This file photo from March 9, 2020 shows Tesla boss Elon Musk speaking at an event in Washington; he has denied that his cars could be used to spy on China WASHINGTON - Tesla boss Elon Musk strongly denied Saturday that his cars, which gather large amounts of data, could ever be used to spy on China despite fears raised by Beijing, the Wall Street Journal reported. The assertion from the head of the electric car maker followed a decision by the Chinese government to bar members of its military or employees of some state-owned companies from using Teslas. Musk made the comments via video link to a Beijing conference of the government-backed China Development Forum. Chinese authorities are concerned that data gathered by Tesla vehicles, such as images taken by the cars' cameras, could be transmitted to the US, the Journal said. Tesla did not immediately respond to an AFP request for comment. China is a crucially important market for Tesla, which has a factory in Shanghai and ... » Learn More about Musk tells China data gathered by Teslas remain secret: report
A cemetery in China found itself in hot water after touting a mortgage plan for buying a burial plot, amid concerns about unethical funeral cost mark-ups. The Kunming Jinlong Ruyi Park in the southwestern province of Yunnan revealed on Tuesday a plan to partner with a local bank to offer 10-year mortgages for graves that would covers costs up to 200,000 yuan (S$41,240). The news quickly generated an avalanche of criticism. Several state media outlets published op-eds that decried the practice as “propping up funeral costs” and “indebting offspring”. Many people ridiculed the bank on the Chinese internet, asking what it would do if a client defaulted on a burial plot. “Please don’t tell me they are going to dig other families’ graves and then sell them at an auction,” said a commentator on Weibo. Two days later both the cemetery and the bank, Yunnan Xishan BoB Rural Bank, a subsidiary of the Bank of Beijing, walked back the offering, telling the media that they had cancelled ... » Learn More about Cemetery in China forced to bury controversial mortgages-for-graves plan after media backlash
XIAMEN, China - Chinese furniture maker Hong Jinshi first created a couple of pint-sized statues of former US President Donald Trump meditating in a Buddhist pose as a fun project for himself last year. Six months on, Hong’s amusing hobby has turned into a small side-hustle, with a workshop in the town of Dehua in Fujian province on track to produce an inaugural batch of 250 statues of Trump dressed in Buddhist robes with his legs crossed. Hong was inspired by the potential contrast provided by the two extremisms of Buddhism and a former leader known for his sharp outbursts. “Our tradition is that a person who is so old and successful ... should start to enjoy his old age and be more relaxed, but he was still tormented and fretting over various desires and uncertainties,” Hong said. Hong has received orders from China and abroad for 200 of the statues, which take 10 days to make and feature a design he refined over several months with the help of a sculptor friend. A 16-cm ... » Learn More about Be at peace, meditate, Trump Buddha statue designer tells former president
A growing conversation about mental health , sparked by the 18th anniversary of the death of a music icon, highlighted an unmet need for accessible and affordable mental health care in China. On April 1, 2003, Leslie Cheung , a Canto-pop superstar, award-winning actor and gay icon, committed suicide after suffering from severe depression. It was always a poignant moment to commemorate the musical legend, but this year, people also openly talked about their own mental health. “When I was living with severe depression, every time I mention it to my loved ones, they would always shut me down and tell me to stop overthinking,” said a Weibo commentator. Another person wrote, “No clinical diagnose, but I am very certain that I was living with depression for a while. During that time, I felt anxious and felt like the whole world was working against me. No matter what I did, I could not accomplish my goals.” Christina Wang, a mental health counsellor in Shanghai, said, “Many Chinese ... » Learn More about Anniversary of pop icon Leslie Cheung’s death sparks concerns about depression in China
Zhang Chunxian was seen by many as the hope of Xinjiang in 2010. Just months after the 2009 bloodbath and violent ethnic clashes that shocked the region and left more than 190 dead, Zhang, the region’s media savvy and somewhat charismatic new party chief, stepped in to replace his iron-fisted predecessor who had ruled the region for more than a decade. In one month, Zhang lifted an eight-month internet ban in Xinjiang. In 2015, he became the first Xinjiang party boss ever to join Muslim groups to celebrate the Eid ul-Fitr marking the end of the Ramadan, the month when Muslims fast. Yet despite Zhang’s pacifying approach deployed alongside his pledge of “no mercy to terrorists”, violent attacks continued to increase under his watch and reached beyond the region. In 2013, attackers from the region rocked the Chinese capital of Beijing with an attack at the highly symbolic Tiananmen Square. Months later, a group of knife-wielding jihadists stormed the railway station in Kunming ... » Learn More about China says tough measures in Xinjiang are to beat terrorism – why isn’t the West convinced?
China has changed its vaccination advice for women trying for a baby, telling them they no longer have to wait for three months after receiving the jab before trying to get pregnant. Wang Le, a government worker from Chaoyang in Liaoning province, said she had been confused by the change. She was told to get the jab as soon as possible following the release of the new guidelines on Monday, which said women should not postpone pregnancy just because they have received a Covid-19 vaccine. “Is the recommendation based on clinical data? Who will be held responsible if something goes wrong because of the vaccination?” Wang asked. The country is now pushing hard for mass inoculation in a bid to vaccinate 40 per cent of the population by June, which means about 10 million doses need to be administered each day. Concerns about Covid-19 vaccinations are not unique to China and scientists around the world have been trying to debunk online rumours that certain types of vaccine will ... » Learn More about China tells women they don’t need to delay pregnancy after being vaccinated
MOSCOW: Russia and China said on Tuesday (Mar 23) they wanted a summit of permanent members of the United Nations Security Council amid what they called heightened political turbulence, with Moscow saying they believed the United States was acting in a destructive way. The two allies, whose relations with the West are under increasing strain, made the call for a UN summit in a joint statement after talks between the two countries' foreign ministers. "At a time of increasing global political turbulence, a summit of the permanent members of the UN Security Council is particularly necessary to establish direct dialogue about ways to resolve humankind's common problems in the interests of maintaining global stability," said the statement published on the Russian foreign ministry's website. COMMENTARY: US-China ties are set to worsen, before they get better Moscow has long been unilaterally pushing for such a summit. The statement did not mention the United States by name. ... » Learn More about Russia and China push for UN summit, lash out at West
The United States sees China as a threat to collective security, but will not force allies to choose between Beijing and Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was set to say Wednesday. "The United States won't force our allies into an 'us-or-them' choice with China," he was to say, according to excerpts of a speech to be delivered at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The US top diplomat was to tell allies in the keynote speech on his first European visit that "there’s no question that China's coercive behaviour threatens our collective security and prosperity". "But that doesn't mean countries can’t work with China where possible. The United States will. We can't afford not to -- – especially on challenges like climate change and health security," according to the transcript. Blinken was due to say that Washington wants to work with partners to "close the gaps in areas like technology and infrastructure, which China is exploiting to exert coercive pressure." "We know ... » Learn More about US will not push allies into ‘us-or-them choice’ on China: Blinken
Biden comes out shooting at Russia, China and the Philippines all in the last two weeks. We no longer need to speculate how Biden will act at least in the short term. What is the US trying to do? A chess game’s first move sets the tone of the game, but there is no telling what the tactic really is — just as a movie’s first scene can either divert from or lead to a predictable outcome as circumstances and characters unfold. Openings are always studied by good players. What are these aggressive opening moves by the US in the Russian, Chinese and Philippine chess boards? Is Russia’s Putin a killer, as accused by Biden in an interview? He followed it up with “Russia will soon pay a price.” Some analysts attribute Biden’s hostility possibly to the suspicion that Russia had something to do with the expose that Biden’s son Hunter had been receiving payments from Ukraine’s oil company, and family business partners Bobulinski and Cooney coming out to show corporate communications to ... » Learn More about China to US: What ‘rule-based’ order?
SINGAPORE: No country more than Myanmar illustrates the perils and promise of social movements in the Internet age. In 2018 the Myanmar military, the Tatmadaw, was accused of using Facebook as a tool of genocide against the Rohingya minority, posting fake news to stir up hatred in what the UN called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing". But since the Tatmadaw’s Feb 1 coup, the tables have turned. It has been caught off guard by a social media-fuelled uprising against the sudden re-imposition of military rule. The very same platforms that were vectors of hate speech are now vectors of free speech that the military is desperate to shut down. READ: Commentary: With violent crackdowns, is Myanmar passing the point of no return? The Myanmar case made it into the 2020 Netflix documentary on the evils of social media, The Social Dilemma. But if one of the key assets of the regime is geographical isolation, the full impact of the Internet on Myanmar is only beginning to play ... » Learn More about Commentary: Social media worsens growing anti-China sentiments in Southeast Asia