(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NPR)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)
Pakistan officials say a South Korean national who it accused of using a business visa to preach the Gospel inside the Islamic republic has been expelled from the country.
The news comes after two Chinese nationals believed to be associated with the South Korean were killed last month by Islamic militants affiliated with the Islamic State terror group.
“Investigations have revealed that the South Korean national went to Pakistan on a business visa, set up an Urdu academy in Quetta and got involved in illegal preaching activities,” a Ministry of Interior official told ucanews.com this week. “We have revoked his visa and asked him to leave the country.”
According to World Watch Monitor, the South Korean national is Juan Won-seo. Pakistani officials told ucanews.com that 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi, who were abducted and killed last month, were preaching Christianity under Won-seo’s guidance.
However, the Hindustan Times reports that South Korea has rejected Pakistan’s claims that Lee and Meng, who were in the country on the premise that they were Mandarin teachers learning Urdu, were preaching Christianity. A South Korean official told the news outlet on June 14 that there is no evidence from Pakistan to backup the claim that they were proselytizing under the leadership of the South Korean.
World Watch Monitor notes that Lee and Meng were only two of a dozen Chinese nationals in Pakistan for Urdu classes but Chinese media has claimed that the school is “merely a front for conducting religious activities.”
According to World Watch Monitor, a Chinese student interviewed by a Chinese government-sanctioned English news outlet claimed that South Koreans recruit Chinese “teenagers to conduct missionary activities in Muslim countries.”
“Compared to Chinese, more South Koreans have been killed abroad due to risky missionary activities in conservative Islamic regions,” the student was quoted as saying. “Some Chinese voluntarily join in the dangerous missionary activities in countries like Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq after being converted by South Koreans.”
However, critics have warned that China’s placing the blame on South Korean missionaries is an attempt to “mislead the Chinese people.”
“Most Chinese Christians have become Christian through Chinese evangelists. It has been very difficult for foreign citizens to proselytise in China. China does not have a visa category for religious clergy or missionaries,” Yang Fenggang, the director of the Centre on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University in Indiana told the Hindustan Times. “Some foreign students, professionals and business people may do evangelistic work within China, but evangelistic activities are restricted.”
Carsten Vala, an associate professor of political science at Loyola University in Baltimore, Maryland, told the Hindustan Times that Chinese nationals have also been “eager to go abroad as missionaries.”
“At least one Chinese church leader I interviewed reported that his congregation had sent missionaries to Pakistan, Afghanistan, and other Arabic-speaking countries,” Vala said.
Both China and Pakistan are listed as two of the worst countries in the world when it comes to the persecution of Christians. Open Doors USA’s 2017 World Watch List ranks Pakistan as No. 4 and China as No. 39.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)
A Virginia man has been charged with espionage for transmitting top-secret documents to Chinese officials.
Kevin Patrick Mallory, 60, was arrested Thursday at his home in Leesburg, Virginia, and appeared in U.S. District Court in Alexandria.
Mallory, a self-employed consultant and Army veteran, was charged with gathering or delivering defense information to aid a foreign government and for making material false statements under the federal Espionage Act.
Mallory, a fluent Mandarin speaker, traveled to Shanghai in April, and was caught with $16,500 in two carry-on bags upon his return to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. He had failed to declare the cash.
Mallory was interviewed by the FBI in May, when he admitted he met with two people from a Chinese think tank, whom he suspected were Chinese intelligence agents. Mallory told the FBI the Chinese agents had given him a special communications device for transmitting documents.
He also told the FBI that the only documents he transferred were two unclassified blacked out security classification documents which he had written on U.S. policy matters, according to the affidavit.
Analysis of the transmitted materials revealed that two of the documents were classified as “secret,” while one of them was classified as “top secret.”
Analysis of the device through which the documents were transmitted revealed a handwritten index.
Court records indicate that Mallory worked as a special agent for the Diplomatic Security Service at the State Department.
He could face life in prison and the charges, if certain conditions are met, could make Mallory eligible for the death penalty, according to prosecutor John Gibbs.
Fox News’ Jake Gibson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE USA TODAY COLLEGE NEWS)
This year, the trend of college students protesting against speakers they find to be offensive or oppressive has led to the cancellation of speeches by such figures as alt-right writer Milo Yiannopoulos and pundit Ann Coulter. But even when universities select figures renowned for their dedication to peace, their choices are not exempt from scrutiny.
The 14th Dalai Lama — a 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the spiritual leader of Tibet — is the latest speaker to drive controversy and protest on a college campus. He was invited by the University of California-San Diego to deliver the keynote at this year’s commencement. But not all students have celebrated his visit.
With the announcement of the Dalai Lama’s speech came opposition by many Chinese students, who say he stands for divisiveness with the goal of achieving Tibetan separatism from China. (Many Tibetans view China as an oppressor keeping them from expressing their culture and religion.)
There are about 4,600 international students from China at UCSD, with China sending the most students of any foreign country.
One campus organization, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), has been outspoken about its opposition to the Dalai Lama’s presence on campus. In statements made to its WeChat page, the CSSA said it would “resist the university’s unreasonable behavior.”
When UCSD stood behind its decision to host the Dalai Lama, a group of Chinese students met with university administrators to discuss their concerns and were assured by Chancellor Pradeep Khosla that the speech would not be political in nature, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Indeed, the Dalai Lama’s two talks at UCSD — in a public forum Friday, then at commencement exercises Saturday — focused on themes of diversity and compassion.
But Chinese student Ruixuan Wang even wrote an op-ed in student paper the Guardian saying that the Dalai Lama’s very presence at graduation would “ruin our joy,” noting that many Chinese students’ families would also be present for graduation and affected by the speaker.
But the university held fast to the position that the Dalai Lama is a figure who represents peace and “global responsibility and service to humanity.”
“These are the ideals we aim to convey and instill in our students and graduates at UC San Diego,” university spokesperson Christine Clark wrote in an email to USA TODAY College. “Our focus and mission, including climate science and public good, and the messages by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama are aligned.”
It’s not the first time the Dalai Lama has been protested by college students. In 2008 Chinese students at the University of Washington protested his visit to Seattle, expressing beliefs that the Dalai Lama himself was behind violence in Tibet.
This time around, Chinese students have used some of the same rhetoric as the Chinese government to oppose the Dalai Lama. The CSSA has ties with the Chinese Consulate General in Los Angeles to promote “news and messages from the government to our members.”
Not all Chinese students identify with the opposition, however. Jesse Zhou, a Chinese senior graduating from UCSD on Saturday, says he thinks the decision to host the Dalai Lama is a good one, but understands the concerns of some students.
“It’s a bit of a slap to the face to the international students who paid four to five years of tuition money,” Zhou wrote in a message to USA TODAY College.
On May 30, the CSSA held a demonstration on Library Walk — an area at the center of campus and a free-speech zone — with signs explaining their opposition to the speaker.
Ricky Flahive, the UCSD senior chosen to give the student speech at graduation, told USA TODAY College before graduation that this demonstration was one of the only visible forms of opposition from the organization. “Generally, most of the people know about it, but I haven’t seen it be very active,” Flahive says of the movement against the Dalai Lama’s speech. “I’ve heard excitement more than I’ve heard concern so far.”
And, Flahive says, the university prepared for the possibility of protest at commencement by adding a free-speech zone in the parking lot near the location of the graduation. As the student chosen to give a speech on the same stage following the keynote, Flahive said he was excited that the university was able to bring the Dalai Lama to UCSD. As far as the possibility of protest at commencement, Flahive says it doesn’t bother him.
“I don’t really mind, personally,” Flahive says. “As a political science major, I’m totally in support of peaceful demonstration.”
Members of the Tibetan community gathered to meet the Dalai Lama during his public address on Friday morning and at the Saturday morning commencement. Tenzing Dolma, who just graduated from UC Berkeley, is a Tibetan refugee who came to the U.S. with her family when she was two years old. She joined a group of Tibetan students driving to San Diego for the occasion.
“We want to ensure that when he comes on campus that he sees us, and not them and he doesn’t get disheartened by seeing people protesting his commencement speech,” Dolma says. “Our issue is not with Chinese students, our issue is not with Chinese people. It’s with the government, it’s with the institution.”
Dolma says much of the information being put forth by students protesting is coming straight from the Chinese government and acts as propaganda, but says she is not opposed to the students protesting because they have a right to do so. And given that the Chinese government promotes a narrative of the Dalai Lama as being divisive, Dolma feels the decision to bring him as a commencement speaker is a symbol of acceptance.
“Tibetans all over the world rejoiced and were happy that there was finally this opportunity, this platform to show the world that there is another side,” Dolma says. “You’re seeing someone up there addressing an audience of young scholars, and it’s amazing to see that someone that can be, according to the Chinese students, a ‘polarizing figure’ has the opportunity and is granted the freedom of speech to speak when inside China, inside Tibet that’s not a reality.”
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF REUTERS AND THE PEOPLE’S DAILY)
Local Chinese governments up to ‘little tricks’ on PPP projects: People’s Daily
One local authority department, for example, was found to have launched a PPP project to build a much bigger-than-required office building when it only had six staffers, the state-run newspaper reported on Monday citing an unnamed official at a city’s finance bureau.
Some governments were also shelving all risk for PPP projects by guaranteeing losses, or providing commitments to persuade financial institutions to dole out financing, the newspaper said.
“These actions disrupt the market order and also exacerbate financing risks. These loopholes must be closed in order to eliminate hidden dangers,” it said.
The Ministry of Finance with other relevant departments were taking action to implement clear policies to govern such behavior.
China has been encouraging the use of PPP to alleviate the debt burdens of its local authorities, who in the past have used debt to finance projects such as bridges and municipal works with less-than-robust analysis on future returns.
It has also launched a market in asset-backed securities (ABS), a financing instrument via which a wide range of assets such as loans, real estate, toll ways and scenic parks have been converted into tradable bond-like securities.
China’s growing debt has been singled out by analysts and policy makers as one of the biggest risks to its economy, prompting authorities to tighten regulations over the past year to curb risky and speculative forms of lending.
(Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI DAILY NEWS)
China toughens punishment for stock market irregularities
CHINA’S securities regulator has toughened punishment on illegal market activities this year amid strengthened supervision, which handed out more fines in the first five months than the whole year of 2016.
From January to May, fines totalling 6.14 billion yuan (about 901 million U.S. dollars) were slapped on law violators in the securities sector, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC).
A total of 29 people were suspended from securities business in the five months, the regulator said.
In 2016, the CSRC punished 183 illegal market activities and handed out fines of 4.28 billion yuan, up 288 percent from the 2015 level. Some 38 people were barred from the securities industry.
While affirming improved market supervision, CSRC vice chairman Jiang Yang warned that the economic uncertainties, as well as new technologies,products and trading mechanisms, are likely to trigger new risks and challenge regulation.
The CSRC has been toughening supervision and punishment of illegal market activities such as insider trading and stock manipulation after the market rout in 2015 shattered investor confidence.
In March, the CSRC slapped a 3.47 billion yuan fine on a company chairman for stock market manipulation, a record high.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FORBES)
GUEST POST WRITTEN BY
Mr. Harris is CEO of Harris Africa Partners LLC and was senior director for Africa at the White House from 2011-2015.
It is old news that China has aggressive commercial ambitions in Africa, but fresh numbers reveal the depth of China’s success—and raise the stakes for U.S. dithering.
A recent Ernst & Young report shows that China more than doubled its foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Africa in 2016, and that the value of these projects outweighs U.S. investments by a factor of 10. Moreover, China’s Commerce Ministry recently announced that China-Africa trade increased by 16.8% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2017. As if that was not enough, various African leaders were courted at a summit in Beijing last month, which promised extensive deals in infrastructure and trade under China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative. All of this serves as an exclamation mark on the following sentence: The United States must step up its game on U.S.-Africa trade and investment.
Unfortunately, the U.S. has been slow to stake out a serious commercial strategy toward Africa, and U.S. companies by and large continue to overestimate the risks of doing business in the region. In contrast, China has sustained a policy of deliberate engagement and investment on the continent—and is making enviable returns in the process. Across Africa, China’s infrastructure projects generate earnings worth around $50 billion a year, which directly and indirectly translate into numerous jobs for Chinese citizens.
Building on a strong legacy of bipartisanship regarding U.S.-Africa policy, the Obama Administration deepened commercial ties on the continent, including through initiatives like Power Africa (designed to double electricity access in the region) that garnered broad Republican support. Indeed, U.S. FDI in Africa surged by over 70% from 2008 to 2015, on a historic-cost basis. Yet, in absolute terms, much more remains to be done to fully capitalize on Africa’s potential to contribute to U.S. growth.
Worryingly, the Trump Administration is so far heading in exactly the wrong direction. The policy signal to increase U.S. investment in Africa is no more. Whereas President Obama called for stronger U.S.-Africa economic ties—as did key Cabinet-level champions—the Trump Administration has shown no senior-level interest in this agenda. The raft of vacant positions across key federal departments compounds the problem.
Worse, President Trump is actively trying to eviscerate some of the vital tools needed to promote a serious commercial agenda. Though the “budget wars” are ongoing, fortunately Congress has so far rejected President Trump’s shortsighted proposals to eliminate funding for the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA). Both are important for trade and investment globally, and in Africa in particular. Between 2009 and 2016, OPIC’s commitment of about $7 billion in financing and insurance to secure projects in Africa catalyzed an additional $14 billion in investments in the region. Over that same time period, USTDA more than doubled its Africa portfolio of grants and technical assistance for infrastructure projects, boosting U.S. exports by at least $2.5 billion.
These and other tools should be strengthened—not demolished—to support U.S. businesses in Africa and to successfully compete with China. This includes the U.S. Export-Import bank, which has been outpaced by the China Export-Import Bank (some estimates say by a factor of 37 for loans to Africa) despite having a Congressional mandate to prioritize helping U.S. exporters compete for business in Africa.
The Trump Administration still has the opportunity to advance a serious commercial agenda in Africa, but we are reaching an inflection point, beyond which it will be increasingly difficult to make up for lost ground. As a dynamic continent of over one billion people (who will comprise one quarter of the world’s population and workforce by 2050), Africa’s role in the global economy will certainly increase over time. As the U.S. economy looks for new global growth to fuel domestic jobs, Africa represents a critical commercial frontier. Seizing this opportunity, however, depends on the interest and capacity of American companies to do business in Africa. There is still time to change course but, failing that, middling policy and weakened tools to promote U.S. investment in Africa essentially constitute a “China First” policy.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)
At least eight people were killed and 65 were injured, including children, in a blast Thursday near a kindergarten in eastern China, according to Chinese state media.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHRISTIAN POST)
According to Reuters, the terrorist-linked Amaq News Agency announced last Thursday that IS (also known as ISIS, ISIL or Daesh) was responsible for the killing of two Chinese nationals who were abducted last month in the Baluchistan province and were believed to be Mandarin language teachers.
“Islamic State fighters killed two Chinese people they had been holding in Baluchistan province, southwest Pakistan,” Amaq was quoted as announcing in a statement.
On Monday, the Pakistani government identified the two Chinese nationals killed as 24-year-old Lee Zingyang and 26-year-old Meng Lisi. The interior ministry also claimed that both Lee and Meng were in violation of their visa rules because they were preaching instead of learning Urdu.
“Instead of engaging in any business activity, they went to Quetta and under the garb of learning (the) Urdu language from a Korean national … were actually engaged in preaching,” Reuters quoted the ministry as saying in a statement.
The statement didn’t indicate whether the Korean national was from South Korea or North Korea or what the Chinese nationals were preaching.
According to the online news outlet Quartz, The Global Times and Shanghai-based The Paper, the slain Chinese nationals belonged to a 13-member Christian missionary group in China being led by a South Korean national.
Quartz also cited Chinese reports indicating that a local Muslim community complained about the group trying to evangelize to them. Additionally, Quartz reports that a Chinese journalist has said that Chinese foreign ministry officials briefed reporters in a closed-door session and gave them much of the same information that has been reported.
Following the killing of the two Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s interior ministry has decided to “streamline” its visa policy for Chinese nationals, Pakistan’s The Nation quoted a ministry spokesperson as saying.
According to The Nation, Interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan called for a databank of Chinese nationals present in Pakistan during a meeting.
“This data bank, to be prepared by National Database and Registration Authority, should be shared with all security agencies,” the minister said, reiterating their claim that the deceased Chinese nationals violated the terms of their visas.
The killing of the two Chinese Christians come as IS has attempted in the last year to establish its presence in Pakistan, just like it has in Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Afghanistan. IS-linked militants have carried out a number of attacks in Pakistan this year, including a suicide bombing at the shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar in Sehwan that killed at least 90 and injured over 300 in February.
Last month, IS claimed a bomb attack on a convoy of Senate Deputy Chairman Abdul Ghafoor Haideri south of Quetta that killed 25 people.
Additionally, this is not the first time that IS has claimed responsibility for the killing Chinese nationals.
In 2015, IS in Syria killed 50-year-old Beijing native Fan Jinghui who was held hostage for months.
(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON POST)
The move comes as Beijing steps up efforts to isolate Taipei internationally since last year’s election of Tsai.
“The Government of the Republic of Panama recognizes that only one China exists in the world, the Government of the People’s Republic of China is the only legitimate government that represents all China, and Taiwan forms an inalienable part of Chinese territory,” a joint statement from China and Panama read.
Panama is the second country to break with Taiwan since Tsai’s election last year, following the small African islands of Sao Tome and Principe.
For the first time in eight years, Taiwan was not invited to the annual assembly of the World Health Organization last month. It was also excluded from a global forum of the International Civil Aviation Organization last year. Both moves reportedly came at the insistence of Beijing, which has made clear its displeasure with Tsai’s reluctance to explicitly endorse the idea that there is only one China, encompassing the mainland and the island of Taiwan.
China considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and insists that any country that establishes diplomatic relations with Beijing must cut them with Taipei. It says its relationship with Taipei is founded on the “1992 consensus” between the two sides that effectively rules out the idea of Taiwan ever gaining independence.
But that was a deal reached by a government run by the Kuomintang party in Taiwan, not Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party, and while Tsai has indicated she respects the agreement and says she wants dialogue and friendly ties with Beijing, she has been reluctant to spell out an explicit endorsement.
In the past, China and Taiwan had competed to win diplomatic allies, wooing poorer countries with promises of aid and investment. But they established an unofficial truce under the Kuomintang government, with neither trying aggressively to upset the status quo, experts say.
Panama’s move decreases to 20 the number of countries formally recognizing Taiwan, most of them in Latin America and the Caribbean.
A former ambassador to China for Mexico, Jorge Guajardo, tweeted that he expected the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua to follow suit soon. “Big question is, will Vatican ditch Taiwan for Beijing?” he added.
Tsai addressed the Taiwanese people on Tuesday afternoon, vowing that Taipei will not engage in a “diplomatic bidding war,” nor succumb to Beijing’s threats.
“We are a sovereign country. This sovereignty cannot be challenged or traded,” she said, insisting that her people want peace but that Beijing is pushing relations toward confrontation.
“Coercion and threats will not bring the two sides together. Instead they will drive our two peoples apart,” she said. “On behalf of the 23 million people of Taiwan, I declare that we will never surrender to such intimidation.”
Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Taiwan’s international isolation is not in the interest of the United States or the rest of the world.
“Taiwan has a great deal to offer the international community, ranging from top-quality medical services to strong IT talent and active international NGOs that provide disaster relief to countries in need,” she said, adding that the United States and other countries should find “creative ways” to engage with Taiwan.
Nor are China’s pressure tactics doing anything to help it win hearts and minds in Taiwan, experts say.
“So far the tactic has only succeeded in alienating the Taiwanese public and reinforced notions of separateness,” said J. Michael Cole, a senior fellow at the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute and chief editor of the Taiwan Sentinel website.
“As long as such efforts do not substantially undermine Taiwan’s ability to function as a sovereign state — and no theft of a smallish diplomatic ally will ever achieve this — then I don’t see how or why the Taiwanese would give in to such pressure by deciding to accommodate Beijing,” he said.
A poll released by the Taiwanese government over the weekend showed nearly three-quarters of respondents rejected Beijing’s insistence on the one-China principle as a precondition to political ties. More than 80 percent said China’s efforts to limit Taiwan’s international space hurt their interests, and a similar proportion said China should recognize the existence of the “Republic of China,” as Taiwan officially calls itself.
Cole said Taiwan needs to focus more on developing healthy relations with unofficial allies that are democracies and important economies and not worry about maintaining official ties with small states that want infrastructure investment Taiwan cannot afford.