British Parliamentarians

Exclusive: Biden will push allies to act on China forced labor at G7 – adviser

Exclusive: Biden will push allies to act on China forced labor at G7 - adviser

 
FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing
 
Andrea Shalal and Trevor Hunnicutt
·2 min read
Joe Biden
Daleep Singh

By Andrea Shalal and Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will urge its Group of Seven allies to increase pressure on China over the use of forced labor in its northwestern Xinjiang province, home to the Muslim Uighur minority, a top White House official said on Friday.

U.S. President Joe Biden will attend a meeting of the G7 advanced economies in person in Britain in June, where he is expected to focus on what he sees as a strategic rivalry between democracies and autocratic states, particularly China.

Daleep Singh, deputy national security adviser to Biden and deputy director of the National Economic Council, said the G7 meeting in Cornwall would focus on health security, a synchronized economic response to the COVID-19 pandemic, concrete actions on climate change, and “elevating shared democratic values within the G7.”

“These are like-minded allies, and we want to take tangible and concrete actions that show our willingness to coordinate on non-market economies, such as China,” Singh, who is helping to coordinate the meeting, told Reuters in an interview.

“The galvanizing challenge for the G7 is to show that open societies, democratic societies still have the best chance of solving the biggest problems in our world, and that top-down autocracies are not the best path,” he said.

Singh said Washington has already taken strong actions against China over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, but would seek to expand the effort with G7 allies. Joint sanctions against Chinese officials accused of abuses in the province were announced last month by the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada.

China denies all accusations of abuse and has responded with punitive measures of its own against the EU.

Singh said details were still being worked out ahead of the meeting, but the summit offered an opportunity for U.S. allies to show solidarity on the issue.

“We’ve made our views clear that our consumers deserve to know when that the goods they’re importing are made with forced labor,” he said. “Our values need to be infused in our trading relationships.”

Washington, he said, would be looking for the G7 to take clear steps “to elevate our shared values, as democracies and, and those certainly apply to what’s going on Xinjiang.”

Activists and U.N. rights experts say at least 1 million Muslims have been detained in camps in Xinjiang. The activists and some Western politicians accuse China of using torture, forced labor and sterilizations. China says its camps provide vocational training and are needed to fight extremism.

The White House said on Friday that Biden will travel to the United Kingdom and Belgium in June for his first overseas trip since taking office, including a stop at the G7 Summit in Cornwall, UK, from June 11-13.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal And Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

UK spy chief says West faces ‘moment of reckoning’ on tech

UK spy chief says West faces 'moment of reckoning' on tech

 
KELVIN CHAN
·2 min read
Jeremy Fleming

LONDON (AP) — Western countries risk losing control of technologies that are key to internet security and economic prosperity to nations like China and Russia if they don’t act to deal with the threat, one of the U.K.’s top spy chiefs warned Friday.

“Significant technology leadership is moving east” and causing a conflict of interests and values, Jeremy Fleming, director of government electronic surveillance agency GCHQ, said in a speech.

Singling out China as a particular threat, he said the country’s “size and technological weight means that it has the potential to control the global operating system.”

 

China is an early adopter of emerging technologies but it also has a “competing vision for the future of cyberspace,” and it’s playing an influential role in the debate around international rules and standards, he said.

He raised the possibility of countries with “illiberal values” like China building them into technical standards that the world ends up relying on, and using their state power to control and dominate technology markets, turning them into arenas of geopolitical competition.

Russian hacking and other nefarious online activity, meanwhile, poses the most acute threat to the U.K. but, like a smartphone app vulnerability, could be avoided.

China’s Foreign Ministry blasted the remarks, saying they were “totally groundless and unreasonable.”

“Western countries, such as the U.K. and U.S., are actually the true empires of hacking and tapping,” ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a briefing in Beijing.

Left unchecked, foreign adversaries could threaten the design and freedom of the internet, Fleming said. He citied as examples the security for emerging technologies like “smart city” sensors used to manage services more efficiently or digital currencies, saying they could be hardwired for data collection or other intrusive capabilities that go against open and democratic societies.

Britain and other Western countries face “a moment of reckoning,” Fleming said.

“The rules are changing in ways not always controlled by government,” Fleming said in his speech at Imperial College London. “And without action it is increasingly clear that the key technologies on which we will rely for our future prosperity and security won’t be shaped and controlled by the West.

Britain should not take its status as a cyber power for granted, and it should work on developing “sovereign technologies” such as high-speed quantum computing and cryptographic technology to protect sensitive information, Fleming said.

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For all of AP’s tech coverage, visit https://apnews.com/apf-technology

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Follow Kelvin Chan at https://www.twitter.com/chanman

Germany’s Merkel rejects criticism of her Wirecard lobbying in China

Germany's Merkel rejects criticism of her Wirecard lobbying in China

 
Virtual climate summit
 
Christian Kraemer and John O’Donnell
·3 min read
Angela Merkel

By Christian Kraemer and John O’Donnell

FRANKFURT (Reuters) -German chancellor Angela Merkel rejected criticism of her lobbying for Wirecard in China months before it collapsed, telling lawmakers she had no reason to suspect the firm of criminality as she sought to help it do business there.

Her detailed account of events leading to a state visit to China in September 2019 shone a rare light on the inner workings of government and its lobbying for business, marking the climax of a public inquiry into the country’s biggest post-war fraud.

Wirecard, which began by processing payments for gambling and pornography, had been hailed as a rare German technology success story, although few really understood it. Once valued at $28 billion, it abruptly unravelled last year.

In her testimony, Merkel outlined how Wirecard’s aim of buying a Chinese company fitted in with her agenda of helping German companies on the trip, lobbying she described as a normal part of her job.

“What is known since Summer 2020 … about Wirecard was not known in 2018/2019,” said Merkel, adding: “There was no reason to think that there were serious irregularities, in spite of press reports.”

Merkel gave a vague account of her meeting, shortly before her journey to China, with Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, a former German economy minister who lobbied on behalf of Wirecard, saying she did not remember if he brought up the company.

Highlighting the fact that EY, Wirecard’s auditor, had signed off on the company’s accounts and emphasising that she had no reason to doubt the information she had been given by the Finance Ministry, Merkel emphasised her ignorance at the time.

“There is no 100% protection against criminal behaviour,” she said.

Merkel is the latest politician to wash her hands of the scandal, after Olaf Scholz, her deputy, blamed Wirecard’s auditor, EY, for failing to catch the fraud. EY has said it acted professionally.

A host of other officials have rejected responsibility, saying they should not be blamed for the mishaps that led German authorities to pursue the company’s critics for years rather than examine Wirecard itself.

Much evidence uncovered by the inquiry suggests German officials acted in ignorance, although lawmakers believe Wirecard’s use of former politicians and intelligence officials for lobbying helped shield it from critics.

Germany’s fragmented patchwork of regional authorities, all with a role to play in holding Wirecard to account, meant that the company was largely given free rein.

Lawmakers say that the German government was biased in favour of the company, turning a blind eye to allegations of irregularities in the run up to its collapse.

“The Chancellor lobbied for Wirecard with the most powerful man in China,” said Fabio De Masi, one of the lawmakers leading the public inquiry, asking why she gave it such priority.

In power since 2005, Merkel remains popular, although her legacy, such as her 2015 decision to open Germany’s borders to refugees fleeing war in the Middle East, divided opinion.

The Wirecard debacle tarnished her government’s reputation by shining a spotlight on the lengths some German politicians have gone to in order to support companies.

Stephan Klaus Ohme of Transparency International said it had exposed cracks in Germany’s laissez-faire model towards industry, leaving companies largely to their own devices.

“In Germany, you should stick to the rules but if you don’t, nothing happens. The penalties are laughable,” he added.

($1 = 0.8329 euros)

(Additional reporting by Paul Carrel and Tom Sims; Writing by John O’Donnell; Editing by Alexander Smith and Elaine Hardcastle)

Japan to host first joint military drill with US, France

Japan to host first joint military drill with US, France

 
The exercise, running from May 11 to 17, will be the first large-scale exercise in Japan involving ground troops from all three countries
 
·2 min read

Japan will hold a joint military drill with US and French troops in the country’s southwest next month, the defence minister said Friday, as China’s actions in regional waters raise concern.

The exercise, running from May 11 to 17, will be the first large-scale exercise in Japan involving ground troops from all three countries, the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) said in a statement.

It comes as Tokyo seeks to deepen defence cooperation beyond its key US ally to counter Beijing’s growing assertiveness in the East and South China seas.

“France shares the vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific,” Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi told reporters.

“By strengthening cooperation between Japan, the United States and France, we’d like to further improve the tactics and skills of the Self-Defense Forces in defending remote island territories,” he said.

Paris has strategic interests in the Indo-Pacific where it has territories, including the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean and French Polynesia in the South Pacific.

The joint drills will be held at the JGSDF’s Kirishima training ground and Camp Ainoura in the Kyushu region and include amphibious operation exercises.

Last week, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and US President Joe Biden vowed to stand firm together against China and step up cooperation including on technology.

Japan has long said it feels threatened by China’s vast military resources and territorial disputes.

It is particularly concerned by Chinese activity after the Japanese-administered Senkaku islands, which Beijing claims and calls the Diaoyu.

Washington has reiterated in recent months that the US-Japan Security Treaty covers the disputed islands.

China claims the majority of the South China Sea, invoking its so-called nine-dash line to justify what it says are historic rights to the key trade waterway.

Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all contest parts of China’s declared territory in the sea.

An international tribunal in The Hague in 2016 invalidated China’s claims in the South China Sea in a first-ever ruling, also saying Chinese reclamation activities in the Spratly Islands are illegal. Beijing rejected the decision.

kh/sah/jfx

Philippines protests China’s ‘threatening’ South China Sea presence

Philippines protests China's 'threatening' South China Sea presence

 
FILE PHOTO: Philippine Navy personnel stand at attention as PN’s first Strategic Sealift Vessel Tarlac docks during the ceremonial arrival at Pier 13 of Manila South Harbour
 
·2 min read

MANILA (Reuters) – The Philippines has sent two new diplomatic protests to China over its failure to withdraw what it called on Friday “threatening” vessels that were massing in contested areas of the South China Sea.

The Philippines has ramped up its rhetoric in recent weeks over the lingering presence of hundreds of Chinese boats in its 200-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), testing relations between two countries that have sought to heal their historic rifts.

The Philippine foreign ministry said maritime officials had observed the “continued unauthorised presence and activities” of 160 Chinese fishing and militia vessels around the disputed Spratly islands and Scarborough shoal, as of April 20.

Five Chinese coastguard vessels were also spotted around the areas.

“The continued swarming and threatening presence of the Chinese vessels creates an atmosphere of instability and is a blatant disregard of the commitments by China to promote peace and stability in the region,” the foreign ministry said.

It comes as the Philippines announces a boosting of its presence of vessels in its EEZ. Under international law, foreign vessels are permitted to make “innocent passage” through a country’s EEZ.

Chinese diplomats have denied that militia were aboard the vessels.

China’s embassy in Manila did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday on the new protests.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, where about $3 trillion worth of ship-borne trade passes each year. An international arbitral tribunal in 2016 invalidated China’s expansive claim, which is based on its own maps.

Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also have competing claims to various islands and features.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte said on Monday he was prepared to deploy navy ships to assert the country’s sovereign rights to oil and mineral resources in its EEZ, telling China that if it started drilling for oil, so will he.

(Reporting by Karen Lema; Editing by Martin Petty)

Warmly Welcome the British Parliamentarians’ Recognition of China’s Atrocities Against the Uyghurs as Genocide.

Warmly Welcome the British Parliamentarians' Recognition of China's Atrocities Against the Uyghurs as Genocide.

Warmly Welcome the British Parliamentarians' Recognition of China's Atrocities Against the Uyghurs as Genocide

UYGHUR TILIDA:

ENGLISH TILIDA:

RUSSIAN TILIDA:

 

Warmly Welcome the British Parliamentarians’ Recognition
of China’s Atrocities Against the Uyghurs as Genocide.

We are glad to hear that the British Parliamentarians recognized the atrocities
perpetrated against the Uyghurs in occupied East Turkistan as genocide. This
recognition of genocide follows similar determinations made by the U.S. State
Department, Canadian and Dutch Parliamentarians.
China occupied East Turkistan moving a massive number of troops, spreading CCP’s
propaganda, and made empty promises after assassinating East Turkistan’s elite
leaders, which included president Ahmetjan Kasimi with the help of the Soviet Union
in 1949. China’s government has systematically used genocidal policy against
Uyghurs and other Turkic-speaking peoples since occupied.
China has intensified its unhumanitarian policies by imprisoning millions in secret
concentration camps, which can be regarded as the largest-scale detention since the
Holocaust. Organ harvesting, forced labor, forced abortion, sterilization, sexual
abuses, gang rape, forced children separation, mental torture since 2014. Under the
CCP Sponsorship and protection, 1.1millon Han Chinese authorities often arranged in
the Uyghur families while Chinese authorities took their husbands to jail or detained
them in the camps. Uyghur women and girls are facing sexual abuse and other
harassment in their own homes.
We call all civilized and peace-loving worlds; follow the United States. British,
Canadian, and Dutch parliaments recognize China’s atrocities against Uyghurs as
genocide. And take decisive action such as deploying Peacekeeping troops,
abolishing trade agreements, and cancel the 2022 Olympics to stop ongoing China’s
genocide. Millions of innocent fathers, mothers, and children who are being
destroyed every minute in very secret and silent ways desperately need your help to
survive.
Thank you,
East Turkestan Government in Exile
Website: http://www.etgov-in-exile.org
Address: 2021 L St NW Ste 101-356 Washington, DC 20036
April 22, 2021

British Parliamentarians Recognize The Atrocities Against The Uyghurs As Genocide

British Parliamentarians Recognize The Atrocities Against The Uyghurs As Genocide

Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab

On April 22, 2021, British Parliamentarians recognized the atrocities perpetrated against the Uyghurs as genocide. This debate was only the second time the U.K. House of Commons was asked to recognize ongoing atrocities as genocide, with the first being in the case of Daesh atrocities against Yazidis, Christians and others. This recognition of genocide follows similar determinations made by the U.S. State Department, Canadian and Dutch Parliamentarians.

The evidence discussed during the debate included allegations of mass killings, mass incarceration in camps where Uyghurs would be subjected to torture and abuse, including rape and sexual violence, separation of children from their parents, forced sterilizations, forced abortions, forced labor and much more. The Chinese government denies these atrocities.

 

As it stands, it is very unlikely that the Chinese government will take notice of this determination. Indeed, on March 31, 2021, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying rejected the allegations of genocide stating that: “No State, organization, or individual is qualified and entitled to arbitrarily determine that another country has committed genocide. In international relations, no country should use this accusation as a political label for rumor-mongering and malicious manipulation.” However, as it was discussed by British Parliamentarians during the debate in Westminster, currently there is no court that could consider the atrocities and determine them as genocide.

Indeed, as experts emphasize, “In a perfect world, the allegations of genocide against the Uyghurs would be considered by an international court or tribunal or a specially established UN investigative mechanism, but this has not been done and it is unlikely to happen, given China’s powerful position at the UN and reservations to, or non-membership of, relevant treaties. This, however, does not preclude States making their own determination and acting accordingly. In fact, States, as the duty holder under the Genocide Convention, must make such determinations to inform their responses.”

However, it cannot stop at recognizing the atrocities as genocide. Action should follow.

Indeed, the U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention) imposes duties upon State parties: the duty to prevent and punish the crime of genocide. Commenting on the duty to prevent, experts commented that: “States must conduct their monitoring, analysis and determination of at least the serious risk of genocide very early on – in order to engage their duties. This means that States need to consider the legal elements of genocide and/or risk factors, as set out, for example, in the U.N. Framework of Analysis for Atrocity Crimes and the Jacob Blaustein Institute’s Compilation of Risk Factors and Legal Norms for the Prevention of Genocide. Where, after the analysis of all relevant evidence, states conclude that the evidence indicates commission of genocide or a serious risk of genocide, their failure to act incurs their own responsibility.  The obligation to prevent exists distinct from other obligations and does not simply disappear for failure to draw a conclusion in the face of available evidence.” Unfortunately, not many States engage with such monitoring, analysis and determination that would enable them to be effective in their responses to genocide.

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As more and more States consider the question of genocide against the Uyghurs, it is crucial to take steps to give effect to the duties under the Genocide Convention. This includes suppressing the atrocities and protecting the victims. This also means ensuring justice. In order for justice being done in the future, work needs to be done now. Documenting and preserving evidence at the time of the suspected atrocity is the only way to effectively ensure justice in the future.

This could be done by a specially established U.N. mechanism. Indeed, over the U.N. established such mechanisms several times in recent years, most notably, the International, Impartial and Independent Mechanism for Syria to assist in the investigation and prosecution of persons responsible for the most serious crimes under international law committed in the Syrian Arab Republic since March 2011 (IIIM), and the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM). Considering China’s powerful position at the U.N., establishing such a mechanism is not going to be easy. However, this should not prevent States from trying. Silence and inaction cannot be justified.

 

Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab is a human rights advocate, author and co-founder of the Coalition for Genocide Response. Ochab works on the topic of genocide, with specific focus