Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Economic and trade relations have always been the ballast stone and propeller of China-US relations. However, in recent days, the US government has provoked and continued to escalate Sino-US economic and trade frictions, which has greatly damaged the bilateral economic and trade relations that the two governments and people of both countries have worked hard for many years, and has also seriously threatened the multilateral trading system and the principle of free trade.
On September 24, the Information Office of the State Council published a white paper on the facts and China's position on trade friction with US, which comprehensively and systematically laid out the facts about China-US economic and trade relations with detailed data. The white paper emphasized that mutual benefit and win-win are the essence of China-US economic and trade relations, pointing out that what the US is doing is trade protectionism and trade hegemonism. The white paper clarified China's policy stance and fully demonstrated China's resolve to promote the rational resolution of the issue, maintain the healthy and stable development of China-US economic and trade relations, and firmly uphold the multilateral trading system.
In 2017, the bilateral trade in goods between China and the US reached $583.7 billion, 233 times of that when diplomatic relations were established in 1979. History and reality have repeatedly proved that China-US economic and trade cooperation is a win-win relationship. It is definitely not a zero-sum game. It not only promotes China's economic development and improvement of people's livelihood, but also gives American enterprises and nationals tangible benefits. China-US economic and trade exchanges are large in scale, rich in connotation, wide in coverage, and involve multiple subjects. It is inevitable that some contradictions will arise. The two countries should properly handle differences and seek to resolve contradictions in a pragmatic manner. However, the US government launched a Section 301 Investigation against China and has made a series of false and stigmatizing accusations against China, such as "economic aggression," "unfair trade," "theft of intellectual property rights," and "state capitalism,” twisting the facts of China-US economic and trade relations and ignoring the great achievements of China's reform and opening up and the hard work and blood, sweat, and tears of the Chinese people. This is not only shows a disrespect for the Chinese government and the Chinese people, but also a disrespect for the true interests of the American people. It will only lead to more differences and increase frictions and will ultimately damage the fundamental interests of both sides.
Cooperation brings benefits for all, but competition brings losses on both sides. In face of an international situation marked by uncertainty, instability, and insecurity, China has always been standing with the world, following the trend, standing by justice, and taking the right path, firmly safeguarding China's national dignity and core interests. China has also been firmly promoting the healthy development of China-US economic and trade relations, safeguarding, promoting, and improving the multilateral trading system, protecting property rights and intellectual property rights as well as the legitimate rights and interests of foreign businesses in China, strengthening and deepening reform and opening up, and promoting mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with other developed countries and developing countries, in addition to the building of a community of common destiny for mankind. China does not want to fight a trade war, but China is not afraid to fight a trade war and will fight if necessary. China is confident, determined, and capable of responding to various risks and challenges, and no external factors can prevent China from developing. The door to China's negotiations has always been open, but negotiations must be based on mutual respect, mutual equality, and faithfulness—negotiations require talking the talk and walking the walk. Negotiations cannot be carried out under the threat of a big stick, nor at the expense of China's right to development.
"The finer details fall into place when they align with the bigger picture." Looking at China-US relations, one should look at the overall situation and not only focus on the differences between the two countries. China is the largest developing country in the world, and the US is the largest developed country in the world. The economic and trade relations between the two countries concern the well-being of the two peoples as well as world peace, prosperity, and stability. To deal with China-US economic and trade frictions and promote reasonable solutions, it is important to enhance mutual trust, promote cooperation, and control differences. Cooperation is the only right choice, and a win-win situation can and will lead to a better future.
BY HILLARY CLINTON - American Democracy Is in Crisis - Our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back.
It’s been nearly two years since Donald Trump won enough Electoral College votes to become president of the United States. On the day after, in my concession speech, I said, “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” I hoped that my fears for our future were overblown.
They were not.
In the roughly 21 months since he took the oath of office, Trump has sunk far below the already-low bar he set for himself in his ugly campaign. Exhibit A is the unspeakable cruelty that his administration has inflicted on undocumented families arriving at the border, including separating children, some as young as eight months, from their parents. According to The New York Times, the administration continues to detain 12,800 children right now, despite all the outcry and court orders. Then there’s the president’s monstrous neglect of Puerto Rico: After Hurricane Maria ravaged the island, his administration barely responded. Some 3,000 Americans died. Now Trump flatly denies those deaths were caused by the storm. And, of course, despite the recent indictments of several Russian military intelligence officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee in 2016, he continues to dismiss a serious attack on our country by a foreign power as a “hoax.” Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track. I think that may be the point—to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball. The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis.
I don’t use the word crisis lightly. There are no tanks in the streets. The administration’s malevolence may be constrained on some fronts—for now—by its incompetence. But our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back. There’s not a moment to lose.
As I see it, there are five main fronts of this assault on our democracy.
First, there is Donald Trump’s assault on the rule of law.
John Adams wrote that the definition of a republic is “a government of laws, and not of men.” That ideal is enshrined in two powerful principles: No one, not even the most powerful leader, is above the law, and all citizens are due equal protection under the law. Those are big ideas, radical when America was formed and still vital today. The Founders knew that a leader who refuses to be subject to the law or who politicizes or obstructs its enforcement is a tyrant, plain and simple.That sounds a lot like Donald Trump. He told The New York Times, “I have an absolute right to do what I want to with the Justice Department.” Back in January, according to that paper, Trump’s lawyers sent Special Counsel Robert Mueller a letter making that same argument: If Trump interferes with an investigation, it’s not obstruction of justice, because he’s the president.
The Times also reported that Trump told White House aides that he had expected Attorney General Jeff Sessions to protect him, regardless of the law. According to Jim Comey, the president demanded that the FBI director pledge his loyalty not to the Constitution but to Trump himself. And he has urged the Justice Department to go after his political opponents, violating an American tradition reaching back to Thomas Jefferson. After the bitterly contentious election of 1800, Jefferson could have railed against “Crooked John Adams” and tried to jail his supporters. Instead, Jefferson used his inaugural address to declare: “We are all republicans, we are all federalists.
” Second, the legitimacy of our elections is in doubt. There’s Russia’s ongoing interference and Trump’s complete unwillingness to stop it or protect us. There’s voter suppression, as Republicans put onerous—and I believe illegal—requirements in place to stop people from voting. There’s gerrymandering, with partisans—these days, principally Republicans—drawing the lines for voting districts to ensure that their party nearly always wins. All of this carries us further away from the sacred principle of “one person, one vote.”
Third, the president is waging war on truth and reason.
Earlier this month, Trump made 125 false or misleading statements in 120 minutes, according to The Washington Post—a personal record for him (at least since becoming president). To date, according to the paper’s fact-checkers, Trump has made 5,000 false or misleading claims while in office and recently has averaged 32 a day.
Trump is also going after journalists with even greater fervor and intent than before. No one likes to be torn apart in the press—I certainly don’t—but when you’re a public official, it comes with the job. You get criticized a lot. You learn to take it. You push back and make your case, but you don’t fight back by abusing your power or denigrating the entire enterprise of a free press. Trump doesn’t hide his intent one bit. Lesley Stahl, the 60 Minutes reporter, asked Trump during his campaign why he’s always attacking the press. He said, “I do it to discredit you all and demean you all, so when you write negative stories about me, no one will believe you.” When we can’t trust what we hear from our leaders, experts, and news sources, we lose our ability to hold people to account, solve problems, comprehend threats, judge progress, and communicate effectively with one another—all of which are crucial to a functioning democracy. Fourth, there’s Trump’s breathtaking corruption.
Considering that this administration promised to “drain the swamp,” it’s amazing how blithely the president and his Cabinet have piled up conflicts of interest, abuses of power, and blatant violations of ethics rules. Trump is the first president in 40 years to refuse to release his tax returns. He has refused to put his assets in a blind trust or divest himself of his properties and businesses, as previous presidents did. This has created unprecedented conflicts of interest, as industry lobbyists, foreign governments, and Republican organizations do business with Trump’s companies or hold lucrative events at his hotels, golf courses, and other properties. They are putting money directly into his pocket. He’s profiting off the business of the presidency.
Trump makes no pretense of prioritizing the public good above his own personal or political interests. He doesn’t seem to understand that public servants are supposed to serve the public, not the other way around. The Founders believed that for a republic to succeed, wise laws, robust institutions, and a brilliant Constitution would not be enough. Civic, republican virtue was the secret sauce that would make the whole system work. Donald Trump may well be the least lowercase-R republican president we’ve ever had.
Fifth, Trump undermines the national unity that makes democracy possible.
Democracies are rowdy by nature. We debate freely and disagree forcefully. It’s part of what distinguishes us from authoritarian societies, where dissent is forbidden. But we’re held together by deep “bonds of affection,” as Abraham Lincoln said, and by the shared belief that out of our fractious melting pot comes a unified whole that’s stronger than the sum of our parts.At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work. Trump doesn’t even try to pretend he’s a president for all Americans. It’s hard to ignore the racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says. Often, it’s not even subtext. When he says that Haitian and African immigrants are from “shithole countries,” that’s impossible to misunderstand. Same when he says that an American judge can’t be trusted because of his Mexican heritage. None of this is a mark of authenticity or a refreshing break from political correctness. Hate speech isn’t “telling it like it is.” It’s just hate.I don’t know whether Trump ignores the suffering of Puerto Ricans because he doesn’t know that they’re American citizens, because he assumes people with brown skin and Latino last names probably aren’t Trump fans, or because he just doesn’t have the capacity for empathy. And I don’t know whether he makes a similar judgment when he lashes out at NFL players protesting against systemic racism or when he fails to condemn hate crimes against Muslims. I do know he’s quick to defend or praise those whom he thinks are his people—like how he bent over backwards to defend the “very fine people” among the white nationalists in Charlottesville, Virginia. The message he sends by his lack of concern and respect for some Americans is unmistakable. He is saying that some of us don’t belong, that all people are not created equal, and that some are not endowed by their Creator with the same inalienable rights as others.
And it’s not just what he says. From day one, his administration has undermined civil rights that previous generations fought to secure and defend. There have been high-profile edicts like the Muslim travel ban and the barring of transgender Americans from serving in the military. Other actions have been quieter but just as insidious. The Department of Justice has largely abandoned oversight of police departments that have a history of civil-rights abuses and has switched sides in voting-rights cases. Nearly every federal agency has scaled back enforcement of civil-rights protections. All the while, Immigration and Customs Enforcement is running wild across the country. Federal agents are confronting citizens just for speaking Spanish, dragging parents away from children.
How did we get here?
Trump may be uniquely hostile to the rule of law, ethics in public service, and a free press. But the assault on our democracy didn’t start with his election. He is as much a symptom as a cause of what ails us. Think of our body politic like a human body, with our constitutional checks and balances, democratic norms and institutions, and well-informed citizenry all acting as an immune system protecting us from the disease of authoritarianism. Over many years, our defenses were worn down by a small group of right-wing billionaires—people like the Mercer family and Charles and David Koch—who spent a lot of time and money building an alternative reality where science is denied, lies masquerade as truth, and paranoia flourishes. By undermining the common factual framework that allows a free people to deliberate together and make the important decisions of self-governance, they opened the way for the infection of Russian propaganda and Trumpian lies to take hold. They've used their money and influence to capture our political system, impose a right-wing agenda, and disenfranchise millions of Americans. I don’t agree with critics who say that capitalism is fundamentally incompatible with democracy—but unregulated, predatory capitalism certainly is. Massive economic inequality and corporate monopoly power are antidemocratic and corrode the American way of life. Meanwhile, hyperpolarization now extends beyond politics into nearly every part of our culture. One recent study found that in 1960, just 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of Democrats said they’d be displeased if their son or daughter married a member of the other political party. In 2010, 49 percent of Republicans and 33 percent of Democrats said they’d be upset by that. The strength of partisan identity—and animosity—helps explain why so many Republicans continue to back a president so manifestly unfit for office and antithetical to many of the values and policies they once held dear. When you start seeing politics as a zero-sum game and view members of the other party as traitors, criminals, or otherwise illegitimate, then the normal give-and-take of politics turns into a blood sport.
There is a tendency, when talking about these things, to wring our hands about “both sides.” But the truth is that this is not a symmetrical problem. We should be clear about this: The increasing radicalism and irresponsibility of the Republican Party, including decades of demeaning government, demonizing Democrats, and debasing norms, is what gave us Donald Trump. Whether it was abusing the filibuster and stealing a Supreme Court seat, gerrymandering congressional districts to disenfranchise African Americans, or muzzling government climate scientists, Republicans were undermining American democracy long before Trump made it to the Oval Office.
Now we must do all we can to save our democracy and heal our body politic.
First, we’ve got to mobilize massive turnout in the 2018 midterms. There are fantastic candidates running all over the country, making their compelling cases every day about how they’ll raise wages, bring down health-care costs, and fight for justice. If they win, they’ll do great things for America. And we could finally see some congressional oversight of the White House. When the dust settles, we have to do some serious housecleaning. After Watergate, Congress passed a whole slew of reforms in response to Richard Nixon’s abuses of power. After Trump, we’re going to need a similar process. For example, Trump’s corruption should teach us that all future candidates for president and presidents themselves should be required by law to release their tax returns. They also should not be exempt from ethics requirements and conflict-of-interest rules.
A main area of reform should be improving and protecting our elections. The Senate Intelligence Committee has made a series of bipartisan recommendations for how to better secure America’s voting systems, including paper ballot backups, vote audits, and better coordination among federal, state, and local authorities on cybersecurity. That’s a good start. Congress should also repair the damage the Supreme Court did to the Voting Rights Act by restoring the full protections that voters need and deserve, as well as the voting rights of Americans who have served time in prison and paid their debt to society. We need early voting and voting by mail in every state in America, and automatic, universal voter registration so every citizen who is eligible to vote is able to vote. We need to overturn Citizens United and get secret money out of our politics. And you won’t be surprised to hear that I passionately believe it’s time to abolish the Electoral College. But even the best rules and regulations won’t protect us if we don’t find a way to restitch our fraying social fabric and rekindle our civic spirit. There are concrete steps that would help, like greatly expanding national-service programs and bringing back civics education in our schools. We also need systemic economic reforms that reduce inequality and the unchecked power of corporations and give a strong voice to working families. And ultimately, healing our country will come down to each of us, as citizens and individuals, doing the work—trying to reach across divides of race, class, and politics and see through the eyes of people very different from ourselves. When we think about politics and judge our leaders, we can’t just ask, “Am I better off than I was four years ago?” We have to ask, “Are webetter off? Are we as a country better, stronger, and fairer?” Democracy works only when we accept that we’re all in this together.
In 1787, after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin was asked by a woman on the street outside Independence Hall, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” Franklin answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.” That response has been on my mind a lot lately. The contingency of it. How fragile our experiment in self-government is. And, when viewed against the sweep of human history, how fleeting. Democracy may be our birthright as Americans, but it’s not something we can ever take for granted. Every generation has to fight for it, has to push us closer to that more perfect union. That time has come again.
Erin Kelly, USA TODAY
Published Sept. 17, 2018
Published Sept. 17, 2018
Hillary Clinton blasted President Donald Trump in a new essay for launching five major "assaults" on democracy and creating a national "crisis."
"Trump and his cronies do so many despicable things that it can be hard to keep track," Clinton writes in The Atlantic in an essay adapted from the new afterword of her 2017 book, "What Happened," which will be released as a paperback Tuesday.
"I think that may be the point – to confound us, so it’s harder to keep our eye on the ball," Clinton writes. "The ball, of course, is protecting American democracy. As citizens, that’s our most important charge. And right now, our democracy is in crisis."
Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election to Trump, said she doesn't use the word "crisis" lightly.
"There are no tanks in the streets," she wrote. "The administration’s malevolence may be constrained on some fronts – for now – by its incompetence. But our democratic institutions and traditions are under siege. We need to do everything we can to fight back. There’s not a moment to lose."
Trump and Clinton have continued their bitter feud during the past two years, with the president often lashing out at his former rival on Twitter and blasting the ex-secretary of State as "Crooked Hillary."
Clinton uses her essay as a rallying cry to voters to elect Democrats in this November's midterm elections to rein in Trump.
"We could finally see some congressional oversight of the White House," she writes.
Clinton says "Trump has sunk far below the already-low bar he set for himself in his ugly campaign" by separating immigrant children from their parents at the border, denying the deaths of 3,000 Puerto Ricans in last year's Hurricane Maria, and dismissing the Russia investigation as "a witch hunt."
Clinton alleges that Trump's administration has assaulted America in five main areas:
- Undermining the rule of law. Clinton points to news reports that Trump expected Attorney General Jeff Sessions to protect him from special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, regardless of the law. She also accused Trump of urging the Justice Department to go after his political opponents. Although she didn't mention it in her essay, Clinton is one of the people Trump has publicly asked the department to investigate.
- Failing to protect the U.S. election system from further attacks from the Russians or other foreign governments. Clinton said Trump and Republicans also are trying to suppress voter participation by putting "onerous – and I believe illegal" – regulations in place.
- Attacking journalists and "waging war on truth and reason." Clinton talks about Trump's penchant for making false and misleading statements. She says he needs to learn to take criticism from the media and push back without destroying the free press.
- "Breathtaking corruption." Trump promised to "drain the swamp," but instead, Clinton contends, "It’s amazing how blithely the president and his Cabinet have piled up conflicts of interest, abuses of power, and blatant violations of ethics rules."
- Weakening national unity. "Trump doesn’t even try to pretend he’s a president for all Americans," Clinton writes. "It’s hard to ignore the racial subtext of virtually everything Trump says."
Pakistani human rights groups and unions for media workers have denounced a court order for the arrest of a correspondent at Dawn English-language newspaper following an interview critical of the country’s powerful military.
#IStandWithCyril was trending on Twitter on September 25 with colleagues and politicians criticizing a decision by the Lahore High Court in Punjab Province the previous day to issue an arrest warrant for Cyril Almeida.
The court also ordered authorities to bring the journalist before judges on October 8 at the next hearing of a case seeking action against former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Sharif faces treason charges for allegedly trying to defame Pakistan’s state institutions in the interview published in May during which he alleged the army was backing militants who carried out the deadly attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.
The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) said it was “greatly perturbed” by the issuance of the arrest warrants against Almeida, who it described as a “widely read and highly respected journalist.”
Almeida is being “hounded for nothing more than doing his job -- speaking on the record to a political figure and reporting the facts," a statement said.
Placing the journalist on Pakistan’s list of individuals who cannot fly out of the country and issuing a nonbailable warrant is an “excessive measure," it also said.
The Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists called the court order another attack on freedom of media and vowed to protest against the move.
"This is unacceptable...How can reporting facts be a crime?" the union’s head, Afzal Butt, said.
The distribution of Dawn, Pakistan's oldest newspaper, was disrupted across most of the country in May, days after Dawn published the interview with Sharif.
Almeida was barred from leaving the country in 2016 shortly after he wrote an article about a rift between the government and the military.
The government lifted the order weeks later.
In a new report published earlier this month, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the climate for press freedom in Pakistan was deteriorating as the country's army “quietly, but effectively” restricts reporting through "intimidation" and other means.
The media watchdog Reporters Without Borders ranked Pakistan 139th out of the 180 countries in its 2018 Press Freedom index.
Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Monday criticised the government for the fallout emanating from India’s withdrawal of an offer by Pakistan to restart a long-stalled dialogue process.
“Such things are bound to happen in the current environment under the current government,” Zardari said when asked about Indian cancelling a planned meeting between the foreign ministers of both countries.
The former head of state also referred to the recent amendments in the fiscal year’s budget as “mini-drama”.
The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman made the statement outside a banking court hearing a case pertaining to money laundering through fake bank accounts. During Tuesday’s hearing, the banking court was irked over the non-appearance of accused under investigation by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for allegedly facilitating illegal transactions through 29 ‘fake’ bank accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited. Zardari, sister Faryal Talpur, Omni Group’s Anwar Majeed, his son, former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai and Summit Bank Senior Vice-President Taha Raza are among the accused.
The defence counsel requested the court to unfreeze Omni Group’s bank accounts citing the impact it had on the group’s employees, however, the judge turned down the plea citing the Supreme Court’s directives against issuing any order in the matter. “Will the banking courts now refer to the SC for every decision?” asked the defence counsel. The defence requested the court to instruct FIA for submission of the final charge sheet, the judge reminded the counsel regarding the apex court’s directives in the case. “But we can provide FIA with a time-frame to submit final charge sheet,” said the judge before adjourning the hearing until October 16.
Speaking to the media, the Omni Group chairman claimed to be “una
ware” of the JIT’s formation to investigate money laundering. “You have only heard one side of the story. You will hear my side in court.”