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The Weekly Brief

Just a quick update in case you missed it.

Released on 20.10.2023

EU Tariffs on Chinese EVs May Hurt Germany, Minister Says

Germany could suffer if the European Union slaps additional import duties on electric vehicles made in China with any protectionist move risking retaliation, according to the country’s transport minister. “Germany’s economy depends on open markets,” Volker Wissing said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. “We should guarantee a level playing field but not work with subsidies or taxes.”

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Uyghur inmates at Keriye prison forced to work on Chinese farmland

Beijing [China], October 15 (ANI): Hundreds of Uyghur inmates at Keriye Prison in the far-western Chinese region of Xinjiang are forced to work 12 to 14 hours a day in the fields for the benefit of Han Chinese businessmen who rent the 1,650 acres of farmland that is owned by the prison, or to reform the inmates through labour, reported Radio Free Asia. These inmates of Keriye Prison have to work for more than half their day in the vast fields of red dates called jujubes, according to a prison employee and a guard. Moreover, the farm is called Lao Gai Nong Chang in Chinese, which refers to “Re-education through Labor Farm.”

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Mystery group stirs up criticism of battery plants linked to China

Drone footage soars over the Muskegon River, shots slowly zoom on the State Capitol and lawmakers talk directly to the camera denouncing communist China. The 7-minute-30-second documentary from the EV Taxpayer Task Force pairs grassroots pushback against electric vehicle battery plants with powerful political allies. Two multibillion-dollar battery plants, one from Gotion Inc. and another from Ford Motor Co., are singled out in the video for their ties to China and for securing state incentives.

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Vanguard sells stake in joint venture with China's Ant

U.S. mutual fund issuer Vanguard Group said on Tuesday it had sold its stake in a joint venture with Chinese fintech giant Ant Group, hastening its retreat from the world's second-biggest economy. Vanguard's exit from China contrasts the ambitious expansion strategies of rivals like BlackRock and Fidelity over recent years. Others like Sequoia, however, are splitting off their China arms to navigate an increase in geopolitical tensions between Washington and Beijing, particularly over Taiwan. Vanguard said it will prioritize regions where it offers its own investment products and services. Its 49% stake in the venture, a digital investment advisory service, has been sold to Ant.

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Scottish Water admits solar farms could use parts linked to China’s forced labour camps

Scottish Water has admitted that its solar farms could use components linked to forced labour camps in China, “in clear conflict” with its anti-slavery policies. Scottish Water, a state-owned monopoly, has installed tens of thousands of solar panels it suspects are linked to Chinese slave labour at 66 sites around the country, bought for tens of millions of pounds. They include a “super solar” scheme at its large water treatment works that supplies 565,000 people in the Glasgow area with drinking water. It said the 8,448 panels at Balmore in East Dunbartonshire, which treats water taken from Loch Katrine and Loch Lomond, cost £5m.

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What Schumer Did Not Say in His Beijing Press Briefing

It was a rare moment of bipartisan consensus in Washington, D.C. On Dec. 14, 2021, the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act came up for a vote in the House. It passed on a voice vote. Two days later, the Senate approved it by unanimous consent. President Joe Biden then signed it into law. What does it do? It "imposes importation limits on goods produced using forced labor in China, especially the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, and imposes sanctions related to such forced labor," said its official summary. Why was an otherwise deeply divided Congress so unified on this? Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer provided the answer.

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Tell me Huawei: Chinese giant wants to know what made EU label it high security risk

Chinese tech megacorp Huawei is kicking back after EU officials characterized it as a "high-risk supplier," filing an official complaint with the European Commission. The company was hit hard over the past few years by countries such as the UK and several European Union member states effectively putting a ban on Huawei equipment in their telecoms networks. The situation for Huawei operations in the region wasn't helped by comments from European commissioner Thierry Breton earlier this year in a speech on the cybersecurity of 5G networks in the EU.

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