Merck’s first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai



Merck’s first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai

Merck's first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai

Stephan Oschman, CEO of Merck, addresses the opening ceremony of the Merck China Innovation Hub.

A Merck Innovation Hub, the first in China, opened in Shanghai on Friday as Merck announced a 100 million yuan (US$14 million) seed fund injected into the China Innovation Hub, the first investment by M Ventures, the strategy investment arm of the Merck group.

Stefan Oschman, chairman and CEO of Merck said, “We always have faith in China, and the 100 million seed fund is our commitment to China.”

The innovation hub will serve startups, academic institutions and people with good idea mainly in biopharma and biotech, materials science and health care, the three business sectors of Merck.

“The innovation hub will accelerate Merck’s innovation in China and we hope to promote innovation and serve China together with partners,” Oschman added.

The hub is located in “Front Bund” (Qian Tan in Chinese) in the Pudong New Area, and covers an area of 1,000 square meters.

Merck's first innovation hub in China settles in Shanghai

Ti Gong

The hub is located in World Trade Center.

“When we decide to set up an innovation hub in China, without hesitation, we chose Shanghai because of its innovation ecosystem, especially in biotech and life sciences”, Oschman said.

Merck plans to open a second innovation hub in Guangzhou in November. The company set up hubs in Germany and the US in 2018.

Allan Gabor, president of Merck China Co Ltd said that, “China is not just a huge market, but also one of significant factors influencing global trend and strategy.”

Isabel De Paoli, chief strategy office of Merck, said, “The China Innovation Hub will play major role in the future development of Merck by connecting to the another two innovation hubs in Europe and in the US.”

Sophie Sun, director of Merck China Innovation Hub said, besides giving financial support for the potential programs, they will share Merck’s technology ability such as research team and labs.

Merck is a technology company focused on three fields: medicine and health care, life sciences and performance materials such as liquid crystal used in smart phone and flat screen television. It has 52,000 employees worldwide and in 2018 its sales totaled 116.9 billion yuan.

India: India seeks 10% advantage over China in tariff removal



At RCEP meet, India seeks 10% advantage over China in tariff removal

This advantage for India will mean that its exporters can access 10% more Chinese product lines without facing tariff barriers.

INDIA Updated: Oct 19, 2019 03:10 IST

Rajeev Jayaswal
Rajeev Jayaswal

Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Farmers during a protest against the plan to join the Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership (RCEP).
Farmers during a protest against the plan to join the Regional Comprehensive Economics Partnership (RCEP).(Sameer Sehgal/Hindustan Times)

India has bargained a nearly 10% advantage over China in tariff elimination during the ongoing Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) discussions in a move aimed to placate the domestic industry and pave the way for New Delhi to conclude negotiations ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Bangkok next month, three people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

This advantage for India will mean that its exporters can access 10% more Chinese product lines without facing tariff barriers

Indian negotiators and experts are stationed in Bangkok to fine tune commercial and legal issues pertaining to the RCEP, said an official with direct knowledge of the matter. They are expected to iron out key issues before commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal arrives in Bangkok early next month ahead of Modi’s scheduled visit on November 4, the official said.

The Indian leadership is determined to protect the interests of the domestic industry, agriculture and farm sectors before concluding any FTA (free trade agreement), according to the people cited above.

“India will not repeat the mistakes of the past. The Asean FTA has been tilted in favor of countries like Vietnam and Thailand. India’s trade deficit with Asean has soared since the FTA has become operative in 2010,” one of the officials said.

According to official data, while India’s exports to ASEAN grew 9.56% to $37.47 billion in 2018-19, imports surged to $59.32 billion in the same period, a whopping 25.87% growth.

India is determined to bargain hard on the principle of equity, which was perceived to have been sacrificed while signing the Asean FTA, the official said.

“India’s concessions to countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia are disproportionate under the Asean FTA, which is against the principle of equity. While India agreed to eliminate more than 74% of tariff lines, Indonesia agreed to about 50% and Vietnam 70%. Such tilts are the main cause of concern for the Indian industry,” the official added.

An agreement between India and China is the key for successfully concluding the RCEP because New Delhi already has FTAs with most of the other members.

The RCEP is a proposed FTA covering 16 countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam — the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its six FTA partners — China, Japan, India, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. India has FTAs with Asean, Japan and South Korea. FTAs are arrangements between two or more countries that primarily agree to reduce or eliminate tariff and non-tariff barriers on substantial trade between them.

The RCEP will not be fully successful without India’s participation, which is one of the main reasons why other members agreed to allow time for further negotiation even as the last ministerial (October 11-12) was expected to conclude the deal before the 3rd Leaders Summit scheduled on November 4 this year in Bangkok, an official said.

According to the domestic industry, the FTA with Asean did not bring the desired gains for the Indian industry in terms of enhanced exports.

“India’s trade deficit with Asean, which was approximately US$12 billion in 2010-11 jumped to over US$22 billion in 2018-19,” said Chandrajit Banerjee, director general, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

A NITI Aayog report that reviewed various FTAs, including the one with Asean countries said India has been a net loser in almost all, except with Sri Lanka. The report, ‘A Note on Free Trade Agreements and Their Costs’, said the Asean FTA saw the greatest reduction in Indian import tariffs.

“FTA covers 75% of the two-way trade. India offered around 9,000 products for tariff elimination out of about 12,000 tariff lines, 1,800 lines in sensitive track and almost 1,300 lines in exclusion. Thus India kept around 10% of their tariff lines in exclusion, Thailand, Philippines, Myanmar, Brunei and Vietnam kept more number of tariff lines under exclusion compared to India,” it said.

India’s stand on “free” but “fair” trade has been reinforced recently at a high-level internal meeting on the RCEP in New Delhi. The meeting took place ahead of Goyal’s vist to Bangkok to attend the ministerial (October 10-12).

“The government is also conscious of the fact that the RCEP agreement would be fully operative some time around 2021-22 and its impact will be felt in 2023-24, which will be the time when the government would be seeking a fresh mandate. Hence, it cannot afford to sign a hasty deal as was done in the past,” the second of the people cited above said.

“The industry is opposing the RCEP because of historical blunders in FTA negotiations. For example, India gave more than proportional access to some of the member countries such as Vietnam and Indonesia,” said Ram Singh, professor, Delhi School of Economics. “Now India should negotiate trade deals in favour of its industry and extract more concessions from countries like China before signing the RCEP. This will win the confidence of Indian industry and improve balance of trade for the country.”

Sharad Kumar Saraf, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO), said, “When you go to negotiate any FTA, there is always some give and take. Important is to strike a balance. A 10% edge is reasonable. It will help India’s exports.”

“Some local industry could feel the heat. But, the government can help them by providing assistance, such as duty-free imports of components that can make them competitive,” he said.

First Published: Oct 18, 2019 23:57 IST

China: Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life



Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Nine foreign writers, invited by the Shanghai Writers’ Association to stay in the city for two months, tour the Bund.

As one of the iconic landmarks of Shanghai, the Bund has attracted countless travelers from all over the world with the charm generated from its century-old history as a waterfront foreign street where East meets West through the cluster of Western-style buildings.

Yesterday, it received a new group of visitors, nine foreign writers, invited by the Shanghai Writers’ Association to stay in the city for two months to experience life here as part of the 2019 Shanghai Writing Program. They are from countries including the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Russia and Mexico; some first-time visitors.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The foreign writers learn the history and stories about No.1 Waitanyuan, the former British Consulate in Shanghai, during their tour.

Three famous buildings were selected as their tour stops — the No. 1 Waitanyuan (former British Consulate in Shanghai), Fairmont Peace Hotel and its inner museum, and the Shanghai Customs House and its clock tower — so that they could have a better understanding of the area’s history.

At the No. 1 Waitanyuan, last in the line of 23 waterfront heritage buildings on the Bund, the writers enjoyed the elegant inner decoration of the place where the former consuls lived in olden times and the beautiful grand view of its yard.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The writers look at a photo album of celebrities who once lived in the Fairmont Peace Hotel at a small museum inside the hotel.

The Fairmont Peace Hotel, once the “tallest building in the Far East,” looks like a grand dame standing still on the Bund. The well-designed structure and stairs are like a glamorous dress, while the elaborate and ornate decorations are like jewelry, which kept the writers busy with their cameras. They also visited a small museum about things related to the hotel.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The foreign writers listen to Wei Yunsi (left), the bellman at the Shanghai Customs House, who provided historical details about the building and its clock tower.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

Mexican writer Noe Morales Munoz points at something of interest in the clock tower of the Shanghai Customs House.

The Shanghai Customs House opened its clock tower to the writers, where the 91-year-old Shanghai Customs House clock was sleeping. It wakes up every quarter of an hour and sings the song “Dongfanghong,” or “The East is Red,” at different length — a quarter is the shortest and an hour is the longest. Inside the tower, writers learned the history of the building and the clock — and how it works. They also enjoyed a bird’s-eye view of the Bund from the tower.

Foreign writers get a taste of Bund life

Jiang Xiaowei / SHINE

The nine foreign writers talk about the differences between the architecture and culture in their hometowns and in Shanghai during the forum “Explore The Bund”.

In the afternoon, a forum “Explore the Bund” was held at the Shanghai Archives for the writers to discuss their thoughts on the tour, and the differences between the architecture and culture in their hometowns and in Shanghai.

“I really like Shanghai architecture. And in particular, I like the fusion of all traditional China and modern Shanghai,” said Viola Di Grado from Italy. “The reason why I like this mixture is because I feel like my psychological landscape is a bit like Shanghai because I have all these different things inside me. So I feel like I’m a bit of a Shanghai type of soul.”

British novelist Gerard Woodward told Shanghai Daily: “It’s been amazing. It has been so incredible to see the inside of these buildings, especially being up here, in the clock tower of the customs house. That’s all about the history of the city and the relationship between Shanghai and the outside world.”

Wang Wei, vice chairman of the writers’ association, revealed that the Shanghai Writing Program, an important cultural exchange activity in the city, has been running for 12 years.

“Literature is the easiest language in communication. Through this program, we bring foreign writers and discover how literature grows in their countries. Meanwhile, our literature goes overseas.”

The event was co-organized by the Bund Subdistrict, Huangpu District Culture and Tourism Bureau, and Shanghai Daily.

China condemns US House approval of bill on Hong Kong



China condemns US House approval of bill on Hong Kong: spokesperson


China on Wednesday expressed strong indignation and firm opposition to the US House of Representatives’ passing of the so-called Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a press statement.

What Hong Kong faces at present is not the so-called human rights and democracy issues, but the issue of ending violence and chaos, restoring order and upholding the rule of law as soon as possible, spokesperson Geng Shuang said in the statement.

By neglecting the truth and turning white to black, the US House of Representatives called arson, smashing of shops, and violently assaulting police officers as human rights and freedom, which is a stark double standard that fully exposes some Americans’ extreme hypocrisy on human rights and democracy and their malicious intentions to damage the prosperity and stability of Hong Kong and contain China’s development, Geng said.

The United States also has important interests in Hong Kong, he said.

“Should the act eventually come into law, it will not only harm the interests of China and the China-US relations, but also severely undermine the interests of the United States,” Geng said.

China will definitely take forceful countermeasures against the wrong decision of the US side in order to firmly safeguard its own sovereignty, security and development interests, the spokesperson said.

“Hong Kong belongs to China and its affairs are purely China’s domestic affairs that brook no foreign interference,” he reiterated.

“We advise the US side to get a clear understanding of the situation, rein in on the brink of the precipice immediately, and cease to promote the subsequent deliberation of the act and interfere in Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs immediately,” Geng said.

get the US nowhere

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region expressed strong indignation over some US politicians’ actions of passing Hong Kong-related bills at the US House, warning that playing Hong Kong as a card will get the United States nowhere.

Some US politicians have kept bent on passing Hong Kong-related bills including the so-called “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019,” ignoring the facts and confounding right with wrong. By doing so, they have openly endorsed anti-China troublemakers in Hong Kong, tested the red line of the “one country, two systems” principle, grossly interfered with Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs as a whole, and trampled upon international law and basic norms governing international relations, the commissioner’s office said in a statement.

“We express strong indignation over and condemn such actions, which have again exposed the politicians’ gangster logic and hegemonic mindset,” it said.

Imran Khan and Pakistan army chief to rake up Jammu and Kashmir issue in China



Imran Khan and Pakistan army chief to rake up Jammu and Kashmir issue in China

In a marked departure from usual protocol, Bajwa joined Khan for a meeting with Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday evening, and will also accompany Khan when he meets Xi on Wednesday.

INDIA Updated: Oct 09, 2019 08:27 IST

Sutirtho Patranobis and Imtiaz Ahmad
Sutirtho Patranobis and Imtiaz Ahmad

Hindustan Times, Beijing/Islamabad
This is Khan’s third visit to China since August 2018. Army chiefs do not usually accompany heads of state to meetings with other heads of state.
This is Khan’s third visit to China since August 2018. Army chiefs do not usually accompany heads of state to meetings with other heads of state. (HT image)

Days ahead of President Xi Jinping’s high-profile visit to India, Pakistan Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa on Tuesday sought the top Chinese military leadership’s support on the Kashmir issue, saying unresolved tensions could affect regional peace and stability.

The powerful Pakistani army chief arrived in Beijing on Monday, a day ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan, who will hold meetings with China’s top leadership to discuss regional developments, including peace and security in South Asia following India’s decision to revoke Jammu & Kashmir’s special status on August 5 — an issue Khan and Pakistan have sought to, and, by their own admission, failed to internationalise.

In a marked departure from usual protocol, Bajwa joined Khan for a meeting with Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday evening, and will also accompany Khan when he meets Xi on Wednesday. This is Khan’s third visit to China since August 2018. Army chiefs do not usually accompany heads of state to meetings with other heads of state.

At meetings with Gen Han Weiguo, commander of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), and Gen Xu Qiliang, vice chairman of the Central Military Commission (CMC), Bajwa discussed the regional security environment, including the situation in Jammu & Kashmir, said a statement from the Pakistani military’s media arm.

Bajwa apprised the Chinese military leadership about the “consequences of the ongoing situation” in Kashmir . The statement said the Chinese generals supported “Pakistan’s principled stance on (the) Kashmir issue” and “appreciated (the) sane Pakistani approach”.

“They agreed that continued unresolved Pak-India tension will have serious implications for peace and stability in the region. (Bajwa) apprised them that Pakistan looks forward to peace but that shall not be at the cost of any compromise on principles or honour and dignity of the nation,” the statement said.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency made no mention of Kashmir in its report on the meeting between Bajwa and Xu. China will “strengthen pragmatic cooperation with Pakistan in various fields and deal with risks and challenges together with Pakistan”, Xu was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

Khan’s visit comes days ahead of Xi’s arrival in India for the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Mamallapuram during October 11-12. The summit has already been hit by recent irritants in India-China ties, including Beijing’s stance on the Kashmir issue in recent weeks.

The Pakistani premier’s agenda is packed with meetings and a speech at a business forum, and his visit will wrap up with the closing ceremony of an international horticulture exhibition on the outskirts of Beijing. Besides the president and the premier, Khan will also meet Li Zhanshu, chairperson of China’s legislature.

Khan will also discuss the status and expansion of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of Xi’s Belt and Road Initiative. He said last week that the removal of all bottlenecks in CPEC projects and their timely completion was the top priority of his government.

Pakistan also said several agreements are expected to be signed during the visit.

“China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperation partners. We have a good tradition of close exchanges and communication. We have strategic mutual trust and advancing practical cooperation. Our cooperation in the CPEC is bringing more outcomes to our people,” foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang told a regular news briefing on Tuesday.

Khan is accompanied by a high-level delegation that includes foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, planning minister Khusro Bakhtiar and Board of Investment chairman Zubair Gilani.

“It is important to note that General Bajwa will be sitting in during Khan’s meetings with Xi and Li. To my understanding, this is not the usual practice. At the domestic level, it shows the military-political government is on the same page. With reference to China, it indicates the security situation (in the region) is a really serious matter,” said Ghulam Ali of the School of Marxism at Sichuan University of Science and Technology.

On Kashmir, Ali said Khan may want to convey a message to India through Xi. “Given the close nature of (the Sino-Pakistan) relationship and trust, there might be a direct message via Xi to Modi that the Indian government’s action (in Kashmir) has affected the region. However, to what degree Xi is ready to play a role, and most importantly, whether India agrees to listen and accept any advice, is an entirely different thing,” he added.

On his first day in China, Khan caused a stir when he told potential investors he wished he could follow the example of Xi and send 500 corrupt individuals in Pakistan to jail.

Speaking at the China Council for Promotion of International Trade, Khan said the one thing he had learned from China was how its leadership tackled corruption.

First Published: Oct 09, 2019 03:57 IST

5G subscriber count reaches 9 million in China



5-G subscriber count reaches 9 million in China

About 9 million people have subscribed to 5-G services in China, while mobile carriers have offered discounted prices and added 5-G base stations since the 5-G licenses were issued in June.

By October 5, more than 5.32 million people have subscribed to China Mobile’s 5-G services, followed by 1.75 million subscribers for China Unicom and 1.76 million subscribers for China Telecom.

The carriers haven’t officially kicked off 5-G services in the local market, and 5-G coverage is limited. But carriers are expected to launch the services this month, industry insiders said.

Smartphone vendors such as Huawei, Vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE and Samsung have already launched 5-G models in China. Carriers have offered bundled packages with discounted prices for 5-G smartphones.

In Shanghai, 5-G signals are available in spots like People’s Square, Nanjing Road, Zhangjiang and Hongqiao Railway Station.

By the end of 2019, 10,000 5-G base stations will cover the whole of downtown Shanghai. The city will spend 30 billion yuan (US$4.4 billion) to build 30,000 5-G base stations by 2021, offering full 5-G coverage, local officials said.

For Shanghai’s 5-G smartphone users, carriers now offer 100 Gigabyte free data packages each month. But they will charge users when full-coverage is available.

China suspends ties with Rockets after GM shows support for Hong Kong protests



Chinese businesses suspend ties with Rockets after GM shows support for Hong Kong protests


The general manager of the NBA Houston Rockets team, Daryl Morey has embroiled himself into trouble due to his tweet on last Friday supporting Hong Kong’s protests. Some Chinese companies stated their actions even before officials.

Shanghai Pudong Development Bank Credit Card Center was the first to speak out, saying on Sunday that it “opposes and protests against” Morey’s “erroneous” remarks and has suspended all marketing and publicity activities related to the Rockets.

Following the bank, sports brand Li Ning denounced the post and said it had stopped all forms of cooperation with the Rockets. Meanwhile, Shanghai Jiayin Finance Technology notified the Rockets that all partnerships between the two sides have been halted.

Tencent Sports, which signed a five-year, 1.5-billion-U.S.-dollar deal with the NBA in July, announced that all live streaming and news reporting of the Rockets will be suspended. It also gave customers, who bought a subscription to watch the Rockets games online, a chance to opt for another team.

Starbuck’s China rival Luckin Coffee and smartphone maker Vivo also announced they would suspend cooperation with the NBA on Tuesday.

A small tweet can bring big trouble

Morey’s tweet, “Fight for Freedom. Stand with Hong Kong,” was quickly deleted last Friday, but not before it generated huge controversy in China. China’s consulate general in Houston urged the team to “clarify and immediately correct the mistakes” in a statement last Sunday. Beijing repeatedly said that some protesters in Hong Kong were mobs and rioters, instead of the so-called “peaceful pro-democracy protesters” described by the Western media.

But, the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement Tuesday on how NBA will not “put itself in a position of regulating what players, employees and team owners say or will not say on these issues,” concerning Morey’s improper remarks.

On the same day, the China Central Television (CCTV) Sports channel of China Media Group (CMG) announced that it will suspend the NBA broadcasting because Silver supported improper remarks. Before that, the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) had already announced the termination of cooperation with Houston Rockets.

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in China. Here are some facts and figures showing how vital China and its 500-million-fan base is to the NBA:

The NBA has had a presence in China for almost three decades. It now has relationships with a number of television and digital media outlets throughout China, including a long-standing partnership with CCTV.

The Houston Rockets is widely followed especially in China. That’s because the franchise drafted Chinese player Yao Ming in 2002. The eight-time NBA All-Star was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

NBA China was launched in 2008. Seventeen NBA teams have played 26 games in Beijing, Guangzhou, Macao, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Taipei in the past five years. NBA China alone is now worth over 4 billion U.S. dollars, according to Forbes.

Hong Kong’s Leader Warns ‘No Options Ruled Out’ If Protests Continue



Hong Kong’s Leader Warns ‘No Options Ruled Out’ If Protests Continue

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said she still believes that the people of Hong Kong “should find solutions ourselves.”

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hong Kong’s leader has issued a veiled warning that Beijing could intervene with force to quell the territory’s violent anti-government protests, but after months of unrest, she said she still believes “we should find solutions ourselves.”

Chief Executive Carrie Lam spoke at a news conference on Tuesday days after invoking a colonial-era law to prohibit the wearing of face masks during protests, which are now in their 18th week. She said she has no plans to enact further emergency powers despite “limitless and lawless” acts of violence by demonstrators over the weekend.

“I still strongly feel that we should find the solutions ourselves,” Lam said.

“That is also the position of the central government that Hong Kong should tackle the problem on her own but if the situation becomes so bad, then no options could be ruled out if we want Hong Kong to at least have another chance,” she said.

Thousands of Chinese troops are stationed throughout Hong Kong but so far have not left their barracks, allowing instead the territory’s police to put down the protests.

Although Lam’s statement on Tuesday is the closest she’s come in the weeks of protest to a direct warning about the possibility China could use force to restore order, a spokesman for Beijing’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office of the State Council has been less reticent. In August, Yang Guang issued a stark admonishment, saying China has “tremendous power” to put down the protests and that “those who play with fire will perish by it.”

Most of the protesters have worn masks as a way to hide their identities from video surveillance cameras. Although the protesters appear to have almost universally ignored the anti-mask law put in place on Friday, Lam said it was too early to gauge whether the law would work.

“For any new … legislation, it would take time for it to be effectively implemented,” she said.

Hong Kong, a former British colony, was returned to China 22 years ago on a promise of “one country, two systems” that was to have granted it substantial control over its own affairs. However, protesters have accused Beijing of reneging on those promises.

The protests, which began peacefully in June, have increasingly become violent, with pro-democracy activists clashing with police, who have responded with tear gas and batons. One week ago, an officer shot and seriously wounded a protester.

The demonstrations began ostensibly as a protest against a law that would have allowed some in Hong Kong accused of crimes to be extradited to mainland China to face justice there. Although the controversial extradition bill has since been scrapped, the demands of the mostly student-led movement have expanded to include a freely elected legislature and the right to choose a replacement for Lam, who was appointed by Beijing. They are also demanding an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality in their handling of the protests.

The economy of Hong Kong, a vital international financial hub, has taken a beating during the months of protests, which have been exacerbated by the U.S.-China trade war.

CNN reported last week that during a private phone call in June between China’s President Xi Jinping and President Trump, Trump had promised his administration would stay silent on the situation in Hong Kong as long as trade talks continued.

On Monday, however, Trump urged Xi to ensure a “humane solution” in the territory.

“If anything happened bad, I think that would be a very bad thing for the negotiation[s],” Trump said. “I think politically it would be very tough, maybe for us and maybe for some others and maybe for [Xi].”

U.S. Blacklists 28 Chinese Entities Over Abuses in Xinjiang



U.S. Blacklists 28 Chinese Entities Over Abuses in Xinjiang

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration said Monday that it had added 28 Chinese organizations to a United States blacklist over concerns about their role in human rights violations, effectively blocking those entities from buying American products.

The organizations have been implicated in China’s campaign targeting Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in the autonomous region of Xinjiang, according to a Commerce Department filing.

Among the entities being placed on the list are Hikvision and Dahua Technology, two of the world’s largest manufacturers of video surveillance products. Those products are central to China’s ambitions to be the top global exporter of surveillance technology.

The list also includes companies that specialize in artificial intelligence, voice recognition and data as well as provincial and local security bureaus that have helped construct what amounts to a police state in Xinjiang. These entities have been involved “in the implementation of China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention and high-technology surveillance,” the filing said.

The move was announced just days before high-level Chinese and American officials meet in Washington to try to resolve a trade war that has begun inflicting pain on both sides of the Pacific.

A Commerce Department spokesman said Monday that the action was not related to those talks. But the decision is likely to rankle the Chinese government, which has helped support some of these companies as they have developed into cutting-edge technology firms.

“The U.S. government and Department of Commerce cannot and will not tolerate the brutal suppression of ethnic minorities within China,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement.

China has faced growing condemnation from human rights groups in recent months for its detention of up to one million ethnic Uighurs and other minority Muslims in large internment camps in Xinjiang.

Beijing has constructed an advanced surveillance system, in what it describes as an effort to fight Islamist extremism among the Uighurs, the largest ethnic group in Xinjiang. But many Uighurs and others around the world say Chinese officials are trying to suppress their culture and religion.

Human Rights Watch has said the violations are of a “scope and scale not seen in China since the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution,” and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has called China’s treatment of the Uighurs the “stain of the century.”

Yet administration officials have wavered on how much to keep human rights and economic concerns separate in their negotations with China. Many officials emphasize that the topics are separate, but the administration has shelved several proposals that would have shined light on China’s abuses over concerns that a tough stance could upset trade talks. And President Trump himself has often linked national security and other concerns to trade talks.

On Monday, Mr. Trump said “bad” action in Hong Kong, the site of violent protests, would hurt progress on trade and urged China to find a “humane solution.”

“I think they’re coming to make a deal,” he said of the Chinese. “It’s got to be a fair deal.”

The Trump administration has steadily ratcheted up pressure on China through tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese products and other restrictions on Chinese investment in the United States. The administration has also begun looking to restrict exports to China.

This year, the administration placed Huawei, the Chinese telecom equipment giant, on the blacklist, saying it posed national security concerns. It added five Chinese entities to the list in June, also citing national security.

American companies can still apply for licenses to supply products to organizations that have been placed on the Commerce Department entity list, but the government may deny the applications.

The companies on the list help illustrate the breadth and development of China’s surveillance industry, which increasingly uses predictive technology to track its own citizens, or spot potential protests or crimes as they occur.

The new additions include several artificial intelligence start-ups: Megvii, SenseTime and Yitu Technologies. They also include iFlytek, which makes voice recognition software; Xiamen Meiya Pico Information Company, a data forensics company; and Yixin Science and Technology Company, which makes nanotechnology.

The listed government entities include Xinjiang’s public security bureau and 19 subordinate bureaus and institutes.

Several of the firms have grown into global operations while servicing an extensive market in China. Hikvision said it had more than 34,000 employees and dozens of divisions worldwide, and it has supplied products to the Beijing Olympics, the World Cup in Brazil and Linate Airport in Milan. Dahua Technologies has more than 16,000 employees, according to its website, with divisions in North America, Europe and Latin America.

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Hong Kong’s chief executive vows greatest resolve to end violence



HKSAR chief executive vows greatest resolve to end violence


Chief Executive of China’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said Saturday that the government will take the greatest resolve to end violence, after rampant rioters Friday wreaked havoc in various areas of Hong Kong.

Lam said in a video address that Hong Kong witnessed “a very dark night” on Friday and the society was half-paralyzed, describing the extreme acts as “unprecedented and appalling.”

Violent and disruptive acts were staged again in Hong Kong on Friday as masked rioters blocked roads, set fires, damaged public facilities, and assaulted police officers and passersby, leaving the transport network paralyzed and forcing numerous shops to close.

“The extreme violence is a clear indication of the widespread danger to public security in Hong Kong,” Lam said.

Given the escalating violence recently, the HKSAR government has invoked the power under the Emergency Regulations Ordinance and put in place the Prohibition on Face Covering Regulation. The anti-mask law, designed to end violence and restore order, came into effect on Saturday, Lam said.

The move has received support from 40 Legislative Council members and many chambers of commerce, media outlets and social organizations, she said.

Lam reiterated the legality of the action and said the HKSAR government adopted appropriate measures using the power conferred by the existing law.

Lam urged foreign officials and lawmakers to understand the nature of the violent incidents. “Hong Kong is facing unprecedented violence and the government needs to adopt resolute legal measures to stop violence, restore peace and order, and protect the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents from the threats of rioters.” She said anti-mask legislations were also adopted in a number of Western countries.

Lam also called on Hong Kong residents to support the HKSAR government in stopping the violence, make a clean break with rioters, and work together to bring back peaceful lives as soon as possible.