China pushes its economic leverage
The rise of China and its impact on economies all over the world isn’t a new story, but this overview in the New York Times is worth reading. The tone is one of looking at the downside of China’s economic empire and the unwillingness of desperate partners like European nations to assert themselves. But there is an upside, as China can provide much needed capital to struggling countries, and this also gives China a huge stake in stability around the world. There are certainly concerns on issues like the environment and human rights, but one needs to look at the big picture as well. Fortunately, President Obama’s foreign policy is aimed at engaging but also containing China, and he has been willing to use our own leverage in this relationship.
More Apple audits in China
Apple is ramping up audits of factories in China.
Apple has told a prominent Chinese environmental activist that it will soon launch independent environmental audits of at least two suppliers’ factories in China, the activist said.
The audits come as Apple faces mounting criticism about toxic pollution and factory injuries at overseas suppliers’ factories. The environmental reviews would be separate from an independent probe of working conditions at the China factories of Apple suppliers, including Foxconn Technology, that began last week.
Ma Jun, founder of The Institute of Environmental and Public Affairs, told USA TODAY Monday in a phone interview that Apple agreed to the independent audits in late January in response to two reports that IPE and other environmental groups released last year documenting hazardous waste leaks and the use of toxic chemicals at suspected Apple suppliers.
Apple’s image has taken a beating with the problems at Foxconn, so let’s see if this is a new trend.
Posted in: Economy, Human Rights, Labor, Manufacturing, U.S. Relations
Tags: Apple, Apple audits, China factories, Chinese factories, Foxconn audits, Foxconn problems, Foxconn Technology
China bars two human rights activists from travel
China is at it again . . .
Two prominent legal advocates bound for an international law conference in London were blocked from leaving China on Tuesday on vague charges that their departure might endanger national security, the two men said.
Although the men, Mo Shaoping and He Weifang, said that while they were not given explicit reasons for why they were barred from their flight, they suspected that the government feared they would try to attend the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo next month to the Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.
China blocks access to social media following riots
The censorship and repression continues. How long can the Chinese government keep this up? Every time they do something like this they chip away at their own legitimacy.
Following last weekend’s deadly riots in its western region of Xinjiang, China’s central government has taken all the usual steps to block citizens from accessing foreign web services: aside from crippling Internet service in general, the authorities have blocked Twitter, removed unapproved references to the violence from search engines and has now apparently moved to bar its citizens from accessing Facebook from most parts of Mainland China just now. Two weeks ago, the government had already blocked just about every Google service, including communication tools like Gmail, Google Apps and Google Talk.
Calls for the release of political activist Liu Xiaobo
While we see the rise of a fascist state in Iran, we are that the Chinese still have few political rights.
Dozens of prominent Chinese academics have signed a petition calling for the release of veteran political activist Liu Xiaobo.
They say his arrest shows that no one in China has the right to publicly express their opinions.
Mr Liu was formally arrested on Tuesday – more than six months after he was detained by the authorities.
He has been charged with inciting subversion by spreading rumours and defaming the government.
Mr Liu, who is a writer, has spent more than two decades pushing for political reforms in China.