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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "China"

Neil O’Brien: Policies for a new Britain – in which the central point for new Tory MPs is moors on Sheffield’s edge

Neil O’Brien is MP for Harborough.

The rain fell. As the weeks of the campaign went by, bright orange Halloween pumpkins rotted on doorsteps, while Christmas decorations gradually went up. Across the country floods came and receded. The short days got even shorter.

A man in a beautiful big Georgian house with a very large Apple Mac in the window told me that we had ruined the country. A man in a bungalow on an estate told me that he’d voted Labour his whole life, but this time he would be voting Conservative.

Leaflets went soggy in the drizzle. Towns and villages turned on their Christmas lights. More rain fell, and then, at the end of it all, there was a flood tide of a different kind. A blue tide, sweeping across the country, particularly in the midlands and north.

That flood has washed away old familiar landmarks. The Beast of Bolsover is gone. Jo Swinson is gone. Jeremy Corbyn is going. The “People’s Vote” campaign has shut down in the light of… how people voted. “Workington Man”, much discussed at the start of the campaign, really did turn Conservative, and sent Mark Jenkinson to Parliament.
Laura Piddock, who’d vowed never to be friends with a Conservative, was replaced by one: Richard Holden.

The Conservative Party has been profoundly changed by the election. Since 1997 we’ve gone from having from three per cent to 34 per cent of seats in the North East. From 13 per cent to 43 per cent of seats in the North West. From 13 per cent to 48 per cent in Yorkshire. From nought per cent to 35 per cent of seats in Wales. And from 24 per cent to 75 per cent of seats in the West Midlands.

Our new intake are 30 per cent of the parliamentary party. And their seats are different. In 2001, we had just no seats in the 30 per cent most deprived constituencies in England. In 2010, we had 24. Now it is 49 of those seats. In 2001, we had just 14 seats in the most deprived half of England. Now we have 116.

Look at the change another way. Average out where in English Conservative MPs elected in 2017 represented, and the centre point was down in the Speaker’s leafy Buckingham constituency. Average out the newly elected Conservative MPs in England in 2019, and the central point is out on the wild and windy moors on the edge of Sheffield.  It would take you a long time, but you can now walk almost the whole length of the Pennine Way without leaving a Conservative constituency.

The Prime Minister also has the chance now to go on an epic trek: one to change the face of British politics forever.
It goes without saying that we need to keep our promises on GBD (Getting Brexit Done) and the NHS. But we can’t let Whitehall just KBO with business-as-usual.

I don’t think we will. The signs of last week’s earthquake have been there for some time, and people like Dominic Cummings have the most been attuned to them. Even some of the 2019 strategy has been road-tested before. Under Cummings in 2001, the no euro campaign ran “Never Mind the Euro, what about our hospitals?” flyposters, riffing on famous the Sex Pistols album cover.

In the James Frayne/Dom Cummings led-campaign against the North East Assembly in 2004, the campaign had a strong anti-politics-as-usual slant, with ads condemning the cost of the proposed “talking shop” for ordinary people.
But now we have a majority, how to respond to the dissatisfaction that’s been growing for so long?

Once we get Brexit done, we should be conspicuous in the use of our new freedoms. We could axe the hated tampon tax or cut VAT on fuel. We can improve animal welfare, banning live exports and puppy smuggling. We could end the absurd practice of paying child benefits to children living overseas. We could help small business, reviewing legislation that curtails lending like the CRD IV and Solvency 2. We could replace bureaucratic EU regional development funding with something better, and end the environmental waste of the CAP and Common Fisheries Policies.

Things like the review of sentencing and end of early release are key to showing the county is under new management.

But the question I am most interested in personally is whether we can have a bold enough economic policy that people in the newly gained Conservative seats can see the difference in five years’ time.

Let’s be clear: many of the places we’ve gained have suffered economic decline for many decades. There is a good economic case for levelling up: there are no major countries that are richer per head than Britain and have a more geographically unbalanced economy. More balanced growth is stronger. But to get it, we need to mobilise in an unprecedented way.

I’d suggest four ways to level up.

First, rebalance the government’s most growth-enhancing spending. Spending which most spurs growth is too concentrated on places that are already successful. We should rebalance spending on innovation, transport, housing and culture to lift the performance of poorer areas. Government should rethink the focus on current demand levels and current strengths which creates a vicious circle for less wealthy areas.

Second, we should recognise that Britain has de-industrialised more than any other G20 country since 1990; that the UK’s tax system is currently uniquely hostile to manufacturing and other types of capital-intensive businesses; and that this has a particularly negative effect on lagging parts of the country which are more reliant on manufacturing.

Despite its small share of overall GDP, manufacturing makes an outsize contribution to productivity growth and compared to professional services is more likely to happen outside city centres.

While manufacturing accounted for around a quarter of productivity growth nationally since 1997, it provided 40-50 per cent of productivity growth in poorer regions like Wales, the West Midlands and North West. More generous capital allowances would help lagging regions, but currently EU rules limit the places in which we can offer such allowances. Let’s use our new freedom.

Third, lets recognise the centrality of private sector investment in growth. Moving public sector jobs around doesn’t cut it. We need private inward investment. That means souping up DIT and making sure we are using every weapon including tax breaks to attract higher end private sector jobs to poorer places.

The highlight of the Conservative manifesto for me was the pledge to invest a stonking £3.2 billion a year in R&D by the end of the Parliament. But unless we spend differently, it won’t benefit lagging areas.

So, fourth, we have to shift the balance of government R&D: from mainly in universities to more happening in firms. From fundamental research, to more applied (like in China and the Asian economies). And from half the core budget being spent in three cities, (London, Cambridge and Oxford) to a distribution more in line with the geographically balanced spending of the private sector.

And more. We should learn from the Connell Review and the way the US uses ringfenced budgets for innovative procurement to put rocket boosters under small tech firms. We should build up innovate UK and make it easier to get SMART grants too.

Obviously, there are a zillion other things: sorting out the over-expansion of low-value university arts courses and under-investment in apprenticeships. Building on funding to fix run down town centres… there’s masses to do.
But above all, somewhere in Whitehall there has to be a strong central point to make all this happen “by any means necessary”.

We start with a huge river of goodwill from this election. Now we need to channel it to get the wheels turning again for places that feel left-behind.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Officials Praise Gains From China Deal, but They Come at a Cost

Westlake Legal Group 15dc-chinatrade1-facebookJumbo Trump Officials Praise Gains From China Deal, but They Come at a Cost United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Trump, Donald J Lighthizer, Robert E International Trade and World Market Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) China

WASHINGTON — Trump administration officials predicted big gains for the economy from a newly announced trade deal with China, but the economic losses sustained during a bruising 19-month trade war will not be easy to make up.

In a televised interview on Sunday, President Trump’s top trade negotiator praised the progress that the agreement between the world’s two biggest economies would make on issues like intellectual property, currency and financial services. He described the deal as “remarkable” and predicted that it would roughly double American exports to China by 2021.

Yet the negotiator, Robert Lighthizer, admitted that the limited agreement, which the administration says is just the first of several phases, was only a partial victory. He said it would leave many of the existing tariffs between the countries in place and other bigger changes to the Chinese economy undone.

“This is a first step in trying to integrate two very different systems, to the benefit of both of us,” Mr. Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, said in an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Anyone who thinks you would change China in one stroke of the pen “is foolish,” he said, adding: “The president is not foolish. He is very smart.”

Business groups have welcomed the first-phase trade pact as a sign of easing tensions in the trade war. On Sunday, Mr. Lighthizer predicted that Chinese purchases of American products would rise by more than $100 billion a year once the agreement, which is expected to be signed in January, goes into effect.

But the economic benefits of the pact appear to have come at significant costs — namely, the tariffs Mr. Trump imposed to force China to accept an agreement and the uncertainty that his unpredictable approach to trade has created. Those factors have added new costs for businesses, forced them to undertake expensive changes to their supply chains and caused them to put off investments and new hiring.

Once those costs are taken into account, trade experts said, the gains from the new agreement are less clear.

“It’s hard to see this China deal as the vindication of the president’s tactics,” said Edward Alden, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. “It’s a pretty small deal, coming at a pretty high cost.”

To persuade China to bend to American demands, Mr. Trump imposed more new tariffs than any other president in modern history. On Friday, Mr. Trump announced that he would not go forward with an additional tariff increase planned for Sunday and that he would lower the rate on some of the tariffs he had already placed on China.

But tariffs on more than $360 billion of Chinese goods — the bulk of products the country exports to the United States — will stay in place indefinitely.

The remaining tariffs cover a wide range of product categories in which American officials contend that the Chinese government has provided huge subsidies to businesses to become globally competitive. They also include many goods for which the Trump administration is leery of having the United States depend on China for national security or economic security reasons, such as nuclear reactor parts or certain widely used industrial pumps and motors.

In the interview on Sunday, Mr. Lighthizer described those tariffs as motivation for China to continue to negotiate with the United States. But many businesses continue to denounce them as a tax on doing business with the world’s second-largest economy.

Companies that import parts and finished products from China have already paid nearly $40 billion in additional taxes since Mr. Trump imposed his first tariffs, data from United States Customs and Border Protection shows. While Mr. Trump insists that China is paying those tariffs, most economic studies have found that the burden of the levies falls more heavily on American businesses and consumers than Chinese ones.

The deal will need to make up a lot of ground in the area of agriculture, as well.

Under pressure from the trade war, American farm exports to China have fallen sharply, as China has put tariffs on American products and Chinese state purchasers shifted to buying goods from Brazil, Argentina and other countries. American agricultural exports to China fell from $19.6 billion in 2017 to $9.2 billion in 2018, according to the United States Agriculture Department, and have remained depressed this year.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have predicted that the deal will result in China buying $40 billion to $50 billion of American farm products per year. But some analysts have questioned how realistic those estimates are, given that the highest level of farm products the United States has ever exported to China was $26 billion in 2012.

The uncertainty created by the trade war also appears to have taken a substantial toll on the American and global economy, particularly by suppressing business investment.

Mr. Trump and his advisers have pointed to record-low unemployment, a strong stock market and high consumer confidence as evidence that their trade war has little downside. But economists say American growth would be even stronger if not for the trade war.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, estimated that the trade war lowered American gross domestic product by a third of a percentage point in the third quarter, when the American economy grew by 1.9 percent.

“The trade war has done significant damage to the economy,” Mr. Zandi said. “You can see the fingerprints of the trade war clearly in the manufacturing sector.”

The new tariffs that Mr. Trump decided not to move ahead with on Sunday would have fallen more heavily on American consumers by raising the price of apparel, smartphones and other finished goods. He also scaled back tariffs imposed in September on other consumer products.

But earlier tranches of tariffs, which fell more heavily on industrial components and machinery, will remain in effect. That could ironically penalize some companies for making goods in the United States, instead of China.

Robert J. Leo, a lawyer for the American Down and Feather Council, said that levies would remain in effect on down and feathers from China, but not on Chinese-made comforters and pillows.

“That means the Chinese manufacturers can manufacture their products and get them into the country without tariffs,” where American manufacturers that import the goods to make products in the United States will still be charged, Mr. Leo said.

Despite the barriers that remain, Mr. Lighthizer said in the interview that Friday was “probably the most momentous day in trade history ever,” because in addition to announcing the agreement with China, the administration submitted its revised United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement to Congress for a vote.

The two deals “have been hyped as short-term wins for the U.S. resulting from hard-nosed negotiations by the Trump administration,” said Eswar Prasad, a trade professor at Cornell University. “But the outcomes of these trade deals hardly compensate for the heightened uncertainty resulting from the trade tensions unleashed by the Trump administration on multiple fronts that has hurt business sentiment and contributed to falling investment.”

The North American deal has gained the support of congressional Democrats and appeared to be on track for passage in the House of Representatives as early as this week. But in recent days, Mexico has raised new concerns about the deal’s stronger labor provisions, throwing up a potential stumbling block to its passage.

Jesús Seade, Mexico’s chief negotiator for the pact, flew to Washington for meetings on Sunday after the United States said it would send as many as five labor attachés to Mexico to monitor labor conditions under the deal. Mexico has described the idea as a violation of its sovereignty.

For its part, the Chinese government appeared over the weekend to be keeping up its end of the deal struck on Friday, starting with the cancellation on Sunday of plans to impose further retaliatory tariffs against the United States.

China’s Finance Ministry announced that the country’s tariff commission had rescinded plans to impose tariffs of 5 percent or 10 percent on a range of American products, notably farm goods like sorghum and seed corn as well as flavored tea, electric clocks, magnifying glasses and navigational radars. China had previously said that it would put the tariffs in place if the United States proceeded with plans to impose further tariffs on Sunday.

The ministry said China would continue to collect 25 percent tariffs on a wide range of other American goods, in retaliation for the continued American imposition of 25 percent tariffs on $250 billion a year worth of Chinese goods.

Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, praised the trade deal on Saturday, and that praise was widely echoed by state media.

Mr. Wang said the Phase 1 pact was based on principles of mutual respect between China and the United States — a crucial requirement and endorsement from Beijing’s perspective. He also said the understanding between the two countries was good news for their economies and for the global economy.

“It will help to shore up confidence” in the global economy, Mr. Wang said, according to state-run Chinese television.

Ana Swanson reported from Washington, and Keith Bradsher from Beijing. Chris Buckley contributed reporting from Beijing.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

David Davis: How to keep the new working class voters we won last Thursday – and win even more

David Davis is MP for Haltemprice and Howden, and is a former Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.

The Conservative victory last Thursday was not just a landslide win: it marked the beginning of the transformation of our political landscape and our country.

The new MP for Blyth Valley, Ian Levy, won a mining constituency never previously held by the Conservatives . As a former NHS worker he is, like many of his new colleagues, anything but a toff, and signals a coming transformation in the complexion of the Party both in Parliament and the country.  A number of the new 109 MPs are Tory working class heroes.

The question on everybody’s mind, from the Prime Minister to the newest arrival, is: “now that we have won them can we hang on to them?”   If we are any good at our job, the answer to that question should be a resounding “yes”.  Many Labour MPs – not just the left-wing apologists for Jeremy Corbyn -are consoling themselves that these Labour constituencies will return to type at the next election.

But they should look at Scotland, where the SNP swept aside a previously dominant Labour Party riddled with complacency and corruption – and it still has not come back.   The same could happen in England and Wales if they are not careful.

It was clear on the doorstep during these last six weeks that the electoral base of the Conservative Party has changed dramatically. Our voters are more working class and more urban. They are more provincial and less metropolitan.  They have a no-nonsense common-sense, and are certainly not politically correct. They have a quiet unassuming patriotism – proud of their country but respectful of foreigners.  They are careful with money, and know it has to be earned.   They want tougher policing but also have a strong sense of justice.  They depend more on public services, and are the first to get hurt when these fail.  Many of them would be classified as “working poor” and dependent on welfare payments, although they themselves may not see it that way.

So what should we do in order more fully to win their trust? Obviously we should deliver on our manifesto: get Brexit done, and provide more money for the health service, for education, for the police, and for more infrastructure – not least new broadband.   But this is nowhere near enough.   A manifesto should be a lower limit on delivery, not an upper limit on aspiration.

This should be no surprise. The Thatcher manifesto of 1979 was fairly slim. It certainly did not detail the actions of most radical and eventually most successful government of the twentieth century.

What Thatcher achieved was a revolution in expectations: about our country, about ourselves, about what was possible.  We have to do the same.

And our target should be unlimited.   We should be planning to prove to our new base that we care about improving their lives, but we should also be targeting the votes of younger people, too.   There should be no no-go areas for the new Conservatives.   Fortunately, the necessary policies are similar, and they require Boris Johnson’s hallmark characteristic – boldness.

There should be a revolution in expectations in public service provision, from health care to education. This is about imagination more than money. There are massive technological opportunities opening up, from genetics to big data to diagnostic technology, and we should be enabling the NHS to make better use of it.

On the education front, the international comparisons have not shown much progress since the turn of the century, despite the best efforts of successive Education Secretaries,  Other countries from China to Belgium have seized on new technology to completely reengineer the classroom. We should be doing the same.

And we should now work to further social mobility.   None of my doorstep conversationalists mentioned this phrase, but many talked about the opportunities (or lack of) for themselves and their children, which is the same thing.   We used to be a world leader in social mobility; now we are at the back of the class.   Every government since Thatcher has paid lip service to the problem, but none has done anything about it.   Indeed, they have made it worse.

Take for example the disastrous university tuition fees and loans system introduced by Tony Blair and made worse by David Cameron.   It has delivered poor educational outcomes, high costs, enormous debt burdens and widespread disappointment, as well as distorting the national accounts.

The heaviest burden of this failure falls on young people from the poorest areas. The Augar Report gave strong hints about how to fix it, even though its terms of reference forbade it from providing an answer.   The new policy aim should be simple.  Allow children of all backgrounds a worthwhile education to get good enough qualifications to start a decent career without crushing lifetime loans. It should be an early priority of this government.  It would be the single most targeted way of helping a generation that deserves our support.

One of Thatcher’s great contributions to social mobility was to encourage home ownership: 65 per cent of young people either owned or were buying their own homes then.  Today, that number is 25 per cent.   The reason is simple.   We are just not building enough homes.  In the last 15 years the population has grown by just shy of seven million people.

We have built nowhere near enough houses to cope with that.   The current incremental strategy is not up to the job, and we need to adopt a wholesale programme of garden towns and villages around the country, and a new process to drive much of the planning gain to reducing house prices and improving housing and service quality.   We should also look very closely at reform of the Housing Association sector, to deliver more homes for both rent and sale.   We were once a proud homeowning democracy, and a return to that would not be a bad aim for a modern Conservative Party.

This would be just a start.   But it has to be paid for.   This has always been the Conservative Party’s trump card: the ability to run the economy and deliver the funding for good public services.   Brexit opens up the possibility of a new economic renaissance, which the Prime Minister believes in, and is capable of seizing with both hands.

But we will need to rediscover the Lawson lessons: that simpler, lower taxes deliver more growth, more jobs, more wealth, and eventually more tax revenue.   Our tax system is now littered with irrational anomalies – most recently demonstrated by senior doctors refusing to do extra work because they were effectively being taxed at 100 per cent as a result of covert Treasury pension taxes.

It is time we swept much of this structure away, and liberated people to gain from their own efforts without excessive state burdens.   It should also not be too hard for us to do it in a way that helps the North as well as the South.  And this does not just apply at the top: the working poor face similar anomalies under the tax credit system.

Which brings us back to the ‘new’ Conservative working classes.   We should not imagine that an appeal to them is a novel gambit bu the Conservative Party.* The most successful political organisation in the world for two centuries has been just that because for most of that time it has relied on the working class for at least half of its vote.

From Disraeli’s reforming government to Shaftesbury’s great social and industrial chang, to Lord Derby’s legalisation of trades unions, we have a long and deep commitment to caring about the welfare of the working classes.   If this were not true, one of Johnson’s old Etonian predecessors as Prime Minister, Harold MacMillan, would never have won the impoverished North Eastern constituency of Stockton – and held it throughout the great depression.   And of course in modern times Margaret Thatcher inspired Essex man and held many seats in the North – not least Darlington, which we won back last week.

So we have been here before. Blue collar Conservatism has a proven track record – one we should resurrect.  In this new political battle, the greatest tension will not be left versus right or even fiscal and monetary doves versus economic hawks.   It will be a battle between creativity and convention.   I have always thought that the Prime Minister subscribes to Nelson’s maxi  that “Boldness is the safest course,” so I suspect that this will be a battle that he will relish.   If he does, these will not be the last seats we win in the Midlands Wales and the North.

A few years ago I presented a BBC Radio 4 programme which showed that the Conservative Party has been heavily dependent on working class votes for most of its 200 year lifespan.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Secretly Expelled Chinese Officials Suspected of Spying After Breach of Military Base

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165956424_775a6e71-50b5-45b1-9b81-61c1f8502146-facebookJumbo U.S. Secretly Expelled Chinese Officials Suspected of Spying After Breach of Military Base State Department Military Bases and Installations Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Defense and Military Forces Communist Party of China China central intelligence agency

WASHINGTON — The American government secretly expelled two Chinese Embassy officials this fall after they drove on to a sensitive military base in Virginia, according to people with knowledge of the episode. The expulsions appear to be the first of Chinese diplomats suspected of espionage in more than 30 years.

American officials believe at least one of the Chinese officials, who were with their wives, was an intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover, said six people with knowledge of the expulsions. The group evaded military personnel pursuing them and stopped only after fire trucks blocked their path.

The episode in September, which neither Washington nor Beijing announced, has intensified concerns in the Trump administration that China is expanding its spying efforts in the United States as the two nations are increasingly locked in a geopolitical and economic rivalry. American intelligence officials say China poses a greater espionage threat than any other country.

In recent months, Chinese officials with diplomatic passports have become bolder about showing up unannounced at research or government facilities, American officials said, with the infiltration of the military base only the most remarkable instance.

The expulsions, apparently the first since the United States forced out two Chinese Embassy employees with diplomatic cover in 1987, show the American government is now taking a harder line against suspected espionage by China, officials said.

Recent episodes of suspected spying add to the broader tensions between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies and biggest strategic rivals. That conflict is heightened by a trade war that President Trump started in July 2018 and that shows only tentative signs of abating.

On Oct. 16, weeks after the intrusion at the base, the State Department announced sharp restrictions on the activities of Chinese diplomats, requiring them to provide notice before meeting with local or state officials and with educational and research institutions.

At the time, a senior State Department official told reporters that the rule, which applied to all Chinese Missions in the United States and its territories, was a response to Chinese regulations imposed years ago requiring American diplomats to seek permission to travel outside their host cities or visit certain institutions.

The Chinese Embassy said in October that the new rules were “in violation of the Vienna Convention.”

Two American officials said last week that those restrictions had been under consideration for a while because of growing calls in the American government for reciprocity, but episodes like the one at the base accelerated the rollout.

The base intrusion took place in late September on a sensitive installation near Norfolk, Va. The base includes Special Operations forces, said the people with knowledge of the incident. Several bases in the area have such units, including one with the headquarters of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six.

The Chinese officials and their wives drove up to a checkpoint for entry to the base, said people briefed on the episode. A guard, realizing they did not have permission to enter, told them to go through the gate, turn around and exit the base, which is common procedure in such situations.

But the Chinese officials instead continued on to the base, according to those familiar with the incident. After the fire trucks blocked them, the Chinese officials indicated that they did not understand the guard’s English instructions, and had simply gotten lost, according to people briefed on the matter.

American officials said they were skeptical that the intruders made an innocent error and dismissed the idea that their English was insufficient to understand the initial order to leave.

It is not clear what they were trying to do on the base, but some American officials said they believed it was to test the security at the installation, according to a person briefed on the matter. Had the Chinese officials made it onto the base without being stopped, the embassy could have dispatched a more senior intelligence officer to enter the base, the theory goes.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese Embassy in Washington did not reply to requests for comment about the episode. Two associates of Chinese Embassy officials said they were told that the expelled officials were on a sightseeing tour when they accidentally drove onto the base.

The State Department, which is responsible for relations with the Chinese Embassy and its diplomats, and the F.B.I., which oversees counterintelligence in the United States, declined to comment.

Chinese Embassy officials complained to State Department officials about the expulsions and asked in a meeting whether the agency was retaliating for an official Chinese propaganda campaign in August against an American diplomat, Julie Eadeh. At the time, state-run news organizations accused Ms. Eadeh, a political counselor in Hong Kong, of being a “black hand” behind the territory’s pro-democracy protests, and personal details about her were posted online. A State Department spokeswoman called China a “thuggish regime.”

So far, China has not retaliated by expelling American diplomats or intelligence officers from the embassy in Beijing, perhaps a sign that Chinese officials understand their colleagues overstepped by trying to enter the base. One person who was briefed on reactions in the Chinese Embassy in Washington said he was told employees there were surprised their colleagues had tried something so brazen.

In 2016, Chinese officers in Chengdu abducted an American Consulate official they believed to be a C.I.A. officer, interrogated him and forced him to make a confession. Colleagues retrieved him the next day and evacuated him from the country. American officials threatened to expel suspected Chinese agents in the United States, but did not do so.

For decades, counterintelligence officials have tried to pinpoint embassy or consulate employees with diplomatic cover who are spies and assign officers to follow some of them. Now there is growing urgency to do that by both Washington and Beijing.

Evan S. Medeiros, a senior Asia director at the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, said he was unaware of any expulsions of Chinese diplomats or spies with diplomatic cover during Mr. Obama’s time in office.

If it is rare for the Americans to expel Chinese spies or other embassy employees who have diplomatic cover, Mr. Medeiros said, “it’s probably because for much of the first 40 years, Chinese intelligence was not very aggressive.”

“But that changed about 10 years ago,” he added. “Chinese intelligence became more sophisticated and more aggressive, both in human and electronic forms.”

This year, a Chinese student was sentenced to a year in prison for photographing an American defense intelligence installation near Key West, Fla., in September 2018. The student, Zhao Qianli, walked to where the fence circling the base ended at the ocean, then stepped around the fence and onto the beach. From there, he walked onto the base and took photographs, including of an area with satellite dishes and antennae.

When he was arrested, Mr. Zhao spoke in broken English and, like the officials stopped on the Virginia base, claimed he was lost.

Chinese citizens have been caught not just wandering on to government installations but also improperly entering university laboratories and even crossing farmland to pilfer specially bred seeds.

In 2016, a Chinese man, Mo Hailong, pleaded guilty to trying to steal corn seeds from American agribusiness firms and give them to a Chinese company. Before he was caught, Mr. Mo successfully stole seeds developed by the American companies and sent them back to China, according to court records. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

The F.B.I. and the National Institutes of Health are trying to root out scientists in the United States who they say are stealing biomedical research for other nations, China in particular. The F.B.I. has also warned research institutions about risks posed by Chinese students and scholars.

Some university officials say the campaign unfairly targets Chinese citizens or ethnic Chinese and smacks of a new Red Scare.

Last month, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a former C.I.A. officer, was sentenced to 19 years in prison, one of several former American intelligence officials sentenced this year for spying for Beijing.

His work with Chinese intelligence coincided with the demolition of the C.I.A.’s network of informants in China — one of the biggest counterintelligence coups against the United States in decades. From 2010 to 2012, Chinese officers killed at least a dozen informants and imprisoned others. One man and his pregnant wife were shot in 2011 in a ministry’s courtyard, and the execution was shown on closed-circuit television, according to a new book on Chinese espionage.

Many in the C.I.A. feared China had a mole in the agency, and some officers suspected Mr. Lee, though prosecutors did not tie him to the network’s collapse.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

U.S. Secretly Expelled Chinese Officials Suspected of Spying After Breach of Military Base

Westlake Legal Group merlin_165956424_775a6e71-50b5-45b1-9b81-61c1f8502146-facebookJumbo U.S. Secretly Expelled Chinese Officials Suspected of Spying After Breach of Military Base State Department Military Bases and Installations Federal Bureau of Investigation Espionage and Intelligence Services Defense and Military Forces Communist Party of China China central intelligence agency

WASHINGTON — The American government secretly expelled two Chinese Embassy officials this fall after they drove on to a sensitive military base in Virginia, according to people with knowledge of the episode. The expulsions appear to be the first of Chinese diplomats suspected of espionage in more than 30 years.

American officials believe at least one of the Chinese officials, who were with their wives, was an intelligence officer operating under diplomatic cover, said six people with knowledge of the expulsions. The group evaded military personnel pursuing them and stopped only after fire trucks blocked their path.

The episode in September, which neither Washington nor Beijing announced, has intensified concerns in the Trump administration that China is expanding its spying efforts in the United States as the two nations are increasingly locked in a geopolitical and economic rivalry. American intelligence officials say China poses a greater espionage threat than any other country.

In recent months, Chinese officials with diplomatic passports have become bolder about showing up unannounced at research or government facilities, American officials said, with the infiltration of the military base only the most remarkable instance.

The expulsions, apparently the first since the United States forced out two Chinese Embassy employees with diplomatic cover in 1987, show the American government is now taking a harder line against suspected espionage by China, officials said.

Recent episodes of suspected spying add to the broader tensions between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies and biggest strategic rivals. That conflict is heightened by a trade war that President Trump started in July 2018 and that shows only tentative signs of abating.

On Oct. 16, weeks after the intrusion at the base, the State Department announced sharp restrictions on the activities of Chinese diplomats, requiring them to provide notice before meeting with local or state officials and with educational and research institutions.

At the time, a senior State Department official told reporters that the rule, which applied to all Chinese Missions in the United States and its territories, was a response to Chinese regulations imposed years ago requiring American diplomats to seek permission to travel outside their host cities or visit certain institutions.

The Chinese Embassy said in October that the new rules were “in violation of the Vienna Convention.”

Two American officials said last week that those restrictions had been under consideration for a while because of growing calls in the American government for reciprocity, but episodes like the one at the base accelerated the rollout.

The base intrusion took place in late September on a sensitive installation near Norfolk, Va. The base includes Special Operations forces, said the people with knowledge of the incident. Several bases in the area have such units, including one with the headquarters of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team Six.

The Chinese officials and their wives drove up to a checkpoint for entry to the base, said people briefed on the episode. A guard, realizing they did not have permission to enter, told them to go through the gate, turn around and exit the base, which is common procedure in such situations.

But the Chinese officials instead continued on to the base, according to those familiar with the incident. After the fire trucks blocked them, the Chinese officials indicated that they did not understand the guard’s English instructions, and had simply gotten lost, according to people briefed on the matter.

American officials said they were skeptical that the intruders made an innocent error and dismissed the idea that their English was insufficient to understand the initial order to leave.

It is not clear what they were trying to do on the base, but some American officials said they believed it was to test the security at the installation, according to a person briefed on the matter. Had the Chinese officials made it onto the base without being stopped, the embassy could have dispatched a more senior intelligence officer to enter the base, the theory goes.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese Embassy in Washington did not reply to requests for comment about the episode. Two associates of Chinese Embassy officials said they were told that the expelled officials were on a sightseeing tour when they accidentally drove onto the base.

The State Department, which is responsible for relations with the Chinese Embassy and its diplomats, and the F.B.I., which oversees counterintelligence in the United States, declined to comment.

Chinese Embassy officials complained to State Department officials about the expulsions and asked in a meeting whether the agency was retaliating for an official Chinese propaganda campaign in August against an American diplomat, Julie Eadeh. At the time, state-run news organizations accused Ms. Eadeh, a political counselor in Hong Kong, of being a “black hand” behind the territory’s pro-democracy protests, and personal details about her were posted online. A State Department spokeswoman called China a “thuggish regime.”

So far, China has not retaliated by expelling American diplomats or intelligence officers from the embassy in Beijing, perhaps a sign that Chinese officials understand their colleagues overstepped by trying to enter the base. One person who was briefed on reactions in the Chinese Embassy in Washington said he was told employees there were surprised their colleagues had tried something so brazen.

In 2016, Chinese officers in Chengdu abducted an American Consulate official they believed to be a C.I.A. officer, interrogated him and forced him to make a confession. Colleagues retrieved him the next day and evacuated him from the country. American officials threatened to expel suspected Chinese agents in the United States, but did not do so.

For decades, counterintelligence officials have tried to pinpoint embassy or consulate employees with diplomatic cover who are spies and assign officers to follow some of them. Now there is growing urgency to do that by both Washington and Beijing.

Evan S. Medeiros, a senior Asia director at the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, said he was unaware of any expulsions of Chinese diplomats or spies with diplomatic cover during Mr. Obama’s time in office.

If it is rare for the Americans to expel Chinese spies or other embassy employees who have diplomatic cover, Mr. Medeiros said, “it’s probably because for much of the first 40 years, Chinese intelligence was not very aggressive.”

“But that changed about 10 years ago,” he added. “Chinese intelligence became more sophisticated and more aggressive, both in human and electronic forms.”

This year, a Chinese student was sentenced to a year in prison for photographing an American defense intelligence installation near Key West, Fla., in September 2018. The student, Zhao Qianli, walked to where the fence circling the base ended at the ocean, then stepped around the fence and onto the beach. From there, he walked onto the base and took photographs, including of an area with satellite dishes and antennae.

When he was arrested, Mr. Zhao spoke in broken English and, like the officials stopped on the Virginia base, claimed he was lost.

Chinese citizens have been caught not just wandering on to government installations but also improperly entering university laboratories and even crossing farmland to pilfer specially bred seeds.

In 2016, a Chinese man, Mo Hailong, pleaded guilty to trying to steal corn seeds from American agribusiness firms and give them to a Chinese company. Before he was caught, Mr. Mo successfully stole seeds developed by the American companies and sent them back to China, according to court records. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

The F.B.I. and the National Institutes of Health are trying to root out scientists in the United States who they say are stealing biomedical research for other nations, China in particular. The F.B.I. has also warned research institutions about risks posed by Chinese students and scholars.

Some university officials say the campaign unfairly targets Chinese citizens or ethnic Chinese and smacks of a new Red Scare.

Last month, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, a former C.I.A. officer, was sentenced to 19 years in prison, one of several former American intelligence officials sentenced this year for spying for Beijing.

His work with Chinese intelligence coincided with the demolition of the C.I.A.’s network of informants in China — one of the biggest counterintelligence coups against the United States in decades. From 2010 to 2012, Chinese officers killed at least a dozen informants and imprisoned others. One man and his pregnant wife were shot in 2011 in a ministry’s courtyard, and the execution was shown on closed-circuit television, according to a new book on Chinese espionage.

Many in the C.I.A. feared China had a mole in the agency, and some officers suspected Mr. Lee, though prosecutors did not tie him to the network’s collapse.

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China’s Hard-Liners Win a Round in Trump’s Trade Deal

Westlake Legal Group 13china-hawks-facebookJumbo China’s Hard-Liners Win a Round in Trump’s Trade Deal United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Economy Protectionism (Trade) International Trade and World Market Factories and Manufacturing Economic Conditions and Trends Customs (Tariff) Communist Party of China China Agriculture and Farming

BEIJING — President Trump’s initial retreat from his trade-war threats has handed hard-liners in China a victory. A longer, pricklier trade war and stiff Chinese resistance to economic reforms could result.

Mr. Trump on Friday outlined a partial trade deal that deferred new tariffs on $160 billion a year in Chinese-made goods, a move that would have had him taxing virtually everything China sells to the United States. He also agreed for the first time to broadly reduce tariffs he had already imposed on Chinese goods, halving tariffs on more than $100 billion a year worth of products like clothing and lawn mowers — a striking about-face for a protectionist president who last year described himself as a “tariff man.”

The White House called the deal a win. It said China had agreed to buy large quantities of American agricultural goods, giving farmers hit by the trade war some needed relief. It also means the United States economy will not suffer from new tariffs threatened for Sunday on Chinese-made goods that Americans love to buy, like toys and smartphones.

But the deal may be seen by Xi Jinping, China’s top leader, and his hard-line supporters as vindication of the intransigent stance they have taken since the spring, when a previous pact struck by Chinese moderates fell apart. Since then, China has asked that even a partial deal include tariff rollbacks. American officials resisted, debated, then relented.

In essence, a year and a half into the trade war, China seems to have hit on a winning strategy: Stay tough and let the Trump administration negotiate with itself.

“The nationalists, the people urging President Xi Jinping to dig in his heels and not concede much, have carried the day,” said George Magnus, a research associate at Oxford University’s China Center. “I don’t see this as a win for market liberals.”

Friday’s announcement makes it likelier that China will resist any further concessions next year, and perhaps beyond. It seems to affirm the belief, held by many Chinese officials, that Mr. Trump will back off from his trade-war threats if markets tumble, or if his supporters in agricultural states suffer too much.

Even before Friday, Mr. Trump had delayed or canceled tariffs four times this year. Such policy shifts could ultimately encourage Beijing to draw out negotiations even further, to reach the best possible deal.

The effects could ripple beyond trade. Friday’s deal essentially forestalls discussion of curtailing the Chinese government’s support for its homegrown industries, which China hawks within the Trump administration see as posing a direct threat to American businesses.

More broadly, the agreement could further marginalize already weakened Chinese moderates who want Beijing to ease state control over its economy.

Western economists warn that bloated state-owned industries are holding down the Chinese economy and soaking up money and attention that should go to private firms. Beijing’s tighter control could also make it harder for American companies to do business there.

Yet a tougher Chinese stance carries big risks for Mr. Xi. China’s growth has already slowed, in part because of the trade war, and it could sag further as the clash drags on. Significant American tariffs remain in place, keeping pressure on major companies to move their manufacturing in China elsewhere.

“Xi Jinping really needs the trade deal, both for economic reasons — to boost the flagging economy — and to strengthen his own position,” said Willy Lam, a specialist in Beijing politics at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

But for now, Mr. Xi appears to have a deal in hand that may reassure people in China that the worst of the trade war is over — although some legal details still need to be ironed out, and could prove troublesome. But the broad contours of the agreement are likely to satisfy Communist Party hard-liners who insist that Beijing make no compromises that would limit industrial policies aimed at turning China into a high-tech competitor with the United States.

One state-owned enterprise has erected 110 vast hangars, computerized design studios and other buildings on the outskirts of Shanghai to build commercial aircraft in competition with Boeing. Dozens of Chinese cities are erecting subsidized factories to churn out semiconductors in competition with American giants, as well as with companies in Taiwan and South Korea.

Trump administration trade hawks and American business groups say state-subsidized Chinese companies could wipe out international competitors. They point to the solar panel industry, which boomed in China thanks in part to almost unlimited financing from state-owned banks. Factory closings in the United States and Europe have left China in almost total command of that industry.

But Mr. Xi and his backers argue that China needs those subsidized industries. Mr. Trump’s moves this year to deprive Chinese companies of American-made chips, software and other essential goods of the modern age, after allegations that the companies were linked to human rights violations or intelligence-gathering activities, underscored for many in Beijing that China depends too much on the United States.

The Trump administration had a two-prong strategy for dealing with China’s industrial policy. Its first choice was for China to agree to tight limits on subsidies. The second was to leave steep tariffs in place across a wide range of goods as a kind of informal anti-subsidy measure, offsetting China’s support for its homegrown companies and giving American and other companies room to invest and compete in the United States.

The administration has now stepped back from the first position. And by cutting tariffs at all, the administration has shown a new willingness to retreat — although the products covered by the halving of tariffs on Friday were fairly low tech.

The issue of China’s state subsidies was more prominent in earlier talks. In April, Mr. Xi’s market-oriented team of trade negotiators accepted preliminary compromises in Washington that would have left a lot of tariffs in place and rolled back some Chinese laws that the White House said favored Chinese companies unfairly.

But Mr. Xi sided with hard-liners who demanded that the deal be torn up and renegotiated, because the deal did not include a broad reversal of tariffs that had already been imposed and because it demanded detailed changes in laws that were seen as violations of national sovereignty.

In October, trade negotiators reached another tentative deal without tariff rollbacks, only for hard-liners in Beijing to again demand revisions again and a removal of tariffs.

People close to China’s economic policymaking process say that as the trade talks progressed this past week, the mood among Chinese officials gradually shifted from deeply worried to cautious and finally, by late in the week, jubilant and even incredulous that the hard-liners’ goals had been achieved.

Even the major concession to the United States — China’s agreement to buy more agricultural goods — could enhance the power of the Chinese state. Those purchases would most likely be carried out by state-controlled companies, preserving their indispensable role in Chinese commodities trade.

China hard-liners are not the only ones who benefit from Friday’s deal, of course.

American companies and farmers are likely to find it easier in the coming months to sell everything from semiconductors to soybeans to China, making corporate sales goals and executive bonus targets easier to meet.

Mr. Trump himself may face only limited criticism. The companies likely to be upset about backing away from the issue of Chinese subsidies are based largely in states that vote Democratic, like California’s technology companies. Those businesses may also benefit in the short term from lower tariffs.

Still, the deal on Friday pushes the thorny issue of China’s state support for its industries down the road, most likely complicating relations between the world’s two largest economies for years to come.

“In the long term, the U.S. is going to have to address the practical impact, and not just the political impact, of the industrial imbalance caused by China’s policies,” said Malcolm McNeil, an international trade lawyer at the firm Arent Fox who advises Chinese and American companies.

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She Accused a Tech Billionaire of Rape. The Chinese Internet Turned Against Her.

Westlake Legal Group 00chinavictim-1-facebookJumbo She Accused a Tech Billionaire of Rape. The Chinese Internet Turned Against Her. University of Minnesota Suits and Litigation (Civil) Social Media Sex Crimes Minneapolis (Minn) Liu, Richard JD.com Computers and the Internet China #MeToo Movement

MINNEAPOLIS — When Liu Jingyao introduced herself, in the lobby of her apartment building, I didn’t recognize her. It was a puzzling feeling. For an entire year, photos of her had blanketed the Chinese internet. Like tens of millions of other Chinese, I had watched and rewatched surveillance video of her in this very building. She was one of the most talked about and mysterious women in China, and I thought I knew what she looked like.

In the video, she wanders the halls of a mazelike building, with a man trailing along. They get in and out of several elevators. She seems unsure about how to get to her apartment. She wears striking waist-length hair and a long, dark knit dress. She doesn’t look glamorous, exactly, but for a 21-year-old college junior, she is dressed smartly.

But on a morning in early August, she greeted me in a loosefitting checkered dress. Now 22, she looked pale and nervous. Her lips were chapped. She invited me upstairs, and began an intense conversation that continued for 18 straight hours.

In the summer of 2018, Ms. Liu, a student at the University of Minnesota, alleged that the billionaire founder of one of China’s largest companies, JD.com, followed her back to her apartment and raped her. The executive, known as Liu Qiangdong in China and Richard Liu in the English-speaking world, was arrested by Minneapolis police and released within 24 hours. (He and Ms. Liu are not related.) He insisted that the sex was consensual, and prosecutors declined to charge him. In April, Ms. Liu accused Mr. Liu of rape in a Minnesota civil court, seeking more than $50,000 in damages.

But hers is not a typical #MeToo story. After her name became common knowledge on the Chinese internet, Ms. Liu was widely called a slut, a whore, a liar, a gold digger and many other things. It may be difficult for Westerners to grasp the scale and intensity of her online shaming. But the Monica Lewinsky frenzy is a good comparison, had it taken place in the era of Twitter and YouTube in a country with 800 million internet users and no independent news media. When Ms. Liu and I met, it was the first time she had ever spoken to an English-language publication about what she has endured.

In her apartment, a 500-square-foot studio, Ms. Liu showed me photos of trips she had taken to Morocco, Greece and Spain, before all that had happened. She looked different then. Her eyes were brighter, and her smile looked unreserved.

She said she had thrown away half of her cosmetics and no longer wore makeup. Like many young Chinese, she used to like designer clothes and handbags; now she mostly wears Muji, the inexpensive Japanese brand whose style reputation in China might be described as dowdy and demure.

When Ms. Liu transferred to the university a year ago, she chose the high-floor apartment for its view of a nearby park and a water tower known to locals as the Witch’s Hat. Now, she said, she keeps the blinds down day and night. “I always have a feeling that someone is watching me from outside,” she said. “I want to be as inconspicuous as possible.”

It’s an understandable concern, given the social-media attention directed at Ms. Liu, which has been vast and often vicious. On Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, her case has been one of the most popular topics of the last two years.

“The woman is a slut,” one commenter said. “The woman looks disgusting,” commented another. “It was obvious that they disagreed on the price,” added a third. “Looks like the woman set up the whole thing.” And one suggested that Mr. Liu was the actual victim, writing, “Look at the woman’s build, I absolutely believe that Liu Qiangdong was raped.”

These are just a few of the 8,500 comments on a single Weibo post, which was retweeted 14,000 times and liked by 95,000 users. Now imagine this, and worse, at scale, for months and months.

Many of the most active hashtags related to the case, including #RichardLiulawsuit and #RichardLiusexualassault, have been disabled on Weibo. But even less popular hashtags regarding the case get an astonishing amount of attention. One, which has to do with a denial that Mr. Liu was getting divorced, has 170 million views. Another, which concerns a defamation lawsuit Mr. Liu filed against a Chinese blogger, has 130 million views. A hashtag about a pretrial hearing in September has logged 110 million views.

Followers of the case quickly translate legal documents into Chinese and add subtitles to police audio and video. In some ways, Ms. Liu has become a figure as polarizing as President Trump. In July, the morning after the Minneapolis police released a report on the case, I got into a debate with a friend, and I suggested that she might want to read the document first before jumping to conclusions. My friend, an accomplished career woman and busy mother, replied that she had indeed read it — all 149 pages, in English, overnight, purely out of curiosity.

Ms. Liu’s case is attracting so much attention because she is accusing one of the country’s most powerful men of behavior that has long been ignored. Sexual harassment and assault are widespread in China, and elites face little scrutiny. The workings of government and the private lives of national leaders are off-limits to the news media. Self-made tech tycoons are widely admired celebrities.

Among this class of billionaires, Mr. Liu is one of the most high-profile. Born in a village in the eastern province of Jiangsu, he likes to recount how his family was able to afford meat only once or twice a year, and how he went to college with $70 raised by his fellow villagers. He founded JD.com in the early days of Chinese e-commerce, and turned the company into a logistics colossus. Mr. Liu became an entrepreneurial icon, known for putting on a helmet and JD.com’s red uniform to personally make deliveries on a three-wheeled electric bike one day a year.

Mr. Liu only got more famous in 2015, when he married a 21-year-old student and internet celebrity named Zhang Zetian. By the summer of 2018, when he traveled to Minnesota, he was worth an estimated $7.5 billion.

Ms. Liu grew up in Beijing, introverted and intense, the only child of an affluent family. Her father was a businessman, and her mother, Ms. Liu said, was strict and quick to scold or punish her physically. She only allowed Ms. Liu to wear her hair short. Today, Ms. Liu’s waist-length cut is an act of rebellion.

In 2016, she went to a liberal arts college in Minnesota to study literature, while also practicing piano two and half hours a day. She dreamed of becoming a diplomat or a professor of linguistics, but she was also interested in business. She transferred to the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management in August 2018, where a professor recruited her to volunteer with a program for visiting international executives. One of them was Mr. Liu.

Every morning, Ms. Liu got up early and took the executive visitors jogging. On the fifth day, she was invited to a group dinner at a Japanese restaurant. When Ms. Liu arrived, she found that she was the only volunteer — and the only woman — at a table of about a dozen middle-aged Chinese men. Surveillance video shows that one of the men directed her to sit next to Mr. Liu, the most accomplished and wealthiest member of the group. At Chinese business dinners, it is common for pretty young women to be placed next to powerful men to laugh at their lewd jokes.

In the next two hours, according to the police, members of the party raised their glasses of red wine in at least 27 toasts. Ms. Liu drank 19 times. The man sitting across from her passed out on the table and had to be carried away.

After dinner, Ms. Liu left in a limousine with Mr. Liu and two of his female assistants. They drove to a house rented by one of the executives, but Ms. Liu didn’t want to go in. The chauffeur, whose name is redacted in police reports, later told officers that he saw Ms. Liu and Mr. Liu talking in front of his car. “Then he grabbed her arm, kind of overpower her and bring her to my car in the back,” the chauffeur said, according to a transcript. “I look in my mirror and this guy was all over this girl.” Then, he said, one of Mr. Liu’s assistants pushed the mirror up to obscure the chauffeur’s view. The chauffeur told the police that he didn’t hear anyone saying “stop” or “no,” or cry for help.

Mr. Liu went with Ms. Liu to her apartment. A few hours later, a friend of hers reported to the police that Ms. Liu had told him, via a messaging app, that she had been raped.

A spokesman for Mr. Liu denied that account, saying, “The evidence released by the Minneapolis Police Department, including the written police report and surveillance video, does not support the accusations that have been made.”

When I met with Ms. Liu, she said that she seldom left her apartment anymore and that she spends most of her time cooking, drawing, playing piano, watching Japanese soap operas and struggling with whether to check Chinese social-media platforms. Each night, she double-checked her door lock before going to bed. On her nightstand were a canister of pepper spray and a stun gun that she purchased after that evening.

Ms. Liu said she had a recurring nightmare: a man forcing her down and sitting on top of her. Her psychiatrist told her that it was a common symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder.

She said that during nights of insomnia, she would replay in her head how she should have handled the situation differently. She would try not to be intimidated by how powerful Mr. Liu was. She would definitely drink less. She would definitely not tell the police, when they arrived, “Yes, I was raped, but not that kind of rape.” Or wait two days before telling her parents that she was the woman in the biggest news of the week in China. Or wait five days before getting a lawyer. Or use the word “money” when telling Mr. Liu’s lawyer what she wanted, in addition to an apology, when the English word she meant to use was the more neutral “compensation.”

“I was such a fool,” she said. “I was such a coward. I messed it up.”

In 2018, encouraged by the #MeToo movement elsewhere in the world, more than 50 Chinese women came forward with their stories of being sexually harassed or assaulted. The men accused included professors, journalists and NGO organizers. Some lost their jobs or resigned.

But the fledgling movement started to lose its momentum just around the time of Ms. Liu’s allegation. Men who had been publicly accused were starting to sue their accusers for defamation. #MeToo victims faced criticism from even the most liberal-minded corners in China. Most important of all, the Chinese government — distrustful of independent social movements — clamped down on public discussion of gender issues.

Online allegations of sexual misconduct were one of the most heavily censored topics on WeChat, China’s biggest social-media platform, in 2018, according to WeChatscope, a research project at the University of Hong Kong. The hashtags #MeToo and #Woyeshi — a Mandarin translation — were banned. Some of the WeChat accounts that voiced support for Ms. Liu were deleted. WeChat is owned by Tencent, which is also the biggest shareholder of JD.com.

Ms. Liu’s experiences illustrate how Chinese society treats women who dare to speak up about sexual assault. Victims need to be seen as perfect to win any sympathy from the public, or they’ll be subject to immense slut-shaming. Younger women who sleep with older and powerful men, willingly or unwillingly, face even more public distain.

In December 2018, Minneapolis prosecutors decided not to charge Mr. Liu with sexual assault because they did not find enough evidence to pursue a case against him. They made the announcement without meeting with Ms. Liu. She said that when she heard the news, she felt “as if the sky had fallen.” But what came next on the Chinese internet was much worse.

One major Chinese news site posted an article headlined, “Richard Liu’s Attorney: Everything Happened in the Room was Voluntary. Woman Repeatedly Asked for Money.” The story featured a lengthy statement from one of Mr. Liu’s lawyers, but nothing from Ms. Liu’s side. It got 14,000 comments. A well-respected former writer for the Southern Weekly, the country’s most liberal-leaning newspaper, shared the article on Weibo with the comment, “Richard Liu isn’t guilty legally though he is morally. The woman is a cheap slut. She’s inviting humiliation.”

A few days after Ms. Liu filed her lawsuit, in April 2019, a heavily edited video surfaced on the Chinese internet. It was titled “Proof of a Gold Digger Trap?” and was cut to give the impression that Ms. Liu had invited Mr. Liu to her apartment for sex. It was posted to Weibo by an account that had never posted anything before. One of Mr. Liu’s Chinese lawyers wrote online that the video was “authentic,” and it was viewed more than 54 million times. Numerous Chinese websites published articles saying Ms. Liu had escorted Mr. Liu into her room.

Separately, one of China’s most influential newspapers published an edited audio clip, in which Ms. Liu can be heard asking Mr. Liu’s lawyer for an apology and money. News of the recording was reposted widely. Taken together, the video and audio clip seemed to turn the whole of the Chinese internet against Ms. Liu.

In Minneapolis, I asked her to estimate what proportion of news consumers in China believed her. Initially, she said 30 percent. Thinking about it longer, Ms. Liu said that there were probably just three types of people in her corner: women who have been sexually assaulted, feminists and people who know her. “Definitely not 30 percent,” she said, a little defeated. “Ten percent at best.”

Then Ms. Liu grew agitated. “I didn’t want to report to the police in the first place because I knew this would happen,” she said. “People would look at me and say, ‘There are too many holes in her story. She said she was drunk, but the way she walked in the video didn’t show it at all.’ But I didn’t say that I was so dead drunk that I couldn’t move.”

She kept talking. “They said that I was pretending when I couldn’t find my apartment in the building. But if I were a real gold digger, why would I take a man running around in the building for 15 minutes to find my door? They questioned why I would take a man home in the middle of the night. But it was my home, and he was Richard Liu! Who would have thought he would do that?”

Ms. Liu said she felt powerless — that she couldn’t make the public see how scary it was for a 21-year-old to sit among a group of powerful middle-aged men, and how she couldn’t make the most powerful among them leave her alone. Ms. Liu couldn’t make them see how creepy it was that a 45-year-old billionaire, who mingled with the Davos elite, followed a young woman around an apartment building that mostly housed students. She was angry at Mr. Liu’s two assistants and the other executives at the dinner: She saw them as complicit, but barely any public outrage had been directed at them.

She continues to hide in her apartment with her two Yorkshire terriers, waiting for developments in her lawsuit against Mr. Liu. Her parents are working in China. Her boyfriend has had visa trouble and can’t visit. Ms. Liu uses a pseudonym when ordering takeout food and Ubers, for fear that she’ll encounter a Chinese person who recognizes her name.

During our long conversation, I asked Ms. Liu whether she thought her experience was similar to that of Monica Lewinsky. “Of course not,” she said quickly. “I would never sleep with a married man voluntarily.” A week later, I sent her a link to Ms. Lewinsky’s TED Talk, titled “The Price of Shame,” in which she argues for a more compassionate social-media environment. “Public shaming as a blood sport has to stop,” Ms. Lewinsky says.

“We’re so similar!” Ms. Liu told me a day later. “I truly admire her that after all that, she can still live a positive life. Extraordinary!” Then she added, “I’m such a loser that I don’t even dare to read the police report.”

But Ms. Liu has, she said, turned out to be more resilient than she at first expected. True, she said, she suffers from PTSD and is sometimes suicidal. But she’s determined to pursue the case. She said she would not settle, because she would never agree to signing a nondisclosure agreement. If she won, she said, she would donate all the money to Chinese feminists who have been supportive of her — except for $1,000, which she would keep for herself.

She spent money on a flight to New York to find a lawyer. And she wants compensation, she said, for the clothes and bedsheets that were destroyed.

“If I had known I could endure so much,” she said. “I would not have hesitated about reporting to the police.”

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China’s Companies Binged on Debt. Now They Can’t Pay the Bill.

Westlake Legal Group 00china-default-01-facebookJumbo China’s Companies Binged on Debt. Now They Can’t Pay the Bill. Stocks and Bonds Politics and Government Peking University Economic Conditions and Trends Credit and Debt China Banking and Financial Institutions

HONG KONG — China’s companies racked up some towering bills as they expanded, and the world’s investors and lenders rushed to offer them even more money.

Now the bills are coming due, and a growing number of Chinese companies can’t pay up, in a sign that the world’s No. 2 economy is feeling the stress from its worst slowdown in nearly three decades.

Two high-profile companies — a giant government-run trading firm and a conglomerate backed by China’s most distinguished university — are the latest to join a long list of Chinese businesses that have run short of cash when it was time to pay back their debts. Chinese corporate borrowers have defaulted on nearly $20 billion in loans this year.

The amount is small compared with China’s overall economy, but the toll is rising. Chinese companies owe hundreds of billions of dollars in debt that is coming due over the next two years, including more than $200 billion owed to lenders and investors around the globe.

China now faces the difficult task of figuring out which of these companies it will allow to fail. The central government in Beijing keeps a tight grip on the Chinese financial system and often rescues companies to preserve jobs. But Beijing has shown a greater willingness to let companies go insolvent to teach them a lesson about borrowing too much, and many local governments now lack the funds to help their hometown champions.

“Once the government acknowledges the problem is large enough, then it has to start making careful decisions about where to intervene,” said Logan Wright, director of China research at Rhodium Group, a consulting firm.

Once rare, defaults in China are rising. The value of loans on which Chinese companies have defaulted has surpassed the total for 2018.

“This is not over yet,” said Christopher Lee, a China credit specialist at S&P Global. “We are expecting defaults to rise. There are many other companies that are operating in a very difficult environment.”

Last week, a company called Peking University Founder Group skipped a $284 million bond payment. That was widely noticed in China because the company’s majority shareholder is the financial arm of Peking University, one of the country’s best and oldest universities.

Founder Group, which has investments in securities trading, semiconductors and real estate, cited tightening liquidity and said it was “actively seeking funding” to pay back bondholders.

The week before Founder Group’s announcement, a major Chinese commodities trading firm, Tewoo Group, became the first state-backed company to miss a payment to foreign investors in two decades. Tewoo, which is controlled by the government of the Chinese city of Tianjin, is on the hook for $1.25 billion in debt to foreign lenders.

“It’s quite a hairy situation,” Mr. Lee said. “Many investors expected Tewoo would at least pay off its offshore debt.”

Citing the Tianjin government, which has its own debt problems, Mr. Lee added that “the state just doesn’t have the ability to support it anymore.”

Tewoo and Founder Group did not respond to requests for comment.

The bond market turmoil is only one of a number of tremors in China’s financial system, which is struggling under the weight of an enormous borrowing spree. A decade ago, when the global financial crisis threatened world growth, China began a giant stimulus push to build roads and bridges and create jobs. To fund it, banks lent heavily and local governments began raising money.

The push resulted in the largest credit expansion by any single country, in terms of the size of its economy. The banking system more than quadrupled in size, from $9 trillion at the end of 2008 to $40 trillion today.

Two years ago, officials began to tackle the mess. They clamped down on an unruly shadow banking sector, where murky platforms linked borrowers with lenders willing to hand over money in exchange for big returns. They allowed more bankruptcies, hoping to send a message that companies that spend recklessly will be allowed to fail. State-backed banks were told to pull back on easy cash for state-owned enterprises and rein in risky lending. Beijing then cut much of the financial assistance that local governments had once enjoyed.

As a result, money has become harder or more expensive to come by for many companies. In May, Chinese regulators seized a bank, Boashang Bank, for the first time in two decades. In response, smaller banks across the country raised their rates for lending to riskier banks and companies. This, in turn, put more pressure on companies that needed financial help.

But regulators are walking a tightrope. Slowing lending has contributed to faltering economic growth. Beijing continues to look for ways to pour fresh money into the financial system even as it tries to clean up the mess left behind by some of its biggest borrowers.

“You can take the fuel out of the car, but that’s going to create problems,” Mr. Wright said. “You can’t make the car go at the same speed if it’s powered by something different.”

While most of the lending comes from banks, Chinese borrowers have increasingly turned to the bond market to get money they need to run their businesses. Now the bill is coming due.

According to S&P Global, Chinese companies must pay back $90 billion in debt denominated in American dollars, meaning the lenders are global companies and investors outside China. In 2021, an additional $110 billion will come due.

At home, Chinese companies will have to pay $694.6 billion to bondholders next year and $706 billion in 2021.

China keeps a firm hand on the financial system and has the ability to throw money at problems that emerge, lessening the chances of a shocking financial crash. Still, the troubles could add up if bond defaults continue to grow, investors and banks grow leery and companies can no longer get the cash they need to keep the lights on.

“You see one or two go and then, if you’re an investor, you’re more concerned about your bond being repaid,” said Andrew Polk, the founder of Trivium, a consulting firm in Beijing.

“Previously you could roll over the bond repayment,” he said, “but when uncertainty is heightened, then people are less willing to give you leeway.”

Cao Li contributed reporting.

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Hong Kong Protest, Largest in Weeks, Stretches Several Miles

HONG KONG — Hundreds of thousands of protesters, basking in a recent election victory by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy camp, poured onto the city’s streets on Sunday in one of the largest marches in weeks to pressure the government to meet demands for greater civil liberties.

The huge turnout was a reminder to China’s leader, Xi Jinping, that the monthslong campaign against his authoritarian policies still had broad support in Hong Kong despite a weakening economy and increasingly violent clashes between protesters and the police.

Tensions in Hong Kong, a semiautonomous territory, had eased somewhat in recent days, after pro-democracy advocates won a stunning victory in local elections two weeks ago, giving new hope to the movement.

On Sunday, demonstrators returned in force, packing city streets to denounce Mr. Xi’s government, rail against police brutality and reiterate demands for greater civil liberties, including universal suffrage. They beat drums, sang protest anthems and chanted. “Fight for freedom.” Though the march was largely peaceful, some demonstrators vandalized shops and restaurants and lit a fire outside the high court.

“We want Hong Kong to continue being Hong Kong,” said Alice Wong, 24, a biology researcher who stood among protesters gathered at Victoria Park. “We don’t want to become like China.”

As many as 800,000 people attended the march, according to Civil Human Rights Front, an advocacy group that organized the gathering.

The mood at the march was relaxed, with people taking selfies against a backdrop of the vast crowds. Children, some dressed in black, marched with their parents, holding hands as they shouted, “Stand with Hong Kong!”

A sea of protesters, spread across two miles, filled major thoroughfares as they moved between towering skyscrapers. In some areas, there were so many people that the crowds moved at a snail’s pace and spilled into adjacent alleys. Some small businesses encouraged the turnout by promising giveaways if over a million people joined the march.

The protesters said they intended to remain peaceful on Sunday, but some vowed to use more aggressive tactics if the police cracked down. In the evening, the police readied canisters of tear gas as they stood opposite crowds of protesters who had barricaded a street downtown in a briefly tense moment.

The large turnout could further embolden the movement’s confrontational front-line protesters, who said they planned to disrupt the city’s roads and public transportation system on Monday. The call for further action seemed to resonate among some protesters on Sunday.

“If the government still refuses to acknowledge our demands after today, we should and will escalate our protests,” said Tamara Wong, 33, an office worker who wore a black mask as she stood among the crowd gathered at Victoria Park.

The protesters have demanded amnesty for activists who were arrested and accused of rioting, as well as an independent investigation of police conduct during the demonstrations.

Despite the show of strength on Sunday, it is unlikely that the protesters will win further concessions from Beijing, which has worked to portray demonstrators as rioters colluding with foreign governments to topple the governing Communist Party.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_165610917_1ecff3a6-f1f8-4897-a54c-5e0f30884e86-articleLarge Hong Kong Protest, Largest in Weeks, Stretches Several Miles United States International Relations United States Chamber of Commerce Politics and Government Macau Hong Kong Protests (2019) Hong Kong Demonstrations, Protests and Riots China

The march was meant to coincide with the United Nations’ Human Rights Day and was authorized by the Hong Kong Police.Credit…Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

Mr. Xi, who has cultivated an image as a hard-line leader, has demanded “unswerving efforts to stop and punish violent activities” in Hong Kong. He has publicly endorsed the city’s beleaguered leader, Carrie Lam, to bring an end to the unrest.

Chinese officials have suggested that the United States is responsible for helping to fuel unrest in Hong Kong, pointing to statements by American officials in support of the protests. Last month, President Trump signed tough legislation that authorizes sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials responsible for rights abuses in Hong Kong. The move was welcomed by many protesters but also seen as exacerbating tensions between the two countries.

In a possible sign of increased scrutiny of American citizens working in Hong Kong, two leaders of the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong said on Saturday that they had been denied entry to Macau, a semiautonomous Chinese city. Mr. Xi is expected to visit Macau this month to mark the 20th anniversary of the former Portuguese colony’s return to China.

Tara Joseph and Robert Grieves, the president and the chairman of the American business group, said they had planned to attend an annual ball put on by the chamber’s Macau branch.

“We hope that this is just an overreaction to current events and that international business can constructively forge ahead,” Ms. Joseph said.

The protests, which began in June in opposition to a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China, has hurt the tourism and retail sectors, pushing the city’s economy into recession.

In recent weeks, the violence has escalated, with protesters intensifying their efforts to vandalize businesses and subway stations they associate with being hostile to the movement. The police shot an antigovernment protester last month, inflaming tensions. Then, in some of the worst violence, universities became battlefields, with black-clad students hurling gasoline bombs, throwing bricks and aiming arrows at riot police, who shot rubber bullets and fired tear gas in return.

Many demonstrators acknowledge that a compromise with the government is unlikely, despite recent victories. Mrs. Lam, the city’s leader, who is under pressure from Beijing to restore order without weakening the government’s position, has brushed aside their demands and has warned that the mayhem could “take Hong Kong to the road of ruin.”

Government officials have cast the demonstrations as primarily centered on economic issues, arguing that vast inequality in Hong Kong has exacerbated anger among the city’s youth. They rolled out emergency measures recently to counter the effects of the turmoil on the economy, including providing electricity subsidies to businesses and expanding job training for young people.

The authorities have justified their efforts to crack down on the movement by saying that protesters are endangering public safety. On Sunday, the police said they had found a 9- millimeter semiautomatic pistol, five magazines, 105 bullets and two ballistic vests, as well as fireworks, among other items, during a series of early morning raids.

Senior Superintendent Steve Li of the Hong Kong Police said early in the day that officers had received information that the firearm and fireworks would have been used on Sunday to create chaos.

The police have in recent months banned many protests and rallies in Hong Kong, citing safety concerns. But the government granted a rare approval for the march on Sunday, which was organized by the Civil Human Rights Front to mark the United Nations’ Human Rights Day.

Demonstrators said they believed that the turnout sent a strong message: The protest movement would not back down.

“If the government thinks that we will give up,” said Adam Wong, 23, a university student who was waving a black flag, “today’s turnout will prove them delusional.”

Katherine Li and Ezra Cheung contributed reporting.

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Huawei Sues the F.C.C., Ramping Up Fight With Critics and Foes

Westlake Legal Group 04huawei1-facebookJumbo Huawei Sues the F.C.C., Ramping Up Fight With Critics and Foes ZTE Corp United States International Relations Telephones and Telecommunications Ren Zhengfei Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Federal Communications Commission China

SHENZHEN, China — Huawei, the Chinese technology powerhouse, is suing the Federal Communications Commission for choking off its sales in the United States, the latest in the besieged company’s widening efforts to hit back at regulators and critics across the globe.

The F.C.C. voted last month to bar American telecommunications companies from using federal subsidies to buy equipment from Huawei and another Chinese supplier, ZTE. Washington considers both firms to be national security risks.

Large wireless providers such as Verizon and AT&T have long shunned the companies’ gear. But carriers in remote, rural parts of the United States have depended on it for years. The F.C.C. rule could force them to find pricier replacements.

“The F.C.C. claims that Huawei is a security threat. But F.C.C. Chairman Ajit Pai has not provided any evidence,” Song Liuping, Huawei’s chief legal officer, said during a news conference on Thursday at the company’s headquarters in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

“This is a common trend in Washington these days,” Mr. Song said. “The F.C.C.’s order violates the Constitution, and we have no choice but to seek legal remedy.”

The Trump administration has led an all-out effort to keep Huawei, the world’s largest supplier of telecom equipment, out of wireless networks in the United States and globally. American officials believe the Chinese government could use the company for espionage, an accusation the firm denies. Washington’s clampdown on Huawei has become a sticking point in trade talks with Beijing, which is demanding clemency for one of China’s leading corporate champions.

Huawei already sued the United States government earlier this year, challenging a spending law that blocked federal agencies from doing business with it. The company has also increased its lobbying activities in Washington and filed defamation complaints in France against a researcher who suggested the company was state-controlled.

For Huawei, suing the F.C.C. lends heft to its protestations that Washington is treating it unfairly, said Julian Ku, a professor of law at Hofstra University.

“They want to show their customers in the U.S. that they’re a serious company, that they’re not an outlaw,” he said. “Even a small victory in the case, one that makes the F.C.C. go and start the process over again, would be a huge victory for them.”

Still, courts generally give federal agencies wide leeway to interpret the law, Mr. Ku said. “There’s usually a tremendous amount of deference.”

Huawei filed its petition for review in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which covers the region that includes Huawei’s American headquarters in Plano, Texas. The company asked the court to hold the F.C.C.’s order unlawful because the commission did not offer it due process protections before designating it a security threat.

“Carriers across rural America — in small towns in Montana, Kentucky, and farmers in Wyoming — they choose to work with Huawei because they respect the quality and integrity of our equipment,” Mr. Song said.

Huawei is embarking upon this new legal battle at a moment when, despite the onslaught from Washington and apprehension in other world capitals, the company’s fortunes appear to be looking up.

The Commerce Department has begun allowing some American suppliers to resume selling parts and other technology to Huawei. Earlier this year the department had barred such sales without prior approval. Huawei’s business has remained steady over all, thanks to brisk sales of its smartphones and telecom equipment back home in China.

Throughout the rest of the world, the company has been supercharging its efforts to court the sympathies of the public and of governments. Hundreds of journalists have been invited to visit Huawei’s campuses. The company’s founder and chief executive, Ren Zhengfei, has given interview after interview in which he assures the world that neither he nor his firm has anything to hide.

In Washington, Huawei has spent $1.9 million on lobbying so far this year, according to federal disclosures, dwarfing its past totals.

But the company has also lashed out against people who sully its image. In August, a Huawei lawyer sent The Wall Street Journal a letter saying that an article about the company’s activities in Africa contained “false and defamatory statements.” A Journal spokeswoman said the paper stood by its reporting.

Huawei has also filed libel complaints in France against a researcher, Valérie Niquet of the Foundation for Strategic Research, a think tank in Paris. On a television talk show in February, Ms. Niquet said that Huawei was ultimately controlled by the Chinese government.

In China, she said, “there is no company that is truly capitalist in the sense that we understand it.”

After Huawei’s complaint against Ms. Niquet came to light last month, the Foundation for Strategic Research said it supported its researchers’ right to free expression. French officials said recently that the nation would not follow the United States in barring Huawei from its telecom networks.

In a telephone interview this week, Ms. Niquet said she was surprised when she received notice, in September, of the company’s legal complaints against her. “There is such a disproportion between a researcher and a mighty company such as Huawei,” she said.

Since then, she has avoided traveling to China, she said. But, she added, “I will go on working on China, as I have for decades now.”

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