South China Sea chaos: China sends warning to rivals by unveiling record-breaking ship

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The new ship dwarfs coastguard vessels from other nations based in the highly disputed waters where China’s military presence continues to increase. The ship will enter service with the Ministry of Transport’s South China Sea Rescue Bureau.

On Monday, a subsidiary of state-owned China State Shipbuilding Corporation announced they had completed work on the ship and had successfully installed stabilising components for the search and rescue (SAR) vessel.

According to a press release on the China Merchant Industrial Holdings’ website, a contract to construct the ship was signed between the South China Sea Rescue Bureau and a subsidiary of the China Merchants Group back in November.

The signing ceremony was reportedly overseen by the South China Sea Rescue Bureau’s Party Secretary, Zhuang Zeping.

Technical plans and designs for the ship are expected to be completed this month.

Known as the 14,000 Kilowatt Large Cruiser Rescue Ship, it is reportedly set to be roughly 450-feet-long, 88 feet wide and 36 feet deep, according to Radio Free Asia.

If these measurements are accurate, the ship would be the largest and most powerful operated by China’s search and rescue service.

It is also reported to be the most advanced SAR vessel in China’s fleet with the ability to haul shipwrecks out of the sea with a 133-ton crane.

The China Rescue Service (CRS) solely focuses on maritime rescue or salvaging after accidents at sea involving other ships and civilians.

The South China Sea Rescue Bureau has set up regional bases on disputed rocks and islands in the region, including Fiery Cross Reef.

According to state media, there have been four rescue missions since the establishment of the rescue base on Fiery Cross Reef.

Most recently, the CRS rescued a fishing boat that became ground in the Paracel Islands.

This rescue took place after Vietnam resisted China’s decision to kick its fisherman out of the sea earlier this month.

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China hit out at Vietnam’s fishing protest in the South China Sea days after Beijing issued a ban on trawlers in part of the disputed waters.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said its neighbour had no right to comment on the annual summer prohibition on fishing, insisting China had every right to issue such a ban.

The two countries have for years been embroiled in a bitter dispute over the stretch of water.

The area is known to the Vietnamese as the East Sea.

The stretch which is home to more than 200 specks of land is potentially rich in energy.

Le Thi Thu Hang, a spokeswoman for Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry, said: “Vietnam demands that China not further complicate the situation in the South China Sea.”

The annual ban sees more than 50,000 fishing boats forced to suspend their operations.

The South China Sea region is a disputed territory where it faces rival ownership claims from China, Vietnam, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan.

Diplomatic relations between the nations, which have laid claim to the islands, are already extremely strained.

The recent construction of bunkers on some of the atolls points to China preparing to “protection against air or missile strikes”, raising the prospect of a potential conflict, sparking World War 3 fears.

The islands and surrounding reefs have been the subject of a bitter and long-running territorial dispute, with China, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and the Philippines all laying claim to parts of the archipelago.

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Boris Johnson told to act now as China enforces law to create ‘police state’ in Hong Kong

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Speaking about Beijing imposing the law that could see anyone who supports the pro-democracy movement incarcerated, the Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hong Kong Baroness Natalie Bennett said: “This is effectively rule by decree and far from the assurances of autonomy the people of Hong Kong were given by both China and the UK with the signing of the Sino-British Joint Declaration. We must also consider the timing of these announcements. The Hong Kong Police Force has recently used existing powers on social distancing to break up protests and has arrested pro-democracy activists.

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“It appears that Beijing is awarding Hong Kong’s administration further powers to clampdown on future protests.”

There has been widespread frustration at the British government’s muted initial response to China’s plans to impose the new security laws in Hong Kong.

The Government has so far urged China to respect the ‘one-party two systems’ principle, to which Natalie Bennett, in a letter sent exclusively to Express.co.uk, said: “Words are no longer sufficient, action is needed.”

This disturbing move by Beijing is an explicit breach of the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that was signed by both the UK and China in order to protect Hong Kong’s independent legislature and keep its political system separate from that of the mainland after Britain’s departure on 1 July 1997.

A spokesperson from the grassroots campaign group “Stand with Hong Kong” commented: “Hong Kong is being frog-marched towards a police state.

“What is left of our legal and political system is being shredded up before our eyes.

“Any pretence at autonomy is being rapidly undermined and the British government must denounce these actions and hold China to account for this latest fundamental breach of the Sino-British Joint Declaration before it is too late.”

According to pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong, the new security law could see the mobilisation of “more than a million people” onto the streets of the city in protest at the flagrant disregard of Hong Kong’s autonomy by China.

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With the enforcement of the new security law via decree directly from Beijing, China has effectively ended its commitment to allow life in Hong Kong to remain unchanged for a period of 50 years until 2047.

President Xi Jinping’s stated goal is to bring Hong Kong and Taiwan under Chinese centralised control, and with his multibillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative projects worldwide, he has revealed his hand as an ambitious and expansionist dictator, with a feverish goal to spread CCP influence, ownership and values worldwide.

Speaking to Aljazeera Doctor Andreas Fulda of the University of Nottingham said: “The international community has to push back.

“Because it will not end in Hong Kong.

“If we don’t want to see a war in the Taiwan Strait it must be made very clear to the authorities in Beijing that this has to stop.”

But now the UK Foreign Office appears to be afraid that by declaring the Chinese Communist Party, CCP, is in breach of 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration that they lose their ability to urge China to commit to the “one-party two systems” obligation.

But, Doctor Fulda said: “The problem is that the CCP has already decided to transition to ‘one party, one system’ and the UK Foreign Office is in denial of reality.”

About the disregard for the ‘one party, two systems’ principle, Baroness Bennett said: “The imposition of this law, which has large human rights implications on the people of Hong Kong without, scrutiny by Hongkongers is as large an affront to the supposed legal reality of ‘one country, two systems’ principle that we have yet seen.”

Mr Fulda recently tweeted: “China’s Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office has recently used genocidal language such as referring to Hong Kong’s democracy movement as a ‘political virus’.

“And they have called for the elimination of so-called ‘poisonous and violent protesters’.”

Andreas Fulda states that the international community needs a countermeasure.

He tweeted: “We need Magnitsky-style sanctions against responsible individuals in China and in Hong Kong.”

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Kim Jong-un chaos: North Korea despot launches furious crackdown on teenage rebels

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In an attempt to prevent South Korean trends gaining more traction, those caught in the shocking crackdown will not be given detention but their parents and teachers will also face severe punishment. The crackdown started in late April.

According to US-funded news agency Radio Free Asia, smartphone usage is allowed in North Korea but they all have an application called ‘Red Flag’, which keeps a log of webpages visited by users.

The app will occasionally take screenshots and these can be viewed but not deleted through another app called ‘Trace Viewer’.

These screenshots reportedly can be checked by authorities at any time.

But reports say that police only check phones of people of interest, or random checks to solicit bribes.

Under the direction of the Korean Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, the police are now targeting teens.

A source in North Pyongan province told RFA: “Nowadays it is becoming a trend for teens to carry around North Korean songs made in the South Korean style, videos and books from unknown sources, restricted photos and texts written using South Korean [spelling, vocabulary and slang] on their mobile phones and other devices.

“On the Central Committee’s order, authorities have begun to censor mobile phones.”

The source claimed the crackdown began when random checks on college and high school students found contraband data on their devices.

They said: “The teenagers’ behaviour has been reported to the Central Committee and they’ve ordered nation-wide mobile phone censorship for students.

“They think that the kids’ desire to be culturally like South Korean poses a threat to the system.

“The Local Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist Youth League organised emergency meetings to prevent young students from spreading the South Korean-like culture using electronic devices, including mobile phones.

“Many students are anxious because they warned of strong legal punishment for those who are found guilty.”

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The Kimilsungist-Kimjongilist is North Korea’s main youth league which was modelled after the Soviet Komsomol.

Not only would the teenagers be punished but the source claimed that their schools and leaders of the youth league will also face punishment.

The source said: “They must jointly take responsibility.

“The [teens] are also nervous as they will be subject to punishment during weekly self-criticism sessions.”

Self-criticism sessions is an act where citizens report to the authorities of any shortcomings they might have in loyalty to the state.

According to another source, youth league leader and authorities have organised inspection groups to check devices on a regular basis.

The unnamed source said: “Students are busy erasing [all contraband files] from their mobile phones and electronic storage devices.

“Young students in Ryanggang province and other areas adjacent to the border [with China] often store illegal data on their mobile phones, because they can easily get South Korean music and dramas from China.

“So now the students are staying up all night trying to erase all the illegal data, because if they are caught from the crackdown, not only they, but also their parents and school officials will be punished.”

This news comes after it was reported that a North Korean hacking group is increasing efforts to steal cryptocurrency as the country faces economic difficulties amid COVID-19.

According to South Korean media, Lazarus, the hacking group who were responsible for the 2014 Sony Pictures and 2016 Bangladesh Bank cyber heists, are now being implicated in the latest attacks from North Korea.

According to a press release from ESTsecurity, a cyber security located in Seoul, South Korea, the group had begun targeting cryptocurrency firms.

The released said: “The APT (adaptive persistent threats) hacking group Lazarus, which is allegedly sponsored by a certain government [North Korea], is increasingly engaging in cybercrime activities in and out of South Korea.

“Lazarus is carrying out APT attacks not only in South Korea but also in the international sphere, including the United States.

“They are also engaging in cyber-espionage operations as well as activities designed to generate foreign currency.”

The security company warned that these attacks could lead to financial damage.

The press release also went on to explain: “Malicious emails used in these attacks mention companies that provide electronic payment services.

“The hackers attached malicious files disguised as blockchain software development contracts from those payment companies and induced the targets into opening them.”

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South China Sea crisis: Fury as China enforce fishing lockdown with ‘strictest measures’

Beijing claims the ban on fishing activities in the waters above the 12th parallel, which includes areas near the Scarborough Shoal, the Paracel Islands, and the Gulf of Tonkin, is in order to conserve decimated stocks. But countries that reject China’s sweeping claim over the vast resource-rich South China Sea have responded with fury at Beijing’s supposed, “unilateral decision”. Fishing communities in Vietnam and the Philippines have urged their governments to make a strong response.

The Vietnam Fisheries Society said in a statement on its website: “Vietnamese fishermen have the complete rights to fish in waters under their sovereignty.”

Vietnam has called into question the decision made by Beijing to ban fishing in the region from May 1 to August 16.

Vietnam claim that they have sovereignty over their waters as defined by the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Vietnamese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Le Thi Thu Hang said: “Vietnam asks China not to further complicate the situation in the South China Sea.”

In Manila, local fishery organisations also called on the Philippine government not to give in to “China’s bullying”.

Fernando Hicap, chairman of the National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organisations said: “The Philippine government should not waste time and wait for Chinese maritime officers to arrest our fishermen.

“They have no right and moral ascendancy to declare a fishing ban in the guise of conserving fish stocks in marine waters that they have no legal claim, and they have massively destroyed through reclamation activities.”

But China warns they have promised to take the “strictest measures” to stop any “illegal fishing activities” during the period of the ban.

China suggests the ban will promote peace amid simmering disputes with Manila and Hanoi over the Scarborough Reef and other islands in the South China Sea.

Presently China has been negotiating a code of conduct with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in order to bring about a settlement of the disputes in the region, but there has been little visible progress.

China claims much of the South China Sea, but there are overlapping claims by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam.
The US has also challenged Beijing’s territorial claims.

There have been recent signs of tensions in the South China Sea amid the coronavirus situation.

Tensions are escalating after Vietnam in April charged a Chinese marine surveillance ship with sinking a Vietnamese fishing boat near the contested Paracel Islands.

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Last week, the US Navy said a guided-missile destroyer had sailed through waters near the Paracel islands, challenging China’s claim to the area.

The USS Barry undertook the so-called “freedom of navigation operation” after Beijing upped its claims to the region by designating an official administrative district for the islands.

The US sought to assert the “rights, freedoms and lawful uses of the sea recognised in international law”, the Navy reportedly said in a statement.

The statement added: “Unlawful and sweeping maritime claims in the South China Sea pose an unprecedented threat to the freedom of the seas, including the freedoms of navigation and overflight and the right of innocent passage of all ships.”

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Kim Jong-un dead claims erupt after ‘failed missile test wounds North Korean leader’

Kim Jong-un’s death remains unconfirmed from North Korea or any Government from around the world. However, Asia analyst Gordon Chang addressed a rumour he claimed had circumstantial evidence supporting it. While speaking to Fox News, Mr Chang claimed the North Korean dictator could have been wounded or killed on April 14.

He explained that a missile launch went ahead on this date, and North Korea’s odd decision to break protocol was cause for concern.

Mr Chang wrote: “There is another report which has some circumstantial evidence to support it.

“That is that there was an accident on April 14th when North Korea launched a barrage of cruise missiles.

“Kim was on-scene and was wounded.”

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Mr Chang argued that North Korea’s breaking of pattern following April 14 could support the idea the dictator was injured or killed.

Mr Chang continued: “There is one important thing about this.

“That missile test, that did in fact occur, could not have gone forward if Kim did not authorise it.

“Kim Jong-un has been on sight for virtually every missile test in North Korea during his reign.

“They have pictures released of Kim at every one of these tests but this time there have been no pictures released.

“The test did go forward and that is an indication that something happened on April 14.”

Mr Chang concluded that North Korea breaking its usual pattern was evidence that something was wrong in the country.

He said: “We know that something is wrong.

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“We know that Kim Jong-un did not show up for the April 15th day of the Sun celebration.

“This is the celebration that commemorates the birth of regime founder Kim IL-sung, his grandfather.

“Kim has not missed any Day of the Sun celebrations.”

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Coronavirus POLL: Do YOU believe Donald Trump’s theory the pandemic began in Chinese lab?

Donald Trump has confirmed he has seen evidence the killer coronavirus came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. US intelligence officials have been investigating exactly how the virus began – which has infected more than 3.3 million people globally and killed more than 230,000 others.

Mr Trump made the allegations during a White House press conference on Thursday but refused to be drawn on the evidence he has seen.

The US President said: “We are looking at exactly where it came from, who it came from, how it happened, separately and also scientifically, so we are going to be able to find it.”

Mr Trump was then asked: “Have you seen anything at this point that gives you a high degree of confidence that the Wuhan Institute of Virology was the origin of this virus?”

Mr Trump said: “Yes, yes I have.”

When pressed on his comments, the US President declined to give any further details, he said: “I can’t tell you that. I’m not allowed to tell you that.”

The Chinese state-backed Wuhan Institute of Virology has dismissed the allegations, and other US officials have downplayed the claims.

The coronavirus outbreak is widely believed to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan and was first reported to the World Health Organisation in December 2019.

The US President has always pointed blame towards Beijing and has repeatedly referred to COVID-19 as the “China virus”.

Meanwhile US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo distanced China from any blame from the coronavirus crisis at this stage.

He said: “We don’t know if it came from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

“We don’t know if it emanated from the wet market or yet some other place.

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“We don’t know those answers.”

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the US more than any other country on Earth both in the number of fatalities but also economically.

In the US number of confirmed coronavirus infections has soared past one million and more than 62,000 citizens have died.

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Pennsylvania, Kansas, Wisconsin, Virginia, Arizona, Minnesota and Nebraska all reported a record number of new cases on Thursday.

The US Department of Labor confirmed more than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits since March 21.

The jobless toll amounts to more than 18.4 percent of the US working-age population – a level not seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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The latest comments by Mr Trump is set to further strain relations between the world’s two largest economies – earlier this week the US President accused China of meddling in the upcoming US elections – a claim Beijing denies.

Mr Trump claimed China would try to prevent him from getting re-elected when he goes up against expected Democrat nominee and former vice-president Joe Biden.

Mr Trump said: “China will do anything they can to have me lose this race.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said: “The US presidential election is an internal affair, we have no interest in interfering in it.”

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North Korea crisis: US told to ‘beef up’ forces in South Korea as emergency measure

Kim Jong-un was reported to be dead over the weekend by multiple sources. Vice director of HKRSTV Hong Kong Satellite Television, Shijan Xingzou, siad a very solid source told her the North Korean leader had died. Japanese weekly magazine Shukan Gendai said the dictator was not yet dead but in a vegetative state and would not recover.

Asia analyst Gordon Chang told Fox News the US should increase its military presence in South Korea as a precaution.

Mr Chang insisted the US should be wary there may be a power struggle in North Korea if the reports of Kim Jong-un’s death are believed to be true.

Mr Chang said: “I think the US is mostly a bystander to events, as is China.

“The thing that I am sure that both Beijing and Washington are really concerned about is a scramble for power.

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“Where you have two competing factions in North Korea.

“One of them or perhaps both of them having access to weapons of mass destruction.

“Not only nukes but also chemical and biological weapons.”

Mr Change also explained the next steps the US needs to take as an emergency measure.

He said: “We have operational plans to secure the southern portion of the country.

“The real risk is China moves south and we move north and we meet in an uncoordinated fashion.

“China has done a lot to not coordinate, we have tried to coordinate with Beijing in this eventuality but China won’t talk to us.

“This is the big unknown and I think we need to beef up our forces in South Korea on an emergency basis because we could very well need them.”

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Mr Chang said the US would benefit from being prepared for any eventuality but China was making this difficult.

He said: “At this time China is creating provocations in the East China and South China seas.

“Our two aircraft carriers that are normally in the region are both in port right now.

“Right now China is in a very dangerous posture.”

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What are you doing? France lashes out at EU as bloc solidarity crumbles

Brussels expects the bloc to go into a deep recession this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, which has paralysed economic activity across the 27 member states. “We have asked the EU for help but it has not, as yet, responded to all our demands,” Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume told Europe 1 radio, as he voiced his “disappointment” at the bloc’s failure to take immediate action. Mr Guillaume has repeatedly called on the European Commission, the bloc’s powerful executive arm, to help milk and wine producers who face a surplus of production due to slack demand caused by the health crisis that has cut off vital restaurant and export trade.

French dairy farmers fear the drop in demand will lead to a huge surplus of milk just as the spring gazing season boosts cow’s productivity, with the risk of prices crashing.

“We are in an extraordinary crisis; we need responses that are not ordinary. The Commission, the EU, the European Commissioner must move,” Mr Guillaume warned earlier this month.

At the end of March, 40 million litres of milk – 18 percent of the total volume collected weekly – were in surplus and had to either be redirected towards storage for butter and milk powder or dumped.

Weaker demand and staff absences due to the epidemic have also disrupted factories in the dairy sector and elsewhere in the food industry.

For French wine producers, the loss of demand from shuttered restaurants and disrupted export markets comes on top of punishing US tariffs of 25 percent as part of Washington’s response to illegal EU aircraft subsidies.  

“The wine sector has already suffered a lot with the US taxes,” Mr Guillaume said.

The bloc’s chief agricultural official Janusz Wojciechowski, however, has said that billions of euros in unspent rural development could be diverted to struggling farmers.

The Commission has also proposed to increase cash advances to farmers under the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and give them more time to apply for support.

Member states, however, strongly disagree over how much help should be provided at EU level to counter the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Hard-hit, poorer southern nations such as Italy and Spain have called for the issuance of joint debt; but the richer, fiscally conservative north has urged more restraint in rolling out targeted aid schemes.

The bloc’s industry chief Thierry Breton, for his part, said later on Tuesday that an economic support package to help the EU recover from the crisis could need to be worth around 1.6 trillion euros (£1.4 trillion).

“That sum represents some 10 percent of the EU’s GDP,” Mr Breton told the French news channel BFM TV.

EU officials expect the bloc to go into a deep recession this year because of the deadly outbreak, which has brought economic activity to a virtual halt across the 27 member states.

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Coronavirus cover-up: China’s fury after 100 academics sign letter of warning to the world

There has been a climate of fear since Beijing announced it had defeated the coronavirus within the boundaries of China. Any voice that hints a criticism of Xi Jinping’s actions during the outbreak has been duly dealt with in post-pandemic China. In extreme cases, there have been reports of house arrests and missing persons.

The courageous citizen journalists Chen Qiushi, Fang Bin and Li Zehua, who tried to report freely about the situation in Wuhan, are now missing.

Property tycoon Ren Zhiqiang was reported missing by friends after writing an essay criticising President Xi and the Chinese government for silencing coronavirus whistleblowers, with the latest reports suggesting he is being detained in Chinese government custody.

Ren Zhiqiang wrote that “without a media representing the interests of the people by publishing the actual facts, the people’s lives are being ravaged by both the virus and the major illness of the system”.

Doctor Ai Fen, a whistleblower who criticised Beijing’s censorship of information about the coronavirus epidemic now remains barred from communicating with media.

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This dramatic post-pandemic purge, coupled with the particularly negligent and conceitful circumstances around the reprimanding of the late Doctor Li Wenliang, who tried to warn authorities when Covid-19 was first detected, has drawn many academics to take a stand.

A call for change within China was poignantly pronounced by Doctor Li on his deathbed, when he said, “there should be more than one voice in a healthy society.”

China, which operates under one-party government rule, has faced substantial criticism from western leaders and human rights groups for its early efforts to suppress information about the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan.

The letter pointed out the systematic failures of the Chinese authorities and lack of transparency in the face of what has become a world-changing crisis.

The letter stated: “The roots of the pandemic are in a cover-up by CCP authorities in Wuhan, Hubei province.

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“Under the influence of the CCP the World Health Organisation first downplayed the pandemic.

“Taiwanese health officials also allege that they ignored their alerts of human-to-human transmission in late December.”

The letter, that was signed by academics and politicians from around the world, added: “We should never forget that China’s Chernobyl moment was a self-inflicted wound.

“The CCP silenced Chinese doctors who wanted to warn other health professionals during the early stage of the outbreak.

“Dr Ai Fen can no longer appear in public after accepting a domestic media interview.”

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The letter was in response to a carefully constructed declaration made by 100 hand-picked scholars from within China who, at the behest of the CCP regime, issued a statement that framed the origin and spread of coronavirus with a new narrative.

This new, airbrushed narrative that calls into question the origins of the virus befits Xi Jinping’s efforts to capitalise on his victory over the pathogen that may have come from outside China.

On April 2 2020 a group of one hundred Chinese establishment scholars wrote an open letter decrying the “many critical voices politicising the COVID-19 pandemic”.

They stated that “at this stage of the pandemic, the exact source and origin of COVID-19 remain undetermined, but these questions are unimportant and finger-pointing is demeaning and hurtful to everyone”.

By claiming the origin of the virus is still unknown reinforces Beijing’s recent nuances that the virus did not come from China.

The letter from the Chinese scholars added: “Political bickering does nothing to contribute to the healthy development of Sino-US relations, nor will it help the people of the world to rationally and accurately understand and cope with the pandemic.

“In the end we will all respect the final determination of scientists.

“Like many other countries, China is a victim of the virus, but also a success story overcoming it, and it is willing to work with people of other countries to stop the spread of the pandemic.”

Doctor Andreas Fulda of the University of Nottingham was the initiator and chief editor of the open letter that responded to the Chinese academic statement.

The recent letter instigated by Doctor Fulda has fermented wrath from Beijing.

Pro CCP tabloid, The Global Times quoted analysts and wrote: “The latest letter is filled with pure ideological bias, attacks and lies.

“The letter pinned the sources of the pandemic on China’s system and accused China of”silencing” doctors who wanted to warn others.”

Mr Fulda hopes the open letter can help the international community to make a clear distinction between the CCP and China’s civil society.

Speaking to journalist William Yang, he said: “The open letter makes it very clear that besides ‘official China’, represented by the party-state, there is also the ‘unofficial China’, which is made up by independent-minded academics, doctors, entrepreneurs, citizen journalists, public interest lawyers and young students who no longer accept the CCP’s rule by fear.

“Their individual voices are already forming a chorus.

“They demand nothing less than a critical evaluation of the impact of CCP policies on the lives of Chinese citizens and citizens around the world.

“We urge you to join them.”

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Barron Trump: Astonishing luxury youngest Trump enjoyed at Trump Tower exposed

Barron was nine years old when he enjoyed the luxury of his own floor, according to Town & Country. The floor, which his mother Melania Trump described as “Barron’s living room”, was complete with its own kitchen, living room, and quarters for a nanny and Melania, the future First Lady explained in a 2006 interview. Melania had posed for pictures with her newborn for People magazine a few weeks after Barron’s birth.

She said at the time: “He’s a very good baby. He’s not like a crybaby ‒ he’s calm and it’s fantastic.

“Sometimes I just think, ‘Oh my God, this is my baby. I have a baby.’ There’s nothing like it.”

Melania also explained in the interview how she had been given a gold pram, complete with its own chandelier, from US chat show host Ellen DeGeneres after Barron was born.

Melania said: “It’s fun. It makes you laugh,” but social media users branded the gift “grotesque” and “gross”.

One said: “Sadly, many Americans think things like a golden stroller are a good thing.

“A sign of success, instead of selfish and evil.”

However, another was more forgiving, insisting that “Ellen bought the stroller as a joke.”

Nevertheless, such a gaudy item would not have been out of place in the Trump home, as Mr Trump is known for his love of gold.

After Mr Trump won the presidential election in November 2016 and was inaugurated in January 2017, Melania broke from tradition by not moving to the White House immediately.

Instead, she and Barron stayed behind in New York so he could finish his school year, before moving to Washington DC.

This caused some controversy after CNNMoney reported it cost more than $1million (£800,000) per day to provide security for them.

They now live on the second floor of the White House, away from the presidential offices.

Barron, now 14, is believed to have access to a bowling alley, basketball court, a cinema, a jogging track, a billiard room and a swimming pool in the White House.

The First Lady’s only child has sparked a flurry of comments about his height, after pictures emerged of him walking with his family across the lawn at the White House, on the way back from his father’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.

Barron can be seen towering over his model mother, who stands at 5’11’’, and is even taller than his father who is 6’3’’.

At Christmas, Barorn was noticeably missing from the Mar-a-Lago annual Christmas Eve dinner, while his parents celebrated.

It is unknown why he did not attend, but social media users accused Mr Trump off not spending time with his teenage child.

Melania, however, has always claimed her husband is an excellent father.

Even as far back as the 2006 interview, just two weeks after Barron’s brith, she said he is an active father, waking up with Barron in the morning and watching TV and reading the newspaper in the couple’s bedroom.

However, she admitted that when Barron needed his nappy changed, the real estate tycoon would say: “It’s time to see Mommy.”

However,she added that he had been a good role model for his older children from previous marriages ‒ Donald Jnr, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany ‒ by being strict but fair.

She said: “He lets you know what he thinks is right and wrong.”

Melania also astonished viewers of The View at the time by claiming her labour was “great” and “very, very easy”.

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