Beijing

Regional News • Asia • China
Beijing flights cancelled after China's worst sandstorm in a decade
Beijing during the sandstorm
Beijing during the sandstorm Credit: Twitter Reproduction

More than 400 flights out of Beijing's two main airports were cancelled amid high winds and low visibility. The National Meteorological Center said Monday's storm had developed in the Gobi Desert in the Inner Mongolia Region.

With its mix of desert and grassy steppe, Inner Mongolia is particularly prone to extreme weather resulting from resource exploitation.

The National Meteorological Center forecasted the sand and dust would affect 12 provinces and regions from Xinjiang in the far northwest to Heilongjiang in the northeast and Tianjin's eastern coastal port city.

Business • Markets
China pushes Alibaba founder Jack Ma to break up his fintech empire
Jack Ma
Jack Ma Credit: JD Lasica (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

Chinese regulators want Jack Ma's Ant Group to go back to its digital payment roots, stating Ant's corporate governance was "not sound". The Ant Group started as Alipay, which became China’s largest digital payment platform, though it eventually expanded to offer investment and savings accounts and lending, insurance and wealth management services.

The latest salvo in Beijing's battle against Ma - who had been feted as China's greatest modern-day entrepreneur until he started speaking out against strict regulations - wiped 8% off the value of Alibaba's share price in Hong Kong trading on Monday.

In November, Chinese regulators blocked Ant’s $37 billion IPO just two days before dealing was due to begin in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Regional News • Asia • China
China has given almost a million people experimental Covid-19 vaccine, Sinopharm claims

In an interview with posted on WeChat, Sinopharm chairman Liu Jingzhen claimed an emergency Covid-19 vaccine has been given to almost a million people as part of an emergency-use program authorized by Beijing.

"In emergency use, we now have used it on nearly a million people. We have not received any reports of serious adverse reaction, and only a few have some mild symptoms," Liu said, who added that the vaccine was given to Chinese construction workers, diplomats, and students who have gone to more than 150 countries around the world during the pandemic – none of them have reported a Covid-19 infection so far.

Regional News • Asia
United Kingdom announces that China has breached Hong Kong treaty
United Kingdom announces that China has breached Hong Kong treaty
Credit: Foreign and Commwealth Office / via Wikimedia Commons (Open Government Licence v3.0)

By imposing new rules to disqualify elected legislators Hong Kong, China has broken the biliteral treaty according to the United Kingdom.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has stated that "Beijing’s imposition of new rules to disqualify elected legislators in Hong Kong constitutes a clear breach of the legally binding Sino-British Joint Declaration". The United Kingdom is now considering sanctions against officials.

Regional News • Asia • China
Australian journalist held in China on national security grounds

Australian journalist Cheng Lei has been detained since August 14th and is suspected of "criminal activity endangering China's national security". Lei is a news anchor for China Global Television Network (CGTN) and was arrested in Beijing and was taken into secretive detention. The reason for her detention is still unclear.

Sports
IOC urged by exiled Uyghurs to not hold 2022 Winter Olympics in China
IOC urged by exiled Uyghurs to not hold 2022 Winter Olympics in China
Credit: unsplash.com / Kyle Dias

World Uyghur Congress has urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the matter of the evident crimes against humanity committed by China against the ethnic Uyghurs. They urge the IOC to reconsider holding the 2022 Olympic Winter Games in Beijing.

In a statement, the IOC said that China assured "that the principles of the Olympic Charter will be respected in the context of the Games" and that the IOC "must remain neutral on all global political issues".

China alleged the World Uyghur Congress to be affiliated with "terrorist organisations" in response to their demand.

Regional News • Asia • China
500,000 Chinese people go into lockdown again
500,000 Chinese people go into lockdown again
Credit: Fusion Medical Animation

Near Beijing, 500,000 people are in mandatory lockdown again.

The Chinese government has announced that the number of new Covid-19 infections in the capital city has risen again and the city of Anxin will now be "fully locked and controlled". Only one person per household is allowed to go outside to buy groceries and medicine.

Regional News • Asia • China
Beijing closes schools and cancels flights amid rising Covid-19 cases
People, who had been in contact with the Xinfadi Wholesale Market waiting in line for nucleic acid testing at a Chinese epidemic control testing site at Beixiaguan Street, Haidian District, June 16, 2020
People, who had been in contact with the Xinfadi Wholesale Market waiting in line for nucleic acid testing at a Chinese epidemic control testing site at Beixiaguan Street, Haidian District, June 16, 2020 Credit: 舞月書生 / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Beijing's health alert has been raised to the second-highest level on Tuesday after medical authorities have confirmed 106 new Covid-19 cases since last week. In response, the city has closed schools and Beijing Airport has cancelled over 1,200 flights in an effort to contain a second outbreak. A new cluster of cases is believed to have its origin in the Xinfadi wholesale food market and almost 30 residential compounds have been put under quarantine. Beijing reported 31 new cases of Covid-19 on Wednesday.

Health
Beijing shuts down market after dozens confirmed new Covid-19 cases
Beijing shuts down market after dozens confirmed new Covid-19 cases
Credit: kit sanchez

The Beijing authorities shut down a seafood and produce market in Fengtai after throat swabs from 45 people, out of 517 tested, had tested positive for Covid-19. There were, in total, 53 new cases in the capital this Saturday, renewing fears that China’s grip on the pandemic is not yet secure.

As part of measures to curb the spread of the virus, Fengtai district said it had locked down 11 neighbourhoods in the vicinity of the market.

Regional News • Asia
Hong Kong citizens defy police order and commemorate Tiananmen massacre
30th Anniversary Memorial of Tinanmen Square Protests. Photographed in Victoria Park, Hong Kong.
30th Anniversary Memorial of Tinanmen Square Protests. Photographed in Victoria Park, Hong Kong. Credit: だ*ぜ / CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

On the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre that happened in Beijing on June 4, 1989, thousands of Hong Kong citizens have defied police orders and commemorated the victims with a candlelight vigil. The protestors pushed over the barriers that were used by the police to close off Victoria Park and peacefully gathered there. According to Chinese state media, thousands of police officers were deployed and put on standby but kept a low profile.

Regional News • World
Dispute between US and China over the U.N. Security Council Covid-19 resolution

Opposite positions about the World Health Organization are paralyzing the U.N. Security Council decision about Covid-19 crisis.

China thinks the WHOs role is major in the current pandemic crisis management, hence it should be explicitly included in any resolution; while the US remains extremely critical against the WHO since President Donal Trump accused the organization of failure and decided to suspend their funding in April.

Yesterday, Tunisia, Security Council elected member, and France, permanent member, made a joint proposal for a resolution demanding an immediate cease-fire in major conflicts to ease better management of the pandemic.