China Doubles Down on ‘Zero Covid,’ Orders Police to Hunt Down Protesters

China Doubles Down on ‘Zero Covid,’ Orders Police to Hunt Down Protesters

The Chinese Communist Party, through its state propaganda outlets, insisted that it would not relent on its brutal lockdown and quarantine policies known as “zero Covid” on Monday, apparently responding to, but not acknowledging, protests in major cities nationwide over the weekend.

Beijing has insisted on “zero Covid” for nearly three years, abruptly trapping people in their homes and often leaving them without food or basic medicine. The Chinese government announced its first deaths attributed to a Chinese coronavirus infection in six months last week – three people over the age of 87 – meaning that, by the regime’s own tally, more people have died as a result of lockdowns, forced internment in quarantine camps, and other “zero Covid” policies than by Chinese coronavirus infections.

Chinese citizens have staged protests, some of them violent, against the policies since at least March 2020, when a group of people in Hubei province – where Wuhan, the origin city of the virus, is located – brawled with police and overturned police cars in an attempt to leave their province. The NGO Freedom House observed in a report this month that protests have slowly increased in frequency until becoming a “daily” occurrence this year.

Simultaneous protests erupted over the weekend in some of the nation’s largest cities – Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou, among others – against the Communist Party’s lockdown and quarantine policies, apparently triggered by disgust at authorities failing to properly address a high-rise residential fire in Urumqi, occupied East Turkistan, last week. As the building was under a coronavirus lockdown, firemen could not reach it through barricades, resulting in at least ten and as many as 40 deaths, including children. The Communist Party denied any relationship between the deaths and “zero  Covid” policy.

China is currently committing genocide against the Uyghur indigenous population of East Turkistan.

The Chinese government’s Global Times propaganda outlet insisted on Monday that authorities had “optimized” their lockdown protocol to improve its efficiency, touting new policies such as allowing those who live in areas not documenting any coronavirus cases to avoid mandatory testing. The Global Times did not mention the protests, but listed the cities with the largest protests – Beijing, Guangzhou, Chongqing, and Zhengzhou – as those “optimizing” their policies. It nonetheless warned that any “optimizing” would not lead to an end to quarantining and lockdowns.

“The authorities have stressed that optimizing and adjusting the measures does not mean loosening prevention and control, nor is it a lifting of [Chinese coronavirus] restrictions or ‘lying flat’ in fighting the virus,” the Global Times asserted, adding that “the optimized policies were welcomed by many netizens,” but not offering any evidence to back up that claim.

The People’s Daily, the official newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party, boasted on Tuesday that the lockdown policies that prompted the protests were “scientific and effective” – a claim the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) has contested – and the regime would not abandon them.

The Japanese outlet Kyodo News also observed that China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Zhang Jun made public  remarks this week defending the lockdowns by claiming that the only alternative to them is death.

“You might say you prefer more liberty, more freedom, but then you have to be prepared to die,” Zhang reportedly told the Qatari outlet Al Jazeera.

Also weighing in publicly on Tuesday was Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, one of the few people in China legally allowed to use the American social media platform Twitter. Hua did not directly address the protests, instead insulting the United States to defend China’s lockdown policy.

“What we want is to protect our people’s lives and ensure them a better life,” Hua said, in a statement that most Chinese citizens could not legally read give the platform it was posted on.

The vocal defense of the Communist Party’s brutal policies erupted simultaneously with police operations to track down and silence known protesters, multiple reports have confirmed. Police are reportedly targeting university students in particular and officials are reportedly attempting to shut down universities to disperse concentrated groups of young people living on campus.

The news agency Reuters reported on Tuesday that it had compiled evidence of police persecuting individuals believed to have been present at protests, ordering them to appear at police stations or otherwise disappearing them into custody.

“In one case, a caller identifying as a police officer in the Chinese capital asked the protester to show up at a police station on Tuesday to deliver a written record of their activities on Sunday night,” Reuters narrated. “In another, a student was contacted by their college and asked if they had been in the area where events took place and to provide a written account.”

“There are just too many police. Police came to check the ID of one of my friends and then took her away. We don’t know why. A few hours later they released her,” one anonymous alleged protester in the nation’s capital told the outlet.

Multiple reports have accused police of seizing the phones of random passersby in Shanghai and checking them for images or videos of protests, deleting anything that may be used to share the reality of China with the world.

Communist Party authorities have also reportedly deployed large numbers of police officers to key plazas and other public spaces that could potentially be used to gather in an attempt to scare protesters away. The U.K. newspaper the Guardian called it a “show of force” intended to silence dissidents.

“Dozens of police cars lined the streets around a central Beijing subway station and patrolled surrounding blocks on Monday evening, while uniformed and plain-clothed officers stood guard at station exits and stopped passersby for questioning,” the Guardian observed. “In Shanghai, authorities barricaded a street where protesters had gathered for the past two nights.”

Some independent reports online have suggested that the Chinese military is planning on a potential intervention. Independent journalist Jennifer Zeng shared a video allegedly showing military vehicles, including tanks, organizing in Xuzhou. Breitbart News could not independently verify the video.

Police are also reportedly attempting to convince citizens that the protests were not a result of genuine disapproval of the lockdown policies, but “foreign interference,” claiming nefarious foreign agents were organizing destabilizing activities. Radio Free Asia (RFA) documented an incident in Beijing in which a man, presumably a Chinese regime agent, approached protesters and condemned them for being “foreign anti-China forces,” prompting general outrage.

RFA reported on Monday that authorities were emptying universities in an attempt to disperse potential protesters. Among those institutions reportedly urging students to leave is Tsinghua University, one of China’s most prestigious academic institutions and dictator Xi Jinping’s alma mater. Reports estimate that thousands of Tsinghua students joined the protests this weekend.

“Tsinghua University … is offering free bus services for students to all major Beijing railway stations and airports so they can return to their hometowns,” RFA reported, citing the Global Times. “Similar measures are underway at the University of International Business and Economics and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to ‘help students return home,’ the paper reported.”

RFA reported, citing several sources, that the Party is forcing university leadership into “emergency meetings” to respond to the protests, addressing them as a “foreign phenomenon” but not offering any evidence that any foreign powers are involved.

“When you say foreign forces, are you talking about Marx and Engels?” one protester reportedly quipped when asked to beware of foreign forces.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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A Stunning Supreme Court case has surfaced and it could change everything.

XANDREWX – November 23rd, 2022


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Why Are We Allowing Dangerous Chinese Tech Companies To Operate On American Soil?

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is synonymous with espionage. The country’s tech companies, we’re told, give the CCP a vital edge. Companies include the likes of Baidu and Alibaba. Why, then, are both operating on U.S. soil?

Alibaba is China’s answer to Amazon. The Chinese multinational technology company specializes in e-commerce, retail, internet, and technology, to name just a few areas. The problematic company has a business presence in dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Singapore, Italy, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States. The fact that Alibaba, very much an ally of the CCP, is operating in the U.S., China’s fiercest rival, is worrisome, to say the least.

It certainly worries Charles Dunst, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Dunst recently wrote an eye-opening article that revolved around a rather sobering shopping experience. Earlier this year, the researcher was shopping at a CVS near his apartment in Virginia. At the self-checkout counter, he scanned for payment options; besides cash and credit/debit cards, other options included Apple Pay, PayPal, and Alipay, Alibaba’s online payment platform. This made Dunst stop and think.

In truth, American retailers have been offering the Alipay option of payment for years, all in an effort to attract more Chinese tourists. The app has at least 4 million users in the United States. Initially, as Dunst noted, the Alipay payment option was confined to luxury shops, “to capture the spending of well-off Chinese tourists.” However, the platform quickly expanded into your average, everyday American stores, like Walgreens, 7/11, and the aforementioned CVS.

Interestingly, some of the biggest cities in the United States now allow riders to pay their taxi fares using the app. As Dunst highlights, although this expansion is heavily focused on serving the needs of Chinese visitors, “Alipay’s presence at the center of ordinary U.S. commerce will expand the platform’s brand awareness among U.S. shoppers, possibly even winning a few adoptees in the process.”

In her new book, aptly titled, “Trafficking Data: How China is Winning the Battle for Digital Sovereignty,” Aynne Kokas discusses just why the expansion of companies like Alibaba in the United States should be of genuine concern to the country’s leaders. Alibaba is first and foremost a tech company. And what do tech companies love? Data. Lots of it. Similarly, the CCP also loves data, especially Americans’ data. 

Kokas, an associate professor of media studies at the University of Virginia, demonstrates how the CCP capitalizes on this data flow for political gain. A company as powerful as Alibaba can contribute greatly to data trafficking, by moving inordinate amounts of data out of the United States and back to China. This creates an environment that “not only exploits consumers,” but completely “empowers the Chinese government,” Kokas notes.

Like Kokas, Dunst believes that the United States’ failure to effectively “regulate data gathering by tech firms operating in the United States at the federal level has allowed firms from around the world to gather huge amounts of data on Americans.” In the case of CCP-backed firms, he argues, we shouldn’t be surprised if even more data ends up in the hands of those in Beijing. 

To be clear, Alibaba is very much in the business of helping the CCP. Last year, the company established a corporate CCP committee. At the company’s head office in Beijing, 30 percent of employees are CCP members.

Then, there’s Baidu, China’s answer to Google. Headquartered in Beijing’s Haidian District, the Chinese multinational technology company specializes in internet-related services and artificial intelligence (AI). China has aspirations of stealing the global AI crown, currently worn by the United States. To do this though, the CCP may have to steal even more of the United States’ intellectual property.

In its quest for AI dominance, China is looking to companies like Baidu for assistance. The fact that Baidu has a huge R&D center in Silicon Valley is more than a little disconcerting. As its LinkedIn page describes, Baidu USA’s “team of elite, world-class researchers and engineers devote their time to tackling the most challenging, change-the-world projects in AI and related fields.”

In a recent testimony before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that China poses the greatest threat to our national security. The CCP, he said, “aspires to equal or surpass the U.S. as a global superpower and influence the world with a value system shaped by undemocratic, authoritarian ideals.”

Wray seemed particularly concerned about TikTok, an app that both Democrats and Republicans have been sounding the alarm on as a major security threat for years. Just this week, Senate Intelligence Committee chair Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, told Fox News Sunday, “All of that data that your child is inputting and receiving, is being stored somewhere in Beijing.” Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Mike Gallagher said they’re both introducing legislation this month to ban TikTok from use in the United States.

Wray told lawmakers that he is “extremely concerned” about TikTok’s operations in the United States, and he should be. Close to a quarter of the U.S. population now uses the app. ByteDance, the company behind TikTok, has five offices in the United States. The increased pressure on TikTok from leaders is encouraging, but we shouldn’t forget that other threats exist. The likes of Baidu and Alibaba deserve similar pressure and much more scrutiny.

Unlike previous wars, the next one won’t be decided by boots on the ground or bomber planes in the sky. It will be decided by technology, advances in AI, quantum computing, cyber breaches, data harvesting, and so forth. These are areas that China excels. The United States must wake up before it’s too late.

Allowing dangerous Chinese companies that specialize in tech to operate unsupervised across America is, at best, unwise. At worst, it could prove to be a catastrophically costly mistake. Banning TikTok is a good start, but we must take on the likes of Alibaba and Baidu as well.


John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and cultural commentator. Follow him on Twitter, @ghlionn

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Al-Qaeda: Islamist Qatar Bringing ‘Homosexuals,’ ‘Atheism’ to Middle East with World Cup

Al-Qaeda: Islamist Qatar Bringing ‘Homosexuals,’ ‘Atheism’ to Middle East with World Cup

Al-Qaeda and regional affiliate al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) both published messages this weekend condemning the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, accusing the Islamist nation of attracting “immoral people, homosexuals, sowers of corruption and atheism” to the Middle East.

Both messages, one from the regional entity and one from the greater organization, omitted any specific threat to attack the soccer tournament, considered one of the most popular and prestigious sporting events in the world. The al-Qaeda statement, according to some translations, suggested Muslims in Qatar should “stone” haram visitors.

Al-Qaeda is a Sunni jihadist terrorist organization most famous for its role in the execution of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the American homeland. While for some time working under the shadow of the Islamic State, a former affiliate, its wing on the Arabian Peninsula has greatly benefited from the nearly eight-year-old civil war in Yemen.

The lack of direct threat to infrastructure or populated events in Qatar may be the result of that country’s longstanding friendships with Sunni jihadist organizations. American officials have long accused Qatari officials of protecting al-Qaeda terrorists, including some implicated in the September 11 attacks. The Taliban, currently the de facto government of Afghanistan, maintained a “political office” in Qatar throughout the 20-year Afghan War that it used to negotiate with America. Qatar has also supported the Muslim Brotherhood, a jihadist political party with a militant wing, and faced legal claims in response to allegations that it supported al-Qaeda offshoot in Syria the Nusra Front.

While, for much of the world, FIFA granting Qatar authority to host the 2022 World Cup was met with outrage over its Islamist legal code and rampant documented human rights abuses, particularly against women and people the regime identifies as LGBT, al-Qaeda complained that Qatar was inviting too many “immoral people” into the Middle East by hosting the event.

“We warn our Muslim brothers from following this event or attending it,” a statement published this weekend before the event began on Sunday read, attributed to AQAP. The message complained that Qatar had attracted “immoral people, homosexuals, sowers of corruption and atheism into the Arabian Peninsula.”

On Sunday, multiple sources – including the SITE Intelligence Group monitor and France 24 journalist Wassim Nasr – reported that the greater al-Qaeda organization had published another statement claiming the soccer tournament was a “pornographic campaign against the peninsula of Mohammed.”

The statement, according to an unverified translation by the British Daily Star, claimed that “Zionist-Crusaders” were using soccer to launch an “invasion” of the Arabian Peninsula.

“Their acts are alien to our conservative societies and our Muslim peoples. Only they [Muslims] can do their jobs by stoning them,” the terrorists allegedly advised.

Jihadists attacking Qatar for not conducting a sufficiently fundamentalist World Cup is the latest in years of criticisms of the country as an inappropriate venue for the soccer tournament, beginning with widespread concerns that Qatar was abusing, and in some cases killing, migrant workers to meet the deadlines for constructing necessary venues by 2022. In 2016, one study estimated that as many as 60 percent of people in Qatar lived in highly monitored labor camps, many of them foreigners lured into the country from impoverished areas of Southeast Asia and then trapped by the confiscation of their passports. Human rights organizations have compiled complaints from workers who say employers do not pay their salaries and threatened to deport them if they complain. A report published last year by the British newspaper the Guardian found that at least 6,500 people died building World Cup stadiums and other facilities.

Qatar is also notoriously abusive towards gay people, suspected LGBT people, and women generally. In a report published this month, interviews with victims of the Qatari criminal system revealed beatings, abuse, and even gang rape at the hands of Qatari police officers for attempting to meet up with same-sex partners for dates. No reports indicate that al-Qaeda issued any statements of approval or addressed Qatar’s abuse against gay people in its rants about the World Cup inviting “homosexuality” to the region.

Western free governments have warned fans and tourists traveling to the World Cup that a wide variety of legal behavior in their home countries – such as drinking alcohol, eating pork, or possessing sex toys – could result in their arrest in Qatar. “Religious” books, presumably non-Islamic materials, could also result in arrest.

Qatar has also faced longstanding accusations, including formal criminal investigations by the U.S. Department of Justice, that it bribed FIFA for hosting rights.

Qatari leaders have responded to global disgust with its government by accusing detractors of racism. Labor Minister Ali bin Samikh Al Marri used the word “racism” directly in response to the criticism in an interview with the AFP this month.

“They don’t want to allow a small country, an Arab country, an Islamic country, to organize the World Cup,” he said.

Then-FIFA President Sepp Blatter also accused “a great deal of discrimination and racism” for the criticism and accusations of bribery in 2015, but he has since called allowing Qatar to host a “mistake.”

The Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani called concerns about human rights in his country an “unprecedented campaign” to tarnish the image of his country in October.

“Since we won the honour of hosting the World Cup, Qatar has been subjected to an unprecedented campaign that no host country has ever faced,” the emir said. “We initially dealt with the matter in good faith, and even considered that some criticism was positive and useful, helping us to develop aspects of ours that need to be developed.”

“But it soon became clear to us,” he concluded, “that the campaign continues, expands and includes fabrication and double standards, until it reached a level of ferocity that made many question, unfortunately, about the real reasons and motives behind this campaign.”

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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Joe Biden Chooses ‘Climate Changes’ over Genocide in Opening Remarks with Chinese Dictator Xi Jinping

Joe Biden Chooses ‘Climate Changes’ over Genocide in Opening Remarks with Chinese Dictator Xi Jinping

Leftist American President Joe Biden struck a conciliatory tone in his public remarks alongside genocidal communist dictator Xi Jinping of China on Monday, suggesting China and America should work together on “climate changes” and “food insecurity” but not addressing human rights.

Talks between the two leaders are currently underway in Bali, Indonesia, where this year’s G20 summit is expected to begin on Tuesday. The governments involved have not released any specific agenda for their conversation and Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post reported that the White House had denied that Xi and Biden would release a joint statement after their conversation.

The White House published a readout of the conversation that claimed Biden mentioned “human rights more broadly” and the situation in “Xinjiang,” using the Chinese government name for the Uyghur region of East Turkistan where the Communist Party is currently committing genocide.

Both leaders made a brief statement before sitting down for negotiations indicating that the goal of their meeting was to prevent any further deterioration of the bilateral relationship.

Biden emphasized his joy at seeing Xi in person for the first time in over five years, according to Xi, and the need for their personal warmth towards each other to drive the relationship between Washington and Beijing towards an amicable destination.

Absent from Biden’s remarks in front of reporters was the mention of any of Xi’s well-documented human rights atrocities, most notably the genocide of Muslim-majority people in East Turkistan that has resulted in the construction of over 1,000 concentration camps and rampant killing, gang rape, and forced sterilization.

Biden also appeared to approve of last month’s Communist Party Congress, an event that occurs every five years and, under Xi, has become a rubber-stamp ceremony granting an extension of Xi’s term in power. This year’s Congress was particularly notable for the violent expulsion of Xi’s predecessor, elderly former President Hu Jintao, who cameras caught being violently dragged out of Great Hall of the People directly in front of Xi. Hu, 79, has not been seen in public since his ouster at the Congress.

WASHINGTON - JANUARY 19: Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raise their glasses for a toast during a luncheon at the US State Department 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Vice President Joseph R. Biden hosted Chinese President Hu Jintao, who is in the United States for a state visit, for a luncheon. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

File/Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton raise their glasses for a toast during a luncheon at the U.S. State Department 19, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

“I’m really glad to be able to see you again in person. We spent a lot of time together and — back in the days when we were both vice presidents, and it’s just great to see you,” Biden told Xi on Monday, according to the White House transcript of the two leaders’ remarks.

“And you and I have had a number of candid and useful conversations over the years and since I became President as well. You were kind enough to call me to congratulate me, and I congratulate you as well,” Biden continued, apparently referring to Xi’s “reelection” as president, chairman of the Communist Party, commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and nearly a dozen other titles at the Congress.

Biden went on to say “the world expects” cooperation between China and America, listing the topics he wished to cooperate on as “global challenges, from climate changes, to food insecurity, and to — for us to be able to work together.”

Unlike Biden, Xi did not mention any particular topic for discussion at all – not even climate change, traditionally a topic the Biden administration has insisted is so important that it demands friendly diplomacy with Beijing. Also notably absent from the opening remarks was any mention of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic, which began in Wuhan, China, in 2019 and Chinese officials have falsely insisted is the result of American bioweapons research. In reality, mounting evidence, including reports revealed by the U.S. State Department, indicates that a potential accident at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, known to be studying bat coronaviruses at the onset of the pandemic, could have triggered the crisis.

Xi focused on lamenting the allegedly deplorable state of the bilateral relationship between China and America.

“Currently, the China-U.S. relationship is in such a situation that we all care a lot about it, because this is not the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples and it is not what the international community expects us,” Xi said, according to a White House translation. “In our meeting today, I’m ready to have a candid — as we always did — have a candid and in-depth exchange of views with you on issues of strategic importance in China-U.S. relations and on major global and regional issues.”

The Chinese government-controlled Global Times newspaper also reported on Xi’s remarks but did not add any information absent from the White House transcript. The Chinese Foreign Ministry’s regular press briefing on Monday occurred before the meeting, so details could not be addressed. Top Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying shared photos of the two leaders on social media but omitted details of the discussion.

Prior to the meeting, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told reporters at her regular briefing on Monday that Xi was seeking to use the meeting for “establishing the right way forward for our relations in the new era.”

“It is important that the US work together with China to properly manage differences, advance mutually beneficial cooperation, avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation, and bring China-US relations back to the right track of sound and steady development,” Mao said. “We hope that the US will work with China in the spirit of mutual respect, and play a responsible role in safeguarding world stability and development.”

Absent a topic agenda or any specifics, multiple reports in American media outlets have quoted anonymous Biden administration officials who said the objective of meeting with Xi was to “build a floor,” meaning agreeing on a point beyond which neither side would allow the relationship to deteriorate, presumably including war.

“They did not expect any of the major differences with China to be resolved by the time the meeting breaks up Monday night. But they do hope by talking directly, the risk of a misunderstanding spiraling out of control is avoided,” the left-wing outlet CNN reported, referring to anonymous alleged American officials.

The White House readout published later on Monday claimed that Biden mentioned the Uyghur genocide, but did not dwell on the matter.

“President Biden raised concerns about PRC [People’s Republic of China] practices in Xinjiang, Tibet, and Hong Kong, and human rights more broadly,” the White House relayed, not elaborating on any of these topics. Tibet, like East Turkistan, is facing the erasure of its majority religion, language, and culture through systematic Communist Party policies. In Hong Kong, China erased the “One Country, Two Systems” policy that allowed capitalism to thrive through a 2020 “national security” law that effectively outlaws all expression of dissent from communism.

Addressing the genocide of Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz people, and others in occupied East Turkistan would likely add stress to a conversation Biden officials appear to hope will diffuse tensions, not increase them. Yet Biden had previously promised to bring up human rights as an important topic in every conversation with world leaders, Xi in particular, even going so far as to indicate in a 2021 appearance on CNN that Xi understood Biden did not actually care about human rights, but America’s democratic system required him to pretend to care to win votes.

“The idea I’m not going to speak out against what he’s doing in Hong Kong, what he’s doing with the Uyghurs in western mountains of China and Taiwan, trying to end the One China policy by making it forceful,” Biden said at the time, “I said — and by the — he said he — he gets it.  Culturally, there are different norms that each country and they — their leaders — are expected to follow.”

In contrast, Biden was quick to describe the Russian invasion of Ukraine as a “genocide” in April, eight years after it began.

Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was present for Monday’s meeting with Xi, has described the Uyghur genocide as a “genocide,” following in the assessment of his predecessor under President Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo.

Follow Frances Martel on Facebook and Twitter.

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No Mention of Coronavirus Pandemic as Joe Biden Meets Xi Jinping in Person for First Time in Five Years

No Mention of Coronavirus Pandemic as Joe Biden Meets Xi Jinping in Person for First Time in Five Years

President Joe Biden met Chinese dictator Xi Jinping on Monday in Bali, Indonesia, for their first in-person meeting in five years.

Biden noted at the beginning of the meeting he spent a long time with Xi when they were vice presidents but had not seen him in person in a while.

“I believe there’s little substitute, though, for to face-to-face discussions,” Biden said, recalling their “candid” relationship with each other.

He said he hoped that China and the United States would work together on global issues of climate change and food insecurity to manage their ongoing “competition” with each other as nations.

“The United States stands ready to do just that — work with you — if that’s what you desire,” Biden said.

But neither leader mentioned in their opening remarks, the coronavirus pandemic that came from China, the reason for both leaders spending so much time apart.

Xi noted that he had not met in person with Biden since the 2017 World Economic Forum in Davos, five years ago.

A public news broadcast of Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden’s meeting on the sidelines of a Group of 20 summit in Bali, on a screen in Hong Kong, China, on Monday, Nov. 14, 2022. (Lam Yik/Bloomberg via Getty)

This is only Xi’s second international trip since the coronavirus pandemic.

China continues maintaining strict lockdowns in some of its major cities to battle the spread of the virus.

Xi noted that the world was dealing with challenges, but focused on the relationship between the United States and China.

“Humanity are confronted with unprecedented challenges,” he said. “The world has come to a crossroads. Where to go from here — this is a question that is not only on our mind but also on the mind of all countries.”

Xi also referred to the 50-year relationship between China and the United States, noting both countries had learned lessons and grown as a result.

China has continued a more aggressive approach to Taiwan and Biden has signaled the United States would be willing to help defend the country, even though the White House has repeatedly walked back the president’s statements.

Taiwan is a sovereign, democratic country off the coast of China, independent of Chinese rule.

Xi noted during his two-hour speech at the National Congress of the Communist Party of China that Taiwan must recognize China’s rule over their country.

U.S. President Joe Biden (L) and China’s President Xi Jinping (R) meet on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Nusa Dua on the Indonesian resort island of Bali on November 14, 2022. (SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

“Resolving the Taiwan question is a matter for the Chinese, a matter that must be resolved by the Chinese,” Xi asserted, calling for “peaceful reunification.”

But during his opening remarks with Biden, Xi did not mention Taiwan either, choosing more diplomatic phrases.

“I look forward to working with you, Mr. President, to bring China-U.S. relations back to the track of healthy and stable growth to the benefit of our two countries and the world as a whole,” he concluded.

Xi and Biden met for about three hours before exiting the location.

After the meeting, the White House released a readout of what was discussed but again made no mention of the pandemic.

“The two leaders spoke candidly about their respective priorities and intentions across a range of issues,” the readout read.

Issues mentioned in the readout included, “human rights more broadly,” Russia, North Korea, climate change, “health security,” and “global food security.”

On Taiwan, the White House reiterated that “our one China policy has not changed” but that Biden raised “objections” with “coercive and increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan.”

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VIDEO – U.S. Marine Corps Celebrates 247th Birthday: ‘Wherever Called, They Will Fight and Win’

VIDEO – U.S. Marine Corps Celebrates 247th Birthday: ‘Wherever Called, They Will Fight and Win’

The United States Marine Corps is celebrating its 247th birthday and a history that began before America won independence.

“Our birthday provides us a chance to focus on the one thing common to our success in the past, present, and future: the individual Marine. Victories are not won because of technology or equipment, but because of our Marines,” the commandant said in his message Thursday.

“The future characteristics of warfare are uncertain. But one thing is certain – wherever Marines are called, they will fight and win – today, tomorrow, and into the future,” General David H. Berger wrote.

On this day during the American Revolution in 1775, the Continental Congress passed a resolution drafted by future president John Adams that created the Continental Marines, according to History.com:

Serving on land and at sea, the original U.S. Marines distinguished themselves in a number of important operations during the Revolutionary War. The first Marine landing on a hostile shore occurred when a force of Marines under Captain Samuel Nicholas captured New Providence Island in the Bahamas from the British in March 1776.

During remarks given on November 10, 1986, President Ronald Reagan said, “The men of the United States Marine Corps have fought with a consistency of courage and skill unparalleled in the history of man.”

“Everywhere they’ve landed those of the eagle, the globe, and the anchor have taken with them a spirit that all the world knows today and respects,” he added:

According to History.com, Marines have made over 300 landings on foreign shores and there are currently over 200,000 active-duty and reserve Marines who hold to the motto, Semper Fidelis, the Latin phrase meaning “Always faithful.”

“So yes, with the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima, or in the daily duty of guarding our embassies around the world, the Marine Corps spirit has been an inspiration to generations of Americans and the Marine Corps strength has been among our surest guarantees of America’s security around the world,” Reagan stated in 1986.

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Sunday Talks, CBS Cybersecurity Expert States Global Crisis More Likely if U.S. Blue Checks are Changed on Twitter

Sunday Talks, CBS Cybersecurity Expert States Global Crisis More Likely if U.S. Blue Checks are Changed on Twitter

The media pearl-clutching over changes to the Twitter social media platform has become detached from reality.  During a Face the Nation discussion today, a very serious Margaret Brennan and Kris Krebs, former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) outline the national security risks created by Elon Musk’s change to the “verified Twitter user” system.  The “blue checks.”

Mr Krebs outlined how bad actors from Russia, Iran and China could potentially write mean words on Twitter and create social collapse in the United States as a result of election interference, defined as misinformation and disinformation.  Additionally, the unified western military order is at risk from the national security threat posed by allowing random unmonitored discussion on a social media platform.  With the midterm election this week, people could die if Elon Musk removes the control filters on the global conversation.  WATCH:

[Transcript] – […] BRENNAN: We return to our conversation now about election security with CBS News, cybersecurity expert and analyst Chris Krebs. Chris, I want to talk about something that’s happening right now. Social media has already changed the way we communicate and, certainly, our political world. President Biden said a few days ago that he has concerns about billionaire Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter- said, “the platform spews lies all across the world. There’s no editors anymore in America, there are no editors, how do we expect kids to be able to understand what is at stake?” It’s not just kids, right? What concerns do you have about this happening just days before the election, these changes to Twitter?

KREBS: Well, I think I think the government for one has a mechanism by which they can review the acquisition, the Committee for Foreign Investment in the United States can take a look at particularly the second and third ownership positions in Twitter, including Saudi Arabia. That is something that I’m assuming that the Treasury Department is taking a look at right now to see if they can put in place a national security agreement or even potentially unwind the purchase. But I think more specifically to what’s happening right now with Twitter, I think there are kind of- there are two “Elons” that we are seeing. There’s the public Elon, that’s, you know, trolling and saying $8, please, on all the complaints about some of the shifts in the moderation and other activities. Then there’s what’s happening behind the scenes, the conversations with the civil rights groups, with advertisers, with the teens, which perhaps maybe a little bit more stable. And I think if you look at the platform itself right now, not a whole lot has changed. That may not be a popular opinion, but I think the reality is that most, you haven’t seen too much of a change in the moderation. Now, the concern, though, is what happens tomorrow, where you can buy the blue tick for $8 a month, Twitter Blue–

MARGARET BRENNAN: For our viewers who don’t use Twitter, a blue check is a sign of credibility. 

KREBS: It has historically been a marker of trust, and that Twitter has said, we’ve confirmed and authenticated the identity of this person, which tends to be a politician, or a news media personality or a journalist, an academic or someone that may be a popular voice in certain civil rights, civil liberties issue. 

MARGARET BRENNAN: Now you can buy it for eight bucks a month.

KREBS: Along with a number of other features of editing and longer-form video posting. But again, to have such a dramatic shift in that marker of trust, now you can buy it, in advance of as we’ve been talking about a very contentious and important election. It opens the information space to a broader community of influencers, clout chasers, election denialists–

MARGARET BRENNAN: Foreign actors?

KREBS: Absolutely, I mean, we’ve seen reports lately of Russia, China and Iran, back at their old tricks, and it is going to create a very chaotic environment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: To that point in- in 2018, during the midterms, [U.S] Cyber Command took offensive operations to take out Russian trolls who are spreading misinformation. The New York Times has a story today saying Russia is back at it. What does that say to you about U.S. defenses?

KREBS: Well, I think so Recorded Future and Graphika, two research firms have released information that Russian bots, trolls, associated with the Internet Research Agency, which is a group that targeted since the 2016 and the 2018 election, are back at it and are undermining this time Democratic candidates for Senate in some of the- the more contentious races. I think what it says is that the- there’s a broader community of actors, they recognize that political discourse is very divisive here in the US, and they have more opportunities, probably than ever before, to continue to undermine confidence to create chaos, which is really, their primary objective here. It’s not necessarily that a winner wins, but that we’ve all lost- lost confidence and they degrade the American democracy experiment.

MARGARET BRENNAN: There are also a number of sitting Senators, and of note, Ambassador Richard Grinnell former President Trump’s Acting Director of National Intelligence has been posting some misleading information, that’s him on the screen, about the election. He said, “any state which doesn’t count all the votes and announce the winner Tuesday night is incompetent.”–

KREBS: So all 50 states then, by that formulation,

MARGARET BRENNAN: Because what you’re saying is just the fact that votes are never finalized on election night. But why do you think someone who knows better is posting something like that?

KREBS: Well, whether he knows better, I can’t assume that, but the point here is that it’s for clout chasing, it’s for influence. There’s a reward system and structure set up right now within the far-right of the GOP that provides additional engagement. So, you tweet something like that, and you can see your likes, your retweets, your amplification really take off. And if you’re just talking about some other, you know, more mundane domestic issue, nobody cares. But there’s a reward system and incentive structure that’s set up where exactly this sort of messaging is- is rewarded. It’s encouraged, and, and this is again, going back to Governor Sununu’s comments, we need leaders to lead. We need the presumptive leaders of the Republican Party to stand up and say this is unacceptable, this is not how it works. We need to be good faith actors in this process and unfortunately, leaders aren’t leading right now.

MARGARET BRENNAN: Chris Krebs, thank you as always for your analysis and we will see you on election night as part of CBS coverage at our democracy desk here at CBS News.  (LINK)

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