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China’s Threats to Academic Freedom Abroad

Fears of China’s growing threat to academic freedom have heightened worldwide. On 30 October, the Belgian authorities denied a residence permit to Song Xinning, former director of the Confucius Institute at the Vrije Universiteit in Brussels, making it impossible for him to return to his job or enter any other country in the Schengen area. […]

Human Rights Activists under Assault

In the last quarter of 2019, China’s treatment of human rights activists remained worrisome. On 17 October, Sophia Huang Xueqin, a prominent activist and independent journalist that played an important role in China’s #MeToo movement, was detained in Guangzhou after reporting on protests in Hong Kong. She was then transferred to ‘residential surveillance in a […]

Elections and More Mass Demonstrations in Hong Kong

In the last quarter of 2019, protests in Hong Kong did not show any sign of abating. On 1 October, China’s National Day, the city was shaken by the biggest demonstration since the protests began in late April. Shortly afterwards, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam invoked colonial-era emergency powers to ban face masks, which […]

Ilham Tohti Awarded the Sakharov Prize and Other Updates on Xinjiang

Situations in Xinjiang continued to draw international attention in the fourth quarter of 2019. On 24 October, Ilham Tohti, a vocal Uyghur professor who in 2014 was sentence to life imprisonment for ‘separatism’, was awarded Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought by the European Parliament, which subsequently went on to adopt a resolution on the […]

Protests Continue Unabated in Hong Kong

Mass protests in Hong Kong, initially sparked by the local government’s proposal to allow the extradition of criminal suspects to mainland China, have shown no sign of abating in the third quarter of 2019. Following the city’s largest-ever demonstration on 16 June and the storming of the city’s legislature by an aggressive group of protestors […]

Repression in Xinjiang Garners International Attention

In the third quarter of 2019, the ongoing deterioration of the situation in Xinjiang continued to make waves on the international stage. According to the Xinhua News Agency, on 2 July, during a trip to China, Turkish President Erdogan told Xi Jinping that ‘residents of all ethnicities in China’s Xinjiang are living happily’, though Turkish […]

Suspicious Deaths and More Arrests

Persecution of rights activists in China has persisted throughout the third quarter of 2019, with two passing away while in police custody. On 10 July, ‘barefoot lawyer’ Ji Sizun died of unknown causes two months after leaving prison. He had finished serving his most recent sentence of four and a half years. Activist Wang Meiyu, […]

Rising Tensions on University Campuses Worldwide

The past few months have witnessed heightened tensions on university campuses worldwide, as pro-Beijing demonstrators clashed with supporters of the Hong Kong protests. In late July, a sit-in staged by Hong Kong students at the University of Queensland in Australia to show solidarity with pro-democracy protestors back home turned violent when pro-Beijing students showed up […]

May Fourth and June Fourth Anniversaries

The second quarter of 2019 has been rife with political symbolism and significance for China’s ruling Communist Party, having marked the 100th anniversary of the May Fourth Movement and the 30th anniversary of the June Fourth Incident (see Lanza’s op-ed in the present issue). The 1919 May Fourth Movement was an anti-imperialist campaign that grew […]

Sustainability of China’s State Pension Fund in Question

The financial sustainability of China’s pension fund has recently come under the spotlight. According to a report released in April by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the reserve held by the urban worker pension fund—the cornerstone of China’s state pension system—will peak at 7 trillion yuan in 2027 and then start to drop steadily, […]

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