All posts tagged: China

Perils of North Koreans fleeing to China

Perils of North Koreans fleeing to China

China shares a border with North Korea, it has become the first destination for desperate North Koreans who risk their lives to escape. An unofficial figure estimates that there are between 50,000 and 200,000 North Koreans living in China. The Chinese government denies most of them refugee status, instead treating them as economic migrants who have illegally crossed the border to seek work. Most have no formal identification or legal status. In addition, Beijing works together with Pyongyang to capture defectors and send them back, making their lives as escapees completely untenable. In the interviews many North Koreans now settled in the UK. Many of them said they had been caught by the Chinese police and repatriated to the north a number of times, but managed to escape again and again. The combination of desperation, the denial of legal status and the terror of the Chinese police operation exposes these people to gross exploitation – especially women. Among those who successfully leave North Korea, women make up the majority. In their search for freedom, many …

China’s VPN crackdown

Internet censors have a new target. The Chinese and Russian governments recently announced plans to block the use of “virtual private networks” (VPNs), which are a key tool for people trying to avoid internet restrictions and surveillance. This crackdown isn’t surprising, given the two countries’ histories of monitoring their citizens and blocking certain websites and online services. But it raises the question of whether other governments will follow this lead and introduce their own VPN bans, especially given how VPNs currently allow citizens to avoid the extensive internet surveillance that Western governments practice. China and other countries block many websites they don’t want their citizens to access, including sites such as Twitter and YouTube that allow users to freely post almost anything they like. But Chinese internet users wishing to evade these restrictions can currently use VPNs to visit these sites, because they provide access via a separate encrypted server that can’t be monitored by the government. Since Chinese internet service providers only filter out connections to the likes of Twitter and YouTube, users can …

Religion in China

Introduction Religious observance in China is on the rise. The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is officially atheist, but it has grown more tolerant of religious activity over the past forty years. Amid China’s economic boom and rapid modernization, experts point to the emergence of a spiritual vacuum as a trigger for the growing number of religious believers, particularly adherents of Christianity and traditional Chinese religious groups. Though China’s constitution explicitly allows “freedom of religious belief,” adherents across all religious organizations, from state-sanctioned to underground and banned groups, still face persecution and repression. Freedom and Regulation Article thirty-six of the Chinese constitution says that Chinese citizens “enjoy freedom of religious belief.” It bans discrimination based on religion and it forbids state organs, public organizations, or individuals from compelling citizens to believe in—or not to believe in—any particular faith. In 2005, the State Council passed new Regulations on Religious Affairs, which allow state-registered religious organizations to possess property, publish literature, train and approve clergy, and collect donations. But religious freedom is still not universal in China. Human Rights Watch China …

Why is China always downplays India’s Contribution?

Between September 14–27, the United States and India conducted a joint military training exercise in Uttarakhand, an area less than 100 km from the Chinese border (Global Times, September 12). This combined exercise, known as Yudh Abhyas, or “training for war,” started as an army training cooperation event in 2004 and has since evolved to include the air force as well (U.S. Army Pacific, March 12, 2012). Until 2008, the main focus had been sharing logistics and tactics. Between 2009 and 2012, the exercise focused on the UN-style peacekeeping missions (U.S. Army Pacific, March 12, 2012). Since then, the main theme has shifted to counter-insurgency and more recently, counter-terrorism (U.S. Army, September 12, 2015; The Diplomat, September 16). Each year, the United States and India takes turn in hosting the exercise. China tends to be strident in its criticism of U.S. military operations and presence in the Asia-Pacific, to include U.S. increased cooperation with allies and partners as a result of the rebalancing (State Council Information Office, May 2015). The Chinese government and media repeatedly …

Chinese cracked down on scientific misconduct

A massive peer-review fraud has triggered a tough response from the Chinese government. Officials last week announced that more than 400 researchers listed as authors on some 100 now-retracted papers will face disciplinary action because their misconduct has seriously damaged China’s scientific reputation. Some institutions have barred the scientists linked to the fraud from pursuing their research—at least temporarily. And they have imposed other penalties, including canceling promotions, honors, and grants. Government ministries have also announced new “zero tolerance” policies aimed at stamping out research fraud. “We should eradicate the problem from its roots,” said He Defang, director of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s (MOST’s) regulatory division in Beijing. Although China has previously cracked down on scientific misconduct—a chronic problem—these penalties “are the harshest ever,” says Chen Bikun, an information scientist at the Nanjing University of Science and Technology in China who tracks trends in scientific publishing. MOST’s 27 July announcement marked the culmination of an investigation into the mass retraction this past April of 107 papers by Chinese authors that appeared in a single journal, Tumor …

India-China border standoff

It was the tiny Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan that sounded the alarm — Chinese soldiers had arrived with bulldozers and excavators, and were building a high-mountain road near India’s border in an area the two nuclear-armed giants have disputed over for decades. India responded to the call by sending troops last month to evict the Chinese army construction party from the Doklam Plateau. Within a few days, Indian media were running leaked video footage of soldiers from both sides shoving one another atop a grassy flatland. Two weeks ago the Chinese sent an unusual number of military patrols into the mountains of Ladakh, a remote high-altitude desert at the northern tip of India. Two Chinese patrols came on foot, two more arrived in military vehicles and a Chinese helicopter flew overhead. With all the activity, the Indian authorities failed to notice until the next morning that about 30 Chinese soldiers had pitched three tents in an area both countries claim. The tense standoff has only escalated, raising concerns in both capitals of an all-out military …