Amid uncertain weather, Malaysian durian exporters fear quality of upcoming harvest may impact sales to China

According to Citrus expert Mr. Lim,” Black Thorn has a sweet flavor that the Chinese areas are favoring, compared to Musang King, which is somewhat terrible.”

” To be related and contend for China’s growing desire, we may be flexible to these changes in taste and adjust quickly”, he added.

According to Mr. Chong, Musang King accounts for 36 % of Malaysia’s total durian production market while Black Thorn only accounts for 1 % of the total market, according to data released by the agricultural ministry. &nbsp,

However, community durians, which are mostly consumed directly, accounts for 38 per share of output while D24 varieties make up 11 per share. The remaining ones are hybrid durian clones, which account for 14 % of the country’s edible produce. &nbsp,

However, according to Mr. Chong, this is likely to change because the Chinese culture has changed, despite the fact that the Black Thorn versions cost significantly more than the Musang King types. &nbsp, &nbsp,

Musang Kings price RM50 per pounds, while Black Thorns usually cost RM80 per pounds in Malaysia. &nbsp,

” In China, the smaller the edible range, the more interest it gets and the consumers will need a style of it”, said Mr Chong. &nbsp,

He continued, nevertheless, that Malaysia may first make sure its farms are protected from extreme conditions, which will probably get worse in the years to come, as a result of climate change. &nbsp,

A Grade A premium fruit will only be a grade B or C, according to Mr. Chong, and regardless of which variety, you wo n’t be able to get the same price and quality you want. &nbsp,

” The fruit you desire will not grow, and the fragrance you want will not be there,” he continued. &nbsp,

Continue Reading

Rights group decries ‘swap mart’ for dissidents

According to Human Rights Watch, Thailand is still dangerous for immigrants fleeing harassment.

Rights group decries ‘swap mart’ for dissidents
In March 2014, 350 people from China who have been detained by immigration authorities near the border with Malaysia are taken to a detention center in Songkhla. One hundred and one women and their children from the organization were released from Turkey a year later, while 109, generally people, were taken to China. Their death remains mysterious. ( File Photo )

In a statement released this week, Human Rights Watch claims that Thai officials are helping neighboring governments carry out immoral activities against refugees and dissenters from overseas, making the country more dangerous for those fleeing persecution.

According to the organization, some targets of international suppression have gotten caught up in a” transfer mart” where foreign dissidents in Thailand are essentially traded for Thai government employees who reside abroad.

The review” We Thought We Were Safe: Repression and Refoulement of Immigrants in Thailand” describes a rise in repression against foreigners seeking refugee shelter there.

According to the review, foreign governments have frequently coerced and cooperated with Thai authorities by subjecting exiled dissidents and activists there to abuse, monitoring, and physical violence.

According to the report, Thai authorities frequently detained asylum seekers and refugees and sent them home without having a legal case with their home countries.

Elaine Pearson, Asia director at Human Rights Watch ( HRW), noted that” Thai authorities have increased engaged in a” swap mart” with neighboring governments to unlawfully exchange each other’s dissidents.

Srettha Thavisin, the prime minister, should stop using this tactic and bring charges against Thai leaders who have collaborated with foreign governments on Thai soil.

HRW said it analysed 25 circumstances that took place in Thailand between 2014 and 2023 and conducted 18 discussions with patients, their family people, and testimony to crimes, along with members of local and international nongovernmental companies.

Members of Asean, China, Bahrain, and other nations are among the accountable institutions.

In one instance, it claimed a Cambodian opposition leader who had fled to Thailand in July 2022 said he began receiving letters from Thai authorities urging him to leave the country’s main opposition group.

Unexplained men attacked him in August 2023 after he had been receiving these words for decades. They simply came out and started beating me, the rebel said.” They did not say something to me.

In recent years, Thai politics proponents have been violently disappeared or killed, and a Malay LGBTI rights influence has been targeted for resettlement in Thailand. Dissenters from Vietnam have also been tracked lower and abducted.

At the government’s demand, Thai authorities detained and unjustly deported Chinese rebels and refugees. A Bahraini professional football player with American refugee status was even detained by Thai authorities, who almost brought him back.

At the same time, a number of Thai protesters have been killed or disappeared in Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. Later, two missing protesters ‘ bodies were discovered floating in the Mekong River, where they were mutilated.

The” Transfer shop” plans increased under the military administration that came into power following the coup in May 2014, and they continued under the post-2019 administration of Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan- o-cha.

In addition to facilitating assaults, abductions, enforced disappearances and another abuses, HRW said, Thai authorities regularly violated the concept of non- refoulement: the ban on returning people to a position where they would face a real risk of persecution, torture or other threats to life.

Additionally, Thai authorities have detained and immediately deported exiled critics and dissidents, even those whose refugee status has been determined by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR ).

” Prime Minister Srettha should take action to restore Thailand’s deserved reputation as a haven for international dissidents,” Ms. Pearson said.

He should demand that refugees and political dissidents’ arbitrary arrests, violent assaults, and forced returns be immediately investigated.

Continue Reading

Seeing China reds under the beds in the Philippines - Asia Times

MANILA – As tensions rage and tangle over disputed areas of the sea, Spanish authorities are turning their attention to alleged Chinese influence operations aimed at tracing down and monitoring important installations and structures on Philippine soil.

Legislators from north Spanish provinces have lately sounded the alarm over the immediate, significant flood of Chinese learners into Cagayan, which has just been ruled by an openly pro-Beijing governor.

However, the intriguing situation of Alice Guo, a recently elected president in a small town close to Clark Air Base and other important military installations, has sparked public concern about possible Chinese” sleeper cell” agents stationed at or close to various strategically important locations throughout the nation. &nbsp,

Major Spanish authorities are now openly advocating for the expulsion of Taiwanese diplomats reportedly involved in influence operations on Asian soil, which have officially targeted not less than a major Philippine admiral, adding to the paranoia and fear.

The result is a worrying and swift decline in diplomatic diplomatic relations as the two parties drift toward a possible military conflict in the South China Sea, a conflict that could quickly entice the US and its supporters into the fray.

When Chinese online gaming companies, officially known as Philippine Offshore Gaming Operations ( POGOs ), started popping up near strategically important locations across Metro Manila under the leadership of Beijing Rodrigo Duterte, concerns about China’s influence operations in the Philippines were first raised.

Around several important Asian bases, including Camp Aguinaldo, where the Philippine Army and the National Defense Department’s workplaces are located, Camp Crame, where the Philippine National Police’s headquarter is located, and the Philippine Air Force and Navy’s and headquarters, were a total of 130, 000 Foreign workers and virtual casino operators.

Then- national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon warned at the time that a large number of Chinese citizens, many of whom were reputedly “undocumented” or entered the country under “false documentation”, posed a national security threat.

The Philippine national security chief warned in 2019 that “you’d start getting worried when a whole building, condominium, tower is occupied by just one nationality.”” Some unwelcome activities could transpire there, so we need to prevent those,” he added.

You would start to wonder what they are doing if you saw something like a rotation of people entering and leaving [of buildings in POGO areas ] every eight hours, he added, raising concerns about the opaque nature of the Chinese online casinos.

An aerial photo depicting the earlier location of Chinese- run POGOs and the Philippine military’s headquarters. Source: Defense Forum

Delfin Lorenzana, the then-president of the Philippines, went so far as to openly advocate for the relocation of all Chinese online casinos into” self-contained hubs” far from crucial national security facilities.

” ]I ] t’s very easy for all these]Chinese ] people to perhaps shift their activities to spying…They are near]our military facilities ]”, the then- defense chief warned at the time.

The Duterte administration resisted suggestions for closing or moving the Chinese gambling dens because the POGOs generated an estimated US$ 4.1 billion between 2016 and 2019.

Interesting is that the pro-China leadership, which had vehemently opposed the proliferation of online casinos because they were frequently used as launching points for criminal activities targeting the mainland and beyond, even resisted pressure to close the POGOs. &nbsp,

Fast forward to the present: the arrest of Bamban Mayor Alice Guo has sparked a new wave of concern over potential Chinese sleeper agents.

The small-town mayor had to work overtime to provide even the most basic documents, such as her birth certificate, school transcripts, and any tangible documentation of her immigration to the Philippines during a recent Senate hearing.

She has been accused of involvement in illegal Chinese casino activity, including having a relationship with the Hong Sheng Gaming Technology company, which was detained on suspicion of illegal operations in February of this year and given a new name in March of that year. Guo has denied the allegations.

” She lied. She lied in a number of questions. The fact that she denied having a connection with Hong Sheng when it was already stated in the municipal government’s document that she is the current head, according to Senator Risa Hontiveros, who presided over the hearing on Guo’s sensational case.

It” catches one’s attention,” especially because, according to our research, foreigners enter certain nations using a similar procedure. Eventually, they pretend to be locals and then do various tasks &nbsp, — some of which are not desirable”, the senator said, implying that Guo may be part of a Chinese influence operation.

In addition, Philippine authorities are looking into the rapid rise in the number of Chinese students in Cagayan, which, like Guo’s town of Bamban, houses important military installations. &nbsp,

Authorities claim that in Cagayan province there are more than 4, 000 Chinese students enrolled in universities, an unusually high number given the relatively small number of urban centers and educational facilities in the northern province close to Taiwan.

A resolution earlier this year highlighting” an alarming increase in the number of Chinese citizens coming into the province of Cagayan as students enrolled in universities” was co-authored by Joseph Lara, a Cagayan representative, and Faustino Dy V, a representative from Isabela province, which also hosts Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement ( EDCA ) military sites used by US forces.

As the paranoia spreads, there is also growing scrutiny of Filipino individuals, especially military personnel, who were educated in China.

When China claimed to have a recording of a sworn special arrangement with Vice-Rear Admiral Alberto Carlos regarding disputed land features in the South China Sea, alarm bells rang out in particular.

He is the top Philippine naval commander in charge of the Philippines ‘ western islands and occupied features in the South China Sea, having previously attended a program under China’s People’s Liberation Army- Navy. &nbsp,

Alberto Carlos, the vice-admiral, trained in China. Image: WESCOM

Chinese authorities have openly called for the expulsion of Chinese diplomats who are alleged to be in violation of both domestic and international law, as well as the Chinese’s claims of a secret agreement, including transcripts of its supposed exchanges with the Philippine admiral.

In a provocative statement released last week, Philippine National Security Advisor Secretary Eduardo Ano said,” Those in the Chinese Embassy who have violated Philippine laws and the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and those who have carried out these malign influence and interference operations must be removed from the country immediately.” &nbsp,

Without a doubt, the embassy’s actions constitute serious violations of international relations and diplomatic relations, he said, citing the Philippines ‘ Anti-Wire Tapping Act in response to China’s alleged eavesdropping of confidential conversations with a top Philippine naval official.

Teodoro urged those responsible for recording the alleged conversation to be kicked out of the country on May 15 because their alleged deeds would contravene the country’s wiretapping laws.

Teodoro, the secretary of defense of the Philippines, has supported the arrest of Chinese diplomats who have been interrogated and engaged in deception. He said in Filipino,” We must find out who is accountable for this and remove them from the Republic of the Philippines.”

All indications point to a new and risky nadir in Philippine-China relations, one that could lead to tit-for-tat diplomatic expulsions and increase the risk of miscalculation and potential deadly clashes in the South China Sea.

Follow Richard Javad Heydarian on X at @Richeydarian

Continue Reading

BJP's anti-Muslim rhetoric has deep, dark historical roots - Asia Times

More than 960 million people have registered to cast ballots in India over the course of six months, making this the largest poll in the world.

Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi is heading the Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) campaign and traveling extensively throughout the nation to deliver a message that he hopes will win the party’s overwhelmingly in the election.

He is both a well-known and controversial number. Modi’s remarks are drawing heating for their anti- Arab rhetoric. At a campaign rally on April 21, 2024, he referred to Muslims as “infiltrators“.

He later doubled down on those remarks, suggesting that if India’s largest opposition group, the Indian National Congress, came to power, the success of Hindus had been snatched and given to communities that “have to some children”, a relatively lightly veiled reference to Indian Muslims.

Such language highlights a dread that Modi and the BJP have frequently stoked: that Muslims may pose a significant risk to India’s Hindu-majority population.

Although Modi has since claimed that his conversation did not specifically address Muslims, his thoughts were undoubtedly taken as they were.

To some observers, the speech serves as an indication that the BJP campaign’s campaign is trying to secure a two-thirds supermajority in Parliament. According to the discussion, Modi is trying to combat voter apathy by appealing to the group’s Hindu foundation in the face of rising economic inequality and youth unemployment.

As an Indian writer of public health, I think it is crucial to understand how anti-Muslim language came about and how it fits with growing concerns about the Hindu majority’s decline in India.

Doubts of a Muslim acquisition

Political and administrative picture has been a source of skepticism in India since the days of English colonialism.

In 1919, the American granted Indians a limited company, American politicians were allowed to create legislation in specific fields, such as health care and education, but not on law and order.

After the 1931 population, Indian leaders – primarily Hindus, but also some Muslims – and American officials expressed concern about the ostensibly quick rate of population growth in India, which at the moment was growing by over 1 % annually.

These officials started promoting new birth control methods to American women, in keeping with similar efforts around the world.

However, colonial officials and Hindu administrators had to deal with the fact that Indians of all religions were averse to birth control propaganda in order to effectively persuade a large number of women to adopt household planning practices.

These skepticisms stemmed from social practices that were prevalent in both Hindu and Muslim communities, including marriage, baby marriage, and seclusion practices.

Policies that attempted to stifle American women’s standard lives, including birth control, were widely regarded as harmful forms of imperial control.

Role of British settlers

Hindu nationalist organizations created a unique narrative while the English used these social practices and suspicions to make the claim that all Indians were to blame for the rapid population growth and the accompanying poverty and hunger.

These border organizations, which gained popularity as a political power in the 1930s, popularized the notion that procedures that promoted people rise were particularly widespread among the Muslim community.

The Indian National Congress group and the Muslim League were at odds with one another at the same time. The League was established in 1906, but it soon started pressing for a independent country for Indian Muslims in the late 1930s.

Before the American era, there were divisions in American society. British colonial leaders made these personalities and divisions more restrictive by categorizing Indians into caste and religion, putting different communities in conflict with one another.

The British were able to defend the notion that Indians were capable of self-government and progressive politics without the supervision and control of colonial rule.

Although the American emigrated from India and Pakistan in 1947, growing Hindu-Muslim tensions after division continued to influence home planning propaganda in separate India.

Hindu separatists had anticipated the establishment of a one country with Hindu majority rule. In this context, they saw the establishment of Pakistan as a country and nation-state for South Asian Islamists as a huge failure and a reduction for India.

Also, the majority of Hindu guys and some women served as post-partition leaders and officials in India because the majority of the educated and wealthy Muslim classes ended up in Pakistan.

In the wake of the colonial period views of Muslims, Indian policymakers and administrators created and put into practice health care and education coverage. Preexisting views of Muslim hyperfertility in American policymakers specifically grew more deeply ingrained after split.

Population control applications

Officials at all levels of government assumed that the adoption of birth control may be lessened as India’s second significant population control program was launched in 1951.

In fact, the factors that influenced the rate of absorption of IUDs, oral contraceptives, and tubectomies in postindependence India were more influenced by geographical ( whether people lived in rural or urban regions, were from the country’s north or south ), as well as school position.

Population control has been one of the main objectives of Indian policymaking since 1951 as part of a campaign to end poverty and promote public health. However, the misconception that Indian Muslims are unwilling to participate in population control measures has fueled the perception that Islam is” superstitious” or “backward” in the eyes of the public.

This stereotyping has been felt by Indian Muslim communities across the country, particularly in northern India, according to research. Muslims claimed to be disproportionately targeted by population control initiatives.

These worries among the Muslim community grew more severe as a result of the state’s aggressive forced sterilization policy under Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in the 1970s.

Using religion for politics

Modi’s party, the BJP, was formed in 1980 but failed to win significant elections until the 1990s.

In the 1980s and 1990s, their main organizing pushed for the destruction of a mosque built by Mughal emperor Babur in Ayodhya, which is renowned as the site of Rama’s birthplace.

In 1992, Indian Hindu fundamentalists attacked the wall of the 16th-century Babri Masjid Mosque with iron rods at a contentious holy site in the city of Ayodhya. Photo: Asia Times files / AFP / Douglas E. Curran

The BJP promoted fears of a Muslim demographic dominance in India by promoting demands for” taking back” the land on which the Babri Masjid was built with worries of a Muslim majority.

But such fears are unfounded. Despite the Muslim minority growing from 11 % in the mid- 1980s to 14 % today, its representation in Parliament has actually declined, from 9 % in the mid- 1980s to 5 % today.

Since the BJP took control of India in 2014, party leaders have relied on historical reassurances about projected increases in the number of Muslims to help them win successive state and national elections and pass laws like the Citizenship Amendment Act, which discriminates against Muslims.

BJP leaders have accused Muslim men of forcibly converting Hindu women to Islam through “love jihad,” a fabricated claim that Muslim men deceive Hindu women to increase their demographic appeal.

The most recent iteration of a long history of Hindu demographic fears has proved to be a lasting one thanks to Modi’s most recent statement making reference to” those who have too many children.”

Clemson University’s assistant professor of history is Archana Venkatesh.

This article was republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Continue Reading

China’s gray zone social media war comes to America - Asia Times

China uses a variety of “gray zone” strategies to combat a number of adversaries while being fairly intense and no egregiously aggressive. One such technique is used within the United States: cultural media-based hidden influence operations.

Recently, Foreign government-related action has grown more alarming. &nbsp, Previously the principal danger was People’s Republic of China ( PRC ) propaganda lulling the US into uncritical acceptance of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP ) foreign policy agenda. &nbsp, Nowadays, the Chinese government is adding its mass to the troops tearing at America’s national material from the inside.

Prior to recently, the primary goals of PRC-sponsored social media messages directed at Americans were to foster a positive perception of China and its current state and to advance Beijing’s point of view on issues involving Taiwan’s social relationship with China, the treatment of Tibetans and Uighurs, and the restrictions of civil liberties in Hong Kong. &nbsp,

The language used in social media posts was comparable to what US-based Chinese officials were saying when they gave speeches and TV discussions or wrote articles for magazines.

This contrasted with the communication promoted by the Russian government, which usually denigrated the US government and exacerbated deeply entrenched private social and political issues in the US, suggesting that the Russian government’s intention was to foster social unrest in America.

This appeared to be in line with the individual Russian and Chinese relations with the US. &nbsp, Vladimir Putin wanted to hurt the United States. &nbsp, He held strong animosity over

  • the loss of Russia’s great power status in the 1990s,
  • degrading US treatment of Russia as a result of the growth of NATO and disrespect for Russian tastes as America engaged in wars in Iraq, Libya, and Syria,
  • the release in 2016 of the thus- called Panama Papers, which Putin&nbsp, said&nbsp, was an effort by the US government to offend him, and
  • punishment from the US against Russia for its 2014 annexation of Crimea. &nbsp,

Putin is likely to welcome an economic decline and lawlessness in America.

On the other hand, China needed American to keep purchasing Chinese products, sending Chinese students to school, and bringing cutting-edge systems there. Thus, the purpose of Chinese strategic communication was to end any threats to American business continuity.

The United States has continued to try to develop good sentiments toward China. &nbsp, During the 2022 election battle in the United States, PRC- linked entities&nbsp, promulgated messaging&nbsp, friendly of China- pleasant prospects in a few political races. To support the Chinese propaganda about Xinjiang and another contentious political issues, TikTok has produced, promoted, and distributed brief videos to millions of its users.

However, there is now a much lighter component to PRC communication.

The US director of national intelligence&nbsp, notes&nbsp, “growing]PRC] efforts to actively exploit perceived US societal divisions”, through which” the PRC aims to sow doubts about US leadership]and ] undermine democracy”.

According to&nbsp, Clint Watts, general manager of Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center,” More recently, ]PRC government ] efforts have shifted to exploiting existing partisan divides in the US”, including” the Chinese actually going into US audience spaces, masquerading as Americans and posting inflammatory content around current events or social issues or political issues”.

A&nbsp, report&nbsp, by Microsoft published in April 2024 found attempts by the PRC to” stretched conspiratorial narratives on various social media platforms” .&nbsp, Accounts that appear to be CCP- affiliated “post about contentious US regional issues such as global warming, US border policies, substance use, immigration and cultural tensions”.

As an example, these messages said the dangerous August 2023 fires in Maui, Hawaii resulted from the US defense testing a “weather weapon” .&nbsp, Foreign- linked accounts also published speculation that the US government&nbsp, caused&nbsp, the disaster of a coach in Kentucky in November 2023 and was “hiding things” in the aftermath.

Microsoft concluded that the apparent objective of such posts is “encouraging mistrust of and disillusionment with the US government” .&nbsp, In another&nbsp, report&nbsp, also published in April 2024, Microsoft’s Threat Analysis Center assessed that Chinese government- sponsored social media activity “aims to destabilize” the US and other democracies.

There are two key factors contributing to the change in the content of PRC-promoted messaging in the social media platforms used by Americans.

The first was the coronavirus pandemic. &nbsp, Just before the virus began to severely impact the United States in early 2020, US President Donald Trump was &nbsp, praising&nbsp, the Chinese government for its counter- pandemic response and&nbsp, touting&nbsp, a bilateral agreement that was supposed to end the” trade war” and restore normalcy to US- China trade relations. &nbsp,

As US fatalities mounted, however, Trump&nbsp, blamed&nbsp, China for unleashing a “plague” on the US. &nbsp, The PRC government responded by ratcheting up its criticism of the US government. &nbsp,

Chinese officials and government- controlled media not only decried the botched management of the pandemic in the US but extended the critique to add the argument that America’s political system is&nbsp, broken&nbsp, and that the US&nbsp, does not&nbsp, deserve&nbsp, a role in global leadership. In PRC strategic communication, greater emphasis on these themes grew to be a new standard.

Russia’s expanded invasion of Ukraine, which started in February 2022, gave it a second boost. &nbsp, The war pulled China into stronger diplomatic support for its” no limits” quasi- ally. This has resulted in a closer harmonisation between the propaganda messages from Russia and China. &nbsp, The Chinese government, for example, &nbsp, repeats&nbsp, the Russian position that NATO is responsible for causing the war.

Russia and China are working to delegitimize US influence and the liberal political outlook that threatens both Xi Jinping and Putin as the conflict in Ukraine has intensified the sense among the democracies of an increasingly dangerous authoritarian bloc.

Researchers have &nbsp, found&nbsp, large numbers of China- linked social media accounts spreading pro- Trump and anti- Biden messaging, suggesting that China prefers Trump over Biden as the next US president.

Which of the two major party presidential candidates for the Russian government is unquestionably the best option for the Russian government. Trump has frequently criticized US aid for Ukraine as well as the NATO alliance and has consistently held a friendly and respectful stance toward Putin.

For Beijing, however, the question is more complicated.

Biden’s significant, foreseeable negative effects on the PRC. He would continue to thwart Chinese requests for more open access to US markets and technology. The Biden administration continued to impose tariffs on Chinese imports from the Trump era and stifled China’s access to cutting-edge technologies. &nbsp, Biden’s team has also repaired and strengthened US alliances in the Asia- Pacific region, obstructing PRC domination.

Trump, however, poses a risk to China. Trump is respectful and respectful toward Xi and has occasionally uncritically absorbed CCP views like” Korea actually used to be a part of China.”

Trump, on the other hand, appointed advisors to the White House during his first term that significantly weakened US policy toward China. Trump himself has at times harshly criticized China, as during the pandemic. &nbsp, He recently&nbsp, said&nbsp, he might increase tariffs on Chinese imports into the US to over 60 %. &nbsp, At his worst, Trump might be worse for China than Biden.

Has Beijing’s top leadership now decided that if America descended into chaos, its interests were best served by pursuing a compromise? Given that CCP officials continue to say that their goal is to give China the best chance to extract wealth and know-how and not Washington stop worrying about national security.

They also want Americans to feel less confident in supporting the world’s liberal democratic system of government. &nbsp, Chinese leaders want to fortify their country against demands for political liberalization.

This is part of the reason why the PRC government keeps&nbsp, harping&nbsp, on the importance of the” Bali consensus” in US- China relations. According to Beijing, this” consensus” is a list of five policy renunciations that Biden agreed to during his meeting with Xi in Bali in 2022, one of them his assurance that” the United States does not seek to change China’s system” .&nbsp, ( There is no parallel list of policies that China renounces in the Chinese summary of the meeting, and the US&nbsp, official readout&nbsp, does not include a list of five US renunciations. )

It is ironic and expected that the Chinese government is a part of such a campaign.

It is ironic because Beijing so&nbsp, often&nbsp, and so&nbsp, strenuously&nbsp, insists&nbsp, that” China never interferes in the affairs of other countries” .&nbsp, PRC officials specifically deny that China ever has or ever will attempt to influence the US electoral process, &nbsp, saying&nbsp, the accusation indicates American “paranoia” and a penchant for” slinging mud at China to divert attention” from US governance failures.

A covert attempt by the Chinese government to subvert an adversary’s government is not surprising, because the Chinese government is already preoccupied with the threat of subversion. &nbsp, The 2013 internal PRC government memo&nbsp, Document No 9&nbsp, summarizes the Xi regime’s fear of” Western anti- China forces” overthrowing China’s political system by smuggling in liberal ideas and values.

The document argues that CCP authorities must “ensure that the media leadership is always firmly controlled by someone who maintains an ideology similar to the Party’s Central Committee” and that they must “allow absolutely no opportunities or outlets for incorrect thinking or viewpoints to spread.”

PRC leaders and the government-controlled media frequently mention the threat posed by” color revolutions” and place “hostile foreign forces” or “black hands” in China’s internal conflicts, which are in fact caused by dissatisfaction with Chinese colonization or CCP oppression.

Beijing will not fail to use the same tactic against its own adversaries if the Chinese government believes subversion from the outside is potentially effective.

Poor judgment and cynicism are attested by the numerous PRC officials’, including Xi, broken promises to behave ethically in international affairs. &nbsp, To dissuade Beijing from continuing to meddle in American politics, a US response is justified.

As with other Chinese gray zone operations, however, hitting back is problematic. The PRC does not hold real elections or hold open debate on domestic political issues, and China forbids the social media platforms the PRC uses to reach American audiences. &nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp, &nbsp,

A possible proportionate US response would be to attack the ruling regime’s fear of losing legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese population. &nbsp,

Xi’s government has already suffered a decrease in prestige because of widespread public&nbsp, pessimism&nbsp, about the government’s ability to successfully manage China’s economy, plus fresh bad memories of the government’s counter- Covid policy, which included draconian lockdowns followed by acquiescence to a mass die- off.

In 2012, a&nbsp, New York Times&nbsp, article&nbsp, documented the immense wealth built up by family members of PRC Premier Wen Jiabao. &nbsp, The expose clearly jabbed a raw nerve in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese government&nbsp, scrambled&nbsp, to censor the story and discussion of it, officially called it false and later expelled a&nbsp, New York Times&nbsp, reporter as retaliation.

Top-ranking Chinese leaders of the present are similarly susceptible to damaging revelations about their personal hypocrisy ( such as sending their children to American colleges ) from a trustworthy foreign source.

In normal times, the US could disregard Chinese social media influence operations as insignificant. Unfortunately, this Chinese push comes at a time when US domestic politics are polarized, conspiracy theories are prevalent, and procedures and institutions that are crucial to the proper operation of US democracy are in decline.

PRC interference reinforces harmful trends that are already occurring. This vile influencing behavior could lead to outcomes that Beijing may regret as well as be bad for America under such circumstances.

Denny Roy is a senior fellow at the East- West Center, Honolulu.

Continue Reading

PM courts investors in Italy

Srettha on 5- morning excursion with list of priorities

PM courts investors in Italy
Srettha Thavisin, the prime minister, meets with professionals from the Italian style home in Valdilana, Italy, on Friday. ( Photo: Thai Government )

Thailand and Italy will push for further assistance in the fields of clean energy, sports hospitality, medical science, pharmaceuticals, and military, according to assistant state representative Radklao Intawong Suwankiri.

Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin and his Roman equivalent Giorgia Meloni likely discuss them as part of their ongoing dialogue to strengthen bilateral relations as the prime minister is currently on a five-day attend to Italy as of Friday.

According to Ms. Radklao, this year marks the 156th celebration of the two countries ‘ diplomatic relations.

The prime minister will even ask European companies to invest in Thailand’s fashion industry, soft power, agrarian technology, food industry, and sustainability- linked bonds, as well as the government’s Land Bridge project.

Both sides may share their knowledge in GI ( geographical indication )- listed products, the development of SMEs, the space industry and food conservation.

Mr. Srettha will also advocate for important issues like the completion of the Thailand-EU FTA negotiations by 2025, and the future job of Thai employees who have come back from Israel.

Mr Srettha even met monday with Carlo Capasa, president of the National Chamber of Italian Fashion, Attilio Fontana, the government of Italy’s Lombardy place, and Raffaele Cattaneo, the state’s secretary for international and European relationships.

Mr. Srettha met with professionals from Versace, as well as representatives from Zegna and Loro Piana, at the Milan-based style home.

Ms. Radklao claimed that the prime minister also brought textiles from the Sakhon Nakhon fashion houses to show them as part of efforts to spread native Thai wisdom in conventional indigo dyeing.

The spokesperson stated that the project is the product of Her Royal Highness Princess Sirivannavari Nariratana Rajakanya.

Mr. Srettha led a group of Thai enterprise managers to the French Business Forum in France on Thursday before his trip to Italy.

Following on the findings of their previous meeting, he met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss trade and investment, the defense sector, soft power, and strengthening the France-Thailand strategic partnership in accordance with the Roadmap for Thai-French Relations ( 2022-2024 ).

At the conference, Mr. Srettha delivered a conversation. Ms. Radklao encapsulated the main factors.

The primary secretary stated that after taking office, he made his first official trip to France. His next visit to the two nations in three months demonstrated how close the two countries are together.

Next month, he invited the CEO of Comité Colbert to Thailand to encounter first- hand Indian culture and design.

Thailand hopes to learn from and work with a leader like France to advance its creative economy sectors, according to the PM.

He added that prominent Thai businesses were traveling with him and that it was the president’s priority to set the stage for meetings, connections, and collaboration between private sector parties.

Thailand is France’s third- largest trading partner in Asean. Mr Srettha said that under his administration, the country can and should become France’s largest partner in the region, Ms Radklao said.

There are around 30, 000 Thais living in France while some 40, 000 French nationals reside in Thailand, the second- highest number of French expats in Asia.

Last year, about 270, 000 tourists from France visited Thailand while France welcomed almost 200, 000 Thais.

Recently, the government launched its” Ignite Thailand” vision to establish the country as a global hub in eight sectors, including tourism, wellness &amp, medical, aviation and logistics.

Continue Reading

China unveils property stimuli amid falling sales - Asia Times

After falling in house sales and purchase in the first four months of this year, China released an extraordinary bundle of measures to encourage homebuyers to enter markets on Friday. &nbsp,

The People’s Bank of China ( PBoC ) said it will establish a nationwide program to unleash 300 billion yuan ( US$ 41.5 billion ) in cheap funding to help state- owned- enterprises ( SOEs ) buy unsold homes.

The minimum down payment ratios for first-time purchases were reduced from 20 % to 15 %, and second-time purchases were reduced from 30 % to 25 %, according to the PBoC and the NFRRA. &nbsp, &nbsp,

Additionally, it stated that first and second home loan rates will be abolished nationwide at the lowest rate possible. &nbsp,

According to the central bank, central bank branches is then set lower mortgage rates in accordance with local circumstances. Financial corporations should set the minimum borrowing costs based on their business climate and customer threats, it remarked.

From May 18, the PBoC may also reduce the mortgage rates of the individual accommodation retirement account, a long-term cover savings plan made up of required regular deposits by both employers and employees, by 0.25 percentage points.

Stocks of the Hong Kong-listed Chinese engineers increased on Friday after many of them more than doubled in value during the week that ended Thursday. &nbsp,

Shares of China Vanke Co increased 19.4 % to close at HK$ 6.84 (88 US cents ) on Friday while shares of Sunac China rose 25.9 % to HK$ 1.85. &nbsp,

Agile Group gained 24.3 % to 92 HK cents while Guangzhou R&amp, F Properties surged 12.7 % to HK$ 1.33. &nbsp,

Poor house figures

Meanwhile, the National Bureau of Statistics ( NBS ) released new economic data for January- April 2024 on Friday.

In the first four weeks, China’s estate investment fell 9.8 % year- on- yr to 3.09 trillion yuan. For the 23rd subsequent month, the number has been declining.

In January-April, investment in residential real estate decreased by 10 % to 2.34 trillion yuan from last year.

New home sales fell 28.3 % to 2.81 trillion rmb for the same time. New home sales slumped 31.1 %. &nbsp,

New home sales size decreased 20.2 % to 293 million square feet. New home sales level decreased by 23.8 % year over year.

In April, the average home price in 70 largest Chinese cities fell 3.1 % from a year ago, according to the NBS. It’s the biggest year-on-year drop since November 2014, in terms of terms of year on year.

” March and April are a classic great time, but both new house sales and sales volume have decreased year-on-year over the course of that time, demonstrating how severe the Chinese home markets are right now,” said Wang Xiaoqiang, chief scientist with the Zhuge Real Estate Data Research Center. &nbsp,

Wang claimed that new home sales volume in the first four months of this year decreased by 26.4 % from the same time last year, when most Chinese cities still adhered to Covid laws.

Zhang Hongwei, founder of Jingjian Consulting, said property activities may improve if some urban commercial banks start offering mortgage borrowers10- 20 % discounts in the coming few months. &nbsp,

SOE home purchases&nbsp,

He Lifeng, the vice president of China, stated at a teleconference on Friday that the government will make more efforts to address the risks associated with unfinished commercial housing projects, ensure the delivery of housing projects, and encourage the reduction of property inventory in the markets.

He claimed that local governments are permitted to purchase unsold homes at fair prices and turn them into affordable or rental housing units.

In the upcoming year, 21 national banks, including China Development Bank, policy banks, state-owned commercial banks, Postal Savings Bank of China, and joint-stock commercial banks, will be given loans worth 300 billion yuan at an interest rate of 1.75 %, according to PBoC Deputy Governor Tao Ling. The period of time can be extended four times. &nbsp,

She stated that the central bank will provide loans to national banks to cover 60 % of the scheme’s lending, allowing them to lend SOEs an additional 200 billion yuan, increasing the total to 500 billion yuan.

She suggested that national banks should grant loans to SOEs designated by local governments in accordance with market rules, while local governments should make their own decisions about whether to join the scheme.

” The SOEs for home purchases will be designated by local governments”, Tao said. ” They must not be local government financing vehicles ( LGFVs ) or companies related to local governments ‘ shadow financing” .&nbsp,

China’s total local government debt, including LGFV loans and shadow credit, was about 90- 110 trillion yuan, or 75- 91 % of the country’s GDP in 2022, according to a research report published last November by the 21st Century China Center of the School of Global Policy and Strategy at the University of California San Diego. &nbsp,

Read: China to reboot markets with SOE home purchases

Follow Jeff Pao on X: &nbsp, @jeffpao3

Continue Reading

Johor police station attack: Suspect’s neighbours say no inkling of his family's suspected JI links

Prof. Ramakrishna claimed that Indonesian security forces had long ago eradicated the more violent groups that had developed in the sailing school.

However, he said,” It seems feasible that a younger generation of violent parts from this area could be gradually reviving.” He noted that police were already monitoring them as a result of the inquiries of more than 20 well-known JI people in Johor.

However, security consultant Chasseur Group, founder of security firm Chasseur Group, Munira Mustaffa, cautioned against interpreting a single event as a representation of JI activities in the area.

” Now, JI’s primary atom in Indonesia remains weakened due to a lack of leadership and is generally decentralised”, she told CNA.

” This event is very possible to have been an isolated event. Until we understand his problems, desires for launching the assault, and priorities, we may say with certainty that there is a larger plot”.

Ms. Munira stressed that the criminal’s papa has so far been the only one who has forged a link to JI.

” The authorities are arresting persons with suspected references. It remains to be seen whether they actually are people, she continued.

” Until we know with certainty that this is the case, I am optimistic about any claims of an effective JI body in Johor.”

In the same vein, RSIS’s Prof. Ramakrishna emphasized that further investigations are required to determine how much a potential resurgence of aggressive militancy has spread among the “affiliated with the ancient Luqmanul Hakiem pesantren.”


According to Prof. Ramakrishna, the manner in which the incident took place appeared to be “very rudimentary,” involving what appeared to be a hapless artist who wanted to steal a gun from the authorities.

According to Assistant Professor Ahmad El-Muhammady, an associate fellow at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism ( ICCT), the suspect may have been inspired by previous terrorist attacks that have occurred in Indonesia.

For example, in December 2022, a gentleman blew himself up at a police station in Bandung, killing an officer and wounding 10 people. The attacker was associated with Jamaah Ansharut Daulah ( JAD), a member of the Islamic State terror group.

Asst. Prof. Ahmad said that the suspect may be brought on by external factors like the Gaza conflict and the perception of injustice in relation to Israeli issues.

” A former member of JI used to tell me: You can kill the organisation, but you ca n’t kill the ideology. Some individuals still maintain the ideology’s consistency, and it may be spreading it covertly, he said.

Continue Reading