Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for China

Newsline: China summons U.S. embassy official to demand halt to Hong Kong meddling

China made stern representations to a representative of the U.S. embassy in Beijing on Wednesday after the Senate unanimously passed legislation aimed at protecting human rights in Hong Kong. In a statement, the foreign ministry said Vice Foreign Minister Ma Zhaoxu summoned William Klein, the U.S. embassy’s minister counselor for political affairs. (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-hongkong-protests-china-embassy/china-summons-u-s-embassy-official-to-demand-halt-to-hong-kong-meddling-idUSKBN1XU0GN) Ma told Klein the situation in Hong Kong was part of China’s internal affairs and demanded that the U.S. stop its meddling, the ministry added.

Newsline: Chinese diplomat had affairs and sold secrets in Vietnam

A senior Chinese diplomat stationed overseas who led a playboy lifestyle, fathered two children out of wedlock and had affairs with foreign agents has appeared in court on charges of leaking top state secrets. The Chinese cadre surnamed Zhang, said to be with a ministry responsible for technology, was hauled before a court to face charges for leaking top state secrets to foreign spies and was subsequently given a death sentence with a two-year reprieve. Zhang’s exploits and the betrayal of his country were revealed by state broadcaster China Central Television in a name-and-shame program aired during evening prime time. The program’s aim is to warn officials and the people that China was still “crawling with foreign spies” and that those posted overseas must stay vigilant against seduction and instigation. CCTV did not mention where Zhang was posted, but unverified posts circulating on WeChat and Weibo claimed he committed treason while working in Vietnam. (https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/11/article/chinese-diplomat-had-affairs-and-sold-secrets) There were also claims that his illegitimate children were kept hostage to force him to feed more secrets about China’s diplomacy, the domestic situation as well as the health records of state leaders to foreign agents.

Newsline: American Ambassador Defends New Rules for Chinese Diplomats

The U.S. ambassador to China defended plans to require Beijing’s diplomats to report contacts with some Americans and said Monday that Washington is considering additional rules for employees of entities controlled by the ruling Communist Party. (https://time.com/5705868/washington-rules-chinese-diplomats/) The change comes as the United States, Australia and some other governments are looking at possible Chinese efforts to spy or gain influence in their countries. It follows years of complaints from American and other diplomats about controls on their ability to move around China and to meet with officials and members of the public. Ambassador Terry Branstad said the rule is “very modest” and intended to win more access for American diplomats in China’s “closed system.” He rejected Chinese criticism that the measure violates a global treaty on conditions for diplomats as “very outrageous.”

Newsline: Chinese diplomats must notify their moves in US

Chinese diplomats in the US will have to notify American authorities before holding any meetings with US officials.China said the US was breaking international rules – but the US said American diplomats in China faced similar restrictions. The move comes amid heightened tensions between both countries. The rules would apply to “official meetings with [US] state officials, official meetings with local and municipal officials, official visits to educational institutions, and official visits to research institutions”, the state department said. An official said the US was merely “levelling the playing field” with China, and that it was a response to Chinese restrictions on American diplomats. (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-50078056) “In China, US diplomats do not have unfettered access to a range of folks that are important for us to do our job here. “In contrast, [Chinese] diplomats in the US are of course, able to take full advantage of our open society,” said a senior state department official. US officials said Chinese diplomats did not need permission for the meetings, but were required to notify the state department in advance. The eventual goal, said the official, would be for “these requirements and the requirements on US diplomats in China [to] both be disbanded.”

Newsline: Uyghur Family Under House Arrest After Abduction From Belgium’s Embassy in Beijing

The wife and children of a Uyghur man living in Belgium are under house arrest in northwest China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), months after they were abducted from the Belgian Embassy in Beijing by Chinese authorities, according to the man. Huriyet Abdulla, 43, had travelled to Beijing from the XUAR with her four children in late May seeking visas from the Belgian Embassy that would allow them to join her 51-year-old husband Ablimit Tursun in Brussels, where he was granted refugee status in late 2017 after his brother was sent to an internment camp, Tursun told RFA’s Uyghur Service. When staffers at the embassy informed her that the documents would take longer than expected to issue, she replied that she was too afraid to return to her hotel room in the city after police had visited them twice already to determine the purpose of their visit, and refused to leave the building, Tursun said. (https://www.rfa.org/english/news/uyghur/arrest-10102019142104.html) Shortly after midnight, Chinese authorities entered the grounds of the embassy, forcibly removed Abdulla and her children to their hotel, where they spent the following night, and on May 31 confiscated their phones and drove them nearly 30 hours home to the XUAR capital Urumqi.

Newsline: China’s Paris embassy blasts France and EU over Hong Kong remarks

Accusing the EU of having “publicly glorified the abuses of rioters”, the embassy said the EU’s call for de-escalation and restraint was “criminal and very dangerous” and amounted to an attack on the Hong Kong police’s right to self-defence. (http://en.rfi.fr/asia-pacific/20191007-china-paris-embassy-blasts-france-and-eu-over-hong-kong-remarks) The embassy reacted to remarks by a French Foreign Ministry spokesperson on October 3 and a similar statement by the EU one day earlier, expressing concern over the use by police of live rounds against the Hong Kong protesters, and saying that fundamental freedoms, including the right of assembly of Hong Kongers must continue to be upheld and the possibility to hold peaceful demonstrations must be ensured.

Newsline: Man found dead in Chinese embassy in Brussels

The body of a man (38) was found in the car park of the Chinese embassy in Brussels, Belgian media has reported. “It is a suicide,” said a spokesperson of the Brussels’ prosecutor’s office to Bruzz. “The lab has been on-site, as has the medical examiner. There is camera footage. The investigation has been closed. The case has been dropped,” they added. How the man ended up on the site of the Chinese embassy is not clear. (https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/70180/man-found-dead-in-chinese-embassy-in-brussels/) A spokesperson from the Mission of China to the EU told The Brussels Times that “We express grief and regret at this unfortunate incident. After the incident happened, the Belgian police promptly arrived at the scene, investigated the incident and concluded that the man illegally entered the premises of a diplomatic mission and committed suicide. We have asked the Belgian side to step up security protection for Chinese diplomatic missions in Belgium in accordance with the relevant international treaties and prevent the recurrence of similar incidents.”