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Tillerson sailing toward confrontation on the South China Sea?


  • China pushes back after Tillerson warns on South China Sea / Bloomberg
    Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s nominee for U.S. secretary of state, said yesterday at his Senate confirmation hearing that China’s island-building and military equipment deployment in the South China Sea is “akin to Russia’s taking Crimea” from Ukraine. He firmly stated, “We’re going to have to send China a clear signal that first the island-building stops and second your access to those islands is also not going to be allowed.” Though Tillerson offered no details on what that clear signal may entail, Chinese analysts gave a more detailed preview of what China’s response to U.S. military action might be: even more military buildup on the islands, and an air defense identification zone.
  • Prominent Chinese university bans staff from criticizing Communist Party in class / SCMP
    Among other things, President Xi Jinping’s administration has become known for heightened censorship and stricter ideological control over schools and universities. Today, the South China Morning Post reports that Sun Yat-sen University — named after the revolutionary who overthrew the last imperial regime a century ago, and still known as one of the more progressive or liberal campuses in China — has issued tight new censorship measures for professors. They are now banned from “criticizing the constitution,” “criticizing Chinese Communist Party leaders,” and “spreading religion and superstition.”

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Lucas Niewenhuis

Lucas Niewenhuis is an associate editor at SupChina who helps curate daily news and produce the company's newsletter, app, and website content. Previously, Lucas researched China-Africa relations at the Social Science Research Council and interned at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He has studied Chinese language and culture in Shanghai and Beijing, and is a graduate of the University of Michigan.