China Says A "Price Must Be Paid" Over US Uighur Bill

Beijing: China warned Wednesday that a "price must be paid" after the US House of Representatives passed legislation seeking sanctions against senior Chinese officials over the crackdown on mainly Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The Uighur Act of 2019 condemns Beijing's "gross human rights violations" in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where upwards of one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities are believed to be held in re-education camps.

"For all wrong actions and words... the proper price must be paid," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing.

When asked if the passing of the bill would impact on talks for a phase one trade deal between the two economic giants, Hua did not directly answer the question.

But she said there was "no way this can have no effect on China-US relations as well as the two countries' cooperation in important areas."

The foreign ministry had earlier slammed the bill, saying it "viciously attacks the Chinese government's policy of governing Xinjiang."

Without giving any more details about what measures China would take, Hua said the "price that must be paid will come eventually."

Washington had already angered Beijing when US President Donald Trump signed legislation supporting pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, prompting Beijing earlier this week to impose sanctions on US NGOs and suspend future visits by US warships to the semi-autonomous city.

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China suspends review of visits by American warships & sanctions NGOs in response to US signing of Hong Kong bill

Beijing has stopped allowing US Navy vessels to visit Hong Kong and “sanctioned” foreign NGOs after President Donald Trump signed a bill, which targets China over its response to anti-government protests and riots in the city.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said on Monday that China will no longer review requests by the American warships to dock in Hong Kong. The nation has already barred several US Navy ships from visiting Hong Kong in recent months.

Hua also announced that the country has sanctioned NGOs, such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), Freedom House and the National Democratic Institute (NDI), for inciting protesters to commit “violent crimes” and promoting “separatism” in Hong Kong. These groups are “responsible for the current chaos” in the city, she told reporters.

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The spokesperson stressed that the measures are a direct response to the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act 2019, which was signed into law by Trump last week. The legislation allows the US to impose sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials over human rights abuses in Hong Kong.

The US lawmakers argued that the law would help to uphold democracy and punish police officials for mistreating peaceful protesters.

Beijing, meanwhile, slammed the move as illegal under international law and an attempt to “seriously interfere in Chinese domestic affairs.” Chinese officials have repeatedly warned Washington against meddling in Hong Kong and accused American politicians, who openly backed the protesters, of encouraging riots there.

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Cuba and China highlight Fidel Castro's role in increasing friendship between both countries

On the occasion of the third anniversary of Fidel Castro's death, authorities from China and Cuba recognized the contribution of the leader of the Revolution to the permanent increase of ties between both countries, Prensa Latina reported.

Carlos Miguel Pereira, Cuban ambassador to the Asian country, described Fidel as " an unquestionable inspirer and supporter of our common friendship".

He also stated that the ties "between Cuba and China are an example of transparency and collaboration between two nations that defend the cause of socialism in the most difficult conditions that mankind has ever lived".

For his part, Qin Gang, deputy foreign minister of the Asian state, highlighted Castro's historic and indelible contribution to the continuous fostering of bilateral ties.

Fidel Castro died in Havana in 2016, aged 90, and is considered a symbol of contemporary world history.

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‘HK part of China & no one can mess it up’, Chinese FM says amid opposition gains at community-level election

Beijing has said that the outcome of the municipal vote that saw opposition taking nearly 90% of the seats won’t change Hong Kong status, while warning against any attempts to disrupt the situation.

Preliminary results of the election reported by local broadcaster RTHK suggest that about 390 seats out of 452 that were up for grabs in 18 district councils have been claimed by the anti-government candidates.

Asked to comment while the vote count was ongoing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said that regardless of the outcome, Hong Kong will remain an unalienable part of the Chinese state.

“It's not the final result yet. Let's wait for the final result, OK? However, it is clear that no matter what happens, Hong Kong is a part of China and a special administrative region of China," he said.

Any attempt to mess up Hong Kong, or even damage its prosperity and stability, will not succeed.

Hong Kong administrator Carrie Lam, meanwhile, said that the semi-autonomous city’s government would respect the results of the district poll.

"The government will certainly listen humbly to citizens' opinions and reflect on them seriously," Lam said, expressing hope that the peace and security would prevail, and the city won’t plunge into chaos again.

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The landslide victory by the opposition has been attributed to the record-high turnout of 71 percent (versus only 47 percent back in 2015) that saw many young voters taking to the polls for the first time. Speaking to the South China Morning Post, pro-Beijing lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-su, who lost his seat at the Tsuen Wan District Council, said that while he gained the same number of votes as in the previous elections, it was not enough this time – all because of the first-time voters, he suspected. “If that’s true, it means young people are no longer insensitive to politics,” he said, adding that he would “respect the electorate’s decision.”

Prior to the election, the pro-Beijing candidates held 292 seats in the district legislatures. Now, according to the local media reports, they won only 42 seats and likely lost control over all councils but one.

Largely symbolic

Hong Kong opposition, joined by a plethora of US lawmakers, have rejoiced at the result, with Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tn) going as far as calling it a “monumental defeat of pro-Communist China.”

While the opposition might have dealt a blow to the Carry Lam administration, the victory is largely symbolic. District councils lack any political leverage and deal mostly with communal issues, such as transport, utility services as well as oversee the distribution of funds to be spent on recreational and environment activities.

The only way the councils might influence politics is through voting for the next Hong Kong chief executive in 2022 as part of the 1,200 – member election committee. However, the councils send a maximum of 117 delegates to the panel, which is hardly enough to sway the vote, even taking into account that opposition already controls some 400 seats.

Also on rt.com Man set on fire by Hong Kong protesters ‘can’t recognize his own daughter’ after 10+ days in coma

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Global debt set to hit record $255tn by end of year

Global debt now hovers near a record of over $250 trillion (Dh918tn) and is set to exceed $255tn by the end of this year, the Institute of International Finance said in a new report.

“Spurred by looser financial conditions, the ballooning global debt load increased by $7.5tn” in the first half of 2019, the Washington-based organisation said.

“With few signs of a slowdown in the pace of debt accumulation”, the IIF expects the trend to continue, largely driven by the US and China, which accounted for over 60 per cent of the increase.

The world’s debt pile is now more than three times' (320 per cent) global gross domestic product. Emerging markets debt also hit a record of $71.4tn.

Non-financial sector debt — borrowing by governments, households and other businesses — accounts for $190tn, or 75 per cent, of total debt and is growing faster than the global economy.

Within the non-financial sector, government debt increased by 1.5 per cent in the first half. It is expected to top $70tn by the end of this year, an increase of around 6 per cent from 2018 “driven mainly by the surge in US federal debt”, the IIF said.

Borrowing from non-financial companies increased by 1 per cent in the first half and is also expected to increase by 6 per cent from last year to over $75tn, due to growth in “net borrowing by the Chinese corporate sector”.

Over the past decade, global debt has increased by over $70tn. In mature markets, the rise has been driven mainly by governments. For emerging markets, the bulk has been in non-financial corporate debt, but data shows that half of that borrowing is by state-owned enterprises.

“Sovereign-related borrowing has been the single most important driver of global debt over the past decade,” the report said.

Global bond markets have increased to over $115tn, from $87tn 10 years ago. Government bonds now make up 47 per cent of the market, compared with 40 per cent in 2009. In contrast, bank bonds have dropped to below 40 per cent from over 50 per cent in 2009.

Central banks have been lowering rates in an attempt to spur borrowing, as 60 per cent of the world’s countries are expected to see below-potential growth next year, the report said.

However, countries with high levels of government debt, such as Lebanon, may find it harder to turn to fiscal stimulus. Moreover, emerging market economies that have increasingly relied on foreign-currency borrowing, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, may be exposed to risks if growth slows further.

High debt burdens could also curb efforts to tackle climate risk. Global climate finance flows amount to slightly over $1tn, far short of the average $3.5tn that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates is needed annually.

In separate research published earlier in the week, Bank of America Merrill Lynch said “yield curve inversion, global manufacturing recession, trade wars and rising debt defaults have raised the spectre of an imminent global economic recession”. It said the biggest vulnerability for markets in the coming decade “comes from today’s bond market bubble", adding that responses to the next slowdown will be inflationary.

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Cuba, China ink radio, TV cooperation deal

The Cuban Institute of Radio and Television (ICRT) and China's National Radio and Television Administration on Wednesday signed a cooperation agreement here to exchange broadcast content.

The agreement paves the way for Cuban programs to be aired in China and vice versa.

"Such an important partnership agreement as the one we signed today is a reflection of how we are also strengthening and bolstering ties in content creation," ICRT President Alfonso Noya said at the signing ceremony.

Nie Chenxi, head of China's National Radio and Television Administration, agreed that the accord is of cultural and political significance, and presented Noya with a drone donated to Cuban television system, as well as Chinese audiovisual material for Cuban audiences.

Bilateral cooperation in broadcast media began in 2013, when Cuba gradually began to transition from analog to digital TV with the technical and financial help of China.

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Chinese language to be taught in Cuban schools

The governments of Cuba and China signed this Monday in Havana a bilateral exchange agreement in the area of ​​ early childhood, special, and technical and professional education.

Cuba agreed to enhance the teaching of the Chinese language in selected junior high schools, to which the Ministry of Education of the Asian country will provide teachers, bibliography, equipment and materials, the state-run Agencia Cubana de Noticias (ACN) news agency reported.

The new collaboration also includes China’s granting of some 200 annual places for the island’s students attached to the Ministries of Education and Higher Education, and educational centers.

The agreement, which came into effect as of its signature and for a period of two years, will include the bilateral exchange of information on institutions, teaching, research and pedagogical materials, as well as joint tasks of delegations and research groups.

Cuban Minister of Education Ena Elsa Velázquez expressed her government’s interest in strengthening collaboration in various areas of work and levels of education.

Velázquez gave the Chinese delegation, headed by Deputy Minister of Education Zheng Fuzhi, an explanation of the priority programs developed by the island’s educational system. Among them, she referred to the one that seeks to improve the quality of education at each level, with special attention to the History of Cuba subject, and the participation of families and the community in educational processes.

For his part, the Chinese deputy minister stressed the importance of consolidating basic education as a guarantee for the rest of the levels, and expressed his wish to learn about the subjects taught in Cuban schools, and about the organization of curricula.

His Cuban counterpart, Eugenio González, explained that this agreement opens up new opportunities in the curricular, organizational and technological order of the sector, which are expected to have an impact on the quality of education in both nations.

Cuba and China maintain close bilateral relations, in which the Asian country stands out as one of the main allies, the island’s second trade partner and collaborator in various technological development projects.

Authorities from both nations had signed some days ago a cooperation agreement with the aim of creating an artificial intelligence center on the island and another to enhance the teaching of the Spanish language.

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Cuba officially receives new floating dock

Havana, October 31 (RHC)--Cuban authorities officially received the new modern floating dock acquired for 34 million dollars with a loan from the Chinese government.

 

The act of delivery was signed by Johannes Milián, general manager of the Casablanca Shipyards, and Yuan Yipin, general manager of the engineering department of China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation, the same company that brings to Cuba the wagons for the railway service.

 

When fine-tuning is complete and operations begin, the floating dock will help increase the country's ship repair capacity as well as increase the autonomy of the Cuban shipping industry.

 

Located at the Casablanca Shipyard in Havana, the new facility has the capacity to repair Panamax-type vessels with up to 65,000 tons of displacement.

 

Edited by Jorge Ruiz Miyares
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