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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 20.03.2023

The Astounding Hypocrisy of China's Middle East

After years of hostility, Iran and Saudi Arabia agreed to "reestablish relations" in a deal brokered by China, a nation that has shown little love for millions of the Muslim citizens within its borders. The three countries announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two Middle Eastern powers on March 10, including the reopening of embassies in Tehran and Riyadh within the next two months. Before your eyeballs roll too far back into your head, there are some good things about this otherwise supremely shady deal.

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Japan, German Agree to Strengthen Ties, Supply Chain

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida held the first round of government consultations in Tokyo Saturday and agreed to strengthen economic and defense ties to better cope with China's growing influence and global security concerns. Kishida told a joint news conference after the talks that the sides agreed to strengthen supply chains in minerals, semiconductors, batteries and other strategic areas, in order to “counter economic coercion, state-led attempts to illegally acquire technology and nonmarket practices,” apparently referring to China.

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U.S. ran secret probe into China's operations in Canada, new book alleges

The United States ran a secret probe into national-security threats posed by Chinese overseas operations that drew alarming conclusions about Canada, alleges a new book co-authored by a former RCMP and military intelligence official. The book says the project, code-named Operation Dragon Lord, led to an unnerving takeaway: that Beijing's activities in Canada represented a security threat to the United States. This investigation wasn't triggered by recent headlines.

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Post-balloon saga, US defense leaders ‘know a lot more’ about China’s alleged global surveillance operations

In the aftermath of the days-long spectacle last month when a massive, alleged Chinese spy balloon flew above much of North America before being shot down off the South Carolina coast, U.S. military leaders told DefenseScoop that they remain confident in the services’ technological capacity to sense, spot — and protect the homeland from — such slow-moving, high-altitude threats.

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The Suicide of the Pink-Haired Girl: How the CCP Exploited a Tragedy

Zhou Qiang is one of the most powerful politicians in China. Once the national secretary of the Chinese Communist Youth League, he ascended to his current position of Chief Justice and President of the Supreme Court of China. Zheng Linghua was a young woman from Hangzhou, Zhejiang, who committed suicide on January 23 this year, after she had been insulted for months on social media for having dyed her hair pink. What do the two of them have in common?

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Uyghur propaganda chief confirmed dead 5 days after being released from jail

A former Uyghur propaganda chief who was imprisoned on separatism charges despite being a mouthpiece for Beijing has died at age 57, according to a prefectural official and an activist who runs a nonprofit human rights advocacy group. Ilham Rozi was arrested in 2019 and sentenced to 15 years in prison for inviting prominent Uyghurs to give lectures in early 2010s. He died on March 7, only five days after he was released from jail, said Abduweli Ayup, founder of Norway-based Uyghur Hjelp, or Uyghuryar, which maintains a database of Uyghurs detained in Xinjiang.

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Chinese automakers slash prices, offer subsidies in bid to kickstart consumption

Chinese automakers are selling off their stocks of vehicles -- many of them made with imported technology as part of joint ventures with top foreign brands -- at huge discounts ahead of a new set of emissions standards, Radio Free Asia has learned. The price cuts kicked off at the beginning of the month with a round of steep discounts from state-owned Dongfeng Motor Group, which makes Citroens, in the central province of Hubei that was partly subsidized by the local government.

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