US senators took a military plane to Taiwan. For Beijing, this is a major provocation

Taiwan is finally getting much-needed help from the United States to fight its spiraling coronavirus outbreak. But for Beijing, the offer is a major provocation that risks intensifying both relations between the two sides of the Strait and US-Chinese relations.

A delegation of US senators traveled to Taiwan on Sunday morning local time to announce the donation of 750,000 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine. Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen called vaccines “timely rain“for the island, which has vaccinated only 3% of its population and recorded its highest daily Covid death toll on Saturday with 37 deaths.

“It was essential for the United States that Taiwan be included in the first group to receive vaccines, as we recognize your urgent need and we appreciate this partnership,” Senator Tammy Duckworth said during the three-hour visit.

In his welcoming speech to American visitors on Sunday, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu again criticized Beijing. “As we do our best to import vaccines, we have to overcome the hurdles to make sure these life-saving drugs are delivered smoothly from Beijing. Taiwan is no stranger to this kind of obstruction,” he said. he declares.

But the biggest blow to Beijing may not be Wu’s comments or the vaccine donation agreement itself, but the US military plane parked on the runway.

The US delegation arrived at Songshan Airport in Taiwan aboard a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III freighter, a primary strategic airlift for the US military.

Previously, U.S. officials and politicians traveled to Taiwan aboard the C-40, a military version of the Boeing 737 commercial airliner, the Taiwan statement said. Central press agency.

The presence of a US military transport aircraft capable of transporting troops and cargo – including artillery, battle tanks and helicopters – in Taiwan is likely to trigger a meteoric reaction from Beijing.

Already, the state-run nationalist tabloid Global Times has lambasted the unusual choice of planes. “They want to make the landing of the C-17 on the island a fact that must be accepted by the mainland, paving the way for the United States and Taiwan to further intensify their collusion,” he said in a statement. . editorial Sunday.
In one separate report, the newspaper quoted Lv Xiang, an international relations expert for a government-backed think tank, as saying the visit was “the most serious provocation” by the United States since Biden took office, and that the continent “will not stand idly by”.

Previously, the Chinese state media had threatened war against the presence of US military planes in Taiwan. Last August, amid reports that a US Navy spy plane took off from Taiwan, the Global Times said Taipei and Washington “were playing with fire.”

“If the island has organized take-offs and landings of US military planes, it is crossing the red line to mainland China to safeguard national unity. It will be very serious,” he said in a statement. editorial August 31.

“If the mainland has conclusive evidence, it can destroy the affected airport on the island and the US military planes landing there – a war in the Taiwan Strait will begin as well.”

In its Sunday editorial, however, the Global Times appears to have softened its war rhetoric, calling instead for caution in Beijing’s response.

“We have the real freedom to take the measures we deem necessary. What we have to consider is that the effects must be positive and that the political advantages must far outweigh the costs,” he said. he declares.

Photo of the day

The big moment: Students from the Chinese city of Huzhou applaud before taking the national university entrance exam on Monday. Attended by millions of high school students each year, the two-day exam is considered the most important – and stressful – test a Chinese student will take in their college life.

The Business of China: Microsoft removed ‘Tank Man’ images for Tiananmen Square anniversary

Microsoft claims that “human error” led its search engine to block images and videos of “Tank Man”.

The photos were taken around the world from Bing on Friday – the 32nd anniversary of China’s brutal crackdown on pro-democracy protests in and around Tiananmen Square in Beijing. “Tank Man” refers to an unidentified protester who challenged a column of tanks advancing in the square. The images of the meeting have become iconic.

A Microsoft spokesperson said they were mistakenly taken offline. The images reappeared around the world – outside of China – on Saturday.

Bing, unlike its main competitors, including Google, operates in mainland China. This means that Microsoft is obligated to censor search results for Chinese users, according to Chinese law – especially images and information about the Tiananmen Square protests and the murders that followed. Internet censorship in China typically escalates in the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the event.

Hundreds of people were killed on June 4, 1989 in central Beijing. The massacre made headlines around the world, as did images such as “Tank Man”.

Although China’s censorship typically only applies within its borders, Microsoft’s accidental global pullout is not the first time that information in Tiananmen Square has been blocked outside of mainland China by a foreign company.

The FBI in December accused a former Zoom employee of participating in a scheme to censor meetings on behalf of the Chinese government. Xinjiang “Julien” Jin and his co-conspirators have reportedly ended at least four videoconferences commemorating the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre last June. Most of the meetings were organized and attended by American attendees, some of whom were dissidents who had participated in and survived the protests of 1989, the FBI said.

– By David Goldman

A man stands alone to block a line of tanks in Beijing in the iconic 1989 image of Tiananmen Square.

Around asia

  • The number of babies born in Japan fell to another record low in 2020, as more couples postpone marriage and start families amid a global pandemic.
  • At least 20 passengers were killed in train accident in southern Pakistan Monday morning. Officials said the death toll is expected to rise further.
  • Magawa, a premium giant african rat in pouch, is going out after a distinguished five-year career detecting unexploded landmines in Cambodia.
  • Meanwhile in China, a 25 year old suspect was arrested on Saturday for a knife attack that left 6 dead and 14 injured on a pedestrianized shopping street in Anqing City.

Beijing’s fury against the Uyghur court

A London-based “People’s Court” intended to investigate whether China’s alleged violations of rights against Uyghurs and other minority groups constitute genocide, is expected to conclude its first round of hearings on Monday.

The independent tribunal, made up of lawyers, academics and businessmen, saw dozens of witnesses in four days share poignant testimony detailing allegations of mass detention, sterilization and sexual abuse at the hands of the Chinese government.

Although the body itself does not have state support or the power to impose sanctions on China, it drew a furious reaction from Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin describing hearings as a “anti-Chinese farce” and an “insult to the law”.
Chinese state media have also stepped up their criticism, with the nationalist tabloid Global Times publishing at least five separate articles on the court, including a commentary that tagged audiences a “puppet” of the “great western powers”.
The court has long been in Beijing’s sights. It was one of the four British entities sanctioned by the Chinese government more than two months before a single testimony was heard. Geoffrey Nice, the president of the tribunal and a former chief prosecutor in the trial of ex-Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, was also sanctioned.
The tribunal was set up at the request of the World Uyghur Congress, an international organization made up of Uyghur exiles, and is expected to deliver a judgment on whether the Chinese government has committed genocide against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang after a second round of hearings later this year.
But in the months following the court’s announcement, several groups and governments have already taken steps to make the decision. Both Asset and Biden Administrations called Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang “genocide,” while the parliaments of Canada, the Netherlands and the UK all voted in favor of non-binding motions designating Beijing’s actions as such. An independent report from more than 50 global experts in international law, genocide and the region of China also came to the same conclusion.

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