US sanctions 24 China and Hong Kong officials ahead of talks
The U.S. sanctioned an additional 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials over Beijing's ongoing crackdown on political freedoms in the semi-autonomous city, including a decision to overhaul Hong Kong's electoral system. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)HONG KONG – The U.S. sanctioned an additional 24 Chinese and Hong Kong officials over Beijing’s ongoing crackdown on political freedoms in the semi-autonomous city, just ahead of the Biden administration's first face-to-face talks with China. The planned changes to Hong Kong's electoral law give a pro-Beijing committee power to appoint more of Hong Kong’s lawmakers. Last June, Beijing imposed a sweeping national security law on the city and Hong Kong authorities have arrested most of the prominent pro-democracy supporters and outspoken critics. Starting last October, the U.S. had already sanctioned 10 officials including Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and Deputy Director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office Zhang Xiaoming.
EXPLAINER: What's happened so far at China's annual congress
BEIJING – Midway through its annual session, China’s ceremonial parliament is focusing on boosting the economy, building self-reliance in technology and further squeezing room for political opposition in Hong Kong. SETTING AN ACHEIVABLE GROWTH TARGETThe party set a growth target of “over 6%”, as the world’s second-largest economy shrugs off the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. AdBEEFING UP THE MILITARYThe government announced a 6.8% rise in military spending to 1.4 trillion yuan ($217 billion), continuing a tradition of roughly tracking the economic growth target. WHAT'S NEXTThe annual session, which has been reduced from two weeks to one because of the pandemic, finishes on Thursday. Li will give the premier's annual news conference after the congress closes.
US hits China with Hong Kong sanctions, OKs Taiwan arms sale
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration on Monday approved a new major arms sale to Taiwan and slapped new sanctions on Chinese officials over the crackdown on pro-democracy advocates in Hong Kong. The moves are sure to draw a firm rebuke from China, which regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has rejected Hong Kong-related measures as interference in its internal affairs. The State Department said it had approved a $280 million sale to Taiwan of advanced military communications equipment. “These actions demonstrate once again Beijing’s complete disregard for its international commitments under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a U.N.-registered treaty," he said. “Our actions today underscore that the United States will continue to work with our allies and partners to hold Beijing accountable for undermining Hong Kong’s promised autonomy,” Pompeo said.
China fires officials as coronavirus infections soar
Previous numbers had been reassuring, with daily confirmations of new infections dropping from several thousand to around 1,000. Officials in Beijing, increasingly worried about the economic toll of the outbreak, urged people to go back to work. Chinese health authorities reported 15,152 new cases of COVID-19 the World Health Organizations new name for the viral disease overnight. The sackings followed earlier dismissals including the Hubei health commissions party chief and its director. The change reveals China had been undercounting its COVID-19 cases.latimes.com
China reports nearly 15,000 new coronavirus cases overnight. Heres what that means
Health authorities in Chinas Hubei province reported 14,840 new cases of coronavirus Thursday morning, bringing the nationwide total to nearly 60,000. The new numbers dont indicate rapid overnight spread of the virus in Hubei, but a change in the way patients are counted there. Under new reporting requirements, cases are considered confirmed based on symptoms and a CT scan of the lungs. AdvertisementPreviously, confirmation depended on a laboratory test a time-consuming requirement that left a large backlog of untested, suspected cases. Nearly 90% of the new cases reported Thursday were clinically diagnosed patients, meaning they were confirmed under the new rules.latimes.com