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An educational test for China’s #Uyghur

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Qiemo County, is in the Bayingolin Mongol Autonomous Prefecture, Xinjiang, China, part of the Southern Silk Route. In 2014 the Chinese government started a program that tried to ‘sinocize’  the non-Han population living in Qiemo County, by incentivising mixed marriage. The plan introduced an allowance that was issued to any mixed couples living in the region. The allowance consisted of a 10000-yuan yearly payment (1300 euros) that would be issued to each couple for five consecutive years.  This plan, like many of the other programs being operated in China, was designed to speed up the cultural assimilation of the Muslim Uyghurs and other minority groups. Despite being a meaningful amount of money for the regions standards, this program hasn’t been all that effective at promoting more mixed marriages. It should come as no surprise then that Beijing is now trying a new strategy, writes 30th President of the European Economic and Social Committee Henri Malosse.

According to 2015 statistics, almost half of the 23 million inhabitants of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR), better known to the locals as East Turkestan, are Uyghurs. More than 1 million Uyghurs and other individuals who belong to different ethnic minorities in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region have been imprisoned in internment camps established by the Chinese authorities without trial or legal representation, all in the name of unity through the assimilation, and indoctrination, of religious minorities into Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

The reports coming from these “camps” are deeply disturbing. In response to these troubling stories the European Parliament recently directed the European External Action Services to investigate the deteriorating situation in the XUAR. The European Parliament stated that whilst "the EU has become increasingly vocal on the issue in recent months, the situation in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region has continued to deteriorate, as credible reports indicate that the internment camp network arbitrarily detaining an estimated 1 million Uyghurs and other ethnic Turkic peoples has continued to expand. The camps constitute a massive effort to forcibly culturally assimilate an entire ethnic group and erode the unique Uyghur identity."

While these tactics are quite shocking, they do not seem to have had the success in consuming religious minorities into the ideal population envisioned by the CCP. In a sign of their grim determination,  China has now introduced a new policy intended to distort the education of both Han Chinese and Uyghur unless they consider inter cultural marriages.
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Certain Uyghur students, those lucky enough to not be detained, will now face discrimination when accessing university studies. Instead of allocating extra points to members of ethnic minorities (which is usually the case in China in order to balance their lower level in Mandarin), the Xinjiang administration has chosen a contrary action. It has modified its university entrance exam rules to favour children from mixed families, those from both Han and Uyghur mixed marriages.

In concrete terms, the regional government doubled the number of bonus points allocated to interethnic students (those having one Han parent) to 20, while students with both parents from the same ethnic minority will see their scored decreased by 15 points.

In 2018, around 5 million students passed the Gaokao exam, out of the 10 million who attended the test. Thus for Uyghur students already starting with a disadvantage on the final mark is more than just a handicap. For Uyghur students who want to be among the half that will have the chance to be admitted in the higher education institutes this distinction based on parentage has broad ramifications.

The Gaokao examination is taken by Chinese students in their third and final year of high school. It is the sole criterion for admission into Chinese universities. One Chinese saying aptly compares the exam to a stampede of “thousands of soldiers and tens of thousands of horses across a single log bridge.”

Chinese statistics on interethnic marriages are not so easily found, but national data from a 2010-census suggests that the Han and Uyghur populations tend to marry within their own ethnic group, with only 0.2 percent of Uyghurs marrying Han people. This means that the reform will ultimately end up hurting many, if not all, Uyghur teenagers from the region. This authoritarian measure is just another step on the long road of persecution that the Uyghur population has been enduring.

The Chinese Communist Party policy towards the Uyghurs continues to steadily progress, complete with its totalitarian ideology. But with this new exam system, the CCP has also triggered the ire of the Han population. If mixed couples will benefit from this program, and if their children will be given an advantage in the Gaokao,, then families who are not mixed, be they in Uyghur or the Han communities, will be disadvantaged.

In a sense, the Chinese governments policy, which are scrambling to erase Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities from the cultural maps of China, are having quite the opposite to their intended effect as they bring discontentment amongst the Han Chinese and force the Uyghur to go to extreme length to  retain their heritage, values and families.

China

Independent pandemic review panel critical of China and WHO delays

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An independent panel said on Monday (18 January) that Chinese officials could have applied public health measures more forcefully in January to curb the initial COVID-19 outbreak, and criticized the World Health Organization (WHO) for not declaring an international emergency until 30 January, writes .

The experts reviewing the global handling of the pandemic, led by former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark and former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, called for reforms to the Geneva-based United Nations agency.Their interim report was published hours after the WHO’s top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said that global deaths from COVID-19 were expected to top 100,000 per week “very soon”.

“What is clear to the Panel is that public health measures could have been applied more forcefully by local and national health authorities in China in January,” the report said, referring to the initial outbreak of the new disease in the central city of Wuhan, in Hubei province.

As evidence emerged of human-to-human transmission, “in far too many countries, this signal was ignored”, it added.

Specifically, it questioned why the WHO’s Emergency Committee did not meet until the third week of January and did not declare an international emergency until its second meeting on Jan. 30.

“Although the term pandemic is neither used nor defined in the International Health Regulations (2005), its use does serve to focus attention on the gravity of a health event. It was not until 11 March that WHO used the term,” the report said.

“The global pandemic alert system is not fit for purpose,” it said. “The World Health Organization has been underpowered to do the job.”

Under President Donald Trump, the United States has accused the WHO of being “China-centric”, which the agency denies. European countries led by France and Germany have pushed for addressing the WHO’s shortcomings on funding, governance and legal powers.

The panel called for a “global reset” and said that it would make recommendations in a final report to health ministers from the WHO’s 194 member states in May.

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Huawei

Sweden begins 5G auction despite Huawei protests

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Sweden’s communications regulator began its delayed auction of 5G-suitable frequencies, a move Huawei warned last week would have serious consequences as the vendor still had outstanding legal action contesting its ban.

In a statement, the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority (PTS) said its auction for licences in the 3.5GHz band started today (19 January) with a 2.3GHz sale to follow. It is auctioning 320MHz of 3.5GHz spectrum and 80MHz of 2.3GHz.

The start of the sale comes days after Huawei lost its latest appeal related to the imposition of auction conditions which ban bidding operators using equipment from it or rival ZTE.

Huawei has two other pieces of legal action on the issue outstanding.

In a comment to Mobile World Live issued on 15 January following the failure of its latest appeal, a Huawei representative confirmed its “two main” court cases on the issue were not expected to be ruled on until the end of April.

The company added: “It leads to serious consequences to hold the 5G auction while the conditions for PTS decisions are subject to legal review.”

Sweden’s spectrum auction was originally meant to take place in November 2020, but was postponed after a court suspended the application some of the divisive terms of sale pending a hearing into them.

PTS’ terms were subsequently cleared by the court of appeal, opening the way for the auction to proceeded.

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General

The best of 5G is yet to come  

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Executives from leading mobile operators have urged consumers to be patient with 5G, explaining more advanced capabilities and use cases will become available as the technology evolves.

Speaking at the recent industry conference CES 2021, Drew Blackard, VP of product management at Samsung Electronics America (SEA), told a panel that many current services including video streaming are merely “better on 5G”.

But he added more advanced “only-on-5G experiences” will become mainstream “more and more as the infrastructure develops” and the technology becomes more widely used.

Blackard noted SEA had “done a lot of development with partners to build out what these can look like”, pointing to a collaboration with AT&T to offer AR experiences for sports fans.

Ice Mobility chairman and co-founder Denise Gibson added “there is an element of patience” to realising 5G’s potential.

She said 5G “is a platform that will evolve”, explaining “it’s not solely about” geographic reach, but also provision of advanced capabilities and services on networks and devices.

Blackard added “partnerships are obviously essential”, noting 5G required “a group, an industry to bring that forward. It’s not a single player that can do that”.

Commenting on the issue Abraham Lui, Huawei's Chief Representative to the EU Institutions,  said  "In Europe, the best of 5G is yet to come. As 5G deployment gathers pace across the continent, users will appreciate the benefits of this game-changing technology in the near future".

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