For Olympic Sponsors, ‘China Is an Exception’

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At the bottom of the slope where snowboarders will compete in the 2022 Beijing Olympics, an electronic sign cycles through ads for companies like Samsung and Audi. Coca-Cola’s cans are adorned with Olympic rings. Procter & Gamble has opened a beauty salon in the Olympic Village. Visa is the event’s official credit card. President Biden and a handful of other Western leaders may have declared a “diplomatic boycott” of the Winter Games, which begin next week, but some of the world’s most famous brands will still be there. The prominence…

China’s Births Hit Historic Low, a Political Problem for Beijing

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China announced on Monday that its birthrate plummeted for a fifth straight year in 2021, moving the world’s most populous country closer to the potentially seismic moment when its population will begin to shrink, and hastening a demographic crisis that could undermine its economy and even its political stability. The falling birthrate, coupled with the increased life expectancy that has accompanied China’s economic transformation over the last four decades, means the number of people of working age, relative to the growing number of people too old to work, has continued…

China’s Economy Slowed Late Last Year on Real Estate Troubles

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BEIJING — Construction and property sales have slumped. Small businesses have shut because of rising costs and weak sales. Debt-laden local governments are cutting the pay of civil servants. China’s economy slowed markedly in the final months of last year as government measures to limit real estate speculation hurt other sectors as well. Lockdowns and travel restrictions to contain the coronavirus also dented consumer spending. Stringent regulations on everything from internet businesses to after-school tutoring companies have set off a wave of layoffs. China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Monday…

Britain’s Security Agency MI5 Warns Lawmakers of China’s Political Interference

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LONDON — Britain’s domestic security agency, MI5, sent an unusual alert on Thursday to lawmakers warning that an agent of the Chinese government was actively working to subvert the political processes of Parliament. The existence of the alert, revealed by lawmakers in Britain’s House of Commons, led some outspoken critics of the Chinese government to demand a response from Britain’s Conservative government on its plans to combat political interference. This is the sort of interference “we now anticipate and expect from China,” said Tobias Ellwood, a Conservative lawmaker. “But the…

Chinese Activists Face Subversion Charges for Weekend Gathering

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Twenty or so lawyers and activists quietly arrived at a gaudy “Nice Home Party” rental villa near the Chinese seaside. They ate takeout food, sang along to a karaoke machine and played table soccer. But they also had a serious purpose: discussing China’s besieged human rights movement. Two years after that weekend gathering in December 2019, the two best-known attendees — Xu Zhiyong and Ding Jiaxi — are awaiting trial on subversion charges related to the gathering, according to indictments. Police and prosecutors have seized on the weekend meeting to…

China’s Ban on ‘Sissy Men’ Is Bound to Backfire

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BEIJING — China is facing serious challenges on multiple fronts: Great power competition with the United States. Trade disputes. The future of Taiwan. But that doesn’t mean it’s too preoccupied to escalate a battle of another sort on the home front. The Chinese government, you see, has been fighting what state news outlets have called a “masculinity crisis” for the past few years, with one top official warning that “effeminate” men in popular culture were corrupting “a generation.” The Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece decreed that young men need to have…

How China Uses Contractors to Spread Propaganda on Facebook and Twitter

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境外社交平台注册 Register accounts on foreign social media platforms 按月报单价 Charge monthly 5000.00 元/月 RMB/Month 境外社交平台账号伪装及维护 Disguise and maintain overseas social media accounts 按月报单价 Charge monthly 5000.00 元/月 RMB/Month 制作原创视频 Create original videos 按月报单价 Charge monthly 40000.00 元/月 RMB/Month A list of services and costs itemized in Chinese renminbi from a private contractor that won a bid to work for a branch of the Shanghai police department. • Note: English translation by The New York Times from original Chinese document text. Flood global social media with fake accounts used to advance…

Can a ‘Very Confident’ Carrie Lam Salvage Her Legacy in Hong Kong?

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HONG KONG — The students sat quietly as soldiers goose-stepped into the Hong Kong high school’s auditorium, hoisting a Chinese flag. The M.C.s spoke in Mandarin, the language of mainland China, rather than Cantonese, the city’s predominant language. Then Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s chief executive, took the podium, to extol the importance of patriotism in the city’s youth. It was Mrs. Lam’s fourth visit to a school in recent weeks — a striking count for a leader who for two years had barely set foot on a campus. When anti-government…

Hu Xijin, Chief of China’s Global Times, Will Retire

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During the presidential administration of Donald J. Trump, Mr. Hu would often work late, firing off rejoinders at the U.S. president’s tweets. Other Chinese diplomats and state media journalists followed, taking to American social media platforms blocked in China to hit back at Beijing’s critics. In the process, they have at times stirred international controversy and inflamed relations with other countries. Growing up in Beijing, Mr. Hu was not always the picture of party loyalty. As a Russian literature graduate student in 1989, he joined the crowds of pro-democracy protesters…

Ahead of Biden’s Democracy Summit, China Says: We’re Also a Democracy

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BEIJING — As President Biden prepares to host a “summit for democracy” this week, China has counterattacked with an improbable claim: It’s a democracy, too. No matter that the Communist Party of China rules the country’s 1.4 billion people with no tolerance for opposition parties; that its leader, Xi Jinping, rose to power through an opaque political process without popular elections; that publicly calling for democracy in China is punished harshly, often with long prison sentences. “There is no fixed model of democracy; it manifests itself in many forms,” the…

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