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Q: China detains 2 US citizens who ran teaching program ...

https://news.yahoo.com/china-detains-2-us-citizens-090051080.html

 

BEIJING (AP) — China said Thursday it detained two U.S. citizens on suspicion of organizing others to illegally cross the border, amid sharpening tensions between the sides over trade, technology and other sensitive issues.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said police in the eastern province of Jiangsu arrested Alyssa Petersen and Jacob Harlan on Sept. 27 and Sept. 29.

"The department handling the case has informed the U.S. Consulate General in Shanghai in a timely manner, arranged U.S. diplomats to conduct consular visits and protected the legitimate rights and interests of the two," Geng said at a regular press briefing.

Harlan is the owner and Petersen the director of a Rexburg, Idaho-based organization called China Horizons, whose website says it is an English teaching program that offers an "immersive experience within a Chinese school."

However, a post on the 17-year-old group's Facebook page dated Saturday said it would be shutting down at the end of the month.

"Unfortunately, because of increasing political and economic problems between the U.S. and China, we are no longer able to send teachers to china safely," the post said.

It said Harlan and Petersen may be detained "for the next few months or years."

"They are being charged for bogus crimes and their families are working on getting them international lawyers to help them get back home to the States," the post said.

Police in the Jiangsu city of Zhenjiang, where the two are being held, did not immediately respond to questions submitted by phone and fax.

A pair of GoFundMe sites set up for the two has raised nearly $40,000 toward their legal defense and other expenses.

According to Harlan's site, he is a father of five from Utah who was taken from his hotel room on the morning of Sept. 28, along with his 8-year-old daughter, Viara.

It said that Viara Harlan was allowed to make a brief call to her mother in Utah after 48 hours, but not permitted to disclose her location or say anything about what had happened. Police later allowed her to fly home to the U.S. accompanied by a family friend, according to the site.

Petersen's page says she was held incommunicado for two weeks after being taken away by police and was located only after her family went to the State Department for assistance.

"We received information that she is doing OK. She wakes up when told, she goes to sleep when told. She spends her day in a jail cell or walking in a circle counting steps," the site said.

The site said Petersen taught and trained the group's teachers, ran the Rexburg home office and attended Brigham Young University-Idaho, a school affiliated with the Mormon church.

The charge of organizing others to illegally cross the border carries a minimum sentence of two years, with punishment as severe as life imprisonment under certain circumstances.

The U.S. Embassy in Beijing confirmed that it's aware of the detentions and the charges brought against the two but gave no further details.

"We take seriously our responsibility to assist U.S. citizens abroad and are monitoring the situation," an embassy spokesman said on routine condition of anonymity.

While the charge generally applies to human traffickers, it has also been used in the past against those accused of conducting missionary work in China, which the officially atheist communist government strictly forbids. Last year, a U.S. missionary, the Rev. John Sanqiang Cao, was sentenced to seven years in prison on the same charge.

The case comes as relations have soured between Beijing and Washington over a range of issues, including punitive U.S. tariffs leveled on Chinese exports over accusations that China cheats on trade and uses theft or coercion to illicitly obtain American technology.

They have also tangled over U.S. criticism of Chinese human rights abuses, the handling of increasingly violent anti-government protests in Hong Kong and China's assertion of its claims to virtually the entire South China Sea.

Geng, however, downplayed the possibility of outside factors weighing on Petersen and Harlan's cases.

"I did not see any specific connection between this matter and the current China-U.S. relations," he told reporters.

48 weeks 3 days ago in  Health & Safety - China

 
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From what I read, they were engaged in some shady deals regarding the trafficking of illegal workers. 

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48 weeks 2 days ago
 
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Beijing Confirms Arrest Of Two Americans As Trade Tensions Rise

"She cannot have any contact with anyone outside of a Consulate Officer who can visit once a month and a Lawyer."

  • 383 
  • OCT 17, 2019 8:25 AM

Beijing Confirms Arrest Of Two Americans As Trade Tensions Rise.

by Tyler Durden
Thu, 10/17/2019 - 08:25.

In a report that probably sent a chill down the spine of all Americans working or living in mainland China, two Americans who run an English-teaching business in China have been arrested and detained on "bogus" charges, according to a statement published on their company's Facebook page..

Jacob Harlan, a father of five, and Alyssa Petersen, were arrested in Jiangsu province last month, according to Hong Kong Free Press..

Alyssa Petersen

Their detention echoes the arrest of two Canadian nationals late last year. One man was a former diplomat, while the other ran a business taking westerners on tours of North Korea. They're both still in prison in China after formerly being charged with endangering national security. The charges are widely seen as bogus, and the arrests as political retribution for the detention of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou by Canadian authorities at the behest of American prosecutors..

In the US, a gofundme page has been set up to raise money for their legal fees. According to the page, the two were charged with "illegally moving people across borders.".

Their arrests are being reported amid negotiations between the US and Beijing over a potential trade deal. The State Department said that it's "aware" of the arrests and that it is taking its duty to assist the two US citizens seriously..

"We are aware of the detention of two US citizens in Jiangsu, China and the charges being brought against them by the provincial government," a US State Department official said on condition of anonymity..

"We take seriously our responsibility to assist US citizens abroad and are monitoring the situation."

.

China Horizons said in a Facebook post last week that the pair "are being charged for bogus crimes and their families are working on getting them international lawyers to help them get back home to the States." The company helps Americans find posts teaching English at Chinese schools. It said on its Facebook page that it now plans to shut down at the end of October..

"Unfortunately, because of increasing political and economic problems between the U.S. and China, we are no longer able to send teachers to china safely," the company wrote on its Facebook page..

Harlan, the founder of the company, is reportedly being held in a hotel in Zhenjiang under police surveillance. He was detained while he was with his eight-year-old daughter at a hotel in Weifang. Peterson, who is an employee with China Horizons, was detained around Sept. 27 and wasn't heard from for two weeks until the State Department finally located her..

"We received information that she is doing okay, She wakes up when told, she goes to sleep when told. She spends her day in a Jail Cell or walking in a circle counting steps," the gofundme.com page said..

"She cannot have any contact with anyone outside of a Consulate Officer who can visit once a month and a Lawyer.".

According to Bloomberg, the arrests come on what appears to be a broader crackdown on foreign teachers working in China. State-owned news agency Xinhua has reported that 16 foreign teachers were arrested in July, following reports that thousands of teachers may be working in the country illegally. Notably, the crackdown follows the imposition of new rules about Chinese diplomats operating in the US, requiring them to notify American officials if they visit research institutions or hold meetings with Americans. China claims these restrictions violate the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

Geng Shuang, the spokesman for China's foreign ministry, confirmed the detentions, and urged the US to "correct its mistake" and withdraw the new diplomatic rules, adding that he "doesn't see" how the detentions could be related to trade.

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48 weeks 3 days ago
 
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Were they treated to some 'imaginative treatment' to help them see the error of their way?

 

ok,,,  let's have a 

'Name the Worst Form of Torture' Contest!

 

I say....   'The Metal Hood where they Drop a Live Rat Inside' Trick!

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From what I read, they were engaged in some shady deals regarding the trafficking of illegal workers. 

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48 weeks 2 days ago
 
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Thompson Reuters Foundation ...

https://news.trust.org/item/20200908033821-eb0t9

Australia evacuates journalists from China amid 'national security' probe

Tuesday, 8 September 2020 04:28 GMT

 

Reporters took refuge in Australian diplomatic compounds

Police questioned reporters over "national security case"

"Deeply disappointing to leave China" this way - Birtles (Adds details on escape from China, quotes from reporters, foreign minister, reaction)

 

SYDNEY, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Two Australian foreign correspondents were rushed out of China for their safety with the help of Australian consular officials after being questioned by China's Ministry of State Security, their employers said on Tuesday.

China correspondents for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Australian Financial Review (AFR) sought shelter in Australia's embassy in Beijing and consulate in Shanghai as diplomats negotiated with Chinese officials to allow them to leave the country, the ABC and the AFR reported.

The two journalists - the ABC's Bill Birtles and the AFR's Michael Smith - had been banned from leaving China until they answered questions about detained Australian citizen and television anchor Cheng Lei, the media companies reported.

Both journalists were told they were "persons of interest" in an investigation into Cheng, a high-profile business anchor on Chinese state television, who was detained by authorities in August, the AFR report said.

Arriving at Sydney airport on Tuesday morning, Smith told reporters it was "such a relief to be home".

Birtles told reporters at the airport "this was a whirlwind and it was not a particularly good experience".

It was "deeply disappointing to leave China under such abrupt circumstances. It's been a big part of my life & the past week was surreal," Birtles wrote on Twitter.

Public broadcaster the ABC reported that Australian diplomats warned Birtles last week that he should leave China.

The correspondent was having farewell drinks with friends and colleagues when seven police officers arrived at his apartment at midnight on Sep. 2 and told him not to leave the country until he could answer questions about a "national security case".

It was then he called the Australian embassy for assistance and took refuge in the diplomatic compound.

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne confirmed in a statement Australia's embassy in Beijing and consulate-general in Shanghai had "engaged with Chinese Government authorities to ensure their wellbeing and return to Australia".

The ABC said it brought Birtles back to Australia following advice from the Australian government.

"DEEPLY REGRETTABLE"

The Australian Financial Review said in a statement "this incident targeting two journalists, who were going about their normal reporting duties, is both regrettable and disturbing".

The president of Australia's Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, Marcus Strom, said the treatment of the Australian journalists by Chinese authorities was "appalling".The departure of the two journalists meant Australian media organisations had no correspondent in China for the first time since the 1970s, said Penny Wong, foreign affairs spokeswoman for the opposition Labor party. Wong said this was "deeply regrettable".

Australia has a tense diplomatic relationship with China, which worsened this year after Beijing threatened trade reprisals and said it was angered by Australia's call for an international inquiry into the source of the coronavirus pandemic.

Australia had issued a travel warning in July that its citizens may be at risk of arbitrary detention in China. Payne said this advice "remains appropriate and unchanged".

The Australian government was continuing to provide consular support to Cheng, she said.

The incident also comes at a time when foreign journalists in China have experienced increased difficulty. According to the Foreign Correspondent's Club of China, China expelled a record 17 foreign journalists by cancelling their press credentials in the first half of 2020.

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Mormon missionairies disguised as teachers, I saw this in many provinces in China, some teachers way over 60 years old, retired, and working in China for peanuts to save souls. I met 30 old codgers at the Mount Tai train station that all worked for different universities in Qingdao and were on a free tour that week. It was like a geriatric senior citizen summer camp to be around them.

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Tit-4-Tit: Oz vs China ...

 

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3100785/australia-raid...

 

China accuses Australia of ‘barbaric’ searches of journalists’ homes over foreign interference laws

 

*Foreign ministry demands end to ‘unreasonable acts’ after Chinese journalists in Australia were interrogated and had devices seized

*Academic says it is ‘preposterous’ to suppose influence by Chinese WeChat group on Australian politics

 

China has accused Australian authorities of “barbaric” searches of the homes of four Chinese journalists in a new escalation in the spat between Beijing and Canberra over the treatment of their respective media.

In a regular briefing on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that in late June authorities in Australia interrogated four journalists from Chinese state-run organisations Xinhua, China Media Group and China News Service.

The Chinese reporters – who have since returned to China – had their residences searched over potential violations of Australian foreign interference laws, and their work computers, phones and other devices were seized, Zhao said.

“The Australian side has yet to provide a reasonable explanation for the searches of our reporters, and have still not returned all of their seized possessions,” he said. “We demand that Australia immediately stop these barbaric and unreasonable acts.”

 

His remarks come amid fresh tensions between China and Australia, after the detention of Beijing-based Australian journalist Cheng Lei on national security grounds and the evacuation of two Australian correspondents from China.

The departure of the two Australian journalists – Bill Birtles from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Michael Smith from the Australian Financial Review (AFR) – late on Monday marks the first time in decades there have been no Australian news outlets represented in mainland China, as relations between the countries plunged to new lows.

On Wednesday, Australian media reported that the searches of the Chinese journalists in Australia might have been part of a Chinese influence investigation into New South Wales politician Shaoquett Moselmane and his former staffer John Zhang. Both had their homes searched on June 26, the same date the Chinese journalists were interrogated, according to Chinese state media.

 

Zhang has been under investigation for use of a WeChat group to influence Moselmane on positions relating to China, allegations Zhang denies and has sought to challenge in court, according to the ABC.

Australian journalist Cheng Lei has been detained in China on national security grounds. Photo: AFPAustralian journalist Cheng Lei has been detained in China on national security grounds. Photo: AFP
Australian journalist Cheng Lei has been detained in China on national security grounds. Photo: AFP
China has accused Australian authorities of “barbaric” searches of the homes of four Chinese journalists in a new escalation in the spat between Beijing and Canberra over the treatment of their respective media.
In a regular briefing on Wednesday, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said that in late June authorities in Australia interrogated four journalists from Chinese state-run organisations Xinhua, China Media Group and China News Service.
The Chinese reporters – who have since returned to China – had their residences searched over potential violations of Australian foreign interference laws, and their work computers, phones and other devices were seized, Zhao said.
“The Australian side has yet to provide a reasonable explanation for the searches of our reporters, and have still not returned all of their seized possessions,” he said. “We demand that Australia immediately stop these barbaric and unreasonable acts.”
China’s detention of Australian TV anchor Cheng Lei further strains troubled ties
2 Sep 2020

His remarks come amid fresh tensions between China and Australia, after the detention of Beijing-based Australian journalist Cheng Lei on national security grounds and the evacuation of two Australian correspondents from China.
The departure of the two Australian journalists – Bill Birtles from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and Michael Smith from the Australian Financial Review (AFR) – late on Monday marks the first time in decades there have been no Australian news outlets represented in mainland China, as relations between the countries plunged to new lows.
On Wednesday, Australian media reported that the searches of the Chinese journalists in Australia might have been part of a Chinese influence investigation into New South Wales politician Shaoquett Moselmane and his former staffer John Zhang. Both had their homes searched on June 26, the same date the Chinese journalists were interrogated, according to Chinese state media.

Zhang has been under investigation for use of a WeChat group to influence Moselmane on positions relating to China, allegations Zhang denies and has sought to challenge in court, according to the ABC.

Four people reportedly included in the investigation as part of the WeChat group were Australian bureau chief of China News Service (CNS) Tao Shelan, the Sydney bureau chief for China Radio International (CRI), Li Dayong, as well as two Chinese academics of Australian studies, Chen Hong and Li Jianjun.

CNS and CRI did not respond to requests for comment. Li Jianjun did not answer his mobile but the ABC has reported that his visa for Australia has been cancelled.

Chen, director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said on Wednesday afternoon it was “preposterous” that the WeChat group was seen as a means of influence and that its conversations did not have “the remotest complicity of anything suspicious”.

 

The Chinese scholar said his friendship with Moselmane and Zhang was “entirely above board”. He said his own visa to Australia had been cancelled on August 6 on security grounds, which he rejected.

“I wrote a letter to their immigration department to say I do not accept their decision, but they said it was ‘irrevocable’ so if needed I will apply again for a visa, but cannot do anything if they do not give it to me,” he said, adding he had not received a response. “I have done nothing and will do nothing to act as a risk to Australia’s security.”

Chen added that the actions against the Chinese journalists in Australia was a “violation of their rights”, compared to the treatment of Birtles and Smith “in accordance with the law”.

 

Australia’s foreign affairs department did not immediately comment.

Australian diplomats had helped negotiate the departure of Birtles and Smith from China. Temporary exit bans on the two were lifted after they agreed to be questioned for one hour.

Birtles and Smith wrote personal accounts of their experience for the ABC and AFR, respectively, detailing how state security officers had shown up at their homes in Beijing and Shanghai past midnight last week to inform them they were involved in a national security case. Both wrote of being sheltered for days in the Australian embassy and consulate.

The two were questioned in separate interviews about their reporting in China and their relationship to Cheng, whom neither knew well.

“My departure is just part of a bigger trend accelerated by Beijing’s increasing pursuit of a narrative exclusively on the Communist Party’s terms,” Birtles wrote. “It is a pursuit that will leave both Australians, Chinese and the wider world less informed and less understanding of each other.”

 

Smith said the incident might have been “another exercise designed to try to intimidate the Australian government at a time when it is standing up to Beijing”.

Foreign journalists in China have previously sounded the alarm about being targeted in diplomatic spats. More than a dozen reporters working for US media outlets were forced out of the country in March. This was in retaliation to a US government cap on the number of Chinese journalists working for China’s state-run media outlets there, which effectively expelled 60 journalists.

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"Reasons why 2 Ozzie journos had to evacuated from China last week .." by RT:

 

Aussie minister warns foreign journos against ‘slanted view’ in spy row with Beijing, as cops crush lockdown dissent at home

Aussie minister warns foreign journos against ‘slanted view’ in spy row with Beijing, as cops crush lockdown dissent at home

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, warned foreign journalists that they may be investigated if they give a “slanted view” of the country. Meanwhile, cops in Victoria have crushed lockdown protests with an iron fist.

Australia’s Home Affairs Minister, Peter Dutton, warned foreign journalists that they may be investigated if they give a “slanted view” of the country. Meanwhile, cops in Victoria have crushed lockdown protests with an iron fist.

Dutton’s comments came several days after the arrest of Cheng Lei, an Australian journalist with China’s CGTN broadcaster, and after the evacuation of two Australian journalists from China last week.

“If people are here as journalists and they’re reporting fairly on the news, then that’s fine,” Dutton told ABC TV on Sunday, adding that these journalists shouldn’t give “a slanted view to a particular community.” Dutton added that the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation – comparable to the British MI5 or American FBI – questioned some journalists this summer, but would not confirm if they were Chinese nationals, as had been reported.

Dutton’s comments came amid a diplomatic spat with China over the evacuation of the Australian journalists. Beijing has accused the Australian government of “interference in a Chinese legal case” by pulling them out of China. The minister didn’t directly address Chinese journalists in Australia, but indirectly cautioned any foreign reporters who may be “interfering or conducting espionage-type activities.”

However, they also come amid growing government authoritarianism in Australia. The state of Victoria has imposed one of the harshest lockdowns anywhere in the world, with citizens of Melbourne under an 8pm curfew (extended to 9pm from Monday) and forbidden from leaving home without a work permit. Police are permitted to enter property without warrants, and military troops and drones have been brought in to ensure compliance.

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews has extended the state of emergency in his territory for another six months, and furious citizens who’ve taken to the streets in protest have been met with the full force of the law. Police arrested 74 people and fined another 200 at an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne on Sunday.

Earlier this month, the Victoria Police drew scorn and condemnation when they arrested a pregnant woman for allegedly making Facebook posts in support of an anti-lockdown rally. Commentators online described the arrest as an example of “full-blown fascism in Australia.”

 

 

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A: Going to HK would be the best bet I reckon, especially if you were loo
A:Going to HK would be the best bet I reckon, especially if you were looking for a church wedding. Chinese weddings are pretty grim IMO - you go to a barren govt dept with souless officials and navigate red tape so some guy can give you a red stamp and a marriage book. You get expensive pictures taken of you both posing in places you'd never go to in everyday life that is somehow supposed to represent your wedding, then a while later it's off to a restaurant where a game show host kind of guy makes sure it's as tacky as possible while the guests eat as fast as they can so they can leave as soon as they finish eating and gave you money. Hell, I'd go to Thailand or the Philippines and get married in Paradise.   -- Stiggs