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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 01.09.2023

Chinese Intel Officers Interfered in U.S. Election

China is behind the largest known covert propaganda operation ever identified on Facebook and Instagram, according to a new report by security researchers at Meta. Meta on Tuesday outed the authors of a four-year long influence campaign dubbed “Spamouflage Dragon,” which first appeared in 2019 to spread propaganda about Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests. Since then, the campaign has focused on spreading disinformation about the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic, attacking dissidents and critics abroad, criticizing the United States, and attempting to sow division during the 2022 midterm elections.

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Commerce secretary says US firms complain China is ‘uninvestable’

U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said U.S. companies have complained to her that China has become “uninvestable,” pointing to fines, raids and other actions against firms that have made it too risky to do business in the world’s second-largest economy. The comments, made to reporters onboard a train as her delegation of U.S. officials headed from Beijing to Shanghai, provided a bleak picture of how U.S. firms view China and were the bluntest Raimondo has made on her trip.

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Pro-China influence campaign pushed talking points across more than 50 websites

Facebook said Tuesday it has identified a sprawling online propaganda effort: a pro-China campaign that had a presence on more than 50 websites. The campaign “appears to be the largest known cross-platform covert influence operation in the world,” Meta said in a report. The researchers said the broadly coordinated postings of pro-China images, videos, comments and audio files were part of a yearslong operation that researchers had previously dubbed “Spamouflage.”

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A UN Body Sheds Light on the Fate of Disappeared Uyghurs

A little-known United Nations body, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, is helping to shine a light on the extent of China’s enforced disappearances in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. Starting from 2017, Chinese authorities intensified a large-scale campaign of repression that aimed to fundamentally transform the social, cultural, and religious life of this area, which has been traditionally inhabited by Turkic-speaking peoples.

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Xinjiang police detain ethnic Kazakh who sang Quranic recitations at Muslim wedding

Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have detained an ethnic Kazakh man for performing Quranic recitations – including at a Muslim wedding, Radio Free Asia has learned. Chinese authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang have detained an ethnic Kazakh man for performing Quranic recitations – including at a Muslim wedding, Radio Free Asia has learned. "Kusman Rehim was arrested on July 14," Atajurt chief Bekzat Maksutkhan said. "The main reason was that the police found a Quran in his home."

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German guarantees for China investments plummet -document

The volume of investment guarantees provided by the German government to companies investing in China has collapsed this year, a government document showed, highlighting the impact of Berlin's efforts to end over-reliance on the country. Only 51.9 million euros ($56.26 million) in guarantees have been issued so far this year, according to the document seen by Reuters, less than a tenth of the 745.9 million euros in guarantees issued over the whole of last year.

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Shein strikes deal with fast-fashion retailer Forever 21 that will expand reach of both brands

Fast-fashion competitors Shein and Forever 21 have joined forces. On Thursday, the retailers announced a deal that will bring together two brands that have a strong following of young shoppers and a reputation for trendy clothing and accessories at a low price. As part of the joint venture, Shein will acquire about a third of Forever 21′s operator, Sparc Group. Sparc will also take a minority stake in Shein.

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