NEWS IN CHINA


  • US Announces Fresh Tariffs on Chinese Imports: The United States announced increased tariffs on Chinese products to promote electric vehicle production domestically: 100% for Chinese electric vehicles, 50% for semiconductors, solar cells, syringes, and needles, and 25% for battery parts, medical gloves, magnets, and more. US President Joe Biden aims to boost electric vehicle production in the US and his tariff decision is a rebuttal to Trump's approach on China's manufacturing dominance. Despite Trump's 2019 deal, US exports to China increased while imports remained largely unaffected. The tariff action was described as “overdue” and necessary for boosting manufacturing in America but was negatively received by Chinese officials. Spokesperson Wang Wenbin of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs assured that China would be taking measures that suited their best interest, attributing China’s industrial growth to improved technology, supply chains and market competition unlike the US which relies on subsidies. Chinese media responses criticised the “absurdity” of tariffs being applied to the development of eco-friendly products and consider the action a violation of the Section 301 of the Trade Act.

  • Ministry of Education Announces Guidelines for Basic Education Management: The Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China issued a statement regarding the work objectives, standardization of compulsory syllabus, and rules to further improve the basic education system of China. The notice targeted the educational management systems and the ethics surrounding them. The guidelines place an emphasis on professional conduct and safety responsibilities which adversely affect students when not effectively managed.  The announcement outlines a list of educational goals aimed at instilling political and legal awareness, alongside provisions to protect minors in schools and guidelines for managing safety and disciplinary actions. A second “negative list” of regulations addresses the handling of student populations. The twelve-item list prohibited discrimination, mismanagement of campus safety, organization of examinations as a basis for student enrolment, abuse of power over students and other managerial concerns. The Ministry specified a four-step implementation program, starting with provincial educational departments developing effective measures and plans to align with the goals of the notice. The schools are expected to carry out self-examination to standardise the management systems and will be subject to evaluations by the Ministry of Education.

  • Foreign Ministers of China and Brunei Discuss Collaborative Relationship: China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs held talks with counterpart from Brunei in Beijing to discuss bilateral ties between China and Brunei. Wang Yi and Il Dato Erywan Pehin Yusof discussed the long-term goals between China and Brunei. Wang asserted that China is willing to continue supporting Brunei to promote economic diversification and development while promoting the continuous stability of the relationship. Both representatives communicated the importance of pursuing mutual benefit through heightened political trust. The fields of education, tourism sports and the construction of sister cities were designated as a means of joint development. Erywan responded positively, adding the support of artificial intelligence and data, as a means through which Brunei intend to maintain collaborative relations with China. Referring to China as a 'good friend of Brunei’s,' he highlighted the importance of the bilateral relationship, while affirming Brunei’s acceptance of the one-China policy. However, he pointed out Brunei’s expectation for China to exert greater influence over regional and international affairs. He also noted that China’s development will benefit other countries in the region and reiterated Brunei’s willingness to collaborate on common development and stability.

  • Death Penalty of Child Sex Offender Carried out in Hainan: Luo Chongchuang’s death sentence was executed by the Hainan Province Intermediate Court. Luo was convicted under the accusation of the repeated rape of four students and the sexual abuse of twenty-five others between 2019 and 2021. The offender was a primary school teacher in the Hainan province and is claimed to have used his identity to commit violence against his victims. The Hainan intermediate court sentenced Luo to the death penalty on April 4th, 2023, and his appeal for a lesser sentence was rejected. Following standard Chinese court procedure, the ruling was then submitted to the Supreme People’s Court for approval. The ruling was judged to be to be based on sufficient and reliable evidence and the sentence to be appropriate for the crime, thus legally sentencing him to death. The Supreme Court’s statement included a note on the importance of the protection of minors and the necessity for capital punishment as a response to child sexual abuse.

  • CDC Assures KP.2 Outbreak in China is Unlikely: The National Disease Control and Prevention Administration’s (CDC) monitoring and early warning department issued a statement on the KP.2 strain of the coronavirus. The CDC reports that the variant was first identified in China on March 11th in Guangdong province, South China. A total of 25 sequences have been detected, making this strain significantly less prevalent than the more common strains JN.1, JN.1.16, and JN.1.4. The KP.2 variant is an offshoot of the Omicron JN.1 variant, with mutations causing a few key changes in its structure and capabilities. KP.2 is capable of slightly stronger transmissibility than JN.1 because of protein mutation, and there is currently no information on the changes in pathogenicity or immune evasion. The CDC attests that the transmissibility advantages are minimal and are unlikely to cause a peak in the infection rates, which are low and are projected to remain low in China. The health authorities recommended changes in lifestyle, including maintaining good hygiene and a balanced diet and other activities that boost the immune system.

  • China Calls for Stricter Regulation of Maps on Web Applications: The General Offices of the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued a notice on the regulation of publishing and using maps in internet applications (apps).  The notice responds to the increasing significance of easily accessible maps in people’s lives, aiming to address the use of "problematic maps".  These maps, not compliant with legal guidelines, disregard standard national boundaries, sensitive information labeling, and other similar issues, posing threats to China’s sovereignty and national security. The notice cites concerns of international misunderstanding of the Chinese government's political stance as a factor in the regulations. Internet map services are now required to conduct map review and filing procedures with the relevant authorities to ensure compliance with laws and regulations. Users who violate the regulations are expected to be warned, restricted, and reported. The operators of apps using the maps are expected to indicate a source and the approval number of the map and using or publishing unapproved and unregulated maps will be punished in accordance with national regulations.

SOCIAL MEDIA CHATTER IN CHINA


  • Netizens Outraged by Medical Negligence Case: Netizens reacted to the tragic news of an 11-year-old girl dying because of misdiagnosis and medical malpractice at the Chengyang District People’s Hospital in Shandong. The girl’s father reported that she developed fever symptoms, abdominal pain and vomiting on November 19, 2023, leading to her hospitalization at the paediatric emergency room for gastroenteritis. The prescribed infusion failed to alleviate her symptoms, and she soon passed away. An autopsy revealed her cause of death as cardiac and respiratory failure due to undetected pneumonia. The case was reported to the Chengyang District Health Bureau and People’s Court. Investigations revealed that the child was turned away upon returning to the hospital after the ineffective treatment. The incident sparked outrage on Weibo, with over 130 million viewers engaging with the story. While some netizens saw the misdiagnosis as reasonable given the symptoms, the core issue lies in the negligence of monitoring the patient's progress. Weibo user “Dr. Chen from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology” pointed out the systemic issue of overworked medical staff leading to medical negligence. Netizens shared similar negative experiences with the hospital system, prompting many to advise parents to research and educate themselves about child healthcare due to perceived unreliability. The incident sparked significant concern about the heavy workload of hospital workers and its potentially tragic consequences.

INDIA WATCH


An offshoot of Xinhua news published an article on the General Elections in India, describing them as the “world’s largest election”. The article covers the controversies before the elections, the issues during the election, and the potential consequences of the outcome. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is referred to as the face of Hindu Nationalism, implying that his popularity and influence surpass the opposition. Written mid-election, the article implies the ruling party will be re-elected, suggesting the opposition is too weak to overtake Modi. The article states the high likelihood of Modi winning the election and being re-elected, noting that the focus on youth development, women’s empowerment, farmer welfare, and the poor is “weaker,” interpreted as a sign of the party's confidence in re-election. While focusing on establishing Modi as an authoritative figure, the article lists the issues the opposition parties have faced to establish the context for their weakening. Critiquing Indian democracy for the use of electoral bonds and the extreme use of force by the ruling party, the article  claims that the population is accustomed to these issues in previous elections. The article concludes with a critique of the ruling party and a reference to the growth of the Indian economy under PM Modi. This growth is referred to as “impressive”, but the article points out the simultaneous crisis of the Indian job market and the lack of structural changes to rectify the issue.

Prepared By

Aditi Dash is an undergraduate student of Literary and Cultural Studies and FLAME University. Her interests span the academic study of literature and art history, as well as anthropological concepts of culture and social behaviour.

CiCM 14th May 2024

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