North Korean soldiers patrol next to the border fence near the town of Sinuiju across from the Chinese border town of Dandong on Feb. 10, 2016. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)North Korean soldiers patrol next to the border fence near the town of Sinuiju across from the Chinese border town of Dandong on Feb. 10, 2016. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

BEIJING/HONG KONG — Kina‘s central bank has told banks to strictly implement United Nations sanctions against North Korea, four sources told Reuters, amid U.S. concerns that Beijing has not been tough enough over Pyongyang’s repeated nuclear tests.

Tensions between the United States and North Korea have ratcheted up after the sixth and most powerful nuclear test conducted by Pyongyang on Sept. 3 prompted the United Nations Security Council to impose further sanctions last week.

Chinese banks have come under scrutiny for their role as a conduit for funds flowing to and from Kina‘s increasingly isolated neighbor.

The sources said banks were told to stop providing financial services to new North Korean customers and to wind down loans with existing customers, following tighter sanctions against Pyongyang by the United Nations.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley (R) speaks with China’s Ambassador to the United Nations Liu Jieyi before voting on a US-drafted resolution toughening sanctions on North Korea, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, on Aug. 5, 2017. (EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

The sources said lenders were asked to fully implement United Nations sanctions against North Korea and were warned of the economic losses and reputational risks if they did not do so.

Chinese banks received the document on Monday, the sources said.

Kina‘s central bank did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“At present, management of North Korea-related business has become an issue of national-level politics and national security,” according to the document seen by the sources.

The document directed banks to explain to any North Korean customers that “our bank is fulfilling our international obligations and implementing United Nations sanctions against North Korea. As such, we refuse to handle any individual loans connected to North Korea.”

The document did not specify whether existing North Korean account holders could still deposit or remove money from their accounts.

Frustrated that Kina had not done more to rein in North Korea, the Trump administration considered new sanctions in July on small Chinese banks and other firms doing business with Pyongyang, two senior U.S. officials told Reuters.

Kina‘s Big Four state-owned banks have stopped providing financial services to new North Korean clients, Reuters reported last week, with some measures beginning as early as the end of last year.

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The photo shows rights activists performing the roles of Chinese police and North Korean refugees outside the Chinese Embassy in Seoul on Feb. 21, 2012 during a rally demanding that Beijing scrap plans to repatriate arrested refugees from North Korea. The Chinese regime has intensified its crackdown on North Koreans who attempt to escape the Kim regime through China. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)The photo shows rights activists performing the roles of Chinese police and North Korean refugees outside the Chinese Embassy in Seoul on Feb. 21, 2012 during a rally demanding that Beijing scrap plans to repatriate arrested refugees from North Korea. The Chinese regime has intensified its crackdown on North Koreans who attempt to escape the Kim regime through China. (JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)

North Koreans who attempt to escape the brutal Kim regime through China are increasingly being apprehended by the Chinese regime and deported back, according to reports. Those who were forcefully returned face certain imprisonment, torture, and even execution.

Human Rights Watch estimated that in July and August alone China apprehended 41 North Koreans attempting to flee their home country by crossing over into and through China, a steep increase from the 51 who are known to have been caught the entire previous year, fra juli 2016 to June 2017. North Korean escapees were caught in various locations inside China from the North Korea-China border all the way to Lao-China border in Yunnan Province.

The fact that North Koreans were being caught as far away as Yunnan means that some of them traveled thousands of miles inside China and were a short distance away from freedom before the Chinese regime’s security apparatus sealed their fate.

The intensified crackdown on North Korean escapees likely started in July, as China arrested a number of local guides that help North Koreans pass through China. As news of the crackdown spread, guides and activists within the existing “rescue network” became more reluctant to take the risk of transporting unfamiliar escapees as they were fearful of being betrayed to the Chinese authorities.

A North Korean soldier stands guard on a boat with locals on the Yalu River near the town of Sinuiju across from the Chinese border town of Dandong on Feb. 9, 2016. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

A North Korean soldier stands guard on a boat with locals on the Yalu River near the town of Sinuiju across from the Chinese border town of Dandong on Feb. 9, 2016. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images)

Among the 92 North Korean escapees that were caught since June 2016, bare 46 are still in Chinese custody and the rest have been deported back to North Korea, according to Human Rights Watch. The North Korean regime imposes severe punishment on those attempting to escape the country. Most would be imprisoned in concentration camps and face torture and abuse, and some of them would be executed, according to Human Rights Watch.

The deportation of North Korean refugees back to North Korea has been identified as a violation of the 1951 UN Refugee Convention and its accompanying 1967 Protocol. China is a signatory country for both. Article 33 of the Convention, also known as the principle of non-refoulement, prohibits countries from expelling or returning a refugee where “his life or freedom would be threatened on account of his race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

The Chinese regime considers North Korean refugees only as “illegal economic migrants” rather than refugees or asylum seekers, despite the fact that these North Koreans are internationally recognized as refugees who would face severe persecution upon return.

North Korea has also stepped up its own efforts to crackdown on defections. In a recent report, South Korea’s Ministry of Unification said that 780 North Koreans eventually reached safety in the South between January and August, a significant decline from the same period one year previously, de Telegraph reported.

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A general view of New Zealand’s Parliament House in Wellington in this file photo. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)A general view of New Zealand’s Parliament House in Wellington in this file photo. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

A Chinese-born MP from New Zealand’s ruling National Party has come under scrutiny for his former career teaching spies in China and his membership in the Chinese Communist Party. And while he is dismissing his background as being any reason for concern, those familiar with the inner workings of Beijing’s politics and intelligence activities are telling a different story.

The case is the latest episode in a series of recent events raising questions about Chinese influence in the internal affairs of Western democracies such as Australia, Canada, and the United States.

Forrige uke, New Zealand’s Newsroom and the Financial Times, which had conducted a joint investigation into MP Jian Yang, released reports that Yang had attracted the interest of the country’s Security Intelligence Service for his links to China’s military academies.

Yang studied and then worked for several years at elite military academic institutions, including the PLA Air Force Engineering College and the Luoyang Foreign Language Institute.

He first became a member of New Zealand’s parliament in 2011 and was part of different committees at different periods of time, among them foreign affairs, defence, and trade. He currently remains a parliamentary private secretary for ethnic affairs.

Yang has been a major fundraiser in the Chinese community for the National Party, and has, as the Financial Times put it, “big-spending anonymous donors.” The reference is to a 2016 fundraiser with then-Prime Minister John Key, in which six unnamed Chinese donors donated a total of $100,000 to a bid to change New Zealand’s flag, i følge local media reports. The donors wanted the Union Jack removed from the New Zealand flag because of the past China-Britain history.

New Zealand MP Jian Yang (New Zealand Parliament)

Speaking to reporters after the reports on his past emerged, Yang said he taught English language and American studies while at the Chinese military academies, adding that some of his students were trained to collect, monitor, and interpret information, according to The Associated Press.

Refuting “any allegations that question” his loyalty to New Zealand, Yang said he is a victim of a racist smear campaign.

“Although I was not born here I am proud to call myself a New Zealander, obey our laws, and contribute to this country,” he told reporters.

Yang said the military system has both ranking and non-ranking officers who are called civilians, and that he was one of the civilians.

“If you define those cadets, or students, as spies, ja, then I was teaching spies," han sa. “I can understand that people can be concerned because they do not understand the Chinese system,” he added, according to The Associated Press. “But once they understand the system, they should be assured that this is nothing, really, you should be concerned about.”

But it is precisely those who have a good understanding of the political system in China, including a defector who used to work for the same regime as Yang, who are sounding the alarm.

Military Background

Yonglin Chen was the first secretary at the Chinese consulate in Sydney, Australia, until he defected in 2005. He was in charge of the consulate’s political department, tasked with overseeing and interfering with the members of the Chinese community overseas.

Chen says Yang’s background with the Chinese military is not something that can be ignored.

According to Chen, someone who graduates from the PLA Air Force Engineering College holds the rank of a lieutenant; and if he graduates from the Luoyang Foreign Language Institute with a Master’s degree, he at least holds the rank of captain.

Speaking to the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times, Chen said Chinese military academy students and faculty are “completely brainwashed” and New Zealanders ought to be cautious when it comes to people with a background in the military.

Anne-Marie Brady, a professor at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand and a global fellow at the Wilson Center, writes in a paper that the People’s Liberation Army “would not have allowed anyone with Yang Jian’s military intelligence background to go overseas to study—unless they had official permission.”

Chinese Student Associations

Before coming to New Zealand and taking an academic position at the University of Auckland, Yang was a graduate student at the Australian National University (ANU) in Canberra. According to an “exclusive interview” he gave to a Chinese-language publication, while at ANU he was chairman of the Chinese Student and Scholars Association (CSSA).

CSSAs, which are found on many campuses outside China including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, U.K., and the United States, are known by researchers as extensions of China’s overseas diplomatic apparatus and are used to control Chinese students abroad.

The “handle om” section on the Facebook page of the CSSA at ANU says in Chinese that the association is “supported by the Chinese Embassy in Australia. De website of the CSSA at the University of Canberra says in Chinese that the Association is “under the administration of the Chinese Embassy in Australia.”

According Brady, CSSAs are “one of the main means the Chinese authorities use to guide Chinese students and scholars on short-term study abroad.”

Americans were treated to a not-so-secret experience of CSSAs’ mission earlier this year when the CSSA at the University of California–San Diego rallied Chinese students to stop a scheduled speech of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, at the university. The CSSA published a statement on WeChat (a Chinese instant messaging platform) that states, “the Chinese Student and Scholar Association has asked the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles for instructions and, having received the instructions, is going to implement them.”

After defecting, Chen explained how the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) uses overseas student and community groups acting as front organizations to influence Western government officials and societies.

“The control of the overseas Chinese community has been a consistent strategy of the Chinese Communist Party and is the result of painstaking planning and management for dozens of years,” he said in a past interview. “It’s not just in Australia. It is done this way in other countries like the U.S. and Canada, too.”

Many of the CCP’s overseas espionage and initiatives to exert influence are organized by the United Front Department and the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, Chen said.

Brady explains that the United Front takes its origin from a “Leninist tactic of strategic alliances.”

“United front activities incorporates working with groups and prominent individuals in society; information management and propaganda; and it has also frequently been a means of facilitating espionage,” she writes.

I følge Michel Juneau-Katsuya, former chief of Asia-Pacific for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, the CCP has set up several organizations such as the National Congress of Chinese Canadians (NCCC) to act as its “agents of influence” in Canada. He said the CCP exerts influence among the Chinese diaspora and the broader public in other countries through similar organizations. The NCCC has strongly denied being a front for a foreign communist power.

“What is very important [for China] is to have certain organizations that become agents of influence of their own within the community, to be capable to identify first the dissidents, and be capable after that to lobby very much the local government of any country,” Juneau-Katsuya said.

Influence

Tidligere i år, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation warned the country’s major political parties against taking millions in donations from individuals with close links to the Chinese regime, as this would make the nation vulnerable to Beijing’s influence.

The issue of China’s campaign to infiltrate and influence Australia, including shaping government policies and exerting influence over the Chinese community and media in Australia, were given more extensive attention in the press earlier this year. There has since been calls for banning donations from foreign sources to political parties.

In Canada, much of what happened in Australia with million-dollar donations would already be illegal due to legislated donation limits, at least on a federal level. likevel, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was last year criticized by opposition parties for attending cash-for-access fundraisers attended by wealthy people from the Chinese-Canadian community, one of whom had an ongoing business initiative needing government approval. One of these events was attended by Zhang Bin, a political adviser to the Chinese government, according to The Globe and Mail. Trudeau ended the controversial cash-for-access fundraisers early this year.

In her paper, Brady lists several CCP policies that aim to gain control over foreign nations. Among them: appoint foreigners with access to political power to high profile roles in Chinese companies or Chinese-funded entities in the host country; co-opt foreign academics, entrepreneurs, and politicians to promote China’s perspective in the media and academia; the use of mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships with foreign companies, universities, and research centres in order to acquire local identities that enhance influence activities; and potentially, access to military technology, commercial secrets, and other strategic information.

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Chinese students studying inside a building at a university in Beijing on May 30, 2013. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)Chinese students studying inside a building at a university in Beijing on May 30, 2013. (Wang Zhao/AFP/Getty Images)

One of Beijing’s most popular tourist destinations, a library nestled within a natural landscape, was recently shut down by the authorities due to its collection containing pirated books.

The Liyuan Library is located on the outskirts of the city in the village of Huairou. I 2014, it won a major international architecture design award for its incorporation of the natural surroundings and public service to the local community. The building’s exterior is covered in firewood to let in subtle natural light, while the interior is framed by timber beams.

The library is frequented by thousands of visitors a year, and made it to Business Insider’s list of the world’s greatest libraries.

But an online post published on Sept. 19 to WeChat, China’s popular text messaging service, revealed that books in the library were actually counterfeit copies.

The post author uploaded screenshots of the books, which included a pirated copy of the Chinese version of “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” with text in jumbled Chinese and English. In one passage, the text contained a message in Chinese seemingly from the translator: “How do you translate this sentence??? Can someone help?"

(Screenshot via WeChat/Zuo Shu)

(Screenshot via WeChat/Zuo Shu)

A copy of a popular Chinese novel, “White Deer Plain,” listed different publishers on its cover and inside page.

The library soon issued a statement on WeChat, explaining that most of its collection are publicly donated books. I 2013, the library launched an event where readers could take a book from its collection if they donated three to the library. Som et resultat, many of the collection’s legal copies were taken, while pirated books were added, according to the statement.

The same day the online post appeared, de Beijing News newspaper reported that the authorities temporarily shut the library down.

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Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year.  (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year.  (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—They had just arrived in the United States a little more than a week ago, but they were ready to tell the world about what they endured.

Ahead of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, two sisters from China joined a group of about 80 meditating protesters outside the U.N. building. Rui and Xing are practitioners of Falun Dafa, a spiritual practice that the Chinese regime has heavily persecuted since 1999. They asked to use pseudonyms for fear of repercussions for their parents living in China, who also practice Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong).

Rui and Xing were just 11 og 8 years old when their father was arrested and sentenced to prison for 14 and a half years for his faith in the ancient Buddhist discipline. Feeling threatened by Falun Dafa’s growing popularity in China—reaching 100 million practitioners at its peak, according to Falun Gong sources, eller 70 million according to a survey by the state, the Communist authorities launched a systematic campaign in 1999 to eradicate the practice.

Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year.  (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

In their home in Gansu, a central region of China, Rui and Xing recall the local police barging in and keeping them under house surveillance, keeping watch 24/7 for weeks on end. Six years later, their mother was also arrested and sentenced to prison. This time, the police also enlisted Rui’s school administrators and teachers to spy on her. 17 og 14 years old, they were left to fend for themselves, with the help of some Falun Dafa practitioners who lived nearby. Rui and Xing were told they could not apply for college student loans.

“We want to tell China’s delegates to stop the persecution, so that the practitioners in China can believe freely. They are people we know, people who are still suffering,” Rui said in Chinese.

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Despite the heavy winds on Tuesday, the Falun Dafa practitioners outside the U.N. arrived early in the morning to begin their silent protest. Most were either performing the exercises or holding tightly to their unfurled banners that threatened to collapse against the wind, with printed messages like “the world needs truth, compassion, tolerance”—the faith’s three central tenets—and “bring Jiang Zemin to justice” in English and Chinese. Jiang was the leader of China who initiated the persecution.

Wang Luorui, a practitioner who had been arrested 11 times in China, said she hopes American president Donald Trump will put pressure on China to bring Jiang to justice. “It will allow Falun Gong to bring the universal values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance to the Chinese people,” she said.

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Wang Cun Ling, a practitioner from Shanghai, said her faith helped her to become a responsible and caring teacher who mentored many students in China who successfully applied to top colleges. With the influence that the U.N. has over the world, she hopes to convey the message to all people that Falun Dafa is good. “We want to tell people the truth [about Falun Gong] in a peaceful, compassionate way,” she said.

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

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Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners meditate to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York while the world leaders meet on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong exercise at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017, to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners hold banners and perform exercises to raise awareness about the persecution inside China that is now in its 18th year at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza near the United Nations headquarters in New York on Sept. 19, 2017. (Benjamin Chasteen/The Epoch Times)
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Xue holds a notebook declaring that she withdraws from the Chinese Communist Party on Sept. 8, 2017. (RFA)Xue holds a notebook declaring that she withdraws from the Chinese Communist Party on Sept. 8, 2017. (RFA)

The career of an Olympic doctor—who had blazed a trail to success at an early age—came to a screeching halt when she refused to inject the top Chinese gymnasts with steroids. After almost two decades of mistreatment, she is seeking asylum in Germany and has severed all ties with the Chinese Communist Party.

Xue Yinxian, 79, was born in a revolutionary family, and her early life as a privileged “second generation red”—child of veteran officials—went just as expected.

In her 20s, she entered the General Administration of Sport of China, the country’s top sports bureau. She later became the personal doctor for Olympians such as Li Ning, known in China as “Prince of Gymnastics,” and Lou Yun, a two-time gold medalist at the Olympic Games in 1984 og 1988. She was also the chief doctor overseeing the 11 national teams.

Everything changed in the late 1970s when a wave of state-sponsored doping hit China’s sports scene. Sports doctor Chen Zhanghao had been sent to study the advantages of stimulants and returned to China proclaiming their power to combat fatigue.

Shortly afterwards, Xue said all athletes were required to take the drugs.

The state sports bureau later established a research team on doping, which Chen led.

Xue said athletes were often not told what they were injected with—steroids and growth hormones were referred to as “special nutritional medicine” and promoted across the country as a part of “scientific training.”

“The campaign ruined our nation’s athletes for life,” Xue said.

As a physician, Xue saw the danger of stimulants more clearly than most of her contemporaries. She said the side effects included severe liver damage and brittle bones, as well as liver and brain cancer. But the teenage girl athletes paid the steepest price.

“The ‘powerful energizer’ did get them through the door to the professional team.” Xue said. “I saw some like that—she broke the provincial records…but now she is penniless and has mental problems.”

What bothered Xue most was the lack of drug regulations. “At least on the national team there were medical doctors watching them taking doses and taking responsibility for it, but who cared about the regional teams?"

Li Ning during the XXIII Olympic Summer Games at the Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, on 4th August 1984. (Trevor Jones/Getty Images)

Li Ning during the XXIII Olympic Summer Games at the Edwin W. Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California, on 4th August 1984. (Trevor Jones/Getty Images)

I juli 1988, two months before the Seoul Olympic Games, Xue was asked to inject gymnast Li Ning with performance-enhancing drugs.

She declined and retaliation followed swiftly.

While cooperative doctors enjoyed lucrative rewards and promotion, Xue was removed from her post. Her email and phone were monitored. A police car was permanently parked outside of her home.

“Li Ning is a celebrity,” she had told officials.” If this should be found out, it’s not only you, me, and Li Ning who would lose face, our national image would be gone as well.”

“What the sports committee wanted were champions, not athletes,” Li Ning told Southern Weekly i 2012.

Before the 2008 Beijing Olympics, she got a visit from the vice director of the state sports bureau, who warned her not to “say anything unfavorable against the nation,” according to Yang Weidong, Xue’s son and a contemporary artist.

Xue’s husband, who had just had brain surgery, got into a physical confrontation with the official, during which he fell to the ground and again wounded his head. He died three months later.

I 2012, Xue gave an interview to Australia’s Fairfax Media in which she blew the whistle on China’s state-enforced doping, the first time the regime had been directly implicated in the practice.

Seeking Asylum

Xue has suffered two strokes, and once lost her ability to speak. When she sought treatment at Beijing Hospital and China-Japan Friendship Hospital, two of the major state-run hospitals in Beijing, she received nothing more than examinations.

“For two years they wouldn’t treat my mom,” said Yang Weidong, Xue’s son and a contemporary artist. “The hospitals didn’t specify the reasons, but whenever we arrived at the hospital, the police would also be there.”

Before Xue was allowed to leave the country to seek medical help, her home was searched as the police attempted to find the 68 work journals that Xue wrote as a medical doctor—journals that help document her allegations of state-sponsored doping.

The police were a step too late: months earlier Xue’s family had transported the journals overseas.

Xue escaped to Germany in June with her her son and daughter-in-law, and applied for asylum. All three were transferred to a refugee camp in Mannheim on Aug. 29.

Xue Yinxian in 1988. (File photo)

Xue Yinxian in 1988. (File photo)

Xue told Radio Free Asia that she had stopped paying Party membership dues after her husband’s death. på september. 8, 2017, she had a picture taken of her holding a notebook on which she had written, "Xue Yinxian declares: [I] withdraw from the Chinese Communist Party. Dated 9.8.2017.”

With that gesture, Xue cut her last ties to the Chinese regime. To date, rundt 280 million Chinese have chosen to repudiate their connections with the Party and its affiliated organizations.

aug. 28, the abuse Xue has fought against was again in the news. The Court of Arbitration for Sport confirmed that two Chinese weightlifters were guilty of doping and stripped them of the gold medals they had won at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The finding against the two weightlifters is the latest instance of the doping scandal that has shaken Olympic sports. Retesting of samples from the 2008 og 2012 Olympics in Beijing and London found about 50 doping cases and at least 25 medals were voided—most cases were involved athletes from the former Soviet Union, ifølge Associated Press.

Kina, one of the top countries in weightlifting, won seven medals at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, including five gold.

Additional reporting by Chang Chun and Zhang Ting.

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United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Monday that China’s manipulative trade practices and economic model represent an “unprecedented threat’. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said on Monday that China’s manipulative trade practices and economic model represent an “unprecedented threat’. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

China’s manipulative trade practices and economic model represent an “unprecedented threat” to the world’s market-based economy and U.S. interests, said the incumbent United States Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in a speech on Monday.

It was the first major public speech given by Lighthizer, a long term critic of China’s trade practices against the United States. Lighthizer told a crowd of over a hundred at the Center for Strategic and International Studies that China represents the one challenge facing the administration that is “substantially more difficult than those faced in the past.”

“The sheer scale of their coordinated efforts to develop their economy, to subsidize, to create ‘National Champions,’ to force technology transfers, and to destroy market, in China and throughout the world, is a threat to world trading system that is unprecedented,” said Lighthizer.

Lighthizer was referring to the hundreds if not thousands of Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOE) that are institutionally protected and promoted by the Chinese regime, hence known as the “national champions” of the Chinese economy.

Not only do Chinese state-owned enterprises receive extensive protection from the Chinese regime against foreign competition, they are also often the culprits in stealing technology and other intellectual properties from foreign companies. Large number of American companies have fallen victim to such abusive tactics by the Chinese, which has resulted in massive job losses on the part of American workers, according to Lighthizer and many other critics of China’s trade practices.

“Unfortunately the World Trade Organization is not equipped to deal with this problem,” Lighthizer said, “WTO and its predecessors, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), were not designed to successfully manage mercantilism on this scale.”

“We must find other ways to defend our companies, workers, farmers, and indeed, our economic system,” said Lighthizer, “We must find ways to ensure our market-based economy prevails.”

Cargo ships berth at a port in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province on June 8, 2016. (Bilder STR / AFP / Getty)

Abusive trade practices by the Chinese state-owned enterprises have inflicted significant harm on American companies and will be dealt with by the Trump administration, according to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer. Photo showing cargo ships berthed at a port in Qingdao, Kina. (Bilder STR / AFP / Getty)

Lighthizer did not reveal specifics of the ongoing investigation regarding China’s alleged theft of intellectual property, a process that was started by President Trump on Aug. 14. He revealed, derimot, that the investigators receive “an awful lot of complaints” from executives of American companies that were hurt by the abusive practices of the Chinese, with many complaining that they were forced to give up their technology and corporate secrets to their Chinese competitors.

Trump Continues Hawkish Stance

Lighthizer’s comment on Monday represents the latest signal that Trump’s campaign pledge of a hardline trade policy against China remains steadfast, despite the departure on Aug. 19 of White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, who was widely thought to be the administration’s primary advocate of a hawkish stance against China.

Lighthizer is not the only “trade hawk” inside Trump’s administration. Peter Navarro, an economist who is also known for outspoken criticism of the Chinese regime and of China’s trade practices against the United States, was selected by President Donald Trump to head the newly created National Trade Council and is believed to be playing a key role in forming the Trump administration’s trade policies.

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TORONTO—The documentary “The China Hustle,” which premiered recently at the Toronto International Film Festival, shows how hundreds of Chinese companies listed on North American stock exchanges can cause billions of losses to investors due to lack of proper oversight.

These Chinese firms enter the U.S. stock market through reverse takeovers with American companies and report revenues and assets that have no base in reality, thus inflating the companies’ stock value.

Making a story about complex financial transactions for the everyday viewer was one of the biggest challenges faced by Jed Rothstein, director of “The China Hustle.”

“Financial crimes are by their nature very complex; their complexity is what enables the fraud,” said Rothstein, the producer/director behind “Before the Spring After the Fall” and “Killing in the Name.”

“We tried to make it as easy to understand as possible while still making sure it’s accurate. … So that’s the challenge,” the filmmaker said in an interview.

Jed Rothstein, the director of “The China Hustle”, sits down for an interview with The Epoch Times on Sept. 9, 2017 during the Toronto International Film Festival. (Becky Zhou/The Epoch Times)

Among the market players featured in the documentary is Carson Block, founder of the investment research firm Muddy Waters, which was instrumental in the collapse of TSE-listed Sino-Forest, a forestry firm with claims of massive operations in China.

I juli, the Ontario Securities Commission ruled that Sino-Forest and several of its executives defrauded investors and misled investigators.

Block and other researchers featured in the documentary used research teams to set up cameras and even conduct undercover visits to the operations facilities of the Chinese firms listed in the NYSE, often at great risk to the team members.

One of the researchers, Chinese-Canadian Kun Huang, was imprisoned for two years in China after the firm he worked for questioned the production claims of Silvercorp Metals Inc., a Vancouver-based company with operations in China. Huang has now launched a lawsuit against Silvercorp, alleging that it colluded with local authorities in China to have him arrested.

“I think that there are a lot of opportunities to invest and make money all over the world, but when the rules of the markets can’t be translated across the same borders that money can, it creates opportunity for fraud, like we saw in the ‘China Hustle’ film,” Rothstein said.

With reporting by Becky Zhou

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Three legislators of Taiwan, Hsu Yung-ming, Yu Wan-ju, and Chang Hung-lu led the march to United Nations Headquarters during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march. Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)Three legislators of Taiwan, Hsu Yung-ming, Yu Wan-ju, and Chang Hung-lu led the march to United Nations Headquarters during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march. Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of activists held a rally in New York City on Saturday afternoon to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. Taiwanese Americans, Chinese dissidents, and international supporters of Taiwan joined force with activists and politicians from Taiwan to push for Taiwan’s international participation as U.N. General Assembly started its new session.

China’s role in excluding Taiwan from the international community of nations was highlighted as activists kicked off their march to the UN Headquarters from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Hell’s Kitchen. In support of the rally prominent Chinese dissidents Yang Jianli and Teng Biao gave speeches in front of the consulate.

“China’s relentless and increasingly oppressive tactics to exclude Taiwan from the global community have only harmful consequences for mankind,” said Yang Jianli, who was jailed by the Chinese government from 2002 til 2006 for his pro-democracy activism. “Surely Taiwan has much to contribute to the world, and the UN should open its doors to the vibrant democracy of 23 million people.”

Chinese dissident Yang Jianli gives a speech on Sept. 16 in front of China's Consulate General Office in New York City to protest China's blocking of Taiwan from the United Nations and other international organization. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Chinese dissident Yang Jianli gives a speech on Sept. 16 in front of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York City to protest China’s blocking of Taiwan from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

The “Keep Taiwan Free” rally was organized by the New York-based Committee for Admission of Taiwan to the UN and was held to coincide with the 72nd Regular Session of the UN General Assembly, hvilken convened on Sept. 12 and runs through Sept. 25. Among those attending was a delegation from the Taiwan United Nations Alliance (TAIUNA)—a Taiwanese NGO that for 14 years has organized an annual trip to the United States to work for Taiwan’s inclusion in the UN.

A crowd of 600 participated in the event, according to organizers. Starting at 4 pm, the marchers walked across Manhattan and eventually reached the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza in front of the UN Headquarters at around 5pm. The march was peaceful and caught the attention of many New Yorkers who were strolling through midtown on Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of activists held a march on Saturday afternoon from the Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Hell's Kitchen to the UN Headquarters on the other side of the Manhattan, to protest Taiwan's exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hundreds of activists held a march on Saturday afternoon from the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Hell’s Kitchen to the UN Headquarters on the other side of the Manhattan, to protest Taiwan’s exclusion from the United Nations and other international organizations. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Ting, a Taiwanese student studying in America, said that she participated in the rally because she wants her country to be recognized by other people, and she feels strongly about Taiwan having such an identity. An estimated 57,000 Taiwanese students are studying internationally around the world, most of them are in countries that don’t recognize Taiwan’s statehood diplomatically, including the United States, where 21,000 Taiwanese students are believed to be studying.

TAIUNA President Michael Tsai, who is also a former Minister of Defense of Taiwan, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. Tsai argued that even Palestine, held to be a “non-state entity” by many, was able to join the U.N. as an observer two years ago. Så, “why can’t Taiwan?"

Michael Tsai (middle), Taiwan's former Minister of Defense and president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Michael Tsai (middle), Taiwan’s former Minister of Defense and president of the Taiwan United Nations Alliance, said that no one should be barred from participation in the UN. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

Hsu Yung-ming, a Taiwanese legislator from the New Power Party flew from Taiwan and joined the rally. “Many people say the push for UN membership is impossible for Taiwan, but they fail to see what’s at stake here,” said Hsu. “Taiwan needs to make its voice heard by the international community. We need to make this an issue, and for the world to see there are 23 million people currently being excluded from the UN.”

Chang Hung-lu and Yu Wan-ju, two other legislators from the Democratic Progressive Party—the current ruling party of Taiwan—also joined the rally. “The fact that China has the power to exclude others from the United Nations is a violation of its founding philosophy, which is supposed to include everyone,” said Yu.

June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese Americans during the Sept. 16 'Keep Taiwan Free' march, gave a speech at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese-Americans during the Sept. 16 ‘Keep Taiwan Free’ march, gave a speech at the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters. (Paul Huang/The Epoch Times)

At Dag Hammarskjold Plaza next to the UN Headquarters, activist students took turns giving speeches supporting Taiwan’s return to the UN. June Lin, one of the young Taiwanese-Americans, said that the recent trial of Lee Ming-che, a Taiwanese citizen imprisoned by China, is the latest example why Taiwan needs to make its voice heard on the international stage.

Taiwan under the name “Republic of China” was kicked out of the UN by the 1971 General Assembly Resolution 2758 to make way for the People’s Republic of China. Taiwan has tried without success to reenter the U.N. since 1993.

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In this file photo a Chinese ship makes its way toward the Lions Gate Bridge into the Port of Vancouver,  one of North America's most important gateways to Asia.(CP Photo/Chuck Stoody)In this file photo a Chinese ship makes its way toward the Lions Gate Bridge into the Port of Vancouver,  one of North America's most important gateways to Asia.(CP Photo/Chuck Stoody)

Nyheter Analyse

As NAFTA negotiations with the United States show slow progress, en new survey shows that more Canadians want to increase trade relationships beyond the United States, with Europe and the U.K.—jurisdictions with similar democratic institutions as Canada—taking the top spots.

China takes the fourth spot as the trade partner of choice, a finding similar to periodic surveys in recent years showing a decline in Canadians’ interest in free trade with China.

The federal government is pushing ahead with free trade talks with China, derimot, with a decision on the potential deal with the Asian giant expected this fall, according to The National Post.

The Epoch Times contacted Global Affairs Canada for an update on the Canada-China free trade talks, but answers to questions were not provided by press time. The government’s public consultation phase on the proposed deal closed in June.

As U.S. President Donald Trump plays hardball in NAFTA negotiations, Canada’s pursuit of a free trade deal with China has been cited by some as an attempt to send a signal to its southern neighbour that Canada isn’t limited in choice when it comes to trading partners.

But the Liberal government started negotiations on a potential free trade deal with China immediately after coming to power in the fall of 2015. That was long before Trump, then a Republican presidential candidate, criticized NAFTA’s terms as being overly in Canada’s favour as president of the United States.

The Angus Reid poll published last week asked Canadians where their government should look to develop closer trade ties. Rundt 45 percent chose the EU, followed closely by the United States at around 40 prosent. The third spot with 30 percent went to the U.K., which is in the midst of exiting the EU and will be on its own in any trade talks. Kina, with close to 25 prosent, came in fourth.

Angus Reid notes that interest among Canadians for developing closer trade ties with China has been in decline since the research company first began its periodic polling on the subject in 2014.

Even among the Liberals’ own support base, i.e. those who voted Liberal in the 2015 federal election, support for a free trade deal is below two in five.

Rule of Law

The Liberals’ “human connection” initiatives and “people-to-people exchanges” between China and Canada over the last few years were cited as being intended to reverse the negative polling trends of Canadians’ views on China, but it seems they haven’t succeeded in making Canadians more receptive to closer trade ties.

Perhaps that’s because it is not the elected representatives of the Chinese people that oversee the affairs of their country, but a single non-elected entity that controls all branches of power, including the judiciary, in a one-party system.

The overt state control in China is something that worries Dean Allison, the Conservatives’ newly appointed international trade critic, should a Canada-China free trade agreement go ahead.

“We certainly don’t mind doing deals with the Chinese people. It’s when you have the state involved in such a large way that gives us some great concerns,"Sa han i et intervju.

That’s the lesson Amy Chang hopes Canadians wanting to do business in China learn. Chang’s parents, John Chang and Allison Lu, Canadian citizens who own wineries in B.C. and Ontario, are currently being held by Chinese authorities in Shanghai over an alleged customs valuation dispute.

According to Chang, the Chinese authorities have criminalized a commercial dispute in her parents’ case.

“If this is an issue regarding undervaluation, then they can let me know and we can deal with this diplomatically. There’s no need to have Canadian citizens detained overseas and imprisoned,” Chang told The Canadian Press last spring when she visited Ottawa to plead with federal politicians for help in getting her parents released.

"[Beijing] really is a government that doesn’t play by the rules, it isn’t rule-based,” said Allison. "[I Kina] we have clear violations of the rule of law as it would exist here in Canada.”

That means that when it comes to a free trade deal with China, there is no guarantee of a level playing field, han sa.

“If you and I are making decisions in Canada based on business and personal interest and how the market economy works, that’s one thing, but we are competing with a systematically organized and controlled state-run operation. I think that skews the level playing field,” Allison said.

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WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, now warns users that it actively stores a whole range of private data and will readily share them with the Chinese authorities if needed. (Matthew Robertson/Epoch Times)WeChat, the most popular messaging app in China, now warns users that it actively stores a whole range of private data and will readily share them with the Chinese authorities if needed. (Matthew Robertson/Epoch Times)

China’s most popular messaging app WeChat now warns users in a privacy statement about how much of their private data the company shares with the Chinese regime. To no one’s surprise, it’s just about everything users type into the app.

Developed by the Chinese internet company Tencent, WeChat is China’s equivalent of WhatsApp and is used by 662 million mobile users, which makes it the dominant messaging app in China and one of the largest in the world.

WeChat users who updated to the latest patch are greeted with a new prompt that requires them to accept the privacy policy in order to continue using the app. Upon careful reading, the new privacy policy acknowledges that WeChat collects a whole range of data from its users, and to comply with “applicable laws or regulations” would readily share them with the Chinese regime.

Private log data from users such as “information about what you have searched for and looked at while using WeChat,” and “people you’ve communicated with and the time, data and duration of your communications” are among the things that WeChat freely stores and uses to customize advertisement and direct marketing.

WeChat users who updated to the latest patch are greeted with a new prompt that requires them to accept the privacy policy in order to continue using the app. (Screenshot captured by Twitter user @lotus_ruan)

WeChat users who updated to the latest patch are greeted with a new prompt that requires them to accept the privacy policy in order to continue using the app. (Screenshot captured by Twitter user @lotus_ruan)

WeChat also admits that it would “retain, preserve or disclose” users’ data to “comply with applicable laws or regulations.” Because China’s law enforcement agencies and security apparatus do not need a search warrant to seize a citizen’s property or private data, the Chinese regime would essentially have access to just about everything WeChat users send through the app.

Users who refuse to accept the latest privacy policy would be unable to access WeChat with their accounts, until they change their mind and click the “accept” button. derimot, because users can resume using the app anytime with their pre-existing data intact, WeChat likely plans to store all the data for a prolonged period, even when a user explicitly refuses to let WeChat manage his or her own data anymore.

The new privacy policy contains few surprises for those that have long been criticizing WeChat for lacking privacy and security protections for its users. Tross alt, observers have attributed the dominance of WeChat in China to the company’s close collaboration with the Chinese regime in implementing self-censorship and surveillance mechanisms in the app.

WeChat certainly got an assist from the Chinse regime when it started a partial blocking of WhatsApp in July. The blocking of WhatsApp eliminated one of the few remaining messaging apps available for users in China that was not controlled by the authoritarian regime.

The Chinese regime also recently announced on Sept. 7 a new regulation mandating that the participants of WeChat message groups be responsible for managing the information posted in their respective groups. Essentially, this means that a user in a message group could be held liable and even persecuted for information that others post in the group.

It has long been noted that WeChat is among the most heavily censored messaging apps. A 2016 survey done by Amnesty International that ranks the world’s most popular messaging apps in terms of privacy protection for users gave WeChat a score of 0 out of 100, meaning that users of WeChat receive little or no encryption protection for their communications and the app is completely exposed to censorship and surveillance by the Chinese regime.

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Tourists walk with their luggage at Beijing International Airport on November 24, 2016.
(Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)Tourists walk with their luggage at Beijing International Airport on November 24, 2016.
(Fred Dufour/AFP/Getty Images)

Having left her native China and entered the United States via a smuggling ring in 2014, Zheng Lili recalls the climax of her months-long journey, which took her around the world and cost tens of thousands of dollars.

“I was scared to death, gasping for breath, I thought I would die there.” It was at that very moment, after she crossed the Rio Grande, that she heard police officers say, “Welcome to America!"

Her first stop was Moscow. From there she went to Cuba, where a visa is not required for Chinese nationals staying less than a month, before finally arriving in Mexico City and embarking on their trek journey north.

At Mexican customs, the leader of the group Zheng was in had told everyone to slip $200 into his or her passport. They were then led to a special entryway and got through without trouble. Joined by a dozen others from different countries, they set off at midnight on a journey to the Rio Grande Valley. For two days straight, they marched over the mosquito-infested land, constantly ready to throw themselves to the ground to evade helicopters or patrol vehicles.

Zheng had become so exhausted that she had to be carried by her son and another immigrant. “We all looked forward to being arrested after crossing, because it speeds up the process,” she told The Epoch Times.

Her son was released on bail a month later, and was soon granted political asylum on account of the Christian faith he learned from his devout grandmother. Zheng was detained for two years.

Zheng Lili’s experience isn’t unique. Aug. 26 this year, twenty-three Chinese were arrested crossing San Diego’s Otay Mesa border, the largest bust of illegal entry by Chinese nationals via Mexico.

Along with seven Mexicans, the group was discovered while they were going through a cross-country tunnel from Mexico. All came from southeastern China—22 from the coastal province of Fujian and one from the neighboring province of Guangdong.

Zheng, also from Fujian, arrived in the United States in 2014 and spent two years in detention before she was reunited with her husband in 2016. Her husband, Chen Zhiqiang, was himself an illegal immigrant: he had gained entry over two decades earlier with a fake passport obtained in the Netherlands. Chen and Zheng were the last of 39 Chen-surnamed families in their town that left home for the United States.

Fujian has historically been one of the largest sources for Chinese immigrants. Changle District, which in the late 1970s became one of the first Chinese ports opened up for international trade, gained the nickname “Village of Smugglers.” From 1980 til 2005, over 200,000 people had been trafficked to overseas destinations, according to Sina, an online Chinese media group.

In Fuzhou, capital of Fujian, tens of thousands of “left-behind children” lived with their grandparents, according to Beijing News. The parents—unauthorized immigrants working in the United States—sent their toddlers back because they had no extra energy or time to take care of them after toiling for 13 hours a day or more. Changle District, which lies near Fuzhou and has around 712,500 residents, counted 5,000 U.S.-born children in 2012. Nearly every local household had someone living overseas.

Fujian has a long tradition of emigration, beginning in antiquity as Chinese merchants left the mainland and settled abroad, often in Southeast Asia. In the early 1960s, Fujianese sailors who took work in Hong Kong discovered that they could earn 15 times as much in the United States, sparking a first wave of emigration to the West.

Gradually an extensive network and an industry of smuggling developed. “When other people got out and we didn’t, it made us look bad,” unnamed immigrants told Sohu, another Chinese media site. Villagers in Changle would set off fireworks to celebrate whenever someone made it to the United States.

“There have been lots of historical cases of Chinese people being brought into the United States illegally on ships, in railroad coaches, hidden in cars, through tunnels, on airplanes – every imaginable way that humans can think of to cross the border,” Elliot Young, a history professor at Portland, Oregon’s Lewis and Clark College and author of the book “Alien Nation,” which documents China’s immigration history to the United States, told Voice of America.

“The Chinese were among the first to invent these ways of evading border control,” Elliott Young said.

Zheng Qi (not related to Zheng Lili), chairman of the Fukien Benevolent Association of America, made his way into America with a Thailand tourist passport, according to U.S.-China Press. In his unsuccessful first attempt, the Hong Kong-based travel agency got him a travel visa to Canada, which got him to the Canadian border before he was discovered and repatriated.

De Migration Policy Institute estimates about 268,000 illegal or undocumented immigrants from China, making them the fifth largest group among over 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the United States, and the largest of all non-Latin American nations. In a 2016 rapportere, the MPI identified China as one of the world’s leading sources of immigrants.

Over a period of seven months from October 2016 to this May, the California border patrol apprehended 663 Chinese trying to illegally enter the United States, a huge jump from a mere 48 over the same period in 2016, and just 5 the year before, NBC 7 reported.

Smugglers see Chinese clients as more profitable than those from Latin America or Mexico, since gangs can demand higher fees due to the longer travel route. In the past few decades, the cost of smuggling an immigrant has more than doubled, rising from $30,000 til $50,000 til $70,000, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

Rarely are these fees paid upfront to smugglers, called shetou or “snakeheads” in Chinese, according to the professor Elliott Young.

Young observed that the immigrants would usually arrange with the smuggler on a certain amount of down payment—around a few thousand dollars—and “work off their debt in the United States by working in a business.” “They work in restaurants, garment factories and other, often Chinese-owned, businesses," han sa.

A sarcastic Chinese expression describes a typical illegal immigrant’s day-to-day life upon arriving the United States: “Daytime at the stove, nighttime on the pillow, and weekend at the lawyer’s.”

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A Chinese man stands inside a job center on September 18, 2015 in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China in 2015. China’s slower economy has left many desperate for work, making them vulnerable to pyramid schemes that are evolving into criminal syndicates. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)A Chinese man stands inside a job center on September 18, 2015 in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, China in 2015. China’s slower economy has left many desperate for work, making them vulnerable to pyramid schemes that are evolving into criminal syndicates. (Kevin Frayer / Getty Images)

A young college graduate was found dead in the northern port city of Tianjin. Police suspect the death involved foul play by a pyramid scheme gang. Such gangs have been connected to a number of suspicious deaths across China.

On July 14, the body of Li Wenxing, 23, was found near a suburban highway in Tianjin, floating faceup in a small pond. Autopsy results showed that Li drowned with no apparent injuries.

Li, a native of Shandong Province, had come from a rural family and joined the wave of young people leaving small-town homes to find careers in big cities.

Li Wenxing, seen on the day of his college graduation ceremony, thought he was taking a programming job but ended up in a pyramid scheme run by violent con artists. (Handout via EMG)

Li Wenxing, seen on the day of his college graduation ceremony, thought he was taking a programming job but ended up in a pyramid scheme run by violent con artists. (Handout via EMG)

Chinese media reported that a Li’s body was found with a book of notes apparently taken at a class connected to the pyramid scheme known as Diebeilei. Chinese state media said five Diebeilei associates have been arrested for Li’s death and have confessed to luring him into the scheme and forcing him to stay at their dormitory.

Sixth Tone quotes a post from Li’s sister that has since been taken down, in which she claimed the autopsy of her brother revealed he had been starved.

Syndicate-like pyramid schemes are prolific in China and feed on vulnerable and often poorly educated victims who are lured in by overnight rags-to-riches stories.

Public outcry over Li’s death has been directed at both pyramid scams—which are known to use aggressive recruiting practices, deception, and even violence—as well as at “Boss Zhipin,” a popular Chinese job hunting website that failed to screen employers posting ads on its site.

The job site has issued an apology for that failure and has promised changes will be made.

Li was a recent graduate who thought he was going to work as a programmer at a company he found on Boss Zhipin. He had to travel to Tianjin for the job, not discovering until later that it was posted by a member of Diebeilei posing as a software company.

A police statement revealed that shortly after Li arrived in Tianjin on May 20, he was taken to facilities controlled by members of the scheme, tricked into signing up as a recruit, and began borrowing money from friends.

Reports said Li’s family and friends had problems reaching him and he wouldn’t give clear explanations for why he needed the money.

What happened later is not yet entirely clear, but in what seems to have been Li’s last phone call to his family on July 8, han sa, “No matter who calls for money, don’t give it to them.”

Li’s death is not an isolated case.

Tidligere i år, a 24-year-old man named Qu Pengxu was found dead in a village fish pond in Tianjin.

Qu had also been a Diebeilei recruit.

Another recruit named Zhang Chao was found dead on July 13.

Zhang’s body had been abandoned by three men on the roadside in the middle of the night. Zhang died from a “heat stroke” under suspicious circumstances. And there have been other similar cases around China.

Another college student, Lin Huarong, 20, from Hunan Province, was found drowned in a river in Hubei Province on Aug. 4.

Lin got sucked into a pyramid scam by a classmate when she was searching for a part-time job in July.

Lin’s father said he lost contact with his daughter that same month.

Chinese media reported that Lin was forced to receive brainwashing lectures and her cellphone was confiscated.

Four recent victims who died after coming into contact with pyramid schemes in China. Large photo is Qu pengxu. Top right and down are Li Wenxing, Zhang Chao, and Lin Huarong. Behind them is a picture of the pond where Li's body was found. (Composite photo via EMG)

Four recent victims who died after coming into contact with pyramid schemes in China. (L) Qu Pengxu. (From Top R and down) Li Wenxing, Zhang Chao, and Lin Huarong. Behind them is a picture of the pond where Li’s body was found. (Composite photo via EMG)

Such cases reflect the severity of the problem, says China analyst Jason Ma.

Pyramid schemes are an ever changing menace, han sa.

“In the beginning, it was called ‘direct marketing.’ Since direct marketing was introduced to China thirty years ago, it has transformed into something completely unrecognizable today.”

Ma said that in China today, these pyramid schemes have become “a dangerous business.”

“A great many people have become victims of such scams again and again. Today in China, the so-called pyramid scheme has turned into something extremely complex and it is constantly evolving …”

Ma notes that there are an estimated 600-700 types of pyramid or similar scams now being used in China by more than 1,000 organizations.

“‘Pyramid scheme’ is an umbrella term that covers a lot of ground. In the case of Li Wenxing, he had lost his personal freedom and likely died from abuse. This is really not a pyramid scheme in the conventional sense, it is a gang-style kidnapping," han sa.

Public outrage is also being aimed at the police over why, after so many tragedies, authorities have failed to stamp out pyramid schemes.

Crackdowns on such groups flare up from time to time, with one currently underway, but the groups persist and evolve.

Some allege that authorities in China can’t stop such groups because they are sanctioned by corrupt officials within the regime.

“This is an extreme case of preying upon others. It is a form of corruption that stems all the way from the top of CCP leadership,” said China news analyst Heng He.

“The authorities are unable to touch the largest pyramid scheme organizations because the government has got their backs. CCTV even helps promotes some of them,” said He, pointing to the pyramid scheme known as ‘Shanxinhui’ as an example.

The group claims to be a women’s foundation and is affiliated with the CCP’s All-China Women’s Affiliation.

“These organizations get public financing but the money they get will not be repaid, or paid out to investors at the bottom. Those at the top are the ones that get the money,” said He.

He compares that scenario to the endemic corruption in China that sees Party officials profit at public expense.

It’s routine in China for the children of highly place Communist Party cadre’s to be placed at the helms of state-owned enterprises that dominate China’s economy, and for officials to manipulate land sales and other business dealings to line their own pockets.

Chinese leader Xi Jinping has earned political capital by carrying out a massive anti-corruption campaign that aims to stifle such practices but there are questions over whether that is possible without regime change and real rule-of-law.

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Boxers Wen Yinhang, from Hubei, and Uyghur Tangtilahan compete at the 13th National Game in Tianjin, Kina, on Aug. 13. China has ordered the dissolution of the current National boxing team amidst complaints that the competition was rigged. (Sohu)Boxers Wen Yinhang, from Hubei, and Uyghur Tangtilahan compete at the 13th National Game in Tianjin, Kina, on Aug. 13. China has ordered the dissolution of the current National boxing team amidst complaints that the competition was rigged. (Sohu)

China has dissolved its national boxing team amidst complaints about rigged boxing matches in the recent China’s premier National Games, the country’s top sports’ governing body announced on Sept. 7.

The qualifications of certain judges who were allegedly involved will be terminated.

The boxing competition that took place in Tianjin between Aug. 3 og 13 ended in an uproar as several boxing athletes, indignant of the ruling that they deemed unfair, refused to leave the site in protest. Subsequent matches were delayed as a result.

The two boxers under spotlight are Wen Yinhang from Hubei Province in central China and his opponent, Tangtilahan, an ethnic Uyghur from Xinjiang, who competed in the men’s 75-kilogram final on Aug. 13. Wen was given a score of 5 til 0 despite many onlookers being certain of his defeat, leading to broad speculation that the match was rigged in Wen’s favor.

Wen Yinhang and Tangtilahan at the boxing match on Aug. 13. (WeChat)

Wen Yinhang and Tangtilahan at the boxing match on Aug. 13. (WeChat)

Wen, an athlete in the national boxing team, was set to compete at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

In an online recording of the live broadcast on state-run Central China Television, the narrator can be heard jeering at Wen, who wears a red outfit, as Tangtilahan punches him in the face. “Such an overwhelming victory," han sier.

But hearing the announcement of Wen’s victory, the narrator appears baffled, saying it “made no sense.”

The Chinese Boxing Federation rules deny athletes the chance to appeal for a review of the results if the score is 0:5 eller 1:4.

Similar questions were raised on Aug. 4, when Sichuan athlete Wang Gang defeated Yilanbieke, also a Uyghur, during the 64-kilogram match.

“An investigation has been launched and umpires who are found to have seriously violated discipline will be banned,” the Boxing and Taekwondo Center of the State General Administration of Sport said in a statement, according to the English Xinhua.

“The incidents exposed the loopholes of the boxing and taekwondo center in selecting, managing, and employing referees,” the administration said in the statement. “The boxing and taekwondo center must take responsibility for it.”

In an earlier notice, the sports administration criticized the boxing and taekwondo center for not handling the issue in a sufficient and timely manner, and ordered an investigation.

i mellomtiden, Chinese have taken to the internet to express their amusement or discontent.

“Wen Yinhang was punched four or five times every round, but he still got crowned with a score of 5 to 0,” one spectator wrote on Weibo, a Twitter-like social media site.

Another commented: “I can’t claim myself a veteran boxing fan, but I have watched some matches. This National tournament is simply ridiculous… My wife, who has never watched boxing match, joined me today and she asked, ‘how can this [Wen] win? What exactly is the standard for the competition?’ I had no good answer for her.”

Others directed their comments towards the apparently rigged results. “Such insufficient work. At least you should inform the host or narrator, this is way too awkward.”

Professional sports in China have long been plagued with corruption, doping, and fixed results. Wang Jing, the former champion in female 100 meter in the 2013 National Games, got a lifetime ban from running events for alleged doping. I 2009, acclaimed diving coach Ma Yanping quit months before a scheduled competition, stating that the champions had been pre-arranged behind closed doors.

A notice issued by the State General Administration of Sports on Sept. 7, 2017 states that the national boxing team will be disbanded.

A notice issued by the State General Administration of Sports on Sept. 7, 2017.
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  • Forfatter: <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/n3/author/eva-fu/" rel="author">Eva Fu</en>, <a href="http://www.theepochtimes.com/" title="Epoch Times" rel="publisher">Epoch Times</en>
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Top graft buster Wang Qishan attends opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2016 i Beijing, Kina. (Lintao Zhang / Getty Images)Top graft buster Wang Qishan attends opening session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference on March 3, 2016 i Beijing, Kina. (Lintao Zhang / Getty Images)

Wang Qishan, China’s most powerful official after Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, has made a series of public appearances recently, after having disappeared from public view for months. Wang’s absence from the media led to speculation about his political future, to which he retorted with three appearances in the space of a week. Such appearances are bellwethers of political vitality in China’s opaque political system.

Footage from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) showed Wang, who heads the Communist Party’s anti-corruption agency, attending a national disciplinary inspection assembly on Sep. 8.

At the meeting, Wang stressed the importance of reflecting on the results of anti-corruption work carried out since Xi Jinping took power in 2012, and expressed resolve to continue with “unremitting efforts.”

“Party Central fully affirms the disciplinary inspection work,” Wang said.

Observers of Chinese politics closely watch signs of Wang’s presence (or absence) in the media for hints on whether he will continue to serve in the Politburo Standing Committee after the leadership reshuffling at the Communist Party’s 19th National Congress. The Standing Committee is the Party’s executive leadership and is composed of seven cadres, including Wang and Xi, who heads the body.

According to an unofficial convention of the regime, members of the Standing Committee who reach the age of 68 at the time of the Party Congress are expected to retire; officials aged 67 or younger may stay for the next five-year term. Wang Qishan, who is a key ally for Xi Jinping in his anti-corruption campaign, turned 69 this July.

Two days before Wang appeared on television, he attended a political seminar honoring his late father-in-law, the former vice premier Yao Yilin. Wang was accompanied by his wife and eldest grandson.

Besides the presence of four Politburo members, the Hong Kong-based Oriental Daily took special notice of two officials—Xi Yuanping, younger brother of Chinese president Xi Jinping, and Li Zhanshu, Xi’s right-hand man. “Xi Jinping sent two representatives to the meeting, one official and one personal…to show his respect,” the rapportere says.

Wang was also addressed, apparently for the first time by Chinese state media, as the leader of the “Central Leading Group for Inspection Work.”

From Sept. 3 til 5, Wang also paid a three-day visit to the central Chinese province of Hunan where he held a discipline inspection symposium, as reported both on CCTV and the official website of the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection that Wang heads.

Given Wang’s tendency to keep a low profile, the prominent media exposure is highly unusual, and has been seen as a pointed rebuttal of rumors that he has been diagnosed of late stage liver cancer. Independent political commentator Zhou Xiaohui says the media reports should also be read as a hint that Wang remains in Xi Jinping’s favor.

Since May, Guo Wengui, a fugitive Chinese billionaire who resides in an $67 million luxury apartment in Manhattan overlooking Central Park, has made various unproven corruption charges against Wang and his family members using social media. Guo has been linked with the political network grouped around former Party leader Jiang Zemin; the anti-corruption campaign under Xi and Wang has targeted hundreds of cadres aligned with Jiang. Guo faces a number of lawsuits from Chinese officials, actresses, og businesses for unpaid debts and defamation.

Xin Ziling, a retired official at the National Defense University, believes that Wang’s political position is protected on account of the indispensable role he plays in Xi’s administration.

“Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang, and Wang Qishan are going to be the core in the 19th National Congress,” Xin told The Epoch Times. Li Keqiang is the premier. “If they take down Wang Qishan, it’s effectively saying that Xi’s anti-corruption effort was wrong.”

“Once you shoot the arrow, there’s no getting it back,” Zhou Xiaohui said. “The tone coming from state media has been that anti-corruption is going to continue, and Xi would be handicapping himself if he loses Wang Qishan.”

Wang’s absence has typically been associated with the purge of “big tigers”—the Chinese term for high-ranking corrupt officials. The last time Wang returned to public view after 40 days of silence, the authorities announced the investigation of prominent Chongqing Party secretary Sun Zhengcai, extinguishing the hopes in some quarters that he would be a candidate for succeeding Xi Jinping in the leadership.

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