- New US-China Rivalry Will Force the World to Take Sides
- Pakistan Issues Last Warning to TikTok over Vulgar Content
- France Joins the US, UK in Slamming China for Persecution of Uighur Muslims
- World’s Rich Deferred on Poor Country Debt Relief Extension
- US Orders Closure of China’s Embassy in Houston
- Assad’s Baath Party Wins Majority in Parliamentary Polls
New US-China Rivalry Will Force the World to Take Sides
When a new great power emerges to challenge the status quo, disturbance is inevitable — so it was only a matter of time before the US and China clashed. The gulf between the two nations has grown in the past two years, although neither the Bush nor Obama administrations were unfettered fans of the Beijing regime; they were happy for US companies to collaborate with China and for supply chains to become more integrated, but they understood that while China was open to trade and entrepreneurship, the US and Chinese governments differed greatly on democracy and human rights. Donald Trump is not particularly perturbed by a country’s record on those two issues. His aim is to “make America great again” and return jobs to its rust belt. He went toe to toe with Beijing on trade. He had valid points as far as a level playing field was concerned, in terms of opening the investment market, limiting the preferred status of Chinese state-owned enterprises and stopping the theft of intellectual property. There were trade negotiations, and a phase 1 trade agreement. However, there was acrimony about Huawei and fears that China could spy on the US and its allies if they integrated Huawei equipment into their 5G infrastructure. Then the COVID-19 pandemic ratcheted up the controversy as Washington accused Beijing of not reacting appropriately and quickly enough to the virus, allowing it to spread globally. China’s new security law for Hong Kong made the rift all the more apparent. It supersedes Hong Kong’s constitution, the Basic Law, restricts the civil liberties of Hong Kong citizens, and effectively ends the “one country, two systems” structure that was supposed to last until 2047 under the terms of the Sino-British declaration of 1984. China has embarked on rapid economic and geopolitical expansion. Western nations took some time to realizehow far the $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative was designed to extend China’s reach. It was not until Sri Lanka was forced to lease the port of Hambantota to a Chinese state-owned ports company for 99 years in compensation for debt on which it would otherwise have defaulted that Western nations fully understood the BRI’s geopolitical dimension. Many of China’s southeast Asian neighbours are concerned about its increased military presence, particularly in the South China Sea. China’s defense budget has grown steadily in lockstep with its economy; at $178 billion in 2020 it is the second-largest in the world, and increased by 6.6 percent from 2019 to 2020. China’s divergence from the US is therefore ideological, economic and increasingly military too. Washington may have its reasons to ratchet up the rhetoric against Beijing, but in the past three years the US has also withdrawn from multilateral frameworks such as the Paris treaty on climate change and the World Health Organization. China steadfastly supported these organisations, giving it in the eyes of many the status of a friend of the multilateral global order. We are back to where we started: The economic and geopolitical rise of China has coincided with America’s skepticism and withdrawal from the post-1945 world order, which is based on multilateralism. It is self-evident that this will lead to friction. Even if Donald Trump loses November’s presidential election, we should not expect matters to revert to how they were before. The world and the US have moved on. Anti-China rhetoric has ratcheted up on both sides of the political divide in the US, as Democratic candidate Joe Biden vies with Trump in his skepticism of Beijing. [Source: Arab News]
Tensions between China and America will not subside and most probably will lead to confrontation. However, the real question is not who the Islamic countries will pick; rather can the Muslim world unite and take advantage of this confrontation. When the Messenger of Allah ﷺ founded the first Islamic state in Medina, he was acutely aware of the tensions between Persia and Rome. Today, can a brave man amongst the armed forces exploit the tensions between China and America to re-establish the Khilafah Rashidah (rightly guided Caliphate) State upon the method of the Prophethood and unite the Muslim world.
Pakistan Issues Last Warning to TikTok over Vulgar Content
Pakistan’s telecommunications regulator issued a “final warning” to short-form video app TikTok on Monday over explicit content posted on the platform, while live streaming app Bigo Live was blocked for the same reason. TikTok, owned by China-based ByteDance, is facing problems around the world – including Australia, India and the United States – due to security and privacy issues. Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) said it had sent TikTok and Bigo Live notices to moderate content after receiving complaints, but their response was unsatisfactory. “PTA has decided to immediately block Bigo and issue final warning to TikTok to put in place a comprehensive mechanism to control obscenity, vulgarity and immorality through its social media application,” its statement said. In an emailed statement to Reuters, TikTok said it was committed to increasing dialogue with authorities to explain policies and demonstrate commitment to user security. TikTok said it removed more than 3.7 million “violating user videos” from Pakistan in the second half of 2019: more than 98% before a user reported them and more than 89% before they had a single view. Singapore-based BIGO Technology, which owns Bigo Live, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. [Source: US News]
The fact that Pakistan has not taken a firm stance against Facebook, YouTube and other American apps renowned for spreading obscenity and vulgarity hardens suspicions that Islamabad is targeting TikTok to please America instead of taking a firm stance to repel all vulgar material from streaming into Pakistan.
France Joins the US, UK in Slamming China for Persecution of Uighur Muslims
France has joined the US and UK in criticizing China for the jailing religious minorities in Xinjiang. France has called the persecution of Uighur Muslims as “unacceptable” and demanded that Beijing let independent human rights observers visit the region. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said his country wanted international independent observers, as well as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to be allowed to “freely enter” the region. “All of the practices in the area are unacceptable because they go against all the global human rights conventions and we condemn them strongly,” he said, adding that Paris is carefully monitoring the situation. The British government was urged to “take strong action” against China on Tuesday for the “ethnic cleansing of Uighur Muslims,” in a missive by the Muslim Council of Britain, the country’s largest Muslim umbrella group. The US Commerce Department restricted 11 Chinese entities’ access to US technologies Monday for their involvement in human rights abuses against the Uighur minority in Xinjiang. In an interview with BBC, China’s ambassador to the UK Liu Xiaoming denied Sunday the widespread abuse of the Uighur community after a video posted on social media raised accusations of genocide. Xinjiang region is home to 10 million Uighurs. The Turkic Muslim group, which makes up around 45% of Xinjiang’s population, has long accused China’s authorities of cultural, religious and economic discrimination. Up to 1 million people, or about 7% of the Muslim population in Xinjiang, have been incarcerated in an expanding network of “political re-education” camps, according to US officials and UN experts. [Source: The Eurasia Times]
Uighur Muslims have once again become cannon fodder for Western nations to berate China. The West uses Muslims to further its only political objective only and the Uighur issue is no exceptions. Had the Muslim world been united and steadfast under the leadership of a Khilafah (Caliphate) the Uighur Muslims would have been living under Islam protected both from China and the US.
World’s Rich Deferred on Poor Country Debt Relief Extension
G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors have put off a decision on extending the Debt Service Suspension Initiative for 73 poor countries beyond 2020 until their meeting in October 2020. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, 42 countries have requested a deferral of $5.3 billion in repayments owed to the Paris Club’s 22 members, but as of end-June only $1.3 billion owed by 18 countries was approved. The G-20 expects a report on the liquidity needs of the poorest countries prior to its October ministerial meeting. Private sector creditors have thus far refused to participate, and China’s full participation remains questionable, even though it is a G-20 country. Oxfam International and other nongovernmental organizations said last week that the current initiative is inadequate, especially without private sector participation, since it still requires eligible countries to pay nearly $34 billion in 2020.
US Orders Closure of China’s Embassy in Houston
The US abruptly ordered the closure of the Chinese Consulate in Houston citing “massive illegal spying and influence operations,” and gave the Chinese 72 hours to vacate the premises. This comes less than a day after the Department of Justice unsealed an indictment accusing a pair of government-affiliated hackers of trying to steal COVID-19 research from US companies. The Chinese reportedly burned so many documents before leaving that the Houston Fire Department was called to the scene. The US-China relationship is reaching a critical point and even though all powers run espionage operations out of their embassies and consulates, this action by the US will lead to a complete breakdown in diplomatic channels.
Assad’s Baath Party Wins Majority in Parliamentary Polls
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s party and its allies have won the majority of seats in the war-torn country’s parliamentary election, denounced as “theatrical” by the exiled opposition. The so-called “National Unity” list won 177 seats in the 250-member parliament. The turnout was 33%, compared to 57 percent four years ago. Millions of people displaced by Syria’s long-running war were not eligible to cast ballots in the poll, which took place amid deepening economic woes. “Simply put, these are illegitimate elections. The regime chose the candidates, even the independent ones, and they elected them,” Yahya al-Aridi, a member of the opposition committee at UN peace talks in Geneva, was quoted as saying by the dpa news agency. “The majority of Syrians believe the election is only a process controlled by the regime to represent itself as a legitimate authority in Syria,” Zaki Mehchy, a senior consulting fellow at Chatham House and co-founder of the Syrian Centre for Policy Research, told Al Jazeera ahead of the vote. “People know that the majority of MPs are nominated by the Baath party and all of them need to have security approval based on loyalty and not qualifications,” he said.