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Posts Tagged ‘ China

Wildfires rage as China’s Chongqing suffers unrelenting record heat wave

Smoke and flames rise into the sky from a mountain forest fire triggered by persistent drought and heat waves in Chongqing, China on August 21.

US defense chief says China muscling neighbors, plundering resources in Pacific

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin speaks at the Shangri-La Dialogue summit in Singapore on June 11, 2022.

Singapore (CNN)US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called out China on Saturday for a series of coercive, aggressive and dangerous actions that threaten stability around Asia and vowed the United States would stand by partners to resist any pressure.

“Indo-Pacific countries shouldn’t face political intimidation, economic coercion, or harassment by maritime militias,” Austin said in a keynote speech to the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s premier defense conference.
“The PRC’s moves threaten to undermine security, and stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific,” Austin said, using the acronym to refer to the country by its official name, the People’s Republic of China.
He listed a series of areas where he said China is muscling its neighbors, including sending large numbers of warplanes into the skies near Taiwan, dangerously intercepting the patrol planes of US allies, and illegal fishing operations that “plunder the region’s provisions.”

Warner Bros. censors gay dialogue in Harry Potter movie for China release

Warner Bros. removed two lines of dialogue about a gay relationship for the Chinese release of its latest Harry Potter movie.

The six seconds of dialogue in “Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore” discussed the romance between male characters Albus Dumbledore, played by Jude Law, and Gellert Grindelwald, played by Mads Mikkelsen. The lines cut are “I was in love with you” and “the summer Gellert and I fell in love.”
The film opened last week in China, the world’s biggest movie market, and one where the government is tightening its grip on censoring media.
In a statement to CNN Business, a Warner Bros. spokesperson said it’s “committed to safeguarding the integrity of every film we release” and that “extends to circumstances that necessitate making nuanced cuts in order to respond sensitively to a variety of in-market factors.”
“Dumbledore” opens this weekend in the US. (Warner Bros., like CNN, is owned by Warner Bros. Discovery.)
China censors lesbian plotline in 'Friends'
“Our hope is to release our features worldwide as released by their creators but historically we have faced small edits made in local markets,” the studio said. “In the case of ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore,’ a six-second cut was requested and Warner Bros. accepted those changes to comply with local requirements but the spirit of the film remains intact.”
Warner Bros. noted that it wants viewers around the world “to see and enjoy this film,” the third in the Fantastic Beasts series of Harry Potter prequels.
“It’s important to us that Chinese audiences have the opportunity to experience it as well, even with these minor edits,” the studio said.
The 'Fantastic Beasts 3' trailer is here
In 2016, China’s top media regulator issued new guidelines that banned TV shows that promote “Western lifestyles,” including depictions of cleavage, drinking, smoking and homosexuality.
As a result, this is not the first time China has redacted LGBTQ plot lines. In February, major Chinese streaming platforms censored an storyline in the hit 1990s TV series “Friends” in which the character Ross is divorced after his wife Carol realizes she is lesbian.
In another example from March 2019, more than two minutes of LGBTQ content — including scenes of two men kissing and use of the word “gay” — were removed from Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Russia has requested military and economic assistance from China, US officials say

National security adviser Jake Sullivan talks to reporters at the White House on December 7, 2021, in Washington, DC.

US Navy recovers wreckage of jet that crashed into aircraft carrier from South China Sea

US Navy service members recover the wreckage of a military aircraft from the bottom of the South China Sea on March 2.

7 injured after F-35 jet crashes on aircraft carrier in South China Sea

An F-35C Lightning II, assigned to the "Argonauts" of Strike Fighter Squadron 147, prepared to launch off the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson and an F-35C Lightning II, assigned to the "Black Knights" Marine Strike Fighter Squadron 314, prepared to launch off the flight deck of Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln January 22, 2022.

The Middle East is stuck in the crosshairs of a worsening US-China rivalry

Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, second from right, walks with Chinese President Xi Jinping as they arrive for a welcome ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Monday, July 22, 2019.

I moved from China to the US because of my daughter’s dyslexia. It was the only way to give her what she needed.

Ann and Michelle at the Confetti premiere
Ann Hu with her daughter. Courtesy of Ann Hu
  • Ann Hu, a director, moved from China to the US to help her daughter with her dyslexia.
  • Their story inspired her movie “Confetti.”
  • This is her story, as told to Kelly Burch.

When my daughter Michelle was 3 years old, her Chinese teacher took me aside. “Your daughter likely has dyslexia,” she told me.

I paused. I had gone to college in the United States and had a thriving career in consulting afterward. I made award-winning films in English. keen shoes But at that moment, my fluency wasn’t enough to understand what the teacher was saying.

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked the teacher.

This time, her face froze. “It means she’ll need special attention,” she finally said.

Searching for answers

After speaking with Michelle’s teacher, I tried to find more answers, but it was impossible. It was the mid-2000s, and internet access was restricted in China. Even if I’d had the entire web at my fingertips I would have struggled, because dyslexia is not well known in China.

When Michelle turned 6, she enrolled in public school. Some kids in Michelle’s class could write 5,000 Chinese characters, but my daughter couldn’t write her name.

I decided to pour all my resources into helping Michelle. She went to school each day and met with tutors each afternoon, sometimes until 11 p.m. It didn’t seem to make a difference. Michelle’s classmates were making fun of her. Her teachers were powerless to help, because they didn’t understand dyslexia either. We were miserable, and I knew I had to do something about it.

Emigrating in search of a better education

Michelle had been born in the United States, and we were both US citizens. I had taken her to China as a baby because it was important to me that she learn Chinese and be raised in my culture. I figured she could move to the United States for high school or college, once her Chinese roots were well established.

Michelle’s dyslexia changed that plan. When she was 7, we moved back to New York.

At first our problems were nike outlet compounded. Michelle spoke the language, but it was Beijing English, not New York English. Her teachers had difficulty distinguishing which of her challenges were language-related and which were because of her learning disability.

Eventually I learned more about special education in the United States and was able to get Michelle into a school where she thrived. Today she’s a confident, happy teenager who just started her sophomore year.

Learning disabilities in China versus the US

My experience with the American school system taught me that the US doesn’t have the cure for dyslexia, as I had hoped. However, we do have a society that talks openly about learning differences and is willing to help kids learn in the way that works for them.

That’s what’s missing in China. There’s a total lack of awareness about learning disabilities. I was once asked if dyslexia is contagious. Because people don’t understand learning differences, children with them are stigmatized and marginalized. Soon they disappear from the mainstream education system.

The Chinese value education above all else. Raising Michelle has shown me that my culture needs to focus on more than just the volume of knowledge that we give our children; we need to make sure they are creative and confident too.

Why I share my story

Navigating learning disabilities can be daunting for any parent. My experience was compounded by my culture. I had to navigate an unfamiliar school system to get Michelle the support she needed, while also learning about a new concept and easics shoes xamining cultural ideas of what it means to be a successful student and a successful parent.

After 16 years of parenting Michelle, I’ve realized that dyslexia isn’t a curse, it’s a gift. People with different styles of learning have strengths that I can only dream of. I’ve watched my daughter blossom into a self-assured young woman who loves to interact with the world around her.

‘China’s richest woman’ missing for years suddenly reemerges in ‘threatening’ phone calls to family

A real estate mogul dubbed “China’s richest woman” before her sudden disappearance in 2017 has recently reached out to her ex-husband.

Ascent to wealth: Weihong Duan, who also goes by her English nickname “Whitney,” became a billionaire through Taihong, the real estate development firm she founded in 1996. She ran the company until she mysteriously vanished on Sept. 5, 2017.

  • Duan reportedly grew up in a one-room apartment in a small town in Shandong province. She charted her path out of poverty through hard work — graduating at the top of her class at the state-controlled Nanjing Polytechnic Institute dr martens boots and later landing a job as executive assistant to the university president.
  • The job brought Duan in close proximity to Chinese authorities. Over time, she mastered the skills necessary to maintain good relations with high-profile people. “She learned how to alter her attitude, tone of voice and language depending on her interlocutor,” her ex-husband, Desmond Shum, told the New York Post. “Nanjing Polytechnic was closely associated with the People’s Liberation Army, so she also got a crash course in handling military officers.”
  • Duan set out on her own in 1996 and launched Taihong. After a series of successful projects in Tianjin, the business moved to Beijing, where Duan met Shum — a Shanghai-born, U.S.-educated man with a background in finance.
  • Duan and Shum eventually married. As a couple, they pursued business opportunities together. Duan sought out investments and forged important connections, while Shum executed her vision into actual buildings.

Where it went wrong: Duan’s downfall resulted from her ties to politicians whose influence in the Chinese Communist Party had deteriorated due to controversy. Among them is former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, whose family allegedly amassed $2.7 billion during his term, The New York Times reported in 2012.

  • Wen allegedly served as Duan’s silent partner when she bought stakes in a startup called Ping An Insurance Company. When the firm went public, Duan, through Taihong’s Hong Kong arm Great Ocean, reportedly sold her stake for $400 million, while Wen’s family ended up gaining $2.2 billion, a large chunk of their alleged $2.7 billion total wealth.
  • Duan became a billionaire when she built the Beijing Airport Cargo Terminal, China’s largest air cargo logistics facility, according to the New York Post. She allegedly did this in partnership with Sun Zhengcai, a Beijing official who would later be ousted from the Chinese Communist Party and sentenced to life imprisonment for bribery.
  • Sun was a contender for a top post in 2022 as either China’s general secretary, premier or even as a successor to President Xi Jinping. steve madden shoes Duan served as one of his campaign managers, helping him “move his pieces on China’s political chessboard,” Shum said.
  • Xi, however, has expressed no plans of stepping down. In July 2017, Sun was fired as CCP’s chief in Chongqing. In September of the same year — the same month Duan disappeared — he was officially expelled from the party. In May 2018, he was convicted for taking $27 million in bribes and sentenced to life in jail, as per the BBC.
  • The surprise call: Last week, Shum released a book titled “Red Roulette,” which details how he and Duan navigated the hostile nexus of business and politics in China. Days before the publication, he received a call from his ex-wife — the first time he heard from her in four years.
    • Shum said Duan had called him twice asking him to cancel his book’s publication. He believes she is under home detention. “She said she’s on temporary release and they can take her back any time,” Shum told NPR. “Nobody has a word for the last four years. The government never acknowledged they had taken her. And they never charged her.”
    • Shum, who now lives with their 12-year-old son in the U.K., believes the calls were being monitored by Chinese authorities. He described Duan’s second call as “more threatening.” “She asked me the ecco shoes question, ‘What would happen to our son if something unfortunate happened to me?’ She asked the question, ‘How would I feel if something happened to our son?’”
    • In a statement to the Australian Financial Review, Shum said his ex-wife had also used the Chinese warning “No good comes to those who oppose the state” during her calls. “I believe she was forced to do this because the Chinese Communist Party is afraid of what I have written in ‘Red Roulette,’” he said.
    • The calls also marked the first time their 12-year-old son heard his mother in four years. Duan’s fate remains unclear, but the fact that her son got to talk to her — indicating that she’s still alive — was the “best thing” that came out of the interaction, Shum said.

Buoyed by rising nationalism, China’s keyboard warriors take aim at Olympic athetes

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Table Tennis – Men’s Team – Semifinal – Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium – Tokyo, Japan – August 4, 2021. Jun Mizutani of Japan in action against Timo Boll of Germany REUTERS/Thomas Peter

After the Japanese table tennis team mounted an upset against the Chinese in the mixed doubles Olympic final, they found themselves facing a barrage of online hate. Even before the competitors took to the podium, death threats and messages to “go to hell” and “disappear” hey dude flooded their social media accounts.

They weren’t the only ones.

A Taiwanese badminton player was slammed for dedicating his gold medal to “my country, Taiwan.” A Japanese gymnast who beat a Chinese favorite was accused of winning on unfair grounds. A Chinese sports shooter was bullied into deleting a selfie after failing to qualify for her final.

Throughout the Tokyo Olympics, online nationalists in China have scrutinized the behavior of Chinese athletes and their competitors, pouncing on perceived insults and extolling symbolic shows of strength.

In a news conference Wednesday, Japanese table tennis player Jun Mizutani condemned the online abuse that he and his partner Mima Ito have received.

“I’ve been attacked probably more than others, so I have more immunity than others,” Mizutani said. “But that doesn’t mean that I can forgive them, and if I do, they will just move to the next target, so it needs to be dealt with properly.”

It isn’t unusual for nationalist sentiment in China to surge during the Olympics, especially one held in historic foe Japan, experts say. But the unrelenting fervor of Chinese Internet trolls seems to have hit a fever pitch in Tokyo, a symptom of a state-backed rise in nationalism that is showing signs of spiraling out of control.

“This variant of nationalism – it’s more intense, more uncompromising, and more unabashed,” said Ali Wyne, a senior analyst at the Eurasia Group who studies China. Keyboard warriors do not represent most everyday Chinese people, he emphasized, but they nonetheless reflect a citizenry that feels more powerful – and more eager to flex that power – than in years past.

Under Xi Jinping, the Chinese Communist Party skechers outlet has sought to strategically stoke national pride, declaring at the recent 100th year party centenary that China’s rise is unstoppable. This has served to strengthen the government’s – and Xi’s – grip on power, but has fueled intense anti-foreigner sentiment that has erupted in unexpected ways during the Olympics, including backlash against some Chinese athletes for losing and attacks against their victorious rivals.

The online abuse has garnered attention at a time when high-profile athletes have made public statements on the importance of mental health. In China, state-run media outlets and pockets of community members have tried to tamp down anger toward Olympians, but with limited success.

“Nationalism – once that genie is out of that bottle, it can be hard to contain,” Wyne said.

This is especially true in a country where 1 billion people have ready access to the Internet – albeit one that is tightly controlled, said Baogang He, a professor of international relations at Deakin University in Australia. Like Facebook and Twitter in the United States, China’s widely used social media platforms have evolved into environments where polarizing and extremist posts thrive. Government censorship has erased much of the nuance in online discourse, he added, leaving zealotry to take center stage.

A 23-year-old Chinese sports shooter deleted a post apologizing for not making her final when she got a deluge of comments saying that a selfie was “inappropriate” given her loss.

When Chinese table tennis players Liu Shiwen and Xu Xin lost the mixed doubles final to Mizutani and Ito, they both made public apologies as nationalist users criticized their performance on the microblogging site Weibo.

“I feel like I’ve failed the team,” Liu said to reporters after the match, tears in her eyes. “I’m sorry everyone.”

“The whole country was looking forward to this final,” Xu said. “I think the entire Chinese team cannot golden goose sneakers accept this result.”

The Olympic Games hold strong symbolic resonance in China, said Suisheng Zhao, director of the Center for China-U.S. Cooperation at the University of Denver. If the 2008 Beijing Olympics marked China’s reentry onto the world stage, this year’s Games, held amid intensifying competition between China and other world powers, are seen as a chance to show that the country is no longer rising, but at the top.

“The message is that they have regained their position,” Zhao said. “It’s a very unique sense of Chinese national rejuvenation.”

Athletes who contribute to the gold medal tally – considered the most important metric to China – have been rewarded in the public sphere.

Sprinter Su Bingtian, a 31-year-old Guangdong native who has been lionized in state media as a national star, was anointed as the “miracle of the yellow race” on Weibo after becoming the first Asian athlete since the 1930s to qualify for the men’s 100-meter final. Tang Xijing, an 18-year-old gymnast who clinched gold on the balance beam, was lauded by nationalists for using songs from a pro-China, anti-Japanese film during her floor routine.

Earlier this week, two Chinese cyclists wore pins of former communist leader Mao Zedong during their medal ceremony – a gesture praised by branches of the Communist Party, but flagged by Olympic officials as a potential violation of rules that bar political propaganda.

“We are in contact with the Chinese Olympic Committee, who have assured us that we will receive a full formal answer soon,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said. “But they’ve also assured us already that this will not happen again.”

Even when athletes win, they’re not always safe from scrutiny.

Yang Qian, a shooter who clinched China’s first gold, was briefly attacked for an old Weibo post showing off her collection of shoes from Nike – a brand that nationalists have sought to boycott for expressing concerns over forced labor practices in Xinjiang.

Taiwanese badminton duo Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin, who beat the Chinese team in the men’s doubles, have been scorned for comments that nationalists see as undermining the Communist Party’s “One-China” policy. A Taiwanese celebrity lost sponsorship deals in China after showing support for Taiwanese players as “national athletes” without specifying which nation she was referring to. An agent for Lee and Wang declined to comment on the issue, saying that it was “too sensitive.”

“In Taiwan, no athlete needs to apologize for losing a competition and not winning a gold medal, and no entertainer needs to apologize for supporting his or her country’s athlete,” Taiwan’s ministry of culture said in a pointed Facebook post on Tuesday.

Nationalist fervor has already become a “dangerous driving force” in China, Zhao said, constraining the government’s foreign policy approach and limiting options for how to improve ties with the United States, Japan, Taiwan and others. And with just six months until the Beijing Winter Olympics, hypernationalists in the country could continue to expand their influence.

“Can this type of emotional and irrational sentiment really serve China’s interest?” Zhao asked. “How far will Xi let this go on? We have to wait and see.”