Less than a month after a devastating fire in a southern Beijing migrant neighborhood led to ruthless eviction, and then protests, a second fire has claimed five lives, this time in Chaoyang District’s Shibalidian township, according to SCMP. The blaze was apparently caused by “two electric bikes plugged into a home-made wiring system.” Meanwhile, the political controversy over migrant evictions only grows:
- Beijing Party chief Cai Qi 蔡奇 “seems to have gone into damage-control mode,” Caixin reports, as he appeared on television meeting with local workers, including delivery workers and street cleaners.
- Hua Yong 华涌, the artist who has documented the devastation and despair of the evictions via Twitter and YouTube, told the New York Times (paywall) that the police attempted to arrest him, and that he was forced to flee Beijing with the help of friends.
- The cycle of fire, eviction, and turmoil may only continue, the China Labour Bulletin reports, as these fires are just two of “15,000 workplace fires in the first ten months of 2017,” and business owners continue to “routinely ignore or circumvent demands from government officials to fix fire hazards and introduce fire safety measures.”
- North Korea
Tillerson says U.S. ready to talk to North Korea; Japan wants pressure / Reuters
“Tillerson also disclosed the United States had been talking to China about how to secure North Korea’s nuclear weapons in the event of a collapse of the government in Pyongyang. He said Beijing had been given assurances that if U.S. forces had to cross into North Korea, they would pull back across the border into the South.”
Tillerson to North Korea: ‘We’re ready’ to meet ‘without precondition’ / ABC
But Tillerson has been already been so thoroughly undermined and delegitimized by President Trump that this likely won’t mean anything.
China, Russia send message to North Korea with anti-missile drills in Beijing / SCMP
- Hong Kong and rule of law
Hong Kong close to final deal with Beijing on detention notification system: sources / SCMP
The article says that “moves to improve the reciprocal detention notification mechanism began after five Hong Kong booksellers went missing from October 2015.” However, it seems unlikely that a formal reporting mechanism would make any difference when shadowy security agents, operating outside formal legal processes, effectively kidnap their targets — as in the cases of the disappeared booksellers or the tycoon Xiao Jianhua, who was whisked away from his luxury Hong Kong apartment to an unknown mainland location where he remains, with no public statement on his fate from the Beijing authorities.
- Big Brother’s biometric databases
Chinese authorities collecting DNA from all residents of Xinjiang / Guardian
The whole world is paying the price for cleaner air in China / Bloomberg
- South Korean rapprochement with China
South Korean firms flock to Beijing hoping summit will hasten thaw with China / Reuters