Monday, September 30, 2019

MAJOR: Chinese Navy Surrounds U.S. Aircraft Carrier

MAJOR: Chinese Navy Surrounds U.S. Aircraft Carrier

BEIJING – Chinese media published satellite images showing how US aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan was surrounded by five Chinese warships in the South China Sea.
The image was taken on the 23rd. From here you can see the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier very close to five other ships of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy.
Commenting on this, China Defense Ministry press secretary Ren Guoquiang said Washington had sent the aircraft carrier to the South China Sea as a sign of strength. Guoquiang assured the commitment of the Chinese military to defend Beijing’s interests.Image result for Ren Guoqiang
“The Chinese military will meet its obligations and tasks and firmly defend the sovereignty and security of the country”, published the speech of military Sohu portal.
Region disputed
The South China Sea has been the focus of tensions in the Far East. Washington advocates free navigation in the region, while Beijing is increasing its presence in this sea.
In addition to the disagreement between Washington and Beijing, Vietnam and Taiwan also express interest in several islands in the region, especially the Paracel Islands.
Meanwhile, China has put into service a new ocean research vessel that could mean a “new age” in maritime exploration.
The vessel, called Da Yang Hao, can reach a speed of up to 30 km / h and has a range of approximately 22,500 kilometers.
Image result for The vessel Da Yang Hao,
Da Yang Hao is 98.5 meters long, 17 meters wide and has a displacement of almost 4,600 tons.
The ship is capable of offshore resource exploration in any ocean in the world, according to the South China Morning Post.
The delivery of the ship marks a new era in China’s ability to explore and research maritime resources, claims the newspaper, which also points out that the vessel will help maintain the country’s interests in the international naval area.
Collin Koh, a researcher at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore, said that if the vessel was sent to the South China Sea, it would strengthen Beijing’s naval presence in the region and boost the country’s strategic capacity.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Court documents reveal just how complex and unusual a Meng Wanzhou trial could be [HSBC: Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation/Standard Charter Bank ]

Court documents reveal just how complex and unusual a Meng Wanzhou trial could be

Legal expert for the defence claims attempt to prosecute Huawei CFO is unprecedented in several ways

Image result for Meng Wanzhou trialHuawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou  on her way to court in Vancouver. Her lawyers are seeking records related to her arrest in December 2018. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)
As Meng Wanzhou strolls the corridors of Vancouver's downtown B.C. Supreme Court building flanked by advisers and security guards, she moves more like royalty than a woman facing the possibility of prison in the United States.
The chief financial officer of Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei will be in court for a second week on Monday, watching her lawyers as they attempt to access records of what they claim was a "covert criminal investigation" by Canadian authorities on behalf of the FBI.
Lawyers for Canada's attorney general will take their turn in front of Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes, arguing that Meng's treatment by border officers and RCMP on the day of her arrest was nothing out of the routine.
If they're right, it would be one of the few times that could be accurately said of any part of the Meng Wanzhou saga.

'Well beyond any set of criminal charges'

Documents filed with the court in relation to this week's application — which is not Meng's actual extradition hearing — include the U.S. government's outline of its case and an expert opinion for the defence, both of which highlight just how extraordinary a trial would be if Meng is ultimately sent to New York to be tried for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
Meng listens as her lawyers outline their arguments in a bid for access to documents in B.C. Supreme Court. 
Meng is accused of deceiving banks about transactions that would have placed them on the wrong side of American sanctions.
Joseph Bellinger, a former legal adviser and senior associate counsel to the George W. Bush White House, wrote a 16-page analysis of the case for Meng's legal team.
"I am unaware that the U.S. has sought to prosecute any other person for the conduct for which Ms. Meng has been indicted," wrote Bellinger, who now heads his own international law firm.
"These charges against Ms. Meng go well beyond any set of criminal charges related to violations of U.S. sanctions in Iran of which I am aware." 

Huawei and Skycom

Meng was arrested at the Vancouver airport on Dec. 1, 2018, after arriving on a flight from Hong Kong.
She was expecting to travel to Mexico City later that day, with a final destination of Buenos Aires.
The 47-year-old is accused of lying to an HSBC executive at a 2013 meeting meant to reassure the bank its business with Huawei was not putting HSBC at risk of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.
An executive from HSBC claims he met with Meng in 2013 after raising concerns about Huawei's relationship with a company that was allegedly violating U.S. sanctions against Iran. 
According to court documents, HSBC was one of at least four multinational financial institutions caught with a series of Reuters stories detailing Huawei's relationship with Skycom, a company that attempted to sell U.S. computer equipment to an Iranian company.
Huawei described Skycom as a "local partner" in Tehran. But the Reuters articles noted that Skycom was actually a Huawei subsidiary.
Meng, who sat on the board of Skycom in 2008 and 2009, told the HSBC executive that Huawei was in complete compliance with U.S. regulations.

'Intimidating and corrosive'

Bellinger's report details the history of American attempts to police global business with Iran.
In Meng's case, none of the transactions allegedly occurred in the U.S. — but prosecutors claim they have jurisdiction because money allegedly passed through the U.S. banking system.
Hobbled, Meng's ankle monitoring bracelet can be seen between the hem of her dress and her shoes. 
Bellinger writes that he is "not aware of any previous criminal charges levied against a non-U.S. person" for the type of activity as Meng's.
Specifically, he says he's "not aware of a case where a non-U.S. person has been criminally charged solely for having 'caused' another" non-U.S. entity — in this case, a bank — to violate sanctions.
What's more, Bellinger writes, when charges have been laid, they have normally been levied against institutions, not individuals — let alone someone like Meng, daughter of Huawei founder Ren Zhengfei.
In a record of the case filed with the court, prosecutors map out the types of witnesses a judge or jury might hear from if Meng were to be put on trial in the U.S.
They include former Skycom employees, now living in the U.S., who claim "Huawei and Skycom were indistinguishable entities."
The allegations against Meng centre on a meeting she had with a bank executive in Hong Kong in 2013. Meng's lawyers say she didn't lie to anybody about Huawei's operations. 
The documents also say confidential witnesses will testify that all employees at Skycom's Tehran office allegedly had Huawei access badges and communicated using Huawei email addresses.
The HSBC executive who allegedly met with Meng at a Hong Kong restaurant in August 2013 will also testify that Meng spoke through an English interpreter as she gave a PowerPoint presentation on Huawei and Skycom.
Witnesses from other banks are expected to come from outside the U.S. to testify that they relied on Meng's statements as they weighed the risks of continuing to clear millions in transactions for Huawei.
Meng's Vancouver lawyers claim she didn't lie to anybody.
They also say the banks in question have "extensive documentation that accurately described" the relationship between Huawei and Skycom.

A complex case

But the record of the case also hints at how complex a trial might be.
Two of the financial institutions named in the document — HSBC and Standard Charter Bank — entered into deferred prosecution agreements with U.S. prosecutors in 2012 for their own violations of U.S. sanctions against other countries, including Iran.
As part of those agreements, they would have been placing themselves in legal jeopardy had they had any new sanctions violations.
The deals also required them to work with U.S. prosecutors and provide witnesses for "related inquiries."
Meng's extradition hearing, which is likely to last only a few days, is set to begin in January 2020.
Later in the year, her lawyers will argue to have the extradition case tossed for alleged abuse of process related to the documents they are seeking in this week's hearing.
But any final determination is likely still many court levels of appeal away, provided a solution isn't found in the political arena.
A conclusion could take years.
And if it's like any other element of Meng Wanzhou's story, it will undoubtedly be anything but routine.

Chinese Student Association Banned at Same Canadian University That Closed Its Confucius Institute

Chinese Student Association Banned at Same Canadian University That Closed Its Confucius Institute

September 27, 2019 
The student union at McMaster University, which shut down China’s Confucius Institute years ago, has banned a club with close links to Beijing.
The student union’s governing body made the decision this week to strip the student club status of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), citing a rule against conduct that would “endanger the safety or security of any person or property,” the Globe and Mail reported.
“All students wishing to form a club agree to a specific set of rules regarding their conduct as a club. It was the determination of the SRA (Student Representative Assembly) that CSSA had violated those rules,” said McMaster University Student Union president Joshua Marando, according to CBC.
As reported previously by The Epoch Times, the McMaster CSSA issued a letter in February condemning an event on campus organized in support of China’s Uighur minority, who are being persecuted by the Chinese communist regime.
Online chats on the Chinese social media platform WeChat seen by The Epoch Times at the time showed students saying they had been asked by the Chinese consulate to report their observations about the event to the consulate, and to notify the CSSA to launch a complaint about the event to the university administration.
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The “about us” sections of many CSSAs—which are on numerous university campuses around the world including in Canada, the United States,  Europe, and Australia—say the clubs were founded or supported by the Chinese consulates or embassies. The groups often organize campaigns and events in line with Beijing’s policies, including protests against human rights events related to China on campus and objecting to visits by figures from communities persecuted by the regime, such as Tibet’s spiritual leader Dalai Lama.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has said that CSSAs “alert Chinese consulates and embassies when Chinese students, and American schools, stray from the Communist Party line.”
In 2013, another organization used by Beijing to spread its soft power and propaganda, the Confucius Institute (CI), was closed at McMaster by the university administration because of its discriminatory hiring practices.
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Image result for Confucius Institute CanadaImage result for Confucius Institute Canada
Image result for Confucius Institute Canada
As reported by The Epoch Times, a stipulation on the hiring contract of CI teachers requires that they do not practice Falun Dafa, a spiritual meditation practice also known as Falun Gong that is persecuted by the Chinese regime.
Sonia Zhao, a Falun Dafa adherent from China who came to work at the McMaster CI, had to sign the contract as she was concerned if she didn’t sign, it would be revealed that she is an adherent and would face persecution—a fate her mother suffered because of her belief in the practice.
Ms. Zhao Liping shares her family’s experience of being persecuted by the CCP at the Flushing Forum. (By Ming Guo/The Epoch Times)
Sonia Zhao gives a speech about the persecution of Falun Dafa in China at a rally in Toronto on August 13, 2011. 
A McMaster spokesperson at the time said they closed the CI because “hiring decisions in China were not being done the way we would want to do the hiring.”
Canadian Security Intelligence Service head Richard Fadden said during a 2010 speech while still serving with the agency that CIs are controlled by Chinese embassies and consulates, and linked them with Beijing to influence and subvert Canadian policy.

China’s Subversion of the United Nations

China’s Subversion of the United Nations

Contrary to allegations of growing influence under Trump, China has been working at it for decades

September 25, 2019 
News Analysis
Image result for Trump at UNImage result for Trump at UN with Chinese
Beijing’s hugely expanding influence within the United Nations and other organs of “global governance” began long before President Donald Trump took office.
In fact, experts and officials tell The Epoch Times that Trump is the first president in decades to seriously attempt to rein in Beijing’s scheming on the world stage.
At this point, though, it’s like trying to stop a freight train.
In his speech at the U.N. General Assembly this week, Trump took direct aim at China, warning that the administration was closely monitoring the situation in Hong Kong. The president also called for an end to religious persecution—a problem that is rampant in China as Christians, Muslims, Falun Gong practitioners, and others are targeted by the one-party state.
Trump also made clear that, regardless of the ambitions of the U.N. and many of its increasingly influential member states, the future doesn’t belong to globalists seeking more U.N. control over humanity, but to patriots and independent nations. While China has long advocated a stronger U.N. with more powers and money, Trump is putting the brakes on that agenda.
Nevertheless, there is a strong effort to paint Trump as the chief culprit in the ascendance of China within international organizations. With Communist China accumulating more and more power over the United Nations—already almost one-third of U.N. specialized agencies are led by Chinese agents loyal to Beijing—there is a growing push to blame the Trump administration. Multiple journalists and analysts have advanced the view that Trump’s reluctance to be more active in global institutions is responsible for the trend.
Perhaps nowhere is the developing narrative blaming Trump more clearly spelled out than in Foreign Affairs, the enormously influential magazine of the globalist powerhouse known as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Headlined, “Coming Soon to the United Nations: Chinese Leadership and Authoritarian Values—As Washington Steps Back, Beijing Will Take Charge,” a leading article in Foreign Affairs’ latest issue argues that Trump’s retreat from various U.N. agencies and agreements has left a void for Beijing to fill.
During the Obama administration, the U.N. General Assembly “was a centerpiece of U.S. global leadership,” with Obama advancing global initiatives on everything from climate change to migration.
But today, thanks to Trump’s anti-globalist views, that’s no longer the case—or so the emerging narrative goes.
“The United States has let go of the wheel, and Beijing stands poised to take hold of it,” wrote Kristine Lee, a fellow with the Center for a New American Security, in the CFR’s flagship journal. That is because the Trump administration has responded to China’s “rising profile in only a piecemeal fashion,” she said. The supposed solution: Trump must quit scaling back U.S. involvement in the U.N.
It wasn’t the first time that writers in Foreign Affairs made the argument, but it was perhaps the most clearly articulated. In addition to Foreign Affairs, the journal Foreign Policy has been peddling a similar narrative regarding Trump, China, and the U.N. in various articles and analyses. In some circles, the hypothesis is almost accepted as true at this point.
Ironically, though, the reality is almost exactly the opposite, experts say. Indeed, Beijing’s growing clout on the international stage actually has its genesis in U.S. foreign-policy decisions going back many generations, most of which were made by members or allies of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Among the key events that led to the present situation: The U.S. decision to betray Chiang Kai-shek; President Richard Nixon and then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger’s infamous decision to “open up” China in the early 1970s; the replacing of Taiwan with the People’s Republic of China on the U.N. Security Council; President Bill Clinton’s transfer of sensitive U.S. military technology and welcoming Beijing into the World Trade Organization; and other similar policies.
Under Trump, however, things began to change. A former senior Trump administration official involved in international affairs, who spoke with The Epoch Times on the condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, categorically rejected the notion that Trump was somehow to blame for what has been going on for decades.
Under the Obama administration, the growth of Communist Chinese influence surged like never before. For instance, Chinese-funded “trust funds” set up inside U.N. agencies proliferated almost unchecked, with these off-the-books slush funds serving to expand Beijing’s influence within international organizations. The administration knew, but did little to counter it.
The U.S.-China Joint Announcement on Climate Change in 2014, meanwhile, “sent a clear signal to China of Obama’s State Department implicit or tacit acceptance of China’s increased power and role in the U.N.,” the former senior official said, adding that the Obama administration poured billions into U.N. efforts in its final year, much of which was intended to be used to promote Chinese interests.
However, upon taking office, Trump promptly reversed those decisions, having previously argued that climate alarmism was a Total “hoax” especially benefiting Beijing.
“Clearly and objectively speaking, the Obama administration—especially the Obama State Department—is to blame for China’s rise in U.N.,” the former senior official continued, adding that many of the Obama-era officials remain entrenched at the State Department to this day.
One major problem, insiders tell The Epoch Times, is that appointments of the president’s senior officials were dragged out for nearly two years. When they finally arrived at their posts armed with a plan to rein in Chinese influence, the “entrenched bureaucracy resisted the Trump administration’s bold steps to counteract the Obama policy,” the former senior official said.
As part of that, Trump’s assistant secretary of international organizations and his senior adviser, among others, were the subject of relentless resistance and targeting.
It’s undeniably true that Communist China plays a leading role in the U.N. today. Its agents run four of 15 specialized U.N. agencies, including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA). By comparison, just one American holds a top post in a U.N. specialized agency.
Most of those leadership positions for Communist Chinese agents, though, were secured on Obama’s watch. Numerous other top spots for Chinese agents also occurred during the previous administration: Xue Hanqin’s selection to the International Court of Justice, Tao Zhang’s appointment as deputy chief of the International Monetary Fund in August of 2016, and Yi Xiaozhun’s 2013 appointment as deputy leader of the World Trade Organization, among so many others.
Image result for Xue HanqinImage result for Tao Zhang’s appointment as deputy chief of the International Monetary FundImage result for Yi Xiaozhun 2013 appointment as deputy leader of the World Trade Organization,
Just this year, reportedly using bribery and threats, Beijing managed to seize control of the powerful U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), despite Trump administration efforts to block that. Years earlier, though, Americans working within and around the U.N. agency warned about Chinese “trust funds” within FAO, as well as that Beijing would be running a candidate to take over the agency. A senior Obama State Department official intervened to keep it quiet, the former official said.
Unlike individuals from most nations, and contrary to U.N. employment policies, Chinese officials openly retain their loyalty to the Communist Party above all else, which is hardly a secret. When the regime arrested then-Interpol chief Meng Hongwei last year, it publicly accused him of failing to obey Communist Party orders, among other supposed crimes.
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In peacekeeping, the trend is obvious, too.
“China has used its dominant position in providing volunteers for United Nations peacekeeping missions to help advance its broader power agenda, especially in Africa,” Rick Fisher, a senior fellow at the International Assessment and Strategy Center focused on China, told The Epoch Times.
Beijing is now working to install Andy Tsang as head of the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, while plenty of other Chinese operatives also are being groomed for senior posts across the U.N. Beijing’s agents lead key U.N. conferences as well, with CCP propaganda organs boasting that Beijing played a “crucial role” in the U.N. Agenda 2030 sustainability plan for humanity.
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has a long-range plan that very much includes the U.N. In recent years, the regime even opened a “School of Global Governance” at the Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) to train armies of future diplomats and spies to work in international organizations. Last year, Chinese leader Xi Jinping said Beijing would take “an active part in leading the reform of the global governance system.”
In short, Beijing is working to empower the U.N., and to empower itself within the U.N., at the expense of freedom and free nations everywhere, experts say.
Trump, by contrast, has been actively working to counter that. Since he’s been in office, the U.S. government withdrew from the Chinese-influenced U.N. Human Rights Council, defunded the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), withdrew from UNESCO, reduced U.S. contributions to the U.N., implemented a strategy to actively deal with Chinese influence within international organizations, and much more. It has also objected to all references to U.N. “international law” in deference to U.S. sovereignty, ensuring that Chinese-influenced U.N. policies have less of an impact on Americans.
When reached by The Epoch Times, Lee, the writer at Foreign Affairs who implied that the current administration’s policies are to blame for China’s rise in the U.N., argued that it really isn’t about “blaming specific presidents.” Instead, she suggested that “it’s part of broader trendlines that can largely be attributed to Xi Jinping’s growing consolidation of power.”
“The CCP is moving quickly to expand its influence, and the United States is largely playing defense and is still in the early stages of formulating a response,” she told The Epoch Times in an email. “I agree that the Trump administration’s foreign policy establishment—certainly at the working level—is acutely attuned to the CCP’s influence efforts abroad. But the U.S. government’s work has only just begun.”
There are different visions for how to rein in Communist China. At the CFR, the view is that the U.S. government should further empower the U.N. and work to counter Chinese influence within it, by handing over more U.S. tax money.
The Trump administration, however, appears to view neutralizing the U.N.’s efforts to expand its power and influence as a more viable strategy, thereby minimizing the value of the U.N. to Beijing and other authoritarian regimes that are gaining more and more power in global institutions.
Former U.N. investigator-turned-whistleblower Peter Gallo, who has decades of experience in Asia, told The Epoch Times that the U.N. process for selecting and promoting officials is “rigged,” and that corruption—especially involving China—runs rampant. That means the U.N.’s senior leaders would do everything possible to avoid appointing a Trump pick anyway, since he or she may seek to increase accountability and cut the budget.
The U.N. also bends over backward to avoid embarrassing China, Gallo said.
“Possibly the best example of that involves how the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights was caught handing over names of Chinese human rights activists to the Chinese government, so the Chinese police and security agencies could go and intimidate their relatives in China, all to ensure that nobody spoke out against China being elected to the Human Rights Council,” he said, adding that the highest levels of the U.N.’s leadership intervened to block accountability.
“If Trump is guilty of anything, he is guilty of not publicizing that,” added Gallo, who worked as an investigator for the U.N. Office of Internal Oversight Services before becoming a whistleblower and helping to create the nonprofit organization Hear Their Cries. “How can Trump’s policies be responsible for China or any other sovereign nation taking advantage of an organization as venal and corrupt as the U.N.?”
Neither the U.S. State Department nor U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ spokesman responded to a request for comment by press time.