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China’s Defense Ministry: Underwater Drone Handed over to U.S.

According to a terse statement that the News Bureau of China’s Ministry of National Defense issued, at noon on December 20 in related waters of the South China Sea, and after friendly consultation between the Chinese and U.S. sides, the handover of a U.S. underwater drone was carried out smoothly.

A New York Times report on its Chinese website noted that China did not mention that the presence of the U.S. Navy in the South China Sea had caused the tension between the two countries. BBC Chinese also reported the expectation that China would take the opportunity of returning the underwater drone to demand that the U.S. reduce its reconnaissance activities in the South China Sea.

There was no such expression in the Defense Ministry’s one sentence statement issued within hours of the hand over.

On December 17, a spokesperson from China’s Defense Ministry issued a statement confirming that, on the afternoon of December 15, a Chinese naval lifeboat located an unidentified device in the waters of the South China Sea. In order to prevent the device from causing harm to the safety of navigation and personnel of passing vessels, the Chinese naval lifeboat verified and examined the device in a professional and responsible manner.

Upon examination, the spokesperson noted, the device was identified as an underwater drone of the United States. The Chinese side decided to hand it over it to the U.S. in an appropriate manner. Both sides maintained communication on the issue. The spokesperson added, “We regret that,” after commenting, the U.S. side’s unilateral move to dramatize the issue in the process was inappropriate and not conductive to its settlement.

The spokesperson also emphasized that for a long time, the U.S. military has frequently dispatched vessels and aircraft to carry out close-in reconnaissance and military surveys within Chinese waters. According to a statement that the spokesperson published on the Defense Department’s website on December 17, “China resolutely opposes these activities and demands that the U.S. side stop such activities. China will continue to be vigilant against the relevant activities on the U.S. side and will take necessary measures in response.”

Sources:
China’s Defense Ministry website, December 20, 2016,
http://www.mod.gov.cn/topnews/2016-12/20/content_4767292.htm
New York Times Chinese website, December 20, 2016,
http://cn.nytimes.com/china/20161220/china-returns-us-drone/
BBC Chinese, December 18, 2016,
http://www.bbc.com/zhongwen/simp/chinese-news-38359622
Xinhua News Agency, December 18, 2016,
http://news.xinhuanet.com/politics/2016-12/18/c_1120137584.htm

VOA Chinese: Xi Congratulates Trump on Becoming U.S. President-elect

The Chinese edition of Voice of America (VOA) reported on Wednesday morning that Chinese President Xi Jinping congratulated Donald Trump on becoming the U.S. President-elect.

Xi said in his congratulatory message that China, the world’s largest developing country, and the U.S., the largest developed country, as the world’s top two economies, bear the special responsibility of maintaining world peace and stability, boosting global development and prosperity, and sharing extensive interests, .

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Xinhua: Sing Pao Chief Remains a “Fugitive”

In a recent article, Hong Kong-based Ta Kung Pao cited a dispatch from Xinhua, dated October 20, 2016, that the police still have a warrant out to arrest Gu Zhuoheng, the chief of Sing Pao Daily News. In the past several weeks, Hong Kong-based Sing Pao has been carrying front page commentaries harshly criticizing Beijing’s No. 3 leader, Zhang Dejiang, chairman of the standing committee of the National People’s Congress.

Sing Pao, which is also known for its ties to Beijing, denied that Gu was a wanted man. It dismissed the attacks as being “some power’s” attempt at political revenge. Since late August, Sing Pao, with help from the central government’s Liaison Office in Hong Kong, has been criticizing Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying for escalating the confrontation. In early October, Sing Pao editorials named Jiang Zemin, former secretary general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) as Zhang Dejiang’s backer.

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RFA: Chinese Media Not to Republish Caixin’s Original Content for Two Months

On October 12, 2016, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported  that an order has been issued to ban Chinese media from republishing Caixin‘s original content. The order, given on October 11,  was from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), Beijing’s central Internet censorship, oversight, and control agency and is to remain in effect for 60 days. Caixin is a leading Chinese media for publishing original content on finance, the economy, and social governances.

RFA cited reports indicating that the immediate trigger for the ban may have been Caixin‘s recent coverage, now deleted, of 168 lawyers’ signing an appeal to oppose new regulations from the State Council. The rules reinforce the Chinese Communist Party’s control over law firms, requiring them not to “indulge or condone” their staff in conducting a wide range of specified activities.

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Caixin: Is Chen Guangbiao China’s “No. One Philanthropist” or “No. One Crook”?

On September 20, 2016, Caixin, China’s leading provider of business and financial news and information, published a special report titled, “Chen Guangbiao: ‘No. One Philanthropist’ or ‘No. One Crook?'”

Caixin, which is considered to have reliable sources from within the CCP Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, revealed in the report that Chen has to make himself available to authorities at any moment to cooperate with the investigation of Ling Jihua, former director of the CCP Central Commission General Office. In reporting on Chen’s business and political circles, Caixin disclosed his connection with Li Dongsheng, who was removed from his position as deputy minister of Public Security and as director of the office of the Central Leading Group on Dealing with Heretical Religions, due to corruption.

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VOA: UK Parliament Hearing on China’s Organ Transplant Practice

The Chinese edition of Voice of America reported that a special hearing on organ transplants was held in the UK parliament on June 29, 2016. The hearing came one day after the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission published its report on the range of China’s appalling human rights abuses.

The 68-page report, titled the Darkest Moment: The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2013-2016 examined the severe repression of human rights lawyers, violations of freedom of expression, suppression of democratic movements in Hong Kong, and topics on Tibet and Xinjiang, Falun Gong, and harvesting organs.

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