Gui Minhui 桂敏海, one of five Hong Kong-based book publishers who went missing in late 2015 and later surfaced under police custody in China, was taken off a Beijing-bound train on Saturday by a group of about 10 plainclothes men, his daughter Angela told the New York Times (paywall).
- Gui, a Swedish citizen, was accompanied on the train by two diplomats from the Swedish Consulate in Shanghai and planned to undergo a medical exam at the embassy in Beijing. He has reportedly been showing symptoms of neurological disease since his release in October, and had been living in eastern China and required to report regularly to police.
- It was not known whether Gui or the diplomats put up any resistance to his seizure, though the incident could rekindle tensions between China, Sweden, and other European countries.
- The Times was unable to get additional information on the case from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Ministry of Public Security, though it reports that “Chinese officials told Swedish diplomats that he was suspected of sharing secret information with Swedish diplomats and of meeting them illegally.”
- Trade frictions
USTR releases annual reports on China’s and Russia’s WTO compliance / United States Trade Representative
“Given these facts, it seems clear that the United States erred in supporting China’s entry into the WTO on terms that have proven to be ineffective in securing China’s embrace of an open, market oriented trade regime,” the report concludes.
China says United States is real threat to global trade, not itself / Reuters
- Continued elevation of Xi Jinping to Mao-like status
Declarations for Xi Jinping / China Media Project
The Chinese Communist Party’s flagship newspaper, the People’s Daily, has referred to General Secretary Xi Jinping as lingxiu (领袖 lǐngxiù; “the leader”) for the first time. As we noted in September 2017, the term has “grander, almost spiritual, connotations” compared with the typical word for “leader,” lingdao (领导 lǐngdǎo).
WeChat says it will remove any Official Account “distorting party and national history” / TechNode
- China’s claims in surrounding seas
China to U.S.: It’s your fault we are in the South China Sea / Washington Post
China’s push into Western Pacific alarms U.S. allies in Asia / Bloomberg
Surveillance under the sea: how China is listening in near Guam / SCMP
Chinese state media commemorate ‘Diaoyu Occupation’, encourage netizens to make it go viral / What’s on Weibo
- Trump diplomacy
Jared Kushner is China’s Trump card / New Yorker
Adam Entous and Evan Osnos detail how the President’s son-in-law became a point person for Chinese diplomats in their approach to the Trump administration and mounting concerns among U.S. intelligence over the use of his family’s business interests to influence China policy.
- State media
Chinese state media: US government shutdown exposes ‘chronic flaws’ / Reuters
Former Bo Xilai family aide jailed over murder of UK businessman Neil Heywood ‘released early’ / SCMP
- North Korea talks
China sought to water down Vancouver meeting on North Korea / Japan Times