Beijing - China Investor Gloom on Property Reaches Record, Survey Finds

Turbulence in China’s top ranks raises questions about Xi Jinping’s rule


23-09-19 22:21

Turbulence is emerging in China’s ruling elite as two senior members of the country’s cabinet go missing. The absence of Defence Minister Li Shangfu and former Foreign Minister Qin Gang has raised questions about President Xi Jinping’s political judgment and has led to international concerns about China’s governance. The lack of transparency around the personnel changes has damaged Beijing’s reputation and has exposed the vulnerabilities of the one-party system. Li, who has missed a series of diplomatic engagements, is a key face of China’s military diplomacy towards the outside world, and his sudden disappearance has raised concerns among experts. This comes as China is facing economic challenges and increased competition with the US. The cabinet reshuffle is seen as part of an effort by Xi to bolster national security in the face of rising tensions with the West. However, the uncertainty among China’s ruling elite risks undermining confidence in the country’s economy and politics.
'Our world is becoming unhinged': Here's what happened on day one of the UN's big annual meeting


23-09-19 22:11

World leaders gathered in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and discussed various global issues. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned that Russia was attempting to turn Ukraine into a weapon against the world, urging allies not to let war-weariness weaken their support. US President Joe Biden echoed these sentiments and urged world leaders to remain steadfast in supporting Ukraine. Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong expressed support for Biden's stance. Biden also emphasized the need for the US and China to cooperate on climate change. Climate scientists and advocates used the UNGA to pressure Australia to halt dozens of coal and gas projects, with many Pacific island nations calling for a faster phase-out of fossil fuels. Australian officials responded by stating that the country is transitioning to over 80% renewable energy by 2030. Wong also hosted talks on a treaty to ban the production of fissile materials for nuclear weapons. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that the world is becoming unhinged due to rising geopolitical tensions and global failures to cooperate on solutions. Prince William attended the UNGA to unveil this year's finalists for the Earthshot Prize and discuss the climate crisis.
‘China is increasingly on board’: Mekong River data-sharing pact raises hopes

South China Morning Post

23-09-20 01:31

China and five other countries that share the Mekong River have agreed to exchange real-time information on storage levels and hydropower operations at major dams along the river by the end of the year. The move has been seen as a positive step in dealing with future hydrological changes. In recent years, Chinese dams have been accused of causing droughts downstream. The river supports 70 million people and its inland capture fisheries are the largest on Earth, with a total fish catch estimated at 2.3 million tonnes per year. The US has previously accused China of “manipulating” water flows in the Mekong and launched a project in 2020 to track water levels at Chinese dams. However, satellites can only provide estimates of water levels, so real-time data sharing from all six governments is necessary to “close this gap of uncertainty,” according to Anoulak Kittikhoun, CEO of the Mekong River Commission Secretariat. The Mekong River Commission and China’s Lancang-Mekong Cooperation are currently working on a joint study to help communities mitigate the impact of climate change and hydropower dams.
China Watchers Expect Easing After Banks Hold Lending Rates


23-09-20 01:18

The People's Bank of China (PBOC) has said that it has "ample policy room" to support the country's economic recovery. The comments from the PBOC have raised expectations that further easing measures could be implemented, including interest rate cuts. Chinese banks left their benchmark loan rates unchanged this week, in line with the PBOC's decision to pause easing measures, but economists expect further stimulus to be added as the economy's recovery remains fragile.
Top Chinese memory chip maker rushes to replace US parts in machinery

South China Morning Post

23-09-20 01:00

China's leading memory chip maker, Yangtze Memory Technologies Corp (YMTC), is working closely with domestic tool suppliers to replace US components in its manufacturing equipment. The move comes as US trade restrictions limit China's access to advanced chip-making machinery. YMTC is collaborating with Chinese semiconductor equipment makers to develop and produce replacements for crucial parts used in its equipment made by US firm Lam Research. The company has been hit by the suspension of equipment and services from Lam Research following new US export controls.
Wave of mainlanders under Hong Kong talent drive sparks diversity concerns

South China Morning Post

23-09-20 01:00

Hong Kong has seen an influx of mainland Chinese professionals since fully reopening in February, but foreign expatriates have been slower to return. Mainland Chinese professionals have flooded into the city on various work visas and talent schemes, with over 47,000 receiving work visas across five schemes from January to July. The majority of applicants have been mainland Chinese, accounting for over 90% of all those approved to move to Hong Kong this year. However, Western expatriates, including those from the UK, US and Australia, have been less likely to return, raising concerns about the impact on the city's diversity and international financial hub status.

The new mainland Chinese arrivals have been highly educated, many of whom studied overseas, and have integrated differently into the local community compared to earlier generations. Experts have noted that previous waves of mainland talent had ties to the city through friends and relatives, whereas newer arrivals have come from all over China and have formed their own community. While the influx of mainland professionals has been welcomed by employers in Hong Kong, concerns have been raised about the lack of diversity and the potential competition for jobs with local residents.

It remains to be seen whether the newly arrived mainlanders will remain in Hong Kong for the long term. The city’s demographic composition is changing, and if levels of Western expatriates do not return to pre-pandemic levels, it could have a significant impact on the diversity and vibrancy of Hong Kong society.

China says Britain's plans to disrupt Hong Kong 'doomed to fail'


23-09-20 00:47

China's foreign ministry in Hong Kong has criticized a report by Britain on the financial hub, stating that it ignored the "good" societal conditions and stable business environment in the city. The report, covering the period from Jan 1 to June 30, stated that China had extended the application of its national security law beyond genuine concerns. Beijing imposed the law in 2020 after protests in Hong Kong. The ministry said that Hong Kong has had "universal success" in implementing the practice of 'one country, two systems', and criticized the UK's democracy and human rights situation. The British report highlighted attempts to suppress freedom of expression and the politicization of media tycoon Jimmy Lai's prosecution. It also noted that Hong Kong police have issued arrest warrants and bounties against individuals in the UK and elsewhere. The report stated that Hong Kong's legal and judicial systems are at a critical juncture.
China may finally nick some metals clout from LME

Reuters BreakingViews

23-09-20 06:05

The Shanghai Futures Exchange (ShFE) is reportedly planning to launch a nickel futures contract for international use, which could threaten London Metal Exchange's (LME) benchmark status in the pricing of nickel. The LME has faced a trading scandal and lawsuits after suspending trading in nickel for a week and cancelling trades when prices spiked to a record high. China is the largest consumer and producer of nickel, accounting for 60% of global consumption last year. However, building a network of reliable warehouses for the ShFE will take time and could prove to be difficult.
Letter from Human Rights Watch to President Xi Jinping

Human Rights Watch

23-09-21 10:00

September 21, 2023

Re: China’s Forcible Repatriation of North Korean Refugees

Dear President Xi Jinping,

We are writing to express our concern about the resumption of forcible returns of North Koreans detained in the People’s Republic of China to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK or North Korea), which had stopped since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. We are concerned regarding news of North Korea’s border reopening, with the registration of around 200 athletes, coaches and officials to attend the 19th Asian Games in Hangzhou, China (23 September to 8 October 2023),[1] and your government’s resumption of forcible repatriations of reportedly 2,000 North Koreans detained in China.[2]

The 2014 United Nations Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK (DPRK COI) found that the North Korean government committed crimes against humanity against persons forcibly repatriated from China.[3] According to the DPRK COI, North Koreans who flee their country are at risk of torture, sexual and gender-based violence, arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance and even execution and forced abortion and infanticide upon their forcible repatriation.[4] However, China, which is a party to the UN Refugee Convention and Protocol and the Convention against Torture, which codify the principle of non-refoulement, continues to arbitrarily detain and hold North Korean escapees waiting for North Korea’s border opening to forcibly return them.[5]

The DPRK COI recommended “China and other States” to “respect the principle of non-refoulement” and “abstain from forcibly repatriating any persons to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, unless the treatment there, as verified by international human rights monitors, markedly improves.”[6] There has been no documentation of such improvement of treatment in North Korea. On 16 December 2013, the DPRK COI wrote a letter to Beijing summarizing its “concerns relating to China’s policy and practice of forced repatriation of DPRK citizens [including] particular concern about Chinese officials providing specific information on such persons to DPRK authorities,” and urging Beijing to “caution relevant officials that such conduct could amount to the aiding and abetting of crimes against humanity where repatriations and information exchanges are specifically directed towards or have the purpose of facilitating the commission of crimes against humanity in the DPRK.”[7]

However, China’s policy and practice of forced repatriation of North Koreans has continued since then. During the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment sent a letter to Beijing bringing to its attention information concerning “the arrest, detention and threat of repatriation of at least 1,170 individuals of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) in China, who have been arrested and detained for over a year since the borders between the DPRK and China were shut in January 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns”.[8] The letter also referred to information that “on 14 July 2021, [the Chinese government] repatriated over 50 individuals of the DPRK who had been detained over a year in Shenyang”.

At a conference entitled “Actions to Tackle Forced Repatriation of North Korean Escapees in China” held in Seoul on September 7, 2023, James Heenan, the Representative of OHCHR Seoul, stated that: “Credible reports suggest a large number of North Koreans have been reportedly detained by Chinese authorities [over the] last three years but whom the DPRK would not accept back into the country due to the border closure and other COVID-19 prevention measures. As the DPRK begins to reopen its borders, these individuals could be repatriated at any time. For those that do not wish to return, the repatriation would be forcible”.[9]

The UN Special Procedures, including the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and treaty bodies, especially the Committee against Torture and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, have repeatedly called upon China to respect the principle of non-refoulement for North Korean escapees.[10] Various countries have made the same recommendations to China during its Universal Periodic Reviews.[11]

China claims to address North Korean escapees in accordance with China’s domestic law, international law and humanitarian principles. However, China has failed to institute the “screening process” for North Korean asylum seekers or to provide them with “temporary identity certificates issued by public security organs” under article 46 of the Exit and Entry Administration Law, enacted in 2012.[12]

China justifies the deportation of North Koreans under the bilateral treaties with North Korea such as the Bilateral Agreement on Mutual Cooperation for the Maintenance of State Safety and Social Order (July 1998), which provides in article 4(1) that those “who do not hold legal documents or have used a crossing point not specified in the documents will be treated as illegal border crossers” and in article 4(2) that “[i]llegal border crossers will be returned to the other side with information on their identity and specific situation.” However, such bilateral treaties cannot enable the forced return of North Korean refugees in violation of the principle of non-refoulement under article 33 of the Refugee Convention and article 3 of the Torture Convention.

Moreover, any humanitarian consideration should result in the granting of a legal status for the North Korean escapees and the stopping of their deportations back to North Korea where torture, sexual and gender-based violence, forced abortion, imprisonment in brutal labor camps and even executions await them. We note that the UN Refugee Agency in 2004 categorized North Korean escapees in China as “persons of concern” meriting humanitarian protection and proposed that China create a special humanitarian status for them to provide them with temporary documentation, access to services, and repeatedly called for protection against refoulement.[13]

The official slogan of the 19th Asian Games Hangzhou 2022 is “Heart to Heart, @Future.” As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, we will not only win our freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory. In this regard, we urge you to officially end the policy of forcible repatriation of North Korean escapees and to implement the procedure for the individualized determination of refugee status.

Thank you.


Signature organizations and individuals (as of September 21, 2023):


David Alton

Independent Crossbench Member of the House of Lords & Co-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea

Sonja Biserko

Former Commission of Inquiry (COI) member on the situation of human rights in the DPRK & current chair at the Helsinki Human Rights Committee in Serbia

Roberta Cohen

Co-Chair Emeritus of the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK)

Marzuki Darusman

Former UN Special Rapporteur/Commission on Inquiry (COI) member on the situation of human rights in the DPRK

Lee Yanghee

Former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar & Former Chairperson of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child

Tomás Ojea-Quintana

Former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK

Suzanne Scholte

Seoul Peace Prize Recipient & President of Defense Forum Foundation (USA)


ACAT - Belgique (Action des Chrétiens pour l’Abolition de la Torture)

ACAT - France (Action des chrétiens pour l’abolition de la torture)

ACAT Germany (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)

ACAT UK (Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture)

Advocates for Human Rights

Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)

Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD)

Asociación Pro-Búsqueda de Niñas y Niños Desaparecidos

Association of Family Members of the Disappeared

Balay Alternative Legal Advocates for Development in Mindanaw, Inc. (BALAOD Mindanaw)

Centro para la Apertura y el Desarrollo de América Latina (CADAL)

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)

Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights (NKHR)

Commission for Disappeared and Victims of Violence (KontraS)

Committee for Human Rights in North Korea (HRNK)

Death Penalty Focus

Disarmament and Non-Violence

Federal Association of Vietnamese Refugees in the Federal Republic of Germany

Families of the Disappeared (FoD)

Free Jonas Burgos Movement

German Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (GCADP)


Human Rights Hub

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Human Rights Without Frontiers (HRWF)

Ikatan Keluarga Orang Hilang Indonesia (IKOHI)

International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED)

International Coalition to Stop Crimes against Humanity in North Korea (ICNK)

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (ILGA) Asia

Italian Federation for Human Rights (FIDU - Federazione Italiana Diritti Umani)

Judicial Reform Foundation (JRF)

Karapatan Alliance Philippines (KARAPATAN)

Korean War POW Family Association

Legal Literacy

Madres de Plaza de Mayo - Línea Fundadora

Network for North Korean Democracy and Human Rights (NKnet)

Non-Violence International

North Korea Freedom Coalition (NKFC)

Peace and Hope International

Safeguard Defenders

Save North Korea

Stepping Stone

Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP)


Transitional Justice Working Group (TJWG)

UK All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea

Viet Tan

World Coalition Against the Death Penalty (WCADP)

[1] Kyodo News, “North Korea eyes sending 200-strong delegation to Asian Games in China”, May 13, 2023, North Korea eyes sending 200-strong delegation to Asian Games in China (accessed September 5, 2023).

[2] Report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the DPRK to the General Assembly (October 13, 2022), A/77/522, para. 9 (“The Special Rapporteur has received information that as many as 2,000 escapees from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea are currently detained in China as “illegal migrants” and are at risk of being repatriated to their country once the border reopens.”), A/77/522 (accessed September 5, 2023).

[3] Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (7 February 2014), A/HRC/25/CRP.1, para. 1098-1114, (accessed September 5, 2023).

[4] Id., paras. 380-434.

[5] Id., paras. 435-477.

[6] Id., para. 1221(a).

[7] Id., para. 1197.

[8] Joint allegation letter to China by Tomás Ojea Quintana, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; Miriam Estrada-Castillo, Vice-Chair of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, JAL CHN 8/2021, August 23, 2021, (accessed September 5, 2023).

[9] Ha Chae-rim, “UN Human Rights Office Head Says “North Korean escapees in danger of torture if repatriated to North Korea; China should not forcibly repatriate” [유엔인권사무소장 “탈북민 북송시 고문위험…中, 강제송환 안돼”]”, Yonhap News, September 7, 2023 [in Korean], 유엔인권사무소장 "탈북민 북송시 고문위험…中, 강제송환 안돼" | 연합뉴스 (accessed September 10, 2023).

[10] Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, Concluding observations on the ninth periodic report of China (May 31, 2023), CEDAW/C/CHN/CO/9, para. 29, CEDAW/C/CHN/CO/9 (accessed September 5, 2023); Committee against Torture, Concluding observations on the fifth periodic report of China (February 3, 2016), CAT/C/CHN/CO/5, paras. 46-48, CAT/C/CHN/CO/5 (accessed September 5, 2023); Committee against Torture, Concluding observations on the fourth periodic report of China (December 12, 2008), CAT/C/CHN/CO/4, para. 26, CAT/C/CHN/CO/4 (accessed September 5, 2023).

[11] Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: China (including Hong Kong, China and Macao, China) (December 4, 2013), A/HRC/25/5, paras. 186.66, 186.241, 186.242 and 186.243, A/HRC/25/5 (accessed September 5, 2023).

[12] Exit and Entry Administration Law of the People’s Republic of China (Adopted at the 27th meeting of the Standing Committee of the Eleventh National People’s Congress on June 30, 2012),\_regulations/2014/09/22/content\_281474988553532.htm (accessed September 5, 2023).

[13] The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Press Release, UNHCR chief calls on states to respect non-refoulement after North Koreans deported from Laos, May 30, 2013, (accessed September 7, 2023); Shin Hyon-hee, “UNHCR ups efforts to protect N.K. defectors,” Korea Herald, March 2, 2014, UNHCR ups efforts to protect N.K. defectors (accessed September 7, 2023).

Would you like a phone with that car? EV maker Nio thinks Chinese buyers will

South China Morning Post

23-09-21 12:00

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) start-up Nio has launched a smartphone designed specifically for use with its vehicles. The device offers more than 30 car-specific features, such as initiating self-parking mode, unlocking the car with a button press even if the smartphone is powered off, and transitioning a video call from the phone to the car’s screen and speakers. The fully functional Android-based phone is priced from CNY6,499 ($890) to CNY7,499 and is compatible with all eight of Nio’s vehicle models.
Chinese navy aims to make students fighter pilots as ‘military mission is accelerated’


23-09-21 15:14

The Chinese navy has launched a recruitment drive targeting post-graduate students with science and engineering master’s degrees to become fighter pilots. The recruitment drive marks a new upper-age limit for recruits and the first time the navy has targeted such a highly educated group. The navy said it is “imperative” to attract more talent as Beijing accelerates military modernisation plans. Candidates must be male with a clean “political history” and no legal or disciplinary history. Once recruited, the individuals will undergo enlistment training and general military exercises before receiving aviation theory and flight training.
TikTok was built off of Black creators. Black employees say they faced discrimination


23-09-21 15:11

Two Black former employees of TikTok parent company ByteDance have filed a complaint with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging racial discrimination and retaliation against Black workers. The complaint accuses the social media giant of denying and failing to address racism and discrimination in the workplace, and retaliating against employees who raised concerns. One employee, Nnete Matima, said she joined TikTok because of the company's public pledge of support for the Black community following the murder of George Floyd. However, she alleges that she encountered "toxicity and racism" at the company. Matima claims that her manager referred to her as a "black snake" and set unrealistic expectations for her compared to her white colleagues. The other employee, Joël Carter, alleges that he was significantly underpaid compared to his colleagues and faced retaliation when he raised concerns about discrimination. Both employees were ultimately terminated by TikTok. The complaint asks the EEOC to investigate the alleged discrimination and retaliation at the company.
A Tiananmen Square Musical Worries About China’s Glare

NY Times

23-09-21 15:00

Zachary Noah Piser has withdrawn from the lead role in “Tiananmen: A New Musical”, a show about the 1989 protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, following pressure he felt to leave the production. The show’s original director and another cast member also left due to fears that their family members in China would be unsafe if they participated in the production. China continues to censor the protests, and people with connections to China often face consequences if they bring attention to the event. The word “Tiananmen” is one of the most censored topics in China, and people who discuss the event publicly can face jail time or see their children banned from attending universities. The show has a new director, Darren Lee, who is Chinese American but does not have direct relatives who might face retaliation from the Chinese government. The show’s book is by Scott Elmegreen, and its music and lyrics are by Drew Fornarola. The show runs from October 21 to November 7 at the Phoenix Theater Company in Phoenix, Arizona.
US chip giant cuts jobs in Shanghai as economic headwinds swirl: report

South China Morning Post

23-09-21 15:00

Qualcomm is reportedly making job cuts at its Shanghai office as it deals with ongoing technology tensions between the US and China and economic headwinds. The company, which has a significant presence in China, did not disclose the number of layoffs, but denied speculation that the cuts would be large-scale or result in an office closure or retreat from Shanghai. Qualcomm has been facing weak demand for consumer electronics, with a 23% drop in year-on-year revenue in Q3 2023. Other US chip companies have also been cutting staff in China due to economic downturns.
China urged to alter approach as Mexico shifts trade posts, raises tariffs

South China Morning Post

23-09-21 15:00

Mexico's new tariffs on imports from its trading partners, including China, are creating uncertainties for China, which has increased its exports to and investment in Mexico in recent years. The move affects nearly 90% of Chinese exports to Mexico and is expected to hit industries such as steel, textiles, footwear, transport machinery, and furniture the hardest. China has been using Mexico as a transit port for re-exporting goods into the American market to augment its supply chains and get around US trade curbs. China has called on Mexico to stick to the principle of free trade and remain cautious in implementing the tariffs.
EU Trade Chief Heads to China With Anti-Subsidy EV Probe Looming Over Relationship


23-09-21 20:00

The European Union's (EU) trade chief, Valdis Dombrovskis, is due to visit China this week to discuss the need for concrete agreements to reset their relationship. The EU is seeking to reduce its dependency on China whilst maintaining access to its market and fears that a new probe into Chinese electric vehicles could result in tariffs or other trade curbs targeted at industries beyond just cars. Dombrovskis will reportedly explain to his Chinese counterparts that the investigation will strictly follow procedural steps, including consultations with the authorities and companies, before any action is taken. China's tone towards Europe has hardened following the probe, which it has called "a naked act of protectionism." The EU will use the visit to try to cool down some of the fallout from the investigation. The visit comes as China and Russia forge a strategic partnership and deepen their trade ties, however, the EU is focusing on cracking down on Russia's ability to circumvent its sanctions by prioritising a list of 45 categories of "high-priority battlefield items" to target.
What Will AI Mean for ASEAN?


23-09-21 19:31

AI was high on the agenda during President Joe Biden’s state visit to Vietnam last week. After a series of meetings, the White House announced plans for American companies Microsoft, Nvidia, and others to deepen cooperation and investments in the country. The outcome was a sign of things to come for the member countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). As both the U.S. and China seek to use AI to strengthen their influence in the region, the bloc will have to navigate both opportunities and risks posed by the new technology.

So far, ASEAN has been moving to develop governance and strategies for AI, though at a relatively slow pace and with more input from some nations over others. Among ASEAN’s 10 members, only Singapore is positioning itself as an AI leader. Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, Vietnam, and the Philippines are all embracing AI but have yet to do much in the way of concrete strategy or regulation. For ASEAN’s lower middle-income members – Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos – AI is far from an urgent priority, as poverty and internal conflicts demand attention.

Despite these differences, it will be important for ASEAN to coordinate among its members to develop guidelines and frameworks to advance the opportunities of AI while minimizing the risks. Specifically, ASEAN leaders should focus on three areas where AI is set to have a big impact on the region: geopolitics, economic growth, and sustainable development.

In terms of geopolitics, AI could end up bringing ASEAN members closer to China at the expense of the United States. Despite the recent state visit by President Biden, Beijing has been more aggressive in leveraging the technology to create new opportunities for cooperation in the region. Six years ago, Beijing declared its objective to become the world’s “AI superpower” by 2030. Part of that plan involves greater investment and engagement with ASEAN members. AI has been a focus of the Digital Silk Road initiative, in which China invests in the digital economies of countries including Thailand and Malaysia.

Recently, Beijing has launched a variety of AI-themed collaborations with ASEAN, including innovation centers, competitions, and summits. Earlier this year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese tech giants Alibaba, Huawei, and Tencent planned to invest hundreds of millions of dollars to build data centers in Southeast Asian countries in part for AI applications. Analysts expect ASEAN will increasingly become a “testing ground” for consumer AI tools and technologies developed by Chinese companies.

By contrast, the U.S. has made fewer investments and pledges of cooperation. Digital cooperation was a priority in the 2021 ASEAN-US Summit, from which an ASEAN-US Leaders’ Statement on Digital Development included a commitment to “exchanging views and best practices on the design, development and deployment of AI, and promote partnerships for AI research and development, while supporting capacity building activities on the responsible use of AI.” However, even after President Biden’s visit to Vietnam, relatively few concrete plans and investments have emerged.

As a bloc, ASEAN should be careful to consider the risks of siding too heavily with China versus the U.S. on AI. For instance, the technology could enable Beijing greater access to information and data that could compromise national security and sovereignty.

For the second area, economic growth, AI could help ASEAN members more rapidly develop their largely manufacturing- and agriculture-dependent economies. The adoption of AI tools in logistics, human resources management, and other business processes, as well as in the education sector, could be especially impactful. According to the US-ASEAN Business Council, AI could add $1 trillion to the GDP of Southeast Asia by 2030, an 18 percent increase. One-third of that growth is expected to come in Indonesia, the largest economy in ASEAN.

At the same time, AI might displace workers and cause social disruptions. These risks are especially high for the business process outsourcing industry, in which many Southeast Asian workers are employed. For instance, in the Philippines, outsourcing accounts for 7.5 percent of the country’s GDP. As chatbots and other generative AI tools enable companies to replace customer service agents in call centers, one report suggested that in the Philippines some 1.6 million employees could face dislocation. It will be crucial for policy makers in ASEAN to prepare for such scenarios by prioritizing investments in social safety nets, workforce retraining, and other programs that could address worker displacement.

Finally, ASEAN should make full use of AI tools to help advance Sustainable Development Goals. Two areas in particular are natural disaster management and food security. ASEAN countries are on the frontlines of climate change, already enduring the impacts of worsening storms, more frequent floods, and rising temperatures. The metropolises of Jakarta, Bangkok, and Ho Chi Minh City are all threatened by rising sea levels, with the latter expected to be underwater by 2050.

AI tools could be vital for natural disaster warning and response systems. They could help forecast the path of tropical cyclones and anticipate, identify, and classify damages, as well as plan delivery routes and funding requirements for response and recovery. Especially in ASEAN’s lower-income members that are highly dependent on agriculture, AI could help predict adverse weather and improve crop yields.

For all of these areas and others, ASEAN should play a role in helping its members manage risks and capture opportunities from AI. The group should create a more dedicated coordination body of policy makers and technologists that can set overarching frameworks and advise members on regulations and implementation. If managed wisely, AI could help the region develop, while at the same time preserving both external and internal security.

Vivek Ramaswamy accuses Trump of making a 'false promise' in not repealing Obamacare

The Toronto Star

23-09-21 19:21

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy criticized former President Donald Trump for failing to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Ramaswamy accused Trump of making a false promise and suggested that Trump's inability to deliver on this promise was contingent on Congress. Ramaswamy, who is running against Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, has been a vocal supporter of the former president in the past. He outlined his proposals to reduce the US's dependence on China and expand trade with trusted allies. Despite trailing behind Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in national polls, Ramaswamy has performed slightly better than other candidates in third place in some polls.
Vivek Ramaswamy accuses Trump of making a ‘false promise’ in not repealing Obamacare

Associated Press

23-09-21 19:20

Republican presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy criticized former President Donald Trump for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare during an event in Ohio. Ramaswamy, who is running against Trump for the 2024 Republican nomination, called Trump's promise a "false promise" that was contingent on Congress. Despite his criticism, Ramaswamy is generally a defender of Trump and has praised him as the best president of the 21st century. Ramaswamy is currently trailing behind Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis in national polls. He recently gave a speech outlining his proposals to reduce the US's dependence on China and expand trade with trusted allies.
Han Dong says he's met with government, is waiting to learn if he can rejoin caucus


23-09-21 18:46

Han Dong, the Independent MP who left the Liberal caucus following allegations that he meddled in the detentions of two Canadians in China, has revealed that he met with Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc to discuss rejoining the Liberal caucus. Dong stated that LeBlanc said he would speak with the prime minister about the matter. Dong hopes to rejoin the caucus as soon as possible. A report by former special rapporteur on foreign interference, David Johnston, found that the allegation against Dong was false. The report also found irregularities in Dong's nomination for the federal Liberals in 2019 but concluded that there was no evidence that Dong knew about possible Chinese involvement. Dong has filed a $15 million defamation lawsuit against Global News and its parent company, Corus Entertainment.