World cannot shut China out, vice president says, in jab at US

Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan was at the opening of World Peace Forum at Tsinghua University, in Beijing, China on July 8. (Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2019
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World cannot shut China out, vice president says, in jab at US

  • Top representatives of the world’s two biggest economies are trying to resume talks to try and resolve their year-long trade dispute
  • The Trump administration has accused China of engaging in unfair trade practices that discriminate against US firms

BEIJING: China and the rest of the world must co-exist, Vice President Wang Qishan said on Monday, in an indirect jab at the United States, with which Beijing is trying to resolve a bitter trade war.
Top representatives of the world’s two biggest economies are trying to resume talks this week to try and resolve their year-long trade dispute, which has seen the two countries place increasingly harsh tariffs on each other’s imports.
The Trump administration has accused China of engaging in unfair trade practices that discriminate against US firms, forced technology transfers and intellectual property rights theft. Beijing has denied all the charges.
“China’s development can’t shut out the rest of the world. The world’s development can’t shut out China,” Wang told the World Peace Forum at Beijing’s elite Tsinghua University.
He also warned against “protectionism in the name of national security,” but without mentioning the United States, and urged major powers to make greater contributions to world peace.
China has also been angered by US sanctions against tech giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. over national security concerns, and US visa curbs on its students and academics.
In his speech, Wang, who is extremely close to Chinese President Xi Jinping and rarely speaks in public, reiterated China’s commitment to opening up.
“Large countries must assume their responsibilities and set an example, make more contributions to global peace and stability, and broaden the path of joint development,” he added.
“Development is the key to resolving all issues,” Wang, who became vice president last year, after having led Xi’s fight to root out corruption, told an audience that included Western diplomats based in Beijing and former European Council President Herman Van Rompuy.

‘Not a rational action’
The United States should not blame China for the problems it is facing, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told the forum later.
“Viewing China as the enemy is not a rational action,” the foreign ministry quoted him as saying, adding that China would not put up “high walls” or “decouple itself from any country.”
China has been nervous that the United States is seeking to sever, or at least severely curb, economic links, in what has been called a “decoupling.”
Tariff, trade, finance and science and technology wars are “turning back the clock on history,” Le said. “The consequences will be extremely dangerous.”
The two sides have communicated by telephone since last month’s summit of leaders of Group of 20 major nations in Japan, at which US President Donald Trump and Xi agreed to relaunch stalled talks.
Talks broke down in May, after US officials accused China of pulling back from commitments previously made in the text of an agreement negotiators said was nearly finished.
The countries have also been at loggerheads over issues ranging from human rights to the disputed South China Sea and US support of self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its own.
No matter how the international situation or China developed, Vice President Wang said, the country would follow the path of peace, and not seek spheres of influence or expansion.
“If there is no peaceful, stable international environment, there will be no development to talk of.”


Former militant Tania Joya now fights to ‘reprogram’ extremists

Updated 6 min 14 sec ago
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Former militant Tania Joya now fights to ‘reprogram’ extremists

  • Tania Joya grew up confronted by racism and the struggles of integration
  • ‘It’s really important to de-radicalize them, rehabilitate’ these people
WASHINGTON: Tania Joya has devoted her life to “reprogramming” extremists and reintroducing them into society — a process she understands well as a “former Islamic militant” herself.
“My aim is for them to feel a sense of remorse and to train them so that they can be good citizens once they are released from prison, so they can adjust to society,” Joya said during a visit to Washington, to present a project on preventing extremist violence.
Born in 1984 near London to a Muslim Bangladeshi family, Joya grew up confronted by racism and the struggles of integration. She radicalized at age 17, after the September 11 terror attacks in New York and Osama bin Laden’s call for a global jihad.
In 2004, she married an American Muslim-convert, Yahya Al-Bahrumi (born John Georgelas). She began advocating for an Islamic state, for which her three children would be soldiers.
But in 2013, her husband took her and their children against her will to northwestern Syria to join militant insurgents. Joya reported her husband to US authorities and, after three weeks, fled Syria to the United States.
Joya settled in Texas, her husband’s home state. There, she changed her life, divorced and re-married.
Yahya, her first husband, joined the Daesh group, which would soon control large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. He was in charge of the group’s English-language propaganda, and Joya said he became the “highest-ranking American” in the Daesh group.
He died in 2017 during fighting in Mayadin, in northern Syria, as the so-called Daesh “caliphate” crumbled.
However, this created a new problem — Western militants or their spouses and children wanting to come home.
Joya realized that she had something to offer. “It’s really important to de-radicalize them, rehabilitate” these people, she said.
“It’s reprogramming them and giving them a sense of hope in the political process.”
It’s also important to “get them to understand the psychology and the patterns... what led them to extremism,” understanding “the rejection many in the US and Europe faced growing up there, the cultural conflict, the crisis they went through,” she said.
“Once it’s all explained to them, very logically, they will accept it just as I did.”
Joya favors repatriating foreign rebels from the Middle East so they can be judged in their countries of origin.
While that is the US policy, many European countries such as France are wary of taking in the militants.
In May and June, 11 French nationals were sentenced to die in Iraq for their affiliation to Daesh.
Joya has campaigned for the return of Shamima Begum, who joined the militant group when she was just 15 but now wants to return home to Britain. However, Begum’s lack of remorse has turned public opinion against her, and the British government stripped her of her citizenship in February.
Kurdish-run camps in northeast Syria have taken in some 12,000 foreign fighters from 40 different countries, including 4,000 women and 8,000 children whose fathers are militants.
Countries with militants stranded in refugee camps “are responsible for these individuals,” said Joya. “We can’t just push them off to the Middle East, to the Kurdish people... the abuses they’re facing in these camps are only confirming their beliefs of radicalization.”
Joya is participating in the Preventing Violent Extremism (PVE) program organized by the Clarion Program, a US non-profit dedicated to educating people “about the growing phenomenon of Islamic extremism,” according to its website.
The PVE program provides “communication models” that offer “workshops for youth so that before a child is even indoctrinated or introduced to radical ideologies, they’ve really been inoculated” against religious and ideological extremism, said national program coordinator Shireen Qudosi.
“That goes from gangs, to radical ideologies: antifa, neo-Nazi groups, Islamist extremism,” she said.