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China

China is the world’s worst jailer of journalists, CPJ says

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China is the worst jailer of journalists in the world, a report by a New York-based watchdog said, and nearly half of the journalists behind bars in the country are Uyghurs who reported on the persecution of the mostly Muslim group in Xinjiang.

In its 2023 prison census, conducted on Dec. 1, the Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, found that there was a spike in arrested journalists, with 320 believed to be behind bars – close to a record high.

More than half of those jailed journalists were charged with false news, anti-state or terrorism charges in retaliation for their coverage, the group’s research found.

China led all countries, with 44 journalists in prison, accounting for 32% of the worldwide total. Following closely behind was Myanmar, with 43. Vietnam was fifth on the list with 19, ahead of Iran and just behind Russia.

Hong Kong media mogul and pro-democracy activist Jimmy Lai, is escorted by Correctional Services officers to a Hong Kong court appearance, Dec. 12, 2020. (Kin Cheung/AP)

“China has long ranked as one of the world’s worst jailers of journalists,” the report said. “Censorship makes the exact number of journalists jailed there notoriously difficult to determine, but Beijing’s media crackdown has widened in recent years, with 2021 marking the first time journalists from Hong Kong were in jail at the time of CPJ’s census.” 

In addition to Hong Kong, Xinjiang was another chief area of concern, according to the report. Of the 44 imprisoned journalists in China, 19 are Uyghurs.

Among them is Ilham Tohti, a professor who was also the founder of the news website Uighurbiz. Tohti was arrested almost exactly 10 years ago, and later sentenced to life in prison on charges of separatism.

Another is Qurban Mamut, the former editor-in-chief of the popular Uyghur journal Xinjiang Civilization. Mamut went missing in November 2017 and RFA learned in 2022 that he was sentenced to 15 years in prison for “political crimes.”

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Media gather outside the offices of Stand News in Hong Kong on December 29, 2021, after police raided the office of the local media outlet and arrested six current and former staff. (Daniel Suen/AFP)

“Chinese authorities are also ramping up the use of anti-state charges to hold journalists, with three out of the five new China cases in CPJ’s 2023 database consisting of journalists accused of espionage, inciting separatism, or subverting state power,” the report said. 

“Many journalists charged are ethnic Uighurs from Xinjiang, where Beijing has been accused of crimes against humanity for its mass detentions and harsh repression of the region’s mostly Muslim ethnic groups,” it said.

‘Silencing minority voices’

The disproportionate number of jailed Uyghur journalists mirrors the situation in Xinjiang, Beh Lih Yi, the CPJ’s Asia program coordinator told RFA Uyghur.

“Nearly half of the journalists behind bars in China in 2023 were Uighur journalists. They have been targeted under vague charges such as inciting separatism or being ‘two-faced,’ a loose term Chinese authorities often use to punish those they see as publicly supporting government policy but secretly opposing it,” said Yi. 

“The media repression highlights the Chinese government’s harsh attempt to silence minority voices and independent reporting – even as Beijing repeatedly rejected claims of widespread human rights abuses in Xinjiang,” he said.

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A giant screen in Beijing shows Chinese President Xi Jinping visiting Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region July 15, 2022. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

He said that long-term sentences for Uyghur journalists were “outrageous and cruel,” and called on the Chinese government to release all its imprisoned journalists and allow all journalists to freely report in Xinjiang.

The report proves the importance of the work of Uyghur journalists, Zubayra Shamseden of the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project said.

“It is clear from the imprisonment of Uyghur journalists that China doesn’t want the international community to know anything about Uyghurs,” said Shamseden. “Uyghur journalists report on Uyghur issues. They are the voices of the Uyghur people in the world. By imprisoning Uyghur journalists, China is attempting to crush the voices of Uyghurs.”

The report also noted that Israel saw a huge spike of journalist jailings last year, with all those known to be behind bars on the date of the census having been arrested in the West Bank.

Additional reporting by Mamatjan Juma. Edited by Malcolm Foster.

Read the rest of this article here >>> China is the world’s worst jailer of journalists, CPJ says

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China

Canberra ties the knot with Washington

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Canberra ties the knot with Washington

Abstract

Australia has shifted its strategy towards favoring the United States over China due to increasing fear of Chinese power and the competitive Indo-Pacific environment.

The ‘riding two horses’ strategy adopted by Canberra over the past 25 years has shifted in favor of the US alliance to counter China’s growing power. Previous prime ministers sought to balance relations between China and the US, with Kevin Rudd aiming for ‘true friendship’ with China while also promising military intervention if needed. Tony Abbott’s approach was driven by ‘fear and greed’, and John Howard acknowledged the benefits of a relationship with both countries.

However, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has expressed a desire to strengthen the US alliance and cooperate with China while also engaging in Australia’s national interest. This shift is evident in actions such as sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait and introducing legislation to facilitate the AUKUS security partnership.

The Indo-Pacific environment has become more competitive, leading Australia to prioritize fear over greed in its alignment. As China’s GDP continues to rise and may overtake the US by 2030, Canberra’s strategy is likely to continue favoring alignment with Washington due to the lack of a viable alternative for addressing its fear of China’s power.

Read the complete article on East Asia Forum

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2024 China IIT Reconciliation: Appointment Through IIT App Opens on February 21st

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Annual IIT reconciliation for 2023 must be done from March 1 to June 30, 2024. Final tax settlement appointments must be made after February 21, 2024. The process involves checking and reporting on IIT paid and deducted in 2023 to calculate refundable or supplementary tax.


Annual IIT reconciliation for the year 2023 is required to be made during the period from March 1 to June 30, 2024. For those who need to make the final tax settlement between March 1 to March 20, they need to make an appointment after February 21, 2024.

On February 1, 2024, the State Taxation Administration (STA) issued the Announcement on Matters Relating to the Final Settlement of Individual Income Tax on Consolidated Income for the Year 2023 (the Announcement), clarifying matters related to the annual individual income tax (IIT) reconciliation for the year 2023.

Annual IIT reconciliation, or annual IIT settlement, is a process applied to individual taxpayers on their comprehensive income (an individual’s combined income of wages and salaries, remuneration from labor services, author’s remuneration, and royalties), to make sure their IIT paid in the previous tax year is accurate.

During the process, individual taxpayers will need to recheck their IIT paid and deducted in the tax year, calculate the refundable or supplementary tax payable, report to the tax authorities, and make the tax settlement.

In this article, we introduce key issues related to the annual IIT reconciliation in 2024 and the key changes as compared to previous years.

After the end of the year 2023, a resident individual is required to consolidate his/her four types of comprehensive income, namely wages and salaries, remuneration for personal services, author’s remuneration, and royalties obtained from January 1 to December 31, 2023, to compute the final tax payable amount. The taxpayer needs to deduct the prepaid tax amount in 2023 to obtain the tax refundable or the tax to be made up amount. Further, the taxpayer is required to declare to tax authorities for a tax refund or tax to be made up.

Tax Refundable or Tax to Be Made Up = [(Annual Comprehensive Income – RMB 60,000- Special Deductions – Special Additional Deductions – Other Deductions Determined Pursuant to the Law – Qualified Public Welfare And Charitable Donations) × Applicable Tax Rate – Quick Deduction] – Prepaid Tax Amount

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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The Year of the Dragon brings record-breaking travel and consumption during the 2024 Chinese Spring Festival

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The Chinese New Year holiday saw a remarkable recovery in the tourist industry, with travel numbers and revenues exceeding 2023 and pre-pandemic levels. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism reported unprecedented growth, showcasing the industry’s resilience despite the COVID-19 pandemic.


The tourist industry registered significant growth during this year’s Chinese New Year (CNY) holidays, the first to be completely unaffected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the latest figure released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, both travel numbers and tourism-related revenues reached unprecedented levels, surpassing figures registered during the 2023 Chinese New Year while also surpassing pre-COVID-19 levels.

Rebound in domestic and international travels

According to the data released by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism on Sunday, domestic tourism registered a remarkable performance during this year’s eight-day celebration.

The data reveals a significant surge in domestic trips, totaling 474 million trips made across the country from February 10 to February 18, marking a notable increase of 34.4 percent compared to the same period in 2023. This figure attracted special attention as it was a 19 percent rise compared with that in 2019.

The surge in travel within the country was facilitated by traditional transportation models, such as railways, civil aircraft, and waterways. Additionally, this year there has been also an increase in travelers embarking on independent road trips, partially due to the current rise in popularity of electric cars in China. This trend was further encouraged by the government’s efforts to stimulate the purchase of these vehicles as a way to boost domestic consumption. To cater to this trend, provinces ensured the temporary deployment of additional recharging stations in service areas, ensuring a seamless travel experience for travelers.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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