Dear Access member,
It’s a really slow news day today. There’s a lot going on, but maybe not so many people who want to talk about it — most of it is unpleasant.
Our word of the day is hostage (人质 rénzhì).
—Jeremy Goldkorn, Editor-in-Chief
Jacob Harlan, left, and Alyssa Petersen, right.
1. China takes two Americans
Voice of America reports:
Two Americans involved in a teaching exchange program in China have been detained near Shanghai for allegedly “illegally moving people across borders.”
Alyssa Petersen, who attended the Idaho campus of Brigham Young University from 2014 to 2017, has been arrested and detained in a Chinese jail outside Shanghai, according to social media posts by China Horizons, her employer, and her parents. After not hearing from her for weeks, her family discovered she had been arrested by Chinese police sometime around the end of September. Her employer Jacob Harlan, who owns China Horizons, was also reported detained.
The charges are “bogus, as she has been doing this for 8+ years with no issues,” the family stated.
Petersen is director of China Horizons, an English language program that provides a cultural experience for American college students who teach English in Chinese schools. She assisted Harlan in coordinating visas and travel arrangements, according to the company’s Facebook page.
Petersen is apparently a Mormon, and may have been engaged in missionary work.
The Washington Times (a highly partisan news source) says that “the timing of the arrests coincided with the arrest of a Chinese official in New York on visa fraud charges,” and that the detentions in Jiangsu “appear to be a Cold War-style hostage-taking.”
2. Dior joins the apology train
Jing Daily reports:
Dior has become the latest major brand to inflict damage upon itself in China after it revealed a map of the nation that did not include Taiwan. Despite apologizing on Chinese social media, experts suggest that the brand must issue a global statement, or risk being boycotted by Chinese consumers.
Yesterday, Dior presented a workshop at Zhejiang Gongshang University, showing a map that did not feature Taiwan. When a student in the audience questioned the missing feature the presenter stated that Taiwan was too small to be seen on the map. However, the student then pointed out that Hainan, which is much smaller than Taiwan, was featured.
BUSINESS AND TECHNOLOGY:
Will Chinese students stay away from American universities?
Colleges see declines in Chinese student enrollments / Inside Higher Ed
“After an unprecedented boom in Chinese undergraduate enrollments, universities see declines.”
POLITICS AND CURRENT AFFAIRS:
Cotton On and Target Australia stop buying cotton from Xinjiang over human rights concerns / ABC Australia
Cotton On and Target Australia have stopped sourcing cotton from China’s Xinjiang province due to concerns about mass human rights abuses there by Chinese authorities.
Cotton On Group completed an internal investigation into its supply chain after Four Corners revealed in July that Uyghur Muslims were being rounded up as part of a detention program and forced to work in textile factories in Xinjiang.
Four Corners also revealed that Target Australia was already conducting an internal review into where it sourced its cotton from in Xinjiang.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam says return of rent control and subsidies will be considered to alleviate hardships of the poor / SCMP
“Rent control regulations that have been put aside for years will be reconsidered together with rent subsidies in an upcoming study to alleviate hardships of the poor, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngo [林鄭月娥 Lín Zhèng Yuè’é] has said.”
Why the protests in Hong Kong may have no end in sight / NYT (porous paywall)
“Resolving the increasingly violent protests in Hong Kong will most likely fall to an influential group of Beijing’s local allies. The trouble: They don’t agree on much. The fissures raise the likelihood that unrest in Hong Kong could fester for months or even years. That could further hurt the city’s economy, create a constant headache for Beijing, and aggravate an already sore point between the United States and China.”
Southeast Asia hates the nine-dash line
Philippines’ top diplomat calls for cut to ‘Abominable’ over China map / Reuters
“The foreign minister of the Philippines called on Wednesday for a cut to a scene in DreamWorks’ animated film Abominable that shows China’s unilaterally declared ‘nine-dash line’ in the South China Sea.”
Malaysia orders China map cut from animated film Abominable as furore widens / Straits Times
SOCIETY AND CULTURE:
A history of chop suey / History Today
All about the most American Chinese dish.
FEATURED ON SUPCHINA
We watched South Park‘s ‘Band in China’ with Chinese nationals
South Park‘s 299th episode, “Band in China,” garnered near-universal acclaim in the U.S., but was soon banned in China. We wondered: What do Chinese nationals think of the episode, which satirizes Hollywood’s acquiescence to Chinese money and Chinese censorship? We gathered a small group to watch and react. Their responses may surprise you.
SINICA PODCAST NETWORK
Sinica Podcast: Live from Columbia: China tech triage with Samm Sacks
Samm Sacks, a Cybersecurity Policy and China Digital Economy Fellow at New America, speaks with Kaiser on Huawei’s nebulous role in the U.S.-China trade war, Beijing’s long march to technological self-reliance, and the growing U.S. Commerce Department Entity List. This episode was recorded live at the Columbia China and the World Forum 2019, on September 28, 2019, at Columbia University.