China Slaps Back Sanctions On US Over Uighur Matter

China Slaps Back Sanctions On US Over Uighur Matter

China imposed sanctions on several US officials in retaliation to the sanctions levied on it for the treatment of Uighur Muslims, which have a complex relationship with the Communist regime of China.

Crux of the Matter

Chinese Sanctions
After the US imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for their persecution of Uighurs and other minorities of their country, China hit back with sanctions over its “interference” in national issues.


Till now, the sanctions have been levied on:

  • Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, US Senators.
  • Sam Brownback, US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom.
  • Chris Smith, US Representative.

Exact details of the sanctions have been undisclosed so far.

Who Are The Uighurs?
Uighurs are Turkish-speaking Muslims having their roots in Central Asia. More than 12 million of them reside in the Xinjiang region of China. Over 1 million of the Uighurs have been detained in “re-education” camps since 2015.

Re-education Camps And Hyper Surveillance
In 2014, more than 100 casualties were observed in the Kunming attacks by extremist separatists. After the attacks, President Xi Jinping initiated mass detention camps, which are labeled as “voluntary skill-training” camps in the country. The aim of such camps is to reduce religious extremism.

Detention Camps

  • Detainees are trained in Chinese ideology and are forced to condemn and renounce their own religion.
  • The camps force detainees to speak only in Mandarin and abandon the use of their Turkish Uyghur language.
  • The guards use physical and mental torture in case of any violation of the rules. Several cases of extreme abuse of human rights have been reported.


Hyper-Surveillance

  • The Chinese government has imposed hyper-surveillance on Uighurs and other minorities.
  • Surveillance cameras have been installed near their homes, and the citizens are put in detention camps for growing beards, wearing veils, accessing websites in languages other than Mandarin, offering prayers, visiting mosques, etc.
  • Several of the detainees have been reportedly forced into labour for companies like Nike, Adidas, Apple, etc.

Chinese Reaction
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied the existence of detention camps and claims that only “education and skills” training camps function in the country, where people take admission voluntarily. It has labeled the reports of re-education camps as “slandering” of China by the Western nations.

In total disregard of the facts, some people in the West have been fiercely slandering and smearing China over Xinjiang in an attempt to create an excuse to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

Liu Xiaoming, Ambassador of China to the United Kingdom​
Curiopedia
  • The Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), is an autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China, located in the northwest of the country. Being the largest province-level division of China and among the 10 largest country subdivisions in the world.
  • A late-19th-century encyclopedia entitled The cyclopædia of India and of Eastern and Southern Asia said “the Uigur are the most ancient of Turkish tribes and formerly inhabited a part of Chinese Tartary (Xinjiang), now occupied by a mixed population of Turk, Mongol and Kalmuck”.
  • Sanam is a popular folk dance among the Uyghur people. It is commonly danced by people at weddings, festive occasions, and parties. The dance may be performed with singing and musical accompaniment.

Global Crackdown On Chinese Tech Companies

Global Crackdown On Chinese Tech Companies

Nations across the world including the USA and India, are putting a ban on the Chinese tech companies and revamping trade relations with China. Some say the primary reason to do so is to prevent threats to national security, whereas some point out to China’s opaque response to Covid-19. Let us find out which countries have put a ban on Chinese companies and why?

Crux of the Matter

Chinese Tech Companies, A Threat?
All the Chinese companies are vulnerable to Article 14 and Article 16 of China’s Intelligence Law, 2017. No matter what Chinese companies say to the governments across the world but they will have to comply with the Chinese government’s order, making every Chinese app a potential threat to the nations across the world.

State intelligence work organs, when legally carrying forth intelligence work, may demand that concerned organ, organization, or citizens provide needed support, assistance, and cooperation.

Article 14 of China’s Intelligence Law, 2017 (non-deniable Article)

Intelligence official may enter relevant restricted areas and venues, may learn from and question relevant institutions, organizations and individuals and may read or collect relevant field, materials, and items

Article 16 of China’s Intelligence Law, 2017

TikTok In Pain
After the imposition of controversial national security law, many giant firms like Google, Facebook, etc have withdrawn their operation in Hong Kong. More shocking is that China’s TikTok has also announced to stop operations in Hong Kong. By doing so, the company is trying to show its distance from mainland China. However, TikTok’s decision to stop operations in Hong Kong is not that straight forward as it fell into a controversy over censoring anti-China posts in Hong Kong during protests against the Extradition Law last year. Experts say the move could be politically motivated.

America is mulling to ban TikTok after considering it a potential threat of leaking personal data of users to Beijing. Recently, India banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, a move which was also hailed by US State Secretary Mike Pompeo. Amidst high tension over the border, India banned these apps considering them a threat to national security.

Americans should only download the app if they want their private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.

Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State

Apart from security reasons, there was a serious problem with censorship of content.

Ban On Huawei
Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Taiwan, and the U.S. have decided to ban and phase out Huawei’s products. Meanwhile, the UK has banned the company from contributing core parts to 5G technology, cutting Huawei’s share in the country’s new network to 35%. UK is also thinking of banning Huawei by capping its share price and excluding it from the core 5G Project. It might consider removing 3G and 4G equipment of Huawei as well.

Moreover, the USA has increased pressure on China by banning the sale of semiconductor chips to the Huawei. Countries such as Denmark, Sweden, and Belgium are also thinking of excluding Huawei from its core 5G infrastructure development.

Curiopedia
  • The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is the armed forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and of its founding and ruling political party, the Communist Party of China (CPC). Huawei was founded in 1987 by Ren Zhengfei, a former Deputy Regimental Chief in the People’s Liberation Army.
  • PUBG Mobile topped the charts for earning maximum revenue in May this year. The Tencent-owned game led the gaming app segment by making $226 million revenue last month. The Chinese game was followed up by Honor of Kings, which garnered revenue of over $204 in May across the globe.
  • In Ancient Chinese philosophy, yin and yang is a concept of dualism, describing how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

More Bad News From China: First Covid-19, Now Plague And Flu

China Does It Again: First Covid-19, Now Plague And Flu

After the coronavirus pandemic that shook the world this year, China is being seen as a potential epicentre for Bubonic Plague after a herder got infected with it and the onset of a new Swine Flu virus strain. Time to know more about the current situation there and what virologists and authorities have to say about this.

Crux of the Matter

Bubonic Plague In Mongolia
A bubonic plague case was discovered in Bayannur, Inner Mongolia on July 4. Local Chinese authorities have issued a citywide Level 3 warning for plague prevention, the second-lowest in a four-level system.

A bubonic plague smear taken from the patient, Source: Getty Images

The warning will stay enforced until the end of the year as experts have urged people to take extra precautions like avoiding hunting or eating animals like sick marmots or large ground squirrels, that could cause infection.

Why Is It So Scary?
Plague is caused by bacteria and transmitted via flea bites and infected animals. Bubonic plague, which is one of the plague’s most alarming three forms as it causes painful, swollen lymph nodes, along with symptoms like fever, chills, and coughing.

The grotesque scene outside almost all homes during the Black Death, Source: History

It is said to be one of the deadliest bacterial infections in human history as it can kill an adult in less than 24 hours if not treated in time. During the dreaded ‘Black Death‘ period in the Middle Ages, it killed up to 200 million people in Eurasia & North Africa, peaking in Europe from 1347 to 1351.

Another ‘Pandemic Potential’ Flu?
Researchers in China have discovered new flu that’s a mix of human H1N1 flu, responsible for causing the Swine Flu due to pigs and avian-based flu, caused by birds.

The H1N1 strain that causes Swine Flu, Source: Wikipedia

Even though there has been a range of worrisome headlines, there has been no case of human-to-human transmission of this particular strain of the virus. In fact it’s great that the strain was detected early, giving virologists time to study it more by developing new tests.

What Can Go Wrong Then?
Virologists did find evidence that the new virus could spread by aerosol droplets from ferret to ferret i.e surrogates for humans in flu studies. Infected ferrets lost weight and acquired lung damage, just like those who became sick due to the seasonal human H1N1 flu strains.

Infectious disease scholars call the strain a PPP, a potential pandemic pathogen only because of its ‘availability‘ in the environment since it’s first recognition in the 1900s and its ability to circulate from pigs to humans.

But What Is Swine Flu?
H1N1 virus or pig influenza, swine flu is a human respiratory infection caused by an influenza strain (G4) that started in pigs. Since it’s reception in 1919, it circulates as a seasonal flu virus and has killed 284,000+ people worldwide. However, both the vaccine, developed by Pandemrix and Celvapan and medicine, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza), are available for the treatment of swine flu.

Better Prepared This Time?
The reason for an improved influenza virus surveillance system is how from 2011 to 2018, the researchers had found G4 EA H1N1 strain in pigs. The animal-to-human transmission could later do human to human transmission as well, which became the majority strain for the swine flu virus in China in 2018.

In the meantime, WHO is keeping close tabs on these new developments and highlighting the importance of comprehensive health policies on a global level.

Curiopedia
  • An outbreak of swine flu among Chinese pig farms in 2019 boosted the price of pork by more than 50% compared to 2018. As a result, chinese pig farmer and billionaire Qin Yinglin had a net worth jump of 340% in 2019.
  • Pandemrix is an influenza vaccine for influenza pandemics, such as the 2009 flu pandemic. The vaccine was developed by GlaxoSmithKline and patented in September 2006. The vaccine is only approved for use when an H1N1 influenza pandemic has been officially declared by the World Health Organization.
  • The initial outbreak of a novel swine-origin H1N1 flu pandemic in 2009 and the virus strain that caused it was called by many names. In July 2009, WHO experts named the virus “pandemic H1N1/09 virus” to distinguish it from both various seasonal H1N1 virus strains and the 1918 flu pandemic H1N1 strain.

What Is Hong Kong Security Law And It’s History?

Controversial Hong Kong Security Law And Its History

China passed Security Law in Hong Kong which would restrict public freedom, manifesting the complex relationship between the two.

Crux of the Matter

Security Law
China passed the Security Law for Hong Kong (HK) on 30 June 2020. The law criminalizes “secession, subversion and collusion” against the Chinese Govt for HK citizens. Critics have expressed strong disapproval of the law, labeling it as “draconian” which would infringe fundamental civil rights.

Previous protests on a similar level occurred in 2019 when China attempted to enforce Extradition Law. The law would have allowed the trial of dissenters of HK in Chinese Courts.

Impact On Civilians

  • Severe restrictions now imposed on the criticism of Chinese government.
  • China would set up a Security Office in Hong Kong, which would function outside HK jurisdiction.
  • Extradition allowed: Dissenters in HK would be put on trial in China by Govt permission.
  • Hyper surveillance of citizens and dissenters would be done.
  • Definition of ‘sedition’ changed, now also including acts of protest and dissent.
  • Chinese government would have stronger control over foreign NGOs and news agencies.
  • Lawbreakers would be imprisoned, with sentences possible to be extended for life.

Civilians have started removing posts from social media which criticized the Chinese government, while pro-democracy activists have started resigning from their posts.

History of Hong Kong
Hong Kong (HK) existed as an island under Chinese rule.

  • 1842: China and Britain engage in the first Opium war. China loses the war and HK is handed over to Britain.
  • 1898: Britain wins the second Opium war, and takes HK on a lease of 99 years.
  • 1949: The Communist Party of China wins the civil war, forcing the nationalists to flee to Taiwan and HK.
  • 1949-1997: HK establishes autonomous rule and a capitalist economy.
  • 1997: Britain grants the rule of HK to China after the 99 years lease expired. China integrates HK with ‘One country, Two systems‘, which allows it to retain its capitalist economy.
  • 2014: Mass protests occur as the bill of pre-screening the Chief Executive nominee is passed.
  • 2019: China attempts to pass ‘Extradition Law‘, which it withdraws after mass protests.
  • 2020: China passes the Security Law. US imposes trade restrictions after concerns over the autonomy of HK against Chinese forces.

One country, Two Systems: Hong Kong & Macau to have their own governmental, legal, financial systems & trade relations with foreign countries, independent from those of the Mainland. It was formulated in the early 1980s by Deng Xiaoping during negotiations with the UK over Hong Kong. It must also be noted that under Hong Kong’s mini-constitution, the Basic Law, Hong Kong was guaranteed its freedoms for “at least 50 years” after 1997.

Curiopedia
  • The name Hong Kong is actually a phonetic translation of the city’s Cantonese name (heung gong), which literally means “Fragrant Harbour”.
  • A series of sit-in street protests, often called the Umbrella Revolution, occurred in Hong Kong from 26 September to 15 December 2014. Its name arose from the use of umbrellas as a tool for passive resistance to the Hong Kong Police’s use of pepper spray.
  • A bipartisan group of prominent U.S. lawmakers has nominated Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters for the Nobel Peace Prize. In a letter to the Nobel Peace Prize committee, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and James McGovern recommended awarding the prize to the countless and often anonymous individuals [who] risked their lives, their health, their jobs, and their education to support a better future for Hong Kong.

Hacking Attacks: The Next Gen Warfare

Hacking Attacks: The Next Gen Warfare

As per reports by Cyber Intelligence firm Cyfirma, there are 10-day old conversations on Dark Web forums regarding notorious China based groups – Gothic and Stone Panda, making India the next target of hacking attacks. How far will have they gone in their cyber-warfare plans and what is China’s next move internationally?

Crux of the Matter

What Lurks Behind The Dark Web?
The dark web is part of the World Wide Web content that is not indexed by regular Search engines and requires specific software and configurations as authorization of access. Thus, it can be an easy hideout for dangerous underground communities such as pornography, drugs, hiring hitmen, etc.

Cyber-attacks form a core component of 5th Generation Warfare: propaganda and information war.

China Cooking Revenge Plans?
Several government agencies, media houses, pharmaceutical companies, telecom operators, and a large tyre company in India are on the bull’s eye of a cyberattack by Chinese hacker groups. Their specific targets seemed three central government ministries – Foreign Affairs, Defence, Information and Broadcasting.

Notorius Plans?
This angry plan comes after a violent face-off between India and China earlier this week, a first in 45 years. Twenty Indian and around forty-five Chinese soldiers lost their lives in the clash and others were injured.

Mandarin and Cantonese hacker forums started talking about teaching a lesson to India, pointedly the media houses that have been critical of the Chinese army. Meanwhile, on the Indian front, a boycott China movement has taken pace, which urges consumers to stop buying products made and exported by China.

40,000 Attacks In Just 5 Days?
Maharashtra police’s cyber wing collected information about more than 40,000 hacking attempts, on India’s Information Technology infrastructure and banking sector, in just a matter of five days from 18-23 June. Most of them originated from the Chengdu area in China.

What Are The Two Evil Pandas?
Gothic Panda and Stone Panda came out as the two prominent groups behind such hacking plans, that have a direct affiliation to the People’s Liberation Army. Gothic Panda is an expert in targetting strategic sectors like defense, aerospace, telecom, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and engineering. Stone Panda has a past track record of carrying out secret trade theft and stealing supply chain information. 

Virtual Torment
Both groups actively involve themselves in targeting organizations in countries around the world including India, Japan, the US, Canada, Brazil and Australia. The most common attacks ranging from defacing websites by using a weakness in web applications to data exfiltration using specialized malware. 

Then there can be a denial of service and impersonating companies’ websites and launching malicious phishing campaigns, on top of it. The US and other western countries have long accused China of aggressive espionage, an act of spying and obtaining secret or confidential information, without the permission of the holder of the information.

‘Anonymous’ Online Activists In US
In light of #BlackLivesMatter movement that started in the US after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, hacker group Anonymous’ accounts have pledged their support to protestors against police brutality and racism.

The tweets and Facebook posts in which they highlighted their support, have been seen millions of times, and are repeatedly shared on social media platforms.

Covid-19 Themed Phishing Plans
There were reports of a Covid-19 themed phishing campaign by North Korean state hackers, which was predicted to target six nations including India, Singapore, South Korea, Japan the UK, and the US on June 21.

The attack was a part of the Lazarus Group’s plan against 50 lakh individuals and businesses, including small and large enterprises.

Curiopedia
  • A black hat hacker is a hacker who violates computer security for personal gain or maliciousness. The black hat/white hat terminology originates in the Western genre of popular American culture, in which black and white hats denote villainous and heroic cowboys respectively.
  • Activities of playful cleverness can be said to have “hack value” and therefore the term “hacks” came about, with early examples including pranks at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) done by students to demonstrate their technical aptitude and cleverness. Therefore, the hacker culture originally emerged in academia in the 1960s around the MIT.
  • Anonymous is a decentralized international activist/hacktivist movement that is widely known for its various cyber attacks against several governments, government institutions and government agencies, corporations, and the Church of Scientology. The name Anonymous itself is inspired by the perceived anonymity under which users post images and comments on the Internet.