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Geo-Strategic Trend - 3. page

Student Groups at University of Queensland Clash over Hong Kong

According to Reuters, at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia, students held a gathering last week in support of the protesters in Hong Kong. Pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong opposed the amendment of the extradition bill out of concern that the amendment will increase Beijing’s influence and will endanger the city’s rule of law.

A pro-Beijing student group also showed up at the event. Some students played nationalist songs with the volume high and shouted “China is great.” Images from social media show that some students screamed loudly and had physical conflicts.

Xu Jie, the Chinese consul-general in Brisbane, praised the pro-Beijing students for confronting the pro-Hong Kong students. He called them “anti-Chinese separatists with ulterior motives.”

Australia’s foreign affairs minister Marise Payne issued a statement after the incident. Payne said the right to free speech and to peaceful and lawful protest was protected in Australia, even on contentious and sensitive issues. “The government would be particularly concerned if any foreign diplomatic mission were to act in ways that could undermine such rights, including by encouraging disruptive or potentially violent behaviour.”

Source: Central News Agency, July 27, 2019

LTN: 13 Australian Confucius Institutes Suspected of Violating Foreign Interference Laws

Major Taiwanese news network Liberty Times Network (LTN) recently reported that the Australian authorities have started an investigation into agreements signed between 13 Australian universities and the Chinese Confucius Institute. These agreements all allow the Chinese government to review and control the teaching content of the Confucius Institutes. The Australian government suspected that these agreements are in fact in violation of the anti-foreign-interference laws passed last year. The investigation found that all these agreements have a certain levels of compromise of the university’s academic freedom. In exchange they receive Chinese funding support, 3000 Chinese books and some other educational resources. Among the 13 universities, four of them – the University of Queensland (UQ), Griffith University (GU), La Trobe University (LTU) and Charles Darwin University (CDU) – compromised the most. They all accepted in writing that they would allow the Chinese government to inspect teaching quality. Australian Inspector General Christian Porter confirmed that the government is evaluating the application of the new laws.

Source: LTN, July 25, 2019

UDN: Vietnam Attacks “Country of Origin Wash”

United Daily News (UDN), one of the primary Taiwanese news groups, recently reported that there has been an increasing number of incidents in which the labels of Chinese products are replaced with “Made in Vietnam” labels. These incidents are getting more and more attention. The Vietnamese government has ordered its various ministries to keep a close eye on these activities of “country of origin wash.” The ministries were also asked to come up with plans to prevent and to strike against these illegal cases. The U.S. Customs already reported last month on the discovery of shipments of Chinese products through a number of different countries with an “origin wash.” U.S. President Trump already hinted recently that Vietnam could be the next target to be sanctioned after China. The Vietnamese government was deeply troubled by these “wash” activities and announced its intent to treat it as a priority on inspecting Chinese imports. The government also aimed to stop smuggling activities from China. Some detailed action plans have already been deployed.

Source: UDN, July 26, 2019

Chinese Official Berates German Lawmaker after Hong Kong Visit

Christian Lindner, a member of the German parliament and leader of the Free Democratic Party (FDP),was  recently the head of a delegation to visit Asia. In China, on the last stop of the delegation’s trip, Lindner received rude treatment from Beijing. A Chinese official berated him for 30 minutes. It is believed to relate to the German lawmaker’s brief stop in Hong Kong and his meeting with the city’s pro-democracy lawmakers.

The long scheduled Asia trip included Malaysia, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, and China. When Lindner finally arrived in China, he received a cold reception. A number of prearranged meetings with senior Communist Party officials were cancelled at the last minute. A Chinese official shouted at Lindner for 30 minutes on the Hong Kong issue. The German Der Spiegel magazine broke the story, and Süddeutsche Zeitung (a South German Newspaper) and Focus magazine did follow-up reports.

According to Handelsblatt, a leading German-language business newspaper, Chinese officials strongly condemned Germany about the wave of protests in Hong Kong. They claimed that the German public opinion’s support of the protests and Germany’s refugee protection given to Hong Kong dissidents provoked people’s violence in breaking into the city’s Legislative Council.

Berlin’s daily newspaper Berliner Zeitung reported that Lindner replied and refused to accept any charges. In an interview with the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Lindner said that, since China abandoned polite diplomacy, he also was straightforward. Chinese officials were not happy with what he said. After he finished speaking, the welcome meeting was over.

Source: Radio France International, July 25, 2019.

CNA: China Resumes Nuclear Plant Construction

After three years, China has resumed constructing nuclear plants. According to the Paper, as of the end of June, nuclear power projects in Shandong Rongcheng, Fujian Zhangzhou, and Guangdong Taipingling have started or approved the start of construction. The completion of the Zhangzhou Nuclear Power Plant in Fujian province means that it will be the third closest nuclear power plant to Taiwan. 2015 was the last time that China approved the construction of nuclear power units. It approved a total of eight new nuclear power units that year.

Li Fulong, director of the Development Planning Department of the National Energy Administration of China, made the above remarks at a press conference on the 25th. According to the article, the Shandong Rongcheng project has started construction. The Fujian Zhangzhou and Guangdong Taipingling nuclear power projects have been approved, but construction has not yet started. The statistics from China Nuclear Energy Association affirmed that, as of March 31, 2019, China had a total of 45 nuclear power units in commercial operation.

The distribution map of the mainland’s neighboring Taiwan nuclear power plant provided by the official website of the Atomic Energy Commission of the Republic of China shows that the nearest nuclear power plant to Taiwan is the Fuqing Nuclear Power Plant, only 162 kilometers away from Miaoli Tongyu. It is followed by the Fujian Ningde Nuclear Power Plant, 229 kilometers away from Taiwan. The Zhangzhou Nuclear Power is to be located in Yunxiao County, Zhangzhou City, Fujian Province. After completion, it will become the third nuclear power plant that has a close proximity to Taiwan.

Source: Central News Agency, July 28, 2019

Gangsters Attacked and Wounded Protesters in Hong Kong

The Epoch Times reported that gangsters attacked protesters in Hong Kong at the Yuen Long Train Station on Sunday July 21. About 430,000 protesters joined in an anti-extradition parade to protest that the Hong Kong government has not responded to citizen’s appeals. When the parade was at the Train Station of Yuen Long, more than one hundred gangsters came out to beat the protesters. The gangsters wore white clothes and masks. They used batons to beat people rather brutally and even entered the train cars to beat people inside. At least 36 people, including Democratic legislator Lam Cheuk Ting and a reporter from Stand News, were wounded and sent to four hospitals. One is still in critical situation. (Editor’s note: Newer reports had the injury count at 45).

The report cited six videos of the gangsters brutally beating protesters. Another video showed a youth kneeling at a train car door begging the gangster not to enter, but someone in white punched him and he fell down.

Many people asked, “Where were the police.” An article in the Guardian stated, “When police arrived at the station after 11pm, the assailants had left and angry protesters demanded to know why they had taken so long to get there.”

1. The Epoch Times, July 22, 2019
2. YouTube, July 22, 2019

3. The Guardian, July 22, 2019