China spy balloon shot down – latest news
The White House says that Joe Biden ordered that a new high-altitude “object” that appeared in the skies above Alaskan waters to be shot down by US fighters.
John Kirby, NSC Coordinator for Strategic Communications, told a Friday briefing that the object was floating above US territory at 40,000ft and was a “reasonable threat” to the safety of civilian air traffic.
Bad weather could delay the recovery of the payload with strong winds of up to 35mph in the region.
Debris recovered so far has been taken to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia, for analysis.
To date, US intelligence has revealed that the balloon, which spent eight days over US airspace, is “part of a larger Chinese surveillance balloon program” – something which Beijing continues to deny.
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said that the balloon incident “confirms a pattern of Chinese behaviour” using “different types of intelligence and surveillance platforms” around the world.
Scientists predict China will see the largest COVID surge of the pandemic this winter, with hundreds of millions of people infected. But some experts say that it could have been even worse.
TAIPEI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Taiwan’s air force scrambled again on Thursday to warn off 19 Chinese aircraft that entered its air defence zone, Taiwan’s defence ministry said, the latest uptick in tensions across the Taiwan Strait.
The Chinese aircraft included 12 J-16 fighters and two nuclear-capable H-6 bombers, the ministry added.Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Giles Elgood
More than 200 Chinese businesses have gone public in U.S. capital markets, but many investors don’t realize that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) refuses to let these companies open their books to American regulators. This refusal threatens the savings of American workers and families. The financial risk resembles an iceberg: Chinese companies such as Didi and Luckin Coffee are just the tip.
One of the safeguards Americans rely on is the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). Its regulators vouch for the accuracy of the books of every firm — American and foreign — operating on a U.S. exchange.
Firms under the thumb of the CCP, though, have a penchant for lying to the PCAOB or snubbing its oversight altogether. That leaves Americans looking to invest flying blind.
At a time when the PCAOB estimates that the Chinese firms registered with it have a global market capitalization of roughly $2.3 trillion, China has made it impossible “for the PCAOB to obtain timely access to relevant documents and testimony necessary to carry out [its] mission.”
As a result, Chinese businesses are freer to commit fraud than their American, Asian, and European competitors. Luckin Coffee, for instance, made up a nonexistent $310 million in sales in less than a year. When such fraud comes to light, these businesses’ stock values can drop quickly — dragging Americans’ savings down with them.
Congress has taken decisive bipartisan action to force companies that flout the PCAOB off U.S. markets, but the CCP probably won’t accept such accountability graciously. In fact, President Xi Jinping’s regime is becoming more belligerent by the day. It’s up to President Biden to protect American investors as the CCP vies for global leadership.
Twelve people have been killed in the provincial capital, Zhengzhou, where more than 20cm (7.8in) of rain fell in one hour on Tuesday. About 100,000 people have been moved to shelters, state media Xinhua reported on Wednesday, citing local government. The rainfall shut the city’s subway system, leaving passengers trapped in waist-high water.
From Saturday to Tuesday, 3,535 weather stations in Henan, one of China’s most populous provinces with 94 million people, reported rainfall exceeding 5cm. Among the stations 1,614 registered levels above 10cm and 151 above 25cm, the authorities said.
Footage on China’s social media show the world-renowned Shaolin Temple, known for martial arts, as well as other cultural sites, badly affected. Hundreds of trapped residents in Henan called for help online as flooding cut electricity to their homes.
Washington (CNN)The United States and its foreign allies on Monday accused China of widespread malfeasance in cyberspace, including through a massive hack of Microsoft’s email system and other ransomware attacks, a dramatic escalation in the increasingly urgent attempt by the Biden administration to stave off further breaches.In a coordinated announcement, the White House and governments in Europe and Asia identified China’s Ministry of State Security, the sprawling and secretive civilian intelligence agency, with using “criminal contract hackers” to conduct a range of destabilizing activities around the world for personal profit, including the Microsoft hack, according to a senior US administration official.The administration official also said China was behind a specific ransomware attack against a US target that involved a “large ransom request” — and added that Chinese ransom demands have been in the “millions of dollars.”The public disclosure of the Chinese efforts amounts to a new front in an ongoing offensive by the Biden administration to bat away cyberthreats that have exposed serious vulnerabilities in major American sectors, including energy and food production. The extent of Chinese involvement in hiring criminal networks to invade and extort money around the world came as a surprise to the White House, officials said.“What we found really surprising and new here was the use of criminal contract hackers to conduct this unsanctioned cyber operation and really the criminal activity for financial gain. That was really eye-opening and surprising for us,” a senior administration official said on Sunday ahead of the announcement.
The Biden administration on Wednesday ordered a ban on U.S. imports of a key solar panel material from Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry over forced labor allegations, two sources briefed on the matter said.
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Axios obtained a written agreement dated 2019 that spells out the details of a $5 million grant
A nonprofit affiliated with the late former President George H.W. Bush agreed to accept $5 million from a policy group at the center of China’s U.S. influence efforts, Axios has learned.
Why it matters: As tensions escalate between the U.S. and China, leaders with the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations have sounded off for closer ties — and while criticizing Beijing in some cases, have toed China’s line on some major geopolitical issues.
Driving the news: Axios obtained a written agreement that spells out the details of a $5 million grant from the China-United States Exchange Foundation to the Bush China Foundation, established in 2017 with the former president’s blessing.
- CUSEF leadership has close ties to Chinese government officials, and the group has a reputation as an arm of Bejing’s political influence operation. It provided a significant share of the funds for the Bush group’s efforts to improve Sino-American relations.
China announces three-child policy, in major policy shift
Baylor University’s Peter Hotez adds his voice to a chorus that includes prominent Democrats and Republicans,
“There’s going to be COVID-26 and COVID-32 unless we fully understand the origins of COVID-19. This is absolutely critical,” Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, told NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Hotez said that he believes the US needs to do more than launch an intelligence investigation into theories that the virus emerged naturally from animals or escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China.
“I’m personally of the opinion that we’ve pushed intelligence as far as we can,” Hotez said, saying that the US needs to send experts to the original epicenter of the pandemic in Wuhan.
“We need a team of scientists, genealogists, biologists, bat ecologists in the Hubei province for six months to a year-long period and fully unravel the origins of COVID-19.”
A magnitude 7.3 quake shook northern Qinghai, China on Friday morning.
(CNN)A large Chinese rocket that is out of control is set to reenter Earth’s atmosphere this weekend, bringing a final wave of concern before its debris makes impact somewhere on Earth.The Long March 5B rocket, which is around 100 feet tall and weighs 22 tons, is expected to enter Earth’s atmosphere “around May 8,” according to a statement from Defense Department spokesperson Mike Howard, who said the US Space Command is tracking the rocket’s trajectory.The rocket’s “exact entry point into the Earth’s atmosphere” can’t be pinpointed until within hours of reentry, Howard said, but the 18th Space Control Squadron is providing daily updates on the rocket’s location through the Space Track website.The good news is that debris plunging toward Earth — while unnerving — generally poses very little threat to personal safety.“The risk that there will be some damage or that it would hit someone is pretty small — not negligible, it could happen — but the risk that it will hit you is incredibly tiny. And so I would not lose one second of sleep over this on a personal threat basis,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard University, told CNN this week.The European Space Agency has predicted a “risk zone” that encompasses “any portion of Earth’s surface between about 41.5N and 41.5S latitude” — which includes virtually all of the Americas south of New York, all of Africa and Australia, parts of Asia south of Japan and Europe’s Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.
The U.S. and China are setting vastly different expectations for their first high-level meeting under the Biden administration, casting a chill on the talks set to begin in Alaska on Thursday.
American officials set to attend the summit — including National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Secretary of State Antony Blinken — have characterized the meeting as a one-off event where the U.S. will confront the Chinese on a range of security and human rights issues that Beijing will need to address before it can improve relations with Washington.
Chinese officials, by contrast, have spun the meeting as an opportunity for Washington and Beijing to reset their relationship and, as the world’s leading powers, hash out the new international order. China’s Yang Jiechi, a member of the Chinese Communist Party’s Politburo and the country’s top diplomat, and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi will be meeting with Blinken and Sullivan in Anchorage over two days.
Competing statements from both sides last week emphasized the rift: “This is not a strategic dialogue,” Blinken said of the meeting in testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee. A spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry, Zhao Lijian, quickly contradicted him: “China, invited by the United States, will have a high-level strategic dialogue with the U.S. side in the coming days.”
China’s capital city woke up to yellow skies Monday as the biggest sandstorm the country has seen in a decade swept through it, sparking new health fears.
The thick brown dust shrouded Beijing‘s iconic landmarks, including the Forbidden City, and downtown skyscrapers at times disappeared from view, enveloped by clouds of sand.
The visibility in the capital was reduced to less than 1,000 meters (3,300 feet), China’s English-language news agency CGTN reported, forcing residents who dared venture outside to wear improvised headgear to protect their faces.
Traffic was snarled and more than 400 flights out of the capital’s two main airports were canceled, The Associated Press reported.
- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday at a high-level press conference that the U.S. needs to remove “unreasonable restrictions” and stop interfering in what Beijing considers its domestic affairs.
- U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration has maintained a tough position on China and raised concerns about Beijing’s stance around Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
- Wang did not specify what the restrictions were, and pointed to a phone call between the two countries’ leaders in February as a positive basis for rebuilding the bilateral relationship.
BEIJING — Chinese state TV included dancers in blackface portraying Africans during a national broadcast as Asia welcomed the lunar Year of the Ox Friday with subdued festivities amid travel curbs to contain renewed coronavirus outbreaks.
The “African Song and Dance” performance came at the start of the Spring Festival Gala, or “Chunwan,” one of the world’s most-watched TV programs. It included Chinese dancers in African-style costumes and dark face makeup beating drums.
The five-hour annual program, which state TV has said in the past is viewed by as many as 800 million people, also included tributes to nurses, doctors and others who fought the coronavirus pandemic that began in central China in late 2019.
China’s ruling Communist Party tries to promote an image of unity with African nations as fellow developing economies. But state broadcaster China Central Television has faced criticism over using blackface to depict African people in previous New Year broadcasts.
On Twitter, Black Livity China, a group for people of African descent who work in or with China, called the broadcast “extremely disappointing.” It noted CCTV’s 2018 Spring Festival Gala, which featured performers in blackface with a monkey.
“We cannot stress enough the impact scenes such as these have on African and Afro-diasporic communities living in China,” the group said.
The decision comes one week after Ofcom, the media regulator of the United Kingdom had nixed a license for the state run China Global Television Network (CGTN) to air in the U.K.
A Thursday statement from China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) accused the BBC of not meeting the government’s standards for reporting — including that it allegedly undermined China’s national unity.
Sinovac Biotech said on Saturday that its unit’s COVID-19 vaccine has been approved for use by the general public by China’s medical products regulator.
Those who wondered why China chose to give $1.5 billion to Joe Biden’s son Hunter need wonder no more. Three executive orders issued during his first week in the White House made clear the payback Biden is giving China in return for its generosity to his family.
1) Biden repealed President Trump’s order that banned investments and materials from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in America’s electric power grid.
Trumps order noted that “foreign adversaries are increasingly creating and exploiting vulnerabilities in the United States bulk-power system.”
He explained that “unrestricted acquisition or use in the United States of bulk-power system electric equipment designed, developed, manufactured, or supplied by persons owned by, controlled by, or subject to the jurisdiction or direction of foreign adversaries augments the ability of foreign adversaries to create and exploit vulnerabilities in bulk-power system electric equipment, with potentially catastrophic effects.”
On January 16th, the week before Biden’s inauguration, Trumps’ secretary of energy Dan Roulette supplemented the order to prohibit utilities that supply electricity to critical defense facilities from doing business with the CCP.
2) A week later Biden ordered US officials from calling the Covid19 epidemic “the China virus” as former president Trump accurately called it. The virus was developed, released, and concealed by China, so the phrase was completely appropriate.
3) Biden also killed the Keystone pipeline this week. China opposes the pipeline because it sends Canadian oil to the United States. If the pipeline is not completed, China will likely get the oil instead of us. The oil now earmarked for Keystone would go to Canadian Pacific Ocean ports to be shipped to China.
Why on Earth would Biden issue these orders, especially in a week when the Chinese air force flew incursions into Taiwanese air space, a move that would normally have led to American condemnation and a response?
Biden’s executive order on the power grid was issued with no explanation or justification, so we can only speculate.
Could these orders be partial payback for China’s bribes to Hunter?
SHANGHAI, Jan 20 (Reuters) – China has deployed 16 professional rescue teams and dozens of medical personnel to try to save 12 miners trapped underground for 10 days after an explosion in a gold mine in northern China’s Shandong province, state media reported.
A total of 22 miners were left trapped after an explosion on Jan. 10 at the Hushan gold mine on the outskirts of the city of Yantai on China’s eastern coast.
At least 12 were found to be still alive after a note was retrieved a week later expressing hope that the rescue work would continue.
Beijing has imposed a lockdown of 1.7 million people in part of the Chinese capital as officials race to prevent a Covid-19 resurgence in the country’s northern region from seeping into its most important city.
Daxing district in southern Beijing, where its new airport is located, has been sealed off from the rest of the country after six infections were found there. The total number of cases in Beijing stands at 15, while over a thousand infections have been found nationwide since early January, mostly in China’s vast rural northern provinces.
- China is accused of extrajudicially detaining over 1 million Uighur Muslims and other minorities in political re-education camps in the northwestern autonomous region, along with invasive surveillance, restrictions on Uighur culture and the use of forced labor.
- Companies that fail to demonstrate adequate due diligence in ensuring their supply chains are free from forced labor will now be subject to fines, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced in the House of Commons.
When a handful of new coronavirus cases materialized this month in a province surrounding Beijing — apparently spread at a village wedding party — the Chinese authorities bolted into action.
They locked down two cities with more than 17 million people, Shijiazhuang and Xingtai. They ordered a crash testing regime of nearly every resident there, which was completed in a matter of days.
They shut down transportation and canceled weddings, funerals and, most significantly, a provincial Communist Party conference.
By this week the lockdowns expanded to include another city on the edge of Beijing, Langfang, as well as a county in Heilongjiang, a northeastern province. Districts in Beijing itself, the Chinese capital, also shut down.
A whistleblower from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China has given the United States the “most credible” intelligence yet the global coronavirus pandemic was a “leak or an accident” in the lab.
“There is a growing body of evidence that the lab is likely the most credible source of the virus,” Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pottinger told British parliamentarians in a Zoom call, the U.K.’s Daily Mail reported.
BEIJING (AP) — A Chinese space capsule bringing back the first moon rocks in more than four decades started its three-day return to Earth on Sunday.
The Chang’e 5 lunar probe, which had been orbiting the moon for about a week, fired up four engines for about 22 minutes to move out of the moon’s orbit, the China National Space Administration said in a social media post.
The craft’s lander touched down on the moon earlier this month close to a formation called the Mons Rumker, an area believed to have been the site of ancient volcanic activity. It collected about 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of samples.
The return capsule is expected to land in northern China in the Inner Mongolia region after separating from the rest of the spacecraft and floating down on parachutes. The material would be the first brought back since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 probe in 1976.The rocks and other debris were obtained both by drilling into the moon’s crust and scooping directly off the surface. They may be billions of years younger than those brought back by earlier U.S. and Soviet missions, possibly offering insights into the moon’s history and that of other bodies in the solar system.China has set up labs to analyze the samples for age and composition and is also expected to share some of them with other countries, as was done with the hundreds of kilograms (pounds) brought back by the U.S. and former Soviet Union.China’s space program has a series of ambitious missions underway, including a probe en route to Mars. The Chang’e lunar program, named after the ancient Chinese moon goddess, has been operating the Chang’e 4 probe on the moon’s less explored far side for the past two years.Future plans call for returning a human to the moon and perhaps a permanent moon base. China is also building a space station to begin operating as early as 2022.
China just landed a spaceship on the moon – the same China that Joe Biden, as recently as May, claimed represents “no competition for us.”
Robert Gates, secretary of Defense under President Barack Obama, has written that Biden has been “wrong on nearly every major foreign policy and national security issue over the past four decades.”
Add underestimating China to the list.
While senator or vice president, Biden’s bad impulses – like opposing the raid that killed Osama bin Laden – had little impact. But, assuming he becomes president, his wrongheaded instincts will put our nation at risk, especially when it comes to dealing with China.
Biden’s inability to rein in an increasingly belligerent China starts with his naïve confidence in the United Nations, which has done exactly nothing to punish Beijing for its military aggressions, its widespread theft of Western know-how or its illegal crackdown in Hong Kong.
Retired Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal warned Biden in a recent briefing that China may well move to take back Taiwan, using its increased military capacity to shower “Taiwan with rockets.” He asked, “Are you really prepared to fight for Taiwan?”
At least 18 people have been confirmed dead following a carbon monoxide leak inside a coal mine in southwest China, the nation’s Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
Those killed in the leak were among 24 people who got trapped in the mine around 5 p.m. local time on Friday when “excessive levels of carbon monoxide” began to seep into the air, according to the state news agency. One person has been pulled from the mine and rescue efforts remain underway to save five others still inside.
The accident occurred at the Diaoshuidong coal mine in the city of Chongqing. The mine had been suspended and shut down two months ago, and at the time of the accident workers were inside to dismantle equipment. Investigators were working to determine the cause of the accident, according to Xinhua.
The Diaoshuidong mine was built in 1975 and since 1998 has been operated as a private enterprise with an annual capacity of roughly 120,000 tons of coal. In 2013, three people died at the mine following a hydrogen sulfide poisoning incident, according to Reuters.
Friday’s accident appeared an eerily similar replay to a September accident at the Songzao coal mine, which is also in Chongqing. At least 16 workers were killed after exposure to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide.
China, which is both the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, has now reported more than 100 coal mining accidents in 2020. In November, the government launched a year-long review of all working coal mines and coal-mining projects, focusing on infrastructure, risk prevention management and capabilities for emergency response and rescue.
China has successfully launched the world’s first 6G satellite into space to test the technology.
It went into orbit along with 12 other satellites from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Center in the Shanxi Province.
High-speed technology will be trialled, which will be one of the core elements of sixth-generation communications.
The satellite also carries technology which will be used for crop disaster monitoring and forest fire prevention.
The satellite is meant to trial new technology expected to be 100 times faster than 5G.
China has reported its biggest cluster of asymptomatic coronavirus cases in nearly seven months — which it uncovered during a drive to test 4.7 million people after the discovery of a single infection.
Authorities in the Kashgar area of Xinjiang went into a partial lockdown almost as soon as a 17-year-old girl who works at a garment factory tested positive during routine weekly tests, the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
By Sunday afternoon, more than 2.8 million residents had been tested — with the rest expected to be completed by Tuesday.
The initial results showed 137 positive infections, with another 26 by Monday, Xinhua said. All 163 infected were asymptomatic — the highest number since China began reporting such daily counts on April 1.
The infected teen’s immediate family all tested negative, even though the cluster of cases appeared to be based at a different factory where her parents work, the South China Post reported. Yet all 831 workers at the factory where the girl works all tested negative, the report said.
The scale and speed of the testing highlighted the dramatic push by China to stamp out the contagion. Earlier this month, the port city of Qingdao tested its entire population of 9 million after just 12 cases were detected.
While the pandemic originated in Wuhan, China claims to have had fewer than 100,000 cases and less than 5,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data — although its relatively low numbers have been met with skepticism.