2018 - China goes Critical

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Does Law Matter in China? How Important is Religion in China? Each question is answered by a different affiliate of the Fairbank Center. Most are tenured professors or assistant professors at Harvard; all are leaders in their respective fields.

Justifying Xi Jinping’s power push

The questions are divided into five topics: politics, international relations, economy, environment, society, and history and culture. Given the current state of US-China relations, Szonyi posits, this role is now more important than ever. Covering topics as diverse as ancient literature, public opinion, and pollution, The China Questions has something for everyone, and each reader will be drawn to different sections. The China Questions says a great deal of intelligent things about China, but it also says much about the Fairbank Center, Harvard, and the field of Chinese Studies more broadly.

Taken as a self-portrait, it is both flattering — where else can you find the giants of the field all within the pages of a single book?


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To point this out is not to single the Fairbank Center out for criticism—other elite academic institutions are dogged by the same inequities of gender and race and class —but to take the pulse of a traditionally male-dominated field in a cultural moment of reckoning with such imbalances. The Communist Party has been building up alternatives, especially in the financial capital Shanghai and the innovation hub Shenzhen but they are not ready to act as a replacement for Hong Kong. Around half of all companies on the Hong Kong stock exchange are mainland companies, including 50 of the largest state-owned enterprises.

In the absence of any real information out of the Zhongnanhai government compound in Beijing, making predictions about how Xi will act is a dangerous business.

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He writes that companies will go elsewhere for their Asian headquarters and hire in other centres. Multinationals will move personnel out of Hong Kong and there will be fewer legal contracts drawn up there. Professor Steve Tsang, head of the China Institute at SOAS University of London believes the political could well prove a more important factor than the economic in a case of this sensitivity. The remarks follow his decision earlier this week to postpone imposing further tariffs on Beijing.

An extradition bill has sparked mass protests in Hong Kong. The bill has been stalled, but citizens want it scrapped and Chief Executive Carrie Lam ousted. DW looks at the pro-democracy movement's major milestones. Huge demonstrations in Hong Kong saw a controversial extradition bill shelved, but fears over potential Chinese interference in the self-governing territory continue to raise doubts among business leaders there. The exercises are likely meant to send a message from Beijing to pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, although analysts believe the Chinese government is unlikely to send in forces to intervene in the demonstrations.

Critical Ops - Ranked Ft CHINA #01 -

Protesters in Hong Kong seem undeterred by China's thinly veiled threat of sending in the armed forces. Global companies, including Walt Disney and Marriot, are feeling the heat of the protests. Hong Kong officials are warning of more pains ahead as the financial hub reels from its worst political crisis in decades. Pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong scored a stunning victory in the district council elections held this weekend. Despite the outcome, Beijing won't give in to protesters' demands, says political analyst Joseph Cheng. Hong Kongers sent a clear message to the city's government in the local elections held this weekend.

Carrie Lam has acknowledged her government's "deficiencies" following a landslide victory for pro-democracy groups in Hong Kong's local elections. But she has refused to give in to any protest demands. The publisher said the decision was to comply with Chinese regulations.

Gui Minhai, a Swedish national and publisher of books critical of the Chinese leadership, was abducted in Thailand in October Civil liberties in Hong Kong are increasingly being undermined by the growing interference of the central government, 20 years after the city returned to Chinese sovereignty in Opposition political parties and their supporters faced greater harassment from authorities.

In July, a Hong Kong court disqualified four more pro-democracy lawmakers for modifying their oaths swearing allegiance to China in a ceremony. In a politically motivated move, the secretary of justice, a political appointee, sought a harsher prison sentence for the trio. Also in August, the same court convicted 13 defendants of unlawful assembly for another anti-government protest in The 13, who had previously been sentenced to community service, were given prison terms of between 8 and 13 months after the Justice Department sought a review of their sentences.

The Chinese government has long conflated peaceful activism with violence in Xinjiang, and has treated many expressions of Uyghur identity, including language and religion, as threatening. Uyghur opposition to government policies has been expressed in peaceful protests but also through violent attacks. However, details about protests and violence are scant, as authorities severely curtail independent reporting in the region.

After Party Secretary Chen Quanguo was transferred from Tibet to Xinjiang in August , the Xinjiang regional government expanded its already pervasive security measures by hiring thousands more security personnel. In July, authorities forced residents in a district of Urumqi, the capital city of Xinjiang, to install surveillance apps on their mobile phones. In April, 97 officials in Hotan prefecture were reprimanded. Since October , authorities have arbitrarily recalled passports from residents of Xinjiang. By September, about 20 Uyghurs were forcibly repatriated to Xinjiang while 12 were released.

A study reported that at least Uyghurs had joined ISIS, but estimates vary widely and the level of participation remains unconfirmed. Authorities in Tibetan areas continue to severely restrict religious freedom, speech, movement, and assembly, and fail to redress popular concerns about mining and land grabs by local officials, which often involve intimidation and arbitrary violence by security forces.

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  • In , officials intensified surveillance of online and phone communications. Six UN special rapporteurs sent a communication to the government of China expressing concern about the late mass expulsion of monastics monks and nuns and demolition of living quarters at the Larung Gar monastery in Kandze, Sichuan. Similar expulsions and demolitions were reported at the Yachen Gar monastery in Kandze in August Several thousand Tibetans traveling on Chinese passports to India for a January teaching by the Dalai Lama were forced to return early when officials in Tibetan areas attempted to confiscate passports, threatening retaliation against those travelling abroad and their family members back home.

    In June, residents of Palyul county, Sichuan, demonstrated against land grabs; in July and August, Qinghai residents peacefully protested against several official policies. Between October and March , there were at least six protests in Ngaba, Sichuan, alone, but details are scant due to extreme surveillance and intimidation. Tibetans continue to self-immolate to protest Chinese policies.

    A critical look at China’s One Belt, One Road initiative

    At time of writing, four had done so in The government restricts religious practice to five officially recognized religions in officially approved religious premises. Sun was reportedly pepper-sprayed, put in handcuffs attached to foot shackles, and deprived of sleep. Beijing and the Vatican have continued negotiations on the normalization of diplomatic ties, but the dialogue remains strained by disputes over who has authority to appoint bishops in the country.

    The new rules also expand the role of local authorities in controlling religious activities. One of their lawyers said the arrests were due to the group not gathering at officially designated churches.