Some Friday China links:
Janez Potocnik, the EU Commissioner for the Environment, told Reuters in an interview that China recently asked the EU for help in tackling its pollution problem, specifically pollution related to heavy metals, water and waste treatment. As the newspaper notes, the two sides have often clashed over green-related issues.
But not all is well between China and the Western world as Huawei, the Chinese telecommunications company that has faced scrutiny in the West over its ties to the government in Beijing, is once again under attack in the West.
The UK is launching an investigation into the company’s operations at a cybersecurity evaluation center known as the cell, following a parliamentary report raising concerns. According to the Guardian, Britain's National Security Adviser, Sir Kim Darroch, will lead the review and report directly to the Prime Minister.
Across the Pond in the U.S., Michael Hayden, the former head of both the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) made headlines after telling the Australian Financial Review that it is his “professional judgment” that “it goes without saying” that Huawei spies for the Chinese government.
The only thing less surprising than learning that Hayden believes this is that Huawei is denying it. “These tired, unsubstantiated, defamatory remarks are sad distractions from real-world concerns related to espionage, industrial and otherwise,” a company spokesperson tells Bloomberg News.
Also in U.S.-China drama, the New York Times reports that the outgoing American consul general in Hong Kong, Stephen M. Young, told reporters in his departing remarks on Thursday that the Edward Snowden case called into question Hong Kong’s legal autonomy from China. Money quote: “I wish you would be more objective but you have your masters in Beijing.” For what it’s worth, the Obama administration is considering also tanking its relationship with Russia over Snowden, so Hong Kong should not take it personally.
A Chinese man is in a coma fighting for his life after being electrocuted by his iPhone4 while charging the device, WantChinaTimes reports, citing Beijing Evening News. This is the second such incident this week in which a Chinese citizen was electrocuted while charging an iPhone this week, albeit in the first incident it was an iPhone5.
Meanwhile, Xinhua reports that the first dock in Sansha City was put into use Thursday after construction was completed. According to the report, the dock took three years to build.
The death of a watermelon vendor in Hunan Province is causing quite a stir among Chinese citizens. The vendor’s death came after a physical altercation between him and chengguan (urban management officers) after the officers confronted him and his wife for a second time over where they were selling watermelons. Witnesses and the vendors’ niece claim the male vendor fell down and died after he got in a fight with seven or eight chengguan and one hit him in the head.
He Zunqing, the county chief where the altercation took place, said at a press conference that there was no evidence his death was caused by a blow to the head from one of the officers.
Just the same, the incident has sparked a debate in Chinese society about the role of the chengguan system in general. As the Global Times tells it:
“The incident renewed accusations that local governments are still suppressing incidents of chengguan violence to maintain stability instead of resolving the real causes, which reflected controversies in China's urbanization process when millions of farmers entering the cities for a living.”
In the editorial section, however, GT opined that Chinese citizens should condemn the violence not the chengguan system as a whole.