Ij reportika Logo

Lithuania’s courtship of Taiwan rubs China the wrong way

Lithuania has angered China by allowing Taiwan to establish a representative office in its capital, Vilnius. At the same time, Lithuania, a staunchly anti-authoritarian government, has evacuated its embassy In Beijing and recalled its diplomats for “consultations.” China has spent much time and effort in recent years in attempting to persuade a dwindling number of nations that still have diplomatic ties with Taiwan to switch their recognition to China. Lithuania switched the other way. According to reporting by the Financial Times, China had downgraded Lithuania’s status in Beijing and striped its officials of diplomatic immunity because of its relationship with Taiwan. Lithuania was concerned about the safety of its diplomats in Beijing, the newspaper said. Meanwhile, a commentator for the Global Times, an ultra-nationalistic Chinese daily tabloid run under the auspices of China’s People’s Daily newspaper, accused Lithuania of launching “an anti-China crusade.” China has also been at odds with Czechoslovakia because of its relationship with Taiwan.   Zdanek Hrib, the mayor of Prague, the Czech capital, has said that he considers himself a “Taiwan fan.” He first visited Taiwan in March 2019 and met with his Taiwan counterpart Taipei mayor Ko Wenje as well as with Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. The Czech Republic maintained unofficial relations with Taiwan even after it officially recognized the People’s Republic of China following the Communist takeover of mainland China in 1949. Taiwan, known officially as the Republic of China (ROC) now has formal diplomatic relations with only 14 countries, most of them small nations in the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Latin America. ‘Lithuania Mania’ sweeps Taiwan Lithuania’s withdrawal of its diplomats from Beijing was widely welcomed in Taiwan, with some Taiwanese citizens flying off to Lithuania bearing thank-you gifts. According to Agence France-Presse, the tiny handful of Lithuanians now living in Taiwan are suddenly in vogue among the island’s residents after their small Baltic nation did something that Taipei has long staked its identify on: standing up to China. In the months since Taiwan opened a de-facto embassy in Vilnius, Richard Sedinkinas says that he has started to receive applause in restaurants once the staff there realize where he is from. It doesn’t matter that the 41-year-old boxing instructor, as well as some two dozen Lithuanians living in Taiwan had nothing to do with his country’s decision to withdraw its diplomats from Beijing. “People like to show appreciation. They treasure someone who supports Taiwan in the face of this giant country next door,”Sedinkinas told AFP. China regards self-ruled, democratic Taiwan as part of its territory, and it baulks at any international support for the island’s sovereignty.  Dan Southerland is RFA’s founding executive editor.

Read More

Skier Eileen Gu sparks uproar in China over U.S. 2030 Olympic bid involvement

Chinese-American freestyle skier Eileen Gu, who was lauded by Chinese fans for her patriotism after choosing to represent China at the 2022 Winter Olympics, has announced she will act as goodwill ambassador in support of Salt Lake City’s 2030 Olympics bid. Gu, who was born in the United States, said she was just 15 when she decided to embrace her Chinese heritage and represent the host nation at the Olympics, taking gold in the big air and halfpipe events, and a silver medal in slopestyle. Yet Gu, 18, has been unwilling so far to address the issue of patriotic allegiance head on, and has said she is American while in the U.S., and Chinese while in China. China doesn’t permit dual citizenship, at least not officially, and Gu has never clarified which passport, or passports, she actually now holds. China’s state-controlled media lauded her haul of medals to the skies, but never probed the issue any further. “Salt Lake specifically wants to become a global destination for athletes everywhere to come train there and they want to incorporate 15 new countries into the Winter Olympics,” Gu told Time Magazine in a recent interview. “I think that’s something that’s really beautiful and I’ve always stood for that and so I’m really honored to be a part of the whole thing,” she said, adding that it was a “beautiful example of globalism.” However, Time referred to her as “China’s Eileen Gu,” saying this showed the global influence of a top-level Chinese athlete. Gu’s involvement in the Salt Lake City bid comes at a time of heightened political tensions between Washington and Beijing. In April, she attended an assembly of Chinese Olympians at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, where she got a special mention from ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jinping, who ribbed her for her love of Chinese dumplings. 15 million views in China U.S. Olympic bid spokesman Tom Kelly confirmed to the Associated Press on Tuesday that Gu participated in the bid as an “athlete representative.” “She is working with us,” Kelly said, “but we haven’t chosen her exact title.” He said Gu wouldn’t be traveling with the bid’s delegation to Switzerland to meet with International Olympics Committee (IOC) officials, but that U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn would be going. The topic has blown up the Chinese internet, with more than 15 million views reported on the #EileenGu hashtag on China’s Weibo social media platform alone on Thursday. “As a sports figure, Eileen Gu is often seen through a screen of commercial hype … but being the U.S. ambassador for the Olympic bid doesn’t mean much,” the @dibaofficialweibo account commented. “Those who scold her for it make themselves look stupid and ignorant.” @CarShooter responded sarcastically to Gu’s comment in the Time Magazine interview that she had no regrets about representing China, commenting: “Ha ha Chinese athlete Eileen Gu, thank you, really!” adding a “Bye-bye” emoticon. Former Global Times editor-in-chief Hu Xijin, usually known for his hyper-nationalistic rhetoric, was unexpectedly supportive of Gu, however. He said Gu had “defined her identity” by choosing to represent China in 2022, and had done nothing yet to suggest she was trying to change that. User @SisterFei_talks_politics_and_economics took issue with Gu’s critics, who had slammed her as an “exquisite egoist.” “I can’t understand the disdain and even anger of many people towards Eileen Gu,” the user wrote. “They think she is a person who uses her privilege to have her cake and eat it. I find these ideas ridiculous and narrow-minded.” Nationality switching Gu had never claimed to love China, but only to spend some of her time there. She had never tried to tap into any kind of nationalistic rhetoric to win favor, but had instead relied on her own talents and efforts to bring gold and silver medals for China, the user wrote. “Do we need her more, or does she need us?” they asked. Weibo user @zhongdongzongzanfeng said China should never have let Gu compete on its Olympic team. “I have nothing against her, but I am against nationality changes just to get more gold medals; gold medals won in this way are worthless,” the user wrote. Sun Youkui, sports management lecturer at Towson University, said nationality switching is actually quite common among top athletes, and that Chinese athletes have previously served as ambassadors for foreign Olympic bids. “Naturally, everyone is talking about the question of her nationality again because she just represented China in competition, and now she is helping the United States to bid for the Olympics,” Sun told RFA. “The focus is all on her.” “But there have also been examples in the past of [bid teams] seeking out top or well-known international athletes to serve as ambassadors for an Olympic bid,” Sun said. “The fact that she isn’t an athlete from that country means nothing.” “It’s to demonstrate the international reputation of Salt Lake City.” Chinese diving star Gao Min has served as ambassador for New York’s Olympic bid, while Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo played the same role for South Korea, Ding Junhui for London and Chen Lu for Sochi. Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.

Read More

Countering the lies about the Tiananmen Square massacre

Our East China expert Jenny Kin Jacobs on the occasion of the anniversary of the brutal Tiananmen massacre presented a report loaded with facts about the brutal chain of events that unfolded in China in 1989. After that report came out several Twitter handles and websites tried to whitewash it by calling it TIAN’ANMEN SQUARE MASSACRE: THE WEST’S MOST PERVASIVE LIE. Let us debunk these lies and present the counter argument with FACTS and only FACTS.

Read More

Cambodia and China deny that Beijing is building secret facility at Ream Naval Base

China is not secretly building a military facility for its exclusive use inside a naval base Cambodia, a government spokesman said, dismissing a new report that detailed how both countries have been concealing a project that first gained U.S. attention in 2019. The Washington Post reported on Monday that China is building a new facility­–its second overseas military installation after a base in Djibouti–on the northern part of Ream Naval Base on the Gulf of Thailand, where Cambodia will host a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday. The newspaper quoted a Chinese official in Beijing as saying that “a portion of the base” will be used by “the Chinese military.” The official denied it was for “exclusive” military use, telling the Post that scientists would also use the facility. Cambodian government spokesperson Phay Siphan echoed the Beijing official’s denial that it would be for exclusive Chinese military use. “There is no agreement or law saying that the construction is reserved for Chinese benefit exclusively,” he told RFA’s Khmer Service. He said the base remains open for visits from other countries, including the United States, but the Post report said Cambodian and Chinese authorities have worked hard to hide the Chinese presence in Ream, keeping the Chinese areas off limits to third-country visitors and altering their dress to avoid scrutiny. Ream base became the center of controversy in July 2019 after The Wall Street Journal cited U.S. and allied officials as confirming a secret deal to allow the Chinese to use part of the base for 30 years—with automatic renewals every 10 years after that—and to post military personnel, store weapons and berth warships. The reported deal, which would provide China with its first naval staging facility in Southeast Asia and allow it to significantly expand patrols on the South China Sea, was vehemently denied by Hun Sen, who said permitting foreign use of a military base in the country would “be in full contradiction to Cambodia’s constitution.” Last year, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman voiced concern about the Chinese military presence at Ream Naval Base during a visit to the country, citing Cambodia’s razing of two U.S.-constructed buildings on the base in 2020. After meeting with Prime Minister Hun Sen, she arranged for the U.S. Embassy to send its defense attaché for regular visits. Ten days later, the attaché arrived at the base, but he cut the tour short when he was not allowed full access, including to the sites of the two buildings. The U.S. had offered to renovate one of them, and the choice to destroy it suggested that Cambodia had accepted Chinese assistance to develop the base, a Pentagon report released last year said. A Cambodian official told RFA at that time that Cambodia never agreed to give the attaché a full tour, and that the U.S. had committed a breach of trust for asking more than what was agreed upon. Exiled political analyst Kim Sok told RFA that Cambodia and China are hiding the truth with their denials. “If any suspicions about the Chinese naval base are not resolved, Cambodia could face serious consequences—not only a diplomatic crisis in the form of pressure from the U.S.—but also it will lead to a security crisis. This will affect regional issues if there is no solution,” Kim Sok said. The base will bring more Chinese into Cambodia for purposes other than tourism or business, Cambodian-American rights activist and legal expert Theary Seng told RFA. “The Cambodian political situation is fragile, especially in terms of building good communication with the free world, because the ruling party dissolved its competitors to bolster the dictatorial regime. This has enabled China to [pounce on] the opportunity to increase its influence [in the region],” she said. Australia-based political scientist Carl Thayer said the semantics don’t change the situation. “Ream Naval Base is a Cambodian base on its own territory. Are they allocating a section that China can use? And if so, can Cambodians gain access to it without seeking prior permission?” he asked. “So Hun Sen says it’s not a base, it is a facility, and it’s still a base. Or [as] Shakespeare [said], ‘A rose by any other name would smell as sweet,’” added Thayer, an emeritus professor at the University of New South Wales in Australia. “A Chinese navy base in Cambodia, if it’s called a facility, it’s still a Chinese navy base,” he said. Translated by Samean Yun. Written in English by Eugene Whong.

Read More

Vietnamese journalist in failing health after 2 years in prison

A Vietnamese journalist is in failing health after serving two years of a prison sentence for criticizing the country’s one-party communist government, RFA has learned. Prison authorities have rejected requests he be allowed to seek medical treatment outside his jail. Le Huu Minh Tuan, a member of the Vietnam Independent Journalists’ Association, was arrested on June 12, 2020, on a charge of “conducting propaganda against the state,” and is now serving an 11-year term at the Bo La Detention Center in southern Vietnam’s Binh Duong province. Tuan had been held first at another detention center in Ho Chi Minh City’s Binh Thanh district, where harsh conditions behind bars caused his health to deteriorate, his sister Na told RFA after speaking with Tuan on May 26 in the first family visit allowed to him since his arrest. “My brother is in very bad health. I couldn’t recognize him,” Na said, describing Tuan as emaciated and hard of hearing. “He has scabies, and he’s also malnourished as the food and living conditions where he’s being held are so tough.” Detention center officials have refused Tuan’s request to get medical care at an outside facility, though family members are allowed to send medicine to him inside the jail, Na said. Tuan had been kept in his cell all day while serving the first two years of his sentence at the Phan Dan Luu Detention Center in Binh Thanh, but now is allowed outside for 15 to 30 minutes each day at his new jail in Binh Duong, Na said. “However, the food there is horrible and has no nutrition at all,” she said. “They feed him only rice and a poor quality of soup without salt or other spices, and the rice itself is only half-cooked and mixed with sand.” The number of family visits allowed to prisoners at the Bo La Detention Center is restricted, and relatives can bring in only limited amounts of food, Na said. “For example, when Tuan ran out of milk and wanted to have some fruit, I went to the prison cafeteria to register to buy some for him, but was told I couldn’t do it,” she said. Tuan’s family had heard no news of him for the first two years following his arrest, not knowing whether he was alive or dead. They were finally told that he had been sent to the Bo La facility in Binh Duong on April 14, Na said. “Now we feel relieved, because we know we can visit him occasionally from now on.” Vietnamese independent journalist Pham Doan Trang is shown in an undated photo. Photo: icj.org Mother of jailed writer accepts award Another jailed Vietnamese writer, Pham Doan Trang, this week was awarded the 2022 Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders, with her mother, Bui Thi Thien Can, accepting the honor in Geneva, Switzerland, on her behalf. Speaking at the presentation ceremony, Can said she was proud of her daughter, who is now serving a nine-year sentence in Vietnam for “spreading propaganda against the state.” “[Trang] has been determined and persevering in pursuing a path that she fully understands is a dangerous and arduous journey,” Can said. “She has dedicated herself and fought tirelessly for democracy and human rights in Vietnam and for the freedom and happiness of the Vietnamese people.” Accompanying Can to Geneva were Tran Quynh Vi — codirector of the California-based NGO Legal Initiatives for Vietnam and owner of Luat Khoa (Law) Magazine — and democracy activist Will Nguyen. Independent journalists in Vietnam are still working but face massive challenges, Vi said in remarks following the award ceremony. “The good news is that in spite of Ms. Trang’s arrest, our newspapers are still published regularly and we have more and more contributors,” she said. “And the more they prohibit us, the more we want to work in the area.” Also speaking in Geneva, activist Will Nguyen called on citizens of Switzerland and other developed countries to alert their lawmakers and diplomats to Vietnam’s ongoing abuses of human rights. “I think we have a lot of leverage,” said Nguyen, a Vietnamese-American who was arrested for taking part in public protests in Vietnam in 2018 and then deported from the country by a Ho Chi Minh City court. “The more we look into this issue, the more likely it is that the Vietnamese government will treat its citizens with more respect,” he said. A prominent human rights activist and blogger, Trang was arrested on Oct. 6, 2020, and sentenced to nine years in prison on Dec. 14, 2021, on a charge of disseminating anti-state propaganda. The indictment against Trang also accused her of speaking with two foreign media outlets — Radio Free Asia and the British Broadcasting Corporation — “to allegedly defame the government of Vietnam and fabricate news,” according to a letter sent by 25 human rights groups calling for her release ahead of her trial. In addition to the Martin Ennals Award, Trang has also received the 2017 Homo Homini Award presented by the Czech human rights organization People in Need, and the Press Freedom Prize in 2019 from Paris-based media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. Translated by Anna Vu for RFA’s Vietnamese Service. Written in English by Richard Finney.

Read More

The Chinese mighty influence on the World Cinema

The Chinese mighty influence on the World Cinema According to @StatistaCharts, China is world’s Largest Film Market, overtaking North America with 47 billion yuan (7.4 billion USD) of box office revenue in 2021. Let’s discuss Chinese influence on the world cinema through its gigantic market and its economic influence! 𝗣𝗿𝗲𝘀𝘀𝘂𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗰𝘀 Hollywood Studios are pressurized by China to indulge in censorship to suit the Chinese narrative. They thus indulge in self censorship, post release censorship and cutting out movies scenes before its China release. 𝗕𝗮𝗻 𝗠𝗼𝘃𝗶𝗲𝘀 Dr Strange 2 was banned recently. The reason was a newspaper box of Dajiyuan the Chinese language EpochTimes (critical of Chinese authoritarianism) appearing in one shot of the movie. Following are some of the movies which suffered a similar fate. Recently, The Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF) has banned a Hong Kong film from screening in Malaysia for allegedly glorifying violent protests and for its potential to affect Malaysia-China bilateral relations. The film, ‘May You Stay Forever Young’, depicts a 17-year-old girl’s attempt to kill herself during the massive anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong and her friends’ efforts to rescue her. 𝗕𝗮𝗻 𝗔𝗿𝘁𝗶𝘀𝘁𝘀 Actor John Cena had to apologize to Chinese audience after calling Taiwan a country to avoid getting banned. Many other prominent artists, however, got banned in China in past decades. Show Tibet/Taiwan/Hongkong and get banned Any movie in the world cant showcase these nations as independent nations or nations under captivity. Even attending concerts for countries like Tibet will ensure a ban on the artist and all his/her movies. 𝗖𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗼𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗦𝗰𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀 The 2015 sci-fi movie Pixel made it into China after removing a scene of aliens blasting a hole into the GreatWall of China. The makers put a scene where the aliens are smashing the Taj Mahal in India instead. 𝗕𝗮𝗻 𝗔𝘄𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗦𝗵𝗼𝘄𝘀 China also bans the broadcast of the Award Shows where an uncensored film is getting nominated/honored. Music Censorship 𝗢𝗯𝗷𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻𝘀 𝘁𝗼 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗖𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗲𝘀𝗲 influenced world cinema Many countries have objected to the release of the movies influenced by China. US Market vs the Chinese Market The growth of China in the movie world is significant. The stats show why Hollywood cant resist the Chinese temptation. The following data is from the year 2021. China finances Hollywood China finances many Hollywood movies and the number of movies it finance is on the rise. Chinese movies are also getting shelved!! Recently, a film “Hidden in the Dust”, which reflects the living conditions of the people at the bottom of northwest China, was taken off the shelves after breaking through the box office of over 100 million yuan. The reason for this has sparked heated debate. On July 8 this year, a Chinese reality film “Hidden in the Dust”, which has been withdrawn many times, was finally approved by the cultural department for screening. This small-budget film cost only about 2 million yuan, but within 60 days of its launch, it created an astonishing record of breaking the box office of 100 million yuan. However, before the film’s network key had expired, the film was removed from the theaters ahead of schedule due to reasons such as “catering to the West”, and Chinese streaming media platforms followed closely. Wang Ruiqin, former member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference of Qinghai Province, who lives in the United States, said in an interview that “Hidden in the Dust” just reflects the current situation of Northwest society. Which movie will surely get banned There is a 𝗽𝗮𝘁𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗻 𝗯𝗲𝗵𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗹𝗮𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗰𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗼𝗿𝘀𝗵𝗶𝗽𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗯𝗮𝗻𝘀. Just like Chinese influence on the world media and Chinese influence on the cultural narratives, the Chinese influence on the world cinema is also massive. Following are some of the common themes that gets banned by China. “Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” Henry Louis Gates Jr Sources: Dr.Jenny Kin Jacobs compiled and curated this report jenny_kjacobs

Read More