glimpse(China) — ‘Crimes against humanity,’ Chengdu lockdown, Xi’s third term & more

A weekly roundup of news around China

Photo+Courtesy%3A+U.S.+Mission+Photo%2FEric+Bridiers

In 2019, the U.S. co-hosted an event with Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.K. at the U.N. / to raise awareness about human rights abuses in Xinjiang. Photo Courtesy: U.S. Mission Photo/Eric Bridiers

Lausky Liu, Contributor

1. U.N. cites China’s possible humanity crimes

The United Nations released a long-awaited report on Wednesday that accuses China of committing “crimes against humanity” in its mass detention of Uyghur and other Muslim ethnic minorities. It concludes that “urgent attention” is required from the international community, while China needs to further clarify the details of its human rights violations. This 46-page assessment was released shortly before Michelle Bachelet, the U.N. high commissioner who visited China early this year, stepped down from her role.

Background: The Biden administration once referred to the discriminatory detention in Xinjiang as a “genocide.” The U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC) has also released a report, citing “the Chinese government’s systematic violations of human rights and failure to fulfill its obligations under international treaties pose a challenge to the rules-based international order.”

More:

Full report

China seeks to stop UN rights chief from releasing Xinjiang report

Xinjiang Rights Report Ratchets Up Standoff Between the U.S. and China

2. China insisting on zero Covid

China has again locked down one of its major cities – Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province – because of the discovery of local Covid cases. It is the largest city-wide lockdown since the two-month lockdown in Shanghai back in April. About 21 million residents were confined to their homes and not allowed to leave without special permission. Mass testing was undertaken and 157 cases were reported cases last Wednesday and more than 700 cases since Aug. 25.

Meanwhile: Sichuan is also experiencing a record-setting drought and heat, causing broad disruption to the city that mainly relies on the dam to generate electricity. The local government has been forced to limit the energy use of local factories and residents, and is even imposing rolling blackouts. Video online showed that despite the bush fire, people still needed to go out and take the Covid tests. Anhui, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and other provinces have also introduced power restriction measures.

More:

China waits on ‘miracle’ to end zero-Covid policy

China’s Record Drought Is Drying Rivers and Feeding Its Coal Habit 

3. Xi’s groundbreaking third term on the way

Chinese Communist Party congress, which meets every five years, is set to open in Beijing on Oct. 16. It is expected to officially secure Xi Jinping’s unprecedented third term as the president. It will cement him as the most powerful leader in the country’s history since Mao Zedong, the founder of the People’s Republic of China. However, domestic issues such as the tight Covid control, decelerating economy or the real estate crisis remain to be solved.

Background: Last year, the party released the third resolution in its history. It focused on “the major achievements and historical experience of the CCP’s 100 years of endeavors,” which appeared to consolidate Xi’s position and pave the way for his third term. Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping delivered the previous two in the 1990s.

More:

Why a Xi Jinping Third Term Looks Secure

Ending Term Limits for China’s Xi Is a Big Deal. Here’s Why 

4. U.S.-China tech cold war escalated

The computer hardware giants AMD and Nvidia were warned by the U.S. government not to sell their chips for AI-related applications to China due to the new restrictions. It is the latest effort to block China from receiving powerful semiconductors and, according to U.S. officials, “keep advanced technologies out of the wrong hands.” The ban was imposed amid the tensions over Taiwan, where most of the world’s most advanced chips are made.

Meanwhile: Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey visited Taiwan last Tuesday, following House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s earlier visit. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen told him she wanted to bolster cooperation with the U.S. in the semiconductor and other high-tech industries. A spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused the U.S. of trying to impose a “technology blockade” on China, monopolizing advanced technologies and maintaining technological hegemony.

More:

Taiwan Is Caught in a Great Game Over Microchips

Inside the fight to control the microchips that power your car and computer  

5. American big tech companies leaving China

The U.S. technology giants like Apple and Google are seeking alternative countries to manufacture their devices and are slowly moving some jobs outside China. The shift is a response to the mounting concerns over China’s draconian Covid control, U.S-China tensions, increasing labor costs and slowing economic growth. Part of the next generation iPhone and Pixel phone will be assembled in India and Vietnam.

Background: Despite the leaving plan, it will be a hard mission for technology companies to get rid of “made in China” because the country is still the world-leading electronics manufacturer. More than half of Apple’s 200 suppliers have facilities in China, which contributed $14.6 billion to the company’s third-quarter earnings.

More:

US Goes on the Offensive in Its China Tech War

Censorship, Surveillance and Profits: A Hard Bargain for Apple in China

6. Pelosi Taiwan visit’s aftermath

Two U.S. warships sailed through the Taiwan Strait last Sunday for the first time since U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan. The U.S. officials said it was to demonstrate its commitment to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific, but was based on a very early plan. The Chinese military said its forces “remain on high alert,” and are ready to thwart any provocation.

Background: Since Pelosi’s two-day visit in Taiwan, China has launched a series of military exercises around the Taiwan Strait to demonstrate the consequence of what it considers threats to its sovereignty. Taiwan officials said 23 Chinese military sorties and eight Chinese ships were tracked around Taiwan last Sunday, seven of which crossed the centerline dividing the strait.

More:

How China Could Choke Taiwan

China’s median line violations suggest Taiwan ‘decapitation’ rehearsal

7. Taiwan shoots at China drones

The Taiwanese Army shot down a civilian drone from China last Thursday on Kinmen islands, which are close to mainland China. According to local media, Chinese drones have recently entered Kinmen several times, which prompted Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to ask its troops to take a strong response for safeguarding the airspace.

Meanwhile: The security office of Xiamen, a city across Taiwan, has suspended the use of civilian drones and other small aircraft from Sept. 3 to Sept. 12 to ensure the safe and successful holding of the local trade fair. Hot-air balloons, paper lanterns and large kites are also on the ban list.

More:

Taiwan premier says drone shot down near China was ‘appropriate’

Taiwan Shoots Down Drone, Showing Risk of Escalation With China

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