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china

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Judge junks major convictions against Kansas researcher accused of secret China work

  • U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Kansas City, Kansas, ruled on Tuesday that there was “no evidence” to convict University of Kansas chemical engineering professor Feng "Franklin" Tao on defrauding the university and two agencies that funded his research.  
  • In April, Tao was convicted by a jury in the same court of not disclosing his affiliation with Fuzhou University in China to the University of Kansas, the Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation after he allegedly claimed he had no conflicts of interest. 
  • According to prosecutors, Tao signed up to be a full-time employee with Fuzhou University while he was supposed to be working on renewable energy projects at the University of Kansas in 2018.
  • In her recent ruling, Robinson pointed out that while Tao had been "deceptive" in concealing his activities in China, the prosecution did not establish any "evidence that Tao obtained money or property through the alleged scheme to defraud, as required under the wire fraud statute."
  • Tao's lawyer Peter Zeidenberg believes the new decision will put an end to the crackdown on suspected Chinese espionage within the U.S. academe pursued by the Justice Department during former President Donald Trump's administration.

A federal court cited insufficient evidence in junking a scientist’s most serious convictions for doing secret work in China while conducting U.S.-funded research.

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson in Kansas City upheld only one count of making a false statement but ruled that there was not any evidence to convict University of Kansas chemical engineering professor Feng “Franklin” Tao on three wire fraud counts.

Math professor convicted of failing to report Chinese bank account gets probation

Xiao Mingqing
  • A math professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale was sentenced on Monday to a year of probation after he was found guilty of tax return errors and failing to disclose a Chinese bank account.
  • District Judge Staci Yandle was asked by prosecutors to impose a one-year prison sentence against professor Xiao Mingqing, but the judge said that served no purpose.
  • The professor was also fined $600 as opposed to the thousands of dollars suggested in the federal sentencing guidelines, according to court documents.
  • He was indicted in April 2021 and charged with three counts of fraud.
  • A GoFundMe campaign with a $350,000 goal has been created to help Xiao with legal expenses.

A math professor at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale was sentenced on Monday to a year of probation after he was found guilty of tax return errors and failing to disclose a foreign bank account under the China Initiative.

District Judge Staci Yandle was asked by prosecutors to impose a one-year prison sentence against professor Xiao Mingqing, but the judge said that served no purpose.

Netflix’s ‘Narco Saints’ sparks controversy for casting Taiwanese actor as gang leader, portraying Suriname as ‘narco state’

  • Chinese social media users accused South Korean Netflix series “Narco Saints” of insulting Chinese people after casting Taiwanese actor Chang Chen as a gang leader.
  • South Korean social media users participated in online discussions by pointing out the rising cases of piracy in China as the country has no access to Netflix.
  • Suriname, which is where the series takes place, expressed plans to take legal action against “Narco Saints” producers for portraying the South American country as a “narco state.”
  • “Suriname no longer has the image that emerges in the series or no longer participates in these kinds of practices," Foreign Minister Albert Ramdin said in a statement on Sept. 12. “Whether the practices presented... are true or false, it's creating a negative perception. The whole world sees these things, so this is not good.”

Netflix’s hit South Korean crime thriller “Narco Saints” has sparked online controversy for casting a Taiwanese actor as a gang leader and for portraying South American country Suriname as a “narco state.”

Chinese social media users claimed it is insulting that “Narco Saints” cast Taiwanese actor Chang Chen as a gang leader who is not afraid to chop off traitors’ feet and hands.

China health chief warns against ‘skin-to-skin contact with foreigners’ amid first case of monkeypox

  • Wu Zunyou, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s chief epidemiologist, announced on Weibo on Saturday that China now has one case of monkeypox after it “slipped through the net” despite tight COVID-19 restrictions.
  • Wu listed five recommendations in his Weibo post, with the first one igniting controversy on the social media platform.
  • “To prevent possible monkeypox infection and as part of our healthy lifestyle, it is recommended that 1) you do not have direct skin-to-skin contact with foreigners,” he wrote.
  • “This is a bit like when the pandemic began, when some people overseas avoided any Chinese people they saw out of fear," one user commented, criticizing Wu’s message. “I don't believe these two things have any scientific basis, they are too broad and will exacerbate public panic."
  • "When the pandemic first began, some of our foreign friends stood up and used our own platforms to tell everybody, 'Chinese people are not the virus,'" another Weibo user wrote.

A senior Chinese health official recently warned people on social media not to touch foreigners as the country reported its first case of monkeypox.

In a Weibo post on Saturday, Wu Zunyou, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s chief epidemiologist, announced that China now has one case of monkeypox that “slipped through the net” despite tight COVID-19 restrictions.

Ancient China used face-whitening cosmetics before Ancient Greece, study claims

  • A team of researchers from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology discovered ancient bronze containers containing lead white residue that the ancient Chinese used for face-whitening makeup.
  • The discovery was made at a nobility cemetery located in the Liangdaicun site in the city of Hancheng in China’s Shaanxi province.
  • The researchers published their study in the open-access journal Humanities and Social Sciences Communications on Sept. 3.
  • “The results show that these residues were the earliest synthesized lead white in the world to date, which was produced by the precipitation method in solution distinct from the corrosion method practiced in ancient Greece,” the researchers wrote.

Chinese researchers have unearthed bronze containers with lead white residue that the ancient Chinese used for face-whitening makeup around 300 years before the ancient Greeks started making their own.

The team of researchers from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS) and the Shaanxi Academy of Archaeology discovered the ancient artifacts at the Liangdaicun site in the city of  Hancheng in China’s Shaanxi Province.

President Biden shows determination to defend Taiwan in new ‘60 Minutes’ interview

Biden 60 Minutes
  • In a “60 Minutes” interview, President Joe Biden was asked whether U.S. Forces would defend Taiwan, to which Biden answered with an unfaltering “yes.”
  • However, the president’s response differs from the official statement given by the White House, which maintains “strategic ambiguity” towards Taiwan.
  • In response to Biden's interview, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning stated that the U.S. should “fully understand the extremely important and highly sensitive nature of the Taiwan question and abide by the one China principle.”
  • Taiwan also responded by expressing, “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Republic of China (Taiwan) extends its sincere appreciation to President Biden for once again emphasizing the staunch and rock-solid US security commitment to Taiwan.”

President Joe Biden declared in a television interview that U.S. armed forces will defend Taiwan in case of an unprecedented invasion by China, contradicting official U.S. policy. 

In a “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday night, Biden was asked about Taiwan and China by CBS News correspondent Scott Pelley, “What should Chinese President Xi know about your commitment to Taiwan?”

UK seeks to hire Taiwanese teachers amid plan to phase out controversial Confucius Institutes

confucius institute
  • A group of cross-party Members of Parliament, including Alicia Kearns, a Conservative MP, is currently in talks to hire new teachers from Taiwan as the U.K. government seeks to phase out Beijing-backed Chinese language known as Confucius Institutes.
  • The recent decision came after Kearns asked Taiwan to play a more significant role in teaching Mandarin in the U.K. as distrust over the Chinese Communist Party continues to grow.
  • Kearns, a member of the British House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, proposed a Higher Education Bill amendment in June. The amendment would allow British officials to close down Confucius Institute schools over concerns about academic freedom.
  • Speaking to Channel News Asia, Kearns explained that Confucius Institutes are under the CCP’s control and that they “do not teach accurate history,” a practice that "needs to end."

The United Kingdom is now looking to hire Taiwanese teachers as part of proposed plans to phase out its Beijing-backed Chinese language schools known as Confucius Institutes.

A group of cross-party Members of Parliament (MPs), including Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, is currently in talks to hire new teachers from Taiwan and replace Confucius Institutes in the U.K., according to The Observer.

Biden signs order to block Chinese investment in US tech

  • U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order that strengthens a regulatory committee’s powers to oversee foreign investments in the U.S.
  • The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which was established in 1975, is now tasked with expanding its areas of review and ensuring its responsiveness to “evolving national security threats.”
  • The order directs CFIUS to review the sectors of microelectronics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and biomanufacturing, quantum computing, advanced clean energy and climate adaptation technologies, which all happen to be areas of focus in China’s “Made in China 2025” plan.
  • It also instructs the committee to review cybersecurity risks posed by foreign investments that may threaten national security.
  • The order marks the first time since the establishment of CFIUS that a president has laid out risks that the committee must consider across transactions.

U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Thursday that fortifies a regulatory committee’s powers to screen foreign investments in the U.S., many of which included Chinese shares in tech in recent years.

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which was established in 1975 under the Ford administration, is now tasked with expanding its areas of review, as well as regularly evaluating its processes, practices and regulations to ensure that they “remain responsive to evolving national security threats.”

Xi tells Putin China is ready to partner with Russia to ‘lead world’

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping held a bilateral meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Forumlar Majmuasi Complex in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, on Thursday.
  • During their first meeting since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Xi said China is ready to team up with its ally to “set an example of a responsible world power and to play a leading role in putting a rapidly changing world on the track of sustainable and positive development.”
  • Addressing Putin as his "dear and long-time friend," Xi said the two leaders had maintained “effective strategic contacts, particularly through phone calls” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Although the Russian president praised China’s “balanced position” on the matter, he conceded that Beijing had “questions and concerns” over Russia’s military action.
  • “We highly appreciate the balanced position of our Chinese friends in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. We understand your questions and concerns in this regard,” Putin said. “During today's meeting, of course, we will explain in detail our position on this issue, although we have spoken about this before."

Chinese President Xi Jinping has reportedly told Russian President Vladimir Putin that China is ready to team up with Russia during their sideline talks at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan.

Addressing Putin as his “dear and long-time friend,” Xi said the two leaders had maintained “effective strategic contacts, particularly through phone calls” amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Russian news agency TASS.

Chinese universities among world’s top schools in producing ultra-rich graduates

chinese universities richest alumni
  • Chinese universities, including Peking University and Tsinghua University, are among the top universities to produce the most “ultra-wealthy” alumni, according to Altrata.
  • Peking University, the alma mater of Baidu co-founder Robin Li, has produced about 1,101 ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) individuals, landing the school at No. 8 on the list.
  • Tsinghua University, the school from which Chinese President Xi Jinping graduated, churned out about 1,100 ultra-wealthy alumni, placing it at No. 9 on the list.
  • Altrata defined ultra wealthy as those with a net worth of $30 million.
  • Harvard University came in at No. 1 among U.S. universities, with 17,660 ultra wealthy graduates.

Chinese universities, including Peking University and Tsinghua University, are among the top universities to produce the most “ultra-wealthy” alumni, according to a recent report from data company Altrata.

Peking University, the alma mater of Baidu co-founder Robin Li, has produced about 1,101 ultra-high net-worth (UHNW) individuals, landing the school at No. 8 on the list. Forbes named the 53-year-old tech company founder the 45th richest person in China, with a net worth of about $7.7 billion.

Miss Taiwan cries after allegedly being banned from waving island’s flag on stage

  • Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry condemned organizers at the World Congress on Innovation & Technology in Penang, Malaysia, for stopping beauty queen Kao Man-jung from waving the island’s flag on stage.
  • Photos and video shared on social media show the Taiwanese beauty queen crying during the opening ceremony on Tuesday.
  • Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry accused China of putting pressure on the event organizers, calling the country a “bully.”
  • WCIT organizers later apologized to Kao.
  • Organizers claimed they could not allow her to go on stage because of a “last-minute change.”

Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry condemned organizers at the 2022 World Congress on Innovation & Technology (WCIT) in Penang, Malaysia, for stopping beauty queen Kao Man-jung from waving the island’s flag and joining other pageant contestants on stage.

Photos and video, shared by Taoyuan Department of Information Technology Director-General Karen Yu on Facebook, show the Taiwanese beauty queen visibly upset and in tears during the opening ceremony of the WCIT on Tuesday.

Australian man who strangled sleeping teenager believed he was being chased by the Chinese government

  • Chadley Sheridan, the 25-year-old man accused of strangling a sleeping 16-year-old boy inside the boy’s Charlestown, Australia, home after being welcomed by the teen’s father in March 2021, believed the Chinese government was chasing him while experiencing symptoms of psychosis in 2018, the court heard on Monday.
  • “The bizarre beliefs were that the Chinese government was somehow interested in him and following him,” said in a court document. “And that he had some supernatural connection to God.”
  • Sheridan’s lawyer pleaded with the jury not to find him guilty on the grounds of mental impairment. Olav Nielssen, a forensic psychologist, also provided evidence to the court that the man had “underlying psychotic illness which was exacerbated by drug use” during the alleged murder.
  • Sheridan was accused of killing the boy on March 15, but his body was only discovered after midnight on March 16, 2021.

The lawyer representing the man accused of strangling a sleeping teenage boy in March 2021 has asked the jury for a not guilty verdict on the grounds of mental impairment.

In the closing remark, the lawyer of Chadley Sheridan, 25, pleaded with the jury not to find the man guilty of strangling the 16-year-old boy to death inside the boy’s home in Charlestown, near Newcastle, Australia, after midnight on March 16, 2021.