in Tiananmen Square, on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese Communist Party, when he reiterated China’s claim to Taiwan, a self-ruled island democracy. President Biden has mentioned four times that the United States is prepared to help Taiwan resist aggression. Each time his aides have walked back his comments somewhat, however, emphasizing that the United States retains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding its support for the island.

Even a vague mention by Mr. Xi at the party congress of a timeline for trying to bring Taiwan under the mainland’s political control could damage financial confidence in both Taiwan and the mainland.

The most important task of the ruling elite at the congress is to confirm the party’s leadership.

Particularly important to business is who in the lineup will become the new premier. The premier leads the cabinet but not the military, which is directly under Mr. Xi. The position oversees the finance ministry, commerce ministry and other government agencies that make many crucial decisions affecting banks, insurers and other businesses. Whoever is chosen will not be announced until a separate session of the National People’s Congress next March, but the day after the congress formally ends, members of the new Politburo Standing Committee — the highest body of political power in China — will walk on a stage in order of rank. The order in which the new leadership team walks may make clear who will become premier next year.

a leading hub of entrepreneurship and foreign investment in China. Neither has given many clues about their economic thinking since taking posts in Beijing. Mr. Wang had more of a reputation for pursuing free-market policies while in Guangdong.

Mr. Hu is seen as having a stronger political base than Mr. Wang because he is still young enough, 59, to be a potential successor to Mr. Xi. That political strength could give him the clout to push back a little against Mr. Xi’s recent tendency to lean in favor of greater government and Communist Party control of the private sector.

Precisely because Mr. Hu is young enough to be a possible successor, however, many businesspeople and experts think Mr. Xi is more likely to choose Mr. Wang or a dark horse candidate who poses no potential political threat to him.

In any case, the power of the premier has diminished as Mr. Xi has created a series of Communist Party commissions to draft policies for ministries, including a commission that dictates many financial policies.

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China Extends Threatening Military Exercises Near Taiwan

By Associated Press

and Newsy Staff
August 8, 2022

China has said the exercises, involving missile strikes, are a response to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

China said Monday it is extending threatening military exercises surrounding Taiwan that have disrupted shipping and air traffic and substantially raised concerns about the potential for conflict in a region crucial to global trade.

The announcement further increases uncertainty in the crisis that developed last week with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan.

The exercises will include anti-submarine drills, apparently targeting U.S. support for Taiwan in the event of a potential Chinese invasion, according to social media posts from the eastern leadership of China’s ruling Communist Party’s military arm, the People’s Liberation Army.

China claims Taiwan as its own territory and its leader, Xi Jinping, has focused on bringing the self-governing island democracy under the mainland’s control, by force if necessary. The two sides split in 1949 after a civil war, but Beijing considers visits to Taiwan by foreign officials as recognizing its sovereignty.

Xi is seeking a third term as Communist Party leader later this year. His control over the armed forces and what he has defined as China’s “core interests” — including Taiwan, territorial claims in the South China Sea and historic adversary Japan — are key to maintaining his nationalist credentials.

The military has said the exercises, involving missile strikes, warplanes and ship movements crossing the midline of the Taiwan Strait dividing the sides, are a response to Pelosi’s visit.

China has ignored calls to calm the tensions, and there was no immediate indication of when it would end what amounts to a blockade.

On Monday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China would “firmly safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, resolutely deter the U.S. from containing China with the Taiwan issue and resolutely shatter the Taiwan authorities’ illusion of “relying on the U.S. for independence.”

Asked in Dover, Delaware, on Monday about China’s response to Pelosi’s visit, U.S. President Joe Biden said: “I’m not worried, but I’m concerned they’re moving as much as they are. But I don’t think they’re going to do anything more than they are.”

China’s slowing economic growth, which has reduced options among migrant workers as well as college graduates, has raised the specter of social unrest. The party has maintained its power through total control of the press and social media, along with suppression of political opponents, independent lawyers and activists working on issues from online free speech to LGBQT rights.

China doesn’t allow public opinion polls, and popular opinion is hard to judge. However, it generally skews in favor of the government and its efforts to restore China’s former dominant role in the region that puts it in conflict with the United States and its allies, including Japan and Australia.

Taiwan’s defense ministry said Sunday it detected a total of 66 aircraft and 14 warships conducting the naval and air exercises. The island has responded by putting its military on alert and deploying ships, planes and other assets to monitor Chinese aircraft, ships and drones that are “simulating attacks on the island of Taiwan and our ships at sea.”

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reported that Taiwan’s army will conduct live-fire artillery drills in southern Pingtung county on Tuesday and Thursday, in response to the Chinese exercises.

Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has called on the international community to “support democratic Taiwan” and “halt any escalation of the regional security situation.” The Group of Seven industrialized nations has also criticized China’s actions, prompting Beijing to cancel a meeting between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Japanese counterpart, Yoshimasa Hayashi.

China has cut off defense and climate talks with the U.S. and imposed sanctions on Pelosi in retaliation for her visit.

The Biden administration and Pelosi say the U.S. remains committed to the “one-China” policy that extends formal diplomatic recognition to Beijing while allowing robust informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

The U.S., however, criticized Beijing’s actions in the Taiwan Strait, with White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre calling them “fundamentally irresponsible.”

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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U.S. House Speaker Pelosi Arrives In Taiwan, Defying Beijing

Nancy Pelosi framed her visit as part of a mission when “the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.”

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi arrived in Taiwan late Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranking American official in 25 years to visit the self-ruled island claimed by China, which quickly announced that it would conduct military maneuvers in retaliation for her presence.

Pelosi flew in aboard a U.S. Air Force passenger jet and was greeted on the tarmac at Taipei’s international airport by Taiwan’s foreign minister and other Taiwanese and American officials. She posed for photos before her motorcade whisked her unseen into the parking garage of a hotel.

Her visit ratcheted up tension between China and the United States because China claims Taiwan as part of its territory, and it views visits by foreign government officials as recognition of the island’s sovereignty.

The Biden administration and Pelosi say the U.S. remains committed to the so-called one-China policy, which recognizes Beijing but allows informal relations and defense ties with Taipei.

The speaker framed the trip as part of a broader mission at a time when “the world faces a choice between autocracy and democracy.” Her visit comes after she led a congressional delegation to the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in the spring, and it serves as a capstone to her many years of promoting democracy abroad.

“We must stand by Taiwan,” she said in an opinion piece published by The Washington Post on her arrival in Taiwan. She cited the commitment that the U.S. made to a democratic Taiwan under a 1979 law. “It is essential that America and our allies make clear that we never give in to autocrats,” she wrote.

Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949, but China claims the island as its own territory and has not ruled out using military force to take it.

The Biden administration did not explicitly urge Pelosi to call off her plans; IT repeatedly and publicly assured Beijing that the visit did not signal any change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan.

Soon after Pelosi’s arrival, China announced a series of military operations and drills, which followed promises of “resolute and strong measures” if Pelosi went through with her visit.

The People’s Liberation Army said the maneuvers would take place in the waters and skies near Taiwan and include the firing of long-range ammunition in the Taiwan Strait.

“This action is a solemn deterrent against the recent major escalation of the negative actions of the United States on the Taiwan issue, and a serious warning to the ‘Taiwan independence’ forces seeking ‘independence.’”

China’s official Xinhua News said the army planned to conduct live-fire drills from Aug. 4 to Aug. 7 across multiple locations. An image released by the news agency indicated that the drills were to take place in six different areas in the waters surrounding Taiwan.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Washington’s betrayal “on the Taiwan issue is bankrupting its national credibility.”

“Some American politicians are playing with fire on the issue of Taiwan,” Wang said in a statement that referred to the U.S. as “the world’s biggest saboteur of peace.”

Back in the U.S., 26 Republican lawmakers issued a statement of rare bipartisan support for the Democratic speaker. The statement called trips by members of Congress to Taiwan routine.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell backed Pelosi’s visit as a display of support for Taiwan’s democracy and said any allegations that her itinerary was provocative were “utterly absurd.”

“I believe she has every right to go,” McConnell said in a Senate speech.

Senators are considering legislation to bolster Taiwan’s defense as direct response to China’s rhetoric. The Taiwan Policy Act, which has support from both parties, will be discussed Wednesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

The package would bolster Taiwan’s defense capabilities with nearly $4.5 billion in security assistance over the next four years and provide other support for Taiwan’s democratic government and civil society. The measure would also designate Taiwan as a “major non-NATO ally,” which opens the door to more security and trade benefits.

Backers call it the most comprehensive restructuring of U.S. policy toward Taiwan since the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979.

Pelosi’s trip was not officially announced ahead of time.

Barricades were erected outside the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Taipei. Journalists and onlookers thronged the streets just outside and pressed against the hotel’s lobby windows as they awaited Pelosi’s motorcade. Two buildings in the capital lit up LED displays with words of welcome, including the iconic Taipei 101 building, which said “Welcome to Taiwan, Speaker Pelosi.”

China has stepped up overflights and other provocative moves toward Taiwan and neighboring territory in recent years, asserting broad claims of its rights around the region.

China’s military threats have driven concerns about a new crisis in the 100-mile-wide Taiwan Strait that could roil global markets and supply chains.

The White House insisted that China had no valid cause for anger.

“The United States will not seek, and does not want, a crisis,” John Kirby, spokesman for the National Security Council, told a White House briefing Tuesday. “At the same time, we will not engage in saber-rattling.”

U.S. officials have said the American military will increase its movements in the Indo-Pacific region during Pelosi’s visit. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group were in the Philippine Sea on Monday, according to officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations.

The Reagan, the cruiser USS Antietam and the destroyer USS Higgins left Singapore after a port visit and moved north to their home port in Japan.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Defense Ministry said early Wednesday that China had sent 21 planes flying toward Taiwan, 18 of them fighter jets. The rest included an early warning plane and an electronic warfare plane.

Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to make the island’s decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step U.S. leaders say they don’t support. Pelosi, head of one of three branches of the U.S. government, is the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.

Pelosi’s aircraft, an Air Force version of the Boeing 737, took a roundabout route, flying east over Indonesia rather than directly over the South China Sea.

The speaker has long challenged China on human rights, including traveling to Tiananmen Square in 1991, two years after China crushed a wave of democracy protests.

In 2009, she hand-delivered a letter to then-President Hu Jintao calling for the release of political prisoners. She had sought to visit Taiwan’s island democracy earlier this year before testing positive for COVID-19.

China has been steadily ratcheting up diplomatic and military pressure on Taiwan. China cut off all contact with Taiwan’s government in 2016 after President Tsai Ing-wen refused to endorse its claim that the island and mainland together make up a single Chinese nation, with the communist regime in Beijing being the sole legitimate government.

Pelosi kicked off her Asian tour Monday in Singapore. She is to travel to Japan and South Korea later this week.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

Source: newsy.com

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EXCLUSIVE Chinese carrier sails through Taiwan Strait hours before Biden-Xi call -source, article with image

Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed China and Taiwan’s flags in this illustration taken January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

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TAIPEI, March 18 (Reuters) – A Chinese aircraft carrier sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Friday, Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said, just hours before the Chinese and U.S. presidents were due to talk.

China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has over the past two years stepped up its military activity near the island to assert its sovereignty claims, alarming Taipei and Washington.

A source with direct knowledge of the matter, who was not authorised to speak to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the carrier Shandong sailed close to the Taiwan-controlled island of Kinmen, which sits directly opposite the Chinese city of Xiamen.

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“Around 10:30 a.m. the CV-17 appeared around 30 nautical miles to the southwest of Kinmen, and was photographed by a passenger on a civilian flight,” the source said, referring to the Shandong’s official service number.

The USS Ralph Johnson, an Arleigh Burke guided missile destroyer, shadowed the carrier at least partly on its route. The Shandong did not have aircraft on its deck and sailed north through the strait, the source added.

Taiwan also sent warships to keep an eye on the situation, the source said.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry, in a brief statement, confirmed the passage of the Shandong but gave no details other than to say its forces have a “full grasp” of what China’s ships and aircraft do in the Taiwan Strait.

U.S. Navy spokesperson Lt. Mark Langford said the Ralph Johnson had “conducted a routine Taiwan Strait transit March 17 (local time) through international waters in accordance with international law”. He did not elaborate.

Chinese Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian referred questions to the Defence Ministry – which did not respond to a request for comment – but said the Shandong has a “routine training schedule”.

“We should not associate this with the communication between the heads of state of China and the United States. You may think it is too sensitive. What is sensitive is you, not the Taiwan Strait,” Zhao told reporters in Beijing.

‘PROVOCATIVE’ TIMING

The sailing happened about 12 hours before U.S. President Joe Biden is due to speak to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. read more

The source described the timing of the Shandong’s movement so close to that call as “provocative” and that it was unusual it sailed during daylight hours, with previous missions happening at night.

Last April, China’s navy said a carrier group, lead by the Liaoning, the country’s first aircraft carrier put into active service, was carrying out routine drills in the waters near Taiwan. read more

Taiwan is already in a heightened state of alert due to the Ukraine war, wary of China taking advantage of the situation to make a move of its own, though there have been no signs Beijing is about to mount any kind of military strike.

Lo Chih-cheng, a senior lawmaker from Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party called the Shandong’s transit a “very provocative message” when countries in the region are already alarmed by the war in Ukraine and hours before the Biden-Xi call.

“Tensions across the Taiwan Strait won’t rise sharply because of this, but it will likely cause neighbouring countries to raise their military alert level,” he told Reuters.

China says Taiwan is the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with the United States. Washington has no formal diplomatic ties with Taipei, but is Taiwan’s most important international backer and arms supplier.

Taiwan rejects China’s sovereignty claims and has repeatedly vows to defend its freedom and democracy.

Kuo Yu-jen, a security expert at Taiwan’s National Sun Yat-sen University, said the Shandong was likely to be on its way up to northern China for next month’s celebrations marking the founding of China’s navy.

“It was carrying no aircraft and had no frigates” accompanying, he added.

The Shandong is China’s newest aircraft carrier, commissioned in 2019.

In December 2019, shortly before presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan, it sailed through the Taiwan Strait, a move condemned by Taiwan as attempted intimidation.

Taiwan’s air force also scrambles aircraft almost daily to see off Chinese warplanes flying into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone, mostly to the southwestern part of the strait at the top end of the South China Sea.

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Reporting by Yimou Lee; Additional reporting by Ben Blanchard, and Martin Pollard in Beijing, editing by Gerry Doyle and Angus MacSwan

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U.S. warship transits sensitive Taiwan Strait

Chess pieces are seen in front of displayed China and Taiwan’s flags in this illustration taken January 25, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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TAIPEI, Feb 26 (Reuters) – A U.S. warship sailed through the sensitive Taiwan Strait on Saturday, part of what the U.S. military calls routine activity but which China described as “provocative”.

The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet said the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson was conducting a “routine” transit through international waters.

“The ship’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the United States’ commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” 7th Fleet spokesperson Nicholas Lingo said in a statement. “The United States military flies, sails, and operates anywhere international law allows.”

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The Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army monitored the passage, which a spokesperson in a statement called a “provocative act.”

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said the ship sailed in a northerly direction through the Strait, that its forces had monitored its passage and observed nothing out of the ordinary.

Taiwan is currently in a heightened state of alert due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, nervous that China may try to take advantage of the situation to make a move on the island though the government has reported no unusual Chinese manoeuvres.

Last year, U.S. naval ships transited the Strait roughly monthly. Saturday’s sailing was the first since November.

China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the past two years, provoking anger in Taipei.

Taiwan’s Defence Ministry said that on Saturday eight Chinese aircraft – six fighters and two anti-submarine aircraft – flew into its ADIZ, to the northeast of the Taiwan-controlled Pratas Islands at the top end of the South China Sea.

Beijing calls Taiwan the most sensitive and important issue in its relations with Washington.

Like most countries, the United States has no formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan but is its most important international backer and arms supplier.

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Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Tony Munroe in Beijing
Editing by Sam Holmes and Mark Potter

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Super Typhoon Rai Hits the Philippines

MANILA — Typhoon Rai slammed into the southeastern part of the Philippines on Thursday, bringing heavy rains and flooding that displaced thousands over a large area.

The typhoon, the 15th major weather disturbance to hit the country this year, intensified rapidly in the morning and was classified as a super typhoon, with sustained winds of 120 miles per hour near the center and gusts of up to 168 miles per hour. The designation is similar to a Category 5 hurricane in the United States.

The Coast Guard said the situation in the south was dire, with rescuers reporting taking a baby to safety using a plastic basin. They also used rubber boats to ferry people to safety, as the waters quickly rose in Cagayan de Oro, a city of 730,000 on Mindanao Island that is bisected by a major river system.

The Office of Civil Defense in Manila said that nearly 100,000 people in several regions had been moved to safer ground. There were no immediate reports of casualties, but communications were disrupted in many areas, making it hard to immediately assess the situation.

Haiyan in 2013, which left more than 6,500 people dead or missing.

Gov. Arthur Yap of Bohol Province said officials had also pre-emptively evacuated residents from low-lying areas that were usually flooded during typhoons.

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As China’s Communist Party Turns 100, Xi Warns It Will Not Be Bullied

China’s rise is unstoppable, Xi Jinping declared. The country will not be lectured. And those who try to block its ascent will hit a “Great Wall of steel.”

Mr. Xi, the most powerful Chinese leader in generations, delivered the defiant message in a speech in Beijing on Thursday that celebrated 100 years of the Chinese Communist Party.

The speech was laden with symbols intended to show that China and its ruling party would not tolerate foreign obstruction on the country’s path to becoming a superpower. The event’s pageantry symbolized a powerful nation firmly, yet comfortably, in control: A crowd of 70,000 people waved flags, sang and cheered in unison. Troops marched and jets flew overhead in perfect formations. And each time Mr. Xi made a pugnacious comment, the crowd applauded and roared approval.

At times, Mr. Xi’s strident words seemed aimed as much at Washington as at the hundreds of millions of Chinese who watched on their televisions. The biggest applause from the handpicked, Covid-screened audience on Tiananmen Square came when he declared that China would not be pushed around.

transformative leader guiding China into a new era of global strength and rejuvenated one-party rule. And the stagecraft was focused on conveying a modern, powerful nation largely at ease while much of the world still struggles with the pandemic.

He trumpeted the party’s success in tamping down Covid-19, reducing poverty and firmly quashing dissent in Hong Kong, the former British colony. With splashes of bellicose rhetoric, he dismissed challenges from abroad, asserting that Beijing had little appetite for what it saw as sanctimonious preaching.

China’s tensions with the United States and other rivals. But his effort to portray unity carried an unmistakable meaning as Beijing faces new challenges abroad.

The Biden administration has cast the United States as leading a global struggle to defend democratic ideals against the spread of China’s model of authoritarianism. President Biden has worked quickly to rally Western allies to press China over human rights and tensions in the South China Sea. Beijing has been especially incensed by Western sanctions over Hong Kong and the western region of Xinjiang, two places where Mr. Xi has tightened the party’s control with draconian measures.

“His speech clearly hinted at the United States, the audience in China won’t miss that,” Deng Yuwen, a former editor of a Communist Party newspaper who now lives in the United States, said by telephone. “His other message that stood out was that the party is the representative of the people’s and the whole country’s interests — nobody can try to split the party from the nation; they’re a unified whole.”

The theme of a party and nation united behind Mr. Xi will remain prominent in the lead-up to a Communist Party congress late next year, at which he is expected to gain a third five-year term as the party’s leader. That step would break with the expectation, set by his predecessor, Hu Jintao, that Chinese leaders stay in power for two terms. Mr. Xi’s speech will now be studied and acclaimed by party officials as part of the rituals that ensure they stay obedient.

historic sites to pay homage to the party’s revolutionary leaders. It has tightened security around the country, confining dissidents and stationing police officers and neighborhood volunteers to keep watch across the capital for weeks.

Alleys and overpasses in Beijing have been decked in red party banners. Chinese state television is scheduled to show more than a hundred television dramas celebrating the party, many of them depictions of revolutionary heroes. A light show on the riverfront in Shanghai has flashed the slogan, “There would be no new China without the Communist Party.” Another light display shone the Communist hammer and sickle onto clouds over Shenzhen, a flashily commercial city in the south.

Beijing’s intensive preparations for this anniversary pointed to how crucial controlling public memory is to China’s leaders, perhaps above all Mr. Xi, a leader who has cited his family roots in the party’s revolutionary heritage and his disdain for liberal values. Predictably, he made no mention in his speech of China’s setbacks over the decades of Communist Party rule, such as Mao’s Cultural Revolution and the deadly crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests in 1989.

many signals were missed.

  • One Year Later in Hong Kong: Neighbors are urged to report on one another. Children are taught to look for traitors. The Communist Party is remaking the city.
  • Mapping Out China’s Post-Covid Path: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is seeking to balance confidence and caution as his country strides ahead while other places continue to grapple with the pandemic.
  • A Challenge to U.S. Global Leadership: As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side.
  • ‘Red Tourism’ Flourishes: New and improved attractions dedicated to the Communist Party’s history, or a sanitized version of it, are drawing crowds ahead of the party’s centennial.
  • Mr. Xi paid respects to Mao, Deng and other past leaders, but the real focus of his speech was clear. He highlighted the country’s achievements since he took office in 2012: eradicating poverty, achieving greater economic prosperity and building a strong military. He used his longtime catchphrase, “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation,” 21 times.

    95 million members of the Communist Party of China are found in every corner of society, from one of the country’s richest men, Jack Ma, to virtually every village. And Mr. Xi swiped at critics who have said that the party and the Chinese people should not be treated as a united whole.

    senior officer had said earlier that military personnel would stay at their posts to “safeguard the peace and security of the motherland.” Still, squadrons of helicopters flew over Tiananmen Square, carrying red banners and forming the figure 100, followed by fighter jets in a perfect array. Mr. Xi repeatedly stressed his determination to build up China’s military.

    China suppressed the coronavirus relatively quickly last year while the United States, Britain and other democracies suffered waves of deaths. But the country must tackle challenges, such as an aging population that could slow growth. Mr. Xi suggested that the solution to any problem demanded staying with the party.

    “Long live the Chinese Communist Party, great, glorious and correct,” he said at the end of his speech. “Long live the Chinese people, great, glorious and heroic.”

    Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting. Liu Yi, You Li, Claire Fu, Albee Zhang and Joy Dong contributed research.

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    Hong Kong’s Security Law: One Year Later, a City Remade

    HONG KONG — With each passing day, the boundary between Hong Kong and the rest of China fades faster.

    The Chinese Communist Party is remaking this city, permeating its once vibrant, irreverent character with ever more overt signs of its authoritarian will. The very texture of daily life is under assault as Beijing molds Hong Kong into something more familiar, more docile.

    Residents now swarm police hotlines with reports about disloyal neighbors or colleagues. Teachers have been told to imbue students with patriotic fervor through 48-volume book sets called “My Home Is in China.” Public libraries have removed dozens of books from circulation, including one about the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela.

    when antigovernment protests erupted.

    Now, armed with the expansive national security law it imposed on the city one year ago, Beijing is pushing to turn Hong Kong into another of its mainland megacities: economic engines where dissent is immediately smothered.

    goose-step in the Chinese military fashion, replacing decades of British-style marching. City leaders regularly denounce “external elements” bent on undermining the country’s stability.

    Senior officials in Hong Kong have assembled, right hands raised, to pledge fealty to the country, just as mainland bureaucrats are regularly called on to “biao tai,” Mandarin for “declaring your stance.”

    also warn of termination or other vague consequences if violated. Mr. Li had heard some supervisors nagging his colleagues to fill out the form right away, he said, and employees competing to say how quickly they had complied.

    “The rules that were to protect everyone — as employees and also as citizens — are being weakened,” Mr. Li said.

    purge candidates it deemed disloyal, Beijing called the change “perfecting Hong Kong’s electoral system.” When Apple Daily, a major pro-democracy newspaper, was forced to close after the police arrested its top executives, the party said the publication had abused “so-called freedom of the press.” When dozens of opposition politicians organized an informal election primary, Chinese officials accused them of subversion and arrested them.

    helped lead an operation that smuggled students and academics out of the mainland.

    But Beijing is more sophisticated now than in 1989, Mr. Chan said. It had cowed Hong Kong even without sending in troops; that demanded respect.

    end of an era.

    The rush of mainland money has brought some new conditions.

    declaring that those who do not go risk missing opportunities.

    Growing up in Hong Kong, Toby Wong, 23, had never considered working on the mainland. Her mother came from the mainland decades earlier for work. Salaries there were considerably lower.

    promising to subsidize nearly $1,300 of a $2,300 monthly wage — higher than that of many entry-level positions at home. A high-speed rail between the two cities meant she could return on weekends to see her mother, whom Ms. Wong must financially support.

    Ms. Wong applied to two Chinese technology companies.

    “This isn’t a political question,” she said. “It’s a practical question.”

    many signals were missed.

  • Mapping Out China’s Post-Covid Path: Xi Jinping, China’s leader, is seeking to balance confidence and caution as his country strides ahead while other places continue to grapple with the pandemic.
  • A Challenge to U.S. Global Leadership: As President Biden predicts a struggle between democracies and their opponents, Beijing is eager to champion the other side.
  • ‘Red Tourism’ Flourishes: New and improved attractions dedicated to the Communist Party’s history, or a sanitized version of it, are drawing crowds ahead of the party’s centennial.
  • The Hong Kong government has issued hundreds of pages of new curriculum guidelines designed to instill “affection for the Chinese people.” Geography classes must affirm China’s control over disputed areas of the South China Sea. Students as young as 6 will learn the offenses under the security law.

    Lo Kit Ling, who teaches a high school civics course, is now careful to say only positive things about China in class. While she had always tried to offer multiple perspectives on any topic, she said, she worries that a critical view could be quoted out of context by a student or parent.

    accused it of poisoning Hong Kong’s youth. The course had encouraged students to analyze China critically, teaching the country’s economic successes alongside topics such as the Tiananmen Square crackdown.

    Officials have ordered the subject replaced with a truncated version that emphasizes the positive.

    “It’s not teaching,” Ms. Lo said. “It’s just like a kind of brainwashing.” She will teach an elective on hospitality studies instead.

    Schoolchildren are not the only ones being asked to watch for dissent. In November, the Hong Kong police opened a hotline for reporting suspected violations of the security law. An official recently applauded residents for leaving more than 100,000 messages in six months. This week, the police arrested a 37-year-old man and accused him of sedition, after receiving reports that stickers pasted on the gate of an apartment unit potentially violated the security law.

    most effective tools of social control on the mainland. It is designed to deter people like Johnny Yui Siu Lau, a radio host in Hong Kong, from being quite so free in his criticisms of China.

    Mr. Lau said a producer recently told him that a listener had reported him to the broadcast authority.

    “It will be a competition or a struggle, how the Hong Kong people can protect the freedom of speech,” Mr. Lau said.

    censor films deemed a danger to national security. Some officials have demanded that artwork by dissidents like Ai Weiwei be barred from museums.

    Still, Hong Kong is not yet just another mainland metropolis. Residents have proved fiercely unwilling to relinquish freedom, and some have rushed to preserve totems of a discrete Hong Kong identity.

    font of hope and pride amid a resurgence in interest in Canto-pop.

    Last summer, Herbert Chow, who owns Chickeeduck, a children’s clothing chain, installed a seven-foot figurine of a protester — a woman wearing a gas mask and thrusting a protest flag — and other protest art in his stores.

    But Mr. Chow, 57, has come under pressure from his landlords, several of whom have refused to renew his leases. There were 13 Chickeeduck stores in Hong Kong last year; now there are five. He said he was uncertain how long his city could keep resisting Beijing’s inroads.

    “Fear — it can make you stronger, because you don’t want to live under fear,” he said. Or “it can kill your desire to fight.”

    Joy Dong contributed research.

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    John Cena Apologizes to China for Calling Taiwan a Country

    John Cena, the professional wrestler and a star of “F9,” the latest installment in the “Fast and Furious” franchise, apologized to fans in China on Tuesday after he referred to Taiwan as a country while giving a promotional interview.

    Joining a long list of celebrities and companies that have profusely apologized after taking an errant step through China’s political minefields, Mr. Cena posted a video apology in Mandarin on Weibo, a Chinese social network.

    Beijing considers Taiwan, a self-ruled democratic island, to be a breakaway province and claims it as part of China. Referring to it as a country is often an offensive assertion in China, where matters of sovereignty and territory are passionate issues driven by a strong sense of nationalism.

    Mr. Cena apologized for a statement he made in an interview with the Taiwanese broadcaster TVBS. In it, he told the reporter in Mandarin, “Taiwan is the first country that can watch” the film.

    Xinjiang, pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong or the status of Taiwan and Tibet.

    a fierce backlash when Daryl Morey, then the general manager of the Houston Rockets, tweeted in support of the Hong Kong protests in 2019. (LeBron James, one of basketball’s biggest stars, offered a China-friendly response, saying Mr. Morey “wasn’t educated on the situation at hand” by supporting the protesters.)

    Movie studios often preemptively ensure their content won’t run afoul of Chinese censors, a practice once mocked by “South Park.”

    But quite often, the political problems arise in cases where a company appeared to have no idea it was accidentally crossing a line.

    That list would include Gap, which in 2018 created a T-shirt that omitted Taiwan, parts of Tibet and islands in the South China Sea from a map of China on the shirt’s design. The luxury brands Versace, Givenchy and Coach said in 2019 they all made mistakes when they produced T-shirts that identified Hong Kong and Macau as countries.

    “Versace reiterates that we love China deeply, and resolutely respect China’s territory and national sovereignty,” the company said in a statement at the time.

    China ordered 36 airlines to remove references to Taiwan, Macau and Hong Kong as separate countries on their websites in 2018, a step the Trump administration dismissed as “Orwellian nonsense.”

    That year, Marriott clarified on its Weibo account that it “will absolutely not support any separatist organization that will undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” after a customer survey listed the territories as separate countries.

    Mercedes-Benz Instagram account quoted the Dalai Lama, whom many in China view as a dangerous separatist advocating Tibetan independence.

    The release of “F9” was delayed for a year during the coronavirus pandemic. It drew an estimated $162 million in tickets in eight international markets, including China and South Korea, over the weekend. As the newest film in a hugely successful series, “F9” is seen by Hollywood as the kind of blockbuster needed to draw people back to theaters.

    Amy Chang Chien contributed reporting from Taipei, and Claire Fu from Beijing.

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    In the Russian Arctic, the First Stirrings of a Very Cold War

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    FRANZ JOSEF LAND, Russia — Chunky green trucks carry Bastion anti-ship missiles that can be prepared for launch in just five minutes. A barracks building, sealed off from the elements like a space station, accommodates 150 or so soldiers. And a new runway can handle fighter jets, two of which recently buzzed the North Pole.

    Franz Josef Land, a jumble of glacier-covered islands in the Arctic Ocean named after a Austro-Hungarian emperor, was until a few years ago mostly uninhabited, home to polar bears, walruses, sea birds and little else. But thanks to a warming climate, all that is changing, and quickly.

    Nowhere on Earth has climate change been so pronounced as in the polar regions. The warming has led to drastic reductions in sea ice, opening up the Arctic to ships during the summer months and exposing Russia to new security threats.

    Arctic Council, a diplomatic club of nations, including the United States, that share interests in the region.

    National Snow and Ice Data Center said last year. The ocean has lost nearly a million square miles of ice and is expected to be mostly ice-free in the summertime, including at the North Pole, by around the middle of the century.

    wrote of Russia’s problem of disappearing ice.

    Lt. Col. Balabeg A. Eminov is the commander of the anti-ship battery and other facilities on Franz Josef Land, called the Trefoil Base. “The main question in the Arctic is the limited accessibility for ships, because of ice,” he said. “Now the area of open water is increasing, and with it the area for ship activity.”

    published last year. The latest U.S. military strategy for the Arctic, published in 2019, refers euphemistically to vanishing ice as the “changing physical environment.”

    father of the Russian Navy, and oil paintings of sailing ships in battle.

    Moored at its base in Murmansk Fjord, the Peter the Great was also visited by flocks of sea gulls, which flapped around its gray-painted radar masts and over the 20 launch tubes for anti-ship missiles. Sailors with side arms stood watch by the gangplank, seemingly oblivious to the cold rain lashing their faces.

    Elsewhere in Murmansk Fjord, and not shown to reporters, is another dimension of the Russian military buildup: a secretive program to train seals and beluga whales for as-yet unknown missions. Satellite images have revealed their sea pens at a special operations site. Two years ago, a trained beluga wearing a mysterious harness, possibly an escapee, turned up in Norway and was nicknamed Whaldimir.

    posted the footage online. The United States this month sailed the U.S.S. New Mexico, a Virginia-class submarine, into Tromso, Norway, for a rare call at a civilian port.

    In the same vein, the tour for foreign journalists to some of Russia’s most remote and secretive military facilities in the Arctic Ocean seemed intended to highlight the country’s capabilities.

    “Inviting journalists to come look at these modernized, reinvigorated Cold War sites is all about signaling,” said Marisol Maddox, an Arctic analyst at the Polar Institute of the Woodrow Wilson Center, a research organization in Washington.

    Russia, she said, wants to keep up its “strongman persona” in an era of climate change.

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