Tensions have been running high within the Hong Kong legislature. A fight broke out over the election of a pro-Beijing chair for the committee. Pro-democracy lawmakers were forceably removed from the legislature.
Under the “one country, two systems” framework, Hong Kong has been allowed to exist as a semi-autonomous region. However, that framework is now up for review. And Beijing are making moves to tighten control of the region.
Furthermore, Pro-democracy activists have also called Hong Kong residents to take to the streets to protest Beijing’s plans to impose new and tighter security restrictions on the region.
Activists fear this new legislation will further erode the freedom and democratic nature of Hong Kong.
China’s decision to impose the legislation hit the Hong Kong stock market and prompted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to condemn the move, saying, “The decision to bypass Hong Kong’s well-established legislative processes and ignore the will of the people of Hong Kong would be a death knell for the high degree of autonomy Beijing promised.”
A CIA report has stated it believes China threatened the WHO to downplay the Coronavirus outbreak. They say that in the crucial weeks, in mid-January, when the Coronavirus began to spread across the globe, China threatened the WHO, saying they would not cooperate in any investigations into Coronavirus. In the meantime China were stockpiling medical supplies, including PPE, some of which manufactured in the US.
The report has not been published. However, the contents of report, entitled ‘U.N.-China: WHO Mindful But Not Beholden to China,’ were confirmed to Newsweek by two U.S. intelligence officials.
The German intelligence agency have also accused the Chinese leader Xi Jinping of personally pressurising WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The German Federal Intelligence Service ‘Bundesnachrichtendienst’ BND said: ‘On January 21, China’s leader Xi Jinping asked WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to hold back information about a human-to-human transmission and to delay a pandemic warning.
‘The BND estimates that China’s information policy lost four to six weeks to fight the virus worldwide’.
The World Health Organization declared a Public Health Emergency of International importance on January 30th.
The Chinese have been working on a stealth bomber that could be ready by the end of the year. Xian H-20 would give the Chinese the ability to launch a nuclear attack by land, sea or air. Only America and Russia currently have this complete nuclear capability.
The new bomber would make Australia, Japan and Korea within range. And is likely to heighten tensions between the US and Beijing.
China has this week been appointed to the U.N. Human Rights Council. The appointment means that China will be part of the body that decides who investigates abuses in human rights.
This is despite a catalogue of human rights abuses by the Chinese authorities. And at a time when the Chinese is showing itself to be more authoritarian.
Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch, which monitors the UN Human Rights Council and has championed the rights of victims in China, stated, “Allowing China’s oppressive and inhumane regime to choose the world investigators on freedom of speech, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearances is like making a pyromaniac into the town fire chief. It’s absurd and immoral for the UN to allow China’s oppressive government a key role in selecting officials who shape international human rights standards and report on violations worldwide.”
The President is seeking to end the country’s reliance on drugs and essential medical supplies from China. The Coronavirus pandemic has reignited the debate about the nations reliance on China for the supply of life saving drugs.
Trump will tighten “Buy American” laws to encourage the purchasing of American-made pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.
“China has managed to dominate all aspects of the supply chain using the same unfair trade practices that it has used to dominate other sectors — cheap sweatshop labor, lax environmental regulations and massive government subsidies,” said the White House trade adviser Peter Navarro.
“As President Trump has said, what we need to do is bring those jobs home so that we can protect the public health and the economic and national security of the country.”
Despite America being a world leader in drug discoveries, manufacturing of drugs has moved off shore. With China producing much of the world’s penicillin, antibiotics, face masks, and other key medical devices.
America’s last penicillin factory closed in 2004. But Chinese pharmaceutical companies have supplied more than 90 percent of U.S. antibiotics, vitamin C, ibuprofen and hydrocortisone, as well as 70 percent of acetaminophen and 40 to 45 percent of heparin in recent years, according to Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
Secretary of State Pompeo has said in a recent address that the Chinese are seeking to infiltrate and influence state and local politics.
“While there are places we can cooperate, we can’t ignore China’s actions and strategic intentions. If we do, we risk the important components of our relationship that benefit both countries,” Pompeo said. “The Chinese Government has been methodical in the way it’s analyzed our system, our very open system, one that we’re deeply proud of. It’s assessed our vulnerabilities, and it’s decided to exploit our freedoms to gain advantage over us at the federal level, the state level, and the local level.”
A deadly SARS like virus which has spread across south China and into some south-east Asian counties has entered the US. The coronavirus has been confirm in an individual in Seattle. The person had traveled into Seattle from China, after taking unwell they sought medical help. The coronavirus has now been confirmed.
The virus has spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan and has seen more that 300 people taken ill, with six deaths. The virus is believed to have originated in a market selling seafood, where live animals are also present. It was confirmed the virus can pass from person-to-person.
The Chinese State media, commenting on gun ownership in the US has said that private gun ownership is a serious problem in the US:
Private gun ownership is a tradition from the early days at the founding of the US. In a modern society, the problems created by this tradition have already exceeded the benefits. …
American society has already seen serious problems caused by the private ownership of guns, but their massive number has contributed to an enormous inertia. Many interest groups have benefited from it and some ordinary people have truly gained a sense of safety. To change this habit which has lasted hundreds of years, tremendous political courage and a rearrangement of interests is required.
Facts have proved that the US system is unable to handle the intricacies of countless issues around guns including politics, economics, law and order and public psychology. The country can neither manage the safe storage and use of so many guns owned by ordinary people, nor can it establish a new national system that bans or strictly restricts guns. It cannot even form an overwhelming opinion regarding gun issues.
Ironically this attack on the U.S. Second Amendment has come amid protests in Hong Kong. There Chinese citizens are calling on their own rights to protect themselves against government’s violent control. China has also being facing international condemnation for it’s treatment Muslim minority Uyghurs, who are being lock away in communist concentration camps.
Russia, with the backing of China, has had a resolution passed to see the establishment of a panel to look at the use of the internet for illegal purposes. The panel will work to set up “a comprehensive international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes,” the resolution said.
However the US, Europe and other western nations fear the purpose of any restrictions would be to limit freedom of speech.
“It is precisely our fear that (a new convention) would allow the codification at an international and global level of these types of controls that’s driving our opposition and our concerns about this resolution,” a US official said.
Human Rights Watch called the UN resolution’s list of sponsors “a rogue’s gallery of some of the earth’s most repressive governments.”
The countries who have backed the resolution have a history of repression of free speech, and actively try to restrict their citizens access to the internet. China for example blocks internet searches they deem harmful to their regime. India cut off the internet to muslim-majority Kashmir earlier this year; and Iran took most of their nation off-line for a time amid protests.
Iran, China and Russia have held joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. The operations come at a time of increased tension between the US and Iran. In May last year the US withdrew from the nuclear deal signed by Obama.
“The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity… and its effect will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated,” Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television.
Iranian State television said the co-operation between the nations signals “the new triangle of power in the sea”.
Iran said the drills aims were to increase security, combat piracy, and strengthen intelligence sharing operations.
Japan also said on Friday it would send its own battle ships to the region to aid security, but would not join a US-led collision. The Japanese Chief of Cabinet said “Japan’s own measure aimed at peace and stability in the Middle East as well as ensuring safety of Japan-related vessels,”
China’s social credit system has been used to control private citizens in alarming ways. Now businesses are training staff on how to avoid falling victim to it.
In China companies are already monitored as part of the social credit scheme. “Bad companies” face higher taxes, more regulatory scrutiny, and reduced access to business loans.
A problematic aspect of the scheme is if a company is blacklisted then another company doing business with that company will receive negative marks against it. Thus the affect can domino down the business network.
Foreign companies have been warned already by China, specially US companies and anyone who has criticised Chinese government treatment of Uyghur Muslims.
A report conducted by Dezan Shira & Associates into the effects of the system concluded that businesses working in China: “undertake a supply chain audit and conduct due diligence on business partners given the inclusion of partners in social credit assessments.”
“Businesses should also not forget to assess their IT and data security strength since they will need to transmit data to the government more frequently and in greater numbers,” the authors added.