Diplomatic Briefing

Your exclusive news aggregator handpicked daily!

Archive for China

Newsline: Embassy officials visit US student detained in China over row with taxi driver

US embassy officials visited the American university student detained in China over an altercation with a taxi driver, as family and friends continue to lobby for his release. Guthrie McLean, a 25-year-old student at the University of Montana, is being held at a detention centre in Zhengzhou, Henan province. He was visited by officials from the US consulate in Wuhan, capital of Hunan, according to the office of Montana Senator Jon Tester. The officials confirmed that McLean had no “physical or mental health concerns” and had been given access to legal resources, the office said in a statement. His mother, Jennifer McLean, however, told the Associated Press: “Fine is a bit of an overstatement. He is enduring.” McLean was detained by police and charged with intentional injury after becoming involved in a dispute between his mother and a taxi driver on June 10. According to Tom Mitchell, a long-time family friend and Beijing bureau chief for the Financial Times, the driver refused to give Mrs McLean, who is deaf and teaches sign language in China, 30 yuan in change after driving her to her home in Zhengzhou. In the ensuing argument, the driver threw a 10 yuan note at the woman and things “escalated from there”. The driver then tried to snatch Mrs McLean’s bags and was “pushing her around” when her son came out from the house to see what was going on. He pulled the driver off his mother and pushed him to the ground, Mitchell said. The driver claimed he hurt his knee in the altercation, for which police demanded 100,000 yuan (US$14,800) in compensation from McLean. They later lowered the sum to 50,000 yuan. Two senators from Montana have been working with government officials from China and the US in a bid to reunite the McLeans. Senator Steve Daines visited Cui Tiankai, the Chinese ambassador to the US, on Thursday to “urge a prompt resolution” to Guthrie’s case, while working with US ambassador to China Terry Branstad.

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/2103577/embassy-officials-visit-us-student-detained-china-over-row-taxi

Newsline: Chinese embassy’s flip-flop on Rahul Gandhi’s ‘meeting’ with its envoy

Did Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi meet with Chinese envoy Luo Zhaohui on Saturday or did he not? The Congress denied it on Monday. And the Chinese embassy in Delhi first posted then removed a statement on its website saying that the two met, reported Times Now. The Congress denied as “fake news” media reports that its vice president met Luo in the capital amid the China-India border stand-off at Doklam in Sikkim. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala, in a series of tweets said some news channels were running “fake news” on Rahul’s alleged meeting with the Chinese Ambassador. On Friday, Rahul had tweeted asking why Prime Minister Narendra Modi is “silent” on China. The Congress renewed its attack on the issue on Monday.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/chinese-embassys-flip-flop-on-rahul-gandhis-meeting-with-its-envoy-congress-denies-meeting/articleshow/59525326.cms

Newsline: Russian ambassador to China jokes about joint Russian-Chinese naval Drills in Baltic Sea

Russia’s Ambassador to China Andrei Denisov joked about joint Russian-Chinese drills in the strategic and volatile Baltic Sea, saying the maneuvers were a “novelty.” “There is a point of novelty, but I haven’t heard anyone expressing much concern over this so-called ‘threat.’ The Baltic States repeat their usual incantations, but at the same time, they take for granted the fact that NATO is deploying large forces on their territory,” the Russian ambassador said, reported Russian state news agency TASS. The Russian exclave of Kaliningrad has NATO commanders worried as it becomes more and more militarized. Moscow recently deployed the highly accurate Iskander missile to the region which has a 500 km range and can carry a nuclear warhead. The powerful forces stationed in Kaliningrad give the Kremlin the ability to cut off the former-Soviet, Baltic nations from the rest of the alliance. NATO has recently deployed armored brigades in Eastern Europe to act as a deterrent to any idea Moscow may have about reclaiming the Baltic states. China has deployed a fleet of ships and Marines to the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad to exercise with Russian forces. “Those who are scared off are inclined to being scared,” he said. “For instance, I have seen an article on the internet, written by some Swedish military analysts. They say that they see no threat in it,” Denisov noted. “The main thing is that rules concerning such events should be respected,” the Russian ambassador added, reported TASS.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/jul/1/russian-ambassador-china-jokes-about-joint-russian/

Newsline: China says Australia spying on embassy

The Australian government has been spying on China’s embassy in the country and “harassing” Chinese people to provide intelligence, an influential state-run newspaper said on Thursday, citing a security source. China and Australia have close business and economic ties, but Beijing is deeply suspicious of Canberra’s defense relationship with Washington. Quoting an unidentified official with “China’s national security department”, the Global Times tabloid said the Australian government was spying on China and monitoring Chinese people in Australia. “The national security department staffer said Australia’s agents in disguise would get close to Chinese people working or living overseas to collect information or even encourage them to subvert China,” the report said. “Meanwhile, in the name of avoiding ‘Chinese spy threats’, Australian intelligence operatives are closely monitoring Chinese people and the Chinese Embassy in Australia,” it said. The report said “many” Chinese people had been interviewed or harassed and were being required to give information about Chinese communities and the Chinese embassy. “Some of the Chinese people were even sent back to China to gather information,” it said.

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-australia-idUSKBN19K05B?il=0

Newsline: Alleged Chinese Embassy Attackers Jailed in Kyrgyzstan

A court in Kyrgyzstan has sentenced three people to lengthy jail terms for their alleged role in the car bomb attack on China’s embassy last August, but many questions remain over the rigor of the 10-month long investigation. Khasamidin Ismailov was handed an 18-year sentence by the court in Bishkek on June 27, while Hikmatillo Abdulazhanov and Kunazim Mansirova were each ordered to serve 10 years in jail apiece. All had pleaded not guilty to assisting the bomber in carrying out the August 30 embassy attack, which injured five people after a car packed with explosives rammed into the gates of the building. Nobody other than the attacker was killed in the attack. Lawyers for the three have said they will appeal. The account is confused and bears all too little scrutiny.

http://www.eurasianet.org/node/84151

Newsline: China lodges protest with Indian Embassy

China on Tuesday lodged diplomatic diplomatic protests with India, both in New Delhi and Beijing, alleging that the Indian troops trespassed into Chinese territory in the Sikkim sector. It has accused the Indian troops of “crossing the boundary” in the Sikkim section and demanded their immediate withdrawal, while asserting that it has shut down the Nathu La pass entry for Indian pilgrims travelling to Kailash Mansarovar because of the border standoff. “We have lodged solemn representations in Beijing and New Delhi to elaborate on our solemn position”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Kang told a media briefing in Beijing. “Our position to uphold our territorial sovereignty is unwavering. We hope the Indian side can work with China in the same direction and immediately withdraw the personnel who have overstepped and trespassed into Chinese border”, he said. China on Tuesday night, said that it had put off the visit of Indian pilgrims who enter Tibet via the Nathu La pass “for safety reasons” in view of the border issue. “China urges India to immediately withdraw its border guards that have crossed the boundary and have a thorough investigation of this matter”, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said.

http://www.firstpost.com/india/china-lodges-protest-with-indian-embassy-alleging-its-troops-crossed-boundary-in-sikkim-3749997.html

Newsline: Former US diplomatic officer charged with sharing secrets with China

A former US diplomatic officer has been arrested and charged with sharing secrets with ‘a Chinese agent’. According to an affidavit, Kevin Mallory travelled to Shanghai in March and April 2017. The 60-year-old from Virginia was stoppd by customs agents in Chicago after he failed to declare $16,500 in cash found in two carry-on bags. Andrew Vale, assistant director of the FBI’s Washington office, said: “Kevin Mallory was previously entrusted with top-secret clearance and therefore had access to classified information, which he allegedly shared and planned to continue sharing with representatives of a foreign government.” The self-employed consultant who has worked for the US government and defence contractors, made his initial appearance in federal court on Thursday. Mallory faces a maximum sentence of life in prison if convicted of the espionage charges.

http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/820302/US-Kevin-Mallory-diplomat-officer-Secrets-China-Agent