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.
“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.
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.
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 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
- 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.
- 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
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.