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US President announces break with WHO, new sanctions against China, and more

The Thaiger

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US President announces break with WHO, new sanctions against China, and more | The Thaiger

China, the World Health Organisation, Twitter, social media generally, new security laws in Hong Kong, bans on some foreign nationals and proposed retaliations against the Chinese.

And that was all in just one media conference in the rose garden at the White House by US President Trump. The President, without even mentioning the Covid-19 crisis or the overnight violence in numerous US cities, launched a blistering attack on the Chinese government. He listed a litany of “misdeeds” that ranged from the violation of Hong Kong’s freedoms, espionage, and announced an unspecific inventory of retaliatory measures.

The invective will plunge US-China relations into the deepest crisis since relations resumed between the two nations in the 1970s, led by President Nixon. Two years of carefully curated trade negations are now in tatters between the two countries.

“They’ve ripped off the United States like no one has ever done before. Beijing has raided our factories and gutted American industry.”

The US President cast Beijing as a central foil he will use as a platform in the remaining months of his re-election campaign for the Presidential elections in November. He painted Beijing as an existential geopolitical threat. His strong rhetoric is a gamble that will rattle world trade and diplomatic relations whilst the world struggles to emerge from the global Covid-19 pandemic.

Just the night before, massive protests roiled the US cities of Minneapolis and Atlanta after the death, in police custody, of an African American man, but Mr. Trump made no mention of the incidents that have become an incendiary distraction from the country’s struggles with Covid-19.

President Trump called out China for “espionage to steal our industrial secrets, of which there are many,” and accused Beijing of “unlawfully claiming territory in the Pacific Ocean” and threatening freedom of navigation. He blasted the Chinese government for passing a national security law that he claimed would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy.

“Going forward the US will no longer grant Hong Kong special status on trade or in other areas and instead will apply the same restrictions to the territory it has in place with China.”

His statement would strip Hong Kong of special conditions relating to extradition, trade, travel and customs the US had previously granted it. The proposed sanctions would have a profound effect on trade and travel between Hong Kong and US citizens and businesses.

But, wait, there’s more. He then announced the US will pull out of the World Health Organisation even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread across the globe, most notably in his home country. President Trump claimed that China has “total control” over the WHO and its 194 nation states.

He also claimed that China had pressured the WHO to “mislead the world” over the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, calling it the “Wuhan virus”.

“Health funding would be redirected to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs.”

“This week China unilaterally imposed control over Hong Kong security… a plain violation of Beijing’s treaty obligations with the United Kingdom.”

“Hong Kong is no longer sufficiently autonomous to warrant the special treatment that we have afforded the territory.”

He said his administration would begin the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment, including extradition treaties, export controls on dual-use technologies.

“The US will also revoke Hong Kong’s preferential customs and travel status.”

In reality, the steps would have very little immediate financial impact. In 2019, the US imported less than $5 billion of goods from Hong Kong that President Trump could hit with new tariffs. But, in comparison, the US exports over $30 billion a year to Hong Kong.

At this stage there has been no official response from the Chinese government which will likely take the weekend to digest the gravity and extent of the US President’s statements.

President Trump is also widely expected to announce a restriction on Chinese students. About 350,000 visit the US to study each year paying high fees to United States universities. Joint scientific research between the two nations is also expected to be scrapped.

Shortly after the press conference the White House then issued a presidential proclamation suspending US entry for Chinese graduate and postgraduate students and researchers that takes effect at noon on Monday.

The proclamation claimed that authorities in the People’s Republic of China “use some Chinese students, mostly post graduate students and post-doctorate researchers, to operate as non-traditional collectors of intellectual property. These students are at high risk of being exploited or co-opted by the PRC authorities and provide particular cause for concern.”

US President announces break with WHO, new sanctions against China, and more | News by The Thaiger

The highly public to-and-fro between President Trump and Twitter punctuated a week of conflict between the outspoken President and the loudspeaker itself. On Wednesday he accused Twitter of “stifling free speech” saying he would “not allow the social media companies to operate unfettered”.

In an act of retaliation, he signed the executive order on Thursday taking aim at Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which provides the liability shield to the tech companies. It is unclear if this blunt tool can be enacted and could be unconstitutional.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Davidsen

    Saturday, May 30, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    President of US Trumph cant do anything he just like BARKING DOG SELDOM BITE. trust me he is business man he just can barking but will never bite never fight. he always thinking for own benefit, Iraq. Iran, Afghanistan, Vietnam these war who started ? not Trumph because he is business man he know very well bite and fight always for loosing.

  2. Avatar

    Backbone

    Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at 9:41 pm

    Good

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Myanmar

38 people die “bloodiest day” since Myanmar coup – United Nations

Caitlin Ashworth

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38 people die “bloodiest day” since Myanmar coup – United Nations | The Thaiger
Anti-coup protest in Myanmar on February 14 / Photo by Htin Linn Aye via Wikimedia Commons

38 people died during Myanmar’s anti-coup protests yesterday in what the United Nations is calling the “bloodiest day” in the country since the February 1 military takeover. UN special envoy for Myanmar Christine Schraner Burgener said the death toll is “shocking” and that the situation in the Southeast Asian country could lead to a “real war.”

Since last month’s coup, more than 50 people have died while many others have been wounded in protests against military rule. Witnesses say police and soldiers have opened fire with little warning. In a virtual briefing, the UN envoy said experts believe the Burmese police are using 9mm sub-machine guns to fire shots at civilians.

“I saw today very disturbing video clips. One was police beating a volunteer medical crew. They were not armed… Another video clip showed a protester was taken away from police and they shot him from very near, maybe one metre. He didn’t resist his arrest and it seems he died on the street.”

Burmese troops seized power of the civilian government last month, citing what they say was a fraudulent election, although the election commission said the vote was fair. A number of civilian politicians were arrested including democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who had won the November election for state counsellor in a landslide.

Christine says more than 1,200 people are now under detention and many do not know where their loved ones are.

SOURCE: UN News | Aljazeera

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World

Muay Thai added to European Games 2023

Caitlin Ashworth

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Muay Thai added to European Games 2023 | The Thaiger
Stock photo via Wikimedia

Thailand’s national sport Muay Thai has been added to the European Games 2023, set to be held in Poland. While Asia has been leading the sport for decades, many recent Muay Thai champions are from Europe, according to Sakchye Tapsuwan, president of the International Federation of Muaythai Associations, the governing body for the sport.

“Europe has grown in strength, evidenced at the last two World Championships, where the overall winners were teams from Europe.”

Held by the European Olympic Commission, the European Games is considered a staging post to the Olympics. Thousands of elite athletes from 50 participating nations have the opportunity to compete in one of the 15 sports. Now Muay Thai, an ancient martial art dating back 1,000 years with ties to centuries-old traditions, is included on the list.

The format of the European Games is in line with the Olympic Movement standards for gender equality. The categories are equal for men and women with 7 male and female divisions and 2 coed teams. Creating equal opportunities for men and women fighters is a “vision” both the federation and the European Olympic Committee share, according to director of the federation, Charissa Tynan.

“For IFMA, gender equality is not about ticking the box, it is about ensuring that women and men have the same opportunities to shine together on one stage as one family.”

SOURCES: IFMA | EOC

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Japan asks China to stop anal Covid-19 tests after travellers report “psychological distress”

Caitlin Ashworth

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Japan asks China to stop anal Covid-19 tests after travellers report “psychological distress” | The Thaiger

After complaints that China’s anal swab Covid-19 test caused “psychological distress,” Japan has asked China to stop using the new, much more invasive method of testing on Japanese citizens entering the country.

For the anal test, reportedly done on some travellers entering China from overseas, a 3 to 5 centimetre long cotton swab is inserted into the anus and gently rotated to collect the sample. While it’s unclear exactly how many people have gone through the procedure, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato says some Japanese citizens have reported mental discomfort after the test.

“Some Japanese reported to our embassy in China that they received anal swab tests, which caused great psychological pain.”

The Japanese government made a request through the embassy in Beijing to stop using the anal swab test on Japanese citizens. Katsunobu says China has not yet responded to the request.

China started using the anal swab test in January. The anal tests are controversial with many experts backing the oral test as the most efficient way to detect a coronavirus infection.

SOURCE: BBC

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