The relationship between China's central and local governments has never been linear or completely top-down. There are times of harmony, but more often, there's tension. In the recent past, thanks to social media, conflicts and disagreements usually kept behind closed doors have begun leaking into the public domain.
Several recent posts on Sina Weibo by legal organs revealed that tensions are as manifest today as they were during historical times. Many netizens have gone as far to call these posts an act of “rebellion.”
Democracy advocates in Hong Kong clashed with a pro-Beijing group on Sunday at a public forum, renewing a personal curiosity of mine over whether that city has ever held a political public forum that hasn't devolved into a shouting match with histrionics only monkeys could enjoy.
But we digress. The above picture. That.
The character for demolish (or dismantle) -- 拆, chai -- appeared on the Chinese embassy in Washington DC on Wednesday morning. According to Voice of America, the characters appeared three times: on two of the pillars on the embassy's front gate, and on the entrance of an office building.
This happened on the same day as the opening of the fifth annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue, a two-day session between top leaders of China and the US.
And he's gone. Screams the latest SCMP headline (all-caps theirs):
SNOWDEN LEAVES HONG KONG ON COMMERCIAL FLIGHT TO MOSCOW
The report isn't confirmed, but SCMP notes that Snowden "would continue on to another country." The Hong Kong government issued a short statement today, in which it said the US's request for extradition "did not fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law."
A mere two days after 21 were killed in violent attacks in Bachu county, Kashgar, including six police and six ethnic Uighurs, Beijing has politicized the incident, using it to call out the United States for failing to condemn the attacks as "terrorism." Reuters:
But the U.S. State Department on Wednesday merely expressed regret at the loss of life and urged China to "provide all Chinese citizens, including Uighurs, the due process protections to which they're entitled."
Ed’s note: On April 19, the US Department of State published its annual Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which included a section on China. It was typical, mundane, and features nothing you don’t already know, including restriction of Uighur and Tibetan movement, harassment of journalists and dissidents, prison labor, discrimination, extrajudicial killings, etc. On... Read more »
Peng Liyuan, who’s warming up to her role as China’s “First Lady” — a term that, lest you forget, has basically never been applied to the wives of Chinese leaders — is currently traveling with her husband in Africa as part of Xi Jinping’s first overseas trip as Chinese head of state, and it’d be... Read more »
Xi Jinping sat down with foreign media yesterday for the first time since becoming CPC chairman, speaking with reporters from BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa — ahead of the BRICS summit later this month. This historic occassion drew almost no English-language media coverage, leading Foreign Policy’s Isaac Stone Fish to ask,... Read more »