Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: United States International Relations

NASA-Russia Alliance Is Shaken by Events on Planet Earth

Technology
When Russia’s military blasted an old satellite to smithereens last month with an antisatellite missile, American officials reacted angrily, warning that thousands of tiny pieces of new orbital debris could endanger astronauts on the International Space Station. Dmitry Rogozin, the head of Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, seemed to share some of that frustration.“No, I don’t like it,” Mr. Rogozin, who initially downplayed the threat of the debris, said in a recent interview. He noted his concern “that there is a lot of debris scattered across the orbit.”While the danger to the space station’s astronauts has waned, the diplomatic impact of Russia’s military action in orbit looms large. The Nov. 15 weapon test prompted a rare intersection of two components of bilateral ties between the U.S....

U.S. Effort to Combat Forced Labor Targets Corporate China Ties

Technology, World
A far-reaching bill aimed at barring products made with forced labor in China became law after President Biden signed the bill on Thursday.But the next four months — during which the Biden administration will convene hearings to investigate how pervasive forced labor is and what to do about it — will be crucial in determining how far the legislation goes in altering the behavior of companies that source products from China.While it is against U.S. law to knowingly import goods made with slave labor, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act shifts the burden of proof to companies from customs officials. Firms will have to proactively prove that their factories, and those of all their suppliers, do not use slavery or coercion.The law, which passed the House and Senate nearly unanimously, is Wa...

The Diplomatic Boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, Explained

Sports
The United States this week announced a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in February, a move that was quickly followed by Australia, Britain and Canada.Diplomacy is by its nature byzantine, and sometimes secretive as well. We’ll try to get to the bottom of what it all means.What is a diplomatic boycott?Those who remember the 1980s may think of an Olympic boycott as countries staying home, athletes and all. But the U.S. diplomatic boycott will preclude only government officials from attending. Typically, high-ranking officials from many countries attend the Games, which are among the biggest international gatherings outside of the United Nations and major summits.What reason did the U.S. give for the boycott?In announcing the decision, Jen Psaki, the White House press secre...

A Diplomatic Boycott of the Winter Olympics Isn’t Enough

Sports
The decision by President Biden to have his administration steer clear of the Beijing Winter Olympics is not enough.With the Games two months away and the host country’s ugly record on human rights well in view once again, more needs to be done to send China a message that it operates outside the bounds of acceptable behavior.Yes, the diplomatic boycott announced this week by the Biden administration was a wise move, a public rebuke to China’s growing list of human rights atrocities and a guarantee that the United States’ emissaries would not lend tacit approval of these Games with their attendance.Human rights organizations joined the American government and lawmakers from several nations in describing China’s treatment of its ethnic Muslim minorities as genocide and denouncing crackdowns...

United States Will Not Send Government Officials to Beijing Olympics

Sports
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration will not send any American government officials to the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, making official a diplomatic boycott to pressure China for human rights abuses.Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said that while American athletes would be able to compete in the Winter Games in Beijing, there would be no delegation of American officials.She said the boycott was a response to human rights abuses in Xinjiang.“This is just an indication that it cannot be business as usual,” Ms. Psaki said. “That does not mean that is the end of the concerns we will raise about human rights abuses.”“We feel this sends a clear message,” she later added.The announcement comes weeks after President Biden said the administration was considering a diplomatic boyco...
Didi of China Moves to Delist From New York Stock Exchange

Didi of China Moves to Delist From New York Stock Exchange

Technology
With 377 million active users a year in China and services in 16 other countries, Didi Chuxing has been celebrated in China as a homegrown tech champion. It vanquished its American rival, Uber, and bought that company’s Chinese operations in 2016. Promises to use its banks of data to unsnarl traffic and develop driverless car technologies made its executives icons as Chinese officials called for building a more innovative economy.Updated Dec. 2, 2021, 7:49 p.m. ETThe delisting is likely to increase investor concerns about what seems to be a growing hostility by Chinese officials toward domestic companies that list shares on overseas exchanges. China’s taming of the internet giants picked up speed last year after regulators thwarted an I.P.O. of Ant Group, the fintech giant and Alibaba...
As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash

As U.S. Hunts for Chinese Spies, University Scientists Warn of Backlash

Technology
That fear comes as China has started to experience a reverse brain drain. Over the last decade, a growing number of Chinese scientists have been lured back to the country by the promise of ample funding, impressive titles and national pride. More recently, scientists returning to China have cited a hostile environment in the United States as a factor.Westlake University, a research university in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, has recruited an impressive roster of talent, including many who once held faculty positions at top American schools. In August, Westlake announced several new hires, including a tenured professor from Northwestern University and another from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.Shi Yigong, a prominent molecular biologist and the president of Westlake...

Peng Shuai Said to Be in Videos From China’s State Media

Sports
Nearly two weeks after people across the world began asking “Where is Peng Shuai?,” two questionable videos surfaced Saturday on social media of a person who appears to be the Chinese tennis star at a restaurant.The videos were shared on Twitter by the editor of a state-run newspaper, but the seemingly unnatural conversation in one video and the unclear location and dates of both raised questions about Peng’s safety and whether she was appearing in the videos of her own free will. A third video, said to be of Peng at a tennis match in Beijing, was posted about 10 hours later, on Sunday.Peng, in a social media post this month, accused a former top government official of sexually assaulting her. After the allegation, the Chinese government removed almost all references of Peng on social medi...
U.S. Is ‘Considering’ Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics, Biden Says

U.S. Is ‘Considering’ Diplomatic Boycott of Beijing Olympics, Biden Says

Sports
WASHINGTON — President Biden said on Thursday that the United States was considering a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, as pressure grows to hold China accountable for human rights abuses.A boycott would mean that government officials would not attend the Games, which are slated to begin in February, though it would not prevent U.S. athletes from competing.As he met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada at the White House, Mr. Biden responded to a reporter’s question about the potential for a diplomatic boycott by saying it was “something we are considering.”The comment came days after a virtual meeting between Mr. Biden and China’s leader, Xi Jinping, that was meant to prevent increasing tensions from turning into a broader conflict. While Mr. Xi warned th...
Calls for Climate Reparations Reach Boiling Point in Glasgow

Calls for Climate Reparations Reach Boiling Point in Glasgow

Technology, World
Mr. Huq, now 69, sat with a can of Irn-bru, the Scottish soda, in his hand under a giant inflated globe in a large auditorium known here as the Action Zone one day this week. A steady stream of people came to consult and talk. At one point, a 10-foot-tall puppet, named Little Amal, walked through the room, to which Mr. Huq appeared oblivious. This is what he likes to do at every summit — plant himself in one spot and have people pay him a visit, he said. He has come to each one since the first climate change convention was negotiated in Rio in 1992.Loss and damage was first championed by countries in the Pacific Ocean, and then embraced by a widening group of developing world countries. All the while, the real losses and damages kept piling up. Storms washed away crops. Droughts turned far...