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October, 28, 2016

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Commentary > China Post > Frank Ching
Minister Wang Yi's scolding of a Canadian reporter for daring to ask a question about human rights in China has made headlines around the world. The unexpected rant reflects China's attempt to export its own values, especially censorship, to the West.
The visit to Hong Kong by Chinese leader Zhang Dejiang -- third-ranking official of the Chinese Communist Party, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress and the top official responsible for Hong Kong affairs -- was clearly an attempt by Beijing to appear to be conciliatory, with Zhang holding a brief meeting with four pan-democratic legislators.
In response to the thoughtful inaugural address by Taiwan's new president, Tsai Ing-wen, China's Taiwan Affairs Office had a simple rejoinder: her speech was an "incomplete test answer." In China's view, she must do the test over and fully meet China's demands before she can get a passing grade.
Fifty years ago this week, China embarked on what would turn out to be 10 years of turmoil known as the Cultural Revolution. It was not a revolution in the usual sense, in that it was initiated from above, by Chairman Mao Zedong himself, as he set out to destroy the party....
Chinese political dictionaries define an overseas Chinese person as a Chinese national who resides overseas. That is a narrow, legal definition. But many people, including the Chinese government, use it loosely to mean any person of Chinese ethnicity living outside China, regardless of whether that person is a citizen of Australia, Canada, the United States or any other country.
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After the disappearance last December of Hong Kong bookseller Lee Bo, Britain's foreign secretary, Philip Hammond, asked Beijing for information on his whereabouts, pointing out that the 65-year-old was a British national. China's foreign minister, Wang Yi, responded that Lee was "first and foremost a Chinese national."
In mid-April, the Foreign Correspondents Club of Hong Kong sponsored a lunch talk on the rule of law in China. What set this talk apart was the speaker: Wang Zhenming, head of the Law Department of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in Hong Kong.
China failed last week to pressure Japan and other G-7 countries into not discussing the South China Sea when they met in Hiroshima. Instead, foreign ministers from the seven countries issued a joint statement on maritime security on April 11 which, without mentioning China by name, emphasized the "fundamental importance of peaceful management and settlement of disputes."
For a country that believes strongly in noninterference in other countries' internal affairs, China, oddly, is constantly telling other countries what they can and cannot talk about.
The Hong Kong National Party, whose ideas of Hong Kong independence were weighed and dismissed by older and, presumably, wiser heads in previous years, nonetheless has succeeded in getting the attention of Chinese officials and, in the process, brought to the forefront discussion of freedom of speech in Hong Kong, a right clearly upheld by the Basic Law.
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