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China Reform Monitor - No. 1279
Chinese media ponders Russian protests;
New regulations in Xinjiang restrict freedoms
Edited by Joshua Eisenman
April 20, 2017
While in China for the Boao Forum, Nepali Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal pledged to President Xi Jinping that his country’s will participate in China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. However, Dahal also vowed not to sign pacts on transportation projects or a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) that Beijing proposed in a draft sent to Kathmandu. "As a small country and small trading partner, Nepal has reservations about the proposal. We have forwarded our comments to the Chinese side," a Nepali official told the Kathmandu Post. Nepal, which runs a large trade deficit with China, "has expressed reservations about free trade and financial transactions proposed by China. Nepal is not in a position to agree on the FTA with China given its inability to compete with Chinese goods. Nepal is also concerned about [conducting] financial transactions in Chinese currency, which China has proposed to conduct through branches of Chinese banks in Nepal."
Three police officers were injured and 35 demonstrators arrested when violent clashes broke out in Paris between riot police and protesters angry at the police killing of a Chinese man in his own home, The Guardian reports. Shaoyo Liu, 56, was shot in front of his children while he was preparing dinner. Liu’s daughter told Le Parisen that her father had opened their front door holding a pair of scissors that he was using to descale a fish. Police say officers fired in self-defense after Liu wounded an officer with a "bladed weapon." The next day about 150 mostly-Chinese protesters gathered outside the local police station chanting "murderers" and using candles to spell out the words "oppose violence." Then an angry group broke down police barriers, threw rocks and other projectiles at officers, and set fire to a vehicle. The following day about 100 Chinese local residents gathered at the police station chanting, "Justice must be done, the killer must be punished." French authorities are investigating the shooting and the "attempted murder" of the police officer. Beijing has called for a full investigation and for Paris to ensure "the security and the rights" of Chinese citizens in France, the official Global Times reports.
China’s official media outlets have published detailed reports on the anti-Putin rallies in Russia stressing that Moscow's response to the protests is worthy of a "detailed study." Russia's experience in pursuing its "unique path in development will provide valuable reference for non-Western countries." "Russia has been subject to deep influence by Western cultures and it is also close to the West geographically. There are also certain Western political factors that can legally exist in Russia. On the one hand, Russia's geographical, ethnical and cultural structure call for authority. On the other, it has been practicing multiparty politics," the official Global Times reports.
[Editor’s Note: The CPC line on instability in Russia seems to be: Russia’s problems stem from its tolerance of some elements of Western liberal democracy (e.g., opposition parties) that are incompatible with its Asian need for autocracy, and that China would invite disaster by doing the same and thus must maintain its "cooperative" democratic centralism under the leadership of the CPC.]
Beginning next fall, Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) will add 11 undergraduate language courses, mostly African and Oceanic tongues, including Kurdish, Maori, Tongan, Samoan, Comorian, Tswana, Ndebele, Creole, Shona, Tigrinya and Byelorussian, reports the China Daily. The university now has 84 language majors and plans to increase to more than 100 in 2020, covering all countries that have diplomatic relations with China. "Chinese proficient in local languages and cultures are lacking in some participating countries of the OBOR Initiative. The university is helping to equip more students with language skills and knowledge of the regional affairs to meet the demand," said a propaganda official at BFSU.
Xinjiang has passed a law banning a wide range of "manifestations" of extremism and establishing a special anti-extremism task force to enforce it at the regional, prefectural, and county levels. The new law lists 15 "extremist acts" including wearing veils or "abnormal" beards, refusing to watch state television and listen to state radio, preventing children from receiving national education, using religious instead of legal procedures to marry or divorce, sabotaging family planning policies, damaging national identity cards, applying the concept of Halal in non-food-related areas or using it to intervene in other people’s secular lives. By creating a region-wide regulation, new Xinjiang party secretary Chen Quanguo is seeking to strengthen party control, the South China Morning Post reports.