Friday, May 22, 2020

China's hostile diplomacy on Uighurs a tactic to save its face internationally

Photo: ANI.
Beijing (ANI): The hostage diplomacy of China has come to light once again as they are discrediting overseas Uighurs by forcing their family members in Xiniang to release videos testimonies, in order to save its face internationally and shed criticism over its crackdown on the Uighurs.

In the video testimonies, the detained Uighurs under pressure are forced to heap praises on the Chinese governemnt while accusing their family members of spreading rumours. The development comes in the backdrop of some Chinese Communist Party documents that were leaked last year over the high-security prison camps in Xinjiang which confirmed Beijing's human rights violations of Uighur Muslims. For instance, Iminjan Seydin, a former professor of Chinese history at the Xinjiang Islamic Institute, was handed a 15-year jail sentence for 'inciting radical ideologies,'German public broadcaster DW news reported.

In 2012, he had also started his own publishing house and published over 50 books on technology, education, psychology and women's issues.

Seydin's daughter Samira Imin said that her father was not particularly religious and generally followed the Chinese government's guidelines on religious ovservance. Imin, who is living as a student in the United States, has been trying to raise awarenesss about her father's disappearance through online activism.

For the last three years, hundreds of Uighur intellectuls among thousands have been improsoned by Beijing or put into Xinjiang's re-education camps.

Seydin was sent to join a workgroup organised by Xinjiang's Bureau of Religious Affairs in Hotan prefecture in 2017. Following his return to Urumqi in May that year, the Xinjiyang government detained him without informing his family.

Her daughter stated that her father was convicted in a secret trial last year for publishing books about Arabic grammar for a colleague at the Xinjiang ISlamic Institute. The book has some references to Islam, according to DW.

On May 4 this year, Imin was informed by her friends that her father appeared in a video published by Communist Party mouthpiece China Daily. This was the first time she heard anything from his since he disappeared in 2017.

"I felt like the whole thing was surreal, and I wanted to cry but coundn't really cry. I wasn't sure if I should be happy, because I didn't know what my dad was going to tell me in the video," Imin was quoted as saying.

As Imin mustered some courage to click on the Twitter link, she saw her father was a lot skinnier and had a shaved head.

"Of course, I was happy to see that he's still alive, but I was also wondering how he lost so much weight over the past three years. He had shrunken for at least two sizes and the clothes that he wore in the video was too big for his," she said.

While it appeared that her father was released from prison, his message in the video was an absolute shocker and sounded bizarre.

"Recently some overseas anti-China forces deceived my daughter into claiming that I was under illegal detention. This is deception and nonsense. I am very well, healthy and free," Seydin said in the video. He asked her daughter not to believe in "deceptive rumours" and stop spreading misinformation about "his detention award".

Seydin claimed that he would have never became a professor or had a rewarding life, if not for the party and the government. "All these things would have been impossible wuthout the care of the party and the government to our family," he said.

The father said he missed his daughter and asked her to finish her studies in the US so that she could return to China. "Our family will be happier," he added.

Suspicious after seeing the video, Imin then sent three voice messages to her father's WeChat account on May 5, to confirm whether he had been released or not. But her father did not respond immediately. Later, Imin's mother called with a video link and her father was present.

"During the call, my dad kept repeating how great China and the Chinese Communist Party was. He said if it were not because of them, he would not have such a comfortable life. He told me he didn't want me to be anti-China, because he thought the CCP was treating his well," she was quoted by DW as saying.

When she questioned her father about his disappearance and his shaven head, Seydin claimed he shaved his head and beard as it was "too dusty" in Hotan.

"He kept reminding me not to engage in activism, and he also wanted me not to listen to anything some 'bad guys' said. Since he claimed to have already been freed in the video, I want to always see my dad being healthy and free from now on," Imin said.

In a similar incident, state-run Global Times released a four-minute video of interviews with family members of three prominent overseas Uighurs, in November last year, in which they kept on praising the Chinese government and accused their family abroad of spreading false information.

Peter Irwin, a senior program officer at the Uighur Human Rights Project, said it is clear that China wants to use the video as an open threat to Imin.

"The Chinese government has been asking people in Xinjiang to call their family members aborad and tell them to go back to China. Additionally, China is trying to tie all overseas Uighurs who have been speaking up for their family to groups like the World Uighur Congress and Uighur Human Rights Project," Irwin told DW.

"They are using these particular cases to threaten other overseas Uighurs to stop speaking up. This is basically hostage diplomacy, and it's not just directed at a particular individual. They are sending a message: 'we might release these people, but you need to stop speaking up," Irwin  explained.

Irwin further said, "The case proves that international pressure does work to a certain extent. Overseas Uighurs need to believe in the truth they see, and speak up with courage.The pressure forces China to change its approach, because they are afraid that their narrative is not strong enough to fight back against all of these people.
By: ANI. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertakes aerial survey of areas affected by cyclone Amphan in West Bengal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi conducting an aerial survey in West Bengal on Friday. (Photo: ANI)
Kolkata (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday conducted an aerial suvey of areas affected by cyclone Amphan in West Bengal. The Prime Minister was accompanied by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The senior leaders were seen wearing masks and covering their faces as a precautionary measure against COVID-19.

Moreover, Banerjee was seen briefing the Prime Minister about the situation in the state. They discussed aspects of relief and rehabilitation in view of the damage caused by the cyclone.

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister arrived at the Kolkata airport to take stock of the situation in the wake of cyclone Amphan. He was received by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar and state chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Later in the day, the Prime Minister is scheduled to conduct an aerial survey in Odisha as well.

Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan, Babul Supriyo, Pratap Chandra Sarangi and Debashree Chadhuree, who hail from West Bengal and Odisha, are also accompanying the Prime Minister.
By: ANI.

India's GDP could soar by 20 percent post lockdown, predicts Goldman Sachs

India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could soar by 20 percent in the third quarter of 2020, according to Goldman Sachs. (Photo: ANI)

London (ANI): India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) could soar by 20 percent in the third quarter of 2020, according to predictions by Goldman Sachs which have been stated by The Economist in a detailed story on Economic Lockdowns and their implications.

The GDP, which would fall in the second quarter at an annualised quarterly rate of 45 percent, would rebound by 20 percent in the third quarter if the coronavirus lockdowns are lifted, Goldman Sachs predicted earlier this week.

The lockdowns in various countries ever since Covid-19 erupted in China and engulfed the globe, slowed down the pandemic but at the cost of economies, and india is not an exception.

According to the article in The Economist, "Lockdowns can only ever be temporary. That is because it is becoming clear how costly they are, especially in poor countries. Part of the price is economic."

Absa Bank has calculated that the economy of South Africa could shrink at an annualised rate of 23.5 percent in the second quarter, The Economist reported. In Sub-Saharan Africa, an individual in the lowest income group has only a 4 percent chance of receiving social assistance from the government in normal times. A combination of Covid-19 and lockdowns could put up to 420 million people into absolute poverty, which is defined as having to live on less than USD 1.90 a day. This would increase the total by two-thirds and set back the progress against poverty by a decade, the report said.

The newspaper also explains the far-reaching consequences of having longer lockdowns that only only brings the economies to a grinding halt but also coast lives if people do not have access to essential services.

The World Health Organisation has warned that the coronavirus pandemic threatens vaccination programmes. If such initiatives are stopped in Africa, 140 children could lose their lives for each Covid death averted. A three-moth lockdown, coupled with a ten-month interruption of TB treatment, may lead to 1.4 million deaths in 2020 to 2025. This sums up the fact -- longerr the lockdowns continue, the likelier it is that they will cost more lives than they save, according to The Economist.

For instance, in the United States, the country's unemployment rate increased from 3.5 percent to 14.7 percent in April. In the United Kingdom, a third of new Graduates had a job offer withdrawn or delayed.

"Bond markets in America are signalling a wave of defaults, especially in hospitality, raw materials, carmaking and utilities. The scarring in the labour market could last for years," said the report.

A study stated that holding up cancer consultations by six months in England would offset 40 percent of the life-years gained from treating an equivalent number of Covid-19 patients.

Lifting lockdowns risks a second wave of Covid-19 infections. In April, Iran reopened to revive its economy, but last week, the country's capital, Tehran, and eight provinces were declared "red zones". Some US states such as Georgia, that never suppressed the initial outbreak will soon find whether they lifted lockdowns too hastily. Some African countries are going ahead even though cases are on the rise.

Earlier this week, India, which has been under lockdown since March 25, gave relaxations in the restrictions, in a bid to reopen the economy, although cases have crossed the one-lakh mark.

An epidemiological approach is required to limit this risk focussing on places and people most likely to spread nthe virus. In Canada, for example, care homes have accounted for 80 percent of the country's deaths, although they house only 1 percent of the population. Refugees in Sweden are at high-risk, perhaps because several generations may be pcked into households.

"For this aproach to succeed at scale, you need data from tests to provide a fine-grained picture of how the disease spreads. Testing let Germany rapidly spot that it had a problem in its slaughterhouses, where the virus persists longer than expected on cold surfaces. Likewise, South Korea identified a super-spreader in Seoul's gay bars. Without testing, a country is blind," The Economist report said.
By: ANI.

PM Modi to visit Bengal, Odisha today to conduct aerial survey of Cyclone Amphan damage

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. 
New Delhi (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to West Bengal and Odisha today to take stock of the situation in the wake of cyclone Amphan and conduct aerial surveys.

Besides conducting aerial surveys, the Prime Minister will take part in review meetings, where aspects of relief and rehabilitation will be discussed.

Prime Minister Modi's last visit was to Prayagraj and Chitrakoot in Uttar Pradesh on February 29. He will be going on a tour after 83 days.

On Thursday, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Rs1,000 crore fund has been created for restoration work for areas affected in cyclone Amphan, which has claimed lives of 72 people in the state.

She had also urged the Prime Minister to visit the state. She has announced a compensation of Rs 2.5 lakh to the families of the deceased.

Meanwhile, the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) Director General SN Pradhan on Thursday said that a team of Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will visit the states (Odisha and West Bengal) to evaluate the damages done by cyclone Amphan.

The extremely severe cyclonic storm Amphan moved north-northeastwards and crossed West Bengal-Bangladesh coasts between Digha (West Bengal) and hatiya (Bangladesh) near Sundarbans on Webnesday afternoon as a very severe cyclonic storm with a wind speed of 155-165 kmph gusting to 185 kmph.
By: ANI.

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