TikTok moves to ease fears amid report workers in China accessed US users’ data

TikTok has said that Oracle will store all the data from its US users, in a bid to allay fears about its safety in the hands of a platform owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The move comes as a report from BuzzFeed news, citing leaked audio from TikTok in-house meetings, said ByteDance employees in China have repeatedly accessed private information about US TikTok users. The popular video snippet sharing service has fended off concerns about the ability of engineers in China to access information about US users that isn’t…

UN human rights commissioner criticised over planned Xinjiang visit

A group of 40 politicians from 18 countries have told the UN high commissioner for human rights that she risks causing lasting damage to the credibility of her office if she goes ahead with a visit to China’s Xinjiang region next week. Michelle Bachelet is scheduled to visit Kashgar and Ürümqi in Xinjiang during her trip, which starts on Monday. Human rights organisations say China has forced an estimated 1 million or more people into internment camps and prisons in the region. The US and a number of other western…

US stock markets fall sharply as investors worry about recession

The wild ride on the US stock markets continued on Wednesday with the Dow Jones Industrial Average sinking more than 1,100 points as investors worried about a looming recession. All of the major US markets fell sharply, with the S&P closing down 4%, its largest fall since June 2020, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq losing 4.7%. On Tuesday markets had rallied following positive news about consumer spending and signs that China was relaxing its strict Covid-19 lockdowns. Just a day later concerns about an economic slowdown triggered a wide-ranging sell-off. The…

US sues casino mogul Steve Wynn to compel him to register as an agent of China

The US Department of Justice on Tuesday sued Steve Wynn, the billionaire former casino mogul and senior Republican fund raiser, to compel him to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as an agent of China. The department said Wynn, 80, had contacted then-US president Donald Trump and members of his Republican administration in 2017 to convey China’s request to cancel the visa of or otherwise remove a Chinese businessperson who had sought political asylum in the United States. In a statement the Department of Justice said it was seeking…

Beijing’s rhetoric in spotlight as Taiwan condemns California shooting

Taiwan’s president has condemned the deadly shooting at a Taiwanese church in California by a man reportedly driven by hatred of the self-governing island, where debate about cross-strait tensions has intensified along with Beijing’s reunification rhetoric. Tsai Ing-wen’s office issued a statement saying she condemned “any form of violence” and extended her condolences to those killed and injured, and that she had asked the island’s chief representative in the US to fly to California to provide assistance. David Chou, 68, was arrested on Sunday at Laguna Woods, Orange County, after…

Beijing accuses US of ‘political manipulation’ in latest Taiwan row

Beijing has accused Washington of “political manipulation” and attempting to change the status quo after the US state department quietly amended its website to remove a line stating it did not support Taiwanese independence. In a delicate geopolitical balancing act, the US has long acknowledged, but not supported, China’s claim to Taiwan under its version of the “one China principle”. However, experts say that policy has been eroded as Beijing has become more assertive. In an updated page on the state department’s online “fact sheet” Washington last week removed some…

Risk of recession in Europe, US and China is rising by the day | Kenneth Rogoff

Is the global economy flying into a perfect storm, with Europe, China, and the US all entering downturns at the same time later this year? The risks of a global recession trifecta are rising by the day. A recession in Europe is almost inevitable if the war in Ukraine escalates, and Germany, which has been fiercely resisting calls to pull the plug on Russian oil and gas, finally relents. China is finding it increasingly difficult to sustain positive growth in the face of draconian Covid-19 lockdowns, which have already brought…

The world’s engines are spluttering: IMF points to deeper problems beyond 2022

The International Monetary Fund’s revised World Economic Outlook is sobering. It is rare for the organisation to revise down sharply its projections for economic growth only one quarter into the calendar year. Yet in this case, it has done so for 86% of its 190 member countries, resulting in a decline of almost one percentage point in global growth for 2022 – from 4.4% to 3.6%. Moreover, this forecast is accompanied by a significant increase in projected inflation, and all this bad news is packaged in a wrapping of deeper…

Gay references removed from Fantastic Beasts 3 for Chinese release

Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore has been edited for release in China to ensure any gay references have been removed. The fantasy sequel, which has an estimated budget of $200m, contains allusions to a romantic history between the characters of Dumbledore and Grindelwald, played by Jude Law and Mads Mikkelsen respectively. Six seconds of dialogue, including the lines “Because I was in love with you” and “The summer Gellert and I fell in love”, were taken out for the Chinese release on 8 April. “As a studio, we’re committed…

US tells some consulate staff to leave Shanghai as Covid outbreak worsens

The US said on Tuesday it had asked all its non-essential staff and their family members at the Shanghai consulate to leave, in Washington’s latest response to the financial hub’s handling of the worsening Covid outbreak. The state department ordered the departure “due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak” there, according to a spokesperson from its Beijing embassy. “It is best for our employees and their families to be reduced in number and our operations to be scaled down as we deal with the changing circumstances on the ground,” the person…

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