China’s top disease control official has said the efficacy of the country’s Covid vaccines is low, in a rare admission of weakness. In a press conference, Gao Fu added that China was considering mixing vaccines as a way of boosting efficacy. China has developed four different vaccines approved for public use, though some trials abroad had suggested efficacy as low as 50%.
Taiwan worked with other democracies to help its diplomatic ally Paraguay get COVID-19 vaccines after China put pressure on the South American country to ditch Taipei in exchange for shots, and India stepped in to help, Taiwan’s foreign minister said. Taiwan said last month it was helping Paraguay, its sole diplomatic ally in South America, buy COVID-19 vaccines after protests there over the government’s handling of the health crisis.
China imposed sanctions on nine Britons including lawmakers in the governing Conservative party for spreading what it said were “lies and disinformation” about alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang, prompting a sharp rebuke from London. Relations between China and the West are souring fast, particularly as Beijing pushes back hard against sanctions imposed by the United States, European Union, Britain and Canada.
A U.S. official accused Chinese leaders of “grandstanding” during contentious bilateral talks in Alaska Thursday, according to a report. China had been looking for a reset in relations with the U.S. after tensions with the Trump administration, but U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken made it clear that the Biden administration would take a tough stance with Beijing.
China’s capital and a wide swath of the country’s north were enveloped Monday in the worst sandstorm in a decade, forcing the cancelation of hundreds of flights. Skyscrapers in the center of Beijing appeared to drop from sight amid the dust and sand. Traffic was snarled and more than 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were canceled amid high winds and low visibility.
China and Russia have announced their intention to build a new lunar research station together, launching a new era of collaboration in space between the two countries. NASA had intended to establish a lunar gateway outpost orbiting the moon by the mid-2020s as part of its Artemis Programme which would see the first woman and next man land on the moon by 2024.
China’s policy of transferring hundreds of thousands of Uighurs and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang to new jobs often far from home is leading to a thinning out of their populations, according to a high-level Chinese study seen by the BBC. The government denies that it is attempting to alter the demographics of its far-western region and says the job transfers are designed to alleviate chronic rural unemployment and poverty.
A Beijing divorce court has ordered a man to compensate his wife for the housework she did during their marriage, in a landmark ruling. The woman will receive 50,000 yuan ($7,700) for five years of unpaid labor. The case has generated a huge debate online over the value of domestic work, with some saying the compensation amount was too little. The ruling comes after China’s introduction of a new civil code.
U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping held their first telephone call as leaders, with Biden saying a free and open Indo-Pacific was a priority and Xi warning confrontation would be a ‘disaster’ for both nations. The Chinese leader maintained a hardline tone regarding Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan, which Xi told Biden were matters of “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
The head of the World Health Organization-led team of experts investigating the origins of COVID-19, Peter Ben Embarek, said on Tuesday that it was “very unlikely” that a leak from a laboratory was the source of the outbreak. During its investigation in the central Chinese city where the virus first emerged, the team visited the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the subject of a number of conspiracy theories that claim a lab leak caused the city’s outbreak.