top of page

The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 05.05.2023

China’s club for talking to Central Europe is dead, Czechs say

China’s exclusive club for engaging with Eastern and Central European countries is defunct, the Czech foreign minister told POLITICO on Tuesday. Jan Lipavský’s comments position the Czechs firmly in the camp of the U.S., dealing a potentially devastating blow to the 11-year-old so-called 14+1 initiative, which Beijing once hoped would revive relations with former Soviet states. Asked if Prague will formally withdraw, Lipavský added through a spokesman: “We are not an active member. We won’t speculate on any possible steps that we might choose to take.”

Read more:

Volkswagen sees sales slump in China, vows rebound this year

Volkswagen profits fell 30% in the first three months of the year despite booming business in Europe and North America because sales dropped in China, where the German automaker is facing increasing competition from homegrown models. After-tax profit fell to 4.7 billion euros ($5.2 billion) from 6.7 billion euros in the first quarter of last year, the Wolfsburg-based company said Thursday. The number of vehicles sold rose 7.5%, to 2.04 million. Revenue jumped by 21.5%, to 76.2 billion euros, as VW saw strong demand and increased pricing power — meaning the willingness of customers to shell out more for its cars.

Read more:

Are Uyghur children in pods being imprisoned and brutalized?

A short clip of Uyghur children lying in cylindrical glass pods recently circulated on Twitter, with claims that they were being “imprisoned and brutalized” in Chinese concentration camps, stirring outrage. After tracking down an extended version clip, Asia Fact Check Lab (AFCL) found that the glass pods were actually oxygen chambers, probably in a hospital. Subsequent interviews with medical specialists revealed that the child in the original tweet was actually receiving hyperbaric oxygen therapy for cerebral palsy, not being subjected to torture.

Read more:

Shein: China fashion giant faces US calls for probe over Uyghur claims

A group of US lawmakers has called for Chinese fast fashion brand Shein to be investigated over claims that Uyghur forced labour is used to make some of the clothes it sells. The letter to the Wall Street watchdog comes amid expectations the firm may sell its shares in the US. "We have zero tolerance for forced labour," Shein told the BBC. The company also said that it currently has no plans for a listing on Wall Street. The letter, which was signed by two dozen Republican and Democrat lawmakers, cited "credible allegations of utilising underpaid and forced labour".

Read more:

Videos Reveal the Indoctrination and Militarization of Uyghur Children

According to research, there were just short of 900,000 Uyghur Children in Chinese boarding schools in 2019, separated from family and community support. The schools and dorms are an important part of the cultural genocide perpetrated through the indoctrination of Uyghur children. This is criminal. The minors are isolated and under the absolute control and influence of unrelated and “foreign” persons. Under any circumstance other than government involvement, this would be deemed “radicalization” or “extremism.”

Read more:

Dong Yuyu: Well-Known Journalist and Academic Indicted for “Espionage”

The family of Dong Yuyu, a famous journalist in China, has decided to inform international human rights organizations that he has been indicted on charges of espionage. Dong had been arrested in February 2021 while he was having what the authorities characterized as an “unauthorized” lunch with a Japanese diplomat at the Novotel Xin Qiao hotel in Beijing. He was later formally arrested, and indicted for espionage on March 2023. Following warning from the authorities, relatives had decided not to divulge news about its detention, but now believe that Dong’s situation is so precarious that it may be better to speak out and seek the help of international human rights groups and media.

Read more:

Stop spreading lies’ about intimidation of MP, China tells Canada

China’s embassy in Canada has slammed “false claims” that one of its diplomats intimidated a Canadian MP and his family over the politician’s condemnation of Beijing’s actions in Xinjiang. An embassy said this week’s outcry over the allegations – reported by the Globe and Mail, citing classified documents and an anonymous security source – was “pure political manipulation with ulterior motives”. The newspaper said Conservative MP Michael Chong and his relatives were targeted for sanctions because of his vote in February 2021 in favour of a parliamentary motion condemning Beijing’s conduct in Xinjiang as genocide.

Read more:

bottom of page