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A Chinese teacher who gained notoriety for leaving his students behind during the deadly 2008 Sichuan earthquake is in the news again for controversial comments about the incident. Fan Meizhong, referred to online as Fan Run Run after his escape, was teaching Chinese at Guangya School in Dujiangyan, Sichuan, when the quake hit May 12, 2008. Within minutes of his escape, his students joined him unharmed. The students later complained that he had left them behind in the classroom. The magnitude 8 earthquake left 69,000 people dead and 18,222 missing.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. During the public backlash, Fan was fired from his job and denounced online and in the media. He repeatedly stated in interviews that it was not a teacher’s obligation to save students at the cost of his own life. “I am a person pursuing freedom and justice, instead of a person to sacrifice one’s own interests for the sake of others,” Fan wrote in an article published soon after the incident. “At this moment of choosing between death and life, I will sacrifice myself only for my daughter. For other people, even including my mother, I won’t care about them in this circumstance.” Yesterday on the 13th anniversary of the earthquake a video of Fan being interviewed on a talk show in 2012 where he repeated his earlier comments went viral on Weibo. “What I said these years is a significant enlightenment of thought for China. My views have been a big positive influence for students,” he said in the programme. “I help them realise their own rights and come to know that we should build the right systems, rather than rely on people’s morals, to make this world become better.” Miracle Chinese pig that survived 2008 Sichuan earthquake is dying, says owner “I am perhaps the one in China who spent the most effort in sticking to being oneself,” he said. Internet users were divided on Fan’s comments. “I say that his choice of running first is human nature. But he always boasts about his escape and I look down upon him,” wrote one person on Weibo. But another user commented, “I think he did nothing wrong. It’s not necessary to criticise him from a moral aspect.” It received nearly 400 likes. A third person said on Weibo, “It’s meaningless to use as propaganda his escape. We should remember the heroes who saved others in the earthquake and spread their spirit.” One of those cited as a hero was Tan Qianqiu, another teacher at Dongqi Middle School in Deyang, who used his body and a desk to form a shelter for four students in the earthquake. The students were all rescued, but Tan died in the disaster.More from South China Morning Post:Miracle Chinese pig Zhu Jianqiang that survived 36 days trapped under debris after 2008 Sichuan earthquake dying, says ownerHow China’s steady erosion of media freedom rose from Sichuan’s ruins‘Pet mystery box’: China’s dog and cat mail-order craze causes new outrageBoy who lost a leg in China’s 2008 Sichuan earthquake now dances to inspireTaiwan rattled by two earthquakes, bracing for aftershocksThis article ‘Fan Run Run’: teacher in China who left students behind during 2008 Sichuan earthquake in new controversy first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai came under pressure in a Senate hearing over whether America should seek entry to the Asia-Pacific trade pact that Washington withdrew from in 2017 and faced backlash for her backing of a proposal to waive coronavirus vaccine patent protections. Tai’s hearing before the Senate Finance Committee reflected strong bipartisan support for talks regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) that was revised by the remaining 11 signatories including Japan, Canada and Mexico after former president Donald Trump pulled the US out and came into effect as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in 2018. “A number of us have talked about the TPP, whether in some revised and updated form, but the geopolitics of that seem very obvious as well as the economic benefits,” said Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. “The one thing that we have in the United States that China does not have is friends, and I think it will do nothing but enhance our national security and our economic security by banding together with like minded countries in the region.” China’s exclusion from the TPP, negotiated during the administration of former president Barack Obama, was a key attribute for the US and other countries looking to check the regional influence Beijing had been gaining in tandem with its economic growth, even if such sentiments were never openly expressed. As voter sentiment turned sharply against global trade in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election, Trump made withdrawal one of his first official acts. US ‘made wrong move in response’ to China’s tech challenge Beijing then integrated itself more deeply into the region’s trade ties last year as leaders from China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Mike Crapo, the senior Republican on the Senate committee called RCEP “China’s model for what trading relationships in the region should look like”. “In the absence of US leadership in the region, our allies will have to look elsewhere,” said the senator from Idaho. “If the United States has to pursue a worker-centred trade policy we need to be mindful that American workers lose when China writes the rules.” Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland raised the same concern. “It’s important that we expand our trading opportunities with countries in [the Asia-Pacific] region,” he said. “We’re not a member of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we find China extremely engaged, so what is our strategy to deal with China’s influence?” When pressed directly on whether she would seek negotiations with CPTPP members on Washington’s possible entry, Tai reiterated her stance that negotiations would require support from the trading bloc for a “worker-centred” trade policy that does not stop enriching manufacturers. She also alluded to the need for strong bipartisan support for CPTPP negotiations, noting that domestic political opposition to the pact’s first incarnation doomed the effort. Could a win for Joe Biden see the US re-engaging on global trade? “There are a lot of good [trading] partners … that are very interested in engaging with US leadership again that will be there,” said Tai, adding that she wants “to ensure that as we are taking steps … to make sure that we are effective, and that we are pursuing a vision that is well supported, here at home, on a very strong and robust bipartisan basis”. Perceptions of China as an economic threat have gained more momentum since the 2016 election, helping to overcome opposition to an Asian-focused trade pact, said Neysun Mahboubi, a research scholar at University of Pennsylvania’s Centre for the Study of Contemporary China. “The utility of TPP for purposes of competing with China, economically, is overwhelmingly apparent,” said Mahboubi, who also cautioned that “there remain countervailing domestic politics” to be overcome before bipartisan support is strong enough for Washington to join. Some labour unions, including the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), for example, opposed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, Trump‘s signature trade deal. Congress passed the USMCA, a revised and more labour-friendly version of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) last year, although IAM president Robert Martinez Jnr announcing after its passage that accord did not do enough to stop the outsourcing of hundreds of thousands of jobs to Mexico. There was less agreement among the senators on the patent waiver front in Wednesday’s hearing. The message was mostly split between criticism from Republicans and encouragement from Democrats, with the exception of Bob Menendez from New Jersey, who chided Tai for not engaging in “appropriate congressional consultation” before making her announcement last week. Many of the Republicans warned that such a move would undercut health care technology innovation that will be needed to fight additional infection surges as well as future pandemics. “Why would we expect American innovators to make massive new investments in medical research, in carbon capture, in clean energy and advanced technologies, if they risk losing intellectual property during the next thing that is truly a global crisis?” said John Barrasso, a Republican senator from Wyoming. US trade representative expects to meet China’s Liu He ‘in the near term’ Other Republican used the same line of argument. “I am aware of no evidence whatsoever, that this step is going to enhance vaccine availability in developing countries,” said Patrick Toomey, a Pennsylvania Republican. “It could quite possibly be the contrary … there are many safety concerns, for instance, [about] facilities around the world that just don’t have the technology to make this properly. “Frankly, I think it undermines our ability to deal with the next crisis, including the possibility of the next iteration of this crisis,” Toomey said. Tai pushed back against Republicans, pointing out that the pandemic remained out of control in many parts of the world, and would continue to drag economic growth in the US and globally until government action was taken to make vaccines more widely available. She also stressed that no final decision would be made before consensus was reached within the framework of the World Trade Organization.More from South China Morning Post:US agrees to remove Xiaomi from trade blacklist after lawsuitUS Trade Representative Katherine Tai says she expects to meet Chinese counterpart Liu He ‘in the near term’US-China relations: trade talks will take place ‘when the time is right’, says new US Trade Representative Katherine TaiSenate confirms Katherine Tai as US Trade RepresentativeThis article USTR Katherine Tai under pressure on Asia-Pacific trade pact first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
More than 40 percent of a top US business group's members in Hong Kong said they plan to leave the city in a survey released Wednesday, highlighting growing concerns over Beijing's sweeping national security law.
The World Health Organization said Wednesday that a variant of Covid-19 behind the acceleration of India's explosive outbreak has been found in dozens of countries all over the world.
The world's largest and most powerful space telescope unfolded its giant golden mirror for the last time on Earth on Tuesday, a key milestone before the $10 billion observatory is launched later this year.
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US House Republicans on Wednesday ousted conservative Liz Cheney, a fierce critic of Donald Trump, from her powerful leadership role in a move that tightens the former president's grip on the party.
Britain’s rule of Hong Kong was an “occupation which violated international conventions” according to draft teaching materials for revamped liberal studies courses that a major publisher has sent to teachers throughout the city. The learning materials also described the return of government to China in 1997 as Beijing “resuming the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong”, whereas “handover” was exclusively used to describe the event in the company’s textbooks for the subject before. Teachers said the revisions, which were part of a wider revamp of the mandatory subject for older students, could narrow room for classroom discussion of Hong Kong history.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. “If this is the only narrative that Hong Kong teachers can teach students, we may only be able to touch on this one sole perspective in future,” said one educator with more than a decade of experience. The materials developed by Ling Kee Publishing were sent to schools this week to help teachers prepare classes for Form Four students starting in September when the overhauled subject will be renamed “citizenship and social development” with a greater emphasis on patriotism, national development and lawfulness. Publishers have been distributing new teaching materials to schools recently but all of them must be vetted by the Education Bureau under changes adopted last year. Ling Kee’s version also said the Chinese government had “never recognised the effectiveness of unfair treaties” between the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) and Britain. What is liberal studies in Hong Kong and why is it controversial? “Over the more than 100 years before the handover, Britain’s governance of Hong Kong was an act of occupation which had violated international conventions,” the book stated. “China did not recognise unequal treaties and had never given up sovereignty over Hong Kong’s territories.” Britain took possession of Hong Kong in three waves. The queen of England and the emperor of China ratified the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, ceding Hong Kong Island to Britain, with control of Kowloon Peninsula following under the Convention of Peking in 1860. The New Territories were added under a 99-year lease in 1898. Another veteran liberal studies teacher said he had not seen the phrase that Britain’s “occupation of [Hong Kong] had violated international conventions” in school textbooks before and which was in contrast with many Hongkongers’ understanding. “Questions will arise among many people why the narrative of Britain occupying Hong Kong illegally should prevail,” he said. “Students may also question if the subject acts as a purpose of political propaganda and if teachers are helping to promote that.” The latest changes are in line with broader trends in Hong Kong. Previous editions of some publishers’ history textbooks, including one from Ling Kee, had used the description of China “resuming the exercise of sovereignty” over Hong Kong. In 2018, the government’s protocol office edited language on its website to remove mention of “handover of sovereignty”, while education officials had requested at least one history textbook replace the words “taking back” to describe the 1997 event as education minister Kevin Yeung Yun-hung said China had “always had sovereignty over Hong Kong”. Teachers divided over controversial changes to liberal studies Beijing also used the term “resume the exercise of sovereignty” over Hong Kong in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, while Britain said “restoring Hong Kong” to China. The preliminary revisions also reflect the government’s increasing emphasis on national security. Apart from detailing the four offences listed under the Beijing-imposed law, namely secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, the materials stress an individual’s responsibility to protect national security, saying the law could “stabilise society, improve investments and protect human rights”. Unlike previous liberal studies textbooks that gave opposing political views, the new materials omitted mention of the wide public backlash to the law, a change teachers said was “not unexpected” given that previous guidelines from education authorities stressed the topic was not up for debate. Liberal studies, which was introduced in 2009 to raise students’ social awareness and develop their critical thinking skills, came under attack by pro-Beijing politicians who blamed it for radicalising young people during the 2019 anti-government protests. An Education Bureau spokeswoman said Ling Kee’s books had not been reviewed and discussions with publishers on vetting arrangements were ongoing. She added that “Hong Kong is an inseparable part of China” and teaching materials should help pupils “correctly” understand the relation of Hong Kong to the nation. The Post has reached out to the publisher for comment.More from South China Morning Post:A cause of anti-government protests or an essential tool to teach the young to think for themselves? Row over liberal studies rumbles onAbout 70 per cent of Hong Kong teachers polled support proposed revamp of liberal studiesCritical thinking must remain end result of Hong Kong liberal studies moveDon’t blame liberal studies for Hong Kong’s political crisis – taught well, the subject could actually help defuse extremismThis article Britain’s rule of Hong Kong was ‘occupation’, say draft teaching materials for revamped liberal studies first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
The United States has returned $452 million to Malaysia related to the scandal-hit sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, authorities said Wednesday, as the Southeast Asian nation steps up efforts to recover looted cash.
Those who refused to be seen as cows have taken offense. This article, Penang strips Hari Raya-themed cow over uproar, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company.
Sinovac has already shipped some 380 million doses, more than AstraZeneca and second only to Pfizer worldwide. But unlike those companies, it still hasn’t published any data in an academic journal.
Ellen DeGeneres, a star of daytime American talk show culture, said Wednesday she plans to call it quits after 19 seasons anchoring a TV staple that has become tainted by toxic workplace allegations.
China on Thursday expressed a "high degree of concern" over deadly clashes between Israel and Palestinians and urged the United Nations Security Council to do more to de-escalate tensions and implement a two-state solution.
Lawyers for Meng Wanzhou will open another front in her marathon extradition battle next month, when they seek to admit new evidence from HSBC that they believe will bolster their contention that the Huawei Technologies executive is the victim of an abuse of process. An application to admit the evidence will be made on June 7, and a hearing conducted on June 29 and 30, Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes said at a case management conference in the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver on Wednesday. The nature of the evidence has not been revealed, although Meng’s lawyers say the material is “copious”. The evidence is being provided as the result of a court ruling in Hong Kong last month, in which HSBC agreed to provide the material.Do you have questions about the biggest topics and trends from around the world? Get the answers with SCMP Knowledge, our new platform of curated content with explainers, FAQs, analyses and infographics brought to you by our award-winning team. Meng, who is Huawei’s chief financial officer and the daughter of company founder Ren Zhengfei, has been fighting against a US request to have her extradited to face trial in New York ever since she was arrested at Vancouver’s airport on December 1, 2018. New delay in Meng’s extradition case as technical problems thwart hearing She is accused of defrauding HSBC by lying about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, thus putting the bank at risk of breaching US sanctions on the Middle Eastern country. She denies the charges. Meng, who attended Wednesday’s hearing by phone, was bound over until May 31 when another case management conference will be held remotely in accordance with pandemic precautions. She spoke briefly to confirm she would return to court in person on June 29. The court had originally been expected to hear final arguments in the extradition case this month. But Meng’s lawyers last month secured an adjournment to have those arguments heard in August instead, giving them time to assess the HSBC evidence. Canadian government lawyers representing US interests in the case have accused Meng of using delaying tactics. Meng extradition case thrown into turmoil as judge grants three-month delay Meng’s arrest triggered upheaval in China’s relations with Canada and the US. Two Canadians, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, were arrested in China soon after her detention, and recently underwent closed-door trials for espionage. No verdicts have been announced, while Canada has said the men are victims of arbitrary detention and hostage diplomacy by China. Wednesday’s case management conference had been postponed last week due to technical problems with the remote hearing.More from South China Morning Post:Another unexpected delay in Meng Wanzhou’s marathon extradition case, as technical difficulties thwart virtual hearingHSBC, Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou settle Hong Kong case seeking documents as she fights extraditionDelaying Meng Wanzhou’s airport arrest until after border exam was not an FBI conspiracy, extradition hearing is toldReject Meng Wanzhou’s ‘exciting narrative’ of abuse, Canadian government lawyer tells extradition judgeThis article Huawei’s Meng Wanzhou opens new front in marathon extradition battle, seeking to admit new HSBC evidence first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.
The United States warned Wednesday that Beijing would use the Winter Olympics to gloss over abuses as it slapped sanctions on another Chinese official over treatment of the Falun Gong.
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Saudi Arabia has released construction magnate Bakr bin Laden, more than three years after his detention in a purge of the kingdom's elite that upended his vast business empire, sources told AFP.
China has deployed more ships in a disputed area of the South China Sea even after the Philippines’ repeated protests, according to President Rodrigo Duterte’s top diplomat.
After he was fired for secretly recording a business meeting and his poor performance, Stuart Kuek Zhi Hong sent insulting messages to his direct supervisor and a female colleague at his company.
Myanmar's Buddhist monkhood led an earlier struggle against military rule but is split on the coup that ended the country's nascent democracy, with some prominent religious leaders defending the new junta.