For decades, Washington’s ‘One China’ policy has been a bedrock for Sino-US relations. But what exactly does the policy entail? #OneChina #Taiwan #USChina
Journalism: Drifting Dangerously
A picture speaks a thousand words. The image of rescuers retrieving Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh’s motionless body – perhaps lifeless too at that point of time – from the homicide site in occupied West Bank’s Jenin does point to an alarming truth. Journalism has become the most dangerous profession in the world today, with practitioners – labelled as “soft targets” – being widely considered as fair game. From gunmen, both State authorized and proscribed, to propagators of jingoistic politics, everybody seems to have developed a penchant for targeting journalists.
Who can forget Czech President Milos Zeman brandishing a replica of an AK-47, with “for journalists” inscribed in it, in a press conference? Early last year political protestors scratched “murder the media” on the door of the US Capitol – the seat of American democracy, and six months later, in July, members of Afghanistan’s Taliban militia brutally executed on-duty Pulitzer award-winning Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui, holed up in a Mosque to evade heavy gunfight during an assignment. Like Shireen, Danish too was in his press vest. Ironically, this was supposed to be the century of the media, and yet we ended up having a dangerous ecosystem where news gatherers are frequently turning into news themselves.
The UN reported fifty-five journalists and media professionals casualty last year, with nearly nine in ten killings since 2006 still remaining unresolved. “Far too many journalists paid the ultimate price to bring truth to light” lamented UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. She underscored the dire need of independent, factual information in a conflict-ridden world more than ever before.
Despite the UNESCO chief’s concern over systematic targeting of journalists, for the UN and western world in general, Shireen is just another number in the list of victims who perished while contributing to freedom of expression, promotion of democracy and ushering of peace in these turbulent times. Her sacrifice will be remembered, the calculated risk she took to disseminate truth will be applauded, but her death will remain a collateral casualty – mortality from occupational hazards to be precise. Israel’s aversion to a criminal investigation into Shireen’s death lay bare the duplicity of the West, paying lip service to the call for closure. As Danish’s family learnt the hard way, while fighting a legal battle in the International Criminal Court, justice for these crusaders will not come easy. After all, we live in a world where destructive rhetoric has taken a toll on people’s ability to emotionally relate to the pains of fellow humans.
I do not know if Shireen and Danish knew each other, but both flew on the wings of honest truth-telling to try and shape the narrative and discourage society from travelling along a dead-end path to nowhere. Their zeal for capturing the underlying messages of life was unparalleled, and they excelled in it too. Shireen covered the harsh realities of occupied life with meticulous dedication. She never deviated from revealing the human cost of occupation. Countless statistics, faceless people, heart wrenching stories of separation found place in Shireen’s reporting. Helpless parents struggling to ensure children’s treatment for want of special permit, individuals prevented from attending relatives’ funeral, mothers giving birth at check point, students missing examination and scholarship, patients losing the fight for life due to travel restrictions – innumerable stories of tragedy and personal losses from the embattled Palestinian territory continues to evoke strong emotion. Shireen documented such anguish without losing objectivity – never allowing her Palestinian identity to overshadow the journalistic instinct and etiquettes, which made her a public icon. A beacon to the rookie scribes back home, her narrative remained inextricably linked to that stuffy experience of growing up in a territory which is prison-like in ambience. Shireen’s brush with death during earlier assignments remains a testimony to the dangerous working conditions of Palestinian journalists and their grit as well.
The intense urge to be the voice of the voiceless, who are deliberately silenced and remain unheard, made journalists like Shireen take risk time and again while reporting on the Gaza wars, Intifada, enforced eviction from homes, indiscriminate killings of Palestinian youths, detention without charge and continuous expansion of Jewish settlements in Palestinian territory. In her death, Shireen eventually succeeded in bringing back the focus of the world to the necessity of a quicker political settlement to the Palestine issue so that no more talents are sacrificed in such a gruesome manner.
Danish, too, used his lens to create instant visual imprints on the human brain, concerning events happening around us that shake societal conscience, and in the process ruffled too many feathers. His pandemic photographs, the controversial Citizenship Act protest images from the heart of the Indian capital or that famous snap of frenzied mob beating a Muslim man ruthlessly during the 2020 Delhi riots, which shed light on the entrenched Islamophobia in society, enraged the Hindu right wing forces in India. Danish was on the hit list of majoritarian fanatics, but escaped fatality, only to fall into Taliban’s hands eventually.
Danish, like Shireen, might have been a victim of targeted killing, but both were consumed by hate, which blurs our vision and detaches us from sanity and rational thinking. Taliban guerrillas not only pumped bullets into Danish’s chest indiscriminately but also ran him over to mutilate the body further. Incidentally, methodical demonization of journalism through name calling has heightened risk factors and led to plummeting of trust in recent times. As journalists are frequently hunted down and murdered in cold blood for disseminating awkward facts, one wonders, what is the remedy to this ailment? To bring a perceptible change in the situation and reverse this dangerous trend, there is a need for greater awareness and stronger public defence of journalism’s true value for society. That can only happen when journalists do not shy away from telling their own stories of harassment to the world aggressively. Besides, judicial activism can help prosecute attacks against journalists.
We lose dozens of Shireen and Danish regularly. Is there an effective answer to such criminal assault on an essential pillar of democracy? Can the formation of an UN mandated high-powered investigation committee, to resolve those hundreds of cold cases of journalists killed for doing their job honestly, act as a deterrent? Three more reporters were killed around the world along with Shireen in the second week of May. It is an authoritarian world that we live in where even practicing democracies rely on subtle constitutional censorship to muzzle the press. Only legal retribution can send a stern message that the work and life of a journalist is priceless. The big question is, who will bell the cat to protect independent journalism and bring closure to the families of the dead?
Global Security Initiative – China’s initiative to reshape global security through peace and dialogue.
While delivering the keynote speech at the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022, President Xi Jinping announced what could potentially be the biggest initiative by China since the launching of its successful Belt and Road Initiative. In his speech, President Xi Jinping proposed the formation of a global Security Initiative.
In his speech President Xi Jinping noted that security was a paramount precondition for development and that humanity was living in an indivisible security community. He further elaborated that the Cold War mentality, hegemonism, power politics and bloc confrontations would only further exacerbate the security challenges currently faced by the world nations.
While explicit details on the exact nature of the Global Security Initiative were not revealed, President Xi Jinping did highlight on six fundamentals of the Global Security Initiative.
- Commitment to a vision of a common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security.
- Commitment to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by the people in different countries.
- Commitment to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN charter, reject Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and saying no to group politics and bloc confrontations.
- Commitment to taking the security concerns of all countries seriously and uphold the indivisible security, build a balanced, effective sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s security at the cost of others.
- Commitment to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction.
- Commitment to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.
Notably, the six proposals outlined by President Xi Jinping is in line with China’s existing Foreign Policy and President Xi Jinping’s now signature “Xiplomacy” which advocates and highly emphasizes on resolving disputes through dialogue, respecting the sovereignty and choices of individual nations and rejecting hegemonism, unilateral sanctions and long arm-jurisdiction, and provocative behavior behind groups.
The proposed Global Security Initiative also coincides with a time when the world is facing uncertainty due to rising conflicts around the world including the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Israel-Palestine conflict which has been further exacerbated due to the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Xi Jining’s proposal was further elaborated by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on 21st April 2022 when he clarified that the initiative is the respond to the “urgent need of the international community to maintain world peace and prevent conflict and war.”.
He also stated that the world was facing divisiveness fueled by few countries which still cling on to Cold War mentality and engage in unilateralism and hegemony under the pretext of multilateralism and democracy.
He further stated that the Global Security Initiative will seek to address the global need for recovery as the world steps into the post-pandemic era where inflation is rising and the world will likely face crises pertaining to food security, energy and trade.
He further noted that regardless of the situation, “China will never claim hegemony, expansion, seek spheres of influence, or engage in an arms race. China will always be committed to guarding world peace and tranquility,”.
From the onset it is evident that unlike other security alliances, the Global Security Initiative seeks to protect territorial integrity of nations, protect the choices of their people, prevent foreign sabotages to the scientific and economic progresses of nations and as evident by the comments by both President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, the Global Security Initiative will emphasize on pursuing peace through dialogue and cooperation.
While analysts speculate that the Global Security Initiative is China’s offer to counter the decades old unilateral hegemonic security pacts designed by the West, it is evident that unlike other alliances such as NATO and AUKUS, China will not be propagating unilateralism or hegemonism through the Global Security Initiative.
But to the contrary, China will be designing a global security order which emphasizes on the sovereignty, security, rights and choices of individual countries. This was also noted by Foreign Minister Wang Yi who highlighted that China is the only nation in the world with “adherence to the path of peaceful development” in its Constitution, and the only one of the five nuclear-weapon states that has pledged not to be the first to use nuclear weapons, signifying its commitment to peace. While further details on the initiative are yet to be revealed, it is expected that similar to the Belt and Road Initiative, many countries will flock to join the new security order as form the onset it is evident that China will be implementing the Global Security Initiative with the transparency on its goal of creating a new global security order based on dialogue and peace.
Full Text: Chinese President Xi Jinping’s keynote speech at the opening ceremony of BFA annual conference 2022
Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech via video at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Annual Conference 2022 on Thursday.
Following is the full text of the speech:
Rising to Challenges and Building a Bright Future Through Cooperation
Keynote Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People’s Republic of China
At the Opening Ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022
Beijing, 21 April 2022
Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,
Your Excellencies Heads of International Organizations,
Your Excellencies Members of the Board of Directors of the Boao Forum for Asia,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to once again join friends old and new online for the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2022. I want to begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and people and also in my own name, hearty welcome to all participating guests and warm congratulations on the convening of the Annual Conference.
Right now, changes of the world, of our times and of history are unfolding in ways like never before. These changes are posing challenges that must be taken seriously by humanity. We have yet to walk from the shadow of a once-in-a-century pandemic, but new traditional security risks are already emerging. The weak and faltering global economic recovery is compounded by a widening development gap. While governance deficit in areas like climate change has hardly been addressed, new issues such as digital governance are also vying for attention. Viewed in such a context, the theme of this year’s Annual Conference “The World in COVID-19 & Beyond: Working Together for Global Development and Shared Future” cannot be more relevant.
As an ancient Chinese adage goes, “One must not change his commitment or give up his pursuit even in the face of danger and risk.” A review of human history teaches us that the more difficult things get, the greater the need grows to stay confident. Problems are not to be afraid of, as it is one problem after another that have driven the progress of human society. No difficulties could ever stop the wheel of history. Faced with the many challenges, we must not lose confidence, hesitate or flinch. Instead, we must firm up confidence and press ahead against all odds.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
For us to break through the mist and embrace a bright future, the biggest strength comes from cooperation and the most effective way is through solidarity. Over the past two years and more, the international community has been working extremely hard to respond to the COVID-19 challenge and boost global recovery and development. The hardships and challenges are yet another reminder that humanity is a community with a shared future where all people rise and fall together, and that all countries need to follow the trend of the times featuring peace, development and win-win cooperation, move in the direction of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and rise to challenges and build a bright future through cooperation.
— We need to work together to defend people’s lives and health. Safety and health are the prerequisite for human development and progress. For humanity to clinch a final victory against the COVID-19 pandemic, more hard efforts are needed. It is essential that countries support each other, better coordinate response measures and improve global public health governance, so as to form strong international synergy against the pandemic. We must keep COVID vaccines a global public good and ensure their accessibility and affordability in developing countries. China has provided over 2.1 billion doses of vaccines to more than 120 countries and international organizations. Be it in delivering vaccines abroad or producing them overseas, China has honored its commitments with concrete actions. China will follow through the pledged donation of 600 million and 150 million doses of vaccines to Africa and ASEAN countries respectively, as part of our effort to close the immunization gap.
— We need to work together to promote economic recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously eroded the gains the world has made in poverty reduction over the past decade. Uneven recovery is aggravating inequality across the world, further widening the North-South divide. We should stay committed to building an open world economy, stay on top of the dominant trend of economic globalization, increase macro policy coordination, turn to science and technology for more growth drivers, keep global industrial and supply chains stable, and prevent serious negative spillovers from policy adjustments in some countries, all in an effort to promote balanced, coordinated and inclusive global development. We should follow a people-centered approach, place development and people’s well-being high on the agenda and, when policies are implemented, measures adopted and actions taken, always give top priority to bettering people’s lives. We should pay due attention to the pressing needs of developing countries and advance practical cooperation in such key areas as poverty reduction, food security, development financing and industrialization, in a bid to address uneven and inadequate development. The Global Development Initiative (GDI) I proposed last year has been echoed and supported by the United Nations and other international organizations and nearly 100 countries. China is working with the international community on the solid implementation of the GDI.
— We need to work together to maintain peace and stability in the world. An ancient Chinese philosopher observed, “Stability brings a country prosperity while instability leads a country to poverty.” Security is the precondition for development. We humanity are living in an indivisible security community. It has been proven time and again that the Cold War mentality would only wreck the global peace framework, that hegemonism and power politics would only endanger world peace, and that bloc confrontation would only exacerbate security challenges in the 21st century. To promote security for all in the world, China would like to propose a Global Security Initiative as follows:
It is important that we stay committed to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work together to maintain world peace and security; stay committed to respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries, uphold non-interference in internal affairs, and respect the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by people in different countries; stay committed to abiding by the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation; stay committed to taking the legitimate security concerns of all countries seriously, uphold the principle of indivisible security, build a balanced, effective and sustainable security architecture, and oppose the pursuit of one’s own security at the cost of others’ security; stay committed to peacefully resolving differences and disputes between countries through dialogue and consultation, support all efforts conducive to the peaceful settlement of crises, reject double standards, and oppose the wanton use of unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction; stay committed to maintaining security in both traditional and non-traditional domains, and work together on regional disputes and global challenges such as terrorism, climate change, cybersecurity and biosecurity.
— We need to work together to tackle global governance challenges. Countries around the world are like passengers aboard the same ship who share the same destiny. For the ship to navigate the storm and sail toward a bright future, all passengers must pull together. The thought of throwing anyone overboard is simply not acceptable. In this day and age, the international community has evolved so much that it has become a sophisticated and integrated apparatus. Acts to remove any single part will cause serious problems to its operation. When that happens, both the victims and the initiators of such acts will stand to lose. In today’s world, unilateralism and excessive pursuit of self-interest are doomed to fail; so are the practices of decoupling, supply disruption and maximum pressure; so are the attempts to forge “small circles” or to stoke conflict and confrontation along ideological lines. Instead, we need to embrace a global governance philosophy that emphasizes extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, promote the common values of humanity, and advocate exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations. We need to uphold true multilateralism, and firmly safeguard the international system with the UN at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. It is particularly important for major countries to lead by example in honoring equality, cooperation, good faith and the rule of law, and act in a way befitting their status.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Having been through hot and cold wars, hardships and tribulations, people in Asia deeply cherish the value of peace and understand that development gains do not come easily. Over the past decades, Asia has enjoyed overall stability and sustained rapid growth, making possible the Asian Miracle. When Asia fares well, the whole world benefits. Therefore, we need to continue developing and strengthening Asia, demonstrate Asia’s resilience, wisdom and strength, and make Asia an anchor for world peace, a powerhouse for global growth and a new pacesetter for international cooperation.
First, we should resolutely safeguard peace in Asia. Peace and stability in our region does not fall into our lap automatically or come as charity from any country. Rather, it is the result of the joint efforts of countries in the region. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the Bandung Spirit, first advocated by Asia, are all the more relevant today. We should honor such principles as mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence, follow a policy of good-neighborliness and friendship, and make sure that we always keep our future in our own hands.
Second, we should vigorously advance Asian cooperation. Many Asian proverbs describe the value of solidarity and cooperation, such as “climb the hill together and go down the ravine together” and “sugarcane and lemongrass grow in dense clumps”. Win-win cooperation is a sure path to Asian development. The entry into force of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the opening to traffic of the China-Laos railway have effectively boosted institutional and physical connectivity in our region. We should seize these opportunities to foster a more open Asia-wide market and make new strides in mutually beneficial cooperation.
Third, we should jointly promote Asian unity. Choosing dialogue and cooperation over zero-sum games, openness and inclusiveness over a closed-door and exclusive approach, and exchanges and mutual learning over a sense of superiority: this is the only choice worthy of the broad-mindedness of Asians. We should cement ASEAN centrality in the regional architecture, and uphold a regional order that balances the aspirations and accommodates the interests of all parties. Countries, no matter their size and strength, and both in and outside the region, should all add splendor rather than trouble to Asia. All should follow the path of peace and development, seek win-win cooperation, and contribute to an Asian family of unity and progress together.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Two months ago, China presented to the world a streamlined, safe and splendid Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, bringing warmth and hope to people across the globe. In the second half of this year, we will convene the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which will draw the blueprint for China’s future development.
The fundamentals of the Chinese economy – its strong resilience, enormous potential, vast room for maneuver and long-term sustainability – remain unchanged. They will provide great dynamism for the stability and recovery of the world economy and broader market opportunities for all countries. China will fully apply its new development philosophy, accelerate the establishment of a new development paradigm, and redouble efforts for high-quality development. No matter how the world will change, China’s faith in and its commitment to reform and opening-up will not waver. China will expand high-standard opening-up, fully implement the negative list for foreign investment, expand the encouraged catalogue for FDI, improve services for investment promotion, and add more cities to the comprehensive pilot program for service sector opening. China will take solid steps to develop its pilot free trade zones and the Hainan Free Trade Port, align with high-standard international economic and trade rules, and move ahead with institutional opening-up. China will implement the RCEP in full, seek the conclusion of high-standard FTAs with more countries and regions, and actively work for joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA). China will press ahead with high-quality Belt and Road cooperation to make it high-standard, sustainable and people-centered. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, and always be a builder of world peace, a contributor to global development, and a defender of the international order.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me conclude with an old Chinese saying, “Keep walking and one will not be daunted by a thousand miles; make constant efforts and one will not be intimidated by a thousand tasks.” As long as we join hands and never slacken in efforts, we will build great synergy through win-win cooperation, overcome the various challenges along the way, and usher in a brighter and better future for humanity.
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