CRG Weekly: Xinjiang human rights report released and Chengdu goes into lockdown
News from the China Research Group
Britain after Ukraine. CRG co-Chair Tom Tugendhat wrote a piece in Foreign Affairs on the future of the UK’s foreign policy, focusing on the need to work with partners to counter threats to democracy across the globe.
Podcast: China’s military threat to Taiwan. Chris Cash and Archie Brown were joined by Alessio Patalano to discuss Beijing’s military response to Nancy Pelosi’s visit and its implications for the future of stability in the Taiwan Strait. Listen here.
The stories driving the week
Long-awaited UN Xinjiang report released as Truss vows to ‘bring about a change’ in China’s actions
On Thursday, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a long-awaited report on the human rights conditions of the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.
The report cited credible evidence of torture and other human rights violations, including arbitrary detention, forced labour, forced medication, and sexual abuse, that ‘may amount to international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity’.
There was no mention of the term ‘genocide’ in the report, which has been used by the US and other governments to describe the suppression of the Uyghurs.
In response, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin called the report ‘planned and manufactured’ by the West. The Permanent Mission of the PRC to the UN published a 131-page response to the report.
Meanwhile, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has vowed to work with partners to “bring about a change in China’s actions” and end human rights violations in Xinjiang.
The Wire provides an account of the difficulties in enforcing bans on Xinjiang exports over forced labour concerns as governments mull over how to respond to the OHCHR report.
20th Party Congress start date announced
The start date for 20th National Congress of the CCP has been set for October 16th.
The Congress will see China’s top leaders for the next five years unveiled. Xi Jinping is expected to secure a third term in power, after removing term limits at the previous iteration in 2018.
Premier Li Keqiang has stated that he will not hold the premiership for another term. Nikkei Asia analysed the potential successors for Li’s successor and the challenges they will face in managing China’s economy.
The 20th Party Congress Work Report will set Beijing’s policy tone for the next five years. Economic policy will be the major focus of the report. Foreign policy signals and indications of Beijing’s future approach to Taiwan will likely be detectable too.
Reuters put together an explainer on what to look for at the Congress.
New US export control as geopolitical competition over chips continues to simmer
Washington imposed new restrictions on exports of chips with AI-related applications to China and Russia.
The restrictions involve new licensing requirements on the sale of graphene procession units (GPUs), high-end chips used in supercomputers that are developed by US companies such as Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
Nvidia says these restrictions could result in quarterly loses of up to $400 million. The Wall Street Journal’s Liza Lin explained how these restrictions will also hinder Chinese companies, forcing them to rely on outdated technology.
Analysts warn that expanding restrictions on China’s access to chips risks undermining its de facto coalition with partners involved in chipmaking, such as Taiwan and the Netherlands.
New data revealed that 36% of China’s $430 billion worth of semiconductor imports in 2021 came from Taiwan, raising doubts over whether its semiconductor industry could be decoupled from China.
New lockdowns for major Chinese cities as latest manufacturing PMI shows continued contraction
Major Chinese cities have been put under renewed lockdown measures after fresh COVID outbreaks.
This includes Chengdu - boasting a population of 21 million - where residents started panic-buying and some even tried to flee the city. The technology hub Shenzhen is also facing tighter COVID restrictions.
What’s on Weibo provides a visual account of how Chengdu’s residents are reacting to lockdown worries.
Meanwhile, China’s latest official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) figures indicated another month of contraction as COVID and power cuts triggered factory shutdowns.
Carbon Brief reported an 8% fall in China’s carbon emissions in Q2 compared to last year, driven by a drop in steel and cement output due to the real estate slump.
Australian submariners to be trained on UK submarines
It was announced that Australian submariners will train onboard British nuclear submarines for the first time. This is the latest agreement under AUKUS, a trilateral security pact between the UK, US, and Australia.
Speaking after the UK’s fifth new hunter-killer submarine was commissioned into the Royal Navy, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace expressed hope that future submarines would be jointly built by the three partner countries.
Meanwhile, China and India sent troops to take part in Russia’s Vostok military exercise. Danil Bochkov, an expert at the Russian International Affairs Council, suggested that these exercises are a crucial component of Beijing and Moscow’s efforts to court India as a means to balance against US influence in the Indo-Pacific.
‘On a par with the Russians’: rise in Chinese espionage alarms Europe - The Financial Times discusses the concerns about Beijing’s intelligence operations among Western spy chiefs as Liz Truss contemplates designating China as a threat, on par with Russia.
The next Hong Kong: Beijing’s vision for Taiwan - Writing for MERICS Helena Legarda breaks down the implications of Beijing’s newest whitepaper on Taiwan.
Wise Road Capital's Debut - The Wire’s Eliot Chen looks at Wise Road Capital, a new favourite in the Chinese chip investment space and the reasons behind growing scrutiny from international security circles on the sector.