China on Tuesday criticised new curbs imposed by the United States on imports of goods produced in the Xinjiang region, where Beijing is accused of suppressing ethnic minorities.
A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson rejected United States accusations that production in its western Xinjiang region involved forced labour by Uighurs and other ethnic minorities.
On Monday, the United States announced it would stop importing goods including cotton, computer parts and hair products made in Xinjiang, as frictions between the two countries escalate.
“The so-called forced labour problem is completely fabricated by some United States and Western institutions and personnel,’’ Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said.
Wang said ethnic minority workers’ freedom of movement “has never been restricted” and that their language, customs and religion were protected by law.
Over the past three years, hundreds of Uighurs, Kazakhs and Huis have testified about being held in internment camps as part of what observers say is a government campaign to assimilate ethnic minorities.
The Chinese government said the camps estimated to have held about 1 million people are “vocational education centres” meant to eradicate extremism and terrorism.
In December, authorities said all Xinjiang “students” have “graduated” and found gainful employment.
However, rights groups accuse Beijing of funnelling camp survivors into factories across the country.
A study by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) in March linked multinationals including Nike, Adidas, Apple and Microsoft to forced Uighur labour.
The report estimated over 80,000 Uighurs were transferred to work in factories across the country between 2017 and 2019.
Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Emmanuel Yashim
United States elections: Expert accuses media of polarising Americans
Dr. Jeffrey Stonecash, an expert on political parties in the United States says the media is fueling polarisation among citizens and residents of the country.
Stonecash made the assertion while virtually briefing journalists selected across the globe by the United States Department of State -Bureau of Global Public Affairs to cover the November 3 presidential elections in the United States.
The expert identified economic individualism and role of government, race and cultural matters and immigration as major causes of conflict in the United States
“All these history conflicts we have are really magnified by the media. We now have the very vibrant conservatives media which is dedicated to presenting a narrative on history matters on individualism, economic matters about race, culture and immigration matters.
“It has really fueling the conflicts we have in the society; if you run into somebody who is watching Fox News all the time and you have been watching CNN or MSMBC, you think you are living in two different worlds.
“The facts and assumptions they have about what is going on, how bad riots are going on, how bad crimes are is just vastly different.
“You begin a conversation and discover oh my goodness this person has really different facts than I do; I hear people they are afraid of talking about politics because they afraid it could explode.
“What the media does is to re-enforce each other, the liberals watch CNN or SMMBC and they come out outraged and the republicans watch Fox News and they are outraged about what is going on in America.
“I must say they is an enormous profit to be made on both sides by provoking outage so it is hard to find a show where America watches a thoughtful review of both sides of the issue, what we have now is polarising of the media,” he said.
Stonecash explained that conservatives want a government that will let people do what they want saying that they are obsessed with freedom while liberals are concern about the collective state of affairs.
“Conservatives are angry about having to wear masks and the liberals are saying don’t you care about the collective safety of the society?
“The two groups talk past each other; it’s pretty hard to get a coherent conversation, a one that does not blow up when those type of topics come up.
“I think what all of these has done is to produce a society which there is a growing percentage of people on each side who think the other side is a threat to America.
“They think if the other side gets into power, American got a hit; if you follow the campaign, Trump is being saying to the people, ‘I am the only thing standing between you and the demise of America’.
“Liberals groups are out there saying if Donald Trump gets elected, it could risk the demise of America; it is not easy the way the conversation is going when you think the other side is a threat to the continuation of America’s democracy,” he said.
The expert said that a lot of people virtually live and on social media saying it is becoming a disaster as a lot of people.
He said that there is the partisan press which is very complicated and everybody is worried about it.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza
NBA-China engagement is positive for United States – Commissioner
The NBA has built a reputation as the most socially progressive of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and in the last year has come under pressure to cut its ties with China over its alleged human rights abuses.
“Somebody could say given the system of government in China you, the NBA, should make a decision not to operate there,” Silver said in an interview.
“I would only say that at the end of the day, I think those are decisions for our government in terms of where American business should operate.
“I continue to believe that the people-to-people exchanges we’re seeing by playing in China are positive, and it’s helping. It helps cultures learn about each other. It allows us to export sort of American values to China.”
The NBA’s previously harmonious relationship with the Chinese government suffered a major setback last October when Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong protesters.
The league lost millions of dollars in sponsorships over the row and its games were taken off state broadcaster CCTV, which dominates television sports coverage in China.
“We could have decided because they took us off Chinese Central Television (CCTV) that we should … take our ball and go home and stop operating there,” Silver added.
“The fact is our games continue to be streamed … and we’ve continued in there. At least that’s my view, that it’s been net positive to not move to disengagement.”
In July, the NBA said it was re-evaluating its training programme in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang.
Silver said the NBA’s relationship with the world’s most populous nation goes back to the late 1970s, when China was all but closed to American businesses.
“As the years have gone on, the NBA has increased its presence in China, but always until very recent history at the encouragement of the State Department, of various administrations, again, from both sides of the aisle,” Silver said.
“It was viewed as a really positive thing that we were exporting American values to China through the NBA.”
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara
Egyptian president warns forces loyal to GNA against crossing ‘Red Line’ in Libya
“Egypt is bent on supporting Libyans to rid their country of armed militias and terrorist organisations and putting an end to the blatant interference of some regional parties (in Libya).
“As we have declared before and reiterate today, any breach to the line extending between the towns of Sirte and Jufra, previously demarcated as a red line, will be furiously faced by Egypt in defense of its people and its national security,” Sisi said in his address late on Tuesday to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
The president has renewed the call on Libya’s warring parties to find a comprehensive political solution to the fatal armed confrontation in the North African country under UN auspices.
According to the president, the settlement should be based on the 2015 Skhirat Agreement, the results of the Berlin conference, held in January of this year, and the Cairo Declaration, also known as the Cairo initiative.
The Cairo initiative was presented by Egypt in early summer of 2020 and, among other matters, includes a complete ceasefire in Libya starting on June 8, and the terms for a political solution.
The initiative was supported by Russia, the United States and several Arab countries, but rejected by Turkey and its ally, the GNA.
Sisi had previously claimed that Cairo would not stand idle if the GNA’s forces crossed the “red line” — by entering the city of Sirte — and would not allow destabilization in eastern Libya, which is under the control of the Tobruk-based parliament and the LNA.
On July 20, the Egyptian parliament unanimously approved the possible dispatch of troops to carry out military operations outside the country.
It came after Sisi stated that his country had an internationally legitimate right to intervene in Libya and come to the aid of the eastern administration.
Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim
Olympics: Japan to require COVID-19 tests for athletes, draft shows
Organisers of next year’s delayed Olympic Games will require coronavirus tests of foreign athletes upon their arrival in Japan, draft measures released on Wednesday show.
Japanese athletes and other participants living in Japan will face the same requirements, according to the measures, which are still being discussed.
Although foreign athletes and other participants will not have to undergo a two-week quarantine period, virus tests will be required on arrival and departure, under the plan.
Organisers also propose to limit travel within Japan for athletes, who will be restricted to such places as towns hosting national delegations and training sites.
The pandemic, which has infected more than 31.3 million people and killed about 964,000 worldwide, has prompted hard questions about the viability of next year’s Games, even as new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has emphasised their importance.
Japan has avoided the kind of explosive outbreak suffered by nations such as the United States, India and Brazil, with roughly 80,000 infections and about 1,500 deaths to date.
Edited By: Emmanuel Okara)