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Archive for China

Newsline: Israeli diplomat in China hospitalized in ‘prison conditions’ for COVID

An Israeli diplomat infected with COVID in China has revealed how he was forced to stay in a prison-like medical facility, where he was held in isolation for 10 “surreal” days. Israeli Consul-General in Shanghai Eddie Shapira said that he was sent to the facility “reminiscent of a prison” after coming down with mild symptoms. “I got sick with COVID and I recovered completely,” he wrote on Facebook. “I didn’t have any serious symptoms. The problem is that I caught it in the most wrong place on earth – in China.” The diplomat said that with even mild cases like his, the country treats patients as if it’s the early days of the pandemic. According to Shapira, “nothing could have prepared [him] for the experience,” even after working through the pandemic the past two years. (https://nypost.com/2022/12/05/israeli-diplomat-eddie-shapira-hospitalized-for-covid-in-china/) COVID patients are cordoned off in separate, designated hospitals for 10 days until they have fully recovered. Shapira described the hospital room where he received treatment as similar to an aquarium.

Newsline: Protests near Chinese diplomatic missions seen around the world

Antigovernment protests in China are stirring sympathetic activity near Chinese diplomatic missions and on university campuses around the world, adding an international dimension to a sensitive political moment. Demonstrators on Tuesday night packed the sidewalk across the street from China’s New York consulate in such numbers that they disrupted traffic and forced organizers to retreat to a nearby pier. Leading the crowd, a speaker said, “Release protesters…stand with people in China.” That was followed by someone shouting “Xi Jinping” and the crowd erupted with repeated calls of “Step down.” (https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-protests-mushroom-around-the-world-11669811448) The expressions of solidarity from New York to the streets of Istanbul are emanating from China’s vast diaspora, and specifically those frustrated with Xi Jinping‘s authoritarian leadership of the country, participants say. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded indirectly when asked about protests on Tuesday, saying the country enjoys rule of law.

Newsline: US embassy in China warns lockdowns may intensify amid protests

The U.S. embassy in China released a statement Monday morning calling on U.S. citizens in the country to “keep a 14-day supply of medications, bottled water, and food for yourself and any members of your household.” “The People’s Republic of China (PRC) authorities have expanded COVID-19 prevention restrictions and control measures as outbreaks occur. These measures may include residential quarantines, mass testing, closures, transportation disruptions, lockdowns, and possible family separation. Ambassador Burns and other Mission officials have regularly raised our concerns on many of these issues directly with senior PRC officials and will continue to do so,” the statement reads. (https://www.foxnews.com/world/warning-us-embassy-china-signals-lockdowns-are-likely-intensify-amid-protests) David Tafuri, a former State Department official and foreign policy adviser to the Obama campaign, says the State Department is trying to get ahead of the situation and prevent citizens from being caught up in a tense situation inside China.

Newsline: China, Arab Nations Eye Intensified Diplomacy at Summit in Saudi Arabia Next Month

China and Arab nations will hold a summit in Saudi Arabia early next month, setting up the possibility that Chinese President Xi Jinping will visit the key energy partner for the first time in nearly seven years. Li Xuhang, China’s consul-general in Dubai, said the gathering would happen in early December, according to a statement posted on the consulate’s website. The statement didn’t provide any other details. (https://news.yahoo.com/china-arab-nations-hold-summit-084421260.html) The envoy told a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates that the summit would involve face-to-face exchanges between leaders from China and Arab nations, according to a separate Foreign Ministry statement. Xi is likely to use the visit to Saudi Arabia to shore up ties given his last visit was in January 2016. Saudi Arabia was China’s largest source of foreign oil ahead of Russia in October, according to customs data from the world’s No. 2 economy.

Newsline: China Eyes to Back-Channel Diplomacy to Improve U.S. Ties

China is turning to an old friend in corporate America to bolster communications with the U.S., as President Xi Jinping tries to stabilize the bilateral relationship while gearing up for greater competition between the two powers. A few days before Mr. Xi’s summit last week with President Biden, according to people with knowledge of the matter, Beijing dispatched a delegation of senior policy advisers and business executives to New York to meet with a U.S. counterpart group set up by insurance executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg, one of the most successful American businessmen in China. (https://www.wsj.com/articles/china-turns-to-back-channel-diplomacy-to-shore-up-u-s-ties-11669042014) Wall Street executives have long held a special place in Beijing’s corridors of power. Beijing has viewed Mr. Greenberg, 97 years old, as what Chinese leaders call an “old friend of China.” Mr. Greenberg, a decorated World War II veteran and a major Republican donor, is the chief executive of insurance and investment firm C.V. Starr & Co. and former CEO of insurance giant American International Group Inc. Such a high-level group as the one Mr. Greenberg hosted hasn’t come to the U.S. since the Covid-19 pandemic started nearly three years ago. In that time, relations have plunged to what both sides see as the lowest point in decades, with Beijing and Washington sparring over issues ranging from the origins of the pandemic to China’s human-rights record and its military and economic pressure on Taiwan.

Newsline: China’s Xi restarts personal diplomacy

President Xi Jinping, conspicuously absent from the main stage of diplomacy during China’s COVID isolation, has been mostly smiles and handshakes on his return this week with a flurry of meetings that Beijing hopes will begin to mend frayed relations. (https://news.yahoo.com/analysis-unmasked-charge-chinas-xi-091837034.html) But in an exchange that went viral, a mask-less Xi was also captured on-camera giving Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a dressing-down at the Group of 20 (G20) summit over media leaks, apparently from their bilateral meeting a day previously. It was a rare, candid glimpse of the Chinese leader and a reminder of Beijing’s testy relations with the West. China’s absence from face-to-face interactions during the pandemic has been costly, diplomats and other experts say, as ties with the United States and some Asian neighbours have badly deteriorated over a range of disputes. With other leaders having so little recent access to top Chinese officials, Xi’s presence this week on the Indonesian island of Bali for the G20 followed by an APEC summit in Bangkok is magnified by its scarcity value. The resumption of dialogue, including Xi’s first meeting with Joe Biden as U.S. president and the first direct talks with an Australian leader since 2016, is itself a positive, China-watchers said, even if it doesn’t immediately yield concrete results. Besides Biden, Trudeau and Australia’s Anthony Albanese, Xi also met the leaders of South Korea, Italy, Argentina, Holland and France for bilateral talks in Bali. A meeting with Britain’s Rishi Sunak was cancelled because of scheduling issues, Downing Street said, while Xi is set to hold talks with Japan’s Fumio Kishida amd New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern in Bangkok.

Newsline: Diplomats say China cancelled EU leader’s video address

Chinese authorities behind a major trade expo in Shanghai pulled an opening ceremony address by the European Council president that was set to criticise Russia’s “illegal war” in Ukraine and call for reduced EU trade dependency on China, diplomats said. (https://www.reuters.com/world/china/exclusive-china-cancelled-eu-leaders-video-address-opening-major-trade-expo-dips-2022-11-08/) The pre-recorded video by Charles Michel was meant to be one of several from world leaders and heads of international organisations, including Chinese President Xi Jinping, at the opening of the China International Import Expo (CIIE) on Friday, three European diplomats told Reuters.

Newsline: Chinese Ambassador Warns Switzerland Against Sanctions

Switzerland should avoid following the European Union by imposing sanctions on China if it cares about Swiss-Sino relations, the Chinese ambassador to Bern told the NZZ am Sonntag newspaper. “Anyone who really cares about the friendly relations between the two countries and who makes responsible policy will not agree to the sanctions,” China’s ambassador in Bern, Wang Shihting, told the NZZ am Sonntag. “If Switzerland adopts the sanctions and the situation develops in an uncontrolled direction, Sino-Swiss relations will suffer,” he added. (https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2022-11-06/chinese-ambassador-warns-swiss-sanction-us-and-ties-will-suffer) The head of the Swiss agency that implements economic sanctions said in a newspaper interview in July she expects the neutral country to adopt any punitive measures the EU launches against China if it invades Taiwan. Last year, the EU imposed its first sanctions against Beijing since an arms embargo in 1989 following the Tiananmen Square crackdown. Switzerland has not yet decided to follow the EU’s lead.

Newsline: China’s top climate diplomat calls on rich countries to support poor nations

China’s top climate envoy has called on wealthy nations to offer more support for developing countries that have the most to lose from climate change. His comments came at the start of the United Nations’ climate conference in Egypt, where delegates from nearly 200 countries are preparing to discuss issues including compensating poorer nations for damage linked to global warming in the next two weeks. “I hope the conference this time will meet the demands of developing countries as much as possible, as it is held in Egypt, a developing country,” said Xie Zhenhua, China’s special envoy for climate change. (https://finance.yahoo.com/news/cop27-chinas-top-climate-envoy-093000602.html) He was speaking on Sunday at an event in China’s pavilion at the 27th UN Climate Change Conference (COP27) in Sharm el-Sheikh. Xie said he hopes this year’s summit can address the needs of developing countries in the areas of emissions reduction, financing, adaptation and capacity building, and that there will be progress in addressing their losses for damage caused by climate change.

Newsline: China says US to blame for breakdown in climate change diplomacy

Climate change diplomacy between China and the US cannot be separated from broader political tensions between the two sides, and Washington must take responsibility for the breakdown in talks, China’s foreign ministry said. “China and the US previously developed good cooperation in the area of climate change, working together to get the Paris Agreement reached and brought into effect,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said in a statement. “At the same time, China-U.S. climate cooperation cannot be separated from the broad climate of bilateral ties,” the spokesperson added, noting that Pelosi’s “serious breach of Chinese sovereignty” in Taiwan had left China with no choice but to suspend the talks. “The United States side must take responsibility for this.” (https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2022/11/4/china-says-us-to-blame-for-breakdown-of-climate-cooperation) Nearly 200 countries are about to gather in the town of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt for another round of global climate negotiations but diplomatic tensions between the two biggest sources of climate-warming greenhouse gas have threatened to overshadow the meeting, known as COP27. Agreements and joint declarations by Beijing and Washington helped drive through the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015. But China suspended all bilateral discussions in August following US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.