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China Slams EU Resolution on HK National Security Legislation

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China’s top legislature, the National People’s Congress (NPC) on Saturday condemned the European Parliament’s latest resolution, which makes unwarranted criticism against NPC’s formulation of the national security legislation in Hong Kong.

The European Parliament has made groundless accusations against China over Hong Kong affairs, said You Wenze, spokesperson for NPC’s foreign affairs committee, adding that the national security legislation for Hong Kong is purely China’s internal affairs.

“It has interfered (with) Hong Kong affairs and China’s internal affairs, under the name of ‘safeguarding human rights'”, You pointed out.

“We strongly denounce, and firmly oppose this move,” he added.

According to You, since the turbulence over the amendment bill in Hong Kong last June, the continuous radical violent activities in Hong Kong have seriously trampled the rule of law, and the social order seriously disturbed Hong Kong’s prosperity and stability and seriously challenged the “One Country, Two Systems” bottom line.

In light of the new circumstances, the NPC is exercising power enshrined in the Constitution to establish and improve at the state level the legal system and enforcement mechanisms for the HKSAR to safeguard national security, he said

Noting that national security is closely related to sovereignty and territorial integrity, the spokesperson said the Central Government is responsible for upholding national security in China, as is the case in any other country.

He also said the legislation which only targets a very narrow category of acts that seriously jeopardize national security, will better protect the legitimate rights and interests of Hong Kong residents.

The law would have no impact on the rights and freedoms of Hong Kong residents in accordance with the law, Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, and the “One Country, Two Systems,” You said.

He reiterated the legal basis for the Chinese government’s administration of Hong Kong is China’s Constitution and the Basic Law, not the Sino-British Joint Declaration, adding that the Sino-British Joint Declaration should not be used as an excuse to interfere in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs.

China slams related parties’ arrogance and prejudice

The Office of the Commissioner of the Chinese foreign ministry in the HKSAR on Saturday also deplored and opposed the unwarranted accusations by some Western politicians, heads of international organizations and the European Parliament on HKSAR affairs.

The spokesperson of the office stressed that maintaining national security is the core and basic element of national sovereignty.

“No country will allow activities in its own territory that endanger its national security or legal loopholes and lack of enforcement mechanisms in safeguarding national security,” the spokesperson added.

Noting that Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, the spokesperson stressed that the decision of China to legislate on safeguarding national security for Hong Kong from the state level is reasonable, moral and legitimate.

Saying some have interfered in China’s internal affairs under the pretexts of “human rights” and “rule of low” can never be covered up, the spokesperson said the nature of their arrogance, prejudice and arbitrary interference in other countries’ domestic affairs cannot be covered up.

According to the Commissioner’s Office, those who repeatedly referred to the “International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights”(OHCHR) and “International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights”, ignored that the OHCHR mentioned at least seven times to restrict human rights including freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, freedom of association on the basis of national security.

“They claimed to respect the rule of law but turned a blind eye on the principle of non-interference in other countries’ internal affairs and the basic principle of international relations,” the spokesperson said and pointed out that they ignored the ultimate goal and core content of the Sino-British Joint Declaration were to ensure the handover of Hong Kong to China.

“Not a single word or paragraph in the Joint Declaration gives any countries or international organizations any responsibility over Hong Kong after its handover,” the spokesperson added.

Stressing that the most important requirement of “One Country” is to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests, the spokesperson said “One Country” is the premise and basis for the implementation of the “Two Systems” and the “Two Systems” is subordinated and derived from the “One Country” and unified within it.

“No one should underestimate China’s strong will and firm determination to establish and improve the legal system and implementation mechanism of HKSAR for safeguarding national security,” the spokesperson said.

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Xi-Biden Call Analysis: Cooperation Should be Based Upon Mutual Respect

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In the first phone conversation between the leaders of the world’s two biggest economies in seven months, Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday morning had a “candid, in-depth and extensive strategic communication and exchanges” with his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden, according to a statement by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

“On the basis of respecting each other’s core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as on major international and regional issues,” Xi told Biden. 

White House officials said Biden initiated the 90-minute phone call, which is only the second of this kind since the U.S. president took office.

There had been high expectations for Biden to improve bilateral relations ever since he replaced former President Donald Trump in January.

Biden’s China journey four decades on

Biden came to China in 1979 as a member of the first delegation the U.S. Congress sent to China. The then senator said in a speech that China’s development was good for the United States.

He visited China again in 2011, and wrote in a New York Times op-ed that “a successful China can make our country [U.S.] more prosperous, not less.” 

“On issues from global security to global economic growth, we share common challenges and responsibilities – and we have incentives to work together,” read the article titled “China’s Rise Isn’t Our Demise.”

In his first phone call with Xi on the eve of the Chinese New Year in February this year, Biden sent his greetings to the Chinese people. He said he was prepared to have candid and constructive dialogue with China in the spirit of mutual respect and to improve mutual understanding and avoid miscommunication and miscalculation.

Yet such goodwill failed to match up with the actions, according to Yuyuantantian, a public WeChat account that focuses on current affairs. And hostility has been particularly evident in the U.S. Congress. 

In recent months, there have been more China-related bills in the U.S. Congress than ever before, with more than a dozen in July alone, most of which recommended the adoption of opposing or restrictive policies against China. 

The U.S. has made a major strategic miscalculation on China, said Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, as quoted in the Yuyuantantian article. “It mistakenly takes China as a major strategic competitor and believes whatever China does is aimed at undermining the U.S. leadership and dominating the international order.”

Xi has said China and the United States will have different views on some issues, but the key is to respect each other and treat each other as equals. But the U.S. has yet to learn to do that, according to Yuyuantantian.

‘Whether China, U.S. can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world’

China and the United States are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country, whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer, Xi said in the Friday phone conversation.

The two countries should bring relations back to the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of the people in both countries and around the world, he added.

How to get China-U.S. relations back on track has become a “must-solve problem,” Yuyuantantian commented, adding that the ball is now in the U.S. court. 

Washington is gradually losing its reputation all around the world, the public account said. “If it really wants cooperation, it has to ‘get off its high horse,’ face the reality and start an open dialogue with China,” it added. 

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Through the lens: How 20 Years of Conflict Since 9/11 Changed Afghanistan

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The Afghanistan war ended just as abruptly as it had begun. Two decades ago, the September 11 terrorist attacks led the U.S. to formulate its controversial counter-terrorism policy, including its longest war in history – the war in Afghanistan.

Twenty years later, the mountainous country nestled in the heartland of Asia has once again come to a crossroads as the U.S. withdrew its troops, with the Taliban reclaiming the power they lost two decades ago.

Afghanistan has long been a battlefield for global powers, but it has never been conquered, hence its moniker – the “Graveyard of Empires.”

In the series “Through the lens: Afghanistan 2001-2021,” we dive into the scars the war has left on the country, and the fear, wrath and resilience of the Afghan people, in eight episodes.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: How the ‘war on terror’ begins

The September 11 attacks claimed some 3,000 lives, making it the deadliest attack in U.S. history. 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: America’s longest war

The U.S. military invaded the country, already war-plagued and impoverished, in the name of the “war on terror.” 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The poppies blossom

In decades of war and destitution, opium poppy plantation and production have become a major source of income for local farmers. “Either Afghanistan destroys opium, or opium will destroy Afghanistan,” former Afghan President Hamid Karzai once said.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: Fears and tears

In the protracted war in Afghanistan, no one suffered more than Afghan civilians. Hundreds of thousands were forced to flee from homes with no shelter and rarely any food.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The Displaced

Wars after wars have made migration a norm for the Afghan people. As of 2021, Afghanistan is the third largest source of refugees in the world, with the number of Afghan refugees standing at 2.6 million. Domestically, 4 million internally displaced persons are still in temporary camps.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The skyline and the slum

In the capital, Kabul, there are only two kinds of people – the rich and the poor.

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The withdrawal

On April 14, Biden announced the U.S. troop withdrawal would be completed by September 11, marking the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that sparked the invasion. In the months that followed, the country witnessed massive chaos. 

Afghanistan 2001-2021: The future is murky

How the new Afghan government deals with the wide range of social, political and economic issues will determine how an Afghanistan under the Taliban will be received by the Afghan people and the world.

Editors: Zeng Ziyi, Zhao Yue, Wang Xiaonan, Yu Jing, Zhong Xia, Du Junzhi 

Images designed by Liu Shaozhen

Graphics by Yang Yiren 

Producer: Wang Xiaonan 

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Xi Jinping Urges ‘True Multilateralism’ in World’s ‘Daunting’ Economic Recovery from COVID-19

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday said the world economy is undergoing a “daunting recovery” which requires “true multilateralism” in the face of fresh COVID-19 flare-ups.

“We are ready to work with all parties to uphold true multilateralism, advocate trust and harmony, promote win-win cooperation, and march with firm steps toward the goal of building a community with a shared future for mankind,” Xi said at the opening ceremony of the plenary session of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link from Beijing.

The forum – held in Russia every year since 2015 – has the goal of promoting multilateral cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region. Last year’s session was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the speech, Xi called for the international community to unite. “We need to intensify cooperation in vaccine research, development and production, provide more public goods to the international community,” he said.

The Chinese president also voiced opposition to any sort of politicization of COVID-19 vaccines and origins-tracing.

Extra efforts for mutually-beneficial cooperation

“We need to redouble our efforts to advance mutually-beneficial cooperation,” Xi said at the opening ceremony.

He called for the deepening of collaboration between the Belt and Road Initiative and the Eurasian Economic Union in areas including digital economy and climate change.

The Chinese president also urged the group to embrace a “common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security” by “narrowing differences” and “building consensus through dialogue and exchanges.”

As Friday marks the 76th anniversary of the victory of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the World Anti-Fascist War, Xi also called for the defense of the victory’s outcomes.

“The international community must defend firmly the victorious outcomes of World War II, safeguard the truth of history, and stay committed to taking history as a mirror to open up a brighter future,” Xi said.

(Cover: Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses the opening ceremony of the sixth Eastern Economic Forum via video link, September 3, 2021. /Xinhua)

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