond yields rode a renewed surge in risk appetite on Tuesday, as investors were optimistic about U.S.-China trade talks and cheered Washington’s deal to avoid another government shutdown.

Tokyo’s Nikkei set the tone with its best day of the year so far and Europe wasted little time in trying to lift the STOXX 600 back to the two-month high it set last week.

Germany’s DAX jumped more than 1.2 percent, after rising 1 percent on Monday, and Paris and Milan were up 0.8 percent, while London’s FTSE approached a four-month peak despite ongoing Brexit uncertainty.

The dollar hovered at a two-month high and the Australian dollar also gained. The yen and Swiss franc dipped while U.S. Treasury and German bund yields edged up as investors jettisoned safe havens.

“We have had two bits of relatively good news overnight – optimism about the U.S. shutdown not resuming and optimism about a trade deal,” said Societe Generale strategist Kit Juckes.

“Equities are higher, bond yields are a little bit higher, yen and Swiss franc weakest overnight of the major currencies so it’s sort of risk-on rules OK!”

Juckes said he reckoned there was now a 75 percent chance that a ratcheting up of U.S. tariffs on Chinese goods at the start of March will be avoided and a 95 percent chance that another U.S. government shutdown will be dodged.

Those odds got a boost on Monday after U.S. lawmakers reached a tentative deal on border security funding, though aides cautioned that it did not contain the $5.7 billion President Donald Trump wants to build a wall on the Mexican border.

S&P 500 e-mini futures were up nearly 0.5 percent, pointing to a solid start on Wall Street later after a choppy day on Monday.

U.S. and Chinese officials expressed hopes the new round of talks, which began in Beijing on Monday, would bring them closer to easing their months-long trade war.

Beijing and Washington are trying to hammer out a deal before a March 1 deadline, without which U.S. tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese imports are scheduled to increase to 25 percent from 10 percent.

“There will be no winner in a trade war. So at some point they will likely strike a deal,” said Mutsumi Kagawa, chief global strategist at Rakuten Securities in Tokyo.

BIG IN JAPAN

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.3 percent.

Shanghai rose 0.35 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.6 percent and Australian shares gained 0.3 percent.

The Nikkei rallied though, shooting up 2.6 percent after closing on Friday at its lowest level since early January. The Tokyo market was closed on Monday.

With the yen backtracking again, shares of exporters such as automakers and machinery makers led the charge. Separately, Deutsche Bank noted it was 20 years since Japan cut interest rates to zero, something now standard in large parts of Europe.

The dollar held firm, having gained for eight straight sessions against a basket of six major currencies until Monday, its longest rally in two years.

Although the Federal Reserve’s dovish turn dented the dollar earlier this month, some analysts noted the U.S. currency still has the highest yield among major peers and that the Fed continues to shrink its balance sheet.

“The dollar is the market’s pet currency at present regardless of whether concerns about the global economy are on the rise,” currency strategists at Commerzbank said in a note.

The dollar popped up to a six-week high of 110.65 yen. In contrast, the euro dropped to as low as $1.1267, its weakest in 2-1/2 months, and last traded at $1.1277.

In commodity markets, oil prices also ticked up as traders weighed support from OPEC-led supply restraint and a slowdown in the global economy.

U.S. crude futures traded at $52.68 per barrel, up 0.5 percent. Brent crude rose 0.6 percent to $61.89 per barrel. Gold was a touch stronger at $1,312 an ounce.

Source: Reuters

12/02/2019

Next stop Xinjiang for one of China’s rising political stars Wang Junzheng

  • Trusted senior cadre tipped for leadership role in implementing Beijing’s ‘stabilising measures’ in the Uygur region
  • His career so far has been a fast track of rotation and promotion
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 6:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 February, 2019, 6:53pm

Beijing has sent a trusted senior cadre – with a track record of versatility and economic development – to join the highest decision-making body of China’s highly sensitive Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

Wang Junzheng, 56, has been appointed to Xinjiang’s 14-member Communist Party standing committee, according to an official statement on Monday. His new role was not specified in the two-paragraph announcement.

 

Analysts said he was expected to assume a leadership role in the party’s regional political and legal affairs commission – a critical body in the implementation of China’s “stabilising measures” in Xinjiang, which include the controversial “re-education camps” where up to 1 million people from the Muslim ethnic minority group are reportedly being held.

In a move that may have paved the way for such a role for Wang, the incumbent head of Xinjiang’s political and legal affairs commission – Zhu Hailun, 61 – was elected deputy head of Xinjiang’s People’s Congress in January. It is standard practice in China for deputy provincial level cadres to step down and take up such positions on reaching 60.

Dr Alfred Wu, an associate professor at Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, said that while there were other vacancies in both Xinjiang’s political and legal affairs commission and its united front work department, Wong’s legal experience made it likely he would take up the role vacated by Zhu.

A source familiar with Wang told the South China Morning Post he was among a group of cadres who had won the trust of President Xi Jinping.

Wang’s career has been on a fast track of rotation and promotion. He reached vice-provincial level when he was only 49 and, five years later, became an alternate member of the Central Committee – the party’s highest organ of power – at the 19th party congress in October 2017.

He moves to Xinjiang from the northeastern province of Jilin, where he was a member of the provincial party standing committee and party chief of Changchun, the provincial capital.

It was not all smooth sailing for Wang in Jilin, where his career was tainted by last year’s Changchun Changsheng vaccine scandal.

National outrage followed the revelation that one of China’s biggest vaccine makers, Changsheng Bio-tech, had systematically forged data in its production of rabies vaccines and had sold ineffective vaccines for diphtheria, whooping cough and tetanus that were given to hundreds of thousands of babies – some as young as three months old.

Heads rolled. Sackings included Jilin vice-governor Jin Yuhui, who had overseen food and drug regulation; Li Jinxiu, a former Jilin food and drug chief; Changchun mayor Liu Changlong; and Bi Jingquan, deputy director of the State Market Regulatory Administration in Beijing.

In a farewell speech published in People’s Daily on Monday, Wang apparently made a veiled reference to the scandal and admitted some shortcomings.

“Because of my constraints, I could have done better on some issues … and have failed to meet the expectations of the Party and people,” he said.

Alfred Wu said the Xinjiang posting showed Wang’s career had not been tainted by the Changchun vaccine scandal.

“Going to Xinjiang is both an opportunity and a challenge for Wang. If he can prove himself in stabilising Xinjiang, he will go further [in his career],” Wu said.

Xinjiang is Wang’s fourth provincial posting. He began his political career in Yunnan, southwestern China, where he spent nearly two decades working with many ethnic minority groups.

He was the legal chief of Kunming, the provincial capital of Yunnan, from 1988 to 2000 and also served as vice-president of the Yunnan Higher People’s Court from 2005 to 2007.

In 2009 Wang became party chief of Lijiang, a tourist city in Yunnan where the economy thrived under his watch.

“More importantly, he struck a balance between tourism development and environmental conservation and was noticed by the leadership,” a source said.

Wang left Yunnan in 2012 when he was promoted to provincial vice-governor of Hubei in central China. He later became party chief of the city of Xiangyang in Hubei province and was promoted to provincial party standing committee member in 2013.

After three years in Hubei, Wang headed north to Jilin, becoming Changchun party chief in January 2016.

Wang was born in the eastern province of Shandong. He graduated from Shandong University with a bachelor’s degree in socialism studies and a master’s in the same subject from Renmin University in Beijing in the 1980s. He attained his doctorate in management from Tsinghua University in 2006.

Source: SCMP

10/02/2019

Turkey demands China close camps after reports of musician’s death

John Sudworth reports from Xinjiang, where one million Uighurs have reportedly been detained

Turkey has called on China to close its detention camps following the reported death of a renowned musician from the ethnic Uighur minority.

Abdurehim Heyit is thought to have been serving an eight-year sentence in the Xinjiang region, where up to a million Uighurs are reportedly being detained.

A statement from Turkey’s foreign ministry said they were being subjected to “torture” in “concentration camps”.

China described the comments as “completely unacceptable”.

The Uighurs are a Muslim Turkic-speaking minority based in the north-west Xinjiang region of China, which has come under intense surveillance by Chinese authorities.

Their language is close to Turkish and a significant number of Uighurs have fled to Turkey from China in recent years.

So far few Muslim-majority countries have joined in public international condemnation of the allegations. Analysts say many fear political and economic retaliation from China.

What did Turkey say?

In a statement issued on Saturday, foreign ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said: “It is no longer a secret that more than a million Uighur Turks exposed to arbitrary arrests are subjected to torture and political brainwashing” in prisons, adding that those not detained were “under great pressure”.

“The reintroduction of concentration camps in the 21st century and the systematic assimilation policy of Chinese authorities against the Uighur Turks is a great embarrassment for humanity,” Mr Aksoy said.

He also said the reports of Heyit’s death “further strengthened the Turkish public’s reaction to the serious human rights violations in Xinjiang” and called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “to take effective steps to end the human tragedy” there.

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China’s hidden camps

BBC
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Rights groups say Uighurs, Kazakhs and other Muslim minorities are being detained indefinitely without charge for infractions like refusing to give a DNA sample, speaking in a minority language, or arguing with officials.

What was Beijing’s response?

In a statement quoted by the Associated Press, China through its embassy in Ankara called on Turkey to withdraw its “false accusations”.

“Both China and Turkey face the arduous task of fighting terrorism. We are opposed to maintaining double standards on the question of fighting terrorism,” it said.

“We hope the Turkish side will have a correct understanding of the efforts made by China to legally deploy measures to effectively fight terrorism and extremism, withdraw its false accusations and take measures to eliminate their harmful effects.”

Beijing claims that the detention camps in Xinjiang are “vocational education centres” designed to help rid the region of terrorism.

Speaking last October, the top Chinese official in Xinjiang, Shohrat Zakir, said “trainees” in the camps were grateful for the opportunity to “reflect on their mistakes”.

What do we know about Heyit’s fate?

Amnesty International said it was very concerned about reports of his death, which has not been officially confirmed.

Heyit was a celebrated player of the Dutar, a two-stringed instrument that is notoriously hard to master. At one time, he was venerated across China. He studied music in Beijing and later performed with national arts troupes.

Heyit’s detention reportedly stemmed from a song he performed titled Fathers. It takes its lyrics from a Uighur poem calling on younger generations to respect the sacrifices of those before them.

But three words in the lyrics – “martyrs of war” – apparently led Chinese authorities to conclude that Heyit presented a terrorist threat.

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Who are the Uighurs?

Uighur men read newspapers in Xinjiang (2015)Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

The Uighurs make up about 45% of the population in Xinjiang.

They see themselves as culturally and ethnically close to Central Asian nations.

In recent decades, large numbers of Han Chinese (China’s ethnic majority) have migrated to Xinjiang, and the Uighurs feel their culture and livelihoods are under threat.

Xinjiang is officially designated as an autonomous region within China, like Tibet to its south.

Source: The BBC

02/02/2019

China Focus: Xi visits cadres, residents in Beijing ahead of Spring Festival

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-LUNAR NEW YEAR-VISIT (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, visits residents’ homes in Qianmen area in central Beijing, capital of China, Feb. 1, 2019. President Xi Jinping on Friday visited residents and primary-level officials in Beijing and extended Lunar New Year greetings to Chinese people of all ethnic groups. (Xinhua/Ju Peng)

BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) — President Xi Jinping on Friday visited Beijing’s primary-level cadres and residents in downtown neighborhoods ahead of the Spring Festival and extended Lunar New Year greetings to Chinese people of all ethnic groups.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, also inspected the preparation work for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

When inspecting the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau, Xi stressed the city’s glorious mission and weighty responsibility to safeguard the social stability of the national capital as 2019 marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

Xi asked for coordinated efforts to promote work in all fields with resolve to complete the mission.

Touring a “hutong,” or traditional alley, in central Beijing’s Qianmen area, Xi ordered the efforts to protect cultural heritage sites and conserve traditional culture while renovating the city’s old areas.

He called for both improving local residents’ living conditions and protecting historical and cultural deposits, so that history and modernity will perfectly blend. He stressed specific measures to maintain the original features of hutong areas.

Xi dropped into two courtyards along the hutong, inquiring about the living conditions of local residents after the renovation projects in the neighborhood.

“What the CPC pursues is to make the people’s life better,” he told the residents, gladly chatting and making dumplings with them.

Noting close attention from the CPC Central Committee to the renovation of old towns and shanty areas, Xi said that the Party aims to create a more comfortable and better living environment for the people and solve problems they care about most so that they can enjoy modern life even in old hutong areas.

After chatting with residents, Xi went to a property service center to visit staff and community workers.

On the way back, Xi dropped in on a restaurant, chatted with the owner and some customers and wished them good luck.

Xi also called on a nearby express delivery station and visited the deliverymen who were on duty, stressing that priority should be given to solving employment problems and creating more jobs.

At 3:30 p.m., Xi arrived at the Shougang Park in Shijingshan District, the seat of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, to learn about the preparation for the Games and the planning and construction of the venues and infrastructure.

Xi stressed the need to stay committed to hosting the Games in a green, sharing, open and clean manner, and to complete all preparation tasks with high standards.

The venue construction must meet the Olympic standards and be completed on time, Xi said.

Stressing that the features of technology, intelligence, greenness and frugality should be highlighted, Xi said advanced technological approaches should be applied, energy-saving and environmental friendly requirements should be strictly enforced, the environment and cultural relics should be well protected, and Chinese styles should be on full display.

Xi visited the office building of the Beijing Organizing Committee, meeting with some of the staff and volunteers there.

Noting that Beijing will become the world’s only host of both the Summer and Winter Olympics, he stressed that China must fulfill the solemn commitments it made to the world.

“Hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics is an important support to the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region,” Xi said, adding that Hebei Province must develop together with Beijing.

During his visit to the national winter sports training center, Xi stressed promoting sportsmanship with Chinese characteristics, boosting coordinated development of mass sports, competitive sports and the sports industry, and speeding up building China into a country strong on sports.

Vice Premier Han Zheng, also a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, accompanied Xi on the inspection tour of the preparation work for the Beijing 2022 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.

Source: Xinhua

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