China Reform Monitor No. 1425

Related Categories: Democracy and Governance; Energy Security; Human Rights and Humanitarian Issues; International Economics and Trade; Corruption; Resource Security; Global Health; China; India; Latin America; Southeast Asia; Taiwan; East Africa

India's government has banned WeChat, TikTok, Weibo, and more than fifty other Chinese-made apps that it said were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order." India's Ministry of Information Technology announced the ban citing "many complaints from various sources" about Chinese apps that were "stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner." The ministry said: "The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures." India is TikTok's biggest foreign market, with an estimated 120 million users. (BBC, June 29, 2020)

China is forcibly sterilizing Muslim Uighurs women and fitting them with contraceptive devices, according to a report by German anthropologist Adrian Zenz. Women with fewer than two children were involuntarily fitted with intra-uterine devices, while others were coerced into receiving sterilization surgeries. The report, which is based on official data, policy documents, and interviews with women in Xinjiang, claims Uighur women and other ethnic minorities are being threatened with internment for refusing to abort pregnancies that exceed quotas. Natural population growth in Xinjiang has declined dramatically in recent years, with growth rates falling by 84% in the two largest Uighur prefectures between 2015 and 2018 and declining further in 2019. "This kind of drop is unprecedented, there's a ruthlessness to it. This is part of a wider control campaign to subjugate the Uighurs," said Zenz. Former detainees said they were given injections that stopped their periods, or caused unusual bleeding consistent with the effects of birth control drugs. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on China to "immediately end these horrific practices" and urged "all nations to join the United States in demanding an end to these dehumanizing abuses." (BBC, June 29, 2020)

Taipei has established a representative office in Somaliland, an autonomous region of Somalia that no country currently recognizes. In a July 1st statement, Taiwanese Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said Taipei had agreed to forge ties with Somaliland due to "friendship and a shared commitment to common values of freedom, democracy, justice and the rule of law." Taiwan and Somaliland have agreed to exchange representative offices staffed by a senior diplomat and four additional officers, Wu said. The two sides "will engage in cooperation in areas such as fisheries, agriculture, energy, mining, public health [and] education," he added, but the two sides stopped short of formally recognizing each other. Eight countries and global organizations have set up representative offices in Somaliland, which has established representative offices in 22 countries. China's Ambassador to Somalia met twice with Somaliland officials to discourage them from expanding relations with Taiwan, and even promised to open a representative office if Hargiesa would break the agreement with Taiwan. But that offer did not stop China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Zhao Lijian, from accusing Taipei of "plotting separatist activities" and violating the "sovereignty and territorial integrity" of Somalia by setting up mutual representative offices with Somaliland. (The Diplomat, July 10, 2020)

China, for the first time, is now claiming sovereignty over the eastern sector of Bhutan. The issue arose for the first time on June 2-3, during a virtual meeting of the Global Environment Facility – a U.S.-based global group which finances environment friendly projects. The group was set to fund the upgrading of facilities at Bhutan's Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary, but China's representative objected and said the area was in dispute and the funds could not be allocated until the border was resolved. "The Sakteng Wildlife located in the China-Bhutan disputed areas which is on the agenda of China-Bhutan boundary talk, China opposes and does not join the Council decision on this project," the Chinese representative to the meeting said. Bhutan's representative then rejected China's claims and insisted that the Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary was never part of the two-dozen prior rounds of bilateral negotiations. (Outlook India, July 9, 2020)

China's Zijin Mining has acquired Guyana Goldfields, which owns the Aurora gold mine in Guyana, for $238 million. Zijin's buyout offer was 35% higher than a previously accepted offer from Canada's Silvercorp Metals, and included a $30 million loan to finance operations at Aurora. Zijin has been on an acquisition spree, purchasing Continental Gold for $1.05 billion in March and this month taking a 50.1% stake in a copper miner in Tibet for $548 million. "We believe that the Aurora mine is a high-quality gold asset with significant upside potential," and look forward to "advancing and developing the next phase of the mine," said Zijin chairman Chen Jinghe. "The all-cash offer from Zijin represents a significant premium to the amended Silvercorp offer price and is an excellent outcome for Guyana Goldfield's shareholders," said Guyana Goldfields CEO Alan Pangbourne. (Reuters, June 12, 2020)