China takes two Americans

Access Archive

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.

—Jeremy Goldkorn



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.



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