China’s president, Xi Jinping, has vowed to resist “interference from external forces” as Taiwan welcomed support from major allies after a US-Australia ministerial forum pledged stronger ties with the island and the European parliament called for a bilateral trade deal. On Wednesday, the US, the UK and Australia announced a trilateral security and defense partnership to counter China’s growing influence.
The UK, US and Australia have announced a historic security pact in the Asia-Pacific, in what’s seen as an effort to counter China. It will let Australia build nuclear-powered submarines for the first time, using technology provided by the US. The Aukus pact, which will also cover AI and other technologies, is one of the countries’ biggest defense partnerships in decades, analysts say.
Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, have spoken in their first phone call for seven months, amid continuing tensions between the world’s two largest economies. During the 90-minute call, which was initiated by the US president, the two leaders discussed their shared responsibility to ensure competition does not “veer into conflict”, according to a readout from the White House.
China is putting companies that overwork their employees on notice. The country’s top court on Thursday issued a lengthy condemnation of what’s commonly known in China as “996,” the practice of working from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. six days a week that is said to be common among the country’s big technology companies, startups and other private businesses.
China will incorporate “Xi Jinping Thought” into its national curriculum to help “establish Marxist belief” in the country’s youth, the education ministry said in new guidelines published on Tuesday. The Ministry of Education said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “thought on socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era” would be taught from primary school level all the way to university.
U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris on Tuesday accused Beijing of coercion and intimidation to back unlawful claims in the South China Sea, her most pointed comments on China during a visit to Southeast Asia, which she said was critical to U.S. security. In a speech in Singapore, Harris laid out the U.S. vision for the region built on human rights and a rules based international order and sought to solidify a U.S. pivot towards Asia.
China reported no new locally transmitted Covid-19 cases on Monday for the first time since July, according to its National Health Commission (NHC), as authorities double down on the country’s stringent zero-Covid approach. China has been grappling with the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant since July 20, when a cluster of Covid-19 infections were detected among airport cleaning staff in the eastern city of Nanjing.
China has formally revised its laws to allow couples to have up to three children, to boost the birth rate. The regulation was one of several passed on Friday at a meeting of the country’s top lawmakers, the National People’s Congress (NPC). In 2016, the country had scrapped its decades-old one-child policy to replace it with a two-child limit, but this failed to lead to a sustained upsurge in births.
A Canadian citizen has lost his appeal against a death sentence in China for drug smuggling. The court said it upheld Robert Lloyd Schellenberg’s sentence because evidence against him was “sufficient”. Schellenberg was initially sentenced to 15 years in jail, but in 2019 an appeal court said this was too lenient, leading to a retrial and a death sentence.
Chinese authorities announced Tuesday mass coronavirus testing in Wuhan as an unusually wide series of COVID-19 outbreaks reached the city where the disease was first detected in late 2019. Wuhan, a provincial capital of 11 million people in central China, is the latest city to undergo city-wide testing. Three cases were confirmed there on Monday, its first non-imported cases in more than a year.