Category: News in Brief

Planes scour ocean after possible debris from Flight 370 spotted

The Boeing 777-200 jet carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew vanished early March 8th, on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappearing from civilian radar over the Gulf of Thailand. However, an Australian-led operation on Thursday directed four aircraft to a revised search area about 1,500 miles from the Western Australian capital of Perth to search for two objects spotted on satellite images, including one as long as 24 meters (78.7 feet.) The area, described by Australia’s defense minister as among the most isolated part of the world, is regularly battered by high winds, strong currents, and changeable weather. Earlier this week, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the Chinese authorities had previously cleared all 152 of its nationals on board the plane. China has shown its growing impatience with Malaysia over the hunt for missing jet MH370 and warned it must ‘immediately’ expand the search. However, Hishammuddin said the Chinese authorities have been requested earlier today to “re-look and re-intensify” efforts to scrutinize the records of passengers. (Wall Street Journal, Malaysiakini, Mail Online, March...

Read More

Protesters occupy Taiwan Parliament over China trade deal

Hundreds of students and activists opposed to a trade deal with China have occupied Taiwan’s parliament and defied policy efforts to evict them. The protesters in the parliament say that the agreement with China would hurt Taiwan’s economy and leave it vulnerable to pressure from Beijing. The trade deal would allow China and Taiwan to invest more freely in each other’s service market. China and Taiwan were split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 and China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, claiming its sovereignty over the region. Also, China is Taiwan’s biggest trading partner and, in recent years, ties between the two have improved. Critics fear that the Trade Deal signed this time will make Taiwan increasingly integrate with China and threaten Taiwan’s independence. (Channel News Asia, BBC, March...

Read More

Michelle Obama begins “Gentle Diplomacy” China trip

U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama is in China for a week-long visit that includes stops in Beijing and Chengdu. Part of her trip will be accompanied by Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan. Chinese media described this visit as “gentle diplomacy” and a chance to improve Sino-U.S. ties. Mrs. Obama is expected to make stops at the Great Wall of China, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors Museum, and the Chengdu Panda Base. The visit comes with a number of issues testing China-U.S. ties, such as the South China Sea dispute. However, the White House has stressed that Mrs. Obama’s trip will be “non-political.” She will focus on cultural exchange and avoid sensitive topics such as human rights and cyber security. Mrs. Obama’s visit has promoted discussion in Chinese media. Her agenda for the visit sends the message that the relationship between the U.S. and China is not just between leaders, but between peoples. Ni Feng, from Chinese Academy of Social Science told China Daily that the interaction between the first ladies could diversify the style of leadership contacts between Beijing and Washington and prove the importance of “maintaining stable bilateral ties and resolving disagreements.” (Daily Mail, Xinhua News, BBC, March...

Read More

China human rights record criticized following activist’s death

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva has postponed the adoption of China’s human rights report amid protests over the death and custody of a rights activist in Beijing and reports of delaying tactics by China. Last month, Human Rights in China quoted Cao Shunli’s lawyer as saying she suffered from tuberculosis, liver disease and other conditions and was not receiving proper medical treatment. China’s Foreign Ministry has denied that she died because of lack of medical care. Citing reports from people present at the U.N. Human Rights Council meeting on Wednesday, Renee Xia, the international director of Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said the Chinese delegation tried to stop representatives of a non-governmental organization from holding a minute of silence for Cao Shunli. This resulted in delays, meaning the report could not be adopted on Wednesday as expected. The council was expected to take it up again on Thursday. (The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, March...

Read More

China’s Sina Plans U.S. IPO for Weibo

China’s Weibo Social-Media service has transformed discourse in the world’s second-largest economy, giving a generation of young Chinese a way to reach millions outside traditional government-controlled media channels. Now Weibo’s owner hopes to take it public in the U.S., aiming to raise roughly $500 million in the second-quarter. Along with the U.S. listing, Weibo could get a further boost from Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the Chinese most successful e-commerce company. Details of the Weibo IPO weren’t clear, but the value of Alibaba’s purchase suggests it would represent a minority stake in the business. However, due to Chinese government’s censor over Weibo, it is researched that the total number of microblog users in China fell 9% to 280.8 million last year from 308.6 million in 2012. The decrease of Weibo users may sharply affect its market value. (Financial Times, ABC News, February 25th; South China Morning Post, February...

Read More

Trump Timeline

Stay up to date with the timeline of Trump and the Trump Administration’s China Policies.

SR: The Week’s China Reads

Robert A. Kapp Bio picture

Every week, China Program’s Senior Advisor Dr. Robert A. Kapp compiles a reading list and provides commentary, for you to better understand China.

Robert A. Kapp is senior advisor to the China Program at the Carter Center. He has been principal of Robert A. Kapp and Associates, a business consulting firm, since 2004. From 1994 through 2004 he served as President of the United States-China Business Council…