Europe is squeezed between a hungry China and surly US | Simon Tisdall

With Merkel on the way out, who can keep the union intact as Beijings influence grows and the White Houses hostility rises? The idea of Xi Jinping as a modern-day Odysseus seems a little far-fetched. But Chinas globetrotting president proved a match for Homers hero last week when he trundled a Trojan horse deep inside the EU city gates with an enthusiastic helping push from the Greeks. It was a classical, even epic, piece of opportunism. Xis visit to Athens marked a breakthrough moment in Chinas decades-long siege of Europes markets. A series of Belt and Road initiative and effectively hiring it as a bespoke gateway to Europe, Xi advanced Chinas overall global ambitions. The demarche also highlights a bigger, …

Hong Kong’s reluctant police officer: ‘Its not for us to deliver punishment’

The battle with protesters is splitting the police force between those seeking power and others protecting freedoms Larry Yeung* cuts a lonely figure in the police force these days. He joined more than 20 years ago because it appealed to his sense of justice. Proudly showing off his graduation tie, he reminisces about his desire as a young recruit to serve society and help the disadvantaged. I abide by what the force has taught me, he says, showing a list of values and mission he signed up for. Among them is upholding the rule of law, impartiality and compassion and respect for the rights of members of the public. But the recent political crisis in Hong Kong, which has seen …

US and China agree to reopen trade talks in October

Investors welcome news but remain cautious while Trump shows little sign of ceding The US and China have agreed to reopen trade talks next month as concerns grow that the tariff war between the worlds two largest economies could 2020 presidential election campaign. The president recently hailed his very successful trade battle with China, and said he did not want the US to be servants to the Chinese. Mark Haefele, the global chief investment officer at UBS Wealth Management, said: Locking down a date for high-level talks is a positive step, and is in line with our expectations for continued talks as both sides try to avoid significantly increasing tariffs. However, we still dont expect a deal to be reached …

Free speech and privacy on the wane across the world

Autocratic rule, increased media restrictions and use of mass surveillance affect almost half global population, researchers find Nearly half the worlds people are living in countries where their freedom of speech and right to privacy are being eroded, researchers have found. Strongman regimes seeking to squash voices of dissent and solidify political power are increasingly monitoring citizens through technology, cracking down on protests and jailing journalists, according to a ranking of 198 countries on issues including mass surveillance and data privacy. The Cambodia, where national elections last year prompted Hun Sen, who has been the countrys prime minister for 34 years, to social credit system a mass surveillance and AI programme that gives citizens a social credit score based on …

China reportedly signs secret deal to station troops in Cambodia

Wall Street Journal says US officials have seen pact but Cambodian PM denies move China has signed a secret deal to allow its military troops to be stationed at a naval base in Cambodia, according to reports. The Belt and Road once sleepy seaside town of Sihanoukville, which has become a focal point of Chinese investment, with almost 100 casinos springing up in two years catering solely for Chinese visitors and a special economic zone established for Chinese companies. Chinese nationals now own more than 90% of businesses in Sihanoukville. If true, its further evidence of Cambodia falling deeper and deeper into Chinas embrace, said Sophal Ear, a prominent Cambodian political scientist. It does not come as a surprise as …