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China

China ‘gamed’ UN human rights review, experts say

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A top Chinese diplomat said Beijing would “earnestly study” 428 recommendations for addressing human rights submitted by U.N. members, calling them “objective and balanced.”

But leading experts said China “gamed” the once-every-five-year “universal periodic review” to avoid scrutiny of its rights abuses.

Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the U.N. offices in Geneva, said following the adoption of the report that he was happy with the many recommendations by 141 countries, and that Beijing would release its positions on each of the suggestions next month.

“The report just adopted is, in general, objective and balanced, and has reflected the statements and the recommendations during the meeting,” Chen said in remarks to the council. “We believe the majority of the comments and recommendations are constructive.”

Tuesday’s three-hour review session descended into farce, with the unusually high number of participating countries meaning each only had 45 seconds to provide an assessment of a country that has been accused of possible crimes against humanity by a U.N. body.

Under this process, each of the 193 U.N. member states has their rights record reviewed on a rolling five-year basis.

A report by Reuters said Chinese diplomats had in the lead-up to the session lobbied countries to turn up with soft-ball assessments.

Gaming the system

The many contributions during Tuesday’s session worked to draw attention away from some of the worst claims of rights abuse in China, including the treatment of Uyghurs, Tibetans and Hong Kongers.

Activists supporting Tibet and the Uyghur minority in China protest against what they consider unfair Chinese government policies outside the U.N. office in Geneva, Jan. 23, 2024. The demonstration came as China’s government faced a regular review of its human rights record at a Human Rights Council meeting inside. (Jamey Keaten/AP)

While Western nations including the United States, Finland, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom focussed on China’s treatment of Tibetans and Uyghurs in the country’s west during their 45 seconds, many countries offered praise for things like legal system reforms.

William Nee, the research and advocacy coordinator for the Washington-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders, said Beijing had used its diplomatic heft to water-down legitimate criticism of its human rights record by inundating the process with friendly voices.

“This time, they tried to game the process,” Nee told Radio Free Asia. “There was an intense lobbying campaign for countries to ask questions that essentially the Chinese government wrote in advance. There were a lot of softball questions and very easy questions.”

Nee added that some countries’ recommendations even appeared to poke fun at the global condemnation of the China’s treatment of Tibetans and Uyghur citizens, the latter of whom the U.S. government says are the victim of an ongoing campaign of genocide.

ENG_TIB_ChinaUPRHumanRightsTibet_01262024.3.JPG
Protester Tseten Zoechbauer holds up a “Decolonize Tibet” banner outside the U.N. office in Geneva, Switzerland, Jan. 23, 2024, at a rally supporting Tibet and the Uyghur minority in China. The demonstration outside the U.N. office in Geneva came as China’s government faced a regular review of its human rights record at a Human Rights Council meeting inside. (Jamey Keaten/AP)

Russia, he noted, said China should “improve gradually people’s sense and ability of using standard spoken and written Chinese language in Xinjiang,” referring to the far-western region where Uyghurs live.

Venezuela, meanwhile, said China must “firmly oppose the politicization” of human rights “under the pretext of issues related to Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Xizang,” the latter of which is the new official romanized name for Tibet adopted by the Chinese government.

“If we look at the advanced questions submitted, it seems as though some of those questions could have been drafted by the Chinese government, to be quite blunt,” said Kai Müller, executive director and head of U.N. advocacy at the International Campaign for Tibet.

Nothing new

Sophie Richardson, the former China director at Human Rights Watch, told RFA that China openly flouted U.N. requirements to allow input from independent civil society groups into the self-report it submits.

“There’s a long list of ways the Chinese government tried to game the process this time around, which has to start with the way it tried to game the process the last time around,” Richardson said, pointing to China’s boasting of its fidelity to recommendations made in 2018.

China that year accepted 284 of the 346 recommendations made by some 150 countries. But many of those, Richardson said, were the ones that were “vague or meaningless, or in fact encouraged the Chinese government to keep committing human rights violations.”

“Beijing has held that up as real progress,” she said, even though “five years later, we know it is committing atrocity crimes.”

ENG_TIB_ChinaUPRHumanRightsTibet_01262024.4.JPG
A picture taken on Jan. 23, 2024 shows the United Nations Human Rights Council during the review of China’s rights record at the U.N. Offices at Geneva. (Fabrice Coffrinic/AFP)

But China’s “gaming” of the review process did not entirely wipe out opportunities for countries to speak out about their legitimate concerns.

There was a heightened focus, for example, on the plight of Tibetans and Uyghurs, with the number of recommendations related to Tibet increasing to 24 from 10 in 2018. Likewise, the number of countries mentioning Tibet in their floor speeches doubled from nine to 20.

“The dramatic increase in the number of U.N. member states who spoke out for Tibet … speaks to the existential threat China’s assimilationist policies pose to the Tibetan people,” said Lhadon Tethong, the director of the Tibet Action Institute.

Campaign for Uyghurs executive director Rushan Abbas said the 30 countries who called out human rights abuses against Uyghurs showed that the world was no longer being fooled by China’s denials.

“This significant outcry, despite China’s persistent lies and outright denial, stands as a testament to the commitment to human rights and justice,” Abbas said. “It also sends a powerful message that the international community will not be swayed by false narratives in light of the mounting evidence exposing the crimes of the PRC.”

China has until Feb. 9, 2024 to provide its initial written response to each of the…

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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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