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China Is Recruiting Former NATO Pilots — Is That OK?

A Parliamentary committee that oversees German intelligence services is questioning Beijing increasing recruitment activities of those who know Western weaponry best. This raises a fundamental strategic question as China-West tensions grow .

BERLIN — The German Bundestag’s Parliamentary Supervisory Committee meets in private. It is rare for any details of the discussions between delegates, who oversee the activities of the German intelligence services, to leak to the outside world.

But in the past week, the Committee very deliberately broke its usual vow of silence. In a public statement, delegates called for stricter regulations for government employees whose jobs relate to matters of security, when they make the move to the private sector.

Above all, the committee said that engaging in work for a foreign power should “automatically qualify as a breach of the obligation to secrecy for civil servants with jobs related to matters of security."

One reason for the unusual announcement: growing concerns about Chinese efforts to recruit former German military and intelligence officers.

In security circles, the word is that the Beijing regime is showing a marked interest in operational and tactical information from the West. Beijing is looking to recruit NATO pilots, with the aim of honing fighting techniques against Western military planes and helicopters. This recruitment often happens via foreign flying schools.

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This Happened — May 29: Reaching Everest’s Summit

On this day 70 years ago, humans reached the summit of Mount Everest for the first time.

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How The U.S.-China Cold War Will Be Different — And Why Little Can Stop It

The just completed G7 in Hiroshima has locked both sides in the simmering Cold War in Asia into what appears an inevitable confrontation that recalls the U.S.-Soviet showdown. But there are key caveats that make both the limits and risks harder to anticipate.


PARIS — In the lengthy final statement of the Hiroshima G7 summit, it is not until point 51 that China finally comes up. However, along with Ukraine, the Asian superpower was undoubtedly the top priority for both the United States and host country, Japan.

Even though they were buried within an all-purpose text, references to China have triggered a strong reaction in Beijing. "Systematic denigration," "Interference in China's internal affairs," "Regional destabilization..." The Chinese Foreign Ministry did not mince words following the G7 summit.

From Beijing's perspective, the Hiroshima summit reinforced the Cold War emerging in northeast Asia — one that is vastly different from the one that occurred between the United States and the USSR in the last century.

The statement, however, takes care to proclaim, "Our policy approaches are not designed to harm China nor do we seek to thwart China’s economic progress and development."

But everything that the Americans have decided, first under Donald Trump and now even more decisively under Joe Biden, effectively aims to slow down China's emergence as a rival to the United States.

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With Putin Shut Out, Xi Makes His Play For Central Asia — And Europe

Five former Soviet states have arrived for a key summit in China, and the absence of Vladimir Putin signals Central Asia's desire to distance itself from Moscow — and China's rising global dominance.


PARIS — They are called the five "Stans"... Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan. They used to be part of the Soviet Union and are today at the center of a strategic zone between Russia and China.

The leaders of the Central Asian countries arrived Thursday in Xi'an, in central China to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping. And there was undeniably someone missing from the picture: Vladimir Putin.

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The Russian leader's absence is highly significant: the "Stans" are getting closer to Beijing in order to put more distance between themselves and Moscow.

We are not talking about a change of direction or a rift, but rather a rebalancing, a new regional order in which the Chinese ascendancy is now an undeniable reality. But an unofficial representative of Beijing admitted it Wednesday in private: this summit between the Central Asian countries and China, without Russia, must not have pleased Putin.

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Liang Yutong

'MTF' Alarm, Life Is Crueler Than Ever For Trans Women In China

Cast out by family, discriminated against by the state, shut off from the medication, China's "male-to-female" trans community is under immense pressure, as suicide rates rise and incomprehension continues to spread.

BEIJING — Another MTF has committed suicide in China: born in June 2009, she was not yet 14. MTF is an acronym for "male-to-female," a term used by transgender women in China to identify themselves on online platforms.

Although the World Health Organisation announced in 2019 that "transgender" would be removed from the International Classification of Diseases, the transgender community in mainland China has had to continue to endure pressure and abuse from the state, society and families. Transgender women have a disproportionately high rate of suicide in China.

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One of the dangers that MTFs face is their medication being cut off. The drugs, including those containing oestrogen and anti-androgens, are the only way for the MTF community to maintain their femininity before undergoing gender affirming surgery. A number of trans women have openly shared their experiences of being deprived their medication, and being in constant fear of returning to a gender they do not belong to. This can lead to serious depression and other mental problems, that sometimes winds up with suicide.

Under the harsh restrictions on purchasing drugs in mainland China, MTFs often have to contact underground drug dealers, and that too often means being sold fake drugs. There was even a case reported of a transphobic man who deliberately sold high-priced fake drugs to MTFs, which caused dangerous side effects.

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This Happened

This Happened — May 12: Sichuan Earthquake

On this day in 2008, an earthquake hit the Sichuan province of China, in Wenchuan county. It was one of the deadliest recorded earthquakes ever to hit China.

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The Initium

Business, Racism And Censorship: The Saga Of Chinese Influencers In Africa

A ban last June from Beijing of live-streaming from Africa followed a BBC report on a TikToker producing racist videos. Though explicit racism is the exception, a deeper look at Chinese influencers in Africa finds the content shows a general lack of interest in the continent and its people. Some of the TikTokers are leaving, either for Southeast Asia or back to China.

BEIJING — Last June, BBC News' Africa Eye aired a documentary called Racism for Sale that included a Chinese TikToker nicknamed "Luke" who filmed children in Malawi chanting racist slogans about African people. Luke was subsequently arrested by local police in Malawi.

Though Chinese influencers have been making short videos in Africa for years, the incident brought unprecedented attention in China to the world of online content about Africa. Statements were released by the Director General of the African Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Malawian Embassy stating that there would be zero tolerance for racist content, with Beijing officials placing new restrictions on the kind of content platforms can publish, in order to avoid similar offensive and embarrassing incidents.

The explicit racism in the Luke video, it turns out, is largely the exception in the crowded space of Chinese internet content coming out of Africa. The life presented on TikTok is instead largely about the Chinese people who live in Africa, including businessmen who run hotels, mines, factories and farms, as well as employees of state-owned Chinese enterprises working on local infrastructure projects in Africa. The content of the videos typically chronicles their daily lives, and has become widely popular, and in the past was quite lucrative.

"When times were good, I had no problem making hundreds of thousands of dollars a month," says one Africa-based Chinese content producer. The income has dropped notably, report most TikTokers, but the videos coming from Africa remain popular in China. A survey of the content shows that there are hardly any overtly racist videos. Instead, there is a clearly shallow understanding of — and general lack of interest in — African culture.

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Juan Manuel Ospina

The Rise Of China Does Nothing To Fix What's Wrong With The West

The West and its brand of modernity may be waning in favor of an ascendant China, but is it offering anything besides replacing market forces with brute force.


BOGOTÁ — It's a bedlam out there. We can feel around us the dissolution of all that seemed, just yesterday, so solid and permanent.

Some say the West is in decline, in a process that began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, when the United States burst onto the stage before compounding its power after 1945. It put an end to the last days of Europe's imperial splendor.

Observing events today, we may feel that the American years were in fact the West's last, magnificent chapter, and the East is regaining a long-lost supremacy, reshaped this time by communist China.

The American Way of Life, as that shallow version of Western civilization is called, barely had time to mature and define itself. It simply appeared as the rule of materialism and economic power, with a motto to chase money at any cost, even at the expense of living a life.

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Pierre Haski

Ya Ya, Between A Broken Heart And Big Chill In Giant Panda Diplomacy

This is the story of Ya Ya, a female panda whose fate captures for the degrading relationship and eroding trust between China and the U.S.


Ya Ya, a Chinese Giant Panda, had been living at the Memphis Zoo in the United States for 20 years, beginning back in the days when the relationship between Beijing and Washington was far more cordial. Her arrival was part of what's known as "panda diplomacy", when Beijing lent out its beloved signature animals as a sign of friendship.

Ya Ya was in a relationship, if we can use this term, with Le Le, a male panda. But Le Le died in 2021, from heart complications, and Ya Ya never seemed to recover from his death. She started to lose weight, her coat faded. This is when politics flared up.

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Pierre Haski

Lula's Return And The Dream Of A BRICS Revival

The Brazilian president, back in power after more than a decade later, has not lost his vision of a post-Western world in which the BRICS would occupy a central place. Lula's visit to Beijing puts such a vision front and center on the global agenda.


PARIS — In the popular concept of the "global south," which refers to the non-Western world that expresses its distrust of the West, Brazil plays an important role. And its President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who returned to power in January, wasted no time in demonstrating this.

Lula has been in China this week at a time when the balance of power of the new century is being redefined. Brazil and China are both members of the BRICS, a club of emerging countries that also includes South Africa, India, and Russia. (Wrapping up

When the BRICS first emerged in the 2000s, during Lula's first term in office, he believed that he'd found a model for an alternative world. However, the club did not live up to its promises, partly due to China's disproportionate weight compared to its partners and its ambitions as a superpower.

Upon returning to office, Lula quickly booked his path to Beijing, after a first trip to Washington. His statements show that he has not lost his vision of a post-Western world in which the BRICS would occupy a central place.

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Marco Bastos

Lula's Visit To China Is Business As Usual — And Pure Political Calculation

Brazilian President Lula da Silva is sticking to Brazil's favored policy of diplomatic non-alignment while visiting China, hoping to win his country all the business and export deals he can sign.


Brazil's leftist president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, arrived in China with three priorities.

First, he wants to look like a statesman next to China’s communist strongman leader Xi Jinping. Second, he wants to be on the 'right' side in the new Cold War taking shape between the U.S. and China. And third, he will seek investment opportunities and export markets.

Part of Lula's symbolic proposition is to present himself as an international statesman who can re-establish Brazil on the global stage. With the exception of some among the extreme right in the West, most people abroad sympathize with this image – among them, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, who has welcomed Brazil's return.

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Pierre Haski

China's Dilemma In Race For AI Dominance: Speed v. Control

The remarkable power of ChatGPT on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence took Beijing by surprise. As China rolls out its own version, it remains to be seen how the country will balance the need for control with technological development and innovation


PARIS — It was Vladimir Putin who uttered this alarming sentence one day in 2017: "The country that becomes the leader in the field of artificial intelligence will dominate the world."

One thing is certain, it won't be Russia, because instead of pursuing this path, it has engaged in an old-fashioned war in the Ukrainian trenches: it got lost along the way.

China, on the other hand, understood the message from its long time friend and ally Putin. In 2015, Beijing placed artificial intelligence (AI) in its "China 2025" plan, which set out the technologies in which the country aspired to become a world leader.

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