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Two words China threw at US twice this week: ‘Don’t interfere’

In this week’s Chinascope, we look at the Chinese army’s message to the US over Ladakh tensions, Arunachal Pradesh boy returned by China, the race to retrieve F-35 fighter jet from the ocean, the Chinese ambassador to the US issuing warning over Taiwan, foreign minister asking the US to stop interfering in the Beijing Olympics, and other major stories from China – and the world.

China over the week

Beijing’s eyes are fixated on the upcoming Winter Olympics, which will begin February 4, but China is busy trying to ensure no country ‘interferes’ in the events.

On Thursday, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi spoke to US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. Wang Yi urged the US to “stop interfering” in the upcoming Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

“The top priority right now is that the US should stop interfering with the Beijing Winter Olympics, stop playing cards with fire on the Taiwan issue, and stop creating all kinds of anti-China ‘small circles’,” said Wang Yi.

This trope of ‘interfering’ played on several other fronts too. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) spokesperson asked the United States not to interfere in India-China border talks. And the US asked Beijing to use its influence with Russia and intervene in Ukraine.

As global media attention has turned towards Ukraine, many have wondered about China’s move.

Besides his remarks about the Olympics and Taiwan, Wang Yi extended support to Russia on the escalation of military tensions at Ukraine’s border. He said that China backs Russia’s “reasonable security concerns” in Beijing’s first official position on Ukraine. 

Chinese social media users began paying attention to events in Ukraine. “Russia-Ukraine crisis: threat or bluffing?” was the eighth search trend on Baidu. “Ukraine Russia” is the second top trend on Weibo. The hashtag “walking into the eye of the storm of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine” has been viewed 1.38 million times so far.

Meanwhile, the US has asked China to use its influence with Russia to find a diplomatic solution for the Ukraine crisis.

“We are calling on Beijing to use its influence with Moscow to urge diplomacy because if there is a conflict in Ukraine, it is not going to be good for China either,” US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland said.

This past week, PLA spokesperson Wu Qian asked the US to stay away from the bilateral border negotiations with India. “Both China and India have expressed their opposition to third-party mediation. Some people in the US like to use the word ‘coercion’, but they don’t know that the US is the initiator and master of ‘coercion diplomacy’,” Wu Qian said in a statement on Thursday.

The Ministry of External Affairs indicated on Thursday that India and China had agreed to hold the next round of border talks soon.

In a welcomed development, the PLA handed back Miram Taron, the 17-year-old boy from Jido Village in the Upper Siang district in Arunachal Pradesh.

An F-35 fighter jet – one of the most advanced US jets – went down after taking off from USS Carl Vinson. The US and China are currently locked in a race to find the F-35 fighter jet that sank to the bottom of the ocean. The F-35 costs $100 million and holds secrets to US’s most advanced stealth technology, which could end up in China’s hands if it manages to retrieve the jet.

“F-35 crash into the South China Sea video out” was a leading search trend on Baidu and was viewed over 3.5 million times on Saturday.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian has said, “China has no interest in their warplane.”

The growing use of artificial intelligence on social media has left China’s internet regulators worried about the misuse of the technology.

The Cyberspace Administration of China has proposed a new regulation to govern artificial intelligence technologies. The regulation, still in the draft stage, will require providers of artificial intelligence and deep fake technologies to reveal the identities of their users.

Chinascope has in the past told you about a new state-produced documentary on corrupt Chinese officials. The documentary series has now sparked a debate about officials finding novel ways to do corruption.

“Corruption and monopoly have penetrated all walks of life, especially some non-governmental organisations and some enterprises are trying to achieve the goal of monopoly,” a Weibo user said while commenting on the documentary series.

Chinese nationalists have an overwhelming influence on shaping debates about everything from core political issues to popular culture.

Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves has recently come under attack for his decision to appear at an annual benefit concert for Tibet House.

Many in China are planning to boycott his latest movie, The Matrix Resurrections.

Also read: South China Sea or Arunachal Pradesh – China is using lawfare to expand territory

China in world news

When China’s ambassador to the US Qin Gang took over the most desired diplomatic posting, many had expected he would strike a conciliatory tone. But the expectation has unravelled in the past months.

Gang has issued a warning over interference in Taiwan in his interview with the National Public Radio in Washington DC.

“The Taiwan issue is the biggest tinderbox between China and the United States. If the Taiwanese authorities, emboldened by the United States, keep going down the road for independence, it most likely will involve China and the United States, the two big countries, in a military conflict,” said Qin Gang.

After months of a congressional tussle, Nicholas Burns was sworn in as the US’ next ambassador to China. On January 25, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman posted a picture of Burns’ swearing-in ceremony on Twitter.

France has announced that it will hold the Indo-Pacific Forum in which EU ministers will meet 30 foreign ministers from the Indo-Pacific region. The decision has been called a “snub” to China.

The event will focus on “the challenges of security and defence, digital issues and connectivity, in the context of the ‘Global Gateway’ initiative on global infrastructures, as well as global issues,” according to Politico.

Also read:

What you must read this week

The Subplot: What China is Reading and Why it Matters – Isabel Hilton

How Chinese Companies Force Employees to Stay – Shen Fangwei

Experts this week

“The domestic political and economic situation in India is not optimistic. When under pressure, those with the worst coping ability are often the first to be hit. Today, China’s negative image in India has gradually solidified, and it has become the “epidemic spreader”, “military aggressor”, “economic coloniser”, “politically subversive”, and “diplomatic imperialist” in Indian public opinion. Many politicians take pride in propagating anti-China slogans and accumulating political capital in their actions against China,” wrote Mu Yifan and Bai Guangcan in a column for Guancha.

Upcoming Watch 

On February 1, China will celebrate the Lunar New Year. According to the lunar calendar, 2022 will be the Year of the Water Tiger. People across China will have an opportunity to spend time with family as most public and private organisations will be closed from 31 January till 6 February.

The Beijing Winter Olympics will kick off on 4 February.

The author is a columnist and a freelance journalist, currently pursuing an MSc in international politics with focus on China from School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He was previously a China media journalist at the BBC World Service. He tweets @aadilbrar. Views are personal.

This is a weekly round-up that Aadil Brar writes about what’s buzzing in China. This will soon be available as a subscribers’-only product.

(Edited by Prashant)

Source: The Print

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